My legs are starting to cramp. Shit.
I been under this desk three hours but I don’t dare make a sound. I’m barely breathing.
Meg’s back. She’s outside the study door now. I can tell. My little girl.
The trouble started when that giant rooster come straggling out of the woods yesterday afternoon. From where, I couldn’t tell you. He was huge.
That boy was the cock of the walk and took over the coop. He rousted out a bunch of the hens and just stood in the doorway, head darting back and forth. Just begging somebody to have a go at him.
I ignored him. Had enough to do.
About two hours later, there was a big ruckus in that hen house. I heard screaming and looked over. The entire structure was shaking and buckling.
Then I see Meg come screaming out of there with blood all over her face. She was carrying on something awful. Said the rooster had spiked her when she went into the coop to collect eggs.
Well, that can happen. Nothing out of the ordinary there: roosters can be mean assholes.
All that blood. I got Meg cleaned up and calmed down. Then I went out to the coop to break that thing’s neck.
And I’ll be damned if I don’t see seven or eight dead hens scattered under the laying boxes. Their heads lay ripped off and piled neatly into a little pyramid there in the corner.
That rooster, he was sitting on the edge of a laying box like he was king shit. His head tilted as if wondering how I had the balls to come into his realm, or some such thing.
I got a shiver up my back, just looking at that thing and his little pile of heads.
I decided to leave it alone for a while. I’ll admit I was spooked.
You might want to know how I came to be squatting under this desk, with my legs cramping.
Well, I got nothing better to do right now.
Meg was fine at dinner tonight. I’d patched her up and comforted her. Things her mother used to do before the cancer got her.
That night I hear the rooster crowing and I think to myself, that thing’s going under the ax tomorrow. Spiking Meg is one thing, but crowing in the blackest part of night is another.
I was just starting to doze off when something made me open my eyes and look down to the foot of the bed and I almost shit myself: Meg was standing down there. Eyes all rolled up white in her head. And blood spilling out where her tears are supposed to.
Then those eyes rolled round, looked right at me and off she went. Just left.
‘Course I followed her back to her room and she was lying in bed.
I got to checking. She was awful hot. Sweating and panting.
I called nine-one-one straight away.
I was on the front porch when they pulled in, lights but no siren. I told them Meg was upstairs. They told me to stay put, and up they went. I heard that rooster shriek again. I mean, it must’ve been two in the morning at this point. What the hell is he doing?
Then from up in Meg’s room I hear all this screaming and bumps. Lamps crashing. I ran up those stairs and I still can’t believe what I saw: the heads of those EMTs piled together in the corner. Meg staring at me. Just like that goddamn rooster. Blood smeared all over her cheeks. And dripping down her flexed fingers.
She started to smile a little and that set me off running down the stairs.
I was heading for the front porch, but standing there, proud as you please is that demon rooster, pushing one of his big talons through the screen door.
I heard Meg pounding down the stairs behind me so I crashed into the study, here. Locked the door and climbed under this desk.
Well that brings you up to date.
I heard the cops show up a little while ago. Probably checking on those ambulance boys. Well, either that rooster or Meg -or both- got hold of them. I nearly puked listening to that.
Now, there’s some unnatural sounds coming from right outside the study door. Oh, Meg. What’s he done to you?
Nearly sun up now.
I’m gonna try and rest a little.
Then I’m going out this window, getting my axe, and that fucking rooster is going down.
Well, one of us will be here to greet the next squad car.
Casting about for ideas to write about today. The news wasn’t sparking anything so I pulled the OED out and chose two words at random. Believe it or not: “Alpha” and “Male”. I was staring out my window looking at our chickens walking around and the story just sort of dropped out onto my lap. I am glad we don’t have roosters anymore. BB