Written on Sept. 6, 2013, 10:59 p.m.

Work often requires me to write about the tangible, the concrete, the non-abstract. I'm usually attempting to do something, be it introduce a concept, sell a product or inform a reader. Sometimes, though, I like to think a bit outside of the lines. Here's the beginning of a story-to-be. Comments and critiques are always welcome :)

No-Wings looked up at the sky, sadness in his eyes. "I-I-I've read th-the signs," he squawked, his beak emitting puffs of warm steam that made the world feel just a bit brighter.

"And?" Whitetail looked at his son curiously. No-Wings didn't make a sound. "What did you see?"

"They're not coming, father, they're here. They're here, and they're outside our walls, awaiting the sunrise sacrifice."

Whitetail sighed. This wasn't good. It was the third year that these skin-wearing creatures had landed on their shores, poised and ready to steal the luck-bringers for the new year. "Why?" he wondered aloud. "They aren't even tasty." Who would want these huge fish anyway? They were smelly, full of fat and reeked of rotten sea. But the igloo tribe needed them, needed them to keep the people safe. It was just an old legend, but sometimes legends came true in the land above the waves...


Father's being awful-ly silent, No-Wings thought. Maybe he knows. Best get out of here before he asks me why I reek of sea stink.

No-Wings raised an arm, gingerly, as if it hurt him to move it. "Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? I smell charred fishies, and I'm starving!" He finished his expression dramatically, seemingly mustering up the last of his strength to throw his arms into the air. I wonder if that's convincing enough.

It must have sufficed, because Father wearily raised his arm in a half-salute, mocking his only son. "Go then, but we all know that too much char will just make you turn gray faster." He chuckled, thinking of his days as a young bird. "Turning gray isn't all it's cracked up to be," he muttered, ruing the loss of his youth. It all seemed so distant now.


No-Wings rubbed the remnants of his wingtips together and opened his beak wide. He'd have to figure out a way to sneak all this food out of the cooking igloo and past the guards. He had tried carrying it all under his wing once, but it had backfired when he slipped in a frozen puddle, sliding all the way across the floor, fishies scattering every which way. It was this incident (and more specifically, his lack of balance) that had earned him his nickname, but he didn't know that.

Faking a yawn, he stuck out his arms and slid them casually under his bowl, as if looking for a fork. It didn't occur to him that penguins didn't use forks. No-Wings grunted a bit when he lifted the bowl. It barely rose an inch off the table — Mother had filled his bowl to the brim, a kind gesture that he usually appreciated. It wasn't every day that the cooking igloo served a feast like fishies. But he wasn't particularly hungry today, and besides, he had a quest to complete. Putting a wing over his bowl so fish guts (the best part!) wouldn't splash out, he dragged the bowl off the table, leaving a fresh puddle of cold water in his midst, glancing around as he did so. Everyone else seemed immersed in their steaming fish stew, which they seemed to prefer to charred fish. Why, he was never able to fathom.

He took one last look at the ones he called family, and stood up. "Goodbye, suckers," he whispered, before turning on his heel and strutting out with as much grace as is possible when holding a bowl of steaming fish guts.

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