the kid who terrorizes our house came back again
While we were visiting my in-laws, we got a phone call at six in the morning. It was the state police. The boy was reported missing and spotted running down the road toward our driveway again. We were glad we weren’t home, and proceeded to enjoy the weekend and the pool and the company of our family.
When we got home a couple days later, we noticed one of our chickens was missing. My wife went over and over the details in her head. She knew she put them in the coop one by one before we left, and was almost positive that they were all in there. She couldn’t be 100% sure. She thought she was, but couldn’t say. We only knew that we were down one chicken.
The next day, a van pulled into our driveway and a lady got out and introduced herself. She lived two doors down and had chickens of her own. She said her mother was taking care of them and feeding her big robust Buff Orpingtons when all of a sudden, she noticed a little white pullet running around. She freaked out and went inside, wondering where this lone ghost chicken came from, and what kind of voodoo this could be. She counted her chickens. Right number, but one of them had turned white. The lady assured her mother that one of her chickens didn’t magically turn white. She said she knew that we had white ones, and she came to tell us she had our hen, and we could come get her anytime.
So the girls and I grabbed a dog carrier out of the shed and walked two doors down to the neighbor lady. The driveway was long and shaded, and we took a pleasant jaunt into a part of the woods near our home that we’d never explored. The shade of the overgrown trees was cool and dark. We walked all the way up to a huge gate. It was locked and there were cameras pointing at us. We waved to the house but no one came out. I looked around. There were no chicken coops or outbuildings that would house them. I told the girls I thought we were in the wrong place.
We walked next door as the girls protested every step. They kept saying the lady told us it was two doors down, this had to be it, we just had to wait. I said it couldn’t be it, and hey, let’s just try this path, it connects these two houses, the one with the big gate and the security cameras and this other one nestled in a nice stand of tall pines. I nearly had to drag them through the woods and up a small hill to the house. In the backyard, there was a huge chicken pen full of big orangey hens. And one little white hen.
An older lady came out of the house and immediately started complaining about the boy. She said she was so tired of him coming around. She said a neighbor saw him climb up the banks of the river wearing nothing but a backpack. She said he was locking up her chickens with a padlock every night now and she suggested we do the same. One was still missing. Her husband called the town office and they better do something about this neighborhood menace. We collected our chicken in the dog carrier and went home.
Last night, the girls were visiting a friend and we were enjoying a beer on the porch. It was just past twilight, dark enough so that all the shadows were deeper than the sky, and we heard a rustling in the lilac bushes. Sure enough, up the driveway, ran a little boy. My wife shrieked and went inside. I followed, and we locked the doors. In the glow of the porch light, his little scared face appeared through the glass, with sad blue eyes searching for us. Perhaps he was contemplating his own troubled reflection. My wife grabbed the phone to call the police and the unit where he lived, and I went out on the porch with him. He was wearing red Angry Birds slippers. I asked him what he was doing. He said he ran away in the dark. I asked him why. He said he didn’t know. I picked up a bubble wand and asked him if he’d ever blown bubbles at night. He said no. My wife asked him if he took one of our chickens for a walk. He covered his face and said he was sorry. He was confused and didn’t want it to get lost. A moth flew over his head and he remarked that it was pretty and that he liked moths. I blew bubbles with him, sending them floating into the night sky, and he clapped and popped them, laughing until workers from the school came and dragged him home.