Leaving Home The Hard Way

The five year old dodged the blow and tried to escape under the table. It was a good plan, except for the other pair of hands that grabbed her. However, ducklings aren't known for their foresight, and this turn of events was quite a surprise for the child. She lashed out against her male captor, and dashed to the other side of the room, hiding behind a 14 year old duck. He stood protectively in front of her, and grabbed the other child to him.

"Stop!" he bravely told the two attackers. "Neither of them did anything worth being beaten for."

"Yeah, since when is laughing a crime?" muttered the second 5 year old. He stood defiant against his parents, not caring about the consequences.

"Nosedive Mark Flashblade, get over here right now. That's no way to talk to your father." The male duck gestured him over.

Nosedive was all ready to go over and take what he knew was unavoidable with pride, but he was grabbed back by Wildwing.

"You leave him alone!" the teen yelled.

"Yeah, leave him alone." Jadestar echoed.

The female glared at the three. "Wildwing, either you let those two go, or when I do get hold of them, I'll kill them."

"We'll both kill them." inserted the children's father.

"Yeah, and we won't go too lightly on you." The lady folded her arms.

Wildwing reluctantly released the twins. Nosedive sauntered up to his parents, holding his sister's hand. She stared up fearfully, but gaining strength from her brother.

"I'm in the mood for something feisty, Mark." the mother smiled thinly.

"He's all yours Isobel." Mark grabbed Jadestar from Nosedive and he growled. Mark laughed. "Hear that? I'm being threatened by someone who comes up to my waist. Now, Jadestar Isobel, what will it be? Punches, kicks, or both?"

Jadestar shivered, but tried to be tough like Nosedive. "I don't care." she replied shakily.

"Let go of her!" Nosedive grabbed Jadestar back and pulled her behind him. He backed them both up against a wall. Wildwing felt helpless, as always.

"Always gotta do it the hard way, don't you Nosedive? Well then," Isobel picked him up by the arms, and held him so he couldn't touch her. "I guess you'll just have to see that your bad choices always hurt others."

Mark laughed and hoisted his daughter into the air. "You can blame Nosedive for this one," he told the trembling girl. "If he hadn't made that joke about your mother's cooking, you wouldn't have laughed at the table, and then you wouldn't be in this mess now, would you?" He moved the girl back half a metre, and then threw her into the wall. She hit with a heavy thud and a cry, and dropped to the floor. He did it again about four times, the duckling losing consciousness on the second. Wildwing had turned away when it began, but Nosedive was watching with horror.

"I hate you! I hate you both! I hate you more than anything in the entire world!" he screamed at two laughing adults. "You don't care about anyone but yourselves! You don't care about us at all!"

Isobel looked him in the eye. "You have no idea how true that is. You and Jadestar, you especially, have been nothing but trouble from day one, hour one, minute one. Wildwing was a good boy, now look at him! Talking back all the time, you turned him against us! And for that you'll pay. Dearly and painfully." She narrowed her eyes at him, and was about to hit him when she was stopped by her husband.

"Wait," he stopped her arm with his hand. "He's more upset when we hurt her," he pointed to the still, bleeding child on the floor. "Than when we ever hurt him. I think that's the best punishment he needs."

Isobel shoved Nosedive into Mark's arms. She kicked Jadestar hard on the floor, enjoying Nosedive's tears and screams. Wildwing moaned from his side of the room, and made his choice. He flung himself between his sister and his mother, and pleaded for the little girl's life. "Please, don't. You'll kill her. Please, Isobel, please." He looked up into his mother's eyes, and she froze. She slowly withdrew her foot.

"What are you doing?" Mark was incredulous. "One less kid around here won't hurt anybody!"

His wife grabbed his arm, and he dropped Nosedive. Nosedive ran and fell beside his sister, cradling her head in his lap. "Come on," she pulled him towards the door. "I feel like a drink."

"OK, whatever you say." They slammed the front door.

Wildwing checked that Jadestar was still breathing, and heaved a sigh of relief when she was. Her head was bleeding from a cut on the side, but apart from that she was mainly just bruised. If only she wasn't so still.

"Dive," Wildwing got his brother's attention, and Nosedive glanced up. "You better call an ambulance."

"Isobel and Mark won't like that." the boy said, looking doubtful.

"What? Since when have you worried about what they want?" Wildwing was surprised, and he got up to make the call himself.

"Since they started taking my punishment out of Jade." Nosedive looked back down to his sister, an identical version of him except for the bruises and cuts.

"Dive, she needs an ambulance. I'll take the blame." He grabbed the phone and rang. Nosedive angrily wiped the tears that were coming to his eyes. He'd get Mark and Isobel for this! This was their fault! They were monsters, worse than the ones on TV even.


It seemed like hours before the ambulance arrived, even though it was only minutes. The medical ducks put Jadestar on a stretcher.

"Where are your parents, boys?" one doctor asked.

"They went to the pub after it happened." Wildwing answered simply.

The doctor shared a glance with another. "They did this?"

Nosedive nodded. "Yeah."

"Does this sort of thing happen often?" The brothers slowly nodded. The doctor helped them into the back of the ambulance. "I think you'd better come with us."


At the hospital Jadestar was whisked away, and the boys were set in a waiting room with some toys. "We're going to get a social worker to come and talk to you." a nurse told them. "Is that OK?" Wildwing nodded, and she smiled. "I'm sure your sister will be just fine." She went out of the room and closed the door. Nosedive sighed and sat down in front of some toy cars. He started a game up where the object was to smash the cars as hard as possible together, but it didn't look like his heart was in it. Wildwing watched, wondering about his sister, and how her twin would cope if she died. He knew that they were going to be taken away from Mark and Isobel, but he had no regrets. Ever since the twins had come along, he'd grown tired of the beatings, especially when they were directed to two so small. He hoped they were kept together, he felt responsible for the younger ducks.

"Hey Wing?" Nosedive suddenly said.


"Jade's gonna be OK, right?"

Wildwing tried his best at an encouraging smile. "Hey, of course! You know Jade, she's tough. You just wait, she'll be running around with you wrestling before you know it."

"Good." Nosedive turned back to his game, apparently satisfied. I hope I'm right, Wildwing wished.


The social worker walked in, smiling. Nosedive looked her up and down. She looks nice, he decided, and he smiled back.

"Hi! You must be Wildwing and Nosedive."

Wildwing nodded. "Yep. I'm Wildwing. Is Jadestar going to be OK?" He remembered what he'd said to Nosedive and hurried on with "I mean, can she come home soon?"

The lady sat down. She had brown hair and eyes that sparkled. "That's what I'd like to talk to you two about. Your home I mean. The doctor said that you told him your parents do what they did to your sister a lot. Is that true?"

Wildwing dubbed himself spokesduck. "Yes, but not normally that bad. They hit Dive and Jade mostly. I try to stop them, but they don't listen."

"Why do you think they do that?"

"Cause they're mean." Nosedive put in.

"I guess cause the twins like to laugh a lot. Isobel and Mark don't like that."

"They don't like you laughing?" She sounded amazed.

"I think that's the reason. Nosedive talks back a bit too."

The worker looked thoughtful, and she turned to Nosedive. "Do your mummy and daddy hurt you?"

"Yeah, cept I don't call them that. I call them their real names. They like that more. Can I go see Jadestar now?"

"Maybe in a little while." the woman was gentle.

"What's your name?" Wildwing wanted to know.

"My name is Susan."

"Are you going to take us away from Mark and Isobel?"

"I might. Do you want to leave them?" Nosedive nodded hard.

"Are you kidding? It's awful," Wildwing told Susan. "Why would we want to stay?"

"Well, if you want to go, than I will. Are you sure?"

"You bet. Look, we really want to see Jade. Can you ask for us?"

Susan stood up. "Sure. I'll go now. You two wait here, OK? I'll come and see you later. Bye."

Nosedive waved and Wildwing nodded. Once she'd left, Nosedive turned to his elder brother.

"We don't have to go home again? Ever?"

"That's right. They're going to find us a new family."

"Will they be nice? Nicer than Mark and Isobel?"

"I'm sure."

The nurse walked in. "You can see your sister now. I'm warning you though, she might not be awake."

"That's OK. Lead the way, please." Wildwing wanted to check on her.


Wildwing and Nosedive stood and looked at the tiny figure in the bed. The room was surprisingly clear of machines, there was just an IV unit going in her left arm. She had her eyes closed, but when they went closer, she opened them.

"You're here," she whispered. "They didn't bring you before."

"Hey," Wildwing carefully patted her hair. "How're you feeling?"

She grimaced. "I have a headache. Where's Mark and Isobel?"

Nosedive grinned as he leaned on the side of the bed. "We don't have to live with them anymore! Susan's getting us a new family and house!"

Jadestar was confused. "Who's Susan?"

"Don't worry, you'll meet her soon. I'm glad you're all right Jade. You scared us."

"I'm happy too," Nosedive smiled "Cause you're okay, we don't have to see Mark or Isobel ever again, and we get a new place to live! It's gonna be great! Wing says that our new parents won't hurt us!"

"Really? Wow." Jadestar was impressed, she'd known nothing but pain her whole life.

Wildwing pulled his brother back from the bed. "We'd better go. We'll come and see you later Jade."

Nosedive grinned. "Bye bye Star! Good-night, sleeptight, don't let the bed bugs bite!"

Both the boys were smiling when they left the room. Susan was watching them. I'd better keep those three together, she thought. It'd be a crime to split them up.

Story Copyright Rachel Baker '98. Except for Wildwing and Nosedive, all charcters Copyright Rachel Baker '98.