I opened the door and she simply was not there. No soft clucking. No feathery fluff milling about my feet. No foul offering to step into.
I called for her. I cackled. I hooted. I hollered. Nothing. Silence. There was no sign of our quirky bird. That was it. She was gone. And the homestead suddenly became hauntingly empty. I vaguely recalled that the evening before, the neighbor’s two large bully dogs were once again roaming free near our place. I could only imagine the worst.
Days passed. Into weeks. Clover was still gone. On a whim, The Man decided to give the garage a good, thorough cleaning. And to our bewilderment, he found eggs. Piles of them! All over the place. That clever, old girl was doing her job all along. But it no longer mattered.
Nearly three weeks had passed. The Man and I were soundly sleeping when an awful, deafening sound arose from the deck area just off the kitchen. I bolted upright and looked at the clock. 2:00 am. I could not be sure, but that ghastly noise sounded something like a chicken in distress. Or the zombie apocalypse. But the former seemed a trifle more possible. Although, I really could not be certain since I had never before actually heard… anything quite so terrible.
I woke The Man. “Do you hear that ghastly racket?”
“Yes,” he muttered, eyes still closed.
“Does it sound like… a chicken?“.
“Yes,” he repeated, not moving. At this point, I was pretty sure the situation called for some investigation.
“Should…. someone check?” I asked sweetly, hoping to stir him into action.
“Yes,” once more, lifeless. Clearly, The Man was still bitter about the turn of events surrounding our attempts at raising chickens and remained unmoved at the plight of one discombobulated chicken. I reached for my robe and slippers and steeled myself for whatever horror it might be.
“Do I… need a gun?”
Silence from The Man, accompanied by a minimal snore.
I am not sure why I thought a gun would seem appropriate, but the mere oddity of a the situation seemed to call for it. I opted for a baseball bat and a Mag Light.
I crept out to the kitchen to investigate and as I pulled back the window covering, I gasped in surprise. Clover!!?? There she was pacing the deck with maddening speed, squawking like a banchee, and while clearly alarmed, she appeared to be alone and intact. Perhaps she was very hungry? Or thirsty? After all, God only knows where the poor bird had been for three long weeks. I rummaged around the refrigerator to find a few choice morsels along with some fresh water for my sweet hen and placed them in a dish outside. But she would not have it. Clover continued her blaring routine, wearing a path into the already weathered wood. (I am certain every neighboring farm within a five-mile radius was now awake and hurling curses in our general direction.)
The countryside by cloak of night is an impossible thing. I could see no predator, but Clover insisted quite to the contrary. I could do nothing more, and since there was no calming her, I reluctantly left her to her routine. I halfheartedly prayed that she would be there in the morning. But perhaps I was dreaming? I returned to bed.
And the next morning…
Cozy up, bring coffee, and come back tomorrow for Part 4!
If you missed out, you can catch up here:
Can’t get enough of the chickens? You can read about our previous flock here:
Love & Coffee!