That afternoon, Timmy climbed up the lush, green mango tree, its widespread branches laden with fruit, and onto the branch with the nest on it where it forked. The yellow-beaked myna was nowhere in sight. But he could spy three little hatchlings squeaking about, waiting for their mummy to return. With snappy, wriggly worms no doubt.
He sidled across the branch, carefully, and then leaned over to have a closer look.
Just as he’d thought. Three little squeaky things. Noisy with hunger. Or fear.
With his pudgy fingers, he poked their fluffy, feathery bellies, ignoring their anxious chirps, and fed them pebbles and twigs covered in their own droppings. He almost puked on touching a wad of fresh droppings himself. And hurriedly wiped his soiled fingers on the mango leaves, the branch, with disgust. “That’s it,” he said. “Nothing else to see or do here, unless …”
Afternoons became a time of great danger at the Duck Pond Inn. And everybody tried to avoid the boy at first.
When he came, all creatures ran for cover. Those who could climb up the trees, dashed up them. Those who could burrow, burrowed even faster. And those who could fly, flew away swiftly to the outer trees. Far from the reaches of the wicked boy. Or so they thought.
For the brute was persistent. And moved through the foliage methodically, like a skilled hunter. Scanning the tree line, the shoreline, the grounds with his binoculars. Ready to trick and torture anything that moved.
“Bang, bang,” went Timmy as he began his reign of terror against the inhabitants of Duck Pond Inn with a steady firing of his air gun. His first targets, the many visiting ducklings (Old Mr. and Mrs. Duck’s great-grandchildren) playing catch in the pond. Their very sleepy and content grandparents, happy to have the kids for the summer, dozing nearby.
“What was that?” asked Old Mrs. Duck nudging her husband, as she woke up to the first wave of shrieks ripping through the woods. And let out a feather-ruffling shriek of her own.
“Duffy playing dirty again, is he?” muttered Old Mr. Duck lazily, stifling a yawn. One half-opened eye scanning for the miscreant, the other one already ready to doze off.
To their horror, it wasn’t Duffy. Or Fluffy. Or Snuffy for that matter. Who looked up to Duffy as if he were some sort of a cool dude. It was the boy from the cottage. Taking potshots at their great-grandkids. Flashing his wicked, wicked grin.