Updated: Nov 22, 2019
A simple story about a girl who loved animals; and of the animals that didn't love her back...
Sadie loved animals more than anything. Unfortunately, most animals didn't love her back.
On her fifth birthday, her parents gave her the best gift ever. Her very own goldfish. She named it Gumbo. The goldfish hated his name so much that seconds after getting it, he leaped right out of the bowl, and flopped down the kitchen sink.
In the third grade, her class went to the petting zoo. For Sadie, it might as well have been an ordinary zoo. All the animals ran away from her. The same thing happened again in the fifth grade when she went to the aquarium.
Then came the time for the sixth-grade science fair. Sadie decided to study the birds living in her neighborhood. And the best way to do that was by crafting a little birdhouse and hanging it in her backyard.
She painted it her favorite color. Red. And blue. Also, purple too. And yellow. Technically, her favorite color was rainbow, so every color had a special place on her birdhouse.
She filled the little home with sunflower seeds and woke up the next morning to the most amazing sound. Birds! She could hear what sounded like a dozen of them chirping in the backyard.
In her pajamas, she raced to the backyard. But when she got there... there were no birds.
"Weird," she thought. "I thought birds love sunflower seeds, don't they?" She guessed not.
It was time for Plan B: Cookies. Everyone loved cookies! Birds too.
Sadie left a mountain of cookie crumbs outside her birdhouse. She waited day and night for the chirps of a bird. And right before bed, she heard one! A soft little chirp! There was no mistaking it.
She ran outside and... there was nothing again! That was impossible. She knew the birds were there! They even left some of their feathers all piled up beneath the little rainbow perch. Where were they all going?
Before she went back inside, she swore she saw the birdhouse... wiggle. She tricked herself into thinking it was just the wind. But if it was really just the wind, why wasn't anything else moving too?
The weekend was over and Sadie hadn't spotted a single bird! All that hard work and she had nothing to show for it. Nothing, except an empty birdhouse and a plate of stale cookies.
Whether she liked it or not, she had to bring something into school. Defeated, she wandered over to the birdhouse, and before she could take it down... it wiggled again!
Sadie almost screamed! There was something inside it. She peered through the little opening and two angry yellow eyes looked back.
A creature stared back at her, opened its mouth wide... then, it burped! Feathers drooled out of its mouth. Sadie nearly gagged, its breath was so sour.
Now, it was obvious why all the birds... were gone.
The birdhouse wiggled as the little creature yawned. Sadie moved closer. She looked at the little thing as rested all cozy in the shade. Unlike every other animal she'd met, this one wasn't scared of her.
"I think I'll call you, Burpy," she said. "Well, do you like that name?"
The creature burped.
"I'll take that as a yes," Sadie smiled and the creature's purrs tickled the air.
From the street, she could hear the bus pulling up to the corner. Sadie wished little Burpy goodbye and skipped off to the bus.
She thought all day about what it's going to be like, being the Mama to her very own pet. She didn't know what to expect. Well, actually, she did know one thing. She was going to need to buy more sunflower seeds.