This story is actually based on a pair of ducklings that I rescued several weeks ago-this is what I imagined they had gone through before being picked up by me.
The muted rumbling of the throbbing engine reverberated through the car, and as it speeded over the bumps, the cheeping box in the back jolted about, bouncing off the sides of the boot. Inside it, two tiny ducklings huddled close, peeping with fear. One was jet black, with splodges of butter-yellow on its soft, downy feathers. The other was a classic golden, with a bright orange bill and webbed feet.
Suddenly, the car screeched to a halt, leaving the poor ducklings slipping and sliding on the smooth, scratchy floor. They felt themselves being lifted into the air and heard the thunderous footfalls of the human as he carried them out of the car. The temperature in the box increased noticeably until it was sweltering. The little ducklings began to pant, in a futile attempt to regulate their bodies. They felt the box go bump and the lid was lifted. A frowning face peered at the ducklings. They cheeped frantically in fear.
The man groped around inside the box and grabbed one of the fluffy balls. Pulling it out, he plopped it unceremoniously on the sandy ground and went back to fetch its sibling. When they were both out of the box, the man ambled towards his car and zoomed away. The two ducklings scurried about calling desperately for anyone to come to their rescue. Strange sounds rang in the balmy night air. Cicadas chirped, and a cat’s eyes glowed celadon in the darkness. Shadows flitted between the looming branches. The ducklings hurried towards a bush as fast as their little legs would carry them and crouched in the twigs and leaves. It was going to be a long and frightening night.
When dawn’s rays glistened across the rippling water, the ducklings cautiously emerged from beneath the bush. They had miraculously survived their first night out in the open! They ran, peeping, to the water’s edge and immersed themselves in a thorough cleaning of their soft feathers.
They saw some dignified adult ducks cruising across the mild waves, and hastily waded in the water to join them. But they were promptly chased away, as the mature ducks didn’t want some pestering ducklings trailing them.
Powerful sunlight blazed down. Summer was in full swing, and the sun had no mercy. It cracked the dusty ground and wilted the colourful flowers. Soon the ducklings’ throats were parched, but they didn’t dare to drink the foul lake water for the fear of being poisoned. The toxic chemicals in the water had already taken its toll on the duckling’s delicate skin: it was red and raw.
The next day, the yellow duckling was having trouble dabbling and walking. Weakness was overpowering it. The lack of hunger was finally destroying its tiny body. But then, a hero appeared…
A young girl vaulted over the railings and shepherded the ducklings against a wall. When they were marshalled into a corner, she gently stretched out her fingers and picked them up. She nestled them close against her chest and raced back to her house. Placing them in a cardboard box, she set about making a comfortable brooder. The ducklings would never have to be victims of duck dumping again. They were safe at last.