Gentel was a small bird town on the island of Guam. They lived near Howlee Jungle, and, because of the small patch of black and white stripes covering everyone’s tummy, they called themselves “Kiwi birds with the zebra fur.”
Summer days were hot and humid, so on nights such as these the entire community would mingle. The Kents, the Murdles, the Lanas and Hirtles, all flocked together, kids drinking sugar-water and eating fruits while the parents danced and danced. They were great dancers. What they could not do, however, was fly.
That didn’t bother anybody except King, a girl bird with the big, royal name, and a big idea. So while the other birds continued to enjoy their Saturday, King remained hidden in the fortress of her home putting the final touches on her new project: a flying suit.
She’d made one for every member of the Kiwi family. The suits that hung in front of her were single handedly the greatest inventions ever. Plastic Aqua Fina bottles made the body. She’d attached wings made from twigs and the finest scotch tape. The clear body of the suit showed small strips of tape layered with dashes of fig paste to hold things together. King began to attach each suit with a small plastic name tag for everyone in her family.
As King put on her own flying suit she could see it all now: Jumping off the palm tree in her backyard, flying softly on the wind, everyone would look in awe; landing, she’d receive a roar of applause from everyone in Gentel.
“I’ll be the star, the hero of the town,” King thought to herself. “Everyone will want one, good thing there’s enough for the family.” King stood on the palm tree, snug and comfortable in her flying suit. From this far up, she could still see her little sister Koko sitting in the middle of their yard tasting their father’s police hat. King thought of all the other cool places she could fly to like Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo and then suddenly,
She fell. King grabbed her claws into the trunk of the palm tree, and then slid. She could feel the nails on her feet chip away as they tried to hold on. All she could hear was her nails screeching. Until finally, everything stopped.
King’s little action had landed her a couple feet from the ground, clutching onto the trunk. She shook, thumped, and hit the grass. At first King was thrilled that her flying suit had not been scratched or dented.
While King rolled herself up, she noticed that everyone in her family was right in front of her, and from the look of her parents they were absolutely furious.
“What on earth was the meaning for this, King?” asked King’s dad. “And what exactly are you wearing?”
“Well,” King began,“This is my new project, I’ve made a flying suit.”
“A what?” King’s dad said.
“Well, I thought that because no one in Gentel could fly that I could--”
“You could what?! make some way for us to fly? You could’ve been hurt!”
“I just wanted to help.”
King’s dad stormed into the house.
King heard snickering and laughter coming from her brothers and sisters. They still thought of her as a little, witty baby.
“SHUT UP,” King screamed.
King’s mother came close to King.
“It’s okay, Baby,” she said softly.
King broke from her mother’s arms.
“I AM NOT A BABY,” she screamed, and ran off along the main road.
“I guess Halloween came early,” said one of her neighbors.
“Is that what everyone’s wearing now King?”
“Leave me alone!” King shouted. Her eyes filled with tears. She wouldn’t even bat them away because she didn’t want to see the hundreds of kiwi birds laughing at her.
King ran for hours, and lay behind a large banyan tree. She wiped her tears with the dangling leaves and wept until she couldn’t anymore. She sat on the border between the jungle and the golden sands of the beach.
“I can be on the beach all by myself,” King thought, “ I don’t need my parents.”
Suddenly, a large roar rumbled throughout the beach. Pelicans, parrots, and toucans flew from the jungle.
“That doesn’t seem like a good sign,” King thought. “I better get back to the woods.”
The sun, the clear blue sky, and white clouds changed to dark grey. Leaves rustled and rain started to gush. Huge clouds of fog covered the beach.
King could hear sharp thuds of palm trees falling to the ground, but she could not see them in the fog.
“Run!” King screamed, “There is a storm coming!”
She ran herself smack into the same banyan tree she had sat behind. In a rage King scratched the trunk.
“This can’t be happening,” King screamed. “Why can’t I just get back?”
She brushed against the same leaves she had used to wipe her tears. Instantly, King had an idea.
Using the dangling leaves as rope, King climbed. Sharp raindrops stung her face, but King held tight. The wind rocked her. She could feel herself rocking back and forth.
A pair of ants watched King struggle.
“You can do it,” said one ant.
King tried to find where the sound was coming from.
“You can do it,” repeated the other.
“I can’t” King cried, “I’m just a kid, I can’t. I’ll just wait, the rope will snap any minute.”
“Look up,” said the ant.
King saw that she was only a few inches away from a branch.
“I can do it,” King thought.
King sat on the branch. Fog stared her in the face; King dived into it. She felt as if she were floating. King flew through the fog, she could see blue skies and a bright sun. She flew across the island of Guam, past Gentel and past Howlee Jungle.
“I DID IT” King screamed. “I DID IT!”
King circled, spun and twirled in the air. She was free.
“I have to go back to my family” King thought. “I can’t leave them behind. That’s not what big kids do.” King headed towards Gentel.
Howlee Jungle had turned into a swamp. There was nobody. No pelicans, no toucans, no parrots, and no sign of Gentel. King continued to circle the jungle.
“Kiwi Birds!” King shouted. “Kiwi Birds! Mom! Dad! Anybody!”
Howlee Jungle was silent.
“The Kiwi birds have to be around here somewhere,” King thought.
As King soared, she could see the sun starting to set. She still needed to find a place to rest.
“I can look tomorrow,” King thought.
While she found fig berries to eat, King watched the water for signs of her family. Searching, King thought she saw a submarined flying suit. Staring, King whispered to herself,
“I’m not a baby.”
Raised in Rome, Italy, the author is a lover of fiction, languages, and writing. He plans to continue pursuing children's writing. When not writing, he enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and fencing.