And now, I shall bestow upon you all the tale of my first girlfriend: Mango.
After my now-legendary duel with Duxx Deluxxe, in which I achieved redemption for my family (specifically, my mother) and myself, I left home and waddled out into the world. Before long, I found myself adorned in a jacket I’d handcrafted and stuffed with goose feathers, merely trekking through the magnificent, magical mountains of Asia as the most brilliant folk often do.
Therefore, it was in Himalayas that Mango and I experienced our initial encounter.
I was rather busy hunting for knaves to stab (I was doing it for the ‘gram) when my unsuspecting gaze first stumbled upon her excellence.
Mango had these scorching, ruby irises, the kinds of which could’ve only been sculpted in the flames of Hell by my father himself, a smooth, burgundy beak, and a rather haughty [but justified] air about herself. Her feathers were a vibrant, neon green; the combination of her eyes, beak, and feathers made for a stark, yet elegant, contrast of the sort that would’ve left any living creature mesmerized. I actually came to learn that she dyed her feathers shortly before our first encounter in an act of alternative rebellion [and, apparently, an attempt at a disguise]. All in all, she was the kind of duck you’d find in one of those old, gigantic, gothic paintings which Europe’s old-money elites still like to hang directly above their living room fireplaces.
Needless to say, it was love at first cluck.
I found Mango enticing and luminous, and she obviously felt the same way about me. I already knew her face and beak from my dreams, although I wouldn’t admit it to her or anyone else. I was a renowned edgelord, even in those days and at that young age, so I wasn’t exactly known for my powers of mushy, gushy sentiment…
All that softcore rubble weakens the brand anyway, and makes me as ill as I, in all my near-immortal superiority, can actually be.
Anyhow, an epic romance between us was born. Mango and I waddled through Asia together, mauling a rather impressive variety of living creatures, and drinking as much blood as we could possibly get our wings on. Looking back now, I would go so far as to say we were being rather gluttonous…
Still, everyone knew us as we traveled through the upper half of that hemisphere, both of us glorious in our Armani-made, silk cloaks and famously lush feathers. Everything was perfect…
Until it wasn’t anymore.
One night, months after we’d commenced our journey together, I woke from a marijuana-induced nap to find my cloak on fire. I was about to call for Mango to help me put out the flames when, suddenly, I noticed the black silhouette of her face chuckling from behind that roaring, couture inferno.
“Mango, what’s going on?!” I squawked in a state of utter bewilderment.
She guffawed, and then responded with what almost sounded like a chirp. “Vengeance has finally befallen you, Pluto, the Goddess of Death!” More cruel laughter emitted from her sparkly beak; we were actually camped out at an EDM festival we were in the midst of attending that night.
“I — I don’t understand.” I choked on the smoke, which rose from my cloak in sinister, eloquent, and suffocating swirls of deception. The fiery scene in front of me was honestly quite radiant against that raven-hued forest night.
Mango fell silent, and arrogantly waddled out from behind the fire to face me beak-on. The bass drop from earlier that evening still rang in my ears as her blazing pupils conquered the very darkness which dared to surround us.
“You, Pluto, the Goddess of Death, slaughtered my mother!” she bellowed.
Understanding suddenly dawned upon me. I’m pretty sure my beak was hanging open in pure astonishment, but the fact still remained:
I’d slaughtered hundreds of creatures by then, but I’d only murdered one duck.
“Your — your mother was Duxx Deluxxe?!” I stammered.
“Yes, my beloved!” she honked back furiously. “And now, I seek vengeance, just as you once did… At the detriment of my family! Did you know that my father changed his name to Kyle after my mother’s death and spends all his time setting empty Monster cans aflame once he’s guzzled their contents?!”
I actually wasn’t aware of the situation with her father. Regardless, I wasn’t even remotely sorry about what had happened. I’d done what I had to do back then, and I would happily do it again at the snap of a beak. Plus, I hadn’t even known when I slayed Duxx Deluxxe that I would discover my deep-rooted passion for stabbing and slicing others…
Not that it mattered anyways; I had done what any truly honorable duck would have done in my situation.
“Bring it on, then, Mango Deluxxe, daughter of Kyle Deluxxe!” I squawked with all the vigor in the world.
The mention of the name “Kyle” seemed to bring out the neon green Monster in her. In the drop of a bass, we’d both drawn our travel daggers from under our wings…
In complete unison.
With a dive from me and a cluck from her, we broke out into a dance of great passion, lust, hatred, vengeance, and EDM in front of the bonfire. I mean this quite literally, as a D.J./rave-goer who was at the campsite started playing his mix-tape for us while we dueled. He’d actually just dropped it the week before. I know the release date because I inquired about the track afterwards.
A group of spandex-/cargo-clad hippies made s’mores over the flames [and my burning-haute cloak] as we leaped and lunged and lanced to the death under that woodland canopy. Much to our surprise, our incessant squawking had woken most of our fellow ravers up; they were understandably ravenous as a result of all the fist-bumping, arson, drugs, alcohol, strobe lights, energy drinks, hula hoops, and in-tent sexual intercourse that had already christened the festival.
Sixteen bass drops later (courtesy of that guy’s mix-tape and divine D.J. skills), the neon green Mango “Kyle” Deluxxe laid almost motionless at my webbed feet, bleeding and fading exactly as her mother had on some nameless, forsaken beach just months before.
I was undefeatable…
Even in the face of Mango’s undeniable splendor, and the romantic feelings I still held for her back then.
Confident as ever in my blade work, I turned to go and retrieve some s’mores for myself as I, too, was famished. There was honestly no appeal for me in watching Mango die upon the cold, damp Earth, the ground covered by dewy, absinthe-ladden grass.
And, that was when I heard it… The raspy, strained squawk that changed everything…
“Pluto, the Goddess of Death!” Mango summoned from the depths of her bleeding throat. I swiveled around to face her. Struggling, she raised her wing from where she lay on the ground and pointed it directly at me. “You only think you’ve won, you miserable, magenta duck!”
Firstly, I would’ve hardly called myself magenta, not even in my youth when my feathers were somewhat darker. Her carelessness on that one, especially after all our time together, strongly irked me. Secondly, I couldn’t help but notice how all the glitter on her beak was still perfectly intact. She’d always had a certain sense of style and finesse to her, and I deeply admired how that still held true, even in her final, gory moments.
“Because I have,” I lashed back at her with the sneer I reserve especially for sworn enemies of mine whilst they’re on their deathbeds.
“But, you haven’t, o’ deluded one!” Mango rasped. “I’ll haunt you, you fiend, for the remainder of your miserable days, and I’ll do so with the greatest gusto the world has ever known! I owe it to my mother, my father, and myself!”
I felt a shudder scurry down my spine, but I couldn’t let her, nor the other rave-goers [who were already slurping away at their bubbling, hot marshmallows], know that I was intimidated by some dying creature’s rather questionable declaration. Thus, I permitted my sneer to deepen before plunging back in for the final, verbal blow: “Your father, as in… Kyle?”
The loathing in Mango’s eyes met the belligerent mocking and quiet terror behind my own for a fleeting instant. Then, just as she pried open her beak to retort, life finally fled from the confines of her neon body, and her still-raised wing crashed back down onto the Earth.
But if she was really dead, which I was absolutely sure she was, why did her glazed eyes continue to flicker through the immediate aftermath of her demise, almost as if she was still alive?
I couldn’t help but wonder.
The s’mores didn’t taste nearly as delectable as I’d anticipated they would during the moments preceding Mango’s death. We’d actually yeeted her body into the fire… I never actually determined whether it was the essence of indignant, smoked duck which ruined the flavor of those marshmallows as I chewed away at them that night or, rather, my own fear of what was to come.
I later ate Mango once the rave-goers had cooked her up a bit; there was no denying that she was a slow roaster. The less than satisfying s’mores weren’t exactly the end-all for my hunger that night, so I did what I had to do, as I always had and always do… It certainly beat eating the homemade granola bars the lad with the mix-tape offered me.
As I sat there, smashing her cooked, salted, still-green wing to soft, wet mush within the enclosures of my beak, I mused…
Would Mango really haunt me? And, more importantly… Could Mango haunt me? Was that even within the realm of possibility?
I wasn’t sure, nor could I have been at that young, inexperienced age; I didn’t know then what I know now. Yet, odd things started to happen here and there over the weeks which followed and, in turn, I slowly but surely began to believe in ghosts.
That was the summer I discovered that I am a raging, EDM-loving duck who doesn’t especially appreciate duck-flavored s’mores, but doesn’t mind indulging in the occasional ecstasy trip or rocking a pair of neon, spandex shorts on a Tuesday afternoon. More importantly, that was the summer I found romance, Eastern snow, haute couture, and peacock blood.
Those are the types of things no one can ever take away from me…
Not even the lingering spirit of Mango, my very first girlfriend.
About the Author
Pluto, the Goddess of Death, is a hot pink, rubber duck with an affinity for chaos, killing, blood, death, eyeliner, and watermelons. When she’s not working on her chronicles, it’s a safe bet that Pluto’s out questing, starting verbal feuds on Twitter, ordering around the plethora of knaves which occupy her kingdom, and/or writing her ballads.
She can be found on Twitter (@PlutoisDeath), and Instagram (@baby.vamp.ami). Her chronicles can be found here (babyvampami.com), or on Wattpad (@babyvampami).