All thought of the captured chickens flew completely out of my head…
…until my Father came home from work that evening.
“Don’t forget the forks,” my Mother said.
I took the forks from the counter and continued setting our large table for dinner.
“It looks like your Father’s home,” she said, watching his car pull up the driveway.
“Oh, good,” I said, “I’m hungry!”
“Don’t forget, we’re going to go get the rest of your shots for kindergarten after dinner,” she reminded me.
I frowned, “Okay.”
Then I sat in my assigned chair and hungrily waited for everyone to come.
“I wonder what’s taking your Father so long to come in…” my Mother mused outloud, looking out the window again.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged.
My head jerked up as the anger in my Father’s voice immediately seized me.
He was still outside somewhere. The yell sounded like he was near the garage, maybe by the–
“Oh no!” I gasped outloud, fear gripping my heart, “THE CHICKENS!!”
“Come here,” he said through clenched teeth.
Meekly, I walked closer to the chicken coop.
My Father was standing inside the coop, next to the garbage cans.
Afraid to look, I peered silently up at him with bowed head as he reached down and took the lid off the first can.
Two frightened chickens flew out and landed on the ground. I waited for others to follow, but they didn’t.
My Father’s eyes bore into mine for a long minute. Then he slowly bent down and began counting.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…” he methodically counted each and every lifeless chicken as he pulled it out of the can and laid it on the ground.
I just stared.
“…eight, nine, ten…” he continued on, it seemed like forever.
When he finally reached the bottom of the can, he turned to the second can. Again, when he opened the lid only a few chickens flew out.
If possible, my little body stood even more still.
The counting began anew as my Father pulled more dead chickens out of this can.
Finally, he opened the last can and, thankfully, all the pigeons had survived.
Amidst the pile of dead chickens, my Father turned back to me in slow motion. Then he began to walk towards me.
Heaven help me, I prayed silently, I’m a murderer, and now I’m going to die.
To be continued…