A Tale of Two Tunnels

unhappy badger peering out of his tunnel entrance

Burt the badger

Burt the badger had problems. There they were, the two of them walking past his new home, the home he had scraped and dug and built over and over because somebody kept dumping dirt into the entrance.  It broke his tiny badger heart to see the Pam and her hubby together, laughing and pointing, knowing that he might never have his heart’s desire.

That was why he’d left the Bluebird house and moved to the neighbor’s land. His badgiebopper crush had grown into a deep and abiding love, the likes of which had never before been seen this side of the Mississippi. A single tennis shoe, a discarded cardboard coffee cup imprinted with the lip stains of its owner, one sweat-stained work glove, and a pair of boxers off the laundry line were just a few items in his collection. He’d attempted on several occasions to enter the house to get something even more personal…a toothbrush or some strands of hair.  But he could never quite manage the doorknob–not to mention the latch on the screen door–with his foot-long claws.  These treasured items moved with him, and when he dug himself a new home, were housed in the tunnel to the right off the main chamber.

Now and again, Burt went back to Bluebird house, in hopes that hubby might have seen reason and left the Pam. But they were rock solid…unlike the ground underneath their home. A diabolical plan began to form in his tiny mustelid brain.

“I don’t think he’s ever going to leave her,” he moaned to his other badger friends.

“Bettina,” they replied with diminishing patience, because Burt was in fact a Bettina, more evidence of the brutal insensitivity on the part of Pam and her mate that caused great anguish to the badger. “NOBODY thinks he’s going to leave her.”

Bettina grew bitter, and all hopes of love and a happy future twisted into thoughts of revenge. She expanded her home in the neighbor’s grounds. She plotted, and she scraped, and she dug a long, winding tunnel that veered leftward. This left tunnel–one might even describe it as sinister–led to an unimploded sinkhole of mammoth proportions located directly beneath the Bluebird house.  The  sinkhole had taken longer to dig than the sinistral tunnel, but jealousy and despair make fine motivators, and a summer flash flood would seal the deal.

So now she waits, and she watches them walk by her tunnel entrance. In softer moments, after nibbling on the tennis shoe, or crawling inside the boxers, she considers beckoning them over, sun sparkling off her claws, to warn them of their impending doom. But then they laugh and point and look into one another’s eyes, and her sadness turns into a snarl.  She ducks back down into her hole and lumbers down the long, left-veering tunnel, to scrape just a bit more dirt from one side or the other.


Liz Husebye Hartmann (June 19, 2014)


Pam Brittain’s Prompt: First, a little history on this sweet little guy with foot long claws. It introduced itself to my husband and I a few years ago. It was a teenybopper (better known in the badger world as a badgiebopper). It adopted my husband and started following him. It tried to open our kitchen door more than once. It really wanted in. We named it Burt. I’m not sure why because we didn’t have the nerve to check to see if it was male. We also gave thought of turning it into a house pet, but if we did that, he wouldn’t do his job. He wouldn’t be able to catch mice and rats. That was the only year we were rodent free.

Sadly, it grew up and waddled away only to visit from time to time.

A few years later we were visiting with neighbors and they were complaining about something digging a hole on their property. Every time they filled it in, whatever was in it dug it back out. We figured it was Burt and sure enough on our way home, it poked its head out of the hole and posed for us. Or was it really posing? I think it was hiding something in its hole and was protecting it.

Today’s challenge:  Wondering what the challenge is? Obviously, I want you to tell its story. Yeah, yeah, there’s a catch. You must (not really must, since no one listens to me anyway) use one of the following ideas and tell us the story as to what it’s hiding in its hole, how it got there and why.


6 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tunnels

  1. Pingback: WeTues Challenge, Another two words | Writing Essential Group

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  4. Liz, did you come over and visit with us and am I getting senile? You have this down to perfection. Giggling and I’m not sure if it’s cause of us or your story or both. You even have it down to our house which is starting to crack. It’s made of concrete. So now I’ll worry since I know what’s causing it. Yikes, the monsoons haven’t arrived yet.



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