Okay, I haven’t udpated for ages. Haven’t written much, and have had many doubts as to the feasibility of actually writing 50,000 words. But I’ll push through till the end, and if it doesn’t happen, there’s always next year. Current word count stands at 11,335. You may miss the story, but this chapter’s a mini-story all by itself, so here you have it:
When Dresden was but a boy, he used to have a pet chicken. This chicken was very dear to him, and he loved it a lot. He even gave this chicken a name: “Chi”
Chi was a normal kampung chicken, with feathers as white as snow, but since it was always covered with mud, people didn’t know that. But Dresden himself knew that Chi was white, and he always told the others, but nobody knew it.
“Chi’s white inside. You can’t just look at his outside and declare him black.”
“Sure, Dres, we believe you,” was the usual reply.
Whenever Dres came back from school, Chi would cluck noisily, in anticipation for the wormy feast that Dres was sure to give him. Dres never disappointed Chi in this respect, always giving him the freshest, longest worms he could find. Sometimes when Dres didn’t have the time to look for these worms himself, he even went to the pet shop and got some professionally grown worms, which cost up to a dollar a packet, depending on the season. For Dres (he was 9 years of age at this time), this was a huge amount.
Dres didn’t come from a rich family, and his family often disapproved of his love for Chi. They felt that a boy his age should concentrate on his studies, and not put in so much time and effort in caring for a chicken.
The way Chi came into Dresden’s life was a little perculiar as well. One day, on a field trip, he visited a chicken farm. At the farm, these people were selling all sorts of baby animals, including chickens, ducks, pigs, and even rats. Dresden fell in love with the chicks there, and immediately sought out how he might obtain one for his personal pleasure.
“How much are those chicks at the window?” asked Dresden to the farmer.
“Which one?” asked the farmer, and he looked at the window.
“The one with the waggly tail,” said Dresden, pointing to the chick with an overgrown tail feather.
“I’m sorry,” said the farmer, “but he’s not for sale.”
“Cluck cluck,” said the chick to the farmer, when he knew he was being eyed by Dresden.
The farmer, having been in this line for years, understood what the chicken had said. To Dresden, “cluck cluck” was just a sound that chickens made, and not anything else. To the farmer, it was, “let me be with the young boy, farmer, I cannot stand being cooped up in this window. If you will let me go, I promise you that I will spread only good words about you. I will tell every animal I see that your farm is an animal heaven, and I will spread the good word.”
The farmer, who in his spare time was a carpenter as well, thought a little bit about this. He did not wish to sell this chick, for he knew that this chick was special. It always praised the farmer, and preached to the other animals the virtue of this farmer. He even told them how this farmer walked on water before.
The farmer called this chick “John”.
“Okay,” said the farmer finally. “I’ll let you have this chick, but on one condition.”
“Yes? What might that condition be?” asked Dresden.
“That you promise to take good care of it. He is one of my favourites,” replied the farmer.
“Okay, I promise I will do that. I will hug him and squeeze him and love him!” answered Dresden, excitedly.
And thus, Dresden came to be the master of Chi, though everyone knew that Chi had a power over Dresden that made it seem that the chicken was more of the master than Dres was. But Dres didn’t mind. Games of domination were not for him, and all he wanted to do was make Chi happy.
Chi was no ordinary chicken. It had expensive tastes. Once, when it wanted a chick-phone, the latest phone that chickens use to communicate with each other over long distances, it asked Dresden for it. Chick-phones didn’t come cheap, and Dresden had to work for almost a year before being able to come up with that money.
By that time, chick-phones were no longer in vogue, and when Dresden got it for Chi the following year for Christmas, Chi was most disappointed. Dres cried after knowing of Chi’s disappointment, and asked Chi what it was that he wanted. Chi mentioned that he wanted to be left alone, and Dresden granted it its wish.
That Christmas, while Chi was sleeping, the very hurt Dresden decided that he was going to surprise Chi with a new present that would make Chi happen again, and he decided that he would choose Valentine’s to give it to it, for it was the next special occasion of gift-giving.
When Valentine’s came about, Dresden showed Chi what he had got it: a box of worm chocolates. Chi was so touched it started crying, and forgave Dres straight away. Dres felt relieved that Chi had at long last had forgiven him, and he decided to go out to celebrate with a few of his human friends.
Dres was at this time about 11-years-old. After his heavy night of drinking, he came back, drunk as a sober man who had drunk a bottle too much of wine, and went into the play-pen of Chi.
Feeling hungry at that time, he did not see Chi as Chi, but rather saw Chi as a chicken. He went to the kitchen, and returned yielding a knife. Chi looked up, and screamed, “cluck! Cluck!” But Dresden was too drunk to know what he was doing.
He took the knife and slashed Chi a few times, severely injuring Chi, which was a full-fledged chicken by now, but not killing him. Then he proceeded to slowly and painfully pluck out Chi’s feathers one by one, all the while Chi was screaming in pain, “cluck!”
When Chi was totally defeathered, it lay on its side, too ashamed to do or say anything, all the while as Dresden looked on. Then Dresden picked Chi up, which was visibly shaken, and threw it into the microwave. He set the microwave at 10 minutes, left the kitchen, and went straight to bed.
When Dres awoke the next morning, he realised that his room smelt of a wet market. That smell of blood and staleness hung in the air like a ghost that refuses to go away. He went to the toilet and realised his whole body was stained with blood. Shocked, he fainted.
When he awoke, he yet again saw the blood, and fainted yet again. The third time he rose again, but this time he stayed conscious. He quickly ran to the kitchen as images of what happened that night resurfaced in his mind, and, opening the microwave, fainted for the fourth time.
In the microwave was a cooked Chi, burnt almost beyond recognition. The only thing that made Dres know that it was Chi was that splattered on the wall of the microwave was not only blood, but wormy chocolate as well, the very chocolate had had given to Chi the previous day.
Dres cried and cried, but it was no use. No matter what he did from this time onward, he was always going to be the person with a traumatic childhood, and not even Freud would be able to save him now.
Dres scooped up the remains of Chi and put it into the box of wormy-chocolates. He then dug a hole in his garden and put the box inside, then covered it. A shallow grave for a shallow chicken. The epitaph of Chi read:
Here lies a chicken
Cooked beyond perfection
Original and unseasoned
Burned beyond recognition
Loved by Dresden
Killed by Dresden
Love not. – Dresden