The Old Hen by Felicity Edward

Three generations of women huddled in blankets in the dark, save for a half-burnt candle. There was a banging on the front door. It burst open. Three soldiers, Russians, glared into the semi-darkness of the room. The women had decided they would never speak that hated language. By pantomime, the soldiers demanded their phones. All old bricks with no cameras. They threw them onto the floor. Little did the soldiers know the phone they passed information to their defenders was warmly tucked up under the old hen’s nest.

The men saw a wedding photo on the shelf. One said, “We’ve got him.”

The old woman whispered to her granddaughter, “This won’t end well.”

They dragged Olga to the store, which was now the military headquarters, for questioning.

She saw three men kneeling in the mud, their hands tied on entering the courtyard. Her husband’s eyes were swollen, another had a broken nose, and the third had an ear hanging by a slip of skin.

She muttered to her husband as they pulled her down to the basement.

“Why are you married to such an old man?”

Another said, “Maybe we should give her some pleasure.”

Another answered. “She’s ugly. Let’s get the daughter.”

Olga pleaded for them to leave her daughter alone.

A shout from outside caught the soldiers’ attention—papers scattered as they stampeded up the stairs.

Olga followed.

The yard was empty.

Olga hurried home.

Three women joined the ranks of the refugees. The old one was clutching a fat brown hen. The teenager had the phone in her pocket.

“Mama, how will my father know where we are if we leave the house?”

“He will. He will.” She did not add that he already is looking down on us from heaven.

Selected: Weekly Write Week #17
Published in Issue #30

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