It was a bright morning in the early part of summer; the river had resumed its wonted banks and its accustomed pace, and a hot sun seemed to be pulling everything green and bushy and spiky up out of the earth towards him, as if by strings. The Mole and the Water Rat had been up since dawn, very busy on matters connected with boats and the opening of the boating season; painting and varnishing, mending paddles, repairing cushions, hunting for missing boat-hooks, and so on; and were finishing breakfast in their little parlour and eagerly discussing their plans for the day, when a heavy knock sounded at the door.
'Bother!' said the Rat, all over egg. 'See who it is, Mole, like a good chap, since you're finished.'
The Mole went to attend the summons, and the Rat heard him utter a cry of horror.
The Rat let his egg-spoon fall on the table-cloth as he jumped up from the table and dashed through the parlour door.
In the bright sunlight, the Rat could see, slumped at the threshold of the front door, the body of the Badger. Badger's left eye stared unseeingly at him whilst the right side of the face was completely missing; the Rat suspected that the congealed mass of fur, brains and blood that now covered the door had moments previously been an integral part of Badger's features.
As both The Mole and the Water Rat surveyed the scene before them, the Badger's front left paw twitched spasmodically; it was at this point that Mole vomited egg all over the floor.
'What the fuck...?' was all the Rat was able to say before they heard the booming approach of heavy human boots. In a flash, a huge, human hand reached down from the sky outside and, momentarily blotting out the bright morning light, it grabbed Badger's bloody carcass and hauled it away.
The last thing the Rat and the Mole heard, as the human strode off into the distance, was the human shouting to a distant colleague:
'Straight through the head, Frank, cracking shot. Let's see how many more of these bovine TB carrying-vermin we can get culled today, eh?'