The Inquisitive Kangaroo
Abigail Wilson 2014
I could no longer see the trees that were but metres away. They were replaced by a grey haze that grew thicker as the seconds went by. This horrific event had only happened once before in my lifetime and my memory of the event was as clear as the smoke in front of me. I was only a joey at the time. The grass around me rustled with panic as my peers rushed, alarmed and confused, in search of refuge.
Despite the fact that the surrounding commotion was positively deafening, I still managed to pick up a distressed cry far off in the wilderness. Instinctively I bounded towards the call of the suffering creature. The outcry was distorted by the crackling of the flaming bark and the relentless thumping of my family. I was unaware of the identity of the panicked being. I just assumed it was another native in need.
I felt the beady eyes of many fearful kangaroos, like lasers in the back of my skull. I knew what they were thinking. “He has no regard for all the kangaroos he is getting in the way of” “he must have some sort of brain disorder”. I worked against the voice in my head telling me to just turn around now and follow everyone else. I knew that I needed to prove that my actions were purposeful.
I was sick of being the puny and pointless little joey with an annoying habit of wondering off at inappropriate times. But there was a googolplex of questions in my mind that drove me to take as many as 3 unexpected disappearances a day. I never seemed to find any significant or conclusive answers to my many queries.
From now though that was all going to change. If I could succeed in salvaging this terrified individual’s life, imagine the influence that would have on my future existence. Respect, dignity and love are just a few of the things I could find if this mission went to plan. No one would question me anymore. My annoying disappearances would turn into adventures of triumph and glory.
This image of a better life gave me an unnatural burst of energy that got me to the scene of the incident in rapid time. The screaming was almost unbearable now. I was at the site of a burning shack that consisted of materials like tin, bark and old tyres that were giving off a putrid smell as the fire devoured them.
My eyes finally landed on the engineer of the sorrowful cry. My body slowed to a stop. The heat of the smouldering trees and shrubs melted away and I felt the marrow in my bones freeze rock hard. There it was, man. As I continued to gawk at the being though, my fear began to melt away. Its face was blackened, torn and constricted with horror. Its clothes were shredded and stained with blood. His wrinkled and seared skin was bruised purple and blue. He was weak, vulnerable and powerless. I never thought a human was capable of this.
For years now I have been subjected to endless propaganda from my elder relatives. I was forced to listen to lectures about the ruthlessness, selfishness and savageness of mankind. I was taught to fear them, hate them and to never give them sympathy.
The wailing went on but now came a new sound. A wave of pitchy noise becoming louder every second. Soon what I thought was a gigantic red car rushed into view and stopped in front of us. More men got out, I almost ran as one spotted me cowering amongst the mighty gums. Then he smiled at me. I froze confused but comforted at his expression. He soon turned away and joined his fellow men in extinguishing the merciless flames. The spare men rushed to the aid of the perishing human and removed him from the wreckage carefully.
My heart suddenly filled with anger. How could my peers and elders make such horrid assumptions about these caring animals? They ridicule these creatures whilst they run away from children and friends to save themselves from burning.
The blistering heat finally caught up to me and I decided to leave the humans and seek refuge outside of the burning bush. As I hastened to catch up to my family, I thought to myself “Mankind has remarkable values and not just ones to protect oneself. Maybe, just maybe, one day humans will come for us and help us through this ever changing world.