The [Real] Stuff of Nightmares
The next time a nightmare rips you from a peaceful slumber and leaves you drenched in cold sweat, sitting up in bed, wild-eyed and gasping for breath, something about it will be different. That frantic 3am panic won’t be from the aftermath of a night spent dreaming of your deepest fears, of your worst paranoias or your darkest memories. Instead, it’ll be from the knowledge that a horrifyingly disfigured, unpredictably dangerous, and downright powerful creature – one that you never even knew existed – walks the same earth that you do.
As though sprung from the brain of Guillermo del Toro, this godforsaken jungle bird from hell stands a towering six feet tall, and weighs in at a thunderous 185 pounds. Unlike anything else on Earth, this walking gargoyle wears the head of a turkey, the fleshy wattle of a rooster and the inexplicable horn of a rhino. Beneath its chin, the long wrinkled neck of a vulture connects its head to the distinctive half moon shape of an emu’s body. Beneath a shaggy coat made of something closer to porcupine quills than feathers, a set of sturdy and unnecessarily powerful ostrich-like legs with razor sharp talons keep this barbaric biped upright and prowling through your nightmares.
A Modern Dinosaur
Not only does this two-legged terror machine proudly sport the Guinness Book of World Records’ title of “the world’s most dangerous bird” – but it’s also the closest living relative to the velociraptor. You know, those blood-thirsty, tiny-armed eating machine dinosaurs from Jurassic Park? The ones that made Chris Pratt miserable for like, the whole movie by eating everything and everyone around him at all times? Yeah – those guys. The cassowary is basically their long and unfortunately not-so-lost ancestor.
Okay, so they’ve got family baggage, are the living descendants of vicious, pack-hunting dinosaurs, and they’re more visually disturbing than Sloth Fratelli from The Goonies. What else could possibly be wrong with them then?
Well, just about everything else, really.
These mutant turkeys with bad attitudes hate pretty much everything, making it no surprise that they’re solitary beasts. As a general unit, they hate people in every possible scenario, are the sworn enemies to zookeepers everywhere, and, according to several loosely verified internet rumors, they are alleged to have some serious unresolved species-wide issues with cats.
As if that weren’t enough though, encountering a jogger – not someone who’s walking, someone who’s jogging – has been known to send a lurking cassowary into a psychopathic fit of rage. This jogger-induced mania eventually leads to a traumatizing high speed pursuit and unwanted sprint training for that poor, unsuspecting jogger. Apparently this monstrosity’s powerful pea-brain registers the consistent, rhythmic sounds of a jogger’s feet hitting the pavement as a clear and unmistakeable sign that a foot-stomping rival male is hot on the approach and that war has come to the land.
When The Giant Blue Rhino Chicken Attacks
Should you be so unlucky as to find yourself suddenly at odds with one of these ill-tempered, oversized guinea fowl, with its beady little eyes staring into your soul and preparing to eviscerate you in every way it knows how…what do you do?
Don’t bother running, that’s for sure. And if you do, definitely expect to be chased, and also expect to be caught. (Remember, they’re related to velociraptors and all.) These little freaks can hit upwards of 30 miles per hour, and are covered in feathers that behave more like armored quills that it uses to protect its precious body against thick vines and thorns from slowing it down as it tears through the rainforest after you like a heat-seeking missile hell-bent on mass destruction. So maybe save the energy and don’t bother running.
Once you’ve been captured and become a prisoner of the Frankenstein bird, life-threatening combat is now inevitable. You can almost definitely expect to see some very unpleasant swordsmanship involving the 5 inch murder weapons (sometimes called talons) at the end of their legs which are basically spring-loaded pistons. (Worth noting that most of it will probably be aimed at all of your vital organs, so fair warning.) If you’re still hanging in there for round two, the flightless sicko may resort to delivering a series of fierce head butts with its misshapen, wannabe rhino horn before clawing out your innards and turning you into that guy who was killed by the giant blue chicken. Whatever this senseless beast has to do in order to reassure itself that any and all threat of an encroaching foot-stomping rival male has been successfully extinguished, it will most certainly find a way to do.
Oh, and one more word to the wise – these evolutionary rejects also happen to be particularly skilled swimmers, (because, why not?!) so don’t even try going down that route.
Why, Mother Nature, why?
And so, you ask, who could possibly be responsible for raising and for harboring a hell-beast such as this? What faraway land must I be sure to never set a sneaker-clad jogging foot on so as to ensure I meet no fate as that of the deadly giant blue chicken?
On that note, I wish you the very best with whatever tonight’s dreams may bring you. I sincerely hope that your subconscious doesn’t plague you with visions of an unreasonable evil brute that’s too short to be an ostrich, too malignant to be an emu, and too warlike to be a chicken, turkey or even a swan. May our society’s true mutant and monster of the wild grant you the safety of a peaceful night’s sleep…