Friday, January 15, 2021

# Apo's Army # short story

Norduck's Adventure

As some of you may know, my oldest turned 21 this week. I cannot believe that it's possible, but here we are! To celebrate such a momentous occasion in my family, I wanted to share one of the stories from my upcoming book, Apo's Army. The plan is to bring the book to Kickstarter in March, but more on that later. Let's get to the story! 

Norduck's Adventure

    Just the other day, I went for a walk with my family. There were six of us, seven if you counted my mom. We liked to go for walks. We never knew what we might see. Quite often we would end up walking on this grassy area that was next to a huge parking lot and a school.  I liked the school area. There was always so much to see. There would be kids running around, people hanging out in the parking lot, and my secret favorite, tons of cats! The cats never paid us much attention, but I would watch them as we walked around. My family all looked the same, but every one of the cats looked different. They were so cool.

Like I said, we were all going for a walk. My mom decided to cut across the parking lot instead of staying on the grassy area. One by one, we followed her. I wasn’t really paying attention to where we were going though. I was busy watching all of the cats. There was a really cool black and white one hanging around. He kept walking up to the other cats and swatting them. I was trying to figure out why he was doing that when…

The next thing I knew, I was falling! 

I landed in some water and once my heart stopped beating a hundred miles an hour, I looked around to see what had happened. Everything was dark though. I couldn’t really see anything. I looked up and I could see light, but it was so far away and broken up by dark stripes. I didn’t see my mom or my sisters or brothers anywhere. 

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed that there were tunnels that branched off of the space that I was in. I was floating in the water but thought that I could hear my family down one of the tunnels, so off I swam. 

I swam and I swam and I swam, but the tunnel was dark and I couldn’t find my family anywhere. I tried calling for them, my quack bouncing off of the walls of the tunnel. They didn’t answer though, and I was getting scared. I decided to go back. Maybe the other tunnel would lead to them. They must have noticed by now that I wasn’t with them. My mom would be really worried. I had to figure out how to get out of here and back to them.

Paddling my tiny legs, I swam back to where I had fallen in. I noticed that there wasn’t as much light coming in, but I didn’t let that bother me. I knew that I would be back with my family before it got dark. When it was dark, we would all cuddle up together and sleep. They wouldn’t go to sleep without me, right?

I tried the other tunnel, but it didn’t go very far. When I reached the end, I turned around and went back. I cried out again for my family, but I didn’t hear them. I did hear someone talking though. It sounded like they were coming closer. I was scared so I hid in the tunnel entry. I watched the place where the light came in and scooted back even further when there was a loud noise and the grate was moved. The space was filled with light, and as I looked up, something dark leaned over the hole. I could hear it talking, but I was too scared to listen. 

Then, it disappeared, and I breathed a sigh of relief. It hadn’t seen me. Then suddenly it was back, and it was talking to me. It knew I was there! I didn’t know what to do, so I stayed hiding in the shadows. I watched as it lowered a big stick into the water with a box attached to it. What was it doing? Why was it putting a box into the water? I could still hear it talking, but it didn’t seem to be talking to me. Who was it talking to?

Then it went away again. I could still hear it talking, but it wasn’t leaning over where I was. I decided that I had better not stick around to see what it was going to do next. I swam back down the long tunnel. I kept quiet for a long time as I floated there in the dark. I’m just a small duck and I was getting so tired. It had to be close to my bedtime by now. 

I couldn’t help it. I started to cry. I just wanted my family and to go home. I was tired of swimming. I just wanted to go to sleep. I was crying so much that I didn’t notice at first that there was someone standing above the grate that I was under. They were talking excitedly but I didn’t hear them through my tears. As I cried, I drifted back into the tunnel, so I didn’t see it when the grate was removed. Then, through my tears, I heard not just one person but two people talking. 

I sniffled and started to listen. They were looking for me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I heard them mention my mom. Did they know my mom? Could they help me find her and my family? Did they say that my mom was by where I had fallen in? I wasn’t sure, but I hurried back just in case. I called out to my mom a few times, but she didn’t answer.  Instead, something swooped towards me and before I could move, I was scooped up and put down onto the grass. I was scared and sat very still. Whatever had scooped me up was on top of me and I couldn’t really move.

The two men leaned over me, talking about how great it was that they had saved me. It was great, but didn’t they know that I didn’t like being squished? Why didn’t they just take me to my mom? It was dark out and way past my bedtime. I didn’t want to get into trouble. I decided that I would just lay really still and hopefully they would let me out soon. 

I yawned, but nobody saw it. I kept hearing the one man talking, but there wasn’t anyone else there. The other man had left to go to the store. I wasn’t sure what a store was, but I hope that it meant he was bringing back my mom and some food. I was really hungry from all of that swimming. The man kept talking and talking. He seemed really excited. He said something about putting me with some other ducks. I didn’t know any other ducks, so I didn’t think that this sounded like a good idea at all. Then, I heard a boop boop boop noise and he was talking again. He told someone his name and about me! 
Then, I heard another boop noise and the man started talking to nobody again. He said something about a phone number, whatever that is. Then there was more booping, more of him talking, and then another boop. I had no idea what was going on. 

The other man came back, and he had a box thing in his hands. I had no idea what that was for and really just wished that they would let me go. Nope. They put me in the box! Can you believe it? They rescued me and then trapped me! I was really starting to wonder if they even knew my mom. I don’t think that they did. 

The next thing I knew, I was being put into an even bigger box thing and one of the men got in with me. There was a lot of discussion about being thirsty and something called tea. I guess that’s something that people drink. I just wanted to go to sleep so I did. Maybe when I woke up I wouldn’t be stuck in the box. 

Later that night, I was let out of the box and put into another one. This one was bigger though and didn’t have a lid so I could see out. There wasn’t a lot to see. The sky was a funny color, but at least I had some water and a cozy place to sleep. The man who had brought me here kept looking at me. A couple of times he took me out of the box and put me on his shoulder. I don’t know why he did that. I’m not a parrot, I’m a duck. 

Soon I got tired again and I curled up in the corner of my box. When I woke up again, I was back in the giant box. I didn’t know what to do so I just sat there. After a little while, the giant box stopped moving and the man got out. He picked me up and we went up to a big building. A lady came out the door and she looked at me. She ran her finger over my head, and it felt nice. Then she took me from the man, and we went inside the building. I don’t know where the man went, but I haven’t seen him again. I hope that he knows that I’m glad he got me out of that dark place. Maybe the lady told him.

All of this happened a while ago. I still live with that lady. It’s not just me though. There are a lot of ducks here. We like to sit around and tell our stories. We all came from different places. Sometimes a new duck comes, and they’re hurt. We all do our best to help them feel welcome. I like it here, but I still miss my family. I hope that they’re okay and all my brothers and sisters grow up to be big and strong. I wish I could tell them to make sure to watch where they’re going, but I’m sure that they know.  After all, they never fell into the scary place. I still wonder why that black and white cat was hitting the other cats. That sure wasn’t nice of him. We don’t have any cats here or I would ask them. 

Oh my gosh, guys, I forgot to tell you…those two guys who saved me? They told me that my name was Norduck. It seems like a funny sort of name to me, but I like it. When the other ducks ask me how I got the name, I tell them that once upon a time (like two weeks ago), I knew a man named Nortoh who helped me get out of a scary place. We don’t really use long names here, but I do like telling the ducks that my full name is Norduck Poinsettia. Doesn’t that sound big and important? I may be small now, but I’m going to grow up to big a big and important duck. 

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