STRIGI THE OWL:

Something Fell Afoot in Furrynutt Forest

For Wig. Because his silliness sustains mine.

Strigi the Barn Owl was having a slow night. He hadn’t seen a single furry snack at all since dusk. His eyes were starting to prickle from glaring into the blackness, and he was getting pins and needles in his perches. His night vision was superior to that of all the other animals in Furrynutt Forest but he had never had to wait so long for a peck to eat.

It occurred to him that something must be afoot; all the other forest animals were away. Perhaps they were enjoying a happy game of hide and seek in the fields; a peaceful midnight picnic by the pond, maybe; or possibly a methadone-induced, interspecies orgy over in the ruined cemetery.

Either way, Strigi was bored, cold and hungry so he decided to move hunting grounds. With an obligatory hoot he disembarked his habitual hunting tree and glided wearily through the dark, vacant forest.

Strigi alighted a firm branch on the outskirts of Farmer Bugger’s field. Farmer Bugger was the local organic produce farmer, Village Idiot of Wherethefuckami (twinned with the German town of Wosindfichwir) and the Conservative MP for the constituency. As you can imagine, Farmer Bugger was quite a busy man.

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Strigi scanned the stalks of corn feverishly, trying to pick out even a slight trace of movement. The night was a still and dry one and not a single ear of corn quivered. The sleepy owl decided to get a predator’s eye-view of the situation: he lifted into the air and circled the crops. However, not a jot; not a single vole picking its nose nor a single mole scratching its bum could be spotted. Normally, by this time of night he’d be far too fat to fly and would be contented to just fall asleep on his branch. With a grumble in his downy belly, the young owl sailed on through the cold night air towards the pond. Surely the fuzzy forest folk must be feasting by the water’s edge?

It was not to be. Strigi sailed straight over the dark expanse of murky, condom-infested waters, with not a squeak to be heard from anyone. Not a single earwax candle flickered in the light breeze and not one ladybird sandwich crust was there to be scavenged.

The peckish owl concluded that all the forest dwellers simply had to be having a drug-fuelled sex rampage in the forgotten cemetery. He hooted his distaste and headed off back through the forest.

What greeted the young owl’s 360-degree, binocular night vision when he neared the cemetery was most shocking, to say the least. The animals of Furrynutt Forest were indeed having a sadistic and deranged narcotic romp. Strigi did a double take at a mole squeezed into a gimp suit. He balked at a badger with a red ball lodged in its maw and squirmed at a squirrel sporting nipple clamps. He heaved at a hedgehog accessorising with long boots, chains and whips, and gagged at a gander gargling a gazelle’s gonads. They all pranced, fornicated, debauched and debased themselves and each other; all over the graves and headstones strewn around the overgrown heath of land was a writhing mass of ecstatic, frenzied fur and feathers.

Filthy, used syringes lay all about, casually discarded with no concern for health and safety, the environment or the dead. If not littering the sacred ground in a hazardous, negligent manner, they remained protruding from the wretched, bulgy-eyed, frothy-mouthed animals themselves. Many had syringes still drooping from their heads, shoulders, knees and toes. Others had injected directly into their eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

Farmer Bugger lay dead, slumped over a tombstone with a massive harpoon through his back and a ladybird sandwich up his bottom. His tweed suit was blood-soaked and his straw hat in tatters amongst the foliage, but even in death he still maintained a stalk of corn protruding from his mouth (widely considered a badge of honour among the Guild of Village Idiots). The bloody and lust-mad degenerates were frolicking all over him, performing all manner of depraved acts upon him, some involving flossing with his nasal hair.

As Strigi was having trouble digesting what he had stumbled upon, what with all the revelry and necrophilia going on, it took him a while to notice the oddest thing about the whole scene; however eventually his focus was drawn toward the centre of the cemetery and what appeared to be a medieval contraption of war. A great big spear-shooting machine! Somehow these blood fiends must have lured the farmer here and shot him with it. How they came by or made this machine of war only god knows.

It then occurred to Strigi that maybe the deranged downy degenerates had only tested the machine on the hapless village cretin. Perhaps the true target was their greatest predator: Strigi himself! Just as the thought rooted in his brain, one of the more lithesome field mice, wearing ripped fishnets and covered in dried candle wax, stopped its perverse frolicking in the luckless MP’s ear and pointed up to Strigi’s perch, squeaking with ecstasy and jiggling up and down. The rest of the critter congregation joined in the capering for a few moments then took up position, either manning the lethal bolt thrower or fisting the organic produce farmer.

Strigi hooted in alarm and barely fluttered off his branch in time to dodge the first deadly bolt. The second lodged in the trunk of the tree. Hooting uncontrollably in panic and alarm, Strigi banked this way and that, the spear-sized missiles getting closer with each shot. The mad congregation of perverted mammals cackled fiendishly as they worked as a close, efficient team, re-loading and preparing the machine. After fifteen minutes of aerial combat the machine had only one shot remaining. Strigi, exhausted and breathless, pretty much just tumbled out of the night sky, landing at the foot of a large oak on the perimeter of the cemetery. The plucky predator, although dashed and wheezing, was still trying to hoot.

The menagerie of miscreant mammals reached a climax of revelry as they levelled their sights on the luckless bird sitting spread-owled and slumped with his back against the tree, errant feathers sailing around him. Strigi had tried his best to outdo these ne’er-do-wells, but he had failed. For one last time, the bondage badger, still with the red ball in his mouth, raised his arm, ready to give the muffled order to fire. However, before he sent his paw chopping through the air, he hesitated. He stopped and sniffed the air. The animals noticed his suddenly wary gait and also sniffed and scanned their surroundings. Within milliseconds, the cries of adulation and zeal were exorcised from the meth-addled masochists: the ground was shaking.

Strigi could barely keep his eyes open – not that he wanted to watch himself become an owl shish – but he needed to know what was going on. Perhaps if the evil congregation were distracted for long enough, he could regain enough strength to escape. Then, in a flash of brilliance, it struck him what the rumbling could be. With the last of his energy, he thrashed his wings as hard and fast as possible. Although a little undignified and a little bit wobbly, Strigi managed to put the tree between himself and the deadly contraption.

At Strigi’s sudden burst of energy, the animals returned their attention to the task in hand, ignoring the abnormal rumble and tremors, and shot their remaining bolt in haste. This was their first mistake. Their last spear struck the tree and protruded halfway out the other side, the pointy end missing Strigi’s breast by a mere mouse’s pube.

The filthy animals should not have let themselves be distracted; Strigi’s interference had done its job. An array of high-powered headlights sprang to life, illuminating the entire cemetery and its gore- spattered inhabitants. The perverse critters shielded their dazzled eyes (apart from the rabbits of course), temporarily blinded and confused. This was their second mistake. A six-ton, 400-horsepower combine harvester crashed through the cemetery’s dilapidated stone wall perimeter. Headstones, mangy perverts and general foliage were all either squashed by the immense caterpillar tracks or sliced into mini meat cubes by the thresher. The massive contraption pivoted a few times just to make sure it had crushed and diced every last reprobate in the cemetery. By now the exhausted Strigi had made himself comfortable high in his skewered oak tree, watching the just massacre contentedly. The medieval war machine was smashed to bits, the harvester making several passes to make absolutely sure the infernal contraption was eradicated.

When the destruction was well and truly wrought, Strigi flew over and alighted the roof of the farm machine. The internal organs of the metal beast ground to a halt. The cab door was flung open and out stepped Mrs Bugger in her weather-proof coat and her straw hat hanging down her back. She looked up and gave Strigi a big smile and a wink.

‘Why, thank you Mr Owl, if it wasn’t for your hooting I would never have found where these despicable creatures had taken my husband to have their sick, drug-addled orgy. And it’s nice to finally put a face to the hoot that’s been helping me rid my crops of vermin these last few years.’

‘Thank you for saving me, Mrs Bugger,’ hooted Strigi, suddenly his years at The English Academy for Gifted Young Owls all flowing back to him. ‘A second longer and I could have been served in pitta bread with stringy, brown lettuce at 3am to a paralytic.’

‘Not at all, not at all,’ replied the farmer’s wife, who had luckily been taking an Owl Whisperer’s course online. ‘My foolish husband had been duped by these dope-dropping deer and Beelzebub-worshipping badgers into making that infernal bolt thrower. Luckily, we got to them before it could wreak too much damage. I believe they were going to invade the Polish deli down Main Road with it’.

‘Well, that’s that, then,’ hooted Strigi. ‘But what will you do now that your husband is dead? He was the local organic produce farmer, Village Idiot and Conservative MP for the borough of Wherethefuckami.’

‘My husband was a boring old fart and a waste of space; he never really centred his attention on the important things in life. It was time he pulled his head out of the clouds and stopped chasing silly dreams. However, I will carry on with the important things that do need to be administered.’

Strigi smiled. ‘Good idea. In that case you’ll need this.’ He swooped down to the blood-soaked, over-sexed remains of Farmer Bugger and plucked the stalk of corn from his mouth. He flew back up to the harvester’s roof and dropped the stalk into the outstretched palm of Mrs Bugger.

Mrs Bugger nodded her thanks to Strigi. She raised the stalk into the night sky, the pale moon light glinting off its ears. She then pulled her straw hat up onto her head and vehemently placed the stalk in her mouth. Then, with all her energy and due sense of purpose, she crossed her eyes, pulled an imbecilic face and bellowed into the night sky: ‘Duuuughhhh!! Farmin’! Trak’or! Duuuuuggghhhh!!!!’

The pair fell about laughing and it was a good thirty-six seconds before they could talk again without giggling. Strigi then spent the last of the night hours gorging himself on the gory remains of the congregation of beastly bounders. Meanwhile, Mrs Bugger, the newly self-appointed Idiot of Wherethefuckami, helped herself to a deuce of badger’s arse meat in order to make badger breakfast burgers in the morning.

Thereafter, Strigi and Mrs Bugger had the best relationship. Strigi took to living in the bigger of Mrs Bugger’s barns. After dinner in the farmhouse, they’d while away the nights deep-rooted in meaningful conversation about corn, vermin and professional idiocy in the more rustic parts of England, and they lived happily ever after.

THE END

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