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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Bullies of the Bush

Bullies of the Bush

As the morning sun burst over the horizon, the bush was set ablaze with color. The red sand absorbed the heat and soon the animals were feeling it. "This is going to be a hot day. Itís only sunrise and already Iím parched," Kiah complained. "Iím heading for the billabong. Iím going to have a long soak." The platypus waddled towards the water.

"Sheís right. Itís going to be a warm one. Weíd better have a splash about and then a long drink before we try to find our way back," Wandi, the kangaroo suggested.

They spent the next few hours playing in the cool water. "Are we ready?" Yinki laughed. "I have a craving for a wichetty grub. I canít wait to get back to my tree," the kookaburra sighed.

"Me too," Banjori agreed. "My mouthís watering for a delicious eucalyptus leaf," the koala said, licking his lips and patting his round, furry tummy.

"Thereís no use in complaining. If youíre all ready, climb into my pouch with Boomerang and weíll try to retrace our steps," Wandi urged. One by one the animals squeezed into the tight pouch.

"This is not comfortable," Jiba moaned.

"What are you complaining about? Youíre an echidna, with sharp spikes that poke everyone," Daku, the wombat said.

"I canít feel my legs," Tinka cried. "Boomerang, move your tail."

"Youíve got a tail too," the joey complained to the skink.

"I canít feel my legs either," Nimu said, "and Iíve got eight of them."

"Mum, Nimuís hairy legs are tickling my tummy," Boomerang giggled.

"Iím a trap-door spider. What do you expect me to do with my legs?" Nimu growled.

"Is everyone settled? Iím ready to hop now," Wandi said to the unruly crowd of animals.

She leapt toward the trees, leaving the cool waters of the billabong behind. The sun beat down on them all. "Iím hot, mum," Boomerang complained. "Itís crowded in here."

Wandi looked at her joey. "Patience, Boomerang. Patience."

After an hour on hopping, they all dozed off. Wandi was grateful. At least she didnít have to listen to their complaining for a while. She spotted some boulders in the distance and headed for them. "They look familiar," she muttered to herself. "Maybe Iím heading in the right direction after all." As she neared the sandstone rocks her ears began to twitch. "Whatís that noise?"

Banjori woke up and yawned. "Why have we stopped?" he asked. The others woke up as he spoke.

"Whatís the matter?" Daku asked.

"Shhhhh. We might have some trouble. Itís Boomer and Old Man," Wandi whispered.

"Who is Boomer?" Tinka asked.

"Whoís Old Man?" Yindi wondered.

"Theyíre two male kangaroos. Theyíre known as the ĎBullies of the Bushí. If they spot us, theyíll surely give us a hard time," Wandi sighed.

"Iím not afraid of an old man. Iíll poke him with my spikes," Jiba, the echidna threatened.

"His name is Old Man. Heís not an old man. Heís a powerful kangaroo and Iím afraid heís a bit nasty and mean," Boomerang replied.

"Oh. Why donít we go that way then?" Jiba asked, pointing to the left.

"I say we go that way," Kiah said, pointing to the right.

"I say we go back to the billabong. At least itís safe there," Yindi chimed in.

Just then the two male kangaroos looked their way. "Oh no, theyíve heard us. Here they come," Wandi cried. "Stay in the pouch!" she warned.

Within seconds Old Man and Boomer were standing in front of Wandi and the others. "What have we here? Look at this will you, Boomer. Itís a flyer with a pouch full of bush animals. Have you ever seen anything so funny in your life?" Old Man laughed.

Boomer reached over and grabbed Kiah by her bill and pulled her out. "Well, well. If it isnít a platypus. Whatís a duck-bill doing out of the water?" He tossed Kiah into the sand. She landed on her back."What else have we in there?" Boomer stuck his hand in and pulled Tinka out. "Itís a skink. Show me your blue tongue," he demanded.

"I donít want to," Tinka shivered in fear.

"If you donít show it to me, Iíll have to yank it out of your mouth," Boomer laughed.

"Leave her alone. You two are bullies. Why donít you go and jump off Ayerís Rock?" Boomerang said.

"Look, Boomer. The joeyís the bravest of them all," Old Man chuckled, pulling him out by his tail.

Wandi had enough. "Leave them alone! Tinka and Kiah, climb back into my pouch. Boomerang, inside," she demanded.

The platypus struggled to roll over. She and the skink climbed back in. The joey followed.

"Youíre awfully brave for a doe, arenít you?" Old Man snarled.

Once the rest of them were safely in her pouch, Wandi lifted her legs and kicked Boomer as hard as she could. He went flying through the air. "Letís get out of here!" Banjori shouted. Wandi hopped away as fast as she could.

"Boomer stood up and brushed the dirt off his fur. "Weíll get you. You canít run from us," he shouted. He and Old Man hopped after the flyer.

"Hurry, Wandi. Theyíre coming after us," Nimu said.

Wandi hopped as fast as she could. She didnít stop until she was back at the billabong. "Quick everyone, climb out and hide," she said.

Kiah ran into the pond. Banjori climbed to the top of the nearest tree. The wombat and trap door spider found a small cave and squeezed inside. Jiba rolled into a ball and hid herself in the tall grass. Tinki slithered under a rock and Yindi flew into the branches of a tree. "Where are we going to hide?" Boomerang asked his mum.

"Stay in the pouch," Wandi said. She hopped down to a stream and hid behind a tree. It didnít take long for Boomer and Old Man to arrive at the billabong. "You think you can hide from us? Weíll get all of you!" Boomer shouted.

The two kangaroos searched high and low, but couldnít find any of them. Just then Old Man spotted Wandi. "Sheís down by the stream," he whispered to Boomer. "Letís get her!" They hopped towards her.

"Stay away," Wandi cried, as the two kangaroos moved in on her.

"Weíll teach you to run away from us," the bullies sneered.

Boomer was about to give Wandi a kick when out of the stream crawled a huge crocodile. It must have been fifteen feet long with huge teeth. "You two bullies giving this doe a hard time?" It opened its mouth wide and ran after Boomer and Old Man.

"A croc!" screamed Old Man. "Run!"

The two of them hopped away as quickly as they could.

"Youíre safe now," Rando said. He could see that Wandi was nervous. "Donít worry, I wonít eat you. Iíve had my fill for the day." Seeing that the croc wasnít going to harm them, the others came down to the stream. "If thereís one thing I canít stand, itís a bully! Two of them is even worse."

"Thanks for saving us," Wandi smiled. "I donít suppose you know the way back to the baobab forest, do you?" she asked.

"Canít say that I do. I donít wander too far away from here," Rando said, looking at the stream. "Keeps me cool. Itís home," he laughed.

They spent another night at the billabong with their new friend, the croc. "Tomorrowís another day," Wandi told them. "Weíll try another way then." They feasted on barramundi, bugs, and eucalyptus leaves, and slept soundly, knowing the bullies were gone, for now at least.

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