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March 2021 Contest Winner: A Fox Hunter's Name

That morning, another fox corpse appeared hanging from the gate.


Judah Fa shuddered as he pushed his electric motorbike through. He didn’t like the air around here. It felt too... thick. Sickly and sweet at the same time.


“I saw your doppelganger again today,” the old man who sat by the gate called.


“Oh, yeah?” Judah stopped his steps. “Where is he? I want to go teach him a lesson.”


“Oh, he was eating noodles down the street. You sound angry.” The old man spat on the

ground near his feet.


“Well, of course I am! That jerk stole my bike and tried to pass himself as me at my job! I

only just managed to get this back! I’m lucky I wasn’t fired at the rate he does things.”


“Heh.” The old man grinned. “The things doppelgangers will do. What was your name

again?”


“Fa Judah.”


“Fa You-da?” The old man shook his head. “It’s so hard to say...why must you go by this

Western name? Surely it isn’t the one your parents gave you.”


“For protection, of course.” Judah kept pushing his bike forwards. “Seeing a doppelganger is already bad enough luck. I don’t need anymore.”


“Oh, speaking of protection...” The old man pulled out something from his pocket and

handed it to him. “Here. An amulet. Keep it on you; there’s been more fox sightings lately.”


“Fox sightings?” Judah took the amulet in his hand and looked it over; it was made of

porcelain or china or some sort of cold stone material, and it was shaped like a dog. Foxes hated dogs, he knew.

The old man gestured at the gruesome sight hanging from the gate. “Keep it with you,” he

said. “I have a feeling you’ll need it.”


“Thank you.” Judah put the amulet into his pocket and continued pushing his motorbike

down the street.


This area of the city was quite strange. It mostly consisted of old architecture transformed into modern buildings. Seeing the old slanted roofs next to the neon signs seemed fitting, however. Small businesses thrived. Tourists loved to take photos for their social media during day trips. To enter into this section of town, you came in through the gate at one end. Outside there was a section of wilderness: tall reeds and forest and the like.


Judah Fa had come here a few years ago for university. He’d found a part-time job as an

express delivery worker. Sure, sometimes he turned in his homework late, but they paid him enough for him to eat.


Judah thought again of what would have happened if he had actually gotten fired because of his doppelganger, and was once again filled with rage that burst out when he saw him sitting outside at a table eating noodles.


“You!” he cried. “There you are, you jerk! What do you think you were doing, stealing my

bike?”


His doppelganger jumped up, almost spilling the noodles on himself. He truly looked like

Judah Fa; the same black hair, except long, and the same eyes, nose, face... He looked in every

aspect like Judah, except that he was wearing light blue traditional robes.


“Where do you think you’re going?” Judah ditched his bike against a pole and ran after him. “Come back and look what you’ve done to my bike! You’re going to be paying for the expenses, you know that, right? Hey, get back here!”


His doppelganger, somehow, had darted onto one of the low slanting roofs. He squatted

down to look at Judah.