Kickaha tries to have a normal day and just fly a kite.
Kickaha Flies a Kite
Today was a truly strange and unusual day. Why? Because Kickaha had absolutely nothing to do. The rusty orange, brown and white foxyote sat on the couch in the living room of his burrow. He wore only his usual green cloak as he waited impatiently tapping his paw for something to happen.
But nothing was happening. Which was strange. By this point in the day things should have really picked up by now. Whether it be an unwanted guest, a surprise visit from a friend, or a tornado digging his entire burrow out of the ground and depositing it elsewhere. His property value had actually gone up significantly after that happened.
He could of course go out and look for ‘trouble.’ But you can only do so much of that before you stopped being a karmic trickster and started just being kind of a jerk. Kickaha had gone looking for enough trouble lately; it was time to wait for trouble to come to him. Usually this just involved finding a suitable place to relax and wait for someone to come along and do, well, something interesting — something deserving of karmic justice, whether it be a punishment or a reward. Unfortunately, that did require someone to come along — and lately due to situations outside of everyone’s control most people were having to stay inside making it difficult to just happen to come across a ne’er-do-well (Or an ev-er-do-well). Luckily, animals like Kickaha were not vulnerable to the current pandemic and free to go out without being irresponsible. This was a fact to this day left Kickaha confused, mostly because it meant he knew a way to immunize the entire population with some magically created vaccines. Yet, when he offered his product he was met with nothing but scorn, talking about how turning the human race into animals was not the solution. That was even more confusing, since as far as Kickaha was aware humans were in fact fauna and not flora, and thus already animals.
But none of that mattered right now. All that mattered was that Kickaha was bored. And Kickaha simply could not abide boredom. It went against his very nature. He needed something, anything to do rather than sit around and start streaming things. Though that was entertaining. Sometimes he got to see baby ducklings swimming down the stream or he would catch a tasty fish for dinner. But that was hardly a day’s activity.
“Whelp, time for drastic measures.” Kickaha stood up and walked across the room. On the other side of it was a door. It was a door that at first glance looked innocent enough. It was a small wooden door that was roughly three and a half feet tall. (It was Kickaha’s home so of course everything was sized for him.) The door looked plain enough. It was painted white and had a brass colored door knob. To the untrained eye other than being smaller it looked no different from any other door. But those with the proper sixth sense could feel the foreboding malice coming from the door. Kickaha’s burrow was full of magical and non-magical items that were capable of causing a lot of damage and chaos in the wrong hands. (Luckily no one ever said anything about the wrong paws.) This made wandering around the place a little bit dangerous if you weren’t paying attention and couldn’t tell the difference between a normal magazine laying on the coffee table and an interdimensional gateway to another world. But, Kickaha moved around his abode with these dangers at ease, aware of them and not at all minding. This door however… This door frightened him. For it led to something far more dangerous than travel magazines.
It led to his storage closet.
Kickaha took a few deep breaths as he grasped the doorknob with a paw. He counted to three in his head, then slowly turned the knob and opened the door. The second the door was ajar by a single crack, Kickaha dove behind his coffee table. He quickly threw it over on its side and crouched down to hide behind it from what came next.
A tsunami of knickknacks, thingamabobs, whatchamacallits, and even some identifiable items flooded out as the door swung wide open, no longer able to contain them. The flood encompassed the entire room, slamming against Kickaha’s coffee table pushing it, and by extension him backwards until he was pinned to a wall, hiding behind his four-legged shield. More and more objects spewed forth from the closet until the room was knee- deep (for someone of Kickaha’s three foot height) before the chaos finally ended.
Kickaha’s ear twitched as he listened for the sounds of anything else that might come flying out at the last second. Convinced it was safe he pushed back against the coffee table to free himself. It took a lot of effort, and he dared not use magic for help with the current situation. Not with so many magical objects that were now laying across the room. After a few minutes he was free and Kickaha climbed up onto a hill of his own belongings and looked around.
Some people might think that Kickaha had a hoarding problem. That wasn’t true in the slightest. In fact just a few months ago he had tried to unload a bunch of stuff from the closet. The simple truth was magical tricksters such as himself tended to come across a lot of strange and powerful artifacts. Whenever Kickaha ran into these things, he tended to just run with it. It was easier to work with the flow of chaos, and even contribute to it, than to fight it. But that didn’t mean he was irresponsible enough to simply leave the items laying around after he was done.
Of course, not everything in the closet was magical. It was his storage closet. So naturally he had normal items in there as well, from seasonal decorations to cleaning supplies. Though being in proximity to the magical artifacts did have strange effects on some of them. The broom and mop had formed a union and refused to be used for any more cleaning until they were paid for their time. Negotiations quickly broke down when Kickaha asked what they wanted for payment and neither could come up with an answer. Luckily, he still had two perfectly usable vacuum cleaners.
Being careful not to step on anything that would send him to a far off world or shrink him so small his own world felt alien, Kickaha began to climb around the pile of junk and sift through it. There had to be something here he could do. Plenty of board games, both cursed and non-cursed, but he’d need some other players and well… Apparently his feline friend was in another dimension. There was always the moogle, but well it was always impossible to identify who or what he was except by luck so he was out. As he went down the list of other possible candidates he slowly realized he was going to have to choose a solo activity. Well that did at least narrow down his options by quite a bit. Kickaha continued to search. Eventually, sitting atop a pile of broken oil lamps, he found what he wanted.
A chorus of angels sang out as a golden light appeared shining from the heavens, or at least from his roof. The light was centered upon the object atop the pile, a single ordinary kite. The kite was blue, had no magical abilities whatsoever and even by kite standards was kind of plain. But it was perfect for a solo activity. It would get him outside for a bit and give him something fun to do.
The chorus of angels grew louder as Kickaha climbed up the pile of lamps. He slowly reached his paws forward and grabbed the kite, lifting it from the pile. The chorus grew to a level that could shatter class as the light intensified to the point Kickaha could barely see.
“Hey! I thought we agreed we weren’t going to do this anymore! You could at least use that Zelda music I gave you!” Kickaha shouted over the chorus and looked across the room at where there was an old Walkman radio and a flashlight sitting next to each other. Both looked embarrassed, or about as embarrassed as inanimate objects could be; and the light and music abruptly cut out.
They were simple objects, given a will of their own through different magical means. Apparently, they dreamed of being in an opera and providing the special effects and music. Kickaha wished them the best of luck with that endeavor, but had eventually relocated them to the closet after one too many dinners got away. Turns out that having a giant spotlight shined on them and loud music played tended to put mice on edge and make them bolt.
“Thank you.” Kickaha gave them a courteous smile as he knew the two had fragile egos. He then tucked his prize under his arm and headed outside to get to flying the kite.
Except there was one problem.
Kickaha lived in the woods. Even if he could get the kite up in the air here it’d only last for seconds before it got caught in a tree or something. A change of locale was definitely in order. He considered his options. Probably not the city or suburbs. He didn’t want to come off as taunting to those who were inside. He needed to find himself a wide-open area with plenty of space, no people and nothing for the kite to get caught on. He needed a meadow!
Now where was the closest one of those? The woods he lived in backed into the suburbs, meaning outside the woods there weren’t a lot of free spaces, at least not large enough to be called a proper meadow. It meant a little bit of traveling was in order. Maybe even a lot of travel. It would seem Kickaha had no choice but to travel by air. He quickly moved out of his burrow, locked up and then suddenly shrunk down in size as he became a black feathered crow with a familiar diamond-like patch on his chest.
The now crow-shaped Kickaka picked up his kite and took to the air. He should have thought of this earlier; a little flapping and cawing was always a good way to burn off energy. Once he was above the tree-line he looked around until he saw the interstate. Following that would lead him to a place secluded from the town or cities eventually. He flapped along on his way and then snickered to himself as he realized something.
He was flying his kite.
Technically, he had already succeeded at his goal, and he had done so without even intending to! Well, regardless it would be boring just to land and go back inside now. He chose to continue on. After awhile all signs of civilization vanished except the interstate which just had lines of trees on either side of it and then empty grassland. Perfect!
Kickaha flew down and landed in one of the fields before growing back to his foxyote self. He looked around. Nothing but grassland and a line of trees in the distance. Plenty of room to run around and not a soul to disturb. It was perfect.
Kickaha made sure the string to his kite was properly tied. Once he was sure everything was in order it was time. He started running full speed as the kite began to pick up on the air. Soon it was caught on the wind currents and lifted up into the air.
“We have liftoff!” Kickaha grinned as he stared up at the kite instead of where he was running. It was for this reason he didn’t notice the small mound of dirt that quickly lurched up right in Kickaha’s path. Before he know it he was hurtling to the ground, yanking the string as he did. After tumbling for a few seconds and finally lurching to a stop face-down, Kickaha groggily waited a few seconds for the world to stop spinning. The soft thunk of the kite crashing into the grass added insult to injury.
“What’s the big idea!?” A gruff voice asked from the mound that had popped up out of nowhere.
“I was just about to ask the same thing.” Kickaha laying in the grass thumped his fingers against the ground as he looked over at the source of the voice.
“If this is how the upworlders act they deserve what’s coming!” The source of said voice appeared to a mole, no a man, no a moleman. He had a star-shaped nose and was wearing a hardhat, a pair of steampunk brass and purple goggles and a long red cape. “For the invasion has finally begun!”
“Okay…” Kickaha was still tangled up in the kite string and unable to stand up. He started trying to work his way out from it. “So this is a new one. Even I thought that molemen living beneath the Earth was just a crazy conspiracy theory.”
“Oh we’re real alright.” The moleman replied. “The actual conspiracy is to make our existence seem like a crackpot conspiracy so no one would believe we were real. We’ve kept it running for hundreds of years, completely undetected by you upworlders. And now I, King Ozymandias, the Fifty-Second of his name, have the honor of leading our people into glorious battle as we conquer the upper world.”
“Wait.” Kickaha stopped trying to escape for the time being. “Did you say your name was Ozymandias, as in THE Ozymandias?”
“I am AN Ozymandias. THE Ozymandias was a human king that once discovered the molemen. And he claimed the crown and it is from his lineage that I come.”
“Okay, that raises a number of questions-“ Kickaha started.
“He had no natural children of his own and adopted.” Ozymandias explained quickly. “Among his adopted children when he chose an heir he dubbed them Ozymandias second of his name. Since then it has become customary not to bestow the title of king onto the first born, but whomever the current king finds the most worthy. The next king need not even be of royal blood. Many times a knight or even a peasant who has shown exceptional valor or intelligence has been selected.Upon being appointed as heir to the throne your old name is erased and instead you are dubbed King Ozymandias the some number or another of his name. There is no exception to this rule. Even female heirs take this name and the title king.”
“That’s certainly an interesting way of running a monarchy.” And in this case Kickaha genuinely meant interesting, as in he was curious to hear more about this civilization instead of interesting, wow this is incredibly silly. “So how did you get the title?”
“I’m the twelfth born of my mother, the previous ruler, King Ozymandias the Fifty-First of Her Name.” Ozymandias explained. “May her soul rest in peace in the eternal underground. Being born so much later, I assumed I wouldn’t even be of age by the time she chose an heir, so chose to enlist in the army and rise through the ranks to make my mark there. But she was a tough old one, made it out to a hundred and twenty, and didn’t appoint her heir till a year before her death. I was given the honor of becoming the next King Ozymandias, as the time of battle was coming and our people needed a general to lead them not a diplomat.”
“Okay, okay, I’m with you so far.” Kickaha nodded. “But why are you invading the surface?”
“Have you forgotten your own history?” Ozymandias asked his nostrils flaring with rage. “Do not forget, it was you surface dwellers who launched an attack on our kingdom.”
“When did that happen?” Kickaha was fairly certain that wasn’t covered in any history book.
“Back when King Ozymandias the First of his Name took over the mole kingdom.” Ozymandias explained. “Since that day we have been biding our time waiting for the right moment to strike back.”
“Wait, wait, wait stop.” Kickaha shook his head. “If you’re so angry at the first Ozymandias for taking over your kingdom, why do you still use his name and established system of government? That kind of seems like the first and second thing that would go.”
“Well, though he did take over our kingdom, he turned out to be a pretty good ruler.” Ozymandias explained. “He was very big on public works projects. Libraries, schools, public healthcare. Despite how he came into power no one can deny our kingdom thrived under his rule and so to this day he is regaled as a hero.”
“So… You are attacking the surface because of a thing that a historic figure your society considers a hero did?” Sometimes just describing things made reality seem a bit more sensible to Kickaha.
“Yup, that about sums it up.” Ozymandias nodded.
“Alright, alright, I can accept that.” Kickaha nodded. “But why?”
“Because regardless of how good a ruler he was, the surface still attacked us first!” Ozymandias nearly screamed. “The day he landed on the throne, injuring our current ruler and forcing him to retire, and then seized power because he had already claimed the throne.”
“Wait, wait back up.” Kickaha gave the moleman a deadpan stare. “He fell on the throne? Why didn’t anyone try to oust him? He was probably as dizzy as I am. Couldn’t somebody have just… pushed him?”
“He was sitting on the throne!” Ozymandias didn’t seem to understand Kickaha’s confusion. “And when he landed on our old king he put out his back and needed bed rest for a whole week.”
“It sounds like your old king was fine and could have stayed in power.” Kickaha squinted.
“Maybe, but Ozymandias was sitting on the throne. That made him king. It was too late to dispute it. We were conquered.” Ozymandias bowed his head in shame. “We had no choice but to dub him king, and from that day forward we have all followed in his name.”
“It sounds less like the surface attacked you and more that some guy fell into a hole, just happened to land on the throne, and you all decided to call him king.” Kickaha did his best not to laugh. It wasn’t easy. “Did you think maybe there’s not really an act to avenge? This sounds more like a comedy of errors than anything else, one that seemed to really benefit your society too.”
“He fell from the upper world and took our kingdom!” Ozymandias shouted angrily. “And that is an act of war! Regardless of the how or why, this sleight can not be ignored. Men! To battle!”
“Uh I don’t see anyone else here.” Kickaha looked around. However as soon as he said the words he saw molehills pop up all over the meadow as moleman emerged to the surface armed with hammers and pickaxes. However, no sooner had they arrived than they all began to scream in pain and hold their paws over their eyes.
“What trickery is this?” Ozymandias demanded. “You!” He pointed at Kickaha. “Have you cast some form of spell on my men? What is the cause of their pain?”
“While I can’t deny the temptation, I just think none of them are used to sunlight. If you’ve been underground your entire lives you’ve probably never been in bright light. Up here we have the sky, and the sun shows up every day. We’re kind of fond of it. Consistency. Strong work ethic. Anyway. I’m guessing your goggles are likely what spared your eyes. Might want to consider getting some for your troops.”
“What kind of weapon is this sun?” Ozymandias asked. “It seems so powerful as to use it would be a war crime.” He looked up into the sky searching for the sun. It didn’t take long.
“Wait, no, don’t look directly into it!” Kickaha warned but it was too late.
“AARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGH!” Ozymandias let out a scream of pain as he stared directly into the sun. “It’s more powerful than anything we could have ever dreamed of! Full retreat! Escape while you still can!” With that Ozymandias and his men dug back into their holes and disappeared beneath the ground.
“Well, pretty sure I just saved the Earth from an underground invasion.” Kickaha looked thoughtful. “Never thought I’d do that… But hey I guess I can check saving all of humanity once off my bucket list… Now about these strings…” Kickaha shrunk down in size again, this time becoming a small squirrel. Now that he was smaller he easily untangled himself from the strings before returning to his normal form. However, a new problem had already presented itself.
“I’m going to need a new meadow.” Kickaha looked at the thousands of molehills that were around. There was no room to run around without tripping over one every other step. “Or maybe someplace else.” Kickaha began to think to himself. The meadow hadn’t worked out. There had to be someplace else he could go instead to fly the kite. He could try a different meadow, but Kickaha didn’t like being repetitive. Shame the public parks probably weren’t a great location, being in the middle of the city where plenty of people could see. Wait.
There was a park he could go to that would be abandoned. The ballpark! The baseball stadium was closed down like many other things and locked up tight. No one in the stands, no one on the field. And plenty of room to run around. It was perfect! Why hadn’t he thought to go there first?
Once more taking the form of a crow, Kickaha grabbed the kite with his talons and took off. He flew towards the city and saw the ballpark come into view. Every door would be locked, every window closed, the place was locked up so tight not even a mouse could get in.
But that didn’t really stop anyone from flying in from above. And so Kickaha descended down onto the field landing on the home base plate, having made it in without the slightest of difficulties. Honestly, it seemed like a major flaw in their security system if they wanted to keep people out. But that was humans for you, always building things human-centric. And since humans didn’t fly (at least as far as the vast majority knew), no one had considered aerial defense. Then again, for something like that you’d need some kind of giant dome to put over it. Something that big would be hard to take on and off, you’d need the help of a dragon or something, and they didn’t come cheap.
Kickaha resumed his foxyote form.
“Alright, let’s get started.” He grinned as he looked at the kite and then suddenly frowned. The string was a mess of knots and twists from back when he had tripped. He supposed he would have to fix that first before he could attempt anything else. He moved out to the field where he could sit in the grass and slowly began to untie the string. It took a few minutes, but there were no interruptions as he finished his task and once more the kite was ready. “Looks like I was right, this place is abandoned. “Talk about your open air stadiums.” Kickaha grinned.
And then he was at it again. He got a running start as the kite slowly began to pick up off the ground. It began to catch the air and then… It was airborne! Kickaha came to a standstill, holding onto the handle of the kite watching it fly up in the sky. Kickaha watched it for a few seconds with a satisfied grin.
And that was when the meteorite struck.
Billions of years ago in a far off galaxy a planet had been met with catastrophe when its system’s sun had reached its end days and gone supernova. The entire system was engulfed in the star’s explosion, sparing not a single celestial body. However, the planet furthest out from the explosion had not been completely incinerated. Instead it had been blown into a countless number of rocky pieces each no bigger than a fist. These pieces had been spread out throughout the galaxy, many of them eventually burning up in a planet’s atmosphere or by crashing into a star. A few landed on moons that would never be discovered and some even went right into a black hole.
Of all these countless pieces, all but one had been destroyed. Exactly one piece of this former planet survived and made its way across the universe over countless years. Then on this very day that same piece came hurling down towards Earth. It wasn’t even big enough to leave a proper crater, really it only made a small hole in the ground. However on its path to said hole it went straight through Kickaha’s kite tearing a hole in the middle of it. The kite made one feeble attempt to stay airborne before fluttering down to Earth.
“Okay, I’ve considered the possibility that the heavens themselves conspired against me…” Kickaha looked over to where the meteorite had landed on the ground. “But this is far more literal than I ever thought.” He gave a remorseful look over to the ruins of his kite then slowly approached the meteorite. Considering it had just fallen from the heavens there were a number of possible dangers. It might be radioactive, super-heated or even interesting. However as Kickaha stared at it for a few moments it didn’t seem like anything extraordinary. Well, the fact it was from space was probably extraordinary enough and worthy of a place in his storage closet. He reached forth a paw to grab it-
And suddenly a purple goo-like substance began to leak from the meteorite. Kickaha took a few steps back. Goo was usually not a good sign. It was usually associated with less than desirable monsters and supernatural effects. It was a real pain to get out of fur. And to top it off, purple clashed with his color scheme. Meanwhile, the goo continued to leak until the meteorite was enveloped in a bubble of the purple substance. And then a bulge began to form at the top of the goo. It took on a round shape, then opened up revealing a single green eye.
“For eons I have slept!” The meteorite boomed, or at least attempted to boom. However due to its small size it came out more like a squeaky shrill scream. “And now that I have awakened my hunger must be sated and-“ The voice paused as the eye swiveled around and looked at Kickaha. “And why is everything so big?” The meteorite floated up into the air as it spun around examining the area. “Or it would seem… I’m small? That’s not right… Except what happened before I went to sleep…” It seemed to have difficulty remembering what had happened.
“If it helps, you basically fell out of the sky as a meteorite and landed in a baseball park.” Kickaha maintained a safe distance of five feet from the strange floating space rock as he talked to it. “Also I must say, for an alien goo entity from beyond the stars, your English is quite impressive.”
“Thank you. We eldritch horrors pride ourselves on being multilingual.” There was a note of pride to his voice. “But wait… This isn’t right. I had taken over the body of an entire planet. Then… There was… An intense burning sensation and I fell asleep and…” The rock began to bounce up and down in the air angrily. “And some rotten planet couldn’t watch where it was going or I wouldn’t be here… And then me, a devourer of planets reduced to a mere meteorite! It’s unacceptable! Very well, I shall simply start again, and make this planet my new shell.”
“Okay, I see where you’re coming from and why you might be upset.” Kickaha tried to be diplomatic. “But I’ve already saved the world once today, an event I really did not see coming, and would really prefer not to have to fight some kind of eldritch planet eater from outer space.”
“Oh it will not be a fight!” The rock tried to give a menacing laugh. It came off more like an impish giggle. “For my power is as vast as my body! And with but a thought I can destroy you! Just a single thought! Any moment now. Anytime…” The rock fell silent. “It occurs to me with my drastically decreased size my powers may have also dwindled.”
“Well glad that’s all settled then.” Kickaha took a few steps back. “So we can forget this whole making the planet your vessel thing. Perhaps you’d rather take up a new hobby. “I bet you’d make a rock solid geologist.” Complete silence fell over the ballpark as Kickaha suggested this.
“I may not have my full power… But I can still do this!” The stone suddenly hurled itself at Kickaha with impressive speed.
“Whoa!” Kickaha dove out of the way just in time. “Hey… Don’t do that! Seriously, I get you have this craggy appearance to hold up but that’s no reason to resort to violence.”
“I’ll show you craggy.” The rock lifted itself up from where it had landed near third base and hurled itself at Kickaha again.
“Seriously!” Kickaha was ready for it this time. He threw up both hands generating a circular magical barrier of light with an intricate design. Despite getting the barrier up on time Kickaha felt himself pushed back a few inches from the impact of the rock slamming into it before it bounced off making another hole in the outfield. “Just calm down. There’s no reason for this.”
“I am a conqueror and devourer! I need not calm down against one who has no-“ The rock hovered in midair and paused, the goo rippling as it thought. “Perhaps you can have a use. Surely this planet has some kind of leader. Where is your home base of operations?”
“Well.” Kickaha grinned as he couldn’t help himself. He pointed at the home base plate. “That’s home base. But it’s not our only one.” He pointed at the other three. “We also have first, second and third bases. You have to go through all three of them before you go home.”
“You think me a joke?” The rock hurled itself at Kickaha again. Remembering the impact against his barrier, this time Kickaha chose to dodge. Yet, soon as the rock landed somewhere in the field it lifted itself up and threw itself at the foxyote again.
Soon Kickaha found himself fleeing around the entire field trying to avoid getting hit in the head with a rock. Seeking shelter he glanced around and saw one possible place of salvation. The dugouts! As fast as he could he ran for them, diving into the safety of having walls between him and the rock. Of course, this was only a temporary solution. The strange creature could eventually hurl himself in here and then there would be a lot less room to dodge. Kickaha glanced around for anything that would help, then smiled as he got an idea.
There laying next to the benches were a small set of matching baseball bats. Kickaha quickly grabbed one of them, then paused and grabbed a helmet as well. Even if it was too big for him there was basic safety to consider. He had an idea, but if he was going to do this he had to do it right. First Kickaha ran for the pitchers mound.
“Do you think your primitive weapons can harm me?” The rock seemed to think the bat was a club. Well, he wasn’t far off. As soon as the rock hurled itself Kickaha sprinted for home base. The rock collided with the pitcher’s mound making another mini crater as Kickaha now stood at home base. He held the bat at the ready.
“Alright, it’s the end of the ninth ending, and it looks like there’s no hope for our home team the Foxyotes. The competitors team have simply given an out-of-this-world performance. But now Kickaha is up to bat, and with all bases loaded there is a small chance that he might be able to turn it all around.”
“What are you prattling on about?” The rock demanded.
“Would it kill you to play along?” Kickaha sighed. “You’d find your life much less stressful. Probably even enjoy it. There might be a lot of things you enjoy, you know, besides eating planets.”
“Enough foolishness!” The rock screeched and flew for Kickaha.
“The pitcher goes for a fastball. Kickaha swings.” Kickaha swung his bat as hard as he could. It made contact with the rock and it was sent flying back up into the air. “And it’s going… Going… Going… Oh wow it’s really going.” Kickaha stared as the rock disappeared as a twinkle in the sky. He was pretty sure he hadn’t hit it that hard. He was pretty sure he wasn’t capable of hitting it that hard.
Had Kickaha’s hearing been better, which is to say to a level that would make normal day life impossible to bear, he might have heard the rock shouting at him as it flew off. He would have heard complaints about this being a backwater planet and not worth his time, and that there were plenty of other bigger planets to take. But of course, Kickaha could not hear any of this because the rock was already miles into the atmosphere before it yelled these lines.
“Ok, that’s taken care of. Now… About that kite…” Kickaha looked around the field, seeing it covered in miniature craters. This place was no longer suitable. And of course his kite had a giant hole in the middle of it. That was going to need a patch job AND he was going to have to find yet a new location. “Ok, time to go somewhere else and try this. I don’t think anyone is going to come along… But if they see me here with the field in this state I doubt they’ll believe I tore up the field single handedly stopping an alien invasion.” Kickaha thought for a moment. A subterranean and extraterrestrial invasion on the same day. What were the odds?
But now where was he supposed to go? The meadow hadn’t worked, the ballpark was a bust. Where else could he try? The beach? That was an idea. But considering his luck so far he’d want to pick someplace way out of the way. That meant someplace further than he could fly. He’d have to travel by portal. Kickaha considered the number of islands he knew about, and finally picking one, he cast the spell to create the portal. He picked up the remains of his kite, stepped through the portal and found himself on the beaches of Roanoke Island. He thought it a solid choice. After all, if people mysteriously disappeared here, then it meant they wouldn’t be around to interrupt him.
Of course he had to fix his kite first. Kickaha sat down on the beach and reached into one of his cloak pockets and produced a thread and needle. He got to work, and while the kite wasn’t going to win any inanimate-object beauty pageants, he was able to patch it and make it usable again.
“Okay, third time’s the charm.” Kickaha grabbed the handle of the kite and prepared to run across the beach. However, he paused and looked around as if expecting something to happen. After all, things had kept happening on his previous attempts. He squinted as he stared around the island looking for any signs of life or mischief, well mischief other than him. But he seemed to be truly alone here.
And so he began to run. It was a little harder on the sand, but he was able to pick up enough speed for the kite to get caught in the air. For the third time it took off, and it floated into the air. Though once it was up Kickaha didn’t pay much attention to it, but instead turned his attention to the area around him, ready for whatever the island would throw at him. There was nothing. Kickaha slowly began to walk along the edge of the beach, the kite flying in the air above him. But everything looked normal, even pleasant. The wind blowing along the beach kept it from getting too hot. And there was a strangely pleasant aroma in the air. After glancing around Kickaha found the source. Where the beech ended and grass began there was an assortment of colorful flowers that were in full bloom. His kite in the air, Kickaha decided to check out the colorful flowers. As he neared them suddenly he began to sneeze. Of course Kickaha had inhaled some of the pollen. He began to sneeze over and over again. As he did, something strange happened.
Or considering the number of times it had happened before, maybe he shouldn’t consider it strange.
Either way, he felt his cloak growing looser on him, and the handle of the kite growing bigger in his paws.
“Of course they’re magic flowers.” Kickaha groaned as he began to shrink in size. His cloak began to slip off him and he had to make a choice. Try to keep hold of his cloak, or the kite? Considering he had spent all day trying to accomplish one task, he gripped the kite string as his cloak fell to the ground. He meanwhile continued to shrink to the point it was becoming difficult to hang on to the kite too. He dug his claws into the handle making tiny marks on it. The wind pulled at the kite trying to pry it from his grasp but he refused to let go.
And so the wind just took him and the kite.
Kickaha found himself lifted up into the air as he clung to the kite’s handle. At three feet tall he hadn’t been very big to begin with and now he was closer to three inches. The kite soared through the air carrying him with it as he clung to it desperately trying to figure out what to do.
But then one thought occurred to him.
“This counts!” He yelled triumphantly and adamantly despite there being no one else around. The kite was flying. His paws were holding the handle. The fact that he was less flying the kite and now the kite was more flying him was irrelevant. There was no rule that said that the kite flyer had to be touching the ground. He had technically accomplished what he set out to do.
But now what? High up in the air, looking down certainly looked like a frightful fall. The kite flew away from the beach and over a forest. Being this small, the fall probably wouldn’t hurt that bad, and he could of course turn into a crow again, albeit a very tiny one now. However, something about suddenly being yoinked what felt like an unfathomable distance into the sky tended to give rise to a certain level of adrenaline. Some might have called his reaction panic. Kickaha preferred to think of it as an elevated state of crisis management. The fact this led to less logical decisions was irrelevant.
Instead of doing any number of things to escape the situation, Kickaha clung to the kite’s handle as tightly as he could, knowing that eventually it would come down. Just hopefully on land and not over the ocean. In this regard he was correct. As the kite moved into the forest there were now plenty of tree limbs for it to get caught on. This was why Kickaha had been looking for wide open areas to begin with. The kite collided with a branch getting stuck and Kickaha found himself thrown against the trunk of a tree before falling and landing on a lower branch.
“Alright, that’s the last time I fly economy.” Kickaha muttered as he slowly picked himself up off the branch and brushed himself off. Other than the fact that he was quite tiny he was completely unharmed. That was good. Of courses now his kite was stuck up in the higher branches and it was going to be a heck of a climb for him to reach it like this.
He could try to cast a spell to change back to normal size. But that came with certain risks. The magic flowers, he didn’t fully understand how they worked yet. So trying to cast a spell to reverse the effect might work, or it might make it worse and shrink him even smaller, or it might just cause his fur to take on a polka dot pattern. Magic was unpredictable like that.
“Hey, are you alright?”
Kickaha whipped his head around looking for the source of the voice. He found it soon enough. There was a human! Two in fact which were quickly climbing down the tree trunk to the branch he was on. One was male, the other female. Both of them were about twice Kickaha’s size like normal humans were, but given his current size they were quite tiny. The male was wearing a loincloth made from a leaf while the female more of her body covered using leaves and what seemed to be the exoskeleton of some bug. Both of them had small twigs that had been carved with sharp points, though said twigs were currently tied to their back with blades of grass and not drawn.
“What?” Kickaha supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. If the flowers had shrunk him then of course it’d work on humans. He wondered if they were tourists who had been checking out the mysterious island and fell victim to the flower’s pollen. After taking a moment to get his thoughts together he glanced over them. “I take it you had a run in with the flowers too?”
“What?” The female laughed. “No, of course not! Everyone in the village has been born like this for several generations now. It was a long time ago when our ancestors shrunk down. Most of our history is oral, as they didn’t have anything small enough to write with. From what I understand, they basically wound up too tiny to live in their own homes, had to forage in the forest for food, and eventually we built a new village up in the treetops so as to be safe from the predators on the ground.”
“Wait, so… You’re the Lost Colony of Roanoke!” Kickaha’s eyes went wide. “People have been making theories about you for years. Turns out you didn’t disappear at all, you just got smaller.”
“We disappeared?” The male looked quizzical. “This is news to me.” He shrugged. “Anyway, we saw your fall and came down from the village to see if you were in need of assistance. I’m Reginald and that’s Elizabeth.”
“I see…” Kickaha gave a polite bow. “I am Kickaha of the Art. And I’m flying a kite. Or at least trying to. For some reason the universe seems dead-set on making it unreasonably difficult.”
“A kite?” Elizabeth tilted her head. “Is that what that giant thing you were hanging onto in the sky is called?”
“Yeah it’s a common toy and-“ Kickaha paused. He realized if they had been here since the colony vanished, then they had likely missed out on several technological advances of the past several decades as well as basic toys for children. And even ones that had existed at the time may have been forgotten if there was no way to make them. “But yes that was the kite. You hold on to it with a piece of string and then watch it fly in the air from the ground.”
“Seems like it’d be easier to do with a smaller one.” Reginald suggested. “I mean something that big, well as you experienced it lifted you right up into the sky.”
“Yes well I wasn’t planning to be this small.” Kickaha shrugged. “But plans change. But I didn’t exactly prepare a smaller kite, though I guess it wouldn’t be that hard to make one and…” Kickaha froze and his eyes went wide. “THAT’S IT!”
“What’s it?” Elizabeth asked.
“The perfect spot to fly a kite!” Kickaha said. “Where nothing will go wrong! No battles to save the planet! Just plain ordinary kite flying for a little afternoon fun! Reginald you’re a genius! I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner.”
“I am? But… I’m not sure what I did to-“ Reginald tried to ask.
“I gotta run! The day is getting late, and if I want to do this today I need to hurry.” Kickaha quickly began to climb down from the tree and make his way for the forest floor.
“Um, are you going to be alright?” Elizabeth asked. “It’s dangerous below the trees.”
“Oh I’ll be fine!” Kickaha waved a paw dismissively. “You have no idea how many times this has happened. Or how much more drastic it’s been in previous cases. It’s why I now have cloaks in several different sizes… Speaking of which, I should sort that out first.” With that Kickaha was gone.
“What a strange little animal.” Elizabeth said after he was gone.
“Yes, but the world is full of strange things.” Reginald agreed. “You know, I think I would like to try to build one of these kites. I bet the children would love it.” With that the two tiny humans began to climb back up the tree trunk to where their hidden village was.
Kickaha meanwhile hurried back to the beach as quick as he could. Once there he dug through his cloak pockets until he found a cloak of the appropriate size, and then quickly put the much smaller ones into the pocket of this cloak.
“Now just gotta get home. Which means a portal.” Kickaha began to cast a spell. “I hope whatever magic made those flowers doesn’t interfere with basic portals.”
It turned out that it did. And it made the path home a lot more complicated when Kickaha did not arrive at his intended destination. And at his small size it turned into quite the adventure making his way back home. At one point he wound up on a faraway planet where time flowed backward, which he left as an eight-year-old child. He arrived back on Earth the same day he had left, and having grown back to his original age the long way. There were time vortexes involved and interdimensional space fish, it was a long complicated thing not worth talking about. Upon finally getting back to Earth he was dropped into a hole landing in the kingdom of the mole people. It was here where he accidentally became King Ozymandias the Fifty-Third of his name. Really it had been an accident. He had just stopped to play a game of checkers with the king. Upon getting one of the pieces to the other side of the board a remark of ‘King Me’ and Kickaha suddenly found a crown, much larger than his current body, thrust down around him like a giant metal fence.
As Kickaha had very important kite-related business, he of course had no choice but to immediately abdicate the throne. This did lead to something of a small political revolution among the mole people as the old monarchy gave rise to a board game based system of governance. Two major parties formed, the Checkers Party and the Monopoly Party, both trying to cater favor with Kickaha, and upon refusing to get involved both parties did their best to stop his escape from the mole kingdom.
But all of those adventures are of course completely irrelevant and have nothing to do with kites. Because today Kickaha was going to fly a kite. And that was what mattered. And though the sun had started to set when he finally got back to his burrow the day was not yet over. And so he got to work, and soon he had completed his mission.
A small cardboard diorama sat on his kitchen table, decorated with cutouts and drawings of bushes and flowers. A table fan had been sat behind the diorama, currently set to a gentle breeze. Kickaha stood inside the diorama, holding a piece of floss attached to a very small kite built from spare fabric. He stood still and watched as the kite floated around in the air, staying airborne thanks to the winds created by the fan.
“Finally, some peaceful kite flying.” Kickaha gave a happy sigh as he sat down while keeping a hold of his handle made from a piece of a toothpick. “Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t try this first. It’s obvious now the best place to fly a kite without interruptions within your own home.”
And with that his mission was finally accomplished.
And then he realized that flying a kite was actually kind of boring.
“Well… Shoot.” Kickaha muttered. “And I spent all day on that too.” He shrugged. “Well tomorrow’s another day, I’ll try something else then.” He then looked up at the distance he had to climb to get to his bed. “And probably do something to fix this size problem too. But that’s a tomorrow problem.” With some difficulty Kickaha climbed the posts of his bed before crawling over to a giant pillow and flopping over asleep. It had been a long full day, one that technically lasted several years for him. He was ready for a good night’s sleep.