What Wakes the Rooster (Part 16)

Sonny stepped inside and examined the fallen plank of wood and paint tins. “I’ve come to see about this owl,” he said.

Rosie and the terrier exchanged nervous glances. “Uh, yes,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing too. The owl.”

Sonny walked around and looked up at the shelves on the wall. “There is no owl,” he said.

The terrier lowered his head and whimpered. Rosie looked at Sonny in surprise. “You know?” she asked.

“Of course I know. I don’t know why everybody hasn’t figured it out.”

“Well, don’t tell them,” said Rosie. “Please, Sonny. We meant no harm. We’ll sort this out and it will be fine. No one needs to know.”

Sonny stopped and stared up at the corner of the room. Upon the highest shelf, from the shadow between a paint tin and a pile of old dry rags, a tiny red circle stared back at him. It disappeared, and then returned a moment later. As Sonny watched, the red dot blinked at him at regular intervals. “What is that?” he whispered.

“It’s a video camera,” said Rosie.

Sonny looked confused.

Rosie explained. Rascal, at Rosie’s request, had taken Mr McGinley’s camera from the farmhouse and given it to her so she could make the documentary she’d always wanted to. She thought Winston would make the best subject for her secret film, so she had the terrier sneak into the shed, climb up and set the camera on the shelf. The camera had been there for a few days now, and the blinking red dot was its low battery warning. Though the battery was long dead, the light still came on randomly. The young chick had obviously seen the light, and, with the darkness guiding her young imagination into nightmare territory, had assumed it to be an owl’s eyes. Sonny had never heard of a video camera, a battery, or a documentary film, but after some further explanation he got the gist of the situation. Rosie told him how Rascal had caused the previous night’s crash while trying to retrieve the camera, and how with that middle shelf now fallen to the ground it was impossible for him to climb up again. The terrier lay on the ground and covered his eyes with his paws.

“Please, Sonny,” said Rosie. “I know we weren’t supposed to be in the shed, and now we’ve caused all this panic.” Clucking came from the chicken yard: a few of the chickens had left the henhouse. “Oh, Sonny. I’d be so ashamed if everyone found out I was spying on Winston. Will you help us?” She looked up at the shelf. “I can’t fly that high… but you might be able to.”

Sonny ruffled his feathers and glared at his sister. “Fine,” he said. He flapped up onto one of the lower shelves, but then paused. “So… the camera sees what happens, and remembers it?”

“Yes,” said Rosie. “Then you look at its memories, and you can see what happened. It’s so exciting—imagine, seeing what others do when you’re not there.”

“Yeah, sure, but what about this camera’s memories?” Sonny flapped across to a higher shelf on the near wall. He looked down at Rosie. “When did you say you put it here?”
Rosie moved over toward the door and peeked outside. Most of the chickens were in the yard now. She looked back up at Sonny. “Two days before Winston was found… you know…dead.”

Sonny’s eyes widened and his mind raced. “Then the camera saw what happened that night?” He jumped and flapped up to highest shelf, balancing himself with a final flutter.

“Well, probably not,” said Rosie, keeping watch by the door. “The battery wouldn’t have lasted that long. But, the power seems to come and go on that camera, so there’s a chance it may have seen something and remembered it. Once we get it down we can find out for sure.”

Confession time was taking its toll on the terrier’s conscience, and he suddenly got up and ran from the shed with his tail between his legs.

“No! Wait, Rascal!” said Rosie, but it was too late. She turned to Sonny. “Quick! They’re coming.”

 

© 2020 MILES VENISON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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