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This text has been translated into English. It is obviously a dead language now, but a scholar like myself would obviously happen to notice that you don’t speak badger. Am I right? Yes? Well, shut up and let’s begin…

 

5:00pm 29th December 2999

 

“Will you be quiet! I call this session to order, this is a very serious matter!” President O’Badger cried.

“We don’t know what could happen in the New Year! It’s a new millennia for God’s sake! We could be taken over by aliens for crying out loud!” The President was panicking. With the current media hype and general panic all around it was hard to stay calm.

“It’s all nonsense,” the chairbadger piped up. “We are not going to be invaded by aliens, the children’s toys will not come to life, the world will not implode…”

“How do you know?” a member of the badgermeet called out.

“Why it’s elementary dear Steven, common sense.”

“Like it’s common sense there’s no afterlife? Seriously Murah you can’t know these things alright? You’re off your rocker!”

 

*        *        *

 

A little badger watched from a ventilation shaft. He looked down on the gathering of badgers high up from the ceiling, looking round at every crisp suit, every black and white face. When he heard all that he wanted to know he scuttled back to his friends.

“Daddy says that nothing bad is going to happen,” he lisped at the dump of badgerlings peering anxiously through the ventilation shaft for his return.

“But isn’t your dad crackers? Can we believe him?” asked one, as politely as possible.

“Of course he’s not crazy!” the mini spy huffed, and he could feel his bottom lip starting to jut out in the mother of all pouts.

“How would you know if he’s crazy or not?” a little face pressed.

“I’d know if my dad was crazy!” the badgerling cried.

“Enough of this, what did MY daddy say?” O’Badger’s daughter enquired regally.

“He’s really panicked. But I think that’s more to do with the fact that the public can’t be calmed. It’s out of control!”

“Oh what do you know?” she stormed snootily, but he didn’t take it to heart. He could tell she was just worried about her father’s increasing workload.

After this exchange the other badgerlings all wanted to know what their fathers had said but mostly all he could reply with was “I’m sorry, I didn’t stay long enough, I didn’t hear him speak. Can you let me out now please?” This last part was because they were all still crowded in front of the vent so he couldn’t get out.

They would have carried on in this manner for a while, but at that moment the maid came bustling in and cried out, “Oh kids, get away from that dirty ventilation shaft! Oh my, yes, you’re all filthy! What will your mothers think? Oh Kuarr get out of there! I’ll have to clean you up before the badgermeet ends! Unless you all want beatings?”

All the badgerlings chorused no and scuttled out of the room. The maid made her way across the room to Kuarr who was almost out of the shaft. She bent down to help him and whispered, “I cant keep pretending not to notice forever you know. Why is it always you dear? I suppose it’s because of whom your father is, you know I think it’s ridiculous how much stock you kids have on your fathers. It makes no difference you know”

“I know, I know” he mumbled. And he did know. But the other kids didn’t seem to and if he didn’t do all their legwork they would start to tease him until he did. As he thought this tears started to well up in his eyes.

“Here now, don’t cry! I’m not telling this time, I’m just saying, be careful!”

He nodded and purposefully dashed the tears away and plastered a smile on his face.

“I guess I’d better go wash up before dad gets out!”

He said as cheerfully as possible and scampered out of the room. The maid stood and smiled wearily. These kids were going to tire her out one day.

 

*        *        *

 

9:45pm 29th December 2999

 

Marla didn’t think about what her friend had said until later that night when she lay in her bed at the white and black house. She hadn’t been worried until he said that her father was worried. Her mother had died a few years ago and her father was always too busy at work to even look for a new girlfriend, which suited her fine except she often had to manage the house whilst he was away, and of course, worry about her dad. He’d been getting home later and later, and she’d stopped waiting up for him. She tried of course, but when it got to ten o’clock in the evening she could hardly keep her eyes open anymore.

She’d been looking forward to New Year. It would mean that all the hype would cease and her father would be less stressed, tired and overworked. She’d never even thought that they might be all dead. Christmas had just passed a few days ago and she’d gotten one of those new alien toys. They were supposed to come alive on New Years. On the new millennia. She fished it out from beside her bed now. She looked at it, poked it - squishy - and turned it over and over in her hands. It seemed no different to when she first got it. Nothing had changed. Suddenly the thing became an embodiment to all the fears swirling around right now, her father’s stresses, and her own worries. She couldn’t bear to look at it any longer. She threw it across the room with all her might and curled under the covers. Fit-filled dreams of apocalypses and death awaited her with open arms.

 

*        *        *

 

00:26am 30th December 2999

 

Past midnight.

Great.

Joe couldn’t sleep. What he’d heard those badgerlings talking about earlier had upset him. His mummy, the maid, took him to work with her sometimes because he got lonely on his own. He didn’t have any friends to play with because he couldn’t go to school. He was a very sick little boy. His mum had wanted him to make some friends there today, but they were a few years older and very scary. He didn’t want the world to end yet. He always liked to think that after he had gone his mother could carry on in this world forever and ever. His child mind could understand that he wouldn’t be there someday, but not that his mother wouldn’t be either. He had to do something. He didn’t want the world to end. He wanted his mummy...

 

*        *        *

 

3:00pm 30th December 2999

 

There hadn’t been much going on in the O’Badger household today. There had been no meetings and the members of the badgermeet were out spending time with their families. The president was having a press conference and Marla was helping the maid clean desktops. It appeared to be any normal day, except for the fact that the tension in the air was palpable, worry showed on almost every face and the silence was static. Joe’s mother could see worry lines on Marla’s face, but also knew that there was not much she could do to relieve it. So they continued cleaning in silence, each to their own thoughts waiting for those few hours to pass to pass until New Year, to see what would happen.

 

*        *        *

 

2:30pm 31st December 2999

 

These last few hours seemed to drag by, everyone felt like crying and some of them were; the children all huddled together, saying goodbye as intense as they could manage. It had been decided that all of badger kind was to treat this like it really was goodbye and if it wasn’t, well it would be a bonus wouldn’t it? As everyone treated these as their final hours bonds of friendship strengthened and the world felt the sorrow. The world would remember these last, precious, moments.

 

*        *        *

 

4:45pm 31st December 2999

 

Marla was sad. Not only might she not be alive soon, but this was the first real time she had spent with her dad since he got elected, and it was laced with tragedy. She had cried a little, but mostly they had played badgeropoly and she remembered what her dad was like before the stresses of his new job. She wished they had had more days like this and thought her father did too.

He had joy in his eyes, he was seeing his young girl growing up and he was proud. He wanted more afternoons like this with her, and if they were still alive tomorrow he vowed they would discuss it. He bought Badger Street and smiled at his daughter. He would make more time for her. Marla could see that her father loved her and thought to herself that there couldn’t possibly be a nicer end than to spend the afternoon with her dad.

 

*        *        *

 

11:57pm 31st December 2999

 

Kuarr was biting his nails - something he never did - and watching the clock. He and his father had spent the afternoon out, golfing. He’d experienced unencumbered joy for the first time in weeks when he won. But then he remembered why they were spending that time and sat down and bawled like a baby. Luckily no one but his dad was there, who assured him they would all still be alive tomorrow.

He felt hollow, empty inside, and wished the clock would hurry so he knew, one way or another. He hugged himself and waited. He was on his own. He didn’t know where anyone else was, probably in the next room, but he couldn’t bring himself to go to them. 11:59...not long now. He watched the second hand tick with a kind of satisfaction. Finally it was here. Twenty seconds passed...thirty. There was hardly any time left. Ten, nine, eight, he sent up a quick prayer to whomever was listening...four, three...he shut his eyes. What was to become of him?

 

*        *        *

 

The End

 

What? You want to hear what happens? Can’t you make it up yourselves? I’m fed up with having to spoon-feed you lesser beings. No. Make it up for yourselves.

What? You’re still here? My you’re persistent.

Well fine, if you must. You have no imagination.

  

*        *        *

 

0:02 AM 1st January 3000

 

Kuarr opened his eyes. He looked around. He was still here. In this same room! They hadn’t all died, yippee! His dad had been right all along! Well, that showed them. Rushing to his feet, and stumbling a little, he ran through to the next room and straight into his father's arms.

“Where were you kiddo? I told you so didn’t I?”

Everyone was hugging and cheering all around them and joy flowed back into every spirit.

The next day the papers had different things to worry about, but all the badgers were too busy enjoying life that they didn’t take much notice.

 


 

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