“By the all-hail hereafter!” I remember the preacher’s sermon from the morning. I look down into those giant eyes, head to the side on the execution block. I lift my arm. Above a hoarse raven croaks its fatal message. The weight of the rock pulling down my arm as I bash the chicken’s head with it, dashing out its brain.
Another day on this forsaken chicken farm, surrounded by filthy clucking fowl creatures. Every morning the mist clings to the land like the sootiest smoke of hell. And as the sunrise touches it, it turns into a blood red wall of fire – predicting the killings to come. These chickens dream of happy lives with their own families, a handsome rooster, some fluffy chicks. But the sun will never see that tomorrow. Oh no, they are devoured by the hunger of mankind’s greed.
A flash into the dark chamber of the murder-hall, a rush of wind as a man steps into MY domain. He thinks he is king! But this is my castle and he will tread wearily or leave this place green and pale. He is followed by a younger, more handsome devil, shining like a diamond in the gloom.
“What bloody man is this?” The ‘master’ voices, looking upon me like a peasant’s whore.
“It is a girl, father. Killer of our livestock for sale.” The prince says, looking like a flower. But under every flower rests a waiting serpent.
“Forgive me. You are unsexed by the blanket of dark in this most oppressive room.” He shivers. His name and character are blemished in my mind and no matter how he tries those spots will never come out.
“Would you please report how your work fares?” He continues. The disgusted look never leaves his face.
“My fare has not been paid, yet I continue to slaughter these birds for your gain.” My voice honeyed gall.
The greedy man plunders a pouch on his belt and drops a meagre pile of coins in my hand. I keep my head down as they leave my hole. I throw the coins out over the room, making dull stars in the dark. I grab the next chicken’s neck and throw it against the rock, my anger boiling. His hand will yet bring his poisoned cup to his own lips… my vision flickers at the memory of the prince. A cackle passes with a palatable thrill through my body and I lick my lips in desire so foul that it solidly floats out after him through the fog.
An angry cluck cuts through my haze. A single chicken dares be in my house without the fear of death? Am I not Bellona, the killer of feathery beasts? It must have come in through the door left open by silly Instruments of Darkness. Another cluck works its way into my mind. If it be their wish, I will kill them both. My hand, the hand of justice, rises to bring down my heavy stone. And yet, when I strike, there is nothing there.
The clucks heighten in pitch behind me. I swirl around, surrounded by wings flapping and fanning the world cold. As one man they dive at me and peck. I am assaulted by a squawking mass of solid anger. Who are these creatures? Do they not know that I cannot kill by one not born of a woman? I carve myself a passage, treading on the dead, denying them their rest. My own discomfort swells as I turn heel to run. But I am faint. My gashes cry for help.
‘What are these creatures, so withered and wild? They don’t look like inhabitants of the earth and yet are on it.’ My brain screams as I am buried under them. I feel a talon unseam me from hip to neck. My blood spills over my own execution stone. Flowing over the coins and the bodies and the feathers. Finally it bursts out of the dark room and into the air, followed by my own cursed soul.
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