They're taunting him. Others may mistake the chirps and whistles as jovial calls, but he knows them for what they are: jeers. Though he can't see them, he can feel their small reptilian-looking eyes follow him as he stalks about at the base of the oak trunk. They wouldn't dare mock him if he could reach them.
Oh and reach them he has tried.
He first attempted the most obvious method, but the tree trunk grew too steeply for his claws to have any purchase. The granite bench beneath the tree didn't offer much help either, for it was far too short in stature. He tried pushing bags of soil into a pile to give him a platform to stand upon, but it was too unstable and couldn't hold his weight. Day after day he would make use of the various objects around the garden, trying desperately to reach the jeering birds. All the while, the birds gathered to watch each time, as if it was a daily sport to see him fail.
The following day, he climbed on top of the birdbath to gain some height. It was definitely taller than the bench, but the lowest branch was still quite a length away. A cluster of sparrows, jays and mocking birds were perched on the branch nearest him. Laughing, all laughing.
He narrowed his eyes and huffed. There has to be a way, he told himself.
Stepping forward, he peered over the edge of the bath to judge the distance. I can make this jump, he decided.
Backing up to give himself some running room first, he crouched down low, his belly touching the tepid water of the bath. I can do this, he told himself. Rethinking the distance between the bath and the tree, he backed up a few more inches, but it was enough to unbalance the structure. He crashed to the floor in a mess of bath water, grass and soil.
Laughter broke out above him, in trills and chirps. His face flushed a deep red but he tried to drown out the ruckus all the same. He shook his pelt to rid himself of the collected water and matted mud, but only he knew it was mostly to liberate himself of the shame of knowing he had failed, yet again.
Defeated, he trudged over to the part of the dirt of the garden path where the sun gleamed through so he could begin to dry off.
Psst, over here.
He tilted his head in confusion. Was he going mad or were the flowers speaking? He padded over to the bunch of wildflowers in front of the porch. It took him a few moments to find the true source of the voice. The little Skidget was easy to miss in the bed of Cosmos and Poppies.
I have something that may help, a Faerie left it here a few days ago but I've no use for it, it squeaked.
The worm turned around to grab something and then to his surprise held up a little brush. Excitement coursed through him. Yes, this is exactly what I need, he thought.
With the brush in his mouth, he raced toward the Rainbow Pool. As he approached the waters, a bright pink mass stepped forward to block his path. He looked up, his vision adjusting to the sun gleaning directly into his eyes, and realized it was a Faerie Wocky. Grumpily he asked, I need to use the pool, do you mind?
You must first have a name to use the pool, little one, she replied with a sweet smile.
A name? He was just Juma, claimed by none. He didn't need a name. He mulled it over for a bit; if a name was all that stood between him and reaching those pretentious birds, so be it. He straightened up, and looked directly at the Wocky before him, My name is Soleil. And I will soon be able to touch the sun, he thought.
The Wocky nodded, as if acknowledging something she had already known, and stepped aside so he could pass.
Soleil dipped into the pool and used the brush given to him by the Skidget. After emerging from the water, he glanced to his right and left. Let's see those birds mock me now, he thought smugly.
Wings. He gave them a flap. I have wings!