This afternoon, I breakfasted. The fish sandwich was good, and the conversation was decent. Unfortunately, I had a class to attend, so had to cut lunch short.

As I began walking towards my physics lecture with my good friend Steve, we saw a cute little sight. At the very edge of the road, in the gutter, was a large duck being followed by about ten little ducklings. By the time we had glanced towards Family Duck, they were ready to climb the curb and proceed marching down the sidewalk. The mother (or father—I didn't check) duck successfully scaled the road's curb, but, as she got to the sidewalk, terror struck!

Before I go on, allow me to flesh out the environment. This afternoon was a gloomy one. Rain was expected to begin dropping soon. Perhaps this was proper weather for the proceeding events. Perhaps not. The road I was on was not unusual, and had a curb around half a foot high. The problem: the ducklings were significantly shorter.

Terror continued to strike! The ducklings were struggling to scale the curb, but to little success. Almost immediately, a couple of the stronger ones made it. Their limbs were flailing, but they persevered. When they got to the sidewalk, they happily waddled towards their mother, ready to continue the journey. Others were significantly less successful. They tried just as hard as their more elevated siblings, but, try as they might, were unable to get out of the gutter. Oh, how they struggled! I could see the determination on their tiny little faces as they vainly attempted to catch up to the leaders of Family Duck.

During this ordeal, the mother continued on her path, leaving behind her brood.

"Egads!" I could hear them scream. Their eyes turned steely cold as they tried to close the gap. They, after realizing the futility of their actions, gave up scaling the curb and turned to walking along the curb, in a path parallel to the sidewalk dwellers. However, they failed to notice the looming danger. They had unknowingly stumbled onto a sewer drain! Bravely, they marched forward, trying to navigate around the gaps in the drain. Just as bravely, they failed to navigate around the gaps in the drain. One by one, the tiny, helpless ducklings started plummeting to the bottom of the sewer. A few fought gravity as they tried to grab onto the sewer and hoist themselves back up to safety. This was not an activity that their wings were designed for. The most proficient of those on the sewer was only able to hold on for a couple seconds, and even he was doomed to fail from the very start.

Only a few seconds after reaching the drain, Family Duck's member count was halved. I was merely thankful that I could not hear the cries of the fallen ducks, who had no way out of the sewer. A few students crowded around and looked into the sewer, but quickly dissipated after realizing that there was little way to help and that they had classes that needed attending. In less than thirty seconds, what had started out as a cute family walk had turned into a harrowing meeting with death.

I'm sure the Fallen are still in the sewer, huddled together and losing body heat quickly. Maybe they found a few scraps of food that had been dropped, but the scraps could not have lasted long. One can imagine their lonely thoughts. Being gifted with breath in their chests only a few days ago, their hearts will soon cease to beat, and their eyes will cease to inquire.

I wish you better luck in the future, Family Duck.