He looked out of his home and he was satisfied. The leaves lay brown on the earth, the trees were bare and the sky grey. Soon there would be winter, but he didn’t
fear him. He was old enough to know how to master the cold time and if he had problems, he could go to his children in the other parts of the caverns.
The caverns were old; Generations of his family had dug and extended the vast system of chambers, tunnels and exits. In the older parts on the other side of the
hill lived Foxes and sometimes Hares, but these tunnels were the home of him and his family. Some of his children and siblings also lived here; some of them had
children of their own at the moment, so the caverns wouldn’t be too boring this winter. He had eaten a lot in the last months; he was fat and content now. He
would go to sleep, back into the burrow; he could smell that soon snow would cover the forest. With a satisfied hum the Badger went back into his home.
It was some weeks later, he was thirsty and had to use his loo, when he smelled… it. It was a strange smell, like the mix of milk, excrements and some mysterious
pelt. It was nothing like he had ever smelled before. That meant something; he was the oldest badger in the forest! The source of the smell was inside of the
burrow, that he knew for sure! But what was it? Foxes smelled different, so did the small, tasty ground-dwellers, even the strange high-two-leggers didn’t possess
a smell like that one. Whatever it was, it was in his home and it was unknown! And everything unknown was dangerous until one would know if it was, or it was not!
He couldn’t have an enemy in his burrow during winter! Weary he got up, he would first use the loo and drink something, and then he would look after that.
When he returned, the smell was still there. He walked through his tunnels, the smell tickling in his nose all the time. Then, he heard the noise.
“Mumma wub babbehs, babbehs wub mumma! Mummah hab wots of miwkies and huggies fow babbehs! Giv huggies dat babbejs gwow big and stwong!”
Just what in the world made this unholy racket!? This really made him angry. He followed the tunnel, and then he saw it: A plump, fat creature that had a fur in
the color of the sky and another piece of fur on its head, this in the color of the sun, shortly before the night came. Just what was it? The badger could smell
that there were more of its kind; he saw two tinier versions of that creature between its legs, suckling at things that kind of looked like teats. There were
more in the den, it looked like a group and they all had those hideous colors! Their smell made the badger twitch. How did these…things came into HIS burrow?
What should he do with them? He was to sleepy to just drive them out and he didn’t want to waste his reserves to fight with one of these things. He started to
think. Most of them seemed to be asleep, only the one that emitted the disgusting noises was awake, together with her offspring. The offspring was small, like
a big mouse and it would be a nice meal in this cold time. He wouldn’t even have to hunt in the bleakness of the forest, he had a perfect meal, right in his
home! That was perfect. He decided that he would wait until the things were all asleep and then he would get his prey.
Soon the noisy creature slept too and now was his moment. With quit steps he went closer. The creatures had padded this cavern with leaves, moos and pieces
of their fur, almost like he did. Some of them had horns on their heads, others wings. How could that be? Only Birds had those! He had never seen one like that
before; they were brown, grey, green and dull colors but not the color of blood or summer-leaves! These creatures were new to the forest that was clear. He got
even closer and he saw, that the bigger creature had four smaller on her back, cuddled into her back-fur. He sneaked closer, silently watching his prey.
He didn’t want to wake them, that ruckus would not be good for his sleepy head. With one fast bite he snatched one of the small ones from the back. It twitched
and tried to scream, but only a soft sigh escaped from the muzzle of the badger. The small one also crapped a lot, staining the ground with its brown liquid.
The bigger one only quivered a little in its sleep. Silently, as he came, the badger went away, a free snack in its mouth.
It actually tasted pretty good, a little bit too sweet for his taste, but it was funny to chew. It was an easy catch and he knew that there were more.
It looked like this winter was going to be a very cozy one.
The herd had found the perfect home for this cold-time. They didn’t had to dig a den of their own and the Smarty had declared it his land. They had made a big
piles of nummies, filling several chambers, and they even had enough to have foals! The Smarty wanted his herd to be the first big one the next warm-time
so now the den was filled with cute babbehs, from newborns, to almost adult ones. The herd was very happy and the den was always filled with laughter,
babbling and life. They formed very good fluff-piles at night and played, hugged and eat at day. Well, they didn’t know if it was day or not, but when the
Smarty said it was day, it was. The only thing that was not good, was the darkness. There were several tunnels leading down into and abyss and the fluffies
were scared at first, but then the Smarty had told them that they should just never go in there and everything was going to be fine. Soon they forgot about
the tunnels and played happily in their den. Everything was wonderful, but then came that one morning.
“Babbehs, wake up! Is time fow miwkies!”
The mare called for her foals, happily giggling as they came crawling, chirping for milkies. But where was bestes babbeh? Ah, he was surely behind that rock!
He wasn’t. Where was bestes babbeh?
“Smarty!” the mare yelled into the half-dark chamber.
“Yus special fwiend?”
“Bestes babbeh am gone!”
“Wha?! Bestet babbeh am gone! Oh nu! Whewe ame smawties wittwe babbeh!? Hewd! Seawch fow bestest babbeh!”
Soon the entire herd walked around, searching for the lost babbeh. They searched everywhere where they could, but not in the darkness of the tunnels.
“Yes toughie? Yu find bestes babbeh?”, the Smarty asked, greedy for news of his favorite offspring.
“Nu… am sowwy. Toughie make thinkies…Wha am in da dawkies in dat way?”
“Smawty nu know…Pwopaby mowe dawkies.”
“Wha…Wha if dewe is munstah in dawkies dat take bestest babbeh of smawty!?”
“…Dat am vewy scawy…Smawty nu hope…Evewyfwuffy! Nu make seawchies fow bestes babbeh anymowe! If babbeh wouwd be hewe, hewd wouwd have found. Bestest Babbeh
am…Bestes babbeh am gone…Huhuuuuuuuu…”
The Smarty cried a few tears before he got back up.
“Fwuffies haft u make suwe dat nu mow babbehs gu missing! Evewy mummah wet babbeh sweep on backsies duwing dawk-time and theiw speciaw-fwiend have tu pwotect dem!
After a few days of resting, the badger awoke again. Not because he felt like it, but because he had become hungry again. He felt happiness deep inside him when
he thought about the sweet tenderness of the strange creature from a few days ago. He had to eat another one.
Slowly he trotted trough the darkness, following his instinct. There they were, not sleeping this time. He slowly around the corner of a tunnel and watched them.
He wondered more, what kind of creatures they were. The small ones were running around in circles, making noises that reminded him of mice when he brought his
teeth down on them. He didn’t understand them. Maybe…Maybe they were playing…? No, that was nonsense. Playing was jokingly fighting with your siblings and
climbing tree trunks, digging through moss and chasing your siblings around the play-tree in the forest. But they were just running in circles, touching each
other with their fat little legs and then just ran around in circles again! A lot of them were touching each other strangely with their fat legs. They sat on
their buttocks and laid their front-legs around the other. That was unnaturally. That was…disgusting! The badger waited patiently. Then, one of the big ones,
made strange noises towards the others. They responded and then the big one waddled towards him. The badger jumped back, hoping that he wasn’t discovered.
The creature walked halfway into the tunnel and then…Uargh! He emptied his bowels! Right in a tunnel! What kind of madness was this! You didn’t relieve yourself
in the tunnels! You did that outside! The badger made angry, snickering noises. The creature stopped and turned itself to the darkness.
“Hewoo? Anfwuffy dewe?”
Green looked in the blackness of the tunnel. He had just heard a strange noise coming from there. Now he was in a dilemma. For one, he was curious what was there
but he was also very scared by this. Again, the strange sound arose. But what if…that was the bestest babbeh of the Smarty that went missing a few
“Siwwyy Gween! Of couwse it is da bestest babbeh of Smawty! Babbeh make stwange noisies becaue babbeh am scawed.”
He stepped in the darkness.
“Hewoo babbeh, Gween am coming! Nu be scawed! Wiww bwing yu back tu youw mummah and daddeh!”
But when Green went around the corner, there wasn’t a babbeh. There was a monster, an eldritch horror with white eyes, glaring at him.
The Smarty was terrified when he heard the gruesome scream of a Fluffy. He jumped around, glaring at the startled herd. He looked around and froze in fear when
he saw that Green, his own brother was missing.
“Whewe am Gween? Whewe am mu bwudda?!”
A mare approached him, covering before him. One could see the fear that had befallen her.
“Gween made poopies neaw da one dawkie-pwace…”
The Smarty stormed to that place. He had already lost his bestest babbeh, he wouldn’t lose his brother too. But when he came to that dark place all he could
smell was poopies. He slowly ventured on, walking down through the throat of the abyss. Then, there was another smell. He knew that far too well. Boo-Boo-juice.
The Smarty had made a new rule. If a member of the herd had to make poopies, they had to do it outside. All were forbidden to wander into the tunnel.
Every Fluffy had to be together with another Fluffy all the time. This wasn’t that hard for them, they were already making a fluffpile all the time due
to the coldness coming through the hole from the outside. The young mare knew all these rules. She followed them, fearing that disobedience could lead
to gruesome death.
She did everything right. She told the other Fluffies that she had to go make poopies and took her brother with her. They were baffled by the dark-blue sky
with all the pretty lights on it. The dark-time-bright-ball tainted everything in its clear light. Small clouds of frozen breath rose up from their muzzles.
They made good poopies in the cold white that was covering everything. But then, she had an immense thirst. He brother had the same desire and they ventured
to the little stream that was flowing tough the snowy forest. They drank greedily. She stopped, hearing a sound. When she looked up, she saw the most beautiful
thing she had ever seen. It was flying towards her, white as milkies and glowing in the light of the dark-time-bright-ball. It had its legs spread, preparing
to give her huggies. She sat on her rear and reached towards it. A few drops of blood and a few tatters of Fluff were all that were left when the snow-owl
carried her away. He brother was horrified, he wanted to scream and ran away. He had, unfortunately for him, taken a few steps back too far and fell in the
icy water of the stream. His lungs were quickly filled by the cold water and his frozen body was being washed away.
The Smarty was laying in the cavern, lonely as he was never before. His bestest babbeh had been first. Then his brother. One day his special friend and the
rest of his babbehs. The entire herd had disappeared. Many were just gone after the night. Some couldn’t withstand the constant fear of the horror in the
darkness and ran in its throat, willing to end their suffering. Others went outside. A few were found, stiff and hard as a rock, covered by the cold white.
This went on for a long time. Now, the cold white was melting and he could hear the birdies sing pretty songs. He could smell the flowers and he could feel
the warm air flowing into the cavern. But nothing of that was in there. Only coldness, darkness and the despair of the Smarty. He rose slowly up and took a
step forward. He had become weak; the constant state of fear had eaten away his energy like a parasite. As he looked trough the hole, he could see a lush of
green in the forest. He could try again. He could find other Fluffies, start another herd. He had mostly been a good Smarty, hadn’t he?
The badger was little bit sad. Sure, the creatures had been an annoyance mostly, but they had been so tasty! He had just eaten the last one; it had tried to
crawl out of the caverns. It had been mostly bones and skin, but still: Very tasty. The badger sniffed in the air. Ahhh…spring.