I never thought I would die in a toilet.
Perhaps I would be swept up one day, whilst scratching for particularly juicy worms. Simply picked off by a hawk or an owl. Or perhaps, while I slept soundly upon my favorite perch, I would be set upon by a hungry fox. Perhaps I would succumb to the bittersweet night that greets us in old age. Instead, I, the most majestic of fowl, a chicken of exceeding grace and charm, an integral part of my flock’s pecking order, am reduced to such a crappy end as this.
It began as an average day in June. My pea-sized brain wandered from butterflies to a glinting dewdrop as I deftly dodged the longing hands of the small humans who sought to capture me. I noticed a great deal of noise from the humans’ coop, and expressed vague interest by making a cautious approach. They must have been mucking it out, because chunks of the interior kept flying out an open window into an ever-growing heap on the ground.
After a time, the door swung wide, and the two larger humans emerged, carrying between them a shining white object. It looked heavy, and they struggled down the steps toward the shed where they kept all of the things they wished to forget. When they had placed it neatly in an already crowded corner and retreated, I approached. It gleamed white, with smoothly curving sides and an intriguing basin. I wished to get a closer look.
If only I had known that this porcelain throne would soon become my tomb.
Fluttering, ever-so-daintily, I came to rest a foot above the basin and stared down into its depths. My talons gripped the thin perch as it began to waver beneath me. My wings flapped, attempting to keep me balanced, but alas—I toppled forward into the gaping maw, the perch on which I had been sitting slamming behind me, casting me into darkness.
I heard the humans several times that day, somewhere near by. “Where did she go?” they asked, voices muffled by my solid prison walls. I clucked and chirped hopefully. “One of the hens is missing!” one of the small humans called. They searched. They did not find me.
I slept fitfully that night, and woke in the morning with a renewed hope. I pushed against the roof of the basin, but my feet scrambled vainly against the curved bottom of the basin, and I could not extend my wings.
I heard the humans several more times that day, but they did not hear me.
For two days, I slipped in and out of unconsciousness, hope slowly slipping from me and down into the s-bend below. I was standing in a pile of my own making, now, and the stench was awful. I was hungry, and thirsty, and cramped. I chirruped sadly into the darkness.
“Did you hear something?”
I rustled my feathers and let out a weak squawk.
“I think there’s a chicken in the shed.”
I tried to make more noise, but I was so tired, so thirsty.
“I don’t see anything. Definitely no chickens in here.”
The humans left. I remained, undiscovered.
I had nearly given up hope at the dawning of day four of my imprisonment. I was prepared for death. I made mournful noises as I contemplated my slow demise.
“There it is again! I’m sure there’s a chicken in there!”
There was a shuffling of heavy feet. “You don’t think—couldn’t be, could it?”
My salvation appeared as a tiny ray of light which grew swiftly as the lid was pulled back, and a giant, beautiful human face stared down at me with wide, disbelieving eyes.
“How did you get in there?” he asked, amazed.
I did not respond. I stretched my wings up into the fresh air and lifted myself, as dignified as I could, out into the sunlight. I peered up at my savior and gave a little chirp of thanks.
What was that? A butterfly! I hoped down from the toilet and chased after it, happy to be alive.