Challenge 4: Call of the Wild

We want you to take inspiration from the various animals that can be found in and around Sydney, and create your own Australian creature – whether it be a mash-up of existing animals (platypus, koala, wombat, emu– there’s plenty to choose from!) or a completely new species.

Thanks to Anna for suggesting I look at Unique Australian Animals - my protagonist is named in your honour! I also used the Blue Mountains National Park site in my research and every writer's cheat site, Wikipedia! For challenge #4 I've written a children's story:

"300 million years ago," the voice drawls, "the landscape here was mainly made of quartzite. Now quartzite is a fascinating material. You see, it's a hard metamorphic rock that is created when sandstone is subjected to tectonic pressure within orogenic belts. Now when that happens ..."

Now was the time for Anna to sneak off. Their tour guide was dull, dull, dull, yet all the grown-ups looked captivated. Either that or they had had years of practice to perfect an interested face. Well, Anna wasn't going to pretend. She wasn't going to waste time listening to dull tour guides, not when she had animals to find!

Anna was in New South Wales on holiday with her parents, who had finally relented and allowed them to vacation Down Under just so Anna could see an actual real-life koala (though she suspected her parents had a hidden agenda to the trip, they usually did). Ever since she was a little girl she had hankered to see a real-life koala all because she had fallen in love with the cuddly stuffed koala her godmother had bestowed upon her. As always, Trip - her koala - was with Anna. In her bag she also had her book of Unique Australian Animals.

" ... that was in the Triassic Period, 250 million years ago ..."

Anna shot a quick look at her parents - they were enthralled - no one would miss her and Trip if they just went for a little scout around.

"Ooh, look Trip. It's a echidna! Isn't it cute? Like a hedgehog really. And look, Trip! Could that be a -"
Anna flipped through her book.

"Now we must be very quiet, Trip," Anna whispered. "For that looks like it could be a quoll! Can you believe it, Trip? A quoll! I thought they were mainly nocturnal, but not only that," Anna told Trip seriously, "they are also endangered."

Trip wasn't sure what endangered meant, but it didn't sound good. And speaking of not sounding good, what was that noise? That very dangerous rustling noise coming from the closed forest? Surely Anna wouldn't want to investigate, but Trip knew she would.

"Ooh, dare we, Trip? Shall we have a peek?"

Hadn't she read her book carefully enough? Did she not realise this was a very bad idea? They were in Australia, not back home in the New Forest. This was land of dangerous creatures a-plenty. Trip didn't want to be a bore, but surely they should be re-joining Mr Boring Tour Guide and not stepping into dark and threatening woodland.

But, Trip had to admit, he was was glad they ventured in because what they stumbled across... well, he reckoned hardly anyone had ever seen what they got to see.

At first Anna thought it was a sheltering swamp wallaby, but then it twitched its tail and Anna realised it had the tail of a wombat. Mutation, perhaps? Anna knew all about mutations as her parents were scientists, but somehow she knew that this was no wombat, nor a sheltering swamp wallaby - this was something completely different.

Anna edged closer. The creature, whatever it was, was a jumble of everything! It had the colouring of a tree frog around its arms and legs, a rich red and orange colour that contrasted wildly with its dull body fur usually found on bandicoots. Around its neck was a frill, identical to those of the frilled neck lizard, but Anna couldn't see the creature's face - it was luckily turned in the opposite direction to Anna and Trip. It had the short ears of a kangaroo, but it didn't seem to have the kangaroo's excellent hearing. What was this thing?!

"I will call you the Annatrip," Anna declared, forgetting that she should really be quiet.

At that, the Annatrip swiftly turned to face Anna and that's when she saw it had the deadly face of an emu, Anna's worst nightmare. She stumbled back, but she knew it was too late because of its strong dingo-like legs - it would catch her and probably devour her within seconds. The Annatrip let out a harsh cry, and that's when everything went black as Anna and Trip hurtled into a pile of leaves... "Anna, Anna," a voice called, a hand shaking her. "My, she must be jet-lagged," she heard her mother tinkle. "Wake up, sweetie. It's time for you to meet a koala - you'll like that, won't you?"

Anna opened her eyes, she was certain she'd just been staring into the venomous eyes of ... well, that - whatever that was - but here she was with her parents and Mr Boring Tour Guide looking down disapprovingly at her and or perhaps at Trip cuddled in her arm.

Oh. A dream.

Except, as Anna picked up Trip to follow the rest of the group onto the next part of their tour, she noticed that she and Trip were covered in manna, a sugary deposit left by feeding insects on leaves. If they'd been with the group all along, how could...

It had been real! She was never going to forget her trip to Australia now, though she would always think twice about entering closed forests where mysterious creatures could be roaming!


  1. Aww, thanks for naming the main character after me. This was a rather cute story. The dialogue between Anna and Trip reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes.

    By the way, small typo: you wrote 'peak' instead of 'peek'.

    Hope you have a good holiday!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for pointing out the typo - I only had time to hammer out whatever story came into my head and didn't had time to proof-read it!