So, the gig is up as they say. I’ve finally been tracked down for testifying against Don Warren, who has found out that I’m in W.A.R.P – the Witness Animal Relocation Programme and now he’s trying to kill me! I was lucky to survive the highway to hell, but Weasel came through for me and saved me life once again. Until W.A.R.P can find me a new safe-sett, I’m just hiding out in a secret location so I can continue the blog.

So, folks after my visit from that psychotic Hedgehog last week it’s a real pleasure and a relief to welcome the talented Michelle Muto to the secret sett. Weasel has deployed some of his ‘crew’ to post guard and although I’m worried sick about Belinda, the show must go on. I’m just going to sort out my bedding whilst Michelle reads her synopsis and an excerpt from chapter two of her excellent YA novel – Don’t Fear the Reaper.

SYNOPSIS:

Haunted by memories of her murdered twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her only ticket to eternal peace. But in death, she discovers the afterlife is nothing like she expected. Instead of peaceful oblivion or a joyful reunion with her sister, Keely is trapped in a netherworld on Earth with only a bounty-hunting reaper and a sarcastic demon to show her the ropes.

When the demon offers Keely her ultimate temptation–revenge on her sister’s killer–she must determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, the reaper and demon have been keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true–that her every decision changes how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

an excerpt from chapter 2:

I shook my head. “Not real,” I heard myself whisper.

“Real,” Daniel said, nonchalantly from his post against the wall. “Stage one, full denial with psychotic tendencies and delusions of astral projection.”

I hated him, hated the way his words sounded in my ears. He didn’t care that my parents were completely torn apart. He didn’t care how sorry I was. My life was…gone. Over.

What had I done?

“Enough,” Banning warned him. “Ever hear of tact?”

“Oh, I’m supposed to have sympathy for her on top of everything else?” Daniel scoffed. “I know better, Banning. I freaking know better. Am I supposed to candy-coat it? Tell her it’s okay and then show her around hell like it’s Ft. Lauderdale on spring break?”

“She’s not going with you,” Banning repeated.

I wasn’t going with anyone. I wanted them to leave me alone. Or fix everything. For the first time in months, I wanted something more than my sister’s life back. I wanted my life back. “Undo this. Fix it!” I shouted.

“If only I could,” Banning said. “That’s not within my power—”

“Then take me to someone who can. God. Lucifer. Anyone.

“That’s a no-go on my end. What do you have, Banning?” Daniel had his head down, rubbing his temples in slow circular motions. I guess my parents grieving over my dead body was too much for him. I hoped there wasn’t anything like aspirin in hell.

Banning shook his head. “I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way, Keely.”

“Screw that! People come back from the dead all the time. I’m just having a near death experience. Put me back.” A glance in the mirror told me that my eyes had already started to get puffy. But even red and tear-stained, my face was still considerably better than the me lying dead on the bathroom floor.

[Badger is trembling with a pile of straw held over his face. Michelle coughs] Ahem, right, right, I was just checking the bedding. I wasn’t scared or anything. [A beetle farts and Badger jumps] Sorry, sorry, bit on edge I guess. Right then that was pretty spooky, gave me badger bumps, but tell us what can we expect from Michelle Muto in the future?

Too many irons in the fire at the moment. I’m working on a YA haunted house story, tweaking an older, trunked adult paranormal, the sequel to The Book of Lost Souls, and notes on the sequel to Don’t Fear the Reaper. It’s exhausting.

I know how you feel, Michelle, being on the run is knackering. You use Ravens in this story, which are obviously part of the crow family. It does wind me up that they seem to get all the great parts in the big movies like The Omen and Hitchcock’s The Birds, Badgers don’t get a look in! They are pretty good to be fair, I mean, that scene in the playground… [Badger shivers] Me and Belinda saw that on the TV through the Farmhouse window one night. [Badger blows his nose on a nettle and folds it up like a handkerchief the snot dribbling out of the side] Have you ever been surrounded by Crows in a playground?

Dammit, yes. Little thugs keep hogging the slide.

I’ve heard of Counting Crows but Sliding Crows! Next thing you know they’ll be interviewing humans on blogs! I’ve always wanted to interview Badger from Firefly and ask him what he thought of his great character name. Is there a Supernatural character or actor that you’d most like to interview and what would your first question be?

Dean Winchester. First question probably not appropriate for the public. 🙂

That’s one of the brothers played by that guy who sounds like Eccles cake, isn’t it! I know Tom loves that show, always going on about it, but me and Belinda can only watch whatever’s on at the old Farmhouse through the back window. Michelle are you okay? [Michelle seems to have drifted into a trance after the last question, she has a big, distant grin on her face, as if she is lost in a daydream] It’s nice to see someone smiling at the moment to be honest, which reminds me – what’s your favourite simile?

B52’s “I’ve got me a Chrysler – it’s as big as a whale.”

Ah – Love Shack! That’s what me and Belinda used to call the sett. I’ll miss that place. Strange to think that it was once a hot bed of badger action! I guess there won’t be anymore Barry White being piped through those chambers ever again…[a tear slides down Badger’s furry face] which brings me on to the tune you would you chose for the title track if your book were made into a movie. What would that be?

Evanescence’s My Immortal.

[Badger has his paws up to his eyes, tears are dripping from his chin] Oh Belinda! Why did you leave me? [He wails and blows his nose on his snotty  nettle – Michelle kindly passes him a crimson handkerchief. He sniffs and has a good blow and offers it her back. She declines] Sorry, it’s been a tough time with the assassination attempt and all that! Maybe I should have had another week off? Weasel thinks I should go and see a doctor, but the last time I did that, it was just so confusing. Have you ever walked into a Witch Doctor’s reception room, been called in and then had to ask which doctor you should see?

Wow! You, too?

Yeah, it was just so complicated. I was talking to a nasty Otter who had a temperature from drinking too much flea flavoured coffee. He said he didn’t know which doctor to see either. Anyway, talking of that bad Otter’s flea-latte has reminded me – what would you wear to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?

Bunny slippers.

That’s a little bit cruel, but they are the luckiest footwear you can own apparently. Belinda made me a pair from a rotting rabbit corpse at the back of the wood for my birthday. That was a great day, probably the best of my life. What’s your favourite day of the year?

Your birthday?

Snap! Mine too! Talking of snap, I heard one of the Swans talking down by the river the other day. He was saying that some of the insects he’d been eating were fighting back, which is really inconvenient when you’re peckish. We animals can get injured by our food and that can get pretty annoying, but is that the same for humans… I mean If a pancake tried to kill you, would you flip?

One tried that once. It did not work (said in best Johnny Depp/Barnabus Collins voice)

Ooh, sounds just like him, nice impression. I’ve seen the trailer for that in the adverts on the TV at the Farmhouse and on posters at the bus-stop at the edge of the wood. Tim Burton was recruiting for Dark Shadows in our wood the other day. I even tried to pitch to him, when he was strolling through here with his lovely wife, Helena. I had this idea for a TV screenplay about a pack of dogs exacting their own brand of furry revenge. I called it Ruff Justice. Do you have any animal-based screenplay ideas?

Wereweasels on Elm Street. Afraid? You should be.

[Badger is face down in the straw, his bum trembling with fear…Eventually he peeks out] Brilliant! Now you’ve gone and put that in my head, I’ll never sleep again. I’ve heard rumours of such creatures hiding in the reeds by the river. Weasel calls them Minks but I call them Reeders. [Badger shivers] Who’s your favourite reader by the way? No pressure!

Some dude named Tom.

Really! I thought he was a bit simple! Still, you’re welcome back anytime Michelle – a peanut treat and your song are coming right up…

[The Badger schnaffles around pulling out the old gramophone and an old vinyl record from a cardboard box of things he has packed and moved to the secret sett.] I can’t play it too loud because it will give away our position. Michelle? Michelle? Hello? [As Don’t Fear the Reaper plays at low volume around the secret sett, Badger hears footsteps and quickly straightens his fur, anticipating Michelle’s return] Oh Weasel, it’s you, come in, come in.

We have a lead on – pop – Belinda – pop – Well come on – pop – boys, bring him – pop – down…

And you say the doctors can’t do anything for that popping you do?

Nope – pop! Looks like I’ll always go – pop!

Pity that! [As footsteps draw near, Badger’s fur stands to attention. Flanked by two lithe, weasel bodyguards stands a rotund brown mammal with a big central tooth] Vassily the Vole, chief interrogator for Don Warren!

Right boys let’s tie – pop – him up. Maybe – pop – we’ll give him a – pop – taste of his own – pop – dentistry medicine.

[Badger rolls up the fur on his sleeves and joins Weasel and his crew. He comes face to face with Vassily, a menacing look in his eye] Now tell me where my wife is, Chompers!

Now that Michelle has escaped from the sett, you can catch her and her work at the following links…

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