A Short Story For Christmas

January 13, 2024
9 mins read

By Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar
Excerpted from the soon to be published collection Love Is A Knife, to be published by Hybun Publications International.
Friday, December 25, 2009.
The dooms day in the life of my family. But most especially for me, the head of the family, the biggest and most meaty one- the Rooster.
I remember when I was still inside the egg. My mum, a pretty huge chicken and a very beautiful one too, with beautifully designed and colourful feathers like a peacock. Thinking about my mother now brings an ocean of tears to my eyes and make me dizzy with fright.
The tears rage and rage in my small head because I miss my mother. How she walked around tall and proud and was the envy of our entire neighbourhood. Other Roosters and cockerels used to come around our house and play with my mother when my father was not around, which was nothing bad as we Roosters, like all other animals have many fathers. And our biological fathers-when we are indeed fortunate to have one- do not seem to mind much when the mother hens sleep with other Cocks beside themselves.
Now, one thing about humans, they have highly dubious minds and immoral thoughts. Even completely innocent and harmless words like Cocks, simply referring to a male Rooster and Pussy, a slang name for cat can excite them to no end, setting their God-forsaken imaginations on never-never ending trips like that Alice in Wonderland .You may even see them acting somehow, grinning from ear to ear smiling sheepishly. And sometimes too, they even loose their sanity!
Human psychology is something else I tell you.In our world, which is rather simple and free, unlike the complex, thoroughly complicated and confusing world of humans. There is nothing like fornication or adultery. And even if there is, it is still not regarded as sins for which one would burn in HELL; which is actually the reason behind my story.
HELL for us is the days the humans refer to popularly and very happily too as: CHRISTMAS DAY. SALLAH DAY, EASTER DAY, NEWYEAR`S DAY and the last most completely incomprehensible day of all: NO PARTICULAR DAY! i.e. nothing happening, just look around, grab any chicken in sight , slaughter and cannibalize!
The sins that we may have committed to deserve Hell on these particular days of the year, we may never know. In fact we have since given up on ever finding out and also on trying to unravel and subsequently understand human behaviour, the nomenclature and composition, which for us, defiles analysis.
    Humans are the most wicked, unkind creatures in the world. They are simply savages, worst than the beasts of the jungle. Look at the fierce LIONESS for instance, she is generally acclaimed to be the best hunter in the wild-from the Maasai Mara to Japan, but she only kills when she is hungry. And she does not kill fellow Lions! But HUMANS   kill HUMANS for sport and other reasons including RITUALS. And as for us CHICKENS and ROOSTERS; they kill for FUN!. Pilling us in deep freezers and dashing out to friends when they visit.
Among the world of Roosters. There is however one major sin, which is only found among some males and that, is what is referred to in the human language as selfishness and greediness. Some Cocks like to simply settle a female i.e. hen and keep them only for themselves. Preventing them from sleeping with other Cocks, which to us is a grave sin indeed, as our ultimate aim is to simply fill the earth and maybe someday, rule the same.
Even the holy books supports our intension and sometimes on the very awfully dreaded Christmas day, it is often re-echoed in the churches among other things: go into the world and multiply!
Like I was saying earlier, I remember when I was still in the egg and my beautiful mother iyanateh who laid the eggs and water run-away my eyes. I cry. I cry because I miss my mother and I’m also afraid that tomorrow, what happened to her may also happen to me.
You’re never going to believe this I know. You might even think that I’m making it up, but I could never forget the callous murder and assassination of my mother, iyanateh! Worst of all, and incredibly painful too, it wasn’t even on the much dreaded and utterly malicious CHRISTMAS DAY!
The old lady, by all means deserved more than that. After giving birth to countless generations that woke the savage humans every morning for years un-end? No she certainly deserve more than that! , If she was going to be killed-which is bad enough-she might at least be given the grace or chance to expect it and incidentally, prepare her soul (whatever, what difference does it make) for its final journey into the dark gully of men.
In a rather intricate way of Rooster psychology, it still would have been better although she dies just the same-for it to have been on CHRISTMAS or SALLAH DAY!
That way her demise would have counted for something. Apparently, the Rooster eating ritual of the Humans at Christmas time means a great deal to them, especially when the chicken- as they delight in calling us- is fried and prepared with leaves (uncooked), dried and grounded or mixed and kept in little fanciful bottles and nickname Spices.
 That terrible day that they murdered my mother!, how could I ever forget? And to think that it was done in broad day light and in clod blood and at the open compound with the rest of her family watching all the while-Humans!
It started this way.My Dad, Kiioo had been away for so many days and mum was very worried about him, so were we. Our family was only sparkling and comprehensive when the male Cock who fathered us all was around in the house.
Like I said earlier, it was actually on a no particular day and in case you still haven’t figured it out by now, it means nothing-special- was happening. It wasn’t Christmas, New Year or Sallah, or even Easter. Mum had been sitting with us all along, my brother Koo-Coo, my sister Chick Chiak, my numerous young cousins, nephews and nieces still wet behind the ear  and myself Kookoorukoo.
She was telling us the story of the creation of the world about a very long time ago when Man, Animal and the Tree were one, long before the destruction of the first world by a particular and special type of dragonish water called Flood. During this time, mum was saying, Roosters existed and lived as big as man and man didn’t like that at all, for they claim that they were created before the Rooster and that the whole world was theirs and their children`s, you’ll never believe this, but they also said that Almighty God, ADAM OKPANCHO, OWOICHO MANCHALLA   gave the Roosters to man to eat as food! This was when we began to comprehend for the very first time, how so utterly inhumane and terribly dangerous Man is!
Owning to this argument   mum resumed, there was a major war between us and them and the humans won… She never quite finished telling the story, for at this particular moment, they came: Mr. Johnbull, Mrs. Johnbull, Daughter-Johnbull, Son-Johnbull and even cousins-Johnbull.
You need to have seen the look in their eyes! A completely wicked and roguish look. The type of look the rebellious angel Lucifer must have assumed when his verdict was pronounced by ADAM OKPANCHO, vowing to lead astray the innocent sons of God, as many as possible before the final trumpet is sounded, signifying the end of time.
Where we sat, resting from our-mid-afternoon search for grains under the Orange tree. They came.
We all took off without looking back, running in different directions and indeed we were not particularly frightened as it was really a NO SPECIAL DAY-nothing apparent was happening. But that was the danger of the no particular day! you may have lived peacefully for months AND THEN SUDDENLY it was here!, we had gotten used to the peace and quite and the joy of no Rooster getting murdered for so long.
We didn’t go very far. Turning back towards the commotion area, it was Mum screaming and all she kept on repeating was My childrenooooo! My childernooooo! My childrenooo…!
The more she screamed, the more the butchers laughed and we watched them drowning in our agony and ordeal, shedding cup full of chicken tears that failed to drop down our eyes-invisible to humans.
They pinned her chest to the earth and the youngest Johnbull suddenly exclaimed  “ I love fried chicken best” and daughter Johnbull quickly countered the claim with one of her own, “No, I love it best when its roasted, for -a- bar-be-cue”.
We cried in silence and our torment pierced heaven high but the JOHNBULLS, seemingly delighted from the recent comments from their children, only shared a secret smile and gently touched hands!
Cousin Johnbull held a dagger to my mother’s throat and covering her eyes with another hand slit the same with one single forward motion. My mother, iyanateh oyine ommpanu was gone.When they left with her body into the big house in the compound where we live and closed the door behind them, we quickly hurried to the scene of the murder and pecked one after the other at her blood spilled on the ground. It is an old chicken ritual believed to bring or rather enhance longevity and fertility.
Later on, on the same night as we gathered mourning our mother, although still pecking around for food and water, we saw daughter-Johnbull come out of the kitchen and with a basket and poured out her feathers in the trash can in front of the big house and we hurried along to inspect her remains:
The monsters! They ate her all.Sorrowfully, I jumped up and inside the can and after pecking at a few food particles grabbed one of her feathers, which we later buried behind the garden. My mother was never again seen since that fateful day. She lives now only in our minds.
     Tomorrow is CHRISTMAS DAY.
 And that means one of us is going to die. Maybe more than one, when my mother was brutally assassinated before our very own eyes. I was only four months old, but now I’m a full grown Cock, current male and head of the family, crowing each day to wake up the dreaded humans each morning.
What happened to my mother will almost certainly happen to me tomorrow.
I’ve contemplated seriously about running away from the big house and the chicken flesh eating canibals in the same, but again decided against it. Why? Well, it seems pretty well to me like a futile and useless move and I’m only a Cock, unquestionably lesser than the monsters who eats p our generations and race, but I’m not foolish. Cocks also have brains remember?
Look at it this way, wouldn’t it really be stupid to run away, denying my family the last moment we may ever share together on this Earth, which is usually that day they refer to as Christmas eve when all humans go haywire with happiness and drunkenness glazing in their eyes, like a mirror bouncing on the moon simply because the following day was their chicken eating feast and ritual. And worst of all, also most un-imaginable still, do you know that the humans even go without sleep on this day? To go without sleep for a complete night only to sit around deliberating how to eat up another specie of Gods creation? Humans are terrible, I tell you, most horrifying creatures. Sacrilegious pimps!
Some even claim the whole thing has to do with a name called JESUS, whom some have said is a God and at the same time, the Son of God. Some disagreed and said he was a great prophet curing the sick and raising the dead by the power of God. Others do not even believe he is anything… I think they all collectively look for excuses to annihilate our race! I’ll gather my family together by the fireside at midnight. I’ll tell them the story that my mother told to me on the night she was killed, how the Rooster and the Humans were once of the same size and shared the world together until they became greedy and wanted it only for themselves.
There’s no need to run away, only to be killed by another equally terribly Christmas-happy human some place else. I shall die here, not as a coward but true Hero like my mother.
She spoke about a day when the Rooster race will again rule the world and all the humans would by then be driven away like that Animal Farm… I only hope that my younger brother Koo-coo and my sister Chick-chak would make it into that World.
But again, my last word and testament which I leave behind as a question for posterity to judge; Oh! What kind of a world is this that drives humans to sin?
Omale Allen Abdul-Jabbar is a Nigerian writer. His works has been published in various Nigerian and overseas publications. He was a Finalist in Poetry.com 2002 for the poem ‘’love affair’’  He is influenced by the works of Toni Kan, Helon Habila, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ben Okri, Isabel Allende, Margaret Artwood, Pablo Neruda, Maik Nwosu, Toyin-Adewale-Gabriel and David Njoku.  He can be reached at masaihead@yahoocom

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