Need to Know
Narkal's New Bird's Eye View
Narkal flew over the smaller boats docked in the harbor. His mind was blown. What he had thought his whole life were floating rocks were actually floating vessels that could travel far out in the sea, yet always find their way back to the port. What was this place? He was eager to explore!
Very close to the harbor was an exciting market, bustling with people. Familiar faces!! Other fish! Narkal flew over to the fish market to get a closer look. As he approached, he realized his friends were lifeless and just lying there. Some were missing their fins, other had had their heads cut off.
Frantic, Narkal flew to hide in an alley where no one would see him. Overwhelmed and his heart racing, he found it hard to breath. The air was so stinky and dirty here, not like over the ocean.
Giant blocks stuck out of the ground and reached towards the sky. He flew higher and higher to get a better view over these manmade structures. A thick grey cloud lingered over the city. Narkal couldn’t stop coughing. He knew he had to get out of this smoggy, grey cloud to catch his breath.
Far in the distance, Narkal could see that this giant rock stretched beyond the tall buildings of the city. He saw an area far in the distance that looked lush and green without big buildings and no thick grey cloud. Narkal flapped his wings as fast as he could to get to this majestic place. He hoped he would find a safe place to rest.
Exhausted, Narkal eventually found a quiet place to curl up and take a nap. He tucked himself into a blooming flower, the petals wrapped around him like a blanket. As the sky grew dark Narkal drifted off to sleep.
As the sun rose, Narkal awoke from what seemed to be the craziest dream... or nightmare. He heard a loud roaring in the distance and realized it wasn’t a dream after all. He was on the edge of a field that was slowly being eaten by a giant roaring beast!
Narkal jolted out of the flower that had been his bed. He knew he had to get away from the field before the roaring combine ate him, too. Searching the area for a new place to hide, Narkal saw a long white building and flew towards it.
He peaked inside. The building didn’t have any actual windows, so he peered through a crack in the door. Inside were hundreds of birds. The smell was horrible! Narkal couldn’t believe it. None of the birds could fly, and they were stuck in this hot dark building. The floor was covered in their poop. Someone let them out!!
Narkal realized this wasn’t the safest place to hide. Now that he had wings, he might be mistaken for a bird and imprisoned with the rest of them.
On the run again, Narkal flew over the next open field. The biggest bird he had ever seen flew above him. This bird had a rumbling cry. A white cloud emerged from its tail and dusted the field below. Narkal coughed and his eyes started to burn. Something about the cloud made him dizzy, and he knew he needed to get away from this field too. Where could he go now?
Dazed and confused, Narkal tried to get as far away as he could from that crop-dusting plane he assumed was a giant bird. He flew over a rolling valley and passed a beautiful river. He saw a much smaller field that was vibrant with color. Yes, the other fields were green, but the leaves on these plants were glistening in a way the other crops were not. Plus, these plants didn’t smell like the awful bird fart he witnessed engulf the other fields.
The sun was starting to sink in the sky. Soon it would be dark, and Narkal knew he needed to find a safe place to rest for the night. He settled into a blooming potato flower. Lying in his new bed, he remembered all the bizarre things he encountered today. The fragrant pollen from the flower soothed his wandering mind, and soon he drifted off to sleep.
Narkal awoke refreshed and ready to bravely face this new world. He rolled out of his flower to find… Chickens!! Just like the birds locked in the prison at the other farm..., but these were out-and-about walking around freely. The biggest one with the most tail feathers must be the pod-leader. This chicken was definitely the loudest and the bossiest.
A lady with gray hair and purple apron emerged from the farmhouse with an empty basket. She poked around where all the lady chickens had been sleeping and cheerfully picked up smooth, round stones. She praised the chickens and kept telling them they were such good hens. The woman picked a few bright red tomatoes and leaves from the garden before heading back inside the house.
Narkal had to check this out! What was she doing in there? He peered into the window. The woman was swaying back and forth while singing to herself. She cracked four of the smooth round stones into a large bowl. They weren’t stones at all! Inside was liquid gold.
She lit a fire and chopped up some of the veggies from her garden. “Honey! Breakfast is ready,” she called out. A man appeared from a different room. Together they sat at the table and ate what she had made from the liquid gold stones.
‘How wonderful is this!’ Narkal thought. ‘I must find a way to free the other chickens. Do the farmers who locked them up know they can provide them with liquid gold?’
Narkal flew back to find the other farm. On his flight back, he noticed more farms he didn’t remember when he was so dizzy from that massive bird fart. One farm had a stinky mud lot filled with filthy pigs. Another had a quaint small garden as charming as the older lady’s.
Narkal could tell a difference in the fields that were dusted by the giant bird fart. These fields didn’t seem to have any bumble bees or butterflies. In fact, they hardly had any insects at all. Narkal decided to enjoy the view and follow the river back to the chicken prison. He was quite thirsty, and this would be the perfect opportunity to get a drink of water.
Narkal settled down by the river, relieved to get back in the water. He took a big drink… ‘Blahhhhh!!! Gross!! What was this liquid?’ Choking, he spit up the toxic water in his mouth. It tasted like the giant bird’s fart. The little bit he swallowed made him light headed.
Then he realized something was different. There weren’t many fish in this river. Oh wait, there’s one... belly up. ‘Why? So stinky! Why?? I’ve never seen a fish belly up in the great blue sea.’
‘I’ve got to get back to the chicken prison,’ Narkal thought. He sat on the river bank and gathered his thoughts. Why are some of the crops so luscious and great smelling, and others covered in the toxic bird fart? Why is this river, by the bird fart field also so toxic? The bird didn’t fly over here. He couldn’t figure out the answer, but something was drawing him back to the chicken prison.
Narkal flew over a few more fields. This time he was more aware of the difference in the crops. He even noticed a deep infected wound on the earth’s surface. This sore must have been infected because it smelled rancid. From a distance it was gray and lifeless, having no plants growing. It seemed to be a dumping ground of old things: old food, old plastic, old metal. What a dump! All the trash no one wanted near them compiled in one place.
Finally, he reached the long white barn with no windows. Oh wait! The doors are open!! They are freeing the chickens!!! Yes! They must get it. They realize the chickens are capable of making gold.
As Narkal got closer he noticed a big silver truck. How cool! It’s almost as big as my mom! The men were shutting the chickens inside. All of these chickens were now in this beautiful silver bullet. They must be going somewhere important! The engine roared, stirring up a cloud of dust and rumbled off.
‘Where are you going? To a happy farm?’ Narkal needed to know. The dust was potent, but Narkal tried to keep up with the truck. Eventually the truck pulled into a driveway much closer to the city with the thick cloud. This place had bigger buildings than the quaint farms, but the men here wore similar outfits. One of the men backed the silver truck up to another big building. Was this another prison??
It didn’t seem like a prison. This building wasn’t full of chickens, but it smelled horrific. The big silver truck levitated its front end, dumping all the chickens out the back. “Ouch!! Ouch! Ouch!!!” they cried fall on top of each other.
The man driving the truck shook everyone’s hand and said, “Thanks guys. See you next time.” Then the men got to work trying to heard the chickens into their new prison. Well, this place seemed a little fancier than the cramped barn.
The chickens were coaxed onto a magical moving carpet. How fancy! Narkal was able to crouch in the corner of the big barn without being noticed. The men set up their shinny tools as the chickens camp up on the magic carpet. The leader grabbed the first chicken by its legs. It squeaked fiercely. With the shiniest instrument Narkal had ever seen, the leader slashed the chicken’s head off! This is where the magic carpet ride ends?!?
Narkal watched in horror as one-by-one the gold-bearing creatures were decapitated. Next, they were stripped of their pitifully matted feathers. They reminded him of the fish he saw at the market: lifeless, slashed, and missing their most prized features.
Horrified, Narkal realized he needed to get out of the building. After sneaking out he searched for the nearest field that didn’t smell like the big bird’s farts and caught he breath.
‘I’ve got to get out of here,’ Narkal thought. ‘If I make it back to the port maybe I can find my way back home.’ Narkal could see the big buildings in the distance. He flew towards them, crossing many different farms on the way.
Some fields reeked of big bird’s farts while other smelled sweet like the old lady’s garden. Narkal noticed many different animals as well. Some cows were tightly crammed in dirt lot pins. Others had plenty of fresh green grass to eat. He smiled back at these cows. They had a peacefulness about them.
As Narkal approached the city, he was more cautious this time and more aware of what the people were doing. He noticed a man on the street in tattered clothes. The man was begging anyone who passed ‘For Change.’ A young woman offered him a half-eaten sandwich, and he scarfed it down as if he was starving.
Narkal also noticed a fancy store featuring the brightly colored crops he saw growing on the farms. The people on the other side of this window were well dressed and didn’t seem as hungry as the man he had seen on the street. For some reason, they were able to go into the store, fill a basket of the beautiful food, and walk out with it.
Narkal was so confused. Did the poorly dressed man not know about the fancy store with the beautiful fruits and vegetables?
‘Ahhh!’ A green reservoir for Narkal to sit down and contemplate what he just witnessed. Narkal stumbled across the park from its rear corner. He perched himself in a bush with wide leaves. Finally, some peace and quiet to wrap his mind around this bizarre world.
Narkal wondered, ‘Was it ok to go back to the sea and eat plankton like he grew up eating?’ It was the tradition in the sea to eat other fish… it just seemed normal. After all he saw, could he go back home and pretend like he didn’t realize what was happening in this other world?
‘Whhhhoooooooaaa!!!!!!’ Maybe Narkal wouldn’t have to stress about any of this after all! A hairy black and white face with brown eyes was hovering over him… growling lips dripping saliva on his forehead. Like no other animal he had seen before, Narkal had an up-close view of pearly white canine teeth a hair’s length from his face.
Narkal gulped, clearing his throat. 'This is how it ends… I get it. I am officially part of the food chain now.' Narkal closed his eyes and cringed, waiting for the slobbering beast to make a snack out of him.
Will Narkal escape?
or will he meet his destiny as a tiny, meaty snack??
Click here to access Chapter 3