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This is Chapter 3 in the Adventures in Feather Grove short story collection written for my little sister's 13th birthday. Writing these stories has helped my writing attention span grow.
One day, about one week after being hatched, Fluffkin and Lilly got permission from their mama and papa to play with some of the other ducklings which lived in Feather Grove. So far, Fluffkin and Lilly were the youngest ducklings to be hatched this summer. The two sisters were so happy that they were bouncing, instead of waddling, down to the lake. Though very excited, Fluffkin and Lilly had been very obediently following behind their mama. Up until this time, the little ducks had not been this far from the nest. Nature's instincts taught them that danger could lurk anywhere.
At the beautiful sight of the lake, however, all caution and reserve flew out of the nest. Fluffkin and Lilly ran to the waters edge and quacked merrily. They soon saw a group of ducklings splashing and diving in the water. As the two sisters waddled up to the little assembly, they felt the little eyes of their peers upon them. Once again Fluffkin and Lilly were examined, but this time it was not the loving eyes of their parents which were cast upon them.
“What's your name?” said a little brown-headed duckling who acted as leader. Fluffkin spoke up as representative for herself and her sister.
“My name is Fluffkin and this is my sister Lilly. She is younger than me by about two minutes.”
“So that's why she is so small.” quacked the little duck who acted as leader. All the other ducklings laughed when they referred to Lilly's size.
“Actually,” peeped Fluffkin, “ she is small because that is just the way she is. I am not to much bigger it's just that my feathers are really fluffy.”
At this remark the little brown-headed duck shrugged and said, “Anyway, my name is Rikky and I'm the oldest in my family. These are my brothers and sisters.”
As Rikky moved his little wing in the direction of his siblings, all of his little brothers and sisters immediately straightened as if some call to attention had been given. One of the little ducklings piped up and said to Lilly and Fluffkin, “Do you want to go to the other end of the lake with us to try to catch a fish?”
Fluffkin gave Lilly a chance to since she had been quiet this whole time.
“Our mama told us not to wander far and to stay near this side of the lake,” said Lilly.
“That's okay,” retorted Rikky. “We wouldn't want such a baby hanging around us anyways.”
With that Rikky left Fluffkin and Lilly standing there and took all his brothers and sisters to the other side of the lake.
Fluffkin was silent and Lilly wanted to cry.
“It's not my fault I'm so small,” said Lily in a small voice.
“Don't worry about it.” said Fluffkin. “You'll grow just as big as everyone else. In fact, you might even be bigger. Then we'll have a problem. Giant Lilly will be too big for the nest!”
At this the two sisters laughed and quacked. Immediately, Lilly seemed to think of something sad and stopped laughing.
“What's wrong?” asked Fluffkin.
“Until I grow and get bigger no one will want to be my friend.”
Fluffkin looked intently at Lilly and said, “Lilly, I will be your friend forever and always. Your size will never change that.”
“Thanks Fluffkin, your the best!” said Lilly wiping away a tear which had escaped down her cheek.
The next day Lilly and Fluffkin's mama took them back down to the lakeside to play. Rikky and his sisters and brothers didn't even notice Fluffkin and Lilly approach. The little gang was too busy scrutinizing some new baby geese that had been born a few days ago.
“Uh-oh,” said Lilly. “I think Rikky is making fun of those baby geese just like he make fun of me.”
“Follow me,” said Fluffkin suddenly almost in a whisper. Fluffkin led the way through some marsh grasses just behind Rikky and his siblings. Deeper into the grasses lay a very large mud puddle.
“Listen Lilly,” said Fluffkin. “Follow exactly what I do.”
Lilly silently nodded and watched to see what her sister would do next. Fluffkin took a giant leap and landed right in the middle of the puddle. Immediately, she began rolling back and forth caking mud all over her feathers. Unquestioningly, Lilly mirrored her sister's movements. It only took about a minute of rolling to turn the two fluffy ducks into round mud balls.
“Okay,” said Fluffkin. “ Now let's try to stick marsh grasses all over our wings and bodies.”
Because Lilly was having such a great time, she did not wonder what her sister possibly had planned. She just went along with it. In the distance, they heard some faint crying coming from the crowd of ducklings beyond the marsh grasses. Rikky and his siblings had succeeded in making the little goslings cry. Rikky's laughing could be heard from the mud puddle.
Fluffkin convinced she and her sister made and interesting sight, now looked at her fellow grassy mud ball and said, “Lilly when I give the signal, we're going to rush out there and head right towards Rikky. Don't charge at anyone else because you might scare the goslings.”
With those words, it finally dawned on Lilly what her sister's strange actions would accomplish.
Back over where the crowd of baby ducks and goslings were, it seemed as if Rikky had succeeded, yet again, in making others feel bad. The mean brown-headed duck was just about to hurl another insult when a rustling came from the marsh grasses.
“What's over there?!” squeaked one of Rikky's sisters.
“Whatever it is it's really big!” exclaimed another sibling.
Just then two grass mud monsters emerged onto the beach and into the sunlight. The scary brown slimy creatures with their spikes extended started at a run toward Rikky the duckling. Rikky, very frightened started waddling for his life. He did not look back until he reached his own nest safe and sound safe from any marsh monsters.
Fluffkin and Lilly did not chase him the whole way home. In fact, after seeing how scared the poor little duckling was they decided to turn right around and waddle back into the grasses from where they emerged. Fluffkin and Lilly could not refrain from laughing as they washed the mud and grass from their baby feathers.
While walking home Lilly said to her sister,
“Fluffkin, you know what?”
“What” replied Fluffkin.
“You're not just my sister, you're my friend also. My very bestest friend.”
And with that a very strong friendship was established in Feather Grove, and a little duckling named Rikky never gave anyone so much as a mean look again.
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