I counted three times as I put the feed down. Yes, ten. Ten girls eating outside. Walkabout spent all of yesterday inside the coop, but this morning she was back outside. I still won't open the temporary run today, but I'll keep the house door open until it's too hot and I'll listen for crows and make regular trips down to check on them and make them a puddle to splash in. I hate penning them, but to do otherwise is folly and, I think, irresponsible. Gods are often irresponsible, though. At least within the limits of our understanding.
Walkabout makes a great heroine, I thought this morning. Because in the end, she took care of herself. She got away from the fox. It wasn't deus ex machina, it wasn't some knight in shining armor. It was her determination, her spirit, that saved her. And then the sense to show herself to us, tired as she was. So that we could take her home when she was at the point of total exhaustion, worn out from the adrenaline rush. I've always wondered how to create a heroine to cheer for and here she is, right under my nose.
I always knew this was leading to a story, I just never realized who it was about. I thought (silly me) it would be about the humans taking care of the chickens, turning into chickens. But clearly Walkabout is meant for the star role. It's just a question of what story, how it will show itself in the end when I have enough distance from the events to shape it as fiction and genre fiction at that. Which means I have to push it further as it unfolds.
Updated at 10 am:
I forgot to mention that we held a ceremony for Anya yesterday evening and buried her in the bottom of our 'pond' which is currently dry, but diggable. The Dude dug deep and E said a few words.