The Horses Didn’t Stop

It was an ordinary day;

The sky was blue and the grass was green.

The fields were ready for harvest;

Master would be home very soon.

My brother clucked right beside me,

Complaining of the heat and sun.

I felt the shudder of hoof-beats

In the ground and started running fast.

Master was coming, coming home!

Away from the war and death and blood.

Misses heard it too and smiled;

Little Master yelped with glee and ran,

Faster than I had ever seen,

Toward his Father, my Master, her world.

Misses followed slower, grinning;

We had waited too long for this day.

The horses came at break-neck speed,

Leaving a cloud of dust behind them.

The riders’ faces were covered;

I tried to guess which one was Master.

Little Master squealed, delighted;

Misses called out Master’s name and laughed.

Brother puffed out his chest and left;

He didn’t care much for our Master.

Little Master sped right past me;

I followed Little Master, squawking.

Misses’ scream stopped me in my tracks.

I turned around, looking at her face.

I heard the crunch of bone and knew;

I turned back, and there were the horses.

But where was my Little Master?

Misses screamed his name, running away.

But the horses came for her, too;

I watched them crush her through beady eyes.

I saw crimson blood, so much blood,

And went to Little Master’s body.

His legs were bent in a strange way;

His eyes were closed, streaked with dirt and blood.

I pecked his arm, squawking loudly;

He was alright. He just had to be.

And Misses was hitting the men,

Fighting for her life and her son’s life.

But when I approached to see her,

They were hanging her, limp, on a cross.

I watched them drag Little Master

And do the same bloody thing to him.

Then a rider took a lit torch,

And threw it into Master’s fine house.

They set the field ablaze also,

But I could do naught but cry and sob.

They left just like they came, riding,

Thinking little of what they had done.

I ran, followed by my Brother,

To escape our fiery homestead.

Then I saw a horse approaching,

Much faster than the other riders.

It was Master–alas, too late.

Too late to stop the fire, the blood.

His home was ash and wife was dead.

His young son was a charcoal body.

I watched Master fall to his knees,

Sobbing and screaming and mourning, lost.

His whole life had been ripped away;

He had nothing left in this cruel world–

Except for my Brother and I;

But two chickens are hardly a comfort.


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