Tigger took a long sniff of the open air, having been nearly fifteen years since the last time he was able to breath such. Outside of the Ashwood County Prison was a greying seven-foot tall bird, who was not only fatigued from his job, but tired of seeing old friends come and go through the iron-box.
The large bird's name was Owl, and he had run Ashwood's police unit since he could remember. However, Owl had retired ever since a young boy named Christopher Robin went missing. But as the years passed, a deep promise lingered with Owl, and the reason he stood at the gates of Ashwood County Prison was due to that very fact.
Tigger slowly bounces over to Owl, his tail weak and scarred from years of prison brawls. Owl smiles, giving a quick glance at the prison, and then back at the withered, striped giant. “It's been a long time, Tigger. Glad to see you stayed alive in there.”
Tigger doesn't flinch, his jet-black eyes stuck on Owl's oval saucers. He goes to release a feisty rebuttal, but holds it back in, only replying with one question: “Why'd you come here, Owl?”
Owl smiles, but it is not one summoned from happiness. “Oh Tigger,” he says, placing his feathers on the beast's shoulder. “I came here to tell you that we have finally found Christopher.”
. . .
Hours later, Tigger sits with Owl inside of his tree-carved manor. Tigger looks at the old photos, reminiscing of the younger years spent in Ashwood's vibrant forest. Owl interrupts, as he places a cup of coffee in front of Tigger. Tigger reaches for it, but then combines whiskey from a flask.
“Still on the juice?” Owl asks, as he watches Tigger close the cap, swooshing and mixing the two liquids together.
Tigger looks down at the bottle, a dark history behind it. He places it behind him, back into his pants pocket. Ignoring the question, he bargains another. “You said you found Christopher? Where is he, Owl?”
Owl sighs, lifting a folder and placing it down in front of Tigger. “I don't know if words would do it justice. Look for yourself, kid.”
Tigger pauses, now not wanting to travel down the rabbit hole. He finally opens the folder, only to find what nightmares are made of inside, displayed through horrific photographs. He quickly closes the folder, pushing it away with his free hand. “It can't be. Goddammit Owl, who did this?”
Owl sits, taking the folder away from him. “We found Christopher's body three years ago. He was twenty five, living alone just twenty miles outside of Ashwood. Kid was suffering from schizophrenia they said, lost contact with a lot of his close friends, eventually dropping down into narcotics. We believe he began selling the dope he was using. Ended up working with some bad people, who worked for even worse.”
Tigger is now pissed, the flask is back out. “Get on with it.”
Owl smiles, knowing Tigger's inner rage. “The friends he was hanging with, worked for your old friend.”
Tigger freezes. An image passes by his eyes. “But he died in the explosion...”
Owl tosses a folder in front of him. On it, the label reads “THE BEAR”
“So you thought,” Owl says. “He reappeared several years after you got put away. We figured he faked his death at the Great Honey Pot Robbery. Word is Pooh and his Pals have made a return, and they're taking out anyone that steps into Ashwood's territory.”
Tigger opens THE BEAR folder, revealing photos of the one responsible for such nightmares. This is no yellow bear he once knew. This is the Devil. He looks back at Owl, closing the folder.
“So what now?” Tigger says, closing the folder. He now drinks strictly from the flask.
“That's why I released you. I want you to find and locate Pooh and his Pals and take them out one by one.” Owl says, now his eyes as serious as Tigger's. “This job is off the grid, you hear me? You and I are the only intel on it, and it stays that way.”
Tigger sits for a moment, before standing up and making his way to the wooden leaf-shaped door. He pauses, looking back at Owl.
“After all of these years...” Tigger asks as he holds the door open. “Why me?”
Owl smiles, sipping his coffee. “Because hunting is what Tiggers do best.”