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Writing for fun 1 February 2019

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

I was scared. The darkness was frightening, impenetrable. The chicken coop, normally familiar, loomed and creaked. The wind tore at the walls, rattling the window panes.

The lightning had struck nearby and the ensuing thunder was louder than any sound I had ever heard. It was deep, growling, long. Menacing. The sole lightbulb suspended from the ceiling had gone out.

Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the dark and the impenetrable thickness gave way to forms around the room, the hay bales, the sacks of feed, the little ramps and chicken nests. I could make out the shapes of the chickens, huddling together on a raised bar along the back wall, turned away. They were seeking warmth and comfort from each other.

I had never stayed at grandmas farm before, and quite enjoyed the little chores around the place like picking strawberries and feeding the animals. I had come to the chicken coop with scraps from dinner, then got distracted as ten year olds do, looking for eggs in the hay, watching the chickens. They had been acting strange, probably feeling the storm coming in a way urban humans no longer can. I hadn’t noticed the rains’ increased intensity, lost in my day dreams and chatter with the chooks.

I’ve always been a dreamer, time slips away unaccounted for.

I opened the door to the drifts of rain and whipping wind, and saw the power was also out at the farm house. Through the kitchen windows, I could see several lit candles but not the shapes of my family.

Mum and uncle John stepped outside and scurried across the farm yard towards the barn, each with an umbrella, leaning into the wind. I called out, but I could barely hear my own voice over the wind howling and the cracks of thunder. The old oak trees lining the driveway and the farm yard were groaning, swaying dangerously. The rain pelted down.

I stayed put, and waited for the storm to pass. The chickens continued to huddle, but their stoic patience provided me with a sense of calm reassurance.

This storm would pass.

When I finally made it back to the house, mum and John were relieved, and grandma didn’t admit to feelings, but fussed over me and peeled mandarins for me after my ‘big adventure’ as she called it. Uncle John showed how when you squeeze mandarin peel next to an open candle flame, it made ‘mini-fireworks’, crackling and spitting.

Mum bundled me off to bed thinking I’d had enough excitement that day, and I probably didn’t need to also burn the house down. She carried a candle for light and let me go to bed without my pyjamas for a change. I guess we probably wouldn’t have found them in the suitcase in the dark anyway.

As she kissed my forehead goodnight, I drifted off into a sleep filled with round, feathery chickens huddling. I was never scared of storms again.


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