Bad Duck by Sarah Ford

Sonia waited at the back door, dancing in her impatience. She was waiting for Johnny and Terry to get off the school bus so they could take her to see the new rabbits and chicks at Gramma’s house.

“What’s taking so long!” she thought as she peered over the railing to the porch, standing on her tippy-toes. “When I get big and go to school I’m gonna make the bus go faster!” she declared to her friends, Mrs. Mouse and the Olyphant. Worn and sewn back together a few times, her trusted stuffed animals waited with her.

Sonia waved at the bus when it stopped by their house, and watched as Johnny and Terry walked through the gate and up the stairs to the front porch. “So are you ready to go to Gramma’s?” Johnny asked, as he ruffled Sonia’s hair and grinned at Terry.

“Right, look at her!” said Terry, laughing as she watched Sonia wriggling, excited and impatient to get going. “We’ll go change and walk down. Mama and Daddy can come get us after we eat with Gramma, ok?” Terry asked as Sonia helped her with her school books.

Sitting back on the porch, waiting for them to change, Sonia told Mrs. Mouse and the Olyphant, “I’m gonna go see baby rabbits and baby chicks! So stay here away from the duck so she doesn’t try to eat you again. Remember the duck grabbed you from the top of her house and chewed you to pieces? Mama had to fix you!” She gave them a kiss she left.

Walking down the road to the church was always exciting for Sonia. They took the path behind the church that lead to Gramma’s back yard. Sonia loved walking with Johnny and Terry on that path; they’d put her between them, hold her high and run down the hill. Sonia’s feet would barely touch the ground, but she felt like she was flying.

As they reached the hill, Johnny glanced over at Terry, and then looked down at Sonia as they got ready to go down the path. “OK, now, are you ready to fly?” he asked her.  Sonia nodded as she wiped her hands on her shorts, excitement building. “Oh God I’m gonna fly!”

Feeling the wind on her face as they ran down the hill, Sonia could smell the animal pens; hear the chickens and the pigs in Gramma’s yard. Shrieking with excitement and happiness, she knew it was her perfect day.  Skidding to a stop, they looked down at Sonia and laughed as she wiped the sweat and dust off her face, excitement glowing through the dirt.

Terry opened the gate to the yard, and Sonia started running to the rabbit pens, Johnny and Terry trailing. They heard it before they saw it, the flutter of wings and the unmistakable sound of the duck.

That duck was a guard dog for Gramma’s back yard, attacking anything not in a cage, except for her. Gramma usually had it penned up in the afternoon, especially with the new babies to see and cuddle. Yet, there it was, having jumped over the top of its pen and getting ready to attack.

Johnny and Terry grabbed Sonia, yelling “Run!” Sonia’s short legs couldn’t keep up with them, and she started to whimper. Sonia knew it would tear her to pieces like Mrs. Mouse and Olyphant. They picked her up and all thoughts of bunnies and chicks flew from Sonia’s mind as she felt her feet lift off of the ground.

They hit the bottom step to the back porch as Gramma came to see what was going on, and she moved to get a piece of wood from her pile by the porch. As soon as they hit the bottom step, the duck latched onto Sonia’s heel.

Screaming, Sonia tried to shake off the duck, but it wouldn’t let go, no matter how much she shook her leg. Johnny and Terry tried to hit the duck and knock it loose, but its wings were fluttering, in the way. Terry felt her own tears starting as Johnny looked for their grandmother for help.

Sonia managed to shake the duck off her foot, watching her shoe fly one way and the duck another. Taking a deep breath and looking back at the duck, she got ready to let out a scream. Sonia froze in shock as the duck made another lunge for her, clamping its beak on her shoeless heel. Screaming in her head, she froze, staring through her tears at her foot and the flapping wings of the duck.

Suddenly she heard her Gramma yell “Don’t move!” as she swung the wood at the duck. Johnny and Terry quickly moved out of her aim, holding on to Sonia. The second swing made contact, stunning the duck long enough for Gramma to push it off her. Gramma quickly pulled Sonia into her arms and went into the kitchen, Terry trailing behind, shaken. Johnny was running up the hill to get their parents.

Sonia finally broke her shocked silence, “I want Mama and Daddy! My foot hurts! Gimme Mama and Daddy!”  Out of breath with that outburst, she watched as Terry took off her sock so Gramma could survey the damage. Gramma went to get the vapo rub; it cured everything.

Mama and Daddy came bursting in to the kitchen, out of breath from running to the house. Seeing them, Sonia started crying again, “The duck wanted to eat my foot! Stupid duck!”

Gramma left the kitchen with Daddy, leaving Mama and Terry to distract Sonia from the racket outside. Finding only a bruise, they walked over to church to give thanks. Gramma said not to come to dinner until Daddy could bring her, but it was ok to bring Mrs. Mouse and Olyphant from now on.

Dinner the next night at Gramma’s was chicken tacos. At least, they told Sonia they were chicken.


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