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Badger and the nature of evil



badgerdevilTHIS week, readers Badger offers you something different. Over the past year or so, you have had poetry, you have had satire, you have had parody – sometimes all three in one column. But this week, readers you have a short story. But first, readers, a few prefatory remarks: Cllr Mike Stoddart has confirmed that the opinion of Mr Bryn Parry Jones is that The Pembrokeshire Herald is ‘evil’. Strong word ‘evil’, readers. Badger cannot ever recall using that word about Mr Bryn Parry Jones: ‘Arrogant’, ‘dictatorial, ‘a bully’ – yes; several times over. But not ‘evil’. Badger checked his dictionary to check if ‘evil’ had a connotation or meaning of which he was unaware. Badger’s OED suggested ‘Profoundly immoral and wicked’ as a working defi nition. Well, readers, Badger is uncomfortable with absolutes: Immorality is a question of perspective; as is wickedness. One supposes that – from the perspective of the Spanish Inquisition – the countless innocents they tortured and burned counted as wicked and immoral.

From the point of view of the dictator, any voice of radical dissent is an evil threat. Having existed for far too long in an atmosphere where he was kowtowed to, perhaps Bryn’s skin grew thin to the barbs of criticism and the jabs of truth. Having been used – metaphorically only, readers – to having himself bathed by the eager boot-licking tongues of those willing to abase themselves for even trivial and menial powers, a short sharp shower of forensic scrutiny must have come as a nasty surprise. So, readers, in the spirit of Halloween and by a circuitous route, Badger invites you to join him in considering evil. Many years ago, when Badger was younger and sleeker, he found himself in a part of the woods he did not know.

The moonlight dipped down through the barren branches of the trees, its pale glow casting baleful shadows onto the damp leaf fall. Every one of Badger’s senses tingled; the soft acid scent of all pervading leaf mould; the soft scudding through the waste of autumn under paw; the sharp taste of creeping fear; the distant screech of an owl; and the monochrome world of hideous, reaching shadows. Under the wreck of a tree struck down by an early storm, Badger took a moment to gather his wits and look about himself. As a cloud cleared across the moon, Badger’s eyes saw a glint of something shiny tangled in the underparts of the tree he sheltered under.

Intrigued he shuffled closer, being careful not to make too much noise. While beetles, worms and small crunchy mammals like trees, Badger was even then aware that mankind was fond of traps and snares to catch the unwary and would place them in locations Badger might forage. Badger screwed his courage to the sticking place and moved towards the glimmer of metal in the gnarled and upended tree roots. Embedded there, Badger saw a short object on the end of a longer silver chain. He reached in and his claws touched something soft and shrivelled. He tugged and felt resistance, as though something were holding on to the object.

Narrowing his eyes, Badger looked deeper into the gloom, he thought he saw a pair of pinpoint eyes staring back at him. Badger staggered back in shock and with a strange sucking sensation the object came free. Badger found himself holding a small and soft leather-like sack connected to a silver chain with a clasp around the back. On the bag was a small faded inscription: Tenent me! Mentes, corda, sequar! Badger wondered at what the inscription could mean. He picked up the shimmering silver-link chain and scurried quickly back to his sett. At the edge of his hearing he thought he could hear a deep moan that slowly grew louder.

Sweating and increasingly unnerved, Badger sped on nearly falling over dead branches and slipping through murky puddles in which the moon and branches dissolved into strange shapes. Every time he hesitated to fi nd his bearings, Badger fancied he could hear a nasty, spiteful chuckle. Coleridge’s words came unbidden to Badger’s mind: Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread And, having once turned round, walks on And turns no more his head Because he knows a frightful fi end Doth close behind him tread Badger heard a footfall behind him and rushed onwards, ever onwards through the darkened wood; praying to the gods above and below in a sudden outpouring of faith that he would soon see the lamp outside his door.

There it was. A pale, yellow light calling Badger homeward. Gasping. Desperate. Terrifi ed. Badger sped forward fumbled with the lock and fell inside. Scrambling to his feet, he slammed the door behind him and slammed the bolts into place. Undoing the chain from around his neck, Badger looked again at the bag. It was soft to the touch and there was something inside – some things inside – moving around inside the fabric. Badger looked again at the inscription and stumbled over the Latin. He thought of checking his Latin dictionary when his heart leapt into his mouth at a sharp knock on the door. His chest pounding. Badger turned to face the accusatory portal.

The knock came again. Harder now. More demanding. Then the voice came. Low and wheedling it whispered through the oak and seemed to fi ll Badger’s head. “Give it to me.” Badger’s eyes widened as he saw the handle of the door turn, glad as the bolts held fi rm as the lock strained. Then the voice again. “Give it to me. Now!” The voice was greedier. More insistent. A pallid skeletal hand with long, yellow fingernails reached through Badger’s letter box, its fingers flexing, reaching. And then the voice again. Angrier and insistent. Badger looked at the wizened pouch in his paws. The chain, the motto, the strangely mobile objects in the small skin cache.

Was it worth it? The terror, the fear. Whatever was outside Badger’s door really wanted it. Thrusting his paw out, Badger jammed the thing into the entity’s outstretched hand. Badger gave an involuntary shriek as he felt the creature’s sharp nails and leaf-like skin scrabbling and then getting hold of the object of its desire. There was an unearthly howl and it seemed as though the very earth shivered in terror, as the hand withdrew clutching its trophy and the nails scraped over Badger’s fur. The voice burst into maniacal cackling. “I have it. I have it.” Slowly Badger heard dragging footsteps move away from his door and everywhere heard the sound of triumphant cackling. He woke the following morning, praying it was a dream. But, no, there on Badger’s paw was the scratch of the fi ngernail. Shaking, Badger reached for his Latin grammar. ‘Hold me! And their hearts and minds will follow!’ The motto translated as: Badger was puzzled. Years later, Badger discovered that it was Bryn Parry- Jones who had a tight hold on the legendary testicles of Pembrokeshire County Council. And by then, readers, it was too late.

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Police appeal for information following assault at railway station



OFFICERS in Pembrokeshire are investigating a report of an assault on a woman that happened outside Haverfordwest Railway Station at approximately 8:10pm on Monday (Jun 17).

One man, aged 49, was arrested on suspicion of common assault and remains in police custody.

Did you witness the assault or have any information that could help officers with their investigation? If so, get in touch:

🖥️ |

📧 | [email protected]

💬 | Direct message us on social media

📞 | 101

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Busy weekend for the rescue team at HM Coastguard Dale



HM Coastguard Dale said they were paged at 05.35 HRS to assist police in the Milford Haven area on Sunday (Jun 16).

Police received a call at 5am, raising concern for the welfare of an individual.

The individual is now safe they said.

Angle Lifeboat RNLI also attended the incident

Then at 10.13 HRS the team were called on again after a vessel reported a person face down on a cliff near Wooltack point. The team made their way to the scene and rendezvous with NCI Wooltack Point. It was quickly ascertained that this was a false call with good intentions. Team then stood down.

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Tributes paid to ‘much-loved’ couple who died in A477 collision



THE FAMILIES of a much-loved couple who died in a collision on the A477 on Thursday, June 13, 2024, have paid tribute to them.

Katie Worrell, aged 25, and Adam Muskett, aged 27, were involved in a two-vehicle collision between Llanddowror and Red Roses at around 4pm on Thursday, June 13. Two cars were involved in the collision – a black Jaguar and a black Ford Fiesta.

A statement from Katie’s family said: “Katie was a much-loved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin. She lived life to the full, loving to travel and achieving so much in such a short time, she graduated with a Masters and worked hard. She loved her friends and Adam beyond words. Katie was kind, caring and beautiful and our lives will never be the same without her.”

Adam’s family have issued a statement to say: “Adam, our loving son, brother, grandson and nephew. He loved life, his friends, Tenby, football and Katie very much. How do we move on without you, your big kind heart and cheeky smile. We are heartbroken and forever proud.”

Anyone travelling on the A477, at or near to that location at the time, is requested to contact Police.

Investigating officers would particularly like to speak to any motorists who were in the area at that time who have dash cam in their vehicles.

Anyone with any information can contact the police on 101.

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