This is just a quick flash piece that came from a mini-prompt. The prompt was, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” An old question but still an inspiring one.
Robbie Rooster was depressed. He already knew humans raised chickens for food, as he had lost his mother, uncle, and three of his ten siblings to the dreaded Butterball Butcher. A pack of animal activists had whisked him away the day before he was scheduled for his own butchering, and he was grateful for the rescue, but the past three months on the farm hadn’t been all that great.
He supposed life was better in the yard than in the pan, but days like today, Robbie dreamed of a quick death by cleaver and wished the activists would have shown up a day too late. The tiny terrier who owned the humans enjoyed a daily chicken chase, and a tail feather was lost each day that Robbie didn’t flap fast enough. When the terrier finally ran out of energy—or enjoyment—the alpha rooster took over, spurring and crowing and making damn sure each and every hen knew that Robbie was a low-life rescue, not worth a second of their time. To top it all off, a rumor was going around the coop that a snake was in the vicinity nabbing eggs, but this chicken knew better. Robbie had seen the humans lifting a flap behind the coop, and they never checked the flap without a basket in hand. It couldn’t have been coincidence. Not that any of the hens would listen to him after the hazing by the alpha.
Robbie couldn’t stand it any more. Being held prisoner by chick-killers, dependent on their blood-stained hands for his daily feed, tortured by the terrier, emasculated by the alpha…it was too much. He just wanted to end it all.
As the neighbor’s Ram 2500 kicked up dust at the end of the gravel road, Robbie knew today was the day. This was his chance at freedom. He stood in the ditch,
The truck came closer. The dust cloud grew. Up at the house, the terrier yipped. The crunch of rocks under rubber became a roar to his small chicken ears. Robbie crowed, releasing a cry of joy, relief, and defiance. With a heart as light as his feathers, Robbie stepped forward.