This piece started with a casual conversation with a loquacious ex-military colleague who waxed about the ability to hunt for foxes on certain golf courses in certain states at night. He’s a hunter and relishes any exotic opportunity to do so. From there, the idea grew into a larger notion of wildness, ambition, habitat destruction and the free market dreams of “fixing the environment.” The rest just happens along the way.
These are my official Progress Notes as outlined in the continuity protocols. I have taken care to capture as many of the specifics as seemed germane for the project as a whole. While I have not yet been able to corroborate this account with a witness, and it may not be possible to do so, I have made every effort to maintain a high standard of accuracy. There is video footage available as well. If I have erred in this account, it will have been to add a measure of personal observation which seemed instructive to a full understanding of the project as it stands today. Please share the red-lined version of this with me before filing.
* * *
The Transformation Engineer had walked off the job. No one knew where he went but they knew he wasn’t there anymore. Within an hour, the company decided to fly me out to take over his post. It’s an opportunity, a plum of a project, a chance to take that next step, the Regional District Manager explained it to me over the phone. The RDM had been with the company from the start, and he was the best we had. I knew that he wanted me to succeed with the company. With one additional uniform that was clean, I left the next afternoon with enough underwear and socks to last five days.
The small plane bounced once and then landed just after ten PM onto a dark, sweaty little airstrip. It was nearing the end of May and the summer heat was creeping up. Even at night, the air pressed up against you. There was no terminal to speak of, just a sagging, run-down bungalow that was locked. Directly above the crooked structure, the light from a yellow lamp was diminished by a swarm of creatures of various sizes and shapes, their wings buzzing like tiny engines. Some vague distance beyond the light was a wall of living darkness. The rising chorus of insects from the black stand of trees was almost overwhelming. Something thick and hairy grazed my forehead and spun away like it was delirious, or perhaps dazed from the single electric light.
I was the only passenger on the puddle jumper, and the RDM had prearranged for a ride to the hotel. I was to be picked up by the site security guard, Warren Wingate. The lone airplane whined in the darkness, lifted off and it’s two red wingtip lights disappeared behind the black tree line. After Warren woke up, he drove me to the Super 8 Motel in Fox Hills. The cab smelled like fresh cigar smoke, and I experienced a sudden memory of driving to the zoo with my grandfather in his black Lincoln Continental. He smoked two cigars every day, one before breakfast and one after dinner.
The town was 20 miles from the airport. Warren explained that there was only one taxi service in the area so I made sure to get a business card. It was his card. He informed me that the taxi business was his other business. After a wordless ride on lightless winding roads, a green sign said Welcome to Fox Hills and reported the size of the one-street town as Pop 1,281. My home town was almost exactly 10,000 times larger than Fox Hills. When we pulled up, a tall woman with graying brown hair stepped outside and walked up to the driver’s window to have a private chat with Warren. They clearly knew each other well.
The Super 8 had a total of six rooms that were in working order, and five of them were empty. The woman was the hotel manager and she revealed a toothy smile as I took room number seven. I didn’t really know for certain why they picked me for this job but the TE had bailed. His three-word note said, “Find someone else.” That someone was now me and I needed to get out here and get things back on track.
I couldn’t really complain all that much. It was good to get away from the office building and get into the field. I was relieved to be doing something other than tracking and charting expense reports and trends therein. Besides, I was fairly sure that no one looked at them. And if I could get the project back on track, then that would lead to bigger things. Outside room number seven, the bugs roared as if something large and urgent was coming their way. I went to bed early, and even though the mattress was lumpy and smelled like moldy cheese and cigarettes, I closed my eyes and was gone.
In the morning I called Warren using the number that was on his business card. The taxi company was called Red Fox Taxi and it had a picture of a red fox on it. The fox looked back over its shoulder as if it were being chased by a pack of dogs. When the car arrived, all the windows were down and the smell of cigars had been blown around and mixed up with cool morning air. He took me straight to the field trailer without speaking a word.
When we got to the site, Warren parked and went back and opened the trunk of the taxi. He changed shirts and put on black work boots.
“My other job,” he said. “I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Small town stuff. You have to fill in the cracks in a town like this.”
“Are you also the sheriff?” I asked. He grinned. I guess I thought it was funnier than he did. I had read Warren’s personnel summary at the Wendy’s over breakfast. Warren was a retired elementary school administrator and had served in the army reserves. He had passed the drug test and the personality test. A thick multi-colored mustache grew beneath his crooked nose and his cheeks were shaved smooth. He had a tendency to lean back on his heels with both hands on his hips. When he looked at you, he squinted as if the glare was too bright.
“I try to stay away from legal matters,” he smiled as if someone had just whispered a joke in his ear that wasn’t quite funny enough to get a laugh. “Would you like some coffee?” he asked.
“That would be terrific,” I said. He smiled again and walked away, his boots crunching on the gravel. He got into the truck and drove off. On the tail of the truck was the company logo, a shining image of a green diamond.
The trailer was cool inside from the AC blowing in a window, and I quickly found the project files left behind by my predecessor. They were arranged by last modified date in a metal box under the metal desk. In one of the files was the list of Transformation Initiatives that he had been running. This was where I had to start.
Luckily for me, he had been following the standard communication protocol for project management and file management. The company prided itself on consistent, effective, efficient communication systems. At that moment, I was happy for it. The forms made it easy for me to pick up where he left off.
When I located the Transformation Schedule, I discovered that there was an extermination expert flying in from Virginia that morning. It wasn’t clear what he was there to do, so I was hoping he would be able to tell me when he arrived. I checked to make sure that all the other projects were in order and discovered quickly that almost nothing had actually been done on any one of them. That included electrical work, plumbing, road work and rebuilding the grounds keeping crew. At some point the whole thing had ground to a halt, maybe two or three weeks prior to his departure. I noticed it first when the expense reports stopped coming in.
In the box was a copy of the company business plan. I have read it cover-to-cover several times. There is a keynote video available to the public of our CEO lighting up a room when he spoke about the greater mission of the business. It remains a bold, new vision for rural economic revival. Small towns are dying. Remote communities require injections of revenue and a sense of purpose. Service to others is a driving theme. To date the company has raised 250 million dollars from private equity and has been able to secure matching public monies to fund a vision for a new kind of resort getaway. You could turn an entire state into one glorious putting green with that much money.
The first phase of the plan was to purchase small, underperforming golf courses. These were what the plan called Mom & Pop facilities. Then the next phase was to transform the MAPs into luxury properties, and provide bespoke getaway vacations to high wealth individuals from places like Chicago, Boston, New York and DC.
In the second phase, the company would create new recreation facilities from the ground up. There would be year-round youth programs such as golf camps and remote schooling. Recruiting would source local colleges and universities for fresh talent and energy. This was the path to revitalization and elevating the rural middle classes. Fox Hills had just such a golf course, and we had been able to acquire it for a song. It was only a nine-hole course, but that’s where the TE and the TS come in. Each rural course has a tailor made Transformation Schedule with local sponsors, architectural plans, community-based messaging platforms, the whole nine yards. The USGA had put their name behind it. This was the real deal.
Warren came back with a cup of coffee from the Wendy’s. He drove me out to the airport to meet with the extermination specialist.
“Who are you now?” I asked him.
“Sir?” he asked.
“Are you the taxi driver or site security?” I asked.
“You’re in the front seat,” he said. He grinned.
On the way to the airstrip Warren continued to make small, private laughing noises and I finally asked him what was so funny.
“Funny?” he asked. “Not sure what you mean.”
“Something seems to strike you as humorous,” I said.
“Oh that,” he said after a pause. “It’s just an old habit. I trained myself a long time ago. You get to a certain age and it’s hard to change.”
He didn’t say anything more than that. I let it go. I noticed for the first time that Warren was armed. He carried a pistol on his right hip.
“That thing loaded?” I asked looking down at the weapon.
“Wouldn’t be much use otherwise,” he said and then seemed to find that funny too.
As we arrived at the airport, a plane appeared just above the tree line. It may very well have been the same plane that dropped me off the night before. As it banked around to line up its nose with the short runway, I stepped out of the truck and looked around at the airstrip. I hadn’t been able to see it in the darkness the night before. The landing strip was placed within a narrow rectangle of dense green trees that had been cut back and shaped for the purpose. There was one, narrow gravel road that cut through the trees, the only way in and out that wasn’t in the air. The trees were so thick that you wouldn’t be able to get more than a few feet without some serious equipment to cut back the vines. On one end of the rectangle, Kudzu vines had completely swallowed a copse of trees to form a closed green wall.
The plane landed, turned around and came back toward the road. The door opened and out jumped a black haired man wearing jeans and a t-shirt and carrying two black duffel bags. He strode over to the truck as if he owned the entire county. He seemed like someone who had jumped out of small airplanes in small airports many times before. As he approached, he smiled broadly and everything felt right with the world. Behind me, Warren made a sound that sounded like a giggle.
“Hello there!,” he positively boomed as he walked up.
“Hello there yourself,” I returned. I could feel myself standing straighter and bigger. It was impossible to resist his energy.
“My name’s Taylor Goodwin.” I introduced myself and Warren, who nodded with a grin that made his cheeks wrinkle.
“Where’s Evan?” I asked. That was the name of the contractor on the TS.
“Couldn’t make it. You are stuck with me,” he said. As he had walked over from the plane, he looked large and formidable, but now that he was standing in front of me, I could see that he was about five-foot-six in his combat boots. He smiled as easily as he breathed, and his white teeth were straight. His short, black hair was parted on the side and held in place with a modest helping of semi-gloss gel.
“You’re with the same outfit I assume,” I said. He put his bags down and fished out a bent, warm business card from his wallet. The company was called Granite Rock Controls, and in smaller letters the tagline was Specialty Pest Control Services. He stood there with his hands on his hips and looked around at the airstrip. “This is one fine shithole of an airport,” he said jovially. The way he said it suggested that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He reveled in shitholes from what I could see.
“That all you got?” I asked.
He looked down at his two bags, smiled and said, “Yessir. Those and these,” and he held up his two hands as if he might pick up a small child. “If there’s anything else I need, I’m sure I can find it. This is the USA man. The NRA is more popular than the Boy Scouts.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but I sensed that Taylor was the kind of guy who said whatever popped into his head, and he had learned over time that it had amused both himself and others so he kept doing it.
As Warren drove us back to the trailer, I explained the situation by reading the project status report from the RDM. “The property has been overrun with foxes. The population is so high, in fact, that we cannot proceed with the development of the site until the situation is corrected. This species, also known by its Latin name Vulpes vulpes, has demonstrated unprecedented reproductive success in the last decade, especially in rural areas. There are theories as to why, but that’s neither here nor there. We are prohibited by law from hunting for fox in this state for personal or commercial reasons. Foxes are protected by law and the company has strict rules for following local regulations on a property by property basis. There is, however, an exception in the state for hunting foxes on golf courses during non-operational hours. Since golf sites are usually open from dawn until sunset, this form of control is usually performed at night. Because the property backs up against an area of open territory, the foxes will move freely back and forth from the property to the wilderness. Etc. etc. etc.”
Taylor was gazing out the windows and smiling.
“I could go on but I think that just about covers the situation. Does this fit with your understanding?” I asked.
“It does indeed. It’s even better than I’d hoped. A night hunt. There’s nothing I love more than hunting at night.”
On the way back to the trailer, we stopped at Wendy’s for Spicy Chicken Sandwiches for lunch, which seemed like the safest thing on the menu to consume. There are no other public eateries in Fox Hills.
While Taylor set himself up in the tool shed, I got caught up on the rest of the items in the TS. I put calls into the electrician, the architect, the engineer and the transportation firms. I wasn’t able to get ahold of anyone, but I left messages for them all. As I reviewed and organized the papers from the file box, I got call backs from the architect and the electrician. The electrician confirmed that there was no point in coming out until there was an approved plan, and the engineer pointed out that there was no point in coming out until there was an approved design. Since there were only five standard architectural plans to choose from, I was now waiting to hear from the architect. The five plans were called English Cottage, Spanish Coast, Navaho Hills, Costa Playa, and Wine Country.
While I waited, I did some research on the red fox. Several facts jumped out at me, such as the fact that the fox had learned to thrive on the fringes of human civilization. In some more remote locations, the fox had been classified as one of the world’s worst invasive species. Much like humans, they will eat just about anything. Furthermore, it seems that the fox has been multiplying at increasing rates, especially in areas where there are few predators. Finally, and most strangely, it seems as if the fox tends to operate in small groups based on family. If there was an infestation of foxes here, why were they all here at the same time? What was happening?
It was still hot outside but I decided to walk around for a bit. Taylor was still busy in the shed and Warren was gone off somewhere. I walked from the first hole to the third hole and then crossed over to the seventh and made my way back to the ninth. It was well into the afternoon, and while the bugs were raucous, there was not much else to notice. The fairways and the greens were in disrepair, which was to be expected. The previous owners had run out of money at least a year before selling and the place went downhill. When we made our first offer, the owner accepted that day. There were small trees sprouting up in the middle of the fairways. The bushes were creeping out into the rough. The greens were a mess, and there were no sand traps that I could find.
I wasn’t much of a golfer but I knew enough about the game. Plus, the company provided each new employee with a manual that explained everything there was to know about the technical aspects of golf courses. They couldn’t have their representatives running around out there ignorant of the basics. I scored a 100 on the compulsory test we all took after the first week of training.
Most of all, the place was quiet. An abandoned golf course is like a stage with no actors, and so the story takes on a different shape. There was a bench in the shade at the beginning of the ninth hole and I sat down, sweat pouring down my neck and back. There was the occasional twitter from a blue bird, and there were wood peckers banging out their hollow knocks throughout the property. Aside from a few day camps as a young kid, I had spent the entirety of my life in the city. I was at peace with the human sounds of trucks, dozers, blowers, horns, sirens. Here there were none of those sounds. The grass and the trees thirsted on the open space. They drank up the course and claimed it. Green vines like wild power cables climbed up into branches and reached out for something else to take hold of. It was like a time machine where I was moving from place to place at breakneck speed and everything else, every single living thing, was moving in all directions at a different but unstoppable pace.
After some time passed, I got up and headed back to the trailer. The sun had fallen below the trees but it was still hot out. Taylor had finished his preparation and was waiting for me outside the trailer.
“We need to walk the grounds,” he said.
“I just did that,” I replied. “All quiet on the Western front.”
“I am going to set up some observation equipment along the outer perimeter of the course. It will be easier if you do it with me. And faster,” he smiled.
I looked at the backpack at his feet.
“Motion activated cameras with night vision,” he said. “We will be able to capture what happens throughout the night. These things turn on when the sensors detect motion within 100 feet. I’ve looked at the layout. We will cover holes four through seven, the ones that back up against the undeveloped areas. In the morning, we can collect the cameras and see what there is to see.”
“Works for me,” I said. I grabbed two water bottles from the fridge in the camper and then we set off toward the first hole.
“You know this place is probably called Fox Hills for a reason,” he commented.
“Yeah – kinda hard to miss that one.”
Taylor seemed to have only one gear when it came to walking. It was more like a forced march than a walk. But I was almost six inches taller than he was so it wasn’t all that difficult to keep up with him. But by the time we got to the fourth hole, I was missing the air-conditioned trailer. I drank my bottle of water in one long swallow. Taylor stuck his hand in his back pocket. His body was relaxed, as if he owned the place.
He set up a camera on a small black tripod at the edge of the green facing into the fairway. To the left, dense trees barked and breathed. Holes four through seven followed one after the other in a slow arcing right curve in order to return back and finish at hole one. In the middle of the curved section was a dried-up pond surrounded by clusters of outgrown bushes and vines. The nine-hole course was the shape of an upside-down drop of water. The first three holes were mostly cleared of growth on the left side, but at hole four, the undeveloped land edged up against the tee box. The tops of the trees leaned forward and into the fairways in their reach for the sun.
Taylor and I proceeded to cover the four holes with cameras around the outer edge of the course, two cameras for each hole. One pointed toward the green and the other pointed back from the green. He was dialed in and utterly focused on his task. We didn’t talk other than to estimate distances. I pointed out how stones marked the 150 yard distance from the center of the green.
It was clear as we walked the course together that we saw two radically different places. I saw a two-year project to transform this run-down Mom & Pop into a bright, clean and vibrant place. I saw bright young kids learning to drive balls straight and long into the middle of the fairway. I saw an opening. Taylor saw it as a stakeout and a chance to hunt freely with orchestrated abandon. He saw it as the front line in an outpost skirmish. Without Taylor, my project was stalled. Without me, Taylor would have to get in line and follow hunting restrictions that limited his kills.
When we got back to the trailer, it was growing dark. Warren had set up a table and folding chairs outside the trailer with homemade fried chicken, boiled green beans, black-eyed peas, watermelon and a twelve-pack of Coors Light. The three of us ate and drank from paper plates and plastic cups, mostly in silence, until dark. The bug zapper popped regularly, and the scent of the citronella candles added a peculiar taste to the food.
“There’s not much we can do tonight,” said Taylor. “We’ll know in the morning what we’re dealing with.”
“What if they don’t come out tonight?” I asked. Warren eyed us and seemed to giggle silently with his long, gray eyebrows.
“If they’re here, if this is their terrain, then they will come out. It’s not like they take the night off from time to time. They are hunters and they come out to hunt. That’s how they survive. That’s how wild predators survive. They hunt and kill and eat what they kill.”
I felt like an idiot from the city at that point and decided it was best to say nothing after that. Warren drove us back to the Super 8 and we went to our rooms. Room seven was starting to feel like my home away from home, with its one overstuffed green chair by the door and the painting above the bed of a large buck standing in an open field, it’s huge, glassy eyes surveying the room as if it were looking in through a window. Warren was coming by to pick us up at 5 AM. Not long after I got into bed, there was a rain storm with some thunder and lightning. It lasted only about 30 minutes and then it was gone. Then the sound of the insects replaced the sound of rainfall. It grew louder and louder until it seemed like a wall of bugs was approaching the motel in unison.
There was banging on the door and I jumped. It was Taylor and he was ready to go. I wiped my face with cold water and opened the door. “Let’s go City Boy.” He seemed like he had already run five miles and was lathered up. Wearing fatigue pants and black boots, he was a happy man. Warren was in the lot and the car was running.
We collected the cameras as the sky grew brighter and brighter, and we headed back to the trailer. While Taylor assembled his gear, I prepared two cups of instant coffee. Within 15 minutes, we were watching footage on Taylor’s computer of the first hole in a split screen with each camera playing on its own side. Since the playback was accelerated and the cameras were motion activated, we were able to go through each hole in a matter of 20 minutes or so. After we had watched them all, we sat back and looked at each other. The trailer went silent.
“Well,” Taylor said. “It looks as though we will have plenty to do tonight.”
“No kidding,” was all I could say. What we had seen on each hole was hard to believe, except it was there on the screen. On every one of holes that was filmed, we saw small groups of foxes crossing the fairways at an easy trot. But it wasn’t just one or two groups. It was six or seven groups for every hole. The place was crawling with them. And because the film was sped up, the animals seemed to have an unnatural kind of determination. It was impossible to tell if they were some of the same groups, but since they all came from the same direction, which was the undeveloped area that bordered the course, it appeared as if each group was different. And even more importantly, they started coming onto the course long before the darkness had fully set. If this had been an active facility, golfers would have been playing all the way up to the final daylight. Was this some kind of regional freeway for foxes? Where did they all come from and where were they going? I wanted to ask Taylor these questions but decided to keep my mouth shut.
Taylor, meanwhile, had developed a sort of a calm, thirsty look in his eye, and it made me think of the look of the buck in the painting in my room. His usual upbeat, jovial demeanor hardened into a fixed and determined gaze.
“I have some work to do. I’ll see you later,” he said.
He spent the rest of the day preparing and setting traps throughout the course. He erected a tree stand and ladder at the outer edge of the sixth hole using the tools and supplies from the shed, and he stashed hundreds of rounds of ammunition in boxes on the platform. I marveled at what he could do with his hands with no help from me or from Warren. The tone of the project had turned toward intense focus. From time to time throughout the day, Warren walked the course to watch Taylor set up. Warren had lost his demeanor of silly, private humor. He was openly curious now, almost serious.
“How many do you think he’ll get?” Warren asked me in a moment of unguarded comradery. We were standing out front of the trailer and Warren was looking out to the course. You could hear Taylor’s hammering in the distance.
“All of them,” I said. I didn’t know where that belief came from, but Taylor’s confidence in himself had bled into my confidence in him, in his skill and determination.
Warren sat down next to me. We were at the picnic table next to the trailer.
“Do you know the other guy, the guy before you?”
“No,” I said.
“Do you know why he quit?” Warren had come out of his private amusement. His voice had changed.
“Not really,” I said. “I figured he just wasn’t up to it. It’s a lot of work, and it takes energy and organization. You have to want it.”
“You know after all this is over, there will still be fight in the world,” he said. “We can’t kill it. Not all of it. It will come back. It always comes back.”
“All what is over? This project?” I asked. I was beginning to think Warren was a crackpot, or even worse, an addict.
“All of this. This project. You. Me. All of us,” he said. “We’ve tried to kill it but we can’t kill it. We can only beat it back for a short time. We can burn it, cut it down, bury it at the bottom of the ocean. It comes back. We don’t look at the right clock. We have no comprehension of time, no knowledge of space. And You? You think in years, in months and days, in seconds. You worry about your next project, your next promotion. Have you ever tried to conceive of a million years? A hundred million years?”
“What the fuck are you talking about, Warren?”
“You know how big that wilderness is back there, how far back it goes?” he asked.
“Not really,” I said. “I’ve looked at a map. It’s pretty big.”
“It’s big but it’s not big enough,” he said. “We can push it back, we can draw a line on a map and call it a National Park, but we can’t contain it.”
“Warren, have you been drinking?”
“I don’t drink. Not anymore.”
“Well, maybe you should start again. You’re not making much sense.”
“The other guy quit after he hiked up into the wilderness. He stayed for two days. When he came back, he packed up and left.”
“So what? So what, Warren?”
“You ask me ‘so what?’ I’ll tell you. You say that Taylor will be able to kill all of them. I’m here to tell you that he is one man trying to hold back the water from a broken dam.” Warren stood up slowly, looked around the place, and left. I wrote a note to myself to send a report on Warren to the HR department.
The heat seemed to peak at about three in the afternoon. The sun was still above the tree line and the ground seemed to crackle. Warren had gone off someplace, and I worked in the trailer which had been set back under three pine trees so it was in the shade. I made follow-up phone calls to all of the service providers to confirm the agreed-upon scheduling. There were minor adjustments that had to be made to the start dates, and in every case they had to be pushed back several days. There were no material changes to the budgets, which meant that I didn’t have to reach out to HQ for approvals. As long as I stayed on top of the vendors, the company would let me run the show. It wasn’t magic. It was vigilance and persistence. My RDM said to me just before I left, “get on top of them so they don’t get on top of you.” I was following his direction to a T.
Warren came back with a bag of burgers and fries from Wendy’s, and the three of us ate at the table outside the trailer. Warren was quiet and withdrawn. There was nothing left to prepare. It was Taylor’s show now. His rifle, a menacing black piece of equipment, leaned up against a tree. He had set up his computer screen for me to watch from a remote camera that covered the sixth hole. Warren had brought a 12-pack of Coors Light and left it in a cooler. I cracked open a beer but Taylor stuck with water.
At seven o’clock, Taylor stood up and smiled. “Enjoy the show, City Boy.”
“I’ll save you a beer,” I said.
“You do that,” he said.
“How will you know what to shoot at?”
“Night vision binoculars,” he said with a grin. “I’ll be able to see them better than they will be able to see me.”
Warren had become sullen and withdrawn. His humor had evaporated. He finished his food, got in his truck and left without a word.
Taylor picked up his rifle and headed toward his tree stand. I sat back and drank a beer. I watched the computer screen and waited. Taylor climbed into his tree and seemed to disappear as the darkness grew. I had three or four beers by the time the first flash of blue light flew out of the tree stand. I didn’t hear any bang, so I assumed he was using some kind of noise suppressor. The flashes of light became more and more frequent, and I heard what sounded like cries out in the trees.
I hear cries from several directions, which must have been the traps. The camera was pointed toward the stand, so I could only see what was transpiring around his tree. The flashes went on for several minutes. There must have been 15 shots before I saw something happening behind the tree stand. The bushes behind Taylor were shaking in strange ways and I got up and started moving in Taylor’s direction. I’m not sure why I did this, but I can only attribute my reaction to some kind of instinct.
I shouted Taylor’s name and then I heard a crashing sound. A voice, Taylor’s voice, cried out once and then went brutally silent, as if the life had been ripped from his body. I stopped at the edge of the first hole and stood still and listened. The world seemed to stop breathing for a moment. Then there were barking sounds and fox cries coming from the far ends of the dark course. I turned and ran back, grabbing the computer as I jumped into the trailer.
The screen showed nothing but a cluster of dark trees. I rewound the video and watched as Taylor stood up on the small platform, turned around and the slender branches started jerking wildly up and down. Flashes of blue-green light fired down in wild succession but with no clear direction. The tree was dancing crazily and what seemed like hundreds of foxes converged on the tree from all directions. They were everywhere. It was madness. They appeared to be trying to climb the tree. Then I saw what must have been Taylor fall from the tree stand. There was no audio in the footage, and so there was only silence after that. The lights had stopped flashing. Within a few seconds, the tree stopped shaking. Then, through the open window of the trailer I heard the rising pitch of their calls, the sounds of barking and yelping and what sounded like thousands of voices wailing. I didn’t leave the trailer all night and Warren didn’t come back until the morning.
In summary, I am including here the report from the County Sheriff’s department. This details the current status as well as anything:
“Local authorities have identified the body of a man, one Taylor Goodwin, who was hired by Green Diamond Corp. to perform pest extermination services on the grounds of the Fox Hills Golf Course. Due to the injuries to Mr. Goodwin’s face, head, and neck, as well as the marks left on the ground at the scene, local officials have determined that he fell from a tree and hit a rock. His fall occurred while he was performing extermination services at night. At this time, the local park services have determined that Mr. Taylor’s death is consistent with a hunting accident. Taylor, a graduate of the Naval Academy, was part of the local team assigned to golf course restoration and renovation. He leaves behind a wife and two children.”