by Margo Fallis
You Can Run, But You Can't Hide
A tiny fish darted under the
green, leathery looking lotus that was floating on top of the lake. It
swam in and out of the slender reeds that swished back and forth as the
delicate waves rolled in on the shore. Raida, the coral pink flamingo,
stood on one leg, the other tucked up underneath her feathered belly.
She stood very still. Slowly she dipped her long, curved beak into the
crystal blue water, nudging the lotus pad up on one side. She wanted to
eat the little golden fish, but it was too fast for her, swimming
quickly away to safety.
Up on the sandy, desert shore; a
dirty-skinned jackal crept up, hiding behind a flowering hibiscus bush.
He'd been watching the flamingo as she stood in the shallow water of the
lake. He was thinking how delicious it would taste, pink feathers, long
spindly legs, and all. Tall cypress trees surrounded Akram's lair. Early
that morning, he'd only been able to think about how hungry he was. Now,
here was gazing at the soon to be feast standing before him. He crept
closer to the edge of the water. Raida had her back to him, so she
couldn't see him. Closer and closer he crawled, placing each paw down
softly on the hot sand, one step at a time. He was about to pounce at
the flamingo when, much to his dismay, Raida turned around.
Akram leapt off the hot sand,
towards her, but she was too fast. She flapped her long wings and flew
off into the sky. Akram splash-landed in the water! He jumped up,
coughing and choking. A reed from the bottom of the lake was sticking
out of his ear. He reached up and pulled it as he slinked onto the
shore. He shook himself. Water flew out of his fur, going in all
directions. He looked up in the air and watched as his meal flew away,
becoming a small pink dot lost in the vastness of the azure blue sky.
Raida was frantic. That had been a
close call. The jackal had almost caught her. She turned her head back
and looked down at the jackal, as he ran along the lakeshore, following
her. "Oh me, oh my. Oh me, oh my. Here I go up in the sky. My legs are
long. My beak is curved. It's a good thing I can fly!" she squawked.
After a few more minutes of flying around, she wondered, "He doesn't
think he can catch me, does he? Maybe I'd better hide somewhere for a
little while, just to be safe." She flew through the puffy white clouds,
looking for a secure place to hide. "Ah, there's something. Hmm, what is
that pink granite structure?" she questioned, as she swooped down
towards it. "This is nice." She landed in a beautiful garden filled with
fragrant, crimson-red rose bushes. She walked over and sniffed them.
"How wonderful," she smiled. "Let's see now, where can I hide? How
about over there, next to that building? It looks like it might be an
ancient tomb." The pink flamingo walked over towards it, found a nice
spot in the shade, and sat down. "I'll be safe in here," she said,
feeling confident. Soon she was asleep.
Akram, ran, and ran, and ran,
never letting the pink bird out of his sight. "It looks like she's
headed for that mausoleum," he growled. "I'll find her. How hard can it
be to find a coral-pink-feathered bird?" After stopping for a drink
from the river Nile, which flowed from the lake, he arrived at the
mausoleum. He could smell the roses. He hated roses. He hated all
flowers. Quietly, he snuck through the gate, and entered the garden.
"Red roses! Ugh!" he snarled, hitting the bush with his paw. "Now, where
is that flamingo? I know she came in here," he said, sure that he was in
the right place. He walked around, looking behind each bush, and wall,
until he spotted something pink. "Aha, there's that bird. This time
she'll not get away." Akram slinked towards the sleeping flamingo. When
he was just a few feet away, he let out a loud sneeze.
Raida's eyes opened wide. She
jumped up. "Who's there?" she asked. The jackal sneezed again. Raida
spotted him. "Oh no!" she cried out. Seeing that she had nowhere else
to go, she flapped her wings and flew up into the deep blue sky.
"Come back here!" Akram roared.
"I'll get you!" he warned. He dashed out of the garden, threw open the
gate, and darted on to the hot sand surrounding the mausoleum. He chased
after the pink bird as it flew away.
Raida flapped her wings. She
tucked her long legs up underneath her as she flew away. "He found me.
How did he find me?" she wondered in disbelief. "Now where will I hide?"
she wondered, gazing down at the desert below. She flew around in
circles for a while, flying over the lake, the hills, and the Nile
River. "Oh me, oh my. Oh me, oh my. Here I go up in the sky. My legs are
long. My beak is curved. It's a good thing I can fly!" She spotted some
ruins from above, that weren't far from the mausoleum. She flew down,
landing near the ancient crumbling buildings. Raida could tell that
this place had been long abandoned. She noticed its thick walls were
made of mud bricks. Many of them were still covered with old, cracked,
paintings. "This looks safe," she uttered, walking inside through the
old walls. She found a shady place again, and sat down to rest. Soon she
Akram hadn't taken his eyes off of
the flamingo for one moment. She had flown around in circles, and, much
to his delight, landed in the building not far away, still on the west
bank of the Nile. "What luck!" he sneered. He made his way to the old
ruins. He ran up the broken steps and went inside. "I'll bet that bird
is sleeping in the shade somewhere," he smiled, his sharp teeth poking
above his gums. He looked around in the places that were out of the sun.
"I'll find her." He went from room to room, searching, and quickly
spotted the pink- feathered bird, curled up in a ball, sleeping on the
dusty floor. Her long neck and beak were resting on her back. "There she
is," the jackal laughed. He moved towards her. Slowly, slowly he
crawled. He didn't see the sharp stones on the ground until he stepped
on one. He let out a loud howl, waking the flamingo up.
"Oh no!" she cried. "How'd he find
me again?" she whimpered. She stood up, stretched her wings, and flew up
into the air, leaving the howling jackal below. He was jumping around,
holding on to his sore paw. Trying to catch her breath, Raida huffed and
puffed, "Oh me, oh my. Oh me, oh my. Here I go up in the sky. My legs
are long. My beak is curved. It's a good thing I can fly!"
"I'll get you!" he screamed after
her. Akram watched as she flew off. He dashed outside to watch her.
Again she flew around in circles, high above the river Nile. "Where is
she going this time? I'm hungry for some flamingo," the jackal drooled.
He saw her land up in the northern hills of the west bank. "Aha, she's
gone to hide in some of the ancient tombs," he said, running through the
sand towards them. "I can taste that flamingo already."
Raida spotted some holes,
indenting the hills that sat behind the ruins she'd just left. She flew
down to them and landed. The sand was very hot up there, so she quickly
went inside on of the caves. "This looks like some kind of tomb. There
are a lot of them around here," she muttered to herself. "But at least
its cool in here, and surely the jackal won't ever think to find me
here." She lay down next to a wall that was covered in hieroglyphics and
closed her eyes.
Akram didn't know which one of the
tombs Raida had gone into. He started looking through one, and then
checked each of them out. They all were much the same, being covered
with paintings and strange writings. Hours passed, and he began to get
tired. He'd not been able to find the flamingo yet. "One last tomb," he
snarled angrily, entering through the hole in the side of the hill. He
walked back through a long darkening tunnel. There were a lot of small
statues, broken, and leaning against the walls, more paintings and
writing, and this cave even had a sarcophagus in it. He didn't see the
flamingo until he tripped over her and fell flat on his snout.Raid woke
"What was that?" she asked. She
looked over and saw the dirty jackal. "Not again! Leave me alone!" she
cried and ran out of the cave. "He found me at the mausoleum, the
ancient ruins, and now in these old tombs. Where can I go now? He'll
never leave me alone!" She flew up into the sky, looking down for
another place to hide. "Oh me, oh my. Oh me, oh my. Here I go up in the
sky. My legs are long. My beak is curved. It's a good thing I can fly!"
She was tired of being chased. She saw a quarry, and swooped down for a
closer look. She spotted what looked like an obelisk, lying on the
ground. "Nowhere to hide there," she said and continued flying. She
spotted the town, Aswan, off in the distance. "There's a town. I'll find
peace there," she sighed, flying towards it. She landed in the soak.
There were shops and stalls galore, selling scarves, leather goods,
baskets, fruits, falafel, and jewelry. Raid landed near a stall that
sold pistachios. She walked around, touching everything. There were so
many colors to be seen. Surely the jackal would never find her here.
Akram picked himself up off the
floor inside the tomb. He rubbed his snout. The flamingo had escaped
again, and this time he hadn't seen where she went. He didn't even dust
himself off. Feeling discouraged, he trotted out of the cave, down the
hill, giving up on having flamingo for supper that night. "I might as
well go into Aswan. Maybe I can find a mouse, or a chicken to eat," he
sighed, and headed towards the town. When he came to the river, he had
to hide in a felucca that was sailing across to the east side.
The flamingo was having fun. She
tried on some scarves. Most of them didn't look very good with her
coral-pink feathers. She tried on some gold chains, looked at a leather
handbag, and some woven reed baskets. The sun was beginning to set in
the sky, setting it ablaze, with different shades of purples, pinks, and
bright oranges. She put some of the baskets down and looked up at the
clouds. The setting sun gave the sky the appearance of a canvas of
beautiful colors. She was so caught up in the beauty of twilight that
when she put the other baskets down, she knocked a bottle of perfume
over. It fell to the ground. The glass bottle shattered into many small
pieces. All of the perfume flew onto her feathers. She grabbed a scarf
and tried to wipe it off.
The jackal ran into town. He
looked around for a mouse, or anything else that he could eat. He
rummaged through the garbage cans in the alleys, went into the narrow
streets that ran behind the buildings, and darted from shop to shop,
searching for something, anything, to eat. The sun was gone behind the
horizon as he came to the soak. He looked towards one of the shops, and
to his surprise, saw a splotch of pink. "What luck! The flamingo is
here!" He began to drool with hunger again. He wasn't going to take any
chances this time. Instead of creeping up sneakily, he ran as fast as he
could, into the crowded soak, knocking things over. He leapt right up
next to Raid. He stood in front of her, snarling angrily. He was about
to gulp her down when he got a whiff of the perfume all over her. "What
is that horrid smell?" he asked. "Perfume? I don't want to eat a
flamingo that has perfume on it!" He snarled and growled in anger. He
would just have to settle for a mouse! He pushed the flamingo out of the
way, and ran off in the opposite direction.
Raida was relieved. She stood up,
brushed her feathers off, then a huge smile came across her beak.
"Hmmm," she thought. "Oh me, oh my. Oh me, oh my. I don't have to go up
in the sky. My legs are long. My beak is curved. Now I never have to
fly!" She happily strolled over to the perfume shop, and bought a
bottle. Later that night, after she'd had a falafel, she flew off to the
lake with the perfume held tightly in her wing. From then on, each
morning before she went to the lake, she dabbed some fragrance on her
feathers. "This will keep the jackals away," she smiled. And so it did.
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