Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The Accidental Taxidermist Part Three
The branding line reached its end. I counted thirty-seven raccoons. Each one had singed a mark on my left torso. I was now a tapestry of blister calligraphy. As I felt the juices of my body well under the charred skin bubbles, I began crying silently.
What grievous torture would I endure next? By what process would these awful creatures render my bones apart? Perhaps another rock would fall, and my end would be unconscious dismemberment. Perhaps they would eat me alive, teasing my intestines out like tree roots. Maybe they would tear my extremities and vulnerabilities from me first: eyes, penis, ears, tongue.
Slow death was imminent. My scrotum contracted. My fingers trembled. My throat dried. I could think only of sharp little teeth. Hundreds of them, scraping away my skin in matchstick strips.
Their talkative chief barked and several coons circled my head, out of vision. I felt paws in my hair. Teeth on my scalp. They began tugging. My hair came out in tangled clumps. My scalp was nibbled raw. My head was soon a ruptured mess, a skinless fruit lying in a puddle.
I could no longer hold my voice. I began to scream, cursing giving way to begging. The bloodthirsty beasts bean to cheer and laugh in yippy bursts.
Unbeknowst to the rabid devouring scavengers, their twittering cacophony masked the agile hopping approach of another mammalian army. Into the chamber bounced a single squirrel, a scout delivering a message. To the dirt it dropped a skinless chunk of ginger root, a gauntlet thrown, a declaration of war.
The raccoons screeched. They abondoned my desecrated body and made to charge for the lone squirrel standing in the entrance. Before they could attack, hundreds of squirrels poured in behind him, launching and leaping at the aggravated raccoons with gleeful hatred.
Raccoons swiped at squirrels, biting their tails, beating their heads. Squirrels wrapped themselves around coon heads, blinding them while others sunk their acorn sharpened buck teeth into exposed paws. Animals from both groups fell into the firepit, sending keening cries to the echoing walls. Blood and fur struggled throughout the room. The primal battle was a clash of size versus numbers, raccoons versus squirrels.
The squirrels were intelligent, too. Recognizing a potential ally, several set to work gnawing the twine that held me tight to the earth. As more and more lines snapped, I added my effort. Soon I was free. And I was angry.
I rose to my feet and set myself to violence. I kicked at surprised raccoons, sending them head first into the walls. I grabbed them by their mangy collars and held their faces to the fire, igniting the dark rings of fur circling their evil eyes. I bashed them with rocks, breaking them open, spilling their brains and guts. I wrenched their jaws apart, ripping their dirty mouths open forever.
When I saw the leader of the raccoons batting away squirrels with dismissive ease, I lunged for him. I grabbed him by the neck scruff and howled at him. I think his eyes glowed with shock and fear. I might have imagined that, but I doubt it.
He chewed into my hand, but I would not let him free. I wanted his death. I wanted his life. I slammed him to the rocks, snapping his weak little mammal spine. I sunk my teeth into his brown furry belly, and clenching my jaws with all my might, I tore. He emitted a choked crying bark. The song of his agony summoned raccoons from all about the room. They shot towards me, desperate to protect their fallen commander. As they nipped at my blisters and clawed at my pulpy scalp, I reached in once again with my mouth. Again and again I seized his guts with my teeth and pulled them out, spitting them by the mouthful into the fire. Tangled ropes of intestine and unidentifiable clusters of organs crackled and fried on the fire.
I had broken the will of the ambush raccoons. The squirrel rout was on. The coon horde fled their burrows as pissed off gangs of battle squirrels chased them up through holes in the ground and out into the fields. One last squirrel stopped before wagging his tail in thanks, and off he went. I was alone. And hungry.
I ate most of the cheif coon. He had a lot of good meat inside him, and although it was a bit gamey, slivers of the ginger gauntlet accentuated the wild taste quite nicely. I was careful not to damage the outside of the corpse. I wanted to keep him.12:01 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
Before leaving, I used the fire to ignite the intricate jungle gym of branches the raccoons had used to scoot about their hideout. Even if the dirt wouldn't burn, I could at least destroy their construction efforts and leave the smell of smoke to mingle with the decay of spilled blood. I tore down the shrine of human bones and skulls and scattered them across the floor.
As the little fires burned throughout the den, I made my departure. It took me a while to find a good place to crawl up and out of the ground, but I did. I laid in the grass under the moonlight next to my big dead raccoon skin for a while. I was thrilled to be alive, mangled or not.
After a while, I got up and went home. I had a long day to look forward to the next day. I needed to go shopping for a taxidermist and a toupee.
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The Accidental Taxidermist Part One
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