Just Ducky

A #SaturdayScenes from near the beginning of my #RiverNovel . I welcome questions and suggestions.

Someone's waking me, shaking my shoulder.

"Come on. Get up."

Pitch dark out. My alarm clock says 3 something. "Hm?"

"I have something to show you." He's dressed, and wearing a heavy jacket.

"What is it?"

He's in the bathroom and apparently doesn't hear me.

I'm glad that he can't see me roll my eyes, but he might have heard my sigh, so I do my best to transform it into yawn, and then a breath that helps me levitate my body out of bed like a hot air balloon being released.

"What should I wear?"

"We'll be sitting outside." I'd better bundle up. My clothes unfold on to my body, and I stumble out to him in the hallway.

"Grab some of those granola bars you made yesterday. We'll get hungry."

While I'm in the fridge, I grab a bottle of tomato juice, too. He rushes me out to his truck and we take off. I lean against the door frame, and drift back to sleep.

The overhead light jolts and blinds me as he opens his door. I persuade my clumsy legs to follow him along the shore of The River to a place where a heap of dark fabric is piled on the ground beside two plastic buckets and a pile of branches. He sits on one bucket. I sit on the other. He looks out over the branches at the dark River.


"Shhhh. Listen."

Our breath is noisier than the water lapping. A couple birds are waking. The air is still. A boat motor is moving away in the distance. Cassiopeia is poised in her stellar chair, surrounded by her sea nymph rivals, oblivious to us mortals.

I keep my lips slightly parted to let the crisp night air trickle in, and I remind myself to listen. I'm glad that I turned in early last night. 

The sun's first glow illuminates his silhouette. He's sitting straight up, focused on The River. I focus my eyes straight ahead, blink, dart my eyes around, and still can't see why we're here, so I go back and hang out with the fading Cassiopeia.

He grabs my knee and shakes it. I strain my ears, and hear nothing new. As my eyes turn from him toward the sky, I see blank places on the water that aren't reflecting the stars. I squint and blink and can't make out what they are. Gaps in the ripples? I look at him questioningly, but he is engrossed. I tilt my head, trying to make out what is out there. Dark shapes bobbing in the water. Dozens of them. The sunlight grows, and I still can't make it out. The sun brightens some more, and gradually the dark shapes become ducks. I gasp. So many, so close! I stifle my urge to exclaim, "Ducks!", as I point as if he doesn't know that they're out there.

The sun brightens up more and reveals their colors. Some are all black. Some show lighter markings that flicker on and off as the sunlight fluctuates while rising. The markings become steady as the sun rises more. So many ducks, and they are right here, right in front of us. We have front row center seats for this wildlife show!

We watch the ducks bobbing, some with their tails in the air. As the sun rises more, the clumps of ducks remain right here, in front of us. We must be at a bay that has good feeding, or good night-protection for them. They're right here! What if they get closer? So many of them. I think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie with birds dive bombing kids in the schoolyard. I move my knee closer to his to help me feel safer.

He grabs my knee again and keeps a tight clutch on it. I follow his gaze past the decoys, low on the horizon. A cloud is moving toward us, scattering over the water, sprinkling out, and packing together. A clump breaks off and turns in to our bay while the rest continue by. The clump lands on the water. As it drifts toward us, I see that it is more ducks. Then, the main cloud turns and swings back toward us and lands right at the edge of all of the ducks.

As the sun rises more, I see that the ducks that are closest to us are different from the ducks further out. They are less fidgety, more plainly colored. More light reveals that they are not ducks after all, but fake ducks. The newcomers fill in the spaces between the fake ones, and don't seem to mind the mixed company. The real ducks continue to move closer. HItchcock's birds come to mind again with more potency.

Now a crow breaks the morning with its cawing from the trees behind us, and I think about getting to work on time.

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You can find links to all of the scenes that I've posted by going to http://WeaverGrace.com

Photo credits:
Ukraine dnepr at krementchug by Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht. Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Modified by Grace Buchanan.
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