The Killer Duck
written by Tabby

Tabby was hanging out at the receptionist desk in the vet clinic, between visits. "...really, Sugarberry! Can you believe that?" she was telling her friend, who was also the receptionist at the clinic.

Sugarberry was busy consulting the appointment book. "Slugger should be bringing in his pet duck any time now."

"Oh, he has a duck?" Tabby questioned. "I hadn't heard of that before."

"He must have just got it recently," Sugarberry said. "Oh, look, there they are now!"

So it was. Slugger had just walked through the doors, carrying an old, beat-up cat carrier. Tabby looked into it and saw a mallard duck pacing around inside, with his head shining a brilliant green. The animal stared at Tabby. This made her feel slightly uneasy.

"Here's Quackers," Slugger said as he followed Tabby into the appointment room and set the carrier up on the counter. "Not a very creative name, but it does the job."

Tabby opened the carrier door and the duck slowly walked out. Quackers glanced around the room.

"What's wrong with him?" Tabby asked as she stroked Quackers' soft feathers.

"Well, nothing, really," Slugger said. "I just found him in the Dark Forest, and wanted him checked over to make sure he's not sick or anything."

"The Dark Forest?" Tabby quickly drew her hoof away from Quackers and opened her eyes wide.

"Yeah." Slugger shrugged.

Tabby was much more cautious now as she checked over Quackers. "Well, he looks all ri--" she started but was cut off as the duck suddenly flew off the counter and onto the floor. Tabby stared at him in shock and wasn't quite prepared when Quackers lowered his head and came charging at her.

"AIEEE!" Tabby shrieked and backed up against the door to get as far away from this crazed animal as she could. Quackers ran right up to her and began pecking at her hooves.

Slugger watched, somewhat amused, as Tabby swiftly opened the door and dashed out into the hallway. Quackers followed, close behind her.

"NOOO! He's after me!" Tabby streaked into the waiting room where Sugarberry looked up in surprise from her deskwork.

Tabby whirled around to face the insane duck. And, as suddenly as he had come after her, he stopped. Dead in his tracks. He stared at Tabby.

Slugger came out into the room after the two, laughing. "You should have seen the look on your face when--" He stopped when Tabby cast an evil look in his direction.

"Look at the cute duck," Sugarberry cooed. "What a beautiful creature."

"But, Sugarberry!" Tabby argued. "He was--"

"What'd you do to him that made him chase you like that?" Sugarberry prodded.

"I didn't do anything! He just suddenly--"

Sugarberry laughed, too. "Oh, Tabby! I'm sure he's not capable of chasing you for no reason."

Tabby looked at her friend, furious. "I'm telling you! He's--"

"What's going on here?" Thomas said as he entered the room.

"That thing--" Tabby pointed her hoof at Quackers and glared at the animal, "was chasing me."

"Come on, Tabby! It's just a duck!" Thomas looked down at Quackers, who was looking rather innocent.

Munchy also came out into the room after Thomas, holding her pet poodle. "Really, Tabby!" she giggled. "You think that a duck would run after you without being provoked?"

Tabby glared around at them all. They were making her out to be a fool! "He's evil!" she cried out.

The gathered group just laughed.

Tabby stared into the duck's eyes, which seemed to say, "What, you scared a' me? I'm just an innocent little duck." But she knew that behind the look there was vicious intent.

* * *

It was a few days after the incident with Quackers, and Tabby was spending the evening at home. Suddenly, she heard knocking on her door. She jumped up from her chair and trotted over to her front door. The sound continued, but Tabby stopped in her tracks. Something wasn't right about the knocking... it didn't sound quite like a hoof; it was almost like a woodpecker pecking at a tree. And it sounded like the noise was at the bottom of the door... yes, something was wrong here.

Tabby cautiously peered out the window on the door and choked back a gasp when she saw what was down there. Why, it was-- Quackers!

Her eyes opened wide with fear. What was she going to do? This mad duck was after her; she was sure of it. Quickly she made sure the door was still locked, and then ran towards the phone.

The pecking, or knocking continued. That duck was going to break down her door! Tabby dialed a number on her phone.

"Look, Slugger!" she said into the receiver. "Quackers is trying to break down my door."

"Quackers is over by your house? Oh, that's good! He escaped from his pen and I was getting worried about him--" Slugger started.

"But he's breaking down my door!" Tabby insisted.

Slugger laughed again. "Breaking it down, huh? How's he doing that?"

"He's pecking at it from the outside persistently!" Tabby explained. "He's after me; I tell ya!"

"Well, I'll just come over and pick him up... would you mind letting him inside? I don't want him to run off again," Slugger said.

"Let him inside?" Tabby echoed. "I'm not letting that crazed duck take one step inside my house!"

"You're exaggerating; I'm sure he's not after you," Slugger said.

"But he is!" Tabby went on. "Just get over here; quick!"

"All right; I'll just pick up his carrier and come over for him." With that, Slugger hung up the phone.

Tabby waited in breathless suspense for Slugger to arrive to take this dreaded duck away. When a hoof knocked on her door, she breathed a sigh of relief.

She peered out the window again. There was Slugger; good, Quackers was already in the carrier. She opened the door.

"Okay, I've got Quackers in the carrier," Slugger said, pointing at the duck.

"Good!" Tabby exclaimed. "Now get him out of here!"

"I don't know why you're so scared of him," Slugger said. "He's a perfectly nice duck."

"That's what he wants you to believe! But underneath it all, he's pure evil!" Tabby said venomously.

Chuckling, Slugger went off.

* * *

It was the middle of the night, and Tabby was peacefully sleeping. She was suddenly awoken to the sound of... knocking. Yes, every few seconds, there was a knocking sound on her bedroom window.

Tabby leapt out of bed and ran over to her window. "Oh no!" she exclaimed out loud. There was Quackers again. He was flying up to the window and pecking at it.

Tabby fled from the room and locked herself in the bathroom for the rest of the night.

* * *

In the morning, as soon as Tabby woke up from her restless night in the bathroom, she called up Sugarberry (who was also her nextdoor neighbor). "Sugarberry!" she cried into the receiver.

"What is it, Tabby?" Sugarberry questioned.

"I had two more run-ins with Quackers in the past night!" Tabby quickly explained.

Sugarberry smiled. "Oh, really? What happened this time?"

"First, he was pecking at my door early on in the evening-- nearly broke it down, I tell ya! Slugger came to pick him up, but in the middle of the night that duck was back pecking on my window!" Tabby exclaimed in outrage.

"Sounds like he just really likes you," Sugarberry laughed. "He's following you everywhere."

"Hey, can you see him around my house now?" Tabby asked.

Sugarberry was silent while checking out her windows. She came back to the phone. "Yeah... he's sitting right outside your front door."

"Great! Just great!" Tabby said sarcastically. "Now I'll have to call Slugger again to pick him up."

"You'll survive," Sugarberry said gleefully.

* * *

Early the next evening, Tabby and Sugarberry were having a snack at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, like they did most nights. Tiffany was usually with them, but today she couldn't make it.

Tabby was just beginning to enjoy her strawberry sundae when suddenly she saw someone come in. Her spoon went clattering into her dish.

"Sugarberry," she whispered, "Quackers just came in."

Sugarberry looked up, "Why, you're right!" she said. "Isn't he so cute?"

"He's evil-- pure evil!" Tabby said dramatically as Quackers came charging straight towards their table.

"I think he's just having fun," Sugarberry commented. Quackers began pecking at Tabby's hooves.

"Oh, no!" Tabby exclaimed. "Get him away!" She kicked at the duck.

"Better call Slugger again," Sugarberry advised.

Tabby kicked off Quackers again, and ran for the phone, quickly dialing Slugger's number. "Get over here to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and take your duck away!"

"But I was just heading out for baseball practice," Slugger complained. "Can't it wait?"

"No! No! You're not leaving me here with this insane duck!"

Slugger sighed. "All right, I guess I can come, in a little while. Just fight him off." With that, he hung up.

Tabby turned back to Sugarberry. "All right, I'm supposed to fight him off while I wait for Slugger. How'm I supposed to do that?"

"Get up on the chair," Sugarberry suggested.

"Okay." Tabby shrugged, pulled out a chair, and placed all four hooves on it. "Quackers can't get at me now!"

But this couldn't keep Quackers off. He flew up onto the table, and puffed up his feathers, looking tough.

"There's no way to get away from him!" Tabby groaned.

Sugarberry looked at her sympathetically. "Maybe you are right about him. Why does he only go after you, though?"

"Because I'm the only one who knows of his true, evil nature," Tabby explained. "He must eliminate me."

Sugarberry grinned. "Whatever, Tabby."

"Tabby!" Scoops called. "Could you get that duck off the table, please?"

"But he'll come after me!" Tabby called back.

"I'm sure he wouldn't hurt you," Scoops giggled. "He is an awfully cute duck. Look, he's smiling!" It did, indeed, look like Quackers was smiling.

At that point, Slugger came into the shop with the old cat carrier. "Quackers is beginning to become a nuisance," he grumbled.

"Get rid of him," Tabby suggested.

"Hmm..." Slugger considered this.

"Hi, everybody!" said Sundance as she entered the shop as well. "I'm just back from the Dark Forest; I was visiting my brother, Butch."

"How's Butch doing?" Sugarberry questioned.

"He's doing fine," Sundance said.

"How would he like a pet duck?" Tabby asked brightly.

"A pet duck?" Sundance echoed. "He's never mentioned wanting one before."

"Come on, anybody'd want a pet duck!" Tabby exclaimed. "I mean, wouldn't you just love to have a pet duck?"

"Well..." Sundance thought about it. "Like this duck right here?" She pointed at Quackers.

"The exact same," Tabby said.

"He is pretty cute," Sundance admitted. At that moment, Quackers puffed up and began to preen himself. "Oh, look! Isn't that adorable!"

"So what do you think? Why not take him over to Butch?" Tabby prodded.

"I suppose that might not be a bad idea," Sundance said. "How would I get a duck over to his shack?"

"In that carrier there." Tabby pointed to the old cat carrier Slugger was holding on to. "Why not take him over now?"

"Well, I just came back from the Dark Forest," Sundance said. "I'm not sure I'd want to go again in the same day-- and it'd be dark by the time I got back."

"Get someone else to do it, then," Tabby suggested.

"Slugger, why don't you take Quackers over to Butch?" Sugarberry asked.

"I don't know how to get there!" Slugger said.

"Aw, come on, it's easy," Tabby said. "All you do is go to the Dark Forest, and wander around until you find his shack. Simple!"

"I'm not so sure about that," Slugger said slowly. "Why don't I wait until morning when Sundance can show me the way?"

Tabby sighed. "I suppose that'll have to do..."

"Okay, then." Slugger pushed Quackers into the carrier. "Then it's settled. We take Quackers over to Butch in the morning."

And so, they all headed off in their separate directions.

* * *

The next morning, Tabby woke up. Hmm, she hadn't had any run-ins with Quackers over the past night. But wait... what was that? She froze in terror when she head ominous pecking noises coming from outside.

Nervously, she walked over to her window and looked out. Well, she couldn't see Quackers anywhere... but what was that pecking? Then she looked over at the large elm tree in her yard. Oh, it was just a woodpecker pecking!

Tabby sighed with relief. She knew she wouldn't have to meet up with Quackers anymore... assuming he wasn't sitting outside her front door. She ran through the rooms to check. Nope, no Quackers.

"All right!" Tabby cheered, and prepared to eat breakfast.

On her way to work at the clinic, Tabby met up with Sundance and Slugger. Slugger was carrying the carrier with Quackers in.

"Hi!" Sundance greeted Tabby.

"Taking Quackers over to Butch now?" Tabby questioned them.

"Yes," Slugger said. "It'll be good to be rid of him."

Tabby had to agree with that!

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