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The Chicken Man

The Chicken Man


Estimated reading time — 47 minutes

On the first night Julie laid eyes upon the shadowy ‘Chicken Man’, there was a steady downpour. The figure, who was distant enough to seem beetle-like to Julie’s eye, lurched steadily towards her family’s barn. The Chicken Man would appear on every night of a full moon, and walk into that very barn where the animals were kept. Julie would grow up and watch this mysterious man in awe, making sure to look at the barn from the living room window almost every full moon. The barn stood firmly in the prairie countryside, casting a large shadow into the night, casting awe upon Julie as she would gaze at it. 12:15 – 12:30… That was the Chicken Man’s time, and he would stroll into the looming barn, disappearing into its large shadow in that time. Julie’s straight edge traditional parents, who grew well into the gray hair phase, supposed there would be a time they would have to explain everything to their youngest child. Julie always was an energetic, curious kid after all. Her first bout of questions came as no surprise at all, during a pancake breakfast on her 9th birthday.

“Dad, Dad, I almost went out there last night.” Julie exclaimed, covered in a mess of wrapping paper. Maple syrup appeared to be knotting her golden blonde hair.

Julie’s father almost dropped his fork. It was not the fact that she knew about the Chicken Man or was asking questions that scared him, but the specific statement she made. “Don’t talk to him Julie. He, he…” Julie’s father sat in a rut of thought for a moment, thinking of ways to ward his daughter off from a confrontation. “He’s not a nice fellow. He don’t wanna be bothered, you hear?” He lectured, now having a finger pointed at Julie. The mother of the family sat silently next to her husband, hoping, worrying that he was careful in his explanation. Down at the further end, Julie’s two older brothers sat looking at each other, mischievously grinning. They already knew of the Chicken Man, they have heard this talk before.

“Don’t you wanna know why they call him the Chicken Man, Sis?” hissed Ryan, the middle child of the family. Now the family sat in silence, with the oldest brother Charles beginning to act in a cool, disinterested manner. He poked at his mash potatoes, with his fork as his sword as his father watched uncomfortably. Just as the old man opened his mouth to begin speaking, Julie exclaimed “… Because he takes the Chickens! That’s why!”

Julie’s father dropped his fork again, this time it fell all the way to the ground rather than onto his plate. A loud and dramatic fall, to accommodate the sudden shock in the old man’s head. His daughter was smarter than he realized, and he supposed it was about time he had a child who showed early signs of brightness. He slowly turned to his daughter with the expression of intrigue stuck to his face. “How’d you know that Julie?” He turned and looked at his wife, who upon immediate notice began to shake her head at him.

“Because every time before he comes, you put chickens in there and then they’re gone the next day!” Julie rambled excitedly. “In July, you put Ruffles, Mustard, and one of the brown chickies in there, and the next day they were gone!” Julie now seemed to be upset, her tone of voice carried an air of accusation. “And, and in September you put Sunshine, Peckington, and Goobly in there… and they were gone the next day! Where did they go Dad, does the Chicken Man take them somewhere nice?”

Julie’s father sighed, putting one hand in his face, and the other almost accidentally in his mashed potatoes. He had told Julie before about naming the chickens… and sure, he guessed the chickens were going to a nicer place. Most people referred to heaven as that, such as when his dog passed as a kid, and his mother would say “She’s in a better place now, Son”. Nonetheless, the fear of his daughter eventually seeking to confront the Chicken Man lurked in the back of his mind. He supposed he would have to think of a better explanation. A better explanation… when there’s time… The old man thought staring into a picture frame on the dining room wall. Covered in morning sunlight, the father, holding back tears, stared into his lost first born son’s eyes, solidified by the glass covering his picture. Yes… he has known the Chicken Man all too well. He was not going to let Julie go down that same dreadful path, the one that he watched before she was born, still terrifying his frail mind to this day.

“Yes… they go to a better place, honey. Don’t worry about it.” The old man said softly, still gazing into the photograph which only served as a reminder of dark days. Outside the mist of thought clouding his brain, he heard his daughter blurting out questions machine gun style, with all of them flying right out the window rather than into his ear. “Dad, Dad, did you hear me”? His daughter kept asking, probing for his attention. Her father turned to look at her slowly, just coming back to now. “…What now?” He asked. “Why does he come at the same time? Between 12:15 and 12:30?” Julie’s father sighed, he could feel his brain going back into a depressive haze now. One last time that morning, he replied “…Because that’s his time Julie. That’s his schedule.” And that was the last talk of the Chicken Man that morning, and for quite some time.

During Julie’s adolescent years, her pique interest shone through as a love for animals. She had gotten a puppy for her tenth birthday, a border collie named Peaches. She and Peaches loved to roam the prairie surrounding the farm. The old man would go on to buy some new friends for Julie, or ‘farm animals’ as he so thought to call them. Julie and Peaches went on to befriend all of them, from the new goats, to the rabbits, to the cow who she named ‘Sadie’.

Julie grew up as an outcast in her small countryside school district. She did not do well making friends with humans, discovering that animals made for much more understanding companions. As she gave her heart to the animals, feeling affection from them as well, it was not long before another thought popped into her head around the time she was 13. A natural thought for an animal lover to have. Thoughts of veganism. She knew her parents would be initially shocked when she turned down her first plate of boiled chicken, and they would maybe even refuse to accommodate her new diet, as stubborn and traditional as they were. She also knew her older brothers Ryan, who was 15 then, and Charles who was 16 would never let up on the vegan jokes. Regardless, Julie would go on to shrug all of this off. Her parents did refuse to feed her for a while, so she lived off of salad. After about a month, they began to accommodate, realizing this may not just be a phase. Her brothers of course began their onslaught of vegan targeted bullying, but they got tired of it after about two weeks.

Julie lived as a flower child. Her days were full of roaming the prairie farmland with Peaches, laughing into the wind, filling her head with childhood memories anyone would hope to never forget. Yep, it was all roses, except for one dark corner of her mind that never went away. That mysterious figure, the Chicken Man, who came every full moon, and snatched her friends, her chickens. That barn always carried a mysterious air to her, and despite trying to stay out of it as much as possible during her adolescence, she went on to watch that barn at night. Almost every full moon, she would be perched on the couch, looking out the window as the dark, round figure strutted with grim ease and lethargicness towards the barn. Rain, hail, lightning storms, it did not matter. If there was a full moon, The Chicken Man would come during his time.

Her memories of the Chicken Man always gave her a childlike sense of mystery that lurked on the family’s farm. She wouldn’t mind watching that ghoul come every full moon for the rest of her life, if it were not for one thing that Julie could not get over. The chickens, her friends that would disappear. Julie cared about them too much, and as her love for animals grew, and she began to develop a career interest in being a veterinarian, Julie knew she had to find out where the chickens were going. So she hatched a plan, a plan that would oppose the words her father had lectured to her on her 9th birthday.

It was a cold night in November, winds were roaring atop the flat prairie land. There was no rain on this night, only a full moon. Tonight, Julie would seek redemption, or at least understanding. Her father had told her that the chickens went to a better place, but she was old enough at this point to understand what the geyser meant. Being 15 came with all sorts of grim understandings, perhaps the first thoughts of a potential afterlife, and what in the world that could possibly be. For Julie, the age also came with a new sense of courage, which allowed her to take action in her plan. She would not directly confront the Chicken Man, as she honestly assumed her worst fears to be true; the Chicken Man was likely dangerous. This was not a confirmed likelihood, but Julie tended to fear the worst. Growing up a social outcast does that to people, and she had no shortage of anxiety.

Rather, Julie would watch and wait until the Chicken Man’s time was over, and it would become her time. As the Chicken man was leaving, Julie planned to watch him in an effort to observe the condition of the chickens. Were they slung in a burlap sack, writhing in pain as they struggled for space with one another, or were they gently placed in grates? Julie hoped for the latter. She sat on the couch with a bag of vegan crackers, waiting in the night for the Chicken Man’s time as she ran through possible scenarios in her head.

The Chicken Man ran seven minutes late that night, which was unusual to Julie, who has kept track of this most of her life. Her pupils shone in the moonlight as she sat in a dreamy gaze on the couch. She now could see the dark figure of the Chicken Man, who always seemed to be in a dreary, zombie like state of limping. He lurched slowly across the flat prairie ground, and Julie could always observe him for about three minutes until he finally dissipated under the giant, looming shadow of the barn. Just barely, his round outline could be seen entering the doors to the barn. Julie shuddered watching him, and somehow she got a better look at his figure then she ever had. He seemed abnormally round in both the face and the torso. It did not look normal for a normal human being, and his large head seemed to come naturally with a hunchback. Once again, Julie shuddered as new nightmarish images manifested in her mind.

Julie sat in an anxious rut, waiting to watch the Chicken Man leave. She now felt scared… of what could happen if she was spotted. This man, who was shown to be misshapen and deformed could take rather violent action upon discovery of her actions. Casting aside all anxiety momentarily, Julie reassured herself of her mission. To protect all living things, as they were all created equal. If she ever joined PETA like she planned to one day, she would tell them about her courageous chicken rescue story. Just as the clock struck 12:29, the Chicken Man slowly limped out of the barn, beginning to make his leave. Julie studied him as hard as she could from just the sight of the window. He did not appear to be carrying anything. Having her final thoughts of animal rescue stories at PETA fundraising lunches, she stood up with courage. This Chicken Man required further investigation.

Julie grabbed one item silently out of a kitchen drawer, a flashlight, which she knew to be rather dim. She slid on some green flower flip flops, and slowly, quietly opened the back door. Ever so gently, Julie slid the back door shut, and realized her hands were trembling. Julie knew it was obviously fear that coursed through her veins. She suddenly realized she had no current sight on the Chicken Man, and he could be right behind her. Waiting to take her to that better place that her father mentioned. Once she swallowed her fear momentarily once again, and began to creep across the field slowly, she gazed up into the starry clear sky. She has wished for rain then and there, that it may conceal her efforts. However it was just her and the wind that blew her blonde hair in the night.

Julie crept around the backside of the barn. She planned to come around the side and be behind the Chicken Man’s vector of movement. Then, she could observe unseen. She executed her move around the barn, sticking close to its tan wooden walls, feeling mud squeezing between her toes. Upon turning the final corner, Julie was almost in front of the barn. She decided to hang by the corner in case the Chicken Man were to suddenly turn around. The corner would provide her with a sense of escape, which gave her the final grace of courage to look forward into the night, giving her the best view of the cryptid man she has ever had.

The Chicken Man was even rounder than she thought, even more deformed than she could imagine. His head was almost as big as his torso, with both body parts being the shape of an oblong oval. This was one plump man. Secondly, Julie noticed that the Chicken Man was dressed rather formally, in a slovenly homeless type of way. He wore a dusty old suit jacket and suit pants, which Julie could just make out to be light brown amidst the darkness. He also had on a normal sized fedora, which seemed way too small for his abnormally large head. This ghoul appeared to Julie as a homeless man begging for money in a ragged suit, as if to create the illusion that he might actually be wealthy.

The final thing she noticed, or rather did not see at all, was captive chickens. They were nowhere in sight. There was one thing visibly carried by the Chicken Man, and it explained his limp stride in full. A traditional cane, curved, full of wood chips and all. No burlap sack, no crates, no chickens. At all. It struck a concerning and fearful thought into Julie’s mind, as she stood trembling, clutching the corner of the barn.

Are the chickens dead in there? Did he kill my friends?

Julie suddenly grew antsy to check in the barn, but she was smarter than that. She could not make a move towards the front of the barn, where the doors were located, for she would be easily visible if the Chicken Man were to…

Julie shrugged the anxiety away once more. She took deep breaths and watched the Chicken Man’s back grow smaller and smaller, his faded suit less and less visible. Finally, like a mirage fading away, darkness enveloped the monstrous figure of the Chicken Man, and the farm’s age old mystery had disappeared into the darkness once again. He would be back in a full lunar cycle.

Hesitation did not hold back the young girl, and she dashed through the barn doors, which were left ajar by the Chicken Man. She would ask herself if he always did that, but rather her mind was on the lives of her beloved fowl friends. The Chicken Man did not have them, therefore two possibilities existed in Julie’s mind. The chickens were dead in the barn, or alive. A classical Shrodinger’s Cat scenario, at least for the single moment of anticipation. What Julie saw however, defied the possibilities for any logical scenario of such sorts. There were no chickens to be seen. Julie, who stood frozen in confusion, then began a visual scan of the room. Fallen feathers, knocked over buckets and… blood stained the hay. Lots of blood. No chickens, but enough red to serve as a velvet walkway.

Racing thoughts scoured the jam packed highway that ranged across Julie’s mind, but answers were not among those thoughts. What could possibly have happened to those chickens? Julie paced the barn, examining the feathers, and the buckets, and… and the blood. She held back tears, for all her common sense confirmed what anyone would know, that sprawl of gore was from the chickens.

Julie shifted slowly towards the barn doors in a daze. She kneeled down in a whimpering fright, before she was shocked by beams of sudden light. Across the dark shrouded prairie, she noticed the light pop on in her kitchen out of the corner of her eye. Natural instinct, which Julie preferred to follow, would tell her to hide outside until whoever was up would return to bed. No one possibly knew she was out here, unless they checked her empty bed, which she assumed was unlikely. In the midst of rational thought however, her emotions swelled up in her. Violently like a volcano erupting, Julie suddenly took action upon her emotions. She had hoped the person in the kitchen was her father, and she was going to demand answers for this murder. Her father never thought much of animals, Julie noticed he looked at them with dollar signs in his eyes. It always disgusted her, and she was finally going to yell some sense into him, even if it awoke her two dimwit siblings.

After a series of angry steps across the mud filled farmfield, Julie opened the unlocked back door, with no hesitation or sense of subtlety at all. Immediately, her father turned around with a sense of alarm, almost dropping the ice cream he had bandited from the fridge. As Julie stood in the doorway, huffing and puffing with rage fueled from the questions she would be demanding answers for, her father stood staring at her with an expression as blank as Julie was furious. Suddenly, the man in her father’s head took a stand as the realization came to him: what night it was, her daughter being outside, the time that has just passed on the clock…

“Julie, what did I tell you all these years?” Julie’s father shrieked as he walked towards her, not giving a damn about rousing anyone in the household. “What did you do Julie? What did you just do?!” The old, fearful man’s hands now gripped his daughter’s shoulders tightly. Fear of what may have just happened canceled any logical thought from occurring, and he only demanded answers. He gripped his daughter as tightly as a tug of war, with his eyes in a demanding and horrified glare, almost popping out of his head.

Julie rebelliously slapped her father’s hands, but his grip was too firm to remove them. Finally, she ceased her struggle, and looked furiously into her father’s worrisome eyes.

“What happened? What happened to those chickens?!” Julie began to tremble, and began her struggle against her father’s cold, steel grip once again. “There was blood! Blood! Blood everywhere, Daddy, they’re dead!” Julie stopped her struggle once more, and suddenly anger and confusion became tears and sorrow. Julie’s knees became weak, and she began to fall slowly to the ground. Upon seeing the distraught state of his daughter, the old man let up a bit, releasing his stone cold grip. Julie’s back slid down the nearest kitchen wall, and balled up in a downpour of tears.

“Honey…” The old man said sympathetically, yet still with an undertone of strictness.
“Please, those chickens had to go… Julie… just please don’t ask alot of questions…”

Upon hearing her father’s pleas, the volcano of emotions boiled once more, slowly rising up… and up… until they swelled in her head, lava pouring out her ears. With a burst of anger, Julie yelled in a sorrowful rage “ANSWER FOR THE CHICKENS!”

Immediately, she thrust her elbow back with every intention of banging the nearest wall, making a demanding statement to her father. The elbow thrust seemed to almost shake the entire house if not just that damn wall. In the next moment, Julie was greeted by a sharp pain to the head. She was so woozy, the sound of glass shattering on the floor dangerously close to her did not even strike her ears. She did however notice, the pale gasping expression on her father’s face as he dropped immediately to his knees next to her. To her surprise, her father seemed to be in tears not over her injury, but over whatever item lay on the ground. It was a picture of the brother Julie never met, the long lost first son, Theodore.

Julie stood up slowly, and it seemed that the blow to her head rerouted her mood strings completely. She gazed down at her father, seeing he was whimpering, grasping the picture in his hands. His hand bled, running thick blood down his arm. The old man was in a state of intense grief however, and did not seem to care one bit. Julie kept opening her mouth to speak multiple times, but the desperate state that she was seeing her strong willed father in for the first time kept her mouth shut. Now in the brief moment of awkward grieving, her mind began to loosely throw pieces together in a concoction that may make sense…

“Dad.” Julie muttered shamefully. There was no reply from her father, just the silent, constant weep of a defeated old man. “Dad.” She went about once more. One more time, there was no reply, and she suddenly grew impatient despite the sorrowful atmosphere. “Dad.” She now pronounced firmly, being sure to grab his attention. Her father still said nothing, but she at least got a look from him, as he slowly turned his droopy face towards her. With her father on his knees before her, she had a sense of being the bigger human, and gained a sense of vindication.

“Dad… I know you don’t like to talk about Theo…”

The expression on her father’s face turned from one of pure sorrow to a stone cold stare. He truly did not like talking about Theo.

“You never talk about him… and neither does Charlie… Whenever I ask him, he gets mean and fights me off…” Julie said, maintaining her temporary strong will. “Does… does his death… and the Chicken Man…” Julie was now losing that confidence as the look on her father’s face became one of someone who was about to commit murder. Nonetheless, she forced her question out of her throat in a coarse mutter.

“Do they have something to do with each other?”

Julie’s father not only looked, but truly was in that moment, defeated. His face dropped down, not uttering a word. Julie stood there, seeing the state of discomfort her words had put her father in. It made her uncomfortable as well. This period of awkwardness was brief however, and her father suddenly looked up, with a shrill glare coming from his now serious eyes.

“Bedtime. Go. Go to bed. Now.”

He got up, and once again wrapped a stone cold grip around his daughters shoulders. Blood stained Julie’s shirt. He was once again the bigger man now. “Let’s go. Let’s go. Bedtime.”

Julie struggled. She hadn’t had ‘bedtime’ since she was about twelve, and this sudden imposing of authority irked her. As she felt the grip get harder and her father getting more serious and sinister in his demands, she finally lashed out with one more rebellious slap. “Ok, fine, I’m going.” She said, accepting defeat. Julie stomped up the stairs to her bedroom, the sight of chicken blood and her defeated father lingering on her mind. She would not receive answers to her questions tonight.

Julie’s relationship with her father was unsteady for that entire lunar cycle. They had barely made eye contact at the dining table anymore. The mother had noticed this, but knew better than to ask her husband questions involving such matters. The dimwit brothers Ryan and Charlie noticed as well, but as if they cared.

Questions pestered the mind of Julie for that time, poking at it, causing little bouts of insanity. Her anxiety was really getting the best of her, and she could look in the mirror and tell she has not been herself as of late. It was not until one cold December day, she would have her question partially answered.

Every now and then, Charlie and Julie would hike through the nearby fields. In the Summer, these fields would be ripe with corn and vegetation of all varieties. She had noticed her parents farm had become increasingly bountiful throughout her adolescence, growing taller corn each year. However, it was just bare fields for the prairie land during December, but the chats Julie had with her brother on these hikes made it worth all the while to her. Charlie was a reserved, yet tough character, and Julie rarely had a chance to talk with him one on one. Peaches would come on the walk with them, but she would not really count as part of the conversation, would she? Julie would also invite Ryan to come, but he would be nose deep in the latest comic book he has obtained as usual.

Julie had followed closely behind her tall, oldest brother as the sun set on the prairie horizon. Peaches wandered off nearby, but would follow them when she noticed she was getting far enough. Julie admired her oldest brother. He was always the first volunteer when papa needed a farm hand. She always admired his muscles, gleaming in sweat under the sun as he chopped wood on a hot summer day. Julie could usually go and talk to him about anything, except for that one thing. Theodore. It is true, Charlie’s reaction upon even hearing the mention of his dead older brother’s name was one of disgust. He was an escape artist when it came to backing out of these kinds of conversations. However there they were, brother, sister, and dog alone in the prairie fields that sunset. It was now or never for these kinds of questions.

In the most unusual moment however, right as Julie opened her mouth to utter menacing mentions of Theodore to her oldest brother, Charlie looked dead at her and said something that held shocking relevance in her mind.

“He ate them.” Charlie said with a mischievous grin on his face.

Julie gave Charlie a confused gaze. “Wha? Who ate what?” She asked, somehow knowing what this was about in the dark depths of her fragile mind.

After a momentary chuckle, Charlie met his sister’s gaze. “The Chicken Man, I know you know about him.” Charlie said reassuringly. “He ate the chickens. I heard you screaming at Dad a couple weeks ago.” It was all making sense in a horrifying way that Charlie perhaps did not intend to Julie. “You guys… aint good at keeping quiet like that.”

Julie stopped walking. Disturbing images flooded her mind. The blood. The feathers. The round, misshapen, disturbing figure that limped zombie-like into their barn every full moon. Moreso, she was extremely surprised Charlie had made mention of the Chicken Man so suddenly. Julie was wrong before. If there was any time to ask questions, now surely this was the time right here.

“He…” Julie muttered, and then swallowed. “He… ate them?”

“Yep.” Charlie replied, not seeming to give a damn about animal life at all. “He ate them.”

Julie wanted to puke for a second. She knew she had to regain her composure however; there were important questions to be asked. After glancing at Peaches to make sure she was in range, she then looked at her brother, horrified by the realization.

“Wh… Why?” She muttered, holding back tears provoked by images of her sweet friends being devoured by that fat homeless looking character. “Why would anyone do that?!” She was now growing angry, seeking redemption for the fallen fowls.

Charlie sighed and looked up at the stars, which were slowly beginning to fill the sky. Moral dispute filled his mind, and he debated whether to tell his sister what she would eventually find out anyways. Either way, she was growing too curious for her own good… Charlie knew about her sneaking out that night. He had heard the entire conversation between Julie and their Dad. With a clear mind, and knowing what needed to be done, Charlie looked at his sister and asked “Welp, you ready to hear some crazy shit?”

Julie stared at her brother blankly, nodding her head, eager to have her many questions answered. Charlie lowered down to his knees, and put forth a hand motion urging Julie to join him. So she did, and Julie crouched down, ready for her brother to spin her a tale as he used to do when she was very young. However this tale was far more grim… and far more serious.

Charlie’s face turned ice cold as he began his dark story. “So way, way before you were born, and, I think I was like a really little kid, Dad made a deal with The Chicken Man.” Charlie now had Julie’s full attention, and she was ready to make a grab at any pieces that could help her finish the puzzle.

“Our farm wasn’t doing well for a long time. We couldn’t grow anything, and Dad said we got screwed over with the soil. There was radon contamination, or something like that. Either way, we weren’t growing jack shit, and we weren’t making jack shit for money either.”

Charlie swallowed and paused for a grim, brief moment before continuing.

“Dad said this guy came onto the farm in the middle of the night. Right as he was looking for ways out, ways to sell the farm and make a new living, this weird guy comes knocking on the door in the dead of night. Somehow, he knew the situation we were in. He could tell the farm was failing, and could see the low quality of the very few crops we did have growing. This weird guy claimed to have some sort of power, said he wasn’t from around here, and told Dad he wanted to make a deal. None of the local restaurants would accept business from the freak show because, well, he was a freak show. So this guy was hungry all the time, he had nowhere to eat.”

“So he eats the chickens? Dad lets him eat the chickens?!” Julie interrupted hastily.

“Ah, lemme finish, sis.” Charlie said calmly in an effort to bring his sister down a bit.

“The deal they made was, that if Dad left him three chickens on the night of each full moon, that this guy would ‘bless’ the land, and we would grow hella crops. Like, a shit ton.” Charlie paused for a moment. “…And it worked, I guess… It fuckin’ worked…”

He was now nervously rubbing his hand on the back of his neck. He looked at his sister’s face to make sure she was not too shocked, but she was indeed. “So, but, like, does he just eat them whole? Alive? Right there on the spot?” Julie asked, rapid fire, machine gun pace. “He does, right? That’s why there was the blood!”

“Calm it, Julie.” Charlie said now, hardening his tone of voice. “It has to be done… I can’t explain why, but it does. Just trust me.”

Julie was now extremely frustrated, and understandably so. She was tired of being shorted out of an explanation, and that was exactly what her brother was doing here, again. Just like her father had done not too long ago. Once again, emotions flared up in her, being sent to her head and bursting like fireworks.

Julie stamped her foot down. “No, you have to tell me! How come you get to hear about all of this but no one will tell me?!” Tears started in her eyes, throwing off the balance of professionalism she tried to maintain. “Does Ryan Know? Did Dad tell Ryan? How come he told you guys?”

“Shhhhh.” Charlie put his finger over his sister’s lips. “Ryan don’t know. I only know because…” Charlie once again began that nervous, unsure swallowing motion until he swallowed that giant baseball of hesitation. “I only know because I’ve seen shit. That’s all.”

Charlie then suddenly got up and turned towards the direction of the farm. Without saying another word to his sister or even throwing her a look, he began back towards home. Julie however, as multiple occurrences have proved, was smarter than the average bear. She had recognized this type of reaction from her brother before. It was the same as… the same as if she had brought up Theodore. She knew now, more than before, that the death of the brother she never met, and this Chicken Man were somehow related.

“Charlie!” Julie called out in one last desperate attempt as her brother was getting farther and farther across the field. Charlie stopped slowly, turning around even slower and gave her his dim, last bouts of attention.

“What happened to Theo?”

Julie should have expected what came next. Charlie took off back towards home without a word, stomping at a fast paced walk. It seemed he would not mind leaving his sister now to find her way home alone, there was too much on his mind. Julie got up, rallied peaches, and took off after her brother. “Wait, don’t leave me!”

Perhaps it would have been better if Julie were not to have heard the tale from her brother. It only made the resentment and anger towards her father grow over the next weeks. In her mind, animals lives were more important than stupid crops. All he did was make money from them anyways, and money is pointless and materialistic.

Julie’s anger continued to grow, the dinner table conversations becoming less and less talkative until there was no talking at all. The next full moon was approaching in a couple of nights, and it was in this time that Julie would brew her next plan. On the next full moon, after Julie’s father traps her friends in the barn to be inevitably destroyed, Julie would go on a rescue mission. She would release the chickens, hiding them somewhere safe for the time being. She hoped that if the Chicken Man came once and saw that there was no bounty for him to harvest, he would assume the deal was off. And there would be no more sacrifice. Her father would have to get over it, and she knew that he would eventually forgive her for anything anyways. The key element was time.

Time took a steady path for weeks, and Julie would be counting down every day until that one full moon. Watching the calendar, the weather report, her plan becoming clearer and clearer, building the courage slowly. Her father would throw stone cold stares across the kitchen table. Julie would now meet him with an even more frigid gaze. Her friends had been murdered. And she was going to put an end to her father’s ‘deal’, and send this Chicken Man off to another business. For good.

The day had finally come. The hand of the grandfather clock, right next to Julie’s roost on the couch moved especially slow all day, and Julie would spend most of the day standing out in the prairie, scouring the land like a sentry turret. About every hour, she would walk inside and look at the grandfather clock, possibly grabbing a glass of lemonade when she did. Aside from that occasional, short distance stroll to the living room, it was her and Peaches roaming the farm boundaries. She did not look the part, but Julie was looking for places to hide three chickens.

Her parents would notice her odd behavior that day. First her mother, who notified her man of the house of their daughter’s estranged inaction. Around five in the evening that day, Julie was approached by her father in the field. She had sensed him coming as he stepped out the door, feeling her resentment grow larger as he came closer. A strong feeling that came on too hard to ward off, even if she tried. Once again, in the dark corners of her recently emboldened brain, she knew what her father was coming to speak about. Both he and herself knew what day it was.

“Julie,” the old man said sternly yet apologetically. “I think we should have a talk.”

Julie was disgusted upon hearing the word ‘talk’. Did any child look forward to ‘having a talk’ with their parents? The dreadfulness is tenfold if the relationship is strained, as was the dying tether between Julie and her old, dried up dad. Julie turned to look at him, before sarcastically pushing out a “Yes?”

Julie’s father looked at the ground, not sure how to begin. Regardless, he did anyway.

“Charlie told me you know about the deal. The Chicken guy eating the chickens. I knew that bastard would eventually anyway.”

It was now becoming evident to Julie that this ‘talk’ was not a good idea. At the sly mention of chickens being eaten, Julie’s anger grew, and it was hard to like directly into the face of the beast, her father.

Her father continued to speak in the background. “Chickens… Making deals… Your mother and I…” but it was all blurred by Julie’s ears, like someone screaming from a distant room. She wanted nothing to do with her father anymore… She remembered this more and more as the old man continued to preach what Julie perceived to be blasphemous lies. The courage Julie had grown on a fateful night on the last full moon was once returning to her, and if her father was not going to shut up himself then…

Julie was just going to have to do that for him.

“No!” Julie turned around and screamed. “No, no, no, no, NO!”

Julie shoved her father, and kept shoving him harder and harder with each exclamation of ‘No!’. Julie was set on executing her master plan to save the chickens, and there was nothing her father could say at this point to change her stalwart mind.

“You had your chance to make things right!” Julie said, tears forming in her eyes. Her father stood speechless and surprised at Julie’s righteous outrage. “All you had to do was stop feeding it chickens! All you had to do!”

Julie had to get away, or she would break down into tears. She turned and ran, with Peaches barking in alarm, before running after her. Peaches was a loyal dog, and would not leave her master while she was crying. The geyser, with tears now in his eyes as well, dropped down to the ground miserably. He gripped the fresh prairie grass, watching his tears fall onto it like dew in the morning. There was so much he wanted to say to his distraught daughter, yet so much the trapped old man knew he could not.

“Julie! You don’t understand! I’ll tell you everything!”

As the Old man tried to project his voice across the field, it seemed his words would disappear into the prairie mist, just as the figure of his daughter became less and less visible. He would not see her again for the rest of the night, as he would not have another chance to. Now, there was no one to interrupt Julie’s plan, and fate was set into motion.

Julie hid from her father for the rest of the day. She did not come in for dinner either, but she did find a plate of spaghetti and meatballs left out for her on the porch. Julie’s mother would always leave a plate out when Julie would hide in the field as a kid. As Julie scarfed down the plate of Italian gourmet and reminisced about times she ran away as a kid, a great idea spawned in her child-like mind. See, when Julie ran away as a kid, she would really just hide out in the foggy prairie at night, only a stone’s throw from the farm really. Her parents became better and better over time at tracking her down, catching onto the rhythm of her hiding spots. One night however, Julie would find solace in a spot unbeknownst to her parents; the cellar. It was accessed by two metal doors on the ground, right outside the kitchen window.

As the cellar provided Julie with safety from her parents in the past, it would provide the chickens with safety from the monstrous Chicken Man that night, or so that is what the intelligent Julie planned on happening. Her crafty idea came in the nick of time as well, as nightfall was already well upon her, and the Chicken Man would arrive in three hours. Julie watched from the shelter of a lone apple tree as her father walked to the barns, securing the chickens in their death trap. As she watched in disgust, the sound of Julie’s mother suddenly pierced her ears. Sounding worried and anxious, Julie’s mother called for her daughter’s return from the front porch. Julie found enduring this to be unusually tough, but she was determined on this night.

Julie withstood the cries from her mother for several minutes, not even noticing her father’s return to the front porch. Upon arrival, he hushed Julie’s mother, consoling her in his arms, whispering sweet, sweet nothings. Julie watched, knowing her call to action was coming soon. Once her parents went back inside, and once the lights in the house went off, she would swoop in to ensure freedom for the animal kingdom. Well, at least a share of the animal kingdom. However, freedom would have to wait, as yet another unexpected occurrence would pitch a fork into Julie’s plan.

Julie watched her parents walk inside, giving her an initial burst of excitement. That joy would be killed almost immediately, as her father walked right back through that very door onto the porch once more. This time, he had brought a couple items with him, and upon closer examination, Julie was able to identify these items. The first one was a wooden chair from the kitchen table, clear and easy to see with the porch light, which was just turned on. The second item was a little smaller, but Julie could still make it out. There was no mistaking her father’s shotgun, and she has seen it so many times before. Julie was the only one out of her siblings who had never held the shotgun before; she had seen Ryan and Charlie hold the gun, and even shoot it many times before. It posed a threatening presence… Why would Julie’s father bring a shotgun to search for his own daughter?

Julie, now confused beyond belief, and quite a bit frightened, started to panic. The old geyser was sitting in clear view of the barn, shotgun in hand. Locked and loaded. A gritty look and cold eyes that said he was ready to kill. There was no shot Julie was getting anywhere near her objective now. That was the train of thought until once again, genius swelled in the brain of Julie. Light a lightbulb popping out of her head, she looked over at peaches, who sat quietly next to her master, and hatched another idea.

Julie picked up a stick, and noticed Peaches immediate attention, signified by rapid wagging of the tail. Winding up her right arm, Julie began to prepare to throw the stick, leaving Peaches in a fit of craze and excitement now. Then, performing one of the oldest tricks in the book, Julie extended her arm quickly, retaining the stick in her hand. Julie pretended to throw the stick, but that was far too good of an excuse for Peaches to take off running. With the direction of the pretend throw being past the house, peaches ran in the opposite direction of Julie, drawing her father’s attention immediately.

“Peaches!” Julie’s old man cried, taking off as fast as an elder could towards the dog’s location. This was Julie’s chance to take action, and her retained air of courage did not let down in this situation.

Julie made it over to the back side of the barn swiftly, tip-toeing through the prairie grass, covered in evening dew. She quickly celebrated, quietly pumping her fist in the air. The rush of victory was short lived however, as she observed her father quickly return to the wooden chair on the porch. She was back to ground zero, and still had no plan to free the chickens. It was just Julie, the liberator of animals, locked in a cold hard stare down with her father, the murderer of chickens. The interesting facet being that Julie could see her father, but remained hidden to the eyes of the old geyser. He only stared in her direction, not seeing much with clarity through the veil of night.

As the clock hit eleven-thirty at night, and her father still sat on the porch, Julie began to panic. The next fifteen minutes were ridden with anxiety. If he did not go away, she had no way of rescuing the chickens. This scenario would leave the frightened Julie with two options: stay behind the barn and potentially face the demonic Chicken Man, or run back towards the house to be spotted by her father. She pondered on her options with haste until she saw it was eleven forty-five. Now, the once determined Julie sat defeated, and has given up any hope of being able to save the chickens that night. She would just have to try again another time… is what Julie was thinking until she took one more look at the front porch.

At one point, about an hour beforehand, Julie’s father whipped out an old flashlight and began scanning the prairie nightscape back and forth, like the sprinkler heads hidden not far underneath the field. Julie saw this flashlight now rolling on the ground. That sign, along with her father’s head being cocked back, nose towards the sky, told Julie her father was obviously asleep now. Finally, she let out a deep sigh and checked the time again. It was eleven fifty- four. Julie began to panic, she thought of what could happen if the Chicken Man were to possibly come early. In her mind it was now or never, and she began to take action. Running around the corner of the barn and right into the doors, Julie got to the chickens faster than she could even think about what she was doing. Her instincts were taking over, and they were doing well in helping her accomplish her goals.

Julie normally despised crates, but upon seeing the one her father used in the corner of the barn, she decided it was the fastest way to transport her feathered friends. Since she was saving their lives too, she thought they could tolerate the crate for a couple of minutes. Julie corralled the chickens into the crate, and immediately took off towards the cellar doors. Many fears streamed through her mind during her run across the prairie, which seemed to take forever. Looking back and forth, Julie could not tell what she feared worse: the chicken man showing up, or her father waking up. Just as the fears were accumulating into too much for her mind to handle, Julie arrived at the cellar doors, adrenaline still pumping through her pulsating veins.

In one fell swoop, Julie opened the cellar doors, unleashed the chickens into the enveloping shadows of the farm’s basement, threw down some seeds for the fowls to eat, and closed the cellar door, all so quietly. She snuck around to the back door, which was safe from the view of her overprotective, and possibly murderous father. With her animal-like instincts kicking in once again, she reached under the outdoor mat to grab the spare key without even thinking about it. Julie moved cat-like through her house, quietly as a mouse. Creeping up the stairs, it was hard for her to contain her excitement. Julie did not even want to think about her success until she reached her bed, but she found herself giggling to herself anyways as she was going down the hall. Julie opened her bedroom door quite loudly by accident, however she could not find herself caring. She plopped down into her bed, with the most wicked smile on her face. Suddenly however, noises of an old man treading through the house downstairs interrupted her victorious train of thought. Her father had woken up and come back inside.

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Luckily however, he had no awareness of the happenings of that night. Slowly but surely, Julie heard her father make his way upstairs, and slowly open her door. Her geyser of a father walked over to his daughter slowly, leaned over, and kissed her on the cheek.

“I’m so glad you’re back… I love you.” the sleepy old man whispered gently.

After a brief pause, Julie’s father departed from her area of rest. Julie’s wicked smile returned, as her plan was a success, and her father had no clue. Tonight, the young flower child did not even care about looking out the window at the Chicken Man, she just knew he would have one disappointing and rather hungry night. Everything seemed to be peaches and cream at that moment, but Julie still had much to learn, and the strand of fate she set in motion that night was lying in wait, dying to be played out.

The sun shone bright over the prairie that very next morning. Julie was woken by rays of light beaming through the cracks of her sleepy, still closed eyes. Sleepily and slowly descending down the stairs, Julie was soon greeted by the yawning expressions of her family.

“Good morning!” the dimwit brothers Charlie and Ryan exclaimed. Julie laughed upon hearing this.

Julie’s mother turned around. With a gleaming ray of sun sparkling in her eyes and hospitality in her voice, she greeted Julie warmly. “I made tofu eggs and tofu bacon this morning, just for you.” Julie’s mother paused for a second, and sniffled. “Thank you for coming home Julie.”

Julie blushed, melting from the barrage of warm greetings. Even her father looked up from the newspaper and gave her a warm smile. She sat down and looked around the table. As disgusting as the dimwit brothers were, slobbering on their breakfast as they ravaged it like starving dogs, and as boring and close minded her aging parents seemed, Julie was happy to have her family. Happiness filled Julie’s heart for the first time in what seemed like forever. Laughter surrounded the table, and tales were spun from each and every family member. The spree of quiet family dining sessions had finally ended, and once again, Julie lived in a warm and happy environment.

That is, she finally lived once more in a warm and happy environment, right up until just that very moment.

There was a knock at the door. A menacing, slow knock that repeated three times. Julie’s father froze. His fork, which held tofu eggs, now dropped to the ground, splattering fake egg meat across the floor. The mother of the family, usually calm and forgiving, started to whimper and tear up as she looked at the horrid expression on their fathers face.

Julie observed everyone. Suddenly, the knock came again. Julie thought nothing of it, just a visitor in the morning if anything. She looked at Ryan, who by the wide expression on his face, seemed to be just as confused as Julie was. However, Charlie looked as if he had just choked on his food, his face turning pale. Julie knew not what to expect from that point.

Julie’s father stood up slowly. “No…” He whimpered.

The old man immediately fell down to the ground on his knees. He shrieked as if he was experiencing night terrors, although he was wide awake. “No, please God, please God no…” the old man whimpered, going through what seemed to be a living nightmare. Julie’s mother sat at the table shaking, rocking back and forth, praying the hail mary ever so softly.

There was yet another, menacing, demanding knock. This one is much louder than the previous ones. Julie finally stands up. “Guess I’ll get it.” Julie says awkwardly, with a mystifying sense of innocence.

Immediately, Julie’s father stood up. It only contributed more to Julie’s confusion. The old man composed himself, and with red eyes and a raspy voice, the geyser sputtered “I’ll… I’ll get it.”

The old man walked slowly towards the front door. The mother’s whimpering slowly got louder, until she burst into shrieking tears of horror.

“What the hell is going on?” Julie finally demanded.

“Yea, someone care to explain?” Ryan reiterated naggingly and innocently.

Charlie started to sputter sounds out of his mouth, but it was as if he was too afraid to say anything at all. “Ch… Ch…”

“Ch… Chick…” Charlie murmured. Their father got closer to the front door, limping like a zombie. The mothers shrieks got even louder, and ever more horrifying. The sweat dripping down Julie’s face intensified, now soaking her shirt.

“Chicke…” Charlie tried to get his sentence out of his mouth, but was unable to, as the shock of fear paralyzed his tongue. That was, until their father finally opened the front door, immediately directing all attention to the round, monstrous figure whose silhouette now shone in through the beams of the morning sun.

“Chicken.. Man.” Charlie finally forced out, with his words being too late, as Julie was already in realization of who the figure at the door was.

The chicken man, in his dusty old suit and small top hat, let out a spiky toothed grin as wicked as the grin bore by Julie the night before. “May… I…. come iiiiiiiin?” The chicken man said in a raspy, evil, bullfrog-like voice.

Julie’s father, saying nothing the whole time yet speaking speeches with the horrid expression on his face, simply stood aside and let the chicken man in. It seemed like the fat, abnormally oblong structure of the chicken man almost didn’t allow him to fit in the door. Yet there he was anyway, making his way into the living room, fitting perfectly through the door. Making everyone’s worst nightmares come true.

The Chicken Man slowly sat down at the breakfast dining table. He pulled a cup of tea, which looked to be old, cold, and musty out of his dirty suit jacket. Then, as the Chicken Man took a long, gargled sip from his dirty and cracked tea cup, he beckoned the others to join him at the table by waving his decrepit hands. The entire family, both those who knew and those who didn’t know what was going on, were all frozen with fear regardless. They all complied with the Chicken Man’s beckons.

Gathered, like the last supper at the round table of death, Julie’s family sat in complete silence with their guest of no honor. The Chicken Man’s eyes darted from body to body ravenously, looking at each member of the family breakfast like they were breakfast themselves. Julie knew not what was going on at that exact moment, but in the dark back alleys of her thinking mind, the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to loosely paint a picture of demise. Like an ominous storm cloud reigning up above, turning the landscape into a black and white movie, the Chicken Man’s presence was not one of gleeful greetings and fun filled stockings. No, as Julie observed the terrified look on the face of her normally stalwart father, it became clear that the Chicken Man sat at their family breakfast table with evil intentions breeding in his demonic imagination.

Silence shrouded the room as if it were an essence swirling around the family and the demon. Julie noticed something. Her father sat there trembling, and the rate of this trembling was increasing by the second. It seemed the tension from the situation was weighing on his shoulders by the minute. Because of this, Julie made another bright observation in her child-like mind. Her father and the Chicken man have likely met before, and they have bad, bad blood. After many moments of strife as the man of the family stared at the menacing chicken man, it seemed Julie’s father would take this no more.

The old man slammed his hands on the table. He swiftly stood up, causing the tears of panic in his eyes to fall to his chest like rain. “What do you want from us?” The old man cried out in fearful desperation. “We put the chickens out! We put the chickens out! We put them…”

The old man’s head slammed down into his arms. He slumped back into his chair, and cried. Julie had never imagined her father, who was like a brick wall all her life, could cry like this. “Wha… wha…” Julie’s father murmured, just barely uttering legible words as he wept, gazing at the floor as if there were a hole six feet deep in front of him. “What do you fuck… what do you fucking what from us?”

That was the last sentence the old and now hopeless man would utter through his broken lips, at least for that moment. He simply slinked down to the floor shrieking tiers of sorrow and pain, clutching himself as if he were his own newborn child. Rolling on the floor was also made visible, and it was observed by Julie, the brothers, and the mother of the family, which was now a family in awe and utter shock. Julie had not imagined her father could ever appear this way, in this manner, but there were certainly people in the room who remembered a time when it was possible.

“Cha-ha-ha-haaa!” The Chicken Man chuckled, almost spilling his grotesque beverage onto the family dining room carpet. “Cha-ha-haaa! Chaaaa-ha-ha-haaaaa!” The sound of laughing intensified in Julie’s ears now. She was confused, more so than ever before in her budding life. All of the confusion, along with the raunchy, obnoxious chuckle of the Chicken Man ringing in her ears, as she watched her once brave father now lie defeated on the floor… No.

Julie would make a move in her mind, one set toward taking action. Who else in the room was going at the time? The boggling question for her at the moment was, what was really going on in the room at that time? There was no clue, and Julie knew she had no time to think. Confrontation was inevitable, and she primed her wobbling knees in an effort to stand up at least twice before she finally rose. Julie then pointed her finger at the Chicken Man. The demon’s nasty round of chuckles slowed down to a stop, as he suddenly became intrigued by the little girl who was brave enough to make a stand to him. He stood in attendance, curious to hear her words.

“Who the hell are you, and what do you want?” Julie said demandingly. “How do you know my daddy? Why is he crying on the floor like that? What did you do to him?”

Julie’s questions, which were coming rapid fire at the Chicken Man in a sense that gave him no time to offer a response, were suddenly halted by a loud “Ahem!” from the ominous Chicken Man.

With his large, creepingly round body looming in the kitchen and blocking out a large portion of the sunlight, the Chicken Man raised his finger to speak. “Ya fatha knows why i’m here, darlin’.” The Chicken Man now began to rub his hands together. “Cha-ha-haa….”

“What do you mean? What are you talking about?” Julie asked as if she was a navy general now, stepping up to take the bold role in the family. However, as the Chicken Man was a vile being, he had seen much worse and paid no homage to the attitude of a young, tasty looking girl.

Daisy, who had been sitting outside the front door squealing ever since the Chicken Man arrived, was now letting out a periodic bark. She scratched at the door, as if the animal was making an attempt to come inside and save the humans. Nonetheless, the Chicken Man, whose identity as a human, animal, or fucking demon were unkown, had plans that would not be disrupted by a canine. Still rubbing his skinny fingers against each other and flashing his nasty yellow teeth in his spiky grin, the Chicken Man began to speak once more.

“I’ll let ya fatha do all the explaining as to why I’s be here later on. As fah now… I get to choose the most tasty looking one of ya’s, cha-ha-haaaa…”

Julie immediately staggered back, startled out of her mind. Images of her father rolling on the ground, her brother Charlie walking away from her in the corn fields, and her long dead eldest brother ran through her mind faster than Daisy was scratching on the door. In her mind there was now no mistaking what had happened, and the Chicken Man’s words had just all but confirmed her beliefs about why nobody talks about Theo. Right before the last piece of the puzzle fit into the map being drawn in her mind, Julie felt a finger press against the top of her head.

“Eeeeenieeee…” The Chicken Man said in a laughing voice, placing his finger upon Julie’s head. He then moved his finger off Julie slowly, and moved it to her crying brother Ryan’s head just as menacingly.
“Meeeeeenieeeeee…”

The Chicken Man then went over to Charlie, who was looking up at him furiously with tears in his eyes, trying to hide the fact that he was trembling. Charlie felt the Chicken Man’s finger on his head now.

“Miiiiiineeeeeey… Cha-ha-haaa…”

Skipping over the adults in the dark room, the Chicken Man’s finger went back around to Julie’s head.

“Mo.” The Chicken man said now in a dark, menacing tone.

The amount of agony in the room for the next minute was immeasurable. Julie slid down onto her knees, realizing what was about to happen, knowing she was powerless in the situation. Her dimwit brothers Ryan and Charlie sat next to each other. Both were trembling, yet oddly enough they had opposite facial expressions. Ryan was balling his eyes out in confusion, while Charlie had never looked so furious in his life. The mother balled her eyes out likewise. The father still lay defeated on the ground. All the time the Chicken Man went around the three children playing roulette with what all of them finally knew was their lives.

“Catch, A, Tigah…” The game went on, and Charlie, who had been accumulating steam not just in the past couple of minutes but from the years past in his life, was about to let all of that steam loose.

Charlie rose out of his seat and ran at the Chicken Man before he finished the game of meenie miney mo. At that exact moment, the old man rose up in the fastest manner since his early twenties, and lunged for Charlie.

“NOOOOO!” the old man shrieked with Julie on the floor in utter horror. What came next only a few people in the room could predict.

A giant worm-like tongue with razor sharp teeth forming a circle on the tip of it, shot at bird speed out of the Chicken Man’s mouth. The teeth engulfed themselves around Charlie’s head like a shark, and immediately blood spewed all over the kitchen walls like a meat grinder with a sprinkler attached. The monstrous beast of a tongue which was big enough to abnormally stretch the Chicken Man’s rubber jaw, continued to move down Charlie’s body. Blood. So much blood sprayed onto the family members and their precious furniture. The dog barked loud outside the front door, and was scratching fast and hard enough to carve wood off of the door which served as an obstacle to the animal.

There was nothing anyone in the room could do. They all watched, sitting or on the floor, watching in abhorrent fear or balling their eyes out, or both. They all watched as Charlie was consumed in a cannibalistic manner, painting the house with his remains. The Chicken Man slurped up the second born son of the family like it was broth with a straw.Drank until there was nothing left, and suddenly the brother Charlie did not exist anymore.

After the monstrous tongue of the Chicken Man submerged back down his gaping throat at full force, the room suddenly became quiet. Every member of the family was pale in the face, with both their eyes and mouths wide open. They never knew their jaws could drop as far as they did, nor were they coherent enough to realize it. The Chicken Man pulled an oily beige handkerchief out of his old suit jacket, and began to pat his face with it in a mocking manner, as the blood didn’t seem to be coming off at all.

Suddenly, Julie’s mother shrieked loud enough to come off as a banshee in a graveyard. The Chicken Man chuckled one last time upon hearing the shriek, which was mixed with sobs and had not even managed to garner the attention of even one person in that family. Not even the mother herself had realized she was screaming.

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The Chicken Man flipped his cane up in the air and let it elegantly fall into his ashy, old man hands. He pressed his cane on the floor and bowed before his hosts, not even bothering to remove his dusty fedora.

“I bid y’all folks, adieu.” The Chicken Man remarked before making his jolly old way back out the front door. When he opened the door, Daisy immediately slid past the Chicken Man’s leg and into the kitchen. The damn dog began lapping up blood off the tile floor. Julie and her mother let out equally loud banshee shrieks that time.

Nobody in that home, at least out of who was remaining, was alright at all for a whole two weeks. Two people had the worst of it and two people were left in the dark. Those being left in the dark included Ryan and Julie’s mother. Julie and her father carried the worst of the muck, with dark thoughts being stuck to their shoulders day and night. Julie on one hand, felt as if she was responsible for the loss of her dear brother Charlie. After all, Julie was a smart girl, and had very well suspected that the reason for the Chicken Man’s appearance that morning was that she had removed his offering from the ritual site. It was the only thing that was different that night from every single other night this demon has walked their property.

The old man, on the other hand, carried a different weight upon his shoulders. The old man was smart as well, as to be expected from a father of many children and a hard working farmer. Julie’s father had very well put a picture together in his mind of what happened. He knew Julie removed the chickens. All her bickering about wasting animal lives in the previous months, all to lead up to this. However, the old man also partially blamed himself, and justifyingly so. He never told Julie about the Chicken Man, and what really happened to his first son Theodore. This all would have been prevented if he had just told her, Charlie could still be alive.

And so even though it was far past too late to do so, the old man decided it was time to tell Julie the entire story of the Chicken Man, and the demon’s involvement in her family’s history. On the night of exactly two weeks after Charlie was brutally devoured, the old man and Julie ran into each other in the kitchen. They were both looking to drink water, since they were dehydrated from crying for two weeks straight. However, the coincidence of thirst would allow an opportunity for the father and daughter to sit down and have a much needed talk.

“Julie, I-”

“Dad, I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry…” Julie said sobbingly, cutting off her father from putting out the first verse of the talk. “I took the chickens out of the barn, I killed Charlie dad, I did it-”

Julie’s father immediately put his hand over her mouth. He leaned in close and hugged her tight, hushing his daughter as she began to sob tears of grief into the old man’s shoulder. “Don’t ever say that. Please, don’t ever say or think that Julie.” Julie’s father said in a sympathetic and soft tone, leaning in close enough to almost be whispering into her ear.

“Look sweetheart, I should’ve told you so long ago.” the old man said with tears returning to his eyes for the ten billionth time that day. “It’s my fault baby. I never told you about the Chicken Man, about what he did to Theo, about how he-”

Julie’s father stopped suddenly when he realized how hard he was now clutching his daughter. His voice had gone from sympathetic and sorrowful to angry and regretful, and that was not what the old man intended for this talk with his sacred daughter to be like. The old man loosened his grip and slowly rose, leaving his daughter out of the comfort of his arms. The old man pulled a chair from the kitchen table aside, and then pulled another one for his daughter.

“Julie, sit down, we need to have a talk we should have had long ago.” Julie’s father said softly, toning down his angry voice as he beckoned his daughter to sit in the chair that he pulled aside for her. Julie reluctantly and still sobbing, slowly sat down in the chair. Her shirt was soaked as she had been using it to wipe her face so often. Julie’s father wiped his forehead, let out a deep sigh as if to ward off any more future tears, and began to tell the story of the Chicken Man and Theodore.

“Me and your mother started on this farm a long time ago. Long before you were ever born Julie. But we weren’t successful at first. No, not for a long time. Theodore was the first kid born, and we were having trouble feeding him, let alone we couldn’t even pay the bills.”

The old man wiped more sweat from his forehead and then continued on with his sorrowful story.

“We couldn’t grow jack shit. Me and your mother tried everything. Different fertilizer, different crops, different soil, ah hell, none of it did fucking shit.” Julie was not used to her father cursing this much in front of her. It made her listen even more to what he was saying.

“One night, this monstrous looking freak comes to us in the middle of the night, scares the shit out of me and your mother. He sees the condition the farm is in, and he tells us some bullshit, or what me and your mother thought was bullshit at first, that the land we live on is hallowed ground, or something like that. I’m talking, of course, about the Chicken Man.”

“Why did the Chicken Man come to you? What did he want?” Julie asked very curiously.

“The Chicken Man wanted to make me an offer. Well, really, it’s more like the Chicken Man wanted to coerce me into a pact. A pact which I was a fool for taking Julie, I’ll tell you that. The offer he gave was that he would make our lands rich as long as we supplied him with a blood sacrifice. The blood sacrifice was the fucked up part. What the bastard wanted was one child every five years… or a couple a’ chickens every month. Obviously, you know me and my mother went with the chickens. We would never sacrifice one of our children.”
“But, what happened to Theo then?” asked Julie, which was the very wrong question to be asking at that time.

“Well hold on now sweetheart. Me and your mother would never, and I mean never ever, sacrifice one of our dear children. I was gonna get to Theo.”

The old man wiped the sweat from his head again. He grabbed the fifth of Jim Beam which had been resting in his waistband just about every hour since Charlie died, and took a swig straight from the bottle. The old man let out a sigh, and after seeing that his daughter would stay nice and quiet, continued with the history of the family.

“We came through on our side of the deal with the Chicken Man, and he came through on his part of the deal. Every month we left some chickens in the barn for that fucker to gobble up, and our crops bloomed like motherfuckers. This went on for years, and its kind of like us and the Chicken Man lived in some kind of fucked up mutual agreement. Eventually, as the crops grew more and more, and me and ya mother made more and more money, I began to get cocky. Full of myself to the brim. I started to think to myself, who is this chicken guy, and why do we need him anyways? Was he really to credit for the success of my crops and the growth of my wealth, or was it really just me all along?”

The old man took one last long wipe at the nervous sweat building on his forehead, took a long hard swallow and looked his daughter directly in the eyes.

“Julie… let’s just say, you don’t cheat the Chicken Man.”

Julie wiped the sweat off of her own forehead this time, took a long hard swallow and looked back into her father’s eyes, eager to hear the rest of his story.

“I tried to cut him out. It didn’t go well. The morning after I didn’t leave the fucker his blood sacrafice, he showed up at our doorstep. Just like he did two weeks ago. Charlie was but a young child… he saw what happened. Poor, sweet young Theodore got eaten. He didn’t deserve it Julie, he didn’t…”

The old man began to sob again. Julie went close to comfort him but she was brushed back into her chair. Something had suddenly come over the old man, where he realized how important it was for his daughter to hear this story. Therefore, he would forbid all emotion to portray the history to her accurately.

“We were a broken family, just like we are now. Me and your mother wanted to see the Chicken Man dead. We tried to think of any way to get back at him. The worst part is he wouldn’t give us the five years, even though he… consumed our child.”

The old man put his hand on Julie’s shoulder and looked her in the eyes intensely. As if he was about to tell her the most important thing he has ever said to her.

“We did nothing about it. Not a single thing. We continued to give him his chickens, bowing in submission, out of fear. It was like, thanks for eating our beloved son, you bastard! Here’s your goddamn motherfucking chickens!”

Julie tried to calm her father down. He was angry, and once again was clutching her shoulder too hard for her own comfort. Julie was worried, particularly about what her father had just said to her. She did not know if this was a good time to try and calm her father down, or to try and confirm what she thought was going on at that moment.

“Dad, you’re gonna let it go again, right? You’re not gonna put us in more danger, right?” Julie said, with her being the one that was clutching her father’s shoulder too tight this time.

Julie’s father looked her in the eyes slowly. Julie couldn’t help but think that there was nothing left inside of the old man after losing two children to a monster of a being. It was as if he was on his last legs. Julie could tell he was acting strange, and that he was going to do something drastic in the future. But she accepted what he said anyway.

“I’m… I’m gonna take it again, of course honey.”

Both Julie and her father let up their grips on each other’s shoulders, which was undeniably too tight for both of them.

Two weeks have passed. It was the morning after the Chicken Man’s night. Julie, who did not bother to watch for him last night as she was too depressed, immediately noticed something was up that morning. Julie’s mother sat at the breakfast table shaking and murmuring. Her father sat there with hate in his eyes, and a shotgun in his lap. Ryan came down the stairs not long after Julie. He picked up on the same observations immediately and began to cry.

Julie murmured her last words to her father, with her voice quivering. “Da’, wha, what’s going on… What is about to happ-”
There was a familiar knock on the door. This would be the second time Jullie would ever hear it, and the third time for her father, who was very familiar with the knock by now.

Immediately, without responding to his crying daughter, the old man rose from his chair quickly, grabbed his shotgun, and marched furiously towards the front door. In what seemed to be one fell moment, the old man swung the front door open with no hesitation, lifted the shotgun to point it at the hulking figure of the ominous Chicken Man, and fired the shotgun. The sound of the blast rang in the ears of everyone within the house.

The dog barked at the Chicken Man’s corpse on the ground. Julie was in too much shock to pay deep attention to anything in detail, but she heard her father crying and screaming synchronously at the Chicken Man’s bloodied body. Bullet holes riddled the dangerous deity.

But before anyone could think about anything, whether it be celebration over the Chicken Man’s death or sorrow for the lost siblings, the same fat and spiky worm tongue that devoured Theodore and Charlie shot out at rapid speed and began to slaughter Julie’s father, on the very doorstep to their home.

Blood splattered all over the front of their home, and the inside. None of the remaining family members could take it. They all stood there watching helplessly, frozen in shock. The only one who took to action was the brave Daisy. After barking relentlessly, Daisy lunged at the Chicken Man. This brought Julie to at least be able to yell.

“No! Daisy!” Julie shrieked out in a last hope effort.

The poor animal was immediately devoured. The sharp teeth of the gargantuan tongue sank into her and ripped her to shreds as bits of the dog fell down into the Chicken Man’s tormentous gullet. Julie now had no conception of reality, or what was happening. She was permanently scarred.

Next, Julie and her mother would watch little Ryan be torn limb from limb in their own living room. The Chicken Man went slow with him, as the shrieking cries from Julie and her mother seemed to entertain the Chicken Man in a sick way. Until the girls lost their voice from screaming too much, the Chicken Man would continue to gorge on Ryan’s organs. Intestines were ripped to shreds, splattering blood all over the walls. The crunchings of Ryan’s bones competed with the screaming of his family members. Ryan’s blood stained brown hair fell to the ground. Another member of the family claimed by the Chicken Man.

As the hulking, bloodthirsty figure of the Chicken Man, with blood completely covering his mouth and lips began to walk towards Julie’s mom, the mother and daughter exchanged final looks. It was a look as if to say I love you, and goodbye. Julie’s eyes were filled with tears as she tried to say I love you back, but it was too late. Her mother’s eyeballs rolled on the ground, and her heart burst blood all over the family heirlooms. Julie’s mother was eaten by the Chicken Man in front of her very own eyes. The last member of her family, gone.

The Chicken Man pulled his dirty glass of tea out of his suit jacket as he began to lumber towards Julie. The monster took a bloodthirsty sip. Julie was not phased. Nothing could scare her anymore. Seeing her family die before her very eyes made her extremely light. She had no life to live anymore, and nothing was worth seeing to her in this world. Nothing would be for the rest of her sad, chaotic life.

The Chicken Man approached closely. Julie said her last goodbyes to the world around her. Right as the monstrous tongue emerged to completely end her life and feast on her remains, it probed her curiously and delicately, as if taking a sniff. Then, fascinatingly enough, the massive worm tongue recessed back down the Chicken Man’s throat, without causing any harm to Julie at all.

“Hmm…” The Chicken man whispered, looking up into the ceiling, rubbing his chin.

Julie looked up at him, loathing the fact that she was still alive, wishing the monster before her would consume her soul already. Finally, the eyes of the frightened girl and the bloodthirsty Chicken Man met.

“I hate vegans.” The Chicken Man grunted.

He flipped his old wooden cane, and bowed. He then turned around and went on his jolly good way back out the front door.

Julie looked to God and screamed.

Credit: The Man on the Ceiling

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