May 5th, 2012
Shiloh was never just an outpost to me. This is where I was born. This was home. They call us, “war zone chicks,” those of us born and raised in the field. The battleground is my life. I’m not even sure what I’d do on a civilian farm.
I still think I see her sometimes – or hear her squawk. Denial convinces me she has only gone to look for greener pastures – that she will return soon. But reality wakes me anew every morning with her overwhelming silence. I only hope Mama did not suffer much.
I never knew my Papa. He died when I was young. He lies in an unmarked grave in the neighbor’s yard. Rumor has it that the neighbor buried him with honor, at least. All his feathers were intact. I’m not sure if he would have received the same treatment from the leadership on our farm.
There are four of us left. The Rooster – who kindly took my Ma and I in when Papa died. He takes his leadership over Company B seriously. In the midst of the events of the past week, I have to say he is our great stability. If it weren’t for him, we might have all been in the barn that night.
Two hens remain. I’ve never been partial to the chickens to be honest. They never fully accepted Mama and I into their ranks. Kind of uppity in that regard. Not to mention they drone on with their constant chatter and they all look the same. I can’t even tell you which two are left; only that they continue to talk endlessly and the Rooster never addresses it. I wonder if he’s realized the threat their chit chat has to giving away our location. At least I can fly higher. It might be my saving grace.
Dawn is dangerous. This we discovered today. The Rooster and I were scavenging quietly for early morning grubs, when one of the hens let out a blood-curdling cry. Two thoughts ran through my mind. First, the bitter sweet hope that chicken chatter might end at Shiloh, and second that if the fox actually had got one of the hens, I would have about 3.5 seconds to high-tail it to the roof. Which I did, only to see one of the two nondescript fowls dashing across the lawn flailing its wings, crazed eyes. No fox.
Moments later, I peered down under the roof and spotted one in leadership. She wore slippers and was holding a large BB gun. Two shots rang out, and then I saw him. Bushy tail, slight smile. He scampered around the house and darted down the dirt road. The P. J. clad leader mumbled something under her breath and shut the door. I heard bacon sizzling moments later. Breakfast would be early this morning.
Four remain. The fox lives on. But at least now we know those in leadership are willing to fight. Everything changes when your leadership are willing to fight for you. I only hope they move quickly. This may still be our finest hour.