The Chronicle Gambia

Eye of the Chicken: The Adventures of Cluck-kan

So, a few days ago, one of my dogs caught some poor hen’s son, the second one in 3 days. It probably belongs to one of the neighbors. Luckily I caught her in the act this time and saved the chick’s life. Now it walks around the house thinking it is a pet. This is the chicken’s testimony. From the chicken’s mouth. Certainly not mine.

Some days ago, evil came. The new evil. The one which walks with four legs, unlike the other evil which sweeps the skies with its wings. Mother says that the evil of the sky attacks us because of an ancient quarrel, she hasn’t told us what the quarrel was but she said that if we don’t wander away from her, sky evil will not get us. But I think the sky evil does not follow the rules, or maybe it doesn’t know the rules. Because one time when I was still yellow, he came and even though Mother screamed very loud and pleaded with him, the sky evil swooped down and grabbed Cluck-bii with his big scary talons. He went away. Benevolent evil, who also has two legs like us, came out of her stone house and threw things at sky evil, but he was too fast. He flew away with Cluck-bii. Then benevolent evil counted us, said some gibberish and went back inside her stone house. Mother cried for a very long time, but we never saw Cluck-bii again.

This new evil, I don’t know where it came from, but we were just minding our business on that day, pecking some slippery rice, mother said we had to eat it or we will not be big like her. I wanted to ask her where all the other big mothers were, but those questions upset her, so I stopped. Anyway, so, we were just eating this rice when it came. It had four legs, like those others that Mother calls the Bearded Idiots and the Wooly Fools but it was very different. It had many, sharp long beaks arranged along its mouth. They were very strange beaks, because they were facing downwards and upwards. If I wasn’t so scared, I would have found it very funny.

The new evil stopped a short distance away from us. It and Mother looked each other in the eyes for a while. Of course Mother had to look at it one eye at a time, because her eyes are on the sides of her face. So Mother started doing that nagging thing she does and asked us to stand beside her, I heard her and I did as she said, but Cluck-lii, Cluck-laa, Cluck-lan and Cluck-ban were bickering and didn’t do as Mother said. Then the new evil started running towards us so Mother started screaming and running, all of us started screaming and running too. The new evil was so fast, not as fast as the sky evil but very fast! We ran and ran and ran. Mother tried, Mother always tried, but the new evil grabbed Cluck-lan with its many beaks and ran away with her. We never saw Cluck-lan again.

Many many times I wondered what happened to Cluck-lan, just like I wondered what happened to Cluck-bii. What was it about us that made the evils want to take us away. I wonder what ancient quarrel Mother had with the many-beak evil too. Mother must have been very quarrelsome before we came. But anyway, life had to go on, there was a lot of pecking to do, and daily pooping quotas to complete. As the saying goes, a chicken is as good as his poop is plentiful and we must all strive to be good chickens, just like Mother.

This was all many days ago. I have lost count because right now I’m in a strange place, very strange indeed, but I’m getting used to it. This place has a hard, smooth floor, there is no sand, the trees here have four stems and I see benevolent evils sitting on these trees. The sun is strange in this place and sometimes it sets suddenly and rises suddenly. The wind comes from this strange thing in the corner. This thing makes a funny noise and sometimes the wind stops altogether. There is a lot of food and water, and when I’m sleepy, one particularly nice benevolent evil who I like a lot, wraps me up and places me on her thighs. I really appreciate that, because it gets cold and I miss sleeping under Mother’s warm feathers and snuggling up with my brothers and sisters. How did I get here, you ask.

Well, it is a very long story. I doubt you will believe me but I will tell you anyway, because, well, there really isn’t much else to do. Two sunshines after Cluck-lan was taken. The new evil came back. We were all running and screaming again. But this time, it was screaming too. It was making this noise like when benevolent evil is beating the thing she lays on the entrance to her house. She beats it against a tree and it says, woop, woop, woop. The new evil was making a similar noise, but louder. Oh, it was horrible, horrible! I was doing well of course, running very close to Mother, just as she tells us to. So I don’t know why that happened to me of all chickens.

The new evil got me. It got me. My heart nearly fell out of my chest. I was grabbed and lifted so fast into the air, I think I fainted for a while. I don’t know for how long but it couldn’t have been too long. When I woke up I realized that the new evil was holding me in its mouth and it was taking me away, very fast. Eugh! It’s mouth was warm and wet and all that wetness was getting into my feathers. All those many funny beaks were digging into me and it was awful uncomfortable. Also, I don’t know why it had to run so fast, I was shaken so badly. But that wasn’t the worst of it, sadly.

Then the new evil went through this gate into one strange place. The ground was like in my house but I could not recognize anything else. You will not believe it, if I tell you! It went and sat under this tree, it spat me out, then it started rolling me on the ground with its hand and its mouth. Every time I tried to escape, it caught me again. And it wasn’t careful with its teeth, it wasn’t careful at all. My wing was hurting awfully and I lost a lot of my feathers. The only good thing was that now I knew what happened to Cluck-lan. It wasn’t nice at all. I was very tired and hurt. I wanted it to be over. Twice the new evil let go of me and I would be so happy and grateful, but as soon as I started to walk away, it would grab me again. When it let go of me the third time, I just stayed where I was. I was too tired to move anyway.

Then this one benevolent evil came out of a stone house and she saw us. She yelled “shabba!” and then she ran to us. The new evil also ran from her. It jostled me about in its mouth as it ran. It hid behind this big something, I don’t know what that thing is, but the benevolent evil found it. She said, “Shaba, open, Shaba, open”. That made me think, so Shaba is the name of the new evil. I don’t even know how I was able to think. It was just pain, pain everywhere. So the benevolent evil grabbed the Shaba’s mouth, but the Shaba wouldn’t let go. We stayed that way for a very long time, a part of me was in the Shaba’s mouth but most of me was in the benevolent evil’s hand. Her other hand was trying to open the Shaba’s mouth. She was saying many things to the Shaba. She was angry. All of a sudden, I was free. I was very glad.

She took me into her stone house and her hand was very comfortable and soft, not like the Shaba’s mouth at all. She lifted my wings, that really hurt, but she stopped lifting them. She put me down on this funny tree and helped me drink some water. I could not stand for a long time, so I just sat and ate and drank. But then I could stand and soon after that I could walk again. There was so much food and water, also the rice was not slippery. It has been very nice, but I miss Mother’s underbelly. It gets cold here sometimes. But there is so much to see, very strange things with lights and stuff. I’m getting used to it.

My benevolent evil has nice talons, I see them a lot because she keeps wiping away my poop. I don’t know why she does that. She shouldn’t do that; like mother says, the pride of a chicken is in the poop. I still like her though, I didn’t know benevolent evils can be gentle. I like her, yes, yes indeed.

The only other problem is she stays playing with these crazy changing lights things. There are two of them, the big changing lights one and the small changing lights one. (Ehem, interjection – I think the chicken is talking about a phone and laptop. Carry on…) Sometimes I just want her to hold me, so what I do is climb onto her hand and peck at the changing lights thing she keeps holding, or if it’s the big one she is looking at, I just walk all over it. But she doesn’t seem to understand because she just grabs me and puts me away. I still like her though, I still like her. Did I mention there is a lot of food?

One day soon, I will go and look for Mother. One day, I don’t know when yet. I mean, there is no rush really. Life is good, so I’m just gonna kick it here for a while. I am still healing you see. No rush at all. Anyway, that’s my story. I gotta go now, several ants walking around here looking like a snack!

You can find more of the author’s work on her blog, Of Womaness And Wild Dreams.

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