Flash Fiction Challenge: Kirby the Koala

flash fiction writing prompt koala cali 1993
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

As arboreal creatures go, koalas are pretty laid back. They never get too stirred up and tend to have a rather philosophical view of things.

Kirby was an exception to this rule. He had an active imagination and a nearly perilous curiosity about the world.

Of course, the other koalas frowned upon such adventurism. Old Kanda would say, “If sitting in a nice spot, chewing eucalyptus, was enough yesterday and the day before, it is good enough for today as well. Leave the rest alone.”

Such a laconic and disinterested lifestyle just did not suit Kirby’s nature. He longed to be an explorer or perhaps a spy. One day, Kirby saw a group of people having a picnic on the ground below. He eagerly took it upon himself to discover what these creatures were up to…

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Kirby the Koala”

  1. …my…these are People. Curious…I’ll bet they know something I don’t know.
    Well, there’s only one way to find out…
    NOW, I’m outta the tree…and on my way, slowly, I’ll admit.
    Yes…they’re people. That’s for sure. Bigger than me. And sorta darker than me.
    And seem glad to see me. What is that net? Why can’t I run.
    That fire is so hot.
    BBQ.

  2. Kirby sat for a long time, just watching them, chewing on a leaf. There was something familiar about these people sitting below, eating their picnic lunch. Something happy, something sad. He puzzled and puzzled, but could not figure it out.

    He lay back in the crook of a smooth branch and trunk and dozed a bit. He dreamed of his first memories as a koala. The others stood around him, staring, as if he had fallen from the sky. He never quite fit in, even among his siblings. Like the time when he had no interest in the game of tree tag. That was uncomfortable.

    Kirby awoke as the family was packing up to go. He felt strangely compelled to go with them, like overwhelming homesickness. As they walked away, he made a very small noise. The youngest child turned back and looked up at him. For a moment they looked at each other silently. Kirby felt a small glimmer in his memory, something before koala. This child…it tugged at his brain.

    The child looked confused, then his eyes lit up. He repeated Kirby’s noise, nodded, and turned and left.

  3. This morning, Kirby the Koala became curious about the two legged creatures at the base of his tree, so he started to climb down from his perch. Now, as everyone knows koala bears have a very poor diet of eucalyptus leaves, as a result, koalas move very slowly and stay in the trees away from ground predators like Australian crocodiles.

    Kirby was no exception. It took him a very long time to climb down his tree. By sunset, he was on the bottom branch, but they had already left. He wondered how they could move so fast?

    Not until the next day, when the sun was high in the sky, did he get to where they had been. He was really thirsty as he searched their litter on the ground. Then he found the hollow piece of metal branch that the creatures had drunk from and left behind.

    Kirby took it in his paws and raised it to his parched lips. It smelled bad, but he was so thirsty. In desperation, he poured the last of the contents down his throat. Yuck! Disgusting!

    Soon Kirby felt dizzy as his ears started to ring and his heart started to pound. All his senses came alive. He realized that the log near him was slowly moving toward him. A Crocodile! In the blink of an eye, Kirby zoomed back to his tree and zipped right up to the top branch, while still grasping the now empty can of Red Bull.

  4. Kirby peered down upon the humans, and watched them. They seemed harmless enough, but he had seen how strange these creatures could be.

    He thought he could smell… Yes! Cole Slaw! He leaned a bit further, and then…

    Kirby hit the ground with a resounding THUMP! The picnickers ran away, and when he awoke, found himself caged.

    “My, God! They’ve found me.”

    His concussed mind ticked through the events that led him here.

    “I remember my mission. Kanda had me staking out the humankind. They had the stolen slaw in their possession. I saw it; smelled it on their breath. Then… I just can’t remember. One of them must have gotten the drop on me. Now I’m locked up. And so tired. Maybe a… quick…. nap.”

    He fell back into his delirium. The veterinary assistant rushed over to the cage and lifted him. Kirby was strapped to a padded table for observation. He was a main attraction, and had suffered a catastrophic head wound. He began to stir.

    “So now it begins, humans! Ahhhhggrrrrrrr! Have at you!”

    Both vet and zookeeper leapt back at this blatant show of hostility.

    “You’ve brought me to an off-the-books prison, poorly disguised as a hospital. I’ll endure your paltry interrogations.”

    He struggled at his bonds again.

    “They will come back for Agent K!” Kirby screamed.

    Both men looked puzzled. Ever since Kirby had been brought in, he’d been acting strangely. He was usually such a calm and passive koala.

  5. Little Kirby made his way down from the tree top, ignoring Kanda’s warning to stay high. Peering from behind the big tree he saw some colorful fruit on the picnic blanket. Temptation and curiosity had Kirby waddeling nearer.

    “It looks like we have a guest honey.” Kirby bravely snatched up a ripe plum. Devouring its sweet juiciness.

    “Aren’t you cute?” Kirby liked the look and sound of the people. “Do you like the plum little guy?”

    Kirby plucked another piece of fruit from the picnic spread, and another. Reaching for one final ripe plumb, without realizing it, he crossed the threshold of a small cage. With a slam, the cage door closed, locking Kirby inside. Kanda looked down from high in the tree with sorrow filled eyes. Kirby was scared and wished he could be with Kanda.

    The couple carried the cage to their car where they were met by park security.

    “I’m afraid you will have to leave the koala here.”

    The door of the cage was released and Kirby ran as fast as he could back to the safety of Kanda and the high tree.

    “What did I tell you Kirby? Leave the rest alone. We are meant to live high in the eucalyptus tree where we are safe.” Kanda hugged the koala cub and hoped he learned a lesson.

  6. Kanda and the other elder koala in the family eucalyptus tree watched and wondered as Kirby played and jumped from limb to limb. He hung precariously, chirping and showing off.

    “That cub must be part monkey Lana.” Kanda remarked to Kirby’s mother.

    The other elders giggled and agreed with Kanda.

    Lana, embarrassed by her cubs behavior, made her way to a lower branch. She wished she had never left the tree last spring. It had been a wild night and everyone in the out back knew those Luna Monkeys threw great parties. If only she could remember what had happened after her second cup of that delicious melon kiwi punch.

    With a sigh she considered the events of that crazy night. She was a good koala and was certain that she would remember sleeping with Luke the most handsome monkey there. Kirby was just an active cub, wasn’t he?

    Lana lovingly watched Kirby climb to the lowest limb of the tree and pluck leaves, tossing them down to the people picnicking on the ground below. He enjoyed the attention and chirped in reply to their taunts.

    “Kirby, you come back up here now dear.” Kirby caught his mother’s eye and winked mischievously, only to continue teasing the people below.

    It was Luke’s wink. “Oh dear!” Lana mumbled distressingly. “Oh dear.”

  7. Kirby woke before the sun set. Unfamiliar odors and voices drifted up to him.

    “Should we keep the fire going overnight?”

    “No. We’ll be warm enough in the sack,” came a deeper voice.

    “What about the wild animals?”

    “Aren’t any. This is a public campground. Rangers keep the wildlife away.”

    Kirby clawed to the next lower branch. Words meant nothing, but the scents tantalized him. He had learned Kanda’s maxim before he was out of the pouch; he should stay home.

    The campers stood on a wide, colored ground. The smaller human unfolded a light color over the shiny base. She spread this color near the dying campfire.

    The curious koala watched. These creatures carried their nest, he surmised. They were building a home beneath his tree. He would investigate. Kirby swung down the trunk and clutched the lowest branch.

    ***

    “Honey, this bag is damp,” said the high voice.

    “Ground fog. Go back to sleep.”

    Kirby, though still a cub, imitated his elders. Marking one’s territory was important. Kirby squatted on the colored ground cover and sprayed away. He would announce his visit to his guests.

    “No, it’s wet. The whole corner is wet, and it smells funny.”

    “Lemme–”

    Humans nesting in a pouch—they were cubs. Playmates.

    “George, there’s something furry there.”

    Kirby crawled into the open sleeping bag and nuzzled his visitors.

    “Don’t move. We’ve got company.”

    The koala was content. He had new friends to bring home.

  8. When Kirby regained awareness after falling, he was no longer among the trees, but on harsh ground tilting like angry ocean. Confused by this other world, he closed his eyes and shook his head—hoping he was just suffering effects of fermented leaf.

    Old King Kanda often warned no good could come of curiosity, but Kirby had been born under an obscured blood moon. Queensland Koala legend suggested Kirby would be highly adventurous.

    “This one we must watch most carefully,” Kanda said. “He might wander, perhaps even among the Victorians.”

    “Impossible!” cried Takut, the colonial matriarch. “They’re barbarians. Besides, pythons would get him first.”

    Kanda cleared his throat. “The Victorians have become shameless transients. He could encounter one not far from here.”

    Several koalas replied in unison. “We must kill him!’

    “No,” said Kanda. “We must wait.”

    Although Kirby couldn’t remember that meeting following his birth, the black falcon of his blood moon had stirred winds in his favor. But after falling on his head while investigating the humans, life had changed.

    A cat’s monotonous grievances regarding her purported captivity stirred Kirby from slumber on the soft corner of a square hollowed log filled with unfamiliar items. After introducing himself as Ranger while speaking about his idyllic life, a dog nudged Kirby toward an opening.

    A joyous chorus collided with the smell of roasting vegetables. “Kevin’s awake!”

    Five humans awaited Ranger and the koala as a black falcon circled above for the last time, content Kirby had become Kevin.

  9. “Old Kanga can go stuff it,” mumbled Kirby, as he climbed from his eucalyptus tree and walked to the creatures lounging on the ground.

    The furless things looked like cubs. If they weren’t worried about dingoes, why should he? At least he had sharp teeth and claws. Besides, he could always climb back into his tree.

    All the odd creatures did when he approached was point and keep eating. Their food smelled yeasty and sweet, very different from the leaves he was used to. Always the adventurer, Kirby took one of the spongy layered things they ate. Instead of being tough and stringy, the stuff mushed and stuck to the roof of his mouth. It tasted delicious, but no matter how much he licked, he couldn’t get the stuff unstuck.

    The creatures cackled like irritating kookaburras and their eyes watered. Finally, he pawed it loose and swallowed. Kirby eyed the pile of tasty food, while still watching the creatures. One of them tried to touch him, but Kirby backed away. He didn’t want to catch whatever illness made their eyes drip. What he did want was more of their food. Eucalyptus leaves were boring.

    All it took was one toothy smile and the creatures fled. All their food was his. Sticky and stuffed, Kirby fell asleep on their square leaf. He didn’t wake until a dingo bit his backside. Minus some fur, he made it back up his tree. That was one adventure he wouldn’t forget.

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