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Archive for March 21st, 2020

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

You’ve heard of a stray dog or stray cat, but have you ever seen a stray chicken? My daughter’s dog was chasing a chicken in their yard. They live in a city, not in the country. They’d never seen this chicken before.

A text: My son-in-law Grant caught the chicken.

Ironically, they are keeping the chicken in an outdoor barbecue house giving it water and food, veggies and a breakfast bar. My daughter asked me if I wanted to keep it. My husband said we have enough dependents at the moment, but I can’t help but think of my character Sunshine in the second Blessen book.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

Chapter One: Missing Egg    

            In the quiet of the morning, before the sun rises, before the barges move down the bayou, even before the school bus rumbles down True Friend Road, I find a miracle waiting for me in the chicken coop.  My best friend is a chicken named Sunshine.  And she lays the most precious light blue eggs.  Every day.

            But not today.

            I gather Sunshine from her nest by placing my cupped hands under her fluffy breast.  I cackle to her in her own language. She says, “bwack!” and fluffs up her feathers.

             “Stop that cursin’, Sunny-girl. Act like a lady. Here you go, come to me.” 

            Sunshine hops up and on to my shoulders.  She paces from one shoulder to the next, tangling my hair up in her feathers.  She trills and shifts.  Tucking her under my arm, I rub her soft golden down hoping to settle her. I’ve never seen her so nervous. 

            When I check her roosting spot, it looks disturbed. Like someone or some thing was digging for her eggs.  A little shiver runs up my spine.  Come to think of it, the latch was hanging, not hooked.  I’m usually careful to fully latch it at night. 

            I think about my chicken, Blue, that I lost to a hawk last year.  Blue was my first-ever pet that I had to take total care of, and I failed.  I left the gate open.  She got out and must’ve looked too tempting for the hovering raptor.  I wonder if a hawk could’ve stolen Sunshine’s eggs.  But that doesn’t make any sense.  A hawk couldn’t get into the coop.  What coulda’ been scavenging around in Sunshine’s bed? Did I fail her, too? What kind of pet owner am I? 

            “Sunshine, did you have a visitor last night?”

            I put her down outside the coop and scatter some seed.  She settles into a focused peck, peck, peck, eating her breakfast.

            I look over toward our neighbor’s house and see the shadow of a child moving across the screened porch.  That’s weird.  I thought the house was empty. The For Sale sign still stands in the front yard. I wonder who could be there.  A new friend?  An egg thief?

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved, from Sunshine, published by Border Press, 2019.

To order Sunshine from Amazon, click here. If you’d like to order a signed copy, let me know in the comments.

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