So one of the things that happened at Worldcon was that I took my client, David J. Williams, out to dinner. And while we were stuffing ourselves to the gills with Italian food, or perhaps afterwards the next night, we got to talking about my own writing. And I explained how I had a favorite story of mine that I had kept from when I was in the seventh grade. And then Dave went and blogged about it...
So I feel compelled to type in the story below, complete with all the original grammar and spelling, as the secret is out. I wrote depressing duck stories when I was a kid. =) The only difference is that the paragraphs aren't indented, due to not being able to due this on Blogger.
Btw, I got an A+ on this story.
(And, any authors out there, particularly published ones, I want to see *your* juvenilia. =)
The Untimely Demise of the Quack-Quacks
Netta Quack-Quack paddled sadly around the lake. Her husband Joshua Quack-Quack had run off with Vivian Long Neck. A swan!!! What business does Joshua have with a swan, thought Netta indignantly as her feathers ruffled.
Of course, I've still got my little ducklings. The thought consoled Netta, as she watched the little Quack-Quacks' splashing each other on the other side of the lake. Netta dropped into a pleasant reverie. In the dream, Joshua was back home and they were raising their ducklings together.
A cry of "HELP" startled Netta back to the real world. Lily and Lionel were trying to drown each other. With a rush of adrenalin Netta sped across the lake. As she got closer the sounds of their fight grew weaker.
Netta swam on, using all her strength to get to her children. When she arrived at the other side of the lake exhausted and out of breath, she was confronted by Sara and Thomas.
"Mama," they chorused, "Why are Lily and Lionel floating upside down and drinking all that water?"
"They're dead, darlings," she said with a strain, "Go back to the nest and I'll be there in a minute. Go quickly dears, I'll be there soon."
Sara and Thomas obeyed Netta and swam silently to shore, wondering why their brother and sister were dead.
When they were out of sight Netta slowly turned towards her dead ducklings. She wanted to cry, but couldn't knowing unfortunately that ducks can't cry. "Oh, why does life have to be so horrible, she inwardly wailed. First, Joshua and now my Lily and my Lionel. Now all I have left are Sara and Thomas. I must protect them from harm. Tomorrow, I'll tell them about predators. Yes, tomorrow I'll tell them."
Thinking of her plan, Netta swam slowly towards shore.
The next morning the three Quack-Quacks awoke and foraged for insects and wild tubers. When all had eaten their fill, Netta announced that today they were going to learn about predators.
She cautiously made her way into the woods. Keeping one duckling on either side of her, Netta proceeded to travel farther and farther into the forest. Finally, she reached her destination. A fox's den!!!
"This is a fox's hole, children. Stay hidden in the bushes here with me. Don't make a sound," Netta warned, "If you are very quiet we may see a fox. Foxes love young ducklings, so if anything happens follow my orders immediately."
They waited and waited, until finally a red head emerged from the fox's den. Unfortunately, that was the exact moment that the now hungry Thomas chose to pounce on an insect. His feathers brushed the leaves and the fox sprang forward.
"Fly," called Netta, "Fly for your lives. Fly children, fly!!!"
Sara and Netta took off into the air, but the unlucky Thomas's tail feathers were pinned by the fox. To Netta's dismay he could not free himself. She whispered to Sara to keep flying home while she went back for Thomas.
Netta nosedived towards the fox and struck him on the back with a strong thud. The fox leaped on her while still holding Thomas and hit her on the head. Through waves of dizziness Netta watched with horror as the fox broke young son's neck. In the last moment before unconsciousness she watched the fox drag Thomas into his den.
When she awoke Netta rose into the air and searched for Sara in the growing darkness. Finally, an exhausted mother duck crept into her nest without her daughter. As the stars came out the discouraged duck fell into the blissfulness of a dreamless sleep.
Netta awoke the next day when a little bill jabbed her side.
"Mama," cried Sara, "Where is Thomas? Did the fox get him? I hope he isn't dead!!!"
Blinking her eyes, Netta faced the reality of the world as she turned to face her small duckling.
"He is dead Sara," she said without emotion, "I'm very sorry. He was a good duckling." She continued in her numb voice, "He always reminded me of his father. I rem-mem-ber when..."
Netta let out a heartbreaking cry of sadness. Sara comforted her and together they went to feed on the lake.
Unknown to them a hunter lay hidden in a clump of bushes along the shore waiting to catch his dinner.
Meanwhile, Netta was talking to Sara, "Don't worry darling. I've still got you to raise. We will be the best of friends..."
The hunter raised his gun and took careful aim.
"...of course I will never forget all of the ducklings and the husband I have lost. But, I know if I am strong enough I can overcome all tragedy."
The crack of the gun and Sara's cry of "Mama!!!" echoed across the silent lake.