The Fledgling: Part 3

By: Malena Esposito

How did the Fledgling go from a happy bird with a happy family to a lost little soul, estranged, deserted?

It starts with his parents. While Sumatra might’ve been a peaceful paradise for most, the same could not be said for all. The Fledgling’s parents fought, and they fought fiercely. Such an environment was not healthy for a developing duck, and it impacted his mental growth and stability. This is where the second stage comes in. Those “unrelenting tears” derive from his mother and father’s inability to get along, their inability to act in unison.

One day, it was just too much. His father left without a trace. To this day, the Fledgling still does not know the location of his father, or if he’s even alive. His mother on the other hand, was a brilliant bird. It’s miraculous how she even ended up with such a deadbeat. Once his father left, she was able to be the parent she always wanted to be. She loved and cared for the Fledgling more than she had ever cared for another. And it was these traits she demonstrated that the Fledgling looked for when it was time for him to leave the nest and find his own companion.

This companion’s name is, or was, Flora. She was vibrant, she was eccentric, and she was his soul mate. Flora had such an impact on him, in fact, that his pink appearance comes not from his own heredity, but his permanent state of blush due to her presence.

Flora and the Fledgling spent many happy years together on the island of Sumatra. The trauma caused by his father’s abandonment had diminished, and the Back-Left Duck failed to make his usual appearance. Rather, Front-Right Duck came forward, emerging from the ashes that were his pain and misery. After some time, the pair was able to truly have the life they always wanted. Without the Fledgling’s fear that he would do to his offspring what his father did to him, he was able to reproduce with Flora, creating three beautiful, breathtaking birds.

By this point, his identity as the Fledgling was more prominent than ever. He was no longer a mere duck, but a spectacle to be seen by all of Sumatra. His caw was exemplary, his beak was robust, and his complexion was lively. He was an embodiment of family, an embodiment of success. It felt too good to be true, and it was…

They came in the middle of the night. They were huge, they were loud, and they were scary. Nobody had expected such a woe. The men were fully equipped with suits, masks, nets, and hooks. Why were they here? What did they want?

It happened all too suddenly. Birds across the island squawked and screeched in pain. The Fledgling panicked. His happiness was being taken away from him, quite literally. Before he knew it, everyone was gone. He was the only duck on the island. He could feel Back-Left Duck taking over. The abandonment, the loneliness, the anguish…it was returning…and it was unavoidable…

 

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