bat winged

Submission

“Rawr! I am Delirious, the most vicious monster in the whole wide world!” A scrawny man in a blue hoodie spoke. His face was nearly completely hidden by a hockey mask, and he had a machete strapped to one side of his waist. The normally solid forest ground was mushy under his dark blue boots, not that it bothered him nor his partner much.

“Oh yeah? That’s why you haven’t gotten one kill, huh?” Delirious’s “partner in crime”, so to speak, teased the shorter man. The partner, better known as Cartoonz, had skin the color of blood, a missing right eye, and short, dull horns. He had a pair of bat-like wings that currently kept him aloft, dark red claws instead of fingers or toes, and a thin, razor tipped tail that only ever drooped. His clothes were loose, often ripped and dirty.

Neither were good at what they were supposed to be, but neither truly wanted to be.

“Look ‘Toonz, I need a better introduction! The last people we found laughed at me.”

“Yeah, I know. They laughed at me, too- Wait, did you hear that?” Cartoonz’s question was directed at an odd noise. It sounded both familiar, yet very different than any sound they’d heard before.

“I heard that! It sounds human!” Delirious spoke quickly, looking at his best friend. Before the conversation could continue, the mysterious noise squeaked out of a nearby bush.

“It’s coming from here. Stand back, Delirious. I’ll check it out,” Cartoonz whispered as he approached the bush. Moving carefully, he pulled the leaves to the side, revealing two small cloth bundles. He picked the noisier bundle up gently, and cautiously pulled the blanket away from the source of the noise.

“Delirious… Look at this,” Cartoonz’s voice was quiet and shaky now. Delirious crept up to his friend, and confusedly took the small bundle forced into his arms. Cartoonz then picked up the other cloth wrapped thing, and lifted the cloth away from it.

“…What is this thing, ‘Toonz?” Delirious questioned before a happy giggle floated from the bundle.

“I think it’s a little human. What were they called… 'babies’?”

“Makes sense. Hey, this little guy’s pretty cute!” Delirious smiled at the baby in his arms, which stared back at him. The baby had light blonde hair and sharp blue eyes. The other baby in Cartoonz’s arms also had blonde hair, but crisp violet eyes, rather than azure.

“Yeah, they are. Maybe we should ask the Wraith about them. He knows a lot about humans, so he’ll be able to help us take care of them,” Cartoonz offered the idea hesitantly, almost as if he was unsure. The thought that the babies would be abandoned by them was discarded by the pair before they even realized it was an option.

“Or maybe we should ask the Nurse. She should know a lot about humans from taking care of them so long, right?” Delirious pointed out as he began to walk towards a cabin. He and Cartoonz had long ago repurposed the empty house into a comfortable living space, and they both lived there.

“Yeah. Wait, we can’t tell them! If we tell them we’re taking care of humans, they’ll kill them, or they’ll tell the Entity!” Cartoonz realized, panic rushing from his words. The small babe in his arms blinked up at him and smiled, while the other just giggled and grabbed Delirious’s pointer finger.

“Not gonna happen then. Look at these two. We can’t just let them die!” Delirious agreed, allowing the baby to play with his finger until they put it in their mouth. “Ah! No! that can’t be good for you!” He yelped, pulling his finger away as the babies clapped and laughed. Cartoonz couldn’t stop his guffaws at the sight of his best friend waving a finger in front of a happy little baby.

“Well, if we’re going to take care of these two, then we should give them names, right?” The winged man questioned the other. When they finally arrived at the somewhat small log cabin they called home, they pushed the door open and stepped inside.

The living room was comfortably warm, with a pair of couches, a few chairs, and a fireplace that contained a blazing fire. There was a fluffy carpet spread on the floor, meaning no shoes were ever worn about in this room. The kitchen had a tiled floor and a small table with four chairs surrounding it. The counters were clean and the fridge was stocked. Upstairs, there were two bedrooms and a pair of bathrooms.

Delirious kicked off his shoes before stepping into the living room, cradling the child like he had done it before. A broken memory tugged at the back of his mind, but the second he payed attention to it, it was gone. He shook his head to regain focus, then spoke.

“Yeah, they gotta have names. Let’s each name one,” Delirious determined, grinning behind the mask he never took off. He plopped himself down on one of the couches, while Toonz took a seat in an armchair.

“Well, you go first then.”

At Cartoonz’s words, Delirious looked at the blonde babe who had fallen asleep in his arms moments before. “Uh… how about, uh… Wildcat? 'Cause-, 'cause he’s so fierce! Is that a good name?”

“Sounds good enough as a nickname,” Cartoonz shrugged, before turning his attention to the child in his arms who stared up at him with innocent purple eyes. “Well… what do you think of 'Bryce’?”

“Bwyce!” The babe gurgled out, beaming as they tried to say their name. “Bwyce! Bwyce!” Cartoonz felt a flash of an emotion he hadn’t felt in a long time. Pride. He lifted the baby off his lap and up so he could look them in the eyes.

“That’s right. Bryce,” Cartoonz affirmed. Bryce giggled and clapped his hands together, smiling tiredly, before he yawned and fell asleep. Delirious cooed at his partner, who’s face turned another shade darker. After a second of silence, Delirious sat up, seeming to come up with an idea.

“Alright, I’ve got it! How about 'Tyler’? 'Cause it sounds like tiger.”

“You will not let the cat thing go, huh?”

“Shush up! It’s a cool name.”

Cartoonz laughed at Delirious’s indignant response. Before they knew it, both humanoid monsters were yawning and falling asleep themselves.

6

KNOW YOUR BATS: Emballonuridae family

Emballonuridae is a family of bats commonly known as sheath-tailed or sac-winged bats. I’m surprised these bats aren’t better known, because they have very uniquely appealing little faces. I think it’s the perpetually upturned nose.

They also have a stunning variety of colors, from the pure-white northern ghost bat to the dark chocolate of the Hill’s sheath-tailed bat.

Among them are some excellent camoflaugers, such as the proboscis bat, which looks like a bit of lichen or damaged bark on a tree.

In fact, many species in Emballonuridae roost on the trunks and branches of trees, in broad daylight, depending on their camouflage to keep them safe. They like to do it in neat little lines.

Sometimes they also stack.

You may have noticed their short little tailed. They’re sometimes called sheath-tailed bats because these tails protrude out of the membrane between their back legs, which can be pulled up to “sheath” the tail. Here’s a video if you don’t quite understand what I mean.

As I mentioned earlier, they’re also called sac-winged bats. This is because they have special pouches near their wrists designed to release pheromones into the air when they flap their wings. Below is a close up of the pouch, closed and then opened.

For the most part these are very small bats, with weights as low as three to four grams- one of the smallest, the proboscis bat, can get caught in spiderwebs and eaten.

Aside from roosting in trees, these bats roost in caves, crevices, and occasionally, human-made structures like wells or stone tombs. Because of this, several species are known as tomb bats. They’re pretty adorable little harbingers of death if you ask me.

Photo credits:

Main set (species in photo caption): Bat Conservation Intl / Jasmine Vink / University of KwaZulu-Natal / Merlin Tuttle / Michael Penney

Emedded in text: Bateleur Nature Reserve / ARKive / Riley Pearce / PSUNHM / Christian Ziegler

Watch on the-earth-story.com

Neat view of bats crawling around a conservancy cage during the day