This story is almost entirely nonfiction. Only the plot never happened.
The story features real geological events and settings intertwined with a plot much of which could have happened. I have had much experience with almost every animal in the story and believe it or not, all of them are common animals in Australia.
This story is about Australian birds, but is very different from Wytse's. It features many other animals as well as birds, and it features birds that Wytse never talked about.
The story is also different because it takes place ten thousand years ago and involves indigenous Australians(See my article the first Australians for more information).
Here is the story. I hope you enjoy it:
Ten thousand years ago, a flock of cockatoos was heading east across a vast
desert. The cockatoos stopped at an oasis, but only briefly, for they knew that lush wetland was only just below the horizon.
The kookaburras that lived in the oasis, however, did not know this, so they stayed in the oasis, the only place the kookaburras knew that was lush and green. One of these kookaburras, a young bird named Arrowfeather, watched the flight of the cockatoos, and wondered what the birds were doing, and where they were flying to. Arrowfeather could not look at the cockatoos too long, for he had to stick to his current job, hunting.
It was not as if Arrowfeather really needed to hunt, for Arrowfeather was held in high regard with other kookaburras as son of Bladewing, head of the family. Arrowfeather only wanted to hunt.
Arrowfeather sat on his perch for almost half an hour before sighting a worm on the ground below. The worm had already started to wriggle back into the dirt. Arrowfeather was about to swoop to the ground before he was interrupted. “That's my worm!”
Arrowfeather looked up. Perching on a tree branch nearby was another kookaburra about his size.
“I thought the territory border was that rock!”
“ The border runs through the grass tree. I thought it was settled in the last battle!”
“Don't deny it. You and that robin-brained Blackfeather were the ones who ran away, not my family!”
“Don't say that about my father!”
As the worm made its way safely into the ground below, a fight began. First Arrowfeather swooped at the other kookaburra, wounding her in the wing. The other kookaburra responded by scratching Arrowfeather in the belly. “Don't you dare swoop at me! My brother Greyfeather is defending me!”
As if on cue, another kookaburra joined in the fight and scraped Arrowfeather on the face. After doing this, he said “Bluebeak, save yourself! You have a wound already.” Bluebeak flew away toward Bladewing's family territory. No sooner was she besieged by none other then Bladewing himself. Bluebeak retreated in panic.
A battle began as Honeyfoot, mother of Bluebeak, joined in and attacked Bladewing. In this way almost every able-bodied member of the two families joined in. The chaos finally ended when Blackfeather was struck down. The kookaburra fell down where laid on the ground, heavily bleeding from a torn wing. All fighting immediately ceased.
Honeyfoot flew down to her injured spouse. “What do you want?”
Bladewing was the first to respond. “I want it understood that the border is to be moved to the rock, no closer, no farther. Every member of Blackfeather's family is not allowed to hunt on our side of the rock, and doing so would be an excuse for battle.”
Soon both families were departing. Redfoot, the elder, started tending to wounds. When Redfoot came to Arrowfeather, she told him that he should cease most activity for the next day or so.
At evening, all five members of the family had gathered together outside the tree hollow the family had called home for the past couple years. The birds were silent for a while before Bladewing lifted his great beak.
Soon the entire family joined in the call, making a sound that could be heard throughout the entire oasis. The five surrounding families of Blackfeather, Goldenback, Hardfoot, Grassbeak, and Greynose joined in, making a sound that could be heard not just in the oasis but very far over the desert, to a place that it should not have reached. But if the call did not reach that particular place at that particular time, I would have found no reason to write this book.
After the sun set and the moon rose, all the kookaburras in the forest slowly went to sleep. In Bladewing's family territory, Greenclaw, brother of Arrowfeather, was appointed guard, and the family retired to the tree hollow. However, one bird could not go to sleep. Arrowfeather nudged his mother Yellowbeak awake.
“What is it?”
“I have a question to ask. Why does Blackfeather's family pick fights with us? Why do they seem to be so mean toward us?”
“That question could be better answered by Redfoot. He remembers the most about the past.”
“Do you know the answer?”
Yellowbeak waited for a long time before answering. “Long, long ago, around the time when I was born, perfect harmony existed between all families of kookaburras in the oasis. There were not six but seven families in the forest back then.
Suddenly, there was a drought, a drought which endangered all the kookaburras in the forest. Friendship bonds broke. Our family became known as the family of the fighters. The only families that actually helped each other was the family now ruled by Blackfeather and, of course, the seventh family.
In the midst of the drought, the seventh family vanished without a trace. Blackfeather blamed us. Soon the other families worked out that if they did not help each other, they might die. A peace treaty was established between all families but ours and Blackfeather's. We are still at war to this day.”
“But what happened to the seventh family?”
“Who knows? They could not have been victim to the drought, or we would have found their bodies by now. The family may have tried to escape the drought by flying across the endless desert that surrounds us. I have no idea.”
“Can I go hunt?”
“Yes, you can go hunt. Just be careful. There might be monitor lizards out there.”
Arrowfeather waited on his perch for an hour before spotting a centipede. He swooped down, grabbed it, and landed on another tree branch.
After eating the centipede, Arrowfeather noticed a rock behind him. He had travelled into Blackfeather's family territory!
Something drove Arrowfeather further, deeper into the territory. When Arrowfeather reached the top of the slope, he was surprised he had not been attacked. The guard should have seen me by now!
Arrowfeather reached the family hollow. The hollow was left empty and unguarded. The moonlight revealed signs of a struggle. There were strange tracks everywhere and kookaburra feathers were scattered on the ground.
Then, through the bushes, Arrowfeather saw a monster with pale yellow eyes: A monster that only Redfoot believed in.