What Wakes the Rooster (Part 26)

By the dam, the duckling pecked at the little black box lodged in the mud among the reeds. On one side of the box a square screen lit up, and a tiny arrow flashed in the corner. The duckling leaned in and squinted at the screen; it showed a dark, almost black picture which the... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 25)

The hens went before Ivan, plucking grass and small flowers and tossing them into the air; the chicks raced in circles, singing and cheeping. The roosters followed behind. Sonny was last of all. He looked aside and saw ripples weaving through the long grass behind the henhouse. Movement at the henhouse door caught his eye;... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 24)

Ivan peered into the shed. “Well, let’s have a look then.” “No, wait,” said Sonny. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise.” Ivan stepped in. “I don’t care for surprises.” Sonny followed him. “Well, remember, I’ve only just started. There’s more to do.” “Damn right there’s more to do,” said Ivan. He looked around the... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 23)

Long into the evening, clucks filled the henhouse as the chickens talked of Rocco and wondered what tales of adventure he would bring when he returned. Some wondered if he would return. Only two chickens had nothing to say about Rocco’s adventurous flight: Ivan, who had left the henhouse, grumbling to himself; and Sonny, who... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 22)

A flash of bright steel, the heavy clunk of wood; Rosie’s head rolled onto the stump. Her decapitated body flapped and flipped off the stump as Mr McGinley laid the axe on the ground and stood up. Sonny jumped back as he watched headless Rosie sprint across the hill, blood spurting from her open neck.... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 21)

The next few days enjoyed the same peace, apart from a couple of minor interruptions that were ignored by most: Rosie clucked frantically each morning, declaring somebody was stealing her eggs; and the little chick who claimed to have seen the owl in the chief rooster’s shed disappeared. Five days out from the new moon,... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 20)

Ivan saw Melvin approaching and puffed his chest. He stamped his feet and stood tall; he looked the size of a turkey. All the hens drew back, shielding their chicks under their wings. As Melvin marched into the arena, Sonny ran up alongside him. “Melvin, what are you doing?” he whispered. Melvin glanced down at... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 19)

The next morning, as the chickens scratched around the yard, Sonny approached Rosie, who was loitering up by Winston’s shed, pacing back and forth. “Oh Sonny, I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “You shouldn’t be hanging around the shed, Rosie,” he said. “I can’t help it. It’s all so strange. Have you got the video... Continue Reading →

What Wakes the Rooster (Part 18)

Chickens, being largely immune to the anxiety that infects mankind, rarely experience the feeling of relief. They don’t even have a word for it. But upon hearing the news of the owl’s non-existence—which was interpreted not so much as a rumour disproved as much as a glorious battle won—a wave of relief swept over the... Continue Reading →

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