Walter, the King of Bats

There once was a boy called Walter. He was the best tree climber in the land. He could climb anything. He could climb buildings, monuments, towers and power pylons.

Walter had a pet bat. Every day the bat would flap to the tree outside Walter’s window and Walter would climb the tree to meet him and together they ate mangoes.

One day Walter saw his bat fly out towards the power line. Knowing that if the bat’s wings touched the power line at the same time it would be electrocuted, Walter climbed the pole as quickly as he could, and launched himself through the air towards his beloved bat, screaming a warning. The bat, startled, flew away, but Walter’s outstretched arms brushed the power lines and he was electrocuted.

His hair stood on end, and as he fell, he felt his heart stop. Just as he was about to hit the ground, he felt sharp hooks in his t-shirt and trousers. To his amazement, he was lifted in the air in the nick of time by a cloud of bats. They lifted him to the safety of a giant tree in the middle of a swamp.

Walter had turned into a black and smoking king of bats. He hung from his tattered arms and legs upside down, barking madly. The bats adored him.

One day, Walter died. It wasn’t that he’d aged much – it’s just that his small heart gave out. He lived in the swamp for roughly the same lifespan as a bat. The funeral was immense, a great swarming plague filled the skies, and the suburban ladies and gentlemen stood under the power lines, watching as a small figure, who might have been anyone’s son, was borne away towards the sinking sun.