The penguin frowned at the bright, round fruit on the grass, struggling to keep the delicate china balanced on his dark, regal head.
Its rich, garish color seemed to be the only intense bit of color on the dark shoreline, and he frowned to himself, deep in thought. He wanted to scratch his head, to do something with his flippers, but he didn’t want to upset the bright dishware that he’d decided to wear as a hat. It was a miracle that it hadn’t all shattered into pieces when he’d washed ashore on his barren beach.
Looking up at the dark, churning sky, he frowned. How had the journey to find a pebble, and a mate, come to this? He was so far from home, from his family and the one he loved. He missed them all terribly. He even missed the ice, the stark gray sky, the dark waters where he hunted and swam, and the way the stars speckled the night sky, reflected on the ocean.
Turning reluctantly away from thoughts of the past, he bent down as quickly as he could and grasped the strange object in his flippers, struggling not to drop it. The rind was strangely bumpy and so slick with seawater, he just barely managed to keep it in his hands. Frowning down at it curiously, he rolled it over in his flippers, examining it.
He lifted the round orange to his mouth and bit down, wincing when a pithy bitterness met his tongue. Its color was beautiful, like a dying sunset, but the same could not be said for how it tasted. But perhaps it wasn’t food. Maybe it was something else entirely. All he knew was that he wanted to keep it; it would be a memento of this mad quest he’d somehow ended up on.
He’d wanted to leave home, leave eternal winter behind and make an attempt to be on his own for a while, at least until he’d mustered up the courage to ask a mate to marry him. But even before that, he needed something to woo the object of his affections. He frowned down at the bright, sunny fruit in his hands.
What if he could give her this? It was larger than any other pebble he’d ever seen, but it was like holding the sun’s light in his hands. It’d be perfect, a promise for forever.
Now if he could just get back home…