Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title.
He noticed the chicken by herself in the corner when he went out for a passing check on them in the morning. He thought nothing of her scratching on the ground, chickens do that when looking for bugs or scooping dirt for a small nest. Though why she would be doing that when she could lay in the roost, Darren didn’t know.
The feed bucket was full; the cistern full enough. Darren left without giving the chicken any more thought.
The next day, however, Darren had to notice. Not only was the hole yesterday’s chicken made now huge, it was filled with another dozen chickens all scratching and pecking at it. He let himself into the coop, and wandered over to the corner with all the chickens working furiously. Oddly, they didn’t stop when he approached. They didn’t scatter.
Darren looked at the hole they were digging, and a hole it was, no longer just a shallow ground dimple. Just over a meter wide, the hole was three decimeters deep. Puzzled, Darren stood over the chickens and watched for a bit. They didn’t seem to be hurting each other. He let them be, turned to fill the food and water buckets, and left.
The third day, Darren had to watch for a short bit to figure out how the chickens were removing the dirt from the hole. They seemed to be eating the dirt instead of pecking or kicking it, then hopping out of the hole, no small feat given the two decimeter depth. Maybe. It could have been deeper, Darren couldn’t tell.
As he watched, a chicken hopped on the back of another chicken and jumped out of the hole. She wandered unsteadily for a bit, then started making some noises, then appeared to throw up.
Could chickens throw up? Darren didn’t know. This one seemed to be able to.
Looking back at the hole, Darren noticed a rock in the bottom of the hole, pretty much in the center. It was oddly shaped, with a glassy surface as if it had melted. Rarely a curious man, Darren crouched down on the edge of the hole to look more closely.
About the size of his head, the rock extended below the bottom of the hole. After a few moments, Darren shrugged. If the chickens were going to keep digging and uncover the rest of the stone, he was going to let them. As he stood up to leave, however, another chicken hopped out of the hole off the back of another chicken, seemingly squawking at Darren as she did.
Darren took a quick step back, shook his head, and left.
The next morning was missing some of its usual sounds. Darren couldn’t place the loss until he saw the chicken coop, and realized it was empty. Muttering about a fox or raccoon, he began cursing when he realized all the chickens were gone. He walked around the coop to find the varmit’s entrance and couldn’t find one. Puzzled, he walked into the coop to see if he could find one from the inside. He skipped over the chicken-dug hole on his first pass, but nearly fell in on the second pass, and had to stop to look.
The hole was a meter deep. The rock seemed fully uncovered. It was weird. Darren couldn’t think of any other word than “Weird.”
His chickens were gone, and he had a big hole in his coop.
With a chicken statue in it.