Chapter 6; Part 2: Darkest Just Before the Dawn (The Dark and Stormy Night reaches its climax)
The raging storm raged to a fever pitch of raging fury, raging furiously. When it could rage no more furiously, finally, in those darkest hours just before dawn, its raging fury's raging fury began to subside.
"Whaaa-ha-haaa, whoa-ho-ho-o-o-o, ya-ha-ha-he-he-ha-ha-haaaaa . . . whooo-hooo!" Old Snoozebag bellowed hysterically. Finally, he was all laughed out.
"Ooooh-ho-ho-ho, whoa-ho-ho-ho, aaah-ha-ha-ho-ho-he-he-he, whaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ho-ho-ho . . . oooh-oooh-oh!" roared Papa Muskrat, laughing himself out.
The two looked at each other, smiling deliriously. Papa Muskrat raised his glass. Just a tiny bit of single malt remained.
"To a carcass," he toasted.
Old Snoozebag raised his glass. "To the safety of your children," he toasted.
With that, they both downed what remained of their whisky.
Outside the aerie was pitch black. Not even the gusting sheets of rain that pelted the windows and swayed the limbs of the great oak were visible. The faint light cast by the covered lamp seemed to compress the entire universe into the interior of the aerie.
Drunk and pleasantly exhausted from laughing, the old vulture and the muskrat gazed silently as if into a distance that existed only inwardly, for in the dim light physical dimension seemed to fold upon itself. Chauncey, hovering in the background, refilled the tumblers.
Papa Muskrat broke the silence. "Terence, you know I'm an ornery kind of guy, so I hope you won't mind me asking something I've been wondering all evening."
"Well, Hector, considering that's the first full sentence you've uttered tonight without either cussing or back-pedalling, I suppose you've earned the right to ask whatever you see fit," the old vulture replied.
"Have you ever killed anything?" Papa Muskrat asked as delicately as he could manage.
"Yes, I have," Old Snoozebag admitted gravely, as if gazing into a great distance. "It's not easy eating the dead for a living. Sometimes, when you're circling an animal whose death is imminent and they're suffering the most horrible agonies, they beg you to put them out of their misery. At times like that, one can't help but be overwhelmed by sorrow and compassion. I've sliced the jugular vein of many a hapless creature and seen the look of gratitude in their eyes in their last few seconds of life when they realize their suffering is at an end. It certainly doesn't bring me any joy to be in the position of administering a mercy killing."
The two remained silent for a short time. Then Old Snoozebag spoke again.
"We vultures live by an unspoken code that compels us to respect life because we benefit from death. But we take no joy in suffering, and we vultures see quite enough of it." A certain world-weariness glazed the great bird's eyes. "My tastes may strike you as strangely morbid, but that's just my nature."
The two fell silently pensive for some time.
At length, Papa Muskrat spoke up. "I may swear like a sailor, but it's my nature. I'm just a muskrat, raised in a swamp. We muskrats are preyed on by a whole bunch of different critters - life is no picnic. But I can't complain," he said wistfully. He added, "And I sure do like a good single malt now and then."
"Well, Hector, I've quite enjoyed your gentlemanly company on this dark and stormy night," the old vulture said.
"Thank you, Terence. I've enjoyed your company too," said Papa Muskrat.
They fell silent, gazing drunkenly into the gloom.
Junior was pumping round after round into a family of beavers that had chanced upon the lodge, blowing them into tiny shreds of bloody meat and fur. No sooner had he reloaded the sawed-off twelve gauge than he was forced to dispatch a whole troop of marauding badgers. He scarcely had time to reload the smoking gun before he felled a mighty grizzly mere moments before its massive claws ripped into the side of his head. The surrounding landscape was incarnadined with the viscera of the hapless creatures he slaughtered in the fever pitch of his wanton killing spree.
Frank Muskrat was lying on Agnes Muskrat's bed caressing her into a delirium of ecstacy. She levelled a pair of naughty, sultry eyes at him and whispered something.
"Junior!" Frank Muskrat hollared at his son. "Shut off that damned computer and get over here!"
"Aw, Dad!?" Junior whined, "one more kill and I'll advance to the next level!"
"Dammit, Junior, your aunt Agnes wants some DP action. Now, come help your old man out and backdoor her."
"Can I shoot her?" Junior asked excitedly.
"What???" Agnes Muskrat asked in alarm.
"He means can he shoot his load up your ass?" Frank Muskrat explained.
"Oh, god yes!!" Agnes Muskrat moaned desperately.
With that, Junior rose to the occasion, and Agnes Muskrat wailed with pleasure as she fielded both well endowed muskrat men at once.
In their cozy nest in the abandoned tree, the twins were both about to score big in the wonderful game they'd discovered. It was definitely win-win.
Octavia braced herself from knocking her head against the oaken headboard of the nest as her twin brother drove his full weight against hers.
"Your brute!! You savage!!" she proclaimed in approving tones.
"You wanton, libidinous trollop," he cried, hardly understanding the words but somehow knowing they were stoking the flames of passion higher.
"Oh, kill me softly with your song!" she begged, having not the vaguest idea what the phrase meant.
"Bombs away!!!" Beauregard cried as he reached his peak of pleasure, and his twin sister wailed incoherently.
They collapsed into one another.
"I've never been loved like this before," Octavia gasped breathlessly.
"You're a woman now," Beauregard panted with manly pride.
And with that, they fell asleep locked in a sweet sticky embrace.
Stay tuned for "The Storm Surge"