Harry wasn’t exactly a particularly intelligent pigeon. In fact, one might even say that he was a bit challenged. His buddies were always trying to look out for Harry, but he would frequently slip off to try to find food in some dangerous area. He did this so frequently, in fact, that it wasn’t terribly long before Harry had developed something of a recurring dilemma.
Nearly every morning, as Nina and Frank would fly up to the top ledge of the big, white, limestone structure to rest after breakfast, Harry would fly through the bigger valley between the white structure and the similar-but-smaller, red-square structure to see if he could find even more food. Harry really enjoyed searching for food in the multi-layered caverns and the small valleys where the large, blue collect-all boxes sat. Most importantly, the reflective squares that adorned the various tall, rectangular structures played with Harry’s sense of direction. Too many times, he had flown into one, thinking that he was flying into a cave, but instead found himself crashing into another bird.
One location that seemed to captivate Harry’s interest while searching for food was the multi-layered cavern. It was a beautiful cavern with large, flat caves that opened up as the floor wound upwards and around the central wall. As each layer of the cavern wound around the center, the floor rose higher as well. The outside walls of the cavern were open, with each floor being held aloft by large pillars. It would have been easy enough for Harry to fly into the cavern through these openings, but sometimes he enjoyed flying in from the ground and then soaring his way up through the floors.
Not long after he first searched the multi-layered cavern, he began encountering a frightening beast. At once, Harry knew that the large, box-shaped creature was the dragon who lived within the cavern. At first, Harry was excited that he had discovered a blue dragon, but that excitement was quickly washed away as fear filled its vacancy.
As Harry scoured the floor for any signs of orphaned food, he heard a horrific squelch echoing from the lower layer. He quickly turned his head to spy the origin of the sound, and was at once petrified. Harry’s eyes fixated upon the large, round, black legs of the armored monster. Each of the shoulder and hip joints were well-plated with a reflective, metal plate. As the beast’s squelch echoed through the cavern, its large, glowing, white eyes glared toward Harry as the dragon charged him. Harry stood trembling with debilitating fear as his tiny bird feet seemed to adhere firmly to the concrete below him. He tried to move away from the dragon’s path, but failed to find the will to do so.
Almost as quickly as the titan had rushed upon Harry, it had ground steeply to a slow crawl upon reaching striking distance. Harry’s legs and body had begun to shake so violently, that his head wobbled wildly. A small, white dropping plopped down onto the concrete below. The foul beast abruptly let out a fear-striking squawk, and as though consciousness itself were removed in order for his survival instincts to engage, Harry immediately lost sense of his immediate dangers, and found himself flapping his wings violently as he soared quickly through the air so he could to return to the safety of his friends.
Frank spent most of the morning teasing Harry about his “dragon” from the previous day. Harry was growing quite frustrated because he couldn’t convince Frank to believe him. Nina could even be heard giggling at him whenever Frank would tease him. She denied it, of course, claiming it was a nervous coo, but Harry knew better.
Frank and Nina flew up to the top ledge of the limestone structure, as they did nearly every morning before. And as he did nearly every morning before, Harry decided to fly off through the valleys on his own in search of more food. Unlike most other mornings, however, he had grown too afraid to fly near the multi-layered cavern.
Trying to keep his mind off of the horrific, blue beast with the low, rumbling growl, Harry found himself flying as randomly as possible through the grid-work valleys. Thinking he had spied a particularly tasty crumb of biscuit near a blue collect-all, Harry swooped down into a short valley and toward a junction into another longer one, where the blue collect-all was resting.
Harry landed firmly upon his needly legs and began to approach the biscuit crumb. Though he couldn’t read, Harry immediately recognized the familiar shape of the barely-distinguishable “rl’s Jr” design blazoned upon the crumpled paper beside the crumb. Harry fixed his eye keenly upon the buttery morsel and took a final hop toward its flavorful aroma. As he inched closer to the inviting bite, a nimble starling made ample use of the opportunity to fly in from behind Harry, and snatch up the abandoned bit before he could get to it.
Harry cooed sternly in dismay at the small, blue-black speck as it disappeared into the rectangular valleys. He looked back toward the blue collect-all, hoping to find a reasonable replacement for his appropriated loot. Flying up to the edge of its open top, Harry peered down into the empty bin, and gave a disappointed coo – which promptly echoed around the empty collect-all, and cooed disappointingly back at Harry. The startled pigeon flew away without taking note of his location or direction.
Once again, landing firmly upon his spindly legs, Harry looked cautiously at his surroundings. He couldn’t shake the familiar vibe he felt. He began to investigate the flat, open cavern, but his eye was immediately captivated by the sight of a discarded doughnut missing a single bite. Without hesitation, he flew toward the open ground of the cavern floor.
The sweet taste of the sugar-glazed confectionery made the aimless adventure worth the loss of the buttery morsel of breakfast biscuit commandeered previously by the thieving starling. Harry pecked eagerly at the sweetened dough-ring, but his delight was alarmingly cut short by the low, familiar growl of the great monster that haunted his dreams the previous night. Harry turned around quickly to take sight of his surroundings. He saw nothing as he stood there, panting. His heart pounded against the inner walls of his chest. He seemed to be safe.
The high-pitched shriek immediately interrupted Harry’s return to his second breakfast as the blue, metal dragon rumbled around the corner. Again it rushed quickly up to Harry, leaving him petrified in his current position beside a freshly-tossed doughnut. The blue beast growled angrily as it approached. Again, as though leaving a calling card to alert any near-by fellow fowl of his fear, Harry left a single, white dropping beside the neglected bakery delight, and flew off toward the familiar limestone structure towering over the shorter, red-square tower next to the multi-layered caverns. He flew to safety as his heart raced faster and faster in his tiny chest.
Harry had no question that Nina was teasing him just as much as Frank. The two were practically cooing ridiculing quips back and forth all morning. Harry had even begun to beg them – either of them – both of them – to fly with him into the multi-layered caverns, but all either would do is try to come up with a more ridiculous joke. Harry flew away cooing something about the blue dragon, and left Nina and Frank to finish scavenging the busy valley for food. Nina darted between two herds of stampeding humans grab a morsel that caught her eye. She spat it out, realizing that it was a discarded cigarette.
Frank, who was always ready to give a good ribbing, made certain to let Nina know he had noticed her misfortune. Nina, an equally good sport about delivering some friendly snark, retaliated appropriately and leaped vigorously into the air. Frank had been too busy cooing maniacally at his comrade to see her take flight. Upon realization of his solitude, he quickly scanned the valley, and noticed his AWOL companion lighting gently upon the top rim of a cylindrical collect-all.
Upon discovering little more than some discarded biscuits and day-old refuse, Nina and Frank decided that it was time to rest upon the ledge and watch the activity in the valley below. As they had done nearly every morning prior, the mocking mates perched themselves atop their ledge and exchanged condescending coos about the movements of the herds of people below. It had been a fairly normal morning, until Frank realized that Harry hadn’t returned from exploring the other valleys.
Concerned about their placated pigeon pal, the two bully-buddy birds dove from their perch and descended into the valleys toward the multi-layered caverns. Nina led the flight into a short, narrow valley that ran between the caverns and the red-square structure. As she entered the narrow valley, she noticed a large, blue collect-all sitting along the outside wall of the multi-layered caverns. She swooped down toward the bin, and perched elegantly upon its upper rim.
Frank, having joined Nina atop the blue bin, hopped his way to the far side of the collect-all, and began scanning the area for Harry. Nina cooed out into the valley with concern, her heart rate slowly began to increase. She cooed again, listening as the tenor rumble echoed through the multi-layered cavern. Both she and Frank turned their attention toward the layered openings. Frank, whose eye had caught a glimpse of a discarded doughnut, jumped from the ledge of the blue bin, and glided delicately down to the lower cavern floor.
Nina, who touched down less gracefully than Frank, hopped over to the tossed torus. Frank cooed conspicuously at the single white dropping next to the doughnut, and then spied a ledge at the center of the cavern, where he might see up to the next level. Without warning, Frank took flight toward the inner wall, and cooed back invitingly to Nina. Nina pecked a pieces of the stale sweet bread, and then thrust her light-as-air body toward her fowl friend. Upon landing bedside Frank, she spat the crunchy crumb to the ground.
Frank and Nina sat perched inside the opening between the two levels of the cavern. Nina cooed solemnly as she watched the side of the blue, armored beast slam against its own body with a horrific burst of sound. The beast roared as it moved away from Harry’s lifeless carcass. Frank watched in horror as a plume of smoke bellowed out of the underside of the dragon, and rolled out from behind it, lifting into the air, and then dissipating. The dragon, apparently sufficiently satisfied with its kill, disappeared into the upper levels of the cavern, leaving Nina and Frank to mourn the loss of their friend.