The little grey rooster walked up the path toward the farmhouse. His head hung low, full of thoughts scrambling for attention. He could hear the other animals were awake now. As he reached the wide front porch of the house Sonny saw the cat snuggled up with her kittens. They had grown a lot in a short time, and would soon be wandering around the farm on their own. The front door of the house opened and Mr McGinley stepped out wearing a beanie and a thick jacket over his usual clothes. The sheepdog greeted him with a wagging tail, and off they both went to the barn. Sonny turned in the opposite direction and walked past the house, down to the far side of the pond. It was a slow, sombre walk, and the further he went the fewer animals he encountered. Past the pond and up the hill on the north side of the farm he trekked, further than he had been before. Near the top of the hill Sonny stopped and turned around. He was alone. The entire farm lay before him, as though he had been removed from it and was observing as an outsider. All its sounds seemed miles away.
As he observed this grand view he saw down by the pond, almost completely hidden by reeds, some sort of shelter. It would have been impossible to see it from the chickens’ side of the pond. He went down to investigate, and found it was made from the remains of a wooden crate. The crate was covered with leaves and mud, but inside it was fairly dry. On the dirt floor was part of an old horse blanket, fashioned into a rough nest shape. “This must be Alfred’s house,” said Sonny. There were some human books and pieces of paper lying about, and a small, rusty toolbox without a lid. Sonny inspected the contents of the toolbox: a pair of scissors, a funny looking stone, a shoelace, the hat Mr McGinley lost the previous spring, a ten inch carving knife and a screwdriver. Sonny stepped back out of the shelter.
He took the long way back around the pond, stopping at a grassy bank where the reeds didn’t grow. Over the edge he peered, being careful not to lean too far—he was not a good swimmer, and that water looked cold and deep. He saw his reflection wobbling among the ripples of sporadic raindrops.
“What are you doing here, Sonny?” said a voice behind him.
Sonny turned and saw Ivan walking toward him.
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