A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks
A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks

All of the animals awoke at the same time. Despite being of different species, they all had the same dream.

"Touch the light to save your forest," the voice in the dream said. "The power to save your home can only be found when the best of you touches the light."


The forest had stood undisturbed for thousands of years before the humans came. Slowly, but surely, they encroached on the forest. Isolated huts became clusters of huts became cabins became houses became apartment buildings. Ponds were drained to make room for more strip mall parking lots. Exhaust from the cars choked the trees. Rumblings from the passing trains knocked baby birds out of their nests.

The raccoon felt a mysterious force guiding him, almost pulling him, toward a clearing he had never been to before, in the shadow of an apartment building at the edge of the city. When he arrived, he found an owl, a fox, a mouse, and a bear standing in a circle around a small, white orb of light, hovering three feet off the ground. It emitted a faint hum.


To his surprise, he heard the owl ask "Did you have the dream, too?" without moving her beak. To his even greater surprise, he responded, "Yes." He didn't need to ask the fox, the mouse, or the bear. He already knew.

The animals sat motionless for a few minutes. "I don't think anyone else is coming," said the owl. "There's no point in waiting any longer."


The bear lumbered over to the orb. "Surely, I am the best of us," she said. She rose up onto her hind legs and thrust a paw at the orb. The orb dimmed as the bear ineffectually waved her paw around inside of it. Finally, with a grunt of frustration, the bear removed her paw. Instantly, the orb regained its brightness, and the bear returned to the edge of the clearing.

Next, the mouse walked up to the orb, which was too high for him to reach. The orb hummed slightly more loudly as it gently lowered itself down. It stopped once its center was at ground level, so that it was a tiny luminescent dome. The mouse hopped in and ran around in a circle. Again, the only effect was the dimming of the orb as the mouse learned that it, too, was not the best of the creatures. Disappointed, the mouse returned to the edge of the clearing.


A train rumbled close by the clearing. The orb turned slightly red as the ground around it shook. It rose back to its original height and quickly faded back to white.

The fox tried his luck next. He got a running start and pounced from a nearby log. As he passed through, the orb faded and quickly brightened again. Slinking back to the edge of the clearing, he said "I thought I would try sneaking up on it," to nobody in particular. The orb momentarily turned green, as if amused at the fox's efforts.


The raccoon and the owl looked at each other. As best as his bone structure would allow, the owl shrugged. "I'll go next." The orb rose thirty feet into the air. The owl flew in a large circle, gaining altitude and speed, until it ineffectually flew through the orb. She landed beside the raccoon.

"I hope you're the best of us," she said softly.

The raccoon nodded. He gingerly walked up to the orb, and extended his paw.

Before he even reached the orb, it shot into his outstretched limb and coursed through his entire body. He could feel it. He felt the wing of a dragonfly beating as it hovered over a nearby swamp. He felt the jaw of a lion snap shut on a gazelle's neck on the other side of the planet. He felt every molecule of every tree that ever was, and that ever would be. He could feel everything.


The other animals stared, jaws open. Finally, the fox spoke.

"You...you can save the forest, now?"

The raccoon looked up. He emitted a faint hum. "Yes."


The raccoon looked toward the city.

"I have to show them that they're not welcome here."

Just then, another train began rumbling by. The raccoon turned slightly red. In the blink of an eye, he ran over to the tracks, grabbed the front of the train, and threw it as hard as he could into the apartment building, leaving a colossal hole as the train easily went in one side of the building and out the other. There was an enormous crash, and screams as the train pinballed through nearby blocks of the city. Citizens would refer to this day as "The Day Nature Started Fighting Back". They would later report that they looked into the forest and saw a green raccoon staring back at them.


They would swear that it was smiling.

"Is...is that it? Is that all you have to do?" said the bear.

"No," said the raccoon. "There's one more thing."

He started walking toward the city.

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