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Chapter 4 - Gloomy Gang of Blueberry Road

Chapter 4 - Gloomy Gang of Blueberry Road


Berry Lane was a short road along which stood only a few houses. The road parted from Blueberry Road that was long and crowded with houses. Rachel did not yet know anyone living along Berry Lane or Blueberry Road. There was a green house at Blueberry Road that Rachel always passed from the other side of the road. Even though the house had a high metal gate, the black dog living in the house barked so fiercely that it scared Rachel. Now she changed to the other side in good time before the house.

Rachel was swinging a big bag of bagel crumbs in her hand. She had fetched the bag from the kitchen cupboard at end of the house tour. When Dad baked fresh bagels, he crushed the old ones into very small pieces that Rachel fed to mallards and ducks. A little path parted from the Blueberry Road that led through a forest to the duck pond.

Though Rachel did not know anyone yet, she had spotted a group of kids from afar a couple of times. They seemed a bit older than Rachel and they all wore black clothes, which felt funny to Rachel. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the display of all the wonderful colours when there were so many of them? The black clad kids always teamed up and when they were on the move it looked like an old black-and-white picture had dropped in the midst of summer colours. Rachel felt a bit uneasy when she thought of those black clad kids.

The dog was not on the yard of the green house, which was good. Rachel and Ringel travelled in silence.

The pond started looming behind the trees. It was usually quiet, only the birds made their occasional cackling noises, but this time there was more than the noise of the birds. Rachel saw that the black clad kids from the Blueberry Road were at the pond. She only had time to think if she should turn back when Ringel said:

- If you do not go there, mallards and ducks don’t get anything to eat. You have nothing to fear and I am with you all the time.

Rachel wondered how did Ringel know what she was thinking about and Ringel answered:

- Even if you don’t see your thoughts, it doesn’t mean that I don’t.

With these words, Rachel strolled to the shore of the pond and opened the bag of bagel crumbs. The gang of black clad kids stood about and threw sticks and stones in the pond.

When the birds heard the rustling of the bag they glided closer to Rachel.

- Hey, give that bag to me!, a big black clad girl commanded Rachel.

- I can give you some. We can feed the birds together, suggested Rachel and walked towards the big girl.

- Those fatty birds don’t need more food! They would hardly fit in the oven as they already are!

The big girl snatched the bag of bagels from Rachel’s hand and showed Rachel so hard that she almost fell. Other kids were smirking. Rachel felt like crying. She looked around but Ringel was nowhere to be seen! But Ringel had promised to stay with her all the time! The black clad kids surrounded Rachel and kept on sneering. Rachel started to cry.


- Ooh, look what a crybaby!, leered the little black clad girl.

- Look out, she might wet her diapers!, sneered a bigger black clad girl.

- Cry on baby if that’s all you can do, mocked a boy of Rachel’s height.

- She must be missing her mom and dad, snapped the bigger boy.

- Let’s throw her into the pond to match her body to the wet face!, cheered the big black clad girl and tried to seize Rachel.

But then things started happening! All of a sudden, all grownup mallards and ducks rushed from the pond to the shore flapping their wings and clacking so loudly that the entire world was filled with bird noise! The black clad gang startled and started scurrying to all directions! The smallest girl ran into a tree trunk, the bigger fell in the pond. The smaller boy fell face first into the wet sand and the bigger was caught in the bushes. The only thing to be seen of the big girl was the soles of her sneakers when she dashed along the path screaming wildly.

Rachel stayed put, startled, when she heard a familiar voice at her ear:

- Relax, Rachel, they are not going to hurt you. We agreed with the birds that they would give these rude kids a small lesson on what happens when you forget manners.

Rachel watched while the birds scuffled around the remaining kids, briskly pecking them here and there, until the last one of the kids, the little girl who had stunned herself by colliding with the tree, had regained enough brains to scuttle behind the rest of the black clad gang scampering away along the path.

- Thank you, Ring Angel, sighed Rachel relieved.

- Oh, do not thank me, thank the birds.

- But surely they cannot understand me, proclaimed Rachel.

Ringel lifted up his hand and opened his fist. A cloud of golden flakes was set out free. A glittering cloud of gold surrounded Rachel and started swirling around her. After a while, the cloud dissolved.

- Won’t we get any food today?, quacked the mallard close to Rachel and peered at her with its head tilted.

- We will, we will, once she comes back to her senses and picks up the bag and starts feeding us. Let’s all go back to the pond and look casual. Maybe she is afraid when we all are here, assured a big old duck and started waddling towards the pond.

- In we go, in we go!, clacked the whole flock of birds in discordant unison and toddled in the water and to the chicks waiting for them close to the shore.

Rachel picked up the bag of bagel crumbs laying on the ground and opened it.

- Thank you, birds!, she said and curtseyed to the birds.

- She speaks our language!, a loud cackle spread across the shores.

Rachel sat on a large warm stone by the shore, and started slowly throwing little pieces of bagel to the birds while thinking what had just happened.

The bright sun of late afternoon shimmered through the trees on the surface of the pond. A small breeze made the rays of sun look like diamonds set on golden chains, sparkling blissfully on the surface.

What a day! First Rachel had met Ring Angel, then the Gloomy Gang of Blueberry Road had attacked her and the birds come to her rescue, and now she could understand bird language and it seemed that they could understand her, too.

The ducks were blabbering away with their never-ending business, and mallards were stroking their feathers. The bag of bagel crumbs had already been empty for a while when Rachel finally got to her feet and started slowly following the path towards Blueberry Road, Ringel on her side.

- Bye-bye!, echoed in chorus from the pond.

- Come back soon to see us with a bun bag!

- You might even find us something softer to eat!

- Or soak it before you put it in the bag!

- We could have dark bread as well, you know, preferably low salt!

- And…

Requests and instructions kept on coming for as long as Rachel remained within the hearing distance, and even after that the wind carried bits and pieces of bird language in Rachel’s ears.

 

 

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