Shelter: My Life As A Badger Momma

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by Bob Reinhard

I awaken in a cave, sniffing the air. The smell of badger hangs in the air. Which makes sense. Because I’m a badger… and so are my children. Speaking of… one of them is looking a bit… gray.

What is that, my child? You appear hungry. I scamper through our humble home to find a turnip to feed my child, an inch from death. He perks up almost immediately. He ate like twenty minutes ago… what a drama queen…

We must set out, children. We are out of food. With five mouths to feed, I have no choice but to take you out on a journey to survive. Let us embark upon this quest. I shall name you, my little ones.

Muh Badger Family
Meet the family.

Cathy, the indie gamer badger. The only female in our group… but not so you’d really notice. She seems irritable. Constantly chattering at everything we come across. A perpetual pain in my fluffy badger ass…

Boris the Mighty is the fighter. The look in his eyes says “don’t fuck with me, or I’ll flying badger-kick you in the mouth”. But if you ask me… he’s probably a huge softy and just compensating for something.

Chet seems to have been born with a tiny Bluetooth headset… he keeps putting people on hold. He’s kind of an apathetic asshole and tends to ignore what’s going on around him, choosing instead to space out and stare off into the middle distance.

Slick Jimmy is one hip cat. Er… badger. I have never seen a badger walk with such swagger. When I asked him if he wanted a turnip, he said “‘ey momma, you know how I do!” I do not know how he do. I don’t even know what that means… but I have to admit, he is pretty cool.

Oh yeah, then there’s Ed. I sorta keep forgetting he’s there…

What? You’re all hungry again? We just ate… ah, never mind. Here, have a turnip. Oh… there are five of you. What? You want apples from that tree? HOW THE HELL do you expect me to… seriously? Headbutt the tree… seriously? Wow… I just… wow. Greedy little shi… ok ok fine sheesh!

Children are the most irritating things on this planet, I swear. Needing to eat and not be murdered and stuff, I mean… honestly. There is nothing that can make this trek across the forest good for me, there is no way… HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THAT SWEET WATERFALL!

#1 We're lookin' at a pretty waterfallBut it is not all beautiful waterfalls and chasing foxes away… there are dangers as well. A bird flies overhead, seeking to rip the flesh from your bones, my children. We must be quiet and sneak through the grass. Stealthy. Like a snake. A very SOLID Snake. Too bad there aren’t any cardboard boxes around.

No kids, I don’t know what a cardboard box is either but… for some reason that seemed like an appropriate thing to say…

The tension rises as we sneak past the bird. I hear it screeching, it’s shadow looming over us. I turn around every once and awhile to make sure my children are following me from patch of grass to patch of grass. There they are, my four beloved children… oh, and Ed. Ed’s still alive too. Good for Ed…

Night has fallen upon us, children. Stay close, for I cannot see you if you wander too far into the… HOLY FUCKING CRAP ASS WHAT IS THAT NOISE.

…and wasn’t there five of you? I can’t help but feel like there was a fifth badger baby. Huh… let’s see… Cathy is here. There’s Slick Jimmy. Chet’s all good. And there’s Boris. Nope, guess we’re fine! Come, my children, let us go… I wonder what that agonizing screeching and “getting eaten by a horrible monster in the dark” sound is… oh well.

#2 and then there were four RIP Ed

I Appear To Be Glowing… NBD

I can sense horrible things in the dark. Wolves, perhaps? Those foxes getting revenge on me for chasing them all the time. Maybe even the worst monster of all… a hippy who’s tied himself to a tree in protest! I WILL NOT LET DIRTY HIPPIES TAKE MY BABIES.

Annnnnnd where the fuck is Boris? Great… that’s just great… a hippy got Boris… wonderful.

And now… there are only three of us. But that’s the way it goes in the forest. Sometimes you survive, and sometimes hippies eat your babies. I think Darwin came up with that theory.

#3 and then there were three less mouthes to feed...

Less Mouths To Feed At Least…

Momma and her three babies continue into the night. Cathy keeps complaining about how cheaply made and frustrating these turnips are. I don’t even know what that means. This isn’t a GAME Cathy, this is food. You put it in your mouth…

…whoa… check out that sky… that’s… not something you see every day…

What Was In Those Turnips...

What Was In Those Turnips…

Our night could have gone better, kids. We lost two of your beloved siblings. Well, one beloved sibling. And Fred. Or Ted. Ed? No, pretty sure it was Ted.

But we’ve made it through to the next day, and the rain feels lovely on my fur.

#5 a tough night brings a raining dawn

As I hum “I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Phil Collins (badgers LOVE Phil Collins), I wonder about the dangers I will have to face as a new day approaches. Perhaps more vicious predators? Birds and wolves and deadly bears. I don’t know, let us cross this river and find…

…wow. Bye Cathy. Just… no really, it’s cool. Go ahead and wash away in that huge river wave. Seriously, it’s ok. It’s not like I needed children or anything. That was horrifying. We were just walking along and WHOOSH you’re history…

#6 goodbye Cathy two remain

That River Thinks Shenmue Is A Good Game Too! Serves You Right!

Well, things aren’t going as planned here. Leave with five kids, come home with two. It’s like going to a Wal-Mart in Detroit…

So I’m not the best parent in the world. I set out to get food for my kids, and now I’m sorta wondering if I’ll have any kids at all when this day is through. At least none of my kids are up on stage Twerking with Robin Thicke though. So at least I’ve got more going for me than Billy Ray Cyrus… “Don’t tell muh heart, muh achy badger heart!”

Badgers are all about pop culture references, yo.

FISH!

FISH!

No way, walking over that dangerous log was TOTALLY a good idea, kids. Seriously. I’m a great influence. See a log over a waterfall? Walk on that shit. Walk on that shit fer dayz.

It’s not that dangerous of a decision, but perhaps heading up this river will be. I should probably be a bit more careful about how I…

And there goes Chet. Bye Chet… did you see that Slick Jim… the river ate Chet. Sony’s customer service will never be the same now that they don’t have a badger working for them. For one thing, the health code violation charges will probably stop… badgers do not make for good office employees…

And apparently Chet does not make for a good swimmer either… RIP Chet. You were the only other kid I didn’t think was completely annoying. Thank God it’s Slick Jimmy that survived. The dude’s got style, and style ain’t ever gonna stop. Let’s go you pimp ass badger.

#8 slick jimmy stands alone...

Check That Swag! Slick Jimmy Ain’t Got No Time For River Rapids!

Do you smell smoke, Slick Jimmy? I smell smoke. And not from your cigar this time.

Well, this seems ominous. This seems very ominous indeed. What do you think, Slick Jimmy? “Ominous”. That’s what I thought.

Ominous. Fer Serious.

Ominous. Fer Serious.

Oh. Well, now that’s fire. See that, Slick Jimmy? That’s a metric butt-ton of fire. All the fire. The fire is even on fire. It’s FIRECEPTION! We didn’t start the fiiiiire, it was always burnin’ since the world’s been turnin’.

What’s that Jimmy? That song doesn’t suck! No son of mine will be disrespecting Billy Joel while I’m alive! He is a national treasure and that song…

…oh who am I kidding, that song is garbage. We can at least agree Piano Man is timeless, right? Alright, Slick Jimmy says Piano Man is swag. So Piano Man is totes swag. This fire? Not so swag though…

I Can See Smokey the Bear's Corpse Smoldering Over There...

I Can See Smokey the Bear’s Corpse Smoldering Over There…

What’s that, Jim? Still hungry? You’re a big boy now, go feed yourself. What? “Slick Jimmy ain’t about diggin'”. Well Slick Momma ain’t about whoopin’ your ass, but sometimes we gotta do things we don’t like, ya cool?

Oh fine, I’ll go get that carrot that’s sitting nice and close to raging fiery death. No really, this is totally safe…

Toasted Turnip. OM NOM NOM.

Toasted Carrot. OM NOM NOM.

Satisfied now? Good. Let’s make like Cathy, Indie Gamer Badger’s skull against those river rocks and SPLIT. Heh… making fun of my dead children. Morbid… but funny. And HOLY JUMPING BADGER JESUS IT’S A BIRD!

Quickly, Jim. Hide in the tall grass and wait for it to pass. What’s that? Tall grass if flammable? Oh come on, we’re a safe distance from that flame. It’s fine, just wait for him to…

Do you smell burning badger ass? Oh, I appear to be inches from becoming a pile of cinders. Oh, wait… everything’s on fire now.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR “I TOLD YOU SO”‘s Jim! RUN!

We've Been Smoked Out!

We’ve Been Smoked Out!

Run. Run run run. Ruuuuun.

Bird. BIRD. Ok we’re good. FIRE. BIRD. FIREBIRD. RUUUUUN.

Phew, I think we’re going to be ok Jim. Jim?

SLICK JIMMY NOOOOOO

SLICK JIMMY NOOOOOO

What are you doing up there? Hanging out with your new friend? Oh… oh you don’t seem to be too happy about this arrangement. Oh wait… birds kill badgers, don’t they? …damn. Well, at least I still have you other kids!

One Big Happy Family...

One Big Happy Family…

Oh right… you’re all dead too. Huh. So… it’s only me now? That… that’s kind of unfortunate…

Also everything’s on fire. That’s probably something I should deal with soon…

The fires… they burn like the grief inside my heart. For each breath I gasp out among the smoke, a tear falls from my badger eye. Lamenting the deaths of my beloved children.

Cathy, you weren’t so bad. You at least made some funny jokes every once and awhile. And you remind me of me in some ways… only, you know… less alive and stuff.

Chet… oh Chet… Sony paid really well and we could have probably just ordered a pizza and avoided all of this. But as you know Domino’s has a strict policy that says they don’t deliver to woodland critters.

And Boris, you didn’t have to act tough around Momma… I… I understand you are gay. I knew since you were young. We all did… it was kinda obvious. The constant weight lifting and checking yourself out in the mirror gave you away. And “The Mighty” is a pretty gay nickname… I loved you all the same!

And Slick Jimmy. Hippest badger in town. Sure I was getting tired of listening to your crappy hipster music… way too much banjo for my taste… but other than that, you were awesome.

Alright, well, time to…

What? Ed? Who the fuck is Ed?

I've Escaped The Fires... But I Cannot Enjoy This View...

I’ve Escaped The Fires… But I Cannot Enjoy This View…

I leave the burning wreckage of my once beautiful home behind me as I start out on a new life alone. I can’t help but feel like this was somehow my fault. I mean… especially Chet’s death. That was just stupid on my part… my bad. But the heavy burden I carry on my heart is punishment enough…

As I wander through this life, an empty vessel of what I used to be… I must give these words of advice…

Life will throw obstacles at you. Disasters will come up. You will experience loss. Hardship. Death. But no matter what, you must always move forward. Do not let the regret of the past crush your heart. For it is those moments that make us stronger. They teach us to survive.

They teach us what it means… to truly be alive…

Damn Life Is Pretty...

Damn Life Is Pretty…

What’s that? You want a review of Shelter? Sure, here’s my review:

The game is fucking awesome. Buy this game. Do it. Now. Seriously. It’s all kinds of awesome.

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