Home to Roost by Dianna Sinovic

June 1, 2020 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic with 2 and 0
Home > Columns > Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic > Home to Roost by Dianna Sinovic

Home to Roost

/


Four minutes before the alarm, and Trina was already awake, eyes open. Even in the dim light of pre-dawn she could trace the intricate lines of the cracked plaster on the ceiling. Some mornings, the lines coalesced into starbursts; other days, they reminded her of a detailed pirate’s map, the marked footsteps meandering here and there.

She threw back the covers and remembered—as she had every morning for the last three months. Any pirate treasure would stay buried for now. Amber, the 9-year-old lump in the bed, face buried in her pillow, was the daily reminder that the contours of her world had changed. 

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Pulling on leggings and an old T-shirt, Trina tiptoed out of the bedroom, down the stairs and out into the steamy July morning. Her niece could stay asleep. Trina hadn’t wanted to be a parent or a fill-in parent, but late on a chilly spring afternoon, sun glare masked the tractor trailer on the bend and her sister, Leigh, pulled out from a side road when she should have waited. For the first month afterward, Amber spoke gibberish, panicking Trina and puzzling the school counselor. And just as suddenly, the girl slipped back into normal speech, announcing at dinner one night, “Can we raise chickens?”

What could Trina say but yes? She knew Leigh would have expected no less of her.

So Trina was now also a farmer of sorts, with five hens in her rural back yard. She opened the coop door and emptied pellets into the feeder. Clucking softly, the Rhode Island reds clustered around her, already pecking at the food. Hallie, Hannah, Harriet, Hazel and Heidi—Amber had named the chicks the day they’d brought them home. 

“How can I tell them apart?” Trina had protested.

“You will,” Amber said. “When they grow up.” She had chewed on a strand of hair, pondering. “I think.”

And so they had a pact, she and Amber. Trina would feed and water the flock and tend to the coop, and her niece would check for eggs, waiting for the first one to be laid.

There was no rooster—maybe later, they agreed. 

After the round of pellets, Trina emptied and refilled the coop’s water receptacle. She checked that the mesh over the outdoor pen was secure, protection against the neighborhood red tail hawk.

“Any eggs yet?” Amber called from the back porch steps. She was still in her pajamas.

Trina shrugged. “I didn’t check.” 

 “I’ll do it,” her niece said, sprinting barefoot until she stood next to Trina. “Maybe today’s the day.” She was grinning with excitement.

Amber disappeared into the coop’s interior and was gone several long minutes. When she finally re-emerged, Trina was startled to see her eyes brimming with tears. 

“What is it?” Trina said.

Amber held up both hands to her, palms out. There was not one egg, but two.

“At last!” Trina smiled in relief. Who needed buried treasure? “They are the first of many, I’ll bet.”

Amber, still somber, said softly, “The hens wanted to send a message from Mommy and Daddy, so they made two first eggs instead of just one.”

Trina gently hugged her niece. “I miss them, too.”

Author Bio
Author Bio
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
  • Dianna Sinovic, Featured Author

    Dianna writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

  • Answer Me This

    The deck beckons you to turn over a card. The cryptic symbols on the backs intrigue you, but you aren’t sure you want to wade into the tarot just yet.

  • A Winter’s Tale

    One memory from this time of year that’s still as crisp in detail as the night it happened was when I was eleven. That was more than thirty years ago, a time before cell phones or Taylor Swift. A time when I hadn’t yet left the magic of childhood.

  • Detachment

    Leaves, leaves, and more leaves—the fall chore overwhelmed Kelsie each year, ever since she’d lost Tanner.

  • Turning Point

    The pumpkin foretold the event—the dare, the maze, the fire, all of it. If only Gregg had known to heed the warning of that orange jack-o’-lantern on the porch: The flickering slits for eyes, the leering mouth with mold grown over the gourd’s carved incisors. He’d laughed when he spotted it. So Julian.

×
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
Latest Posts
  • DT Krippene says:

    A lovely story.

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

    >