The Great Escape by Tamara Khalil Khoury
The Great Escape by Tamara Khalil Khoury: As the old fox gazed upon his city, he smiled because he knew that his job was done. He remembered it like it was yesterday. It had been four years since the day that Mr. Fox had a huge feast with his family and friends. It had been 4 years since Mr. Fox stole from the three horrid farmers: Bean, Boggis, and Bunce.
He stared out his window at his vast, underground city, buzzing with excitement. He remembered what he said on the day of his feast, he had said as he took a swig of Farmer Bean’s Cider: ‘We will make a little underground city, with streets and houses on each side, separate houses for badgers and moles and rabbits and weasels and foxes. And every day I will go shopping for you all. And every day we will eat like kings!’ The wise fox laughed at the memory, for he knew that he accomplished more than just building a small village.
Over the years, Mr. Fox’s Family and friends helped him build his city. It was very tiring and it required a lot of effort, it also required lots and lots of digging. More animals joined and helped make the city too. They made houses out of stone and mud, it wouldn’t seem very comfortable for you, reader, but it certainly was nice and cozy for the animals. The houses provided shelter to many, rabbits, weasels, moles, badgers and many foxes too. Every day, the children would play outside and the adults would happily watch them. They were happy and safe here and they didn’t have to be worried about being attacked or even about the three horrid farmers. For all the citizens of Mr. Fox’s city knew, Bean, Boggis, and Bunce could still be waiting.
One night, Mr. Fox went to sleep after a drink of cider, he had a very scary nightmare, one he had many times before. It was long ago, even before he had made his oath to make a city. He was going outside of his tiny hole to steal some food from a farmer to feed his hungry family. He had heard something. He looked into the distance, his head low under the tall green grass. Suddenly, he saw a barrel of a gun poking through a bush.
Mr. Fox bolted awake, beads of sweat dripping down his orange fur. Luckily, he woke up just in time, he was about to witness himself lose his tail for the 20th time. Mrs. Fox, his beautiful wife, walked over to his bed. “What is it, sweetie?” She said softly, “Did you have that dream again?’
“Yes dear, I’m afraid so.” Mr. Fox said sadly.
“Don’t worry. As time passes, so will the dream” She said.
“ I know, but after I lost my tail, I feel like I’m not myself anymore, I was no longer the Fantastic Fox I used to be.”
“No sweetie, don’t say that you will always be my Fantastic Fox. In fact, losing your tail proved to me that you were truly fantastic.” She said this with a smile.
“Really?” Mr. Fox said, confused, “Why is that?” “Because you were brave,” She said.
Mr. Fox smiled, proud to have such a wise wife. They shared a hug and a kiss. Suddenly there was a knocking at the door, Mrs. Fox headed to open their door. She opened the door to see one of her son’s standing on her doorstep, holding a dozen dead geese by their necks, “Hello, Mother” he said as he handed her one of his geese, “Breakfast is ready!”
“Thank you, dear,” Mrs. Fox said, she embraced her child and he ran off.
The citizens got their food with the help of the Food Patrol. Every night, a group of animals would sneak up a secret route to the surface of the ground and they would steal food from the three farmers. The Food Patrol would steal some chicken from Boggis, ducks, and geese from Bunce and turkeys and apple cider from Bean. They would also steal vegetables like carrots and lettuce for the vegetarians. The organization was founded by the Small Foxes, who were Mr. and Mrs. Fox’s children.
They were in charge of making sure that all the citizens had three meals a day. When the Food Patrol came back with their food, they would run around the city delivering all the food to the animal’s homes. “Why don’t we visit Mr. Badgers house?” Mr. Fox said after he and Mrs. Fox ate their breakfast.
“That’s a great idea!” Mrs. Fox said happily, “We haven’t seen that old badger in a while”
So the couple got dressed in their fanciest clothes and they headed outside. As they were walking, they looked around at their creations, all the happy families living in their cozy homes, safe and sound. They didn’t have anything to worry about. But little did they know that that was about to change.
When the two reached to the doorstep of Mr. Badger’s little house, the ground began to rumble, no, it wasn’t just the ground, the sound came from above as well! Mr. Fox and his wife exchanged scared looks. The children playing outside began to tremble and they ran to hug their confused parents for safety. Every animal walking on the streets stopped in their tracks, this had never happened before. The rumble grew to a roar. The stones that made up the houses began to fall. Mr. Badger, his eyes as big as golf balls, opened his door, he saw Mr. Fox and said “Mr. Fox! What’s going on?”
“We don’t have the foggiest idea!” Mr. Fox yelled over the deafening sound, “This has never happened before!” All of a sudden, a head of a shovel appeared from the roof of the city, It was big and metal, and very, very sharp. “No,” Mr. Fox said, Mrs. Fox turned and saw the terror in his eyes “it can’t be”
3 weeks later…
Digging, digging, digging. That’s all that the citizens of Mr. Fox’s city did for the past three weeks.
They started to dig just after they saw the head of a shovel poking out from the top of their city. They did not dig deeper, but they dug sideways, hoping that they would get as far as possible from their attacker. Their instincts told them that they were still being chased. They were tired and their paws were sore. The children wanted to dig as well. Compared to what Mr. Fox did to escape the farmers, this was nothing.
This tunnel that was being dug by more than a hundred animals was much larger, wider and much faster to dig. Although this was very hard for the animals, they did it anyways. Because just like their leader, they were brave.
3 weeks after that…
Whenever the animals stopped to rest, they would hear the rumbling sound again. Thankfully, the small foxes brought a lot of food for them, but instead of three meals a day they only got one. But nevertheless, they were still going. They silently dug through the brown and muddy earth, panting and sweating. They dug faster as the rumbling got louder. Mr. Fox was wondering what Boggis, Bean, and
Bunce were thinking as they were digging as well, ‘They should have given up by now, why are they still going? They must be extremely angry at us stealing their food.’
As if on cue, the rumbling stopped. The animals stopped digging too, they figured this would be a good time to rest. They all sat down and they ate their food and massaged their paws. 15 minutes passed and there was no rumbling. Mr. Fox looked back at the tunnel that they made, It was dark and gloomy, he couldn’t see the beginning of it. He then realized how far away they dug, they might have traveled half across the world.
One hour passed, still no rumbling. The animals finished up their food and they started to feel comfortable enough to sleep. They barely got any sleep when they were being chased, almost everyone fell asleep in an instant. This made Mr. Fox very guilty, he never intended to force his people to suffer, he
also felt really proud and grateful for such hardworking and faithful refugees. Mrs. Fox, still afraid that the rumbling sound would come back, sat down next to her husband and stared into the black abyss that they created. “What shall we do now?’’ She asked.
“I-,” Mr. Fox hesitated, “I don’t know,’’ “What do you mean you don’t know? She said
“I mean, I don’t know what our next move is, Margaret!” It was obvious that he was frustrated. “Henry,’’ Mrs. Fox said, her temper rising, “ How could you possibly-”
“DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS?’’ Mr. Fox cut her off, “DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO BE
RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED ANIMALS AND TO MAKE SURE THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE
OF THEM IS PERFECTLY SAFE?’’
“Henry,’’ She said quietly, “I don’t know how hard it is, I really don’t. But I believe in you and that you can achieve anything as long as you put your heart into it. I will always be there to help you, below or above the ground.’’
“Wait, what was the last thing you just said?’’ Mr. Fox asked.
“I said I will always be there to help you, below or above the ground’’ She said, confused.
“Above the ground!’’ he said excitedly, “We should dig up! Honey, you’re a genius!” Mr. Fox stood up and walked towards the pile of sleeping animals, “Wake up everyone!” he said with a confident smile, “I have a plan”
As the animals gradually dug their way up the ground, Mr. Fox realized how deep down under the Earth they were. It took them almost two days to reach the top. Mr. Fox had no idea where they were, so he was curious to what they might find on the surface. Climbing up was really difficult for the animals, harder than digging forward. The tunnel they dug was very steep and animals kept sliding down. It was a tough experience, but the determined animals finally made it to the surface. There was a blinding light, a light so bright that it made the animals shiver. The animals, except the Food Patrol, did not see the sun for years. “Stay back everyone,’’ Mr. Fox turned to the animals “I’ll go up first’’
Mr. Fox climbed up the hole and the sun’s rays bathed him in the heat, there was sand everywhere.
Soft, white sand for as far as his sharp eyes could see. In the distance, he could see a large tree with enormous green leaves growing out of a tall, patterned trunk. It looked so grand and elegant and it was much prettier than the boring oak trees that he saw many years ago. The sun was so bright that he was still having trouble with adjusting his eyes to the light. He called the other animals up, saying it was safe. They all looked around in awe, they’ve never seen a place like this before.
“Hello’’ said a voice behind them. All the animals, except Mr. Fox, screamed in fright and backed away before they even saw the source of the voice. Mr. Fox turned to see a massive…Well, he didn’t know what it was. It was big compared to the animals, It had four legs with giant hooves, it had yellow fur, the same color as the sand beneath their feet. It had huge bulging eyes and two oversized teeth poking out of its mouth. It had a long neck and a colossal hump on it’s back. “Hello,’’ It said again.
“H-Hello’’ Mr. Fox said hesitantly “We come in peace, what exactly are you?’’ “I’m a camel, I live here in Dubai’’
“Is this Dubai?’’ Mr. Fox said looking around him.
“Yes, and what exactly are you?’’ The camel said. Mr. Fox then explained their story in a nutshell, how he built a city to protect his family and the rest of the animals from the farmers. He also explained how the farmers had found them and that they had to evacuate the city and leave everything behind. He told the camel of the many troubles they had when they were digging underground.
“Don’t worry, you will be safe here’’ said the camel, “Come with me, let me show you Dubai.
Soon, more camels appeared and the animals boarded onto their backs, the camels ran into the desert, faster than Mr. Fox could ever run. Mr. Fox was having the time of his life, the wind ran through his fur and the sun wrapped him in a blanket of joy. Meanwhile, Mrs. Fox held tight to her husband’s back, never more frightened in her life. She closed her eyes, praying that she wouldn’t fall off.
After a couple hours, the sun began to set. The scenery was beautiful, Mr. Fox could have never imagined something so amazing. The sand turned from yellow to a vibrant orange. As the camels took the group deeper into the desert, Mr. Fox saw something in the distance, there were silhouettes of enormous structures, and among those structures, there was a taller one, a bigger one. It was grand and majestic. The sun reflected on its shiny surface. Mr. Fox stared at it, curiosity flooded his brain.
“Mr. Camel?’’ Mr. Fox said
“Yes, Mr. Fox?’’ The camel replied, Mr. Fox slowly raised a finger, pointing in the direction of the silhouettes.
“Take me there’’