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Protecting Sarah: Flash Fiction by cam

Updated on May 29, 2016
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Chris has written more than 200 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.


Connie dashed across the yard toward the barn where the rooster chased her six year old daughter. She bent down and grabbed a broken board lying beside the picket fence and whipped it at the bird. The shot was dead on, but the rooster shook it off along with a few feathers and bolted into the barn. Connie ran to little Sarah and picked her up.

“Mommy,” Sarah said between sobs, “Why does Rocky do that? Most the time he’s great, but he gets crazy, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, he gets crazy, and I’m afraid somebody is going to get hurt. Those spurs on his legs are long and sharp. We really need to get rid of Rocky.”

“But he’s like one of the family when he’s nice.”

“Don’t you remember the time you got off the bus and he blindsided you from the bushes?

“I remember, but….”

“Great, here comes the other crazed member of the family,” Connie said under her breath.

“What, Mommy?”

“Never mind, Pumpkin. I was just thinking out loud.”

Fred, Connie’s husband, came striding toward them, red faced, teeth clenched, fists doubled.


“One day you’re gonna kill that rooster, and you’ll be sorry. I ain’t blackened one of your eyes in a while, but I’ll do it again if you don’t leave that rooster alone.” Fred reached for Sarah, but Connie turned away and held her tight. “You little brat. What did you do to the rooster to make him mad? I bet you were in the barn throwin’ things at him just like your mom does. I oughta whip you with that board she threw at him.”

“Get away, Fred. You’re angry and you’re scaring us.” She put Sarah down and they ran into the house. Upstairs in Sarah’s room, she padlocked the door, something they had needed and used in the past. They lay on the bed and listened to Fred stomp around downstairs. He threw things and banged pans while he made himself a late breakfast.

Fred worked the third shift and had just gotten home. After he ate, he would spend the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon sleeping. That was when Connie and Sarah could go about their day without fear.

Sarah played in the yard while Connie sat in the shade holding an ice pack over her left eye. Her cat, Diva, was sitting in her lap, listening to Connie as she thought out loud. “I have an enraged rooster and an irate husband. It's time I decided what I’m going to do about them, because Sarah and I can’t go on living like this.”



Connie stood in front of the chest freezer in a dark corner of the basement, afraid that at any moment it would burst open and broadcast to the world, like a giant white boom-box, the deed she had just committed.

In the beginning he had been kind and gentle, and at times still was, but something had snapped. From that day on, if he got his feathers ruffled, he became a terror to her and Sarah.

She stared at her own hands as if they were novelty items in a Cracker Barrel gift shop, turning them first this way, then that way, studying how the dried blood cracked around her knuckles.

After she had killed him, she cut off his head and let all the blood run out. Then she cut him up into pieces and put him in the freezer. Her father had been a butcher, and she had learned a good deal about the slaughtering process growing up.

Had he really been that bad? Had he deserved this? She remembered Sarah running and screaming around their small farm, terrified of what he would do if he caught her. But Connie was always there to protect her little girl.

He seemed determined to be the biggest and the baddest unless he was around men. At those times, he was tame, even meek. But with women and children, he was boss and would allow no one to forget that fact. There was a pecking order around here, and he was at the top. He would strut around between the house and the barn, puff his chest out and make life miserable for everybody. It was only a matter of time before someone got seriously hurt. She had taken care of that. But what would she say when Sarah came home and he wasn’t there? Simple. He ran off. He found himself a young chick and ran off with her. It happens all the time.


Connie heard the bus stop out front. Sarah would walk to the house quietly, not running and playing like some would on a Friday after school. She would be careful not to irritate him. If he was sleeping, they would take care to not wake him.

Connie scanned the back yard where she had killed him and cut him up. She wanted to be sure she had cleaned up all signs of her deed. A glint of light caught her eye, sunlight reflecting off metal. She maneuvered around the picnic table and bent down. Her gut wrenched, and she nearly doubled over. Sarah was coming. She would see it and know what had happened. Connie grabbed the thing and stuffed it into her pocket just in time.

“Where is he?” Sarah said. “Is he in the barn?”

“I haven’t seen him all day,” Connie said. “I’m sure he will show up sooner or later. He always does. Come on. Let’s go in and finish making our dinner for tonight.”

“What are we having, Mommy, cause I’m really hungry.”

“Something special, Pumpkin. We’re having homemade chicken soup.”

“Yummy,” said Sarah as she bounded off into the house.

Connie followed, still hoping she had cleaned up well enough after her day of killing. She put her hand into her pocket and felt the thing; her husbands wedding band still wrapped around his finger.



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    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      7 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Robert, thank you for digging deep and finding this one. I remember how much I enjoyed writing it so the truth would be hidden until the very end. She simply had to get rid of both of them. Thanks for reading and for the comment.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      7 months ago

      Well done. A story with an interesting solution to a problem. Enough ambiguity to leave some doubt until the end.

    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 

      4 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      This is a wonderfully bizarre story, Chris! I love the angry rooster bit. Tell me: Is the rooster symbolic of the husband's lingering anger, or something? You know, even when that prick of a husband isn't around, his anger hangs in the air like a smog that just won't go away?

      Whatever the motivation, I like it.

      Say, Chris, you know a crazy thought I had? Dr. Rooster and Fred Hyde. What if the Angry Rooster and the Angry, abusive husband were one and the same --- for some bizarre reason.

      Oh, wait! I get it: "homemade chicken soup." Two birds with one stone, right? Good one!

      Take it easy!


    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      E.G.A., Thanks for that encouraging comment. I want to ask you a question. Were you logged into HP when you commented on my hub? There is an ongoing problem with the comments and I have been in touch with Christy Kirwan of HP staff about it. I am seeing many more hubbers commenting while not logged in and comments are taking up to days to actually post. Just curious if you've seen anything like this too.

    • profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 

      4 years ago

      Exciting as always, Cam. Surely this story should be deemed fit to stand in some macabre magazine for mothers. Keep rockin brother! Adios,


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I didn't expect the wedding ring to still be on the finger, Chris. Pretty gross, but that's what makes this a good horror story.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      Clever how you described things that could've been one or the other! I had my suspicions but wasn't certain until the ring surfaced. Great story.


    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Deb, thanks for that compliment. It means a lot to hear that from my peers. Thanks for stopping by.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Larry and Venkatachari M , sorry I missed your comments over the last few days. I do appreciate your visit and taking the time to read and comment.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A great story. The ending was perfect. Your talent is impeccable.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting and thrilling story with the ending left for readers.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting read.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Ruby, I'm so glad I caught you off guard. It's a better story when it hits you hard at the end. Thanks for reading.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Cyndi10, Thank you for reading an for the good feedback. I appreciate that kind of evaluation. I seem to be collecting a growing number of "Revenge" stories. I'm not sure where that is coming from, but I think I am trying to sum up in one story, the stories of many. I'm not telling what most people do in these situations, but what many may want to do, but can't find the courage. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Eric, thanks for reading. Your visits are a bright spot in my day.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Well, you got me! I thought it was the rooster until the ring on the finger. Scary thought, but some women and children live in abusive homes. Great flash fiction!!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Well told. Lots of descriptives and dialog to give a real sense of the characters, even a good sense of the strutting rooster as the dad's kindred spirit. A big story written in the fewest words.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great story. I love reading your stuff, thanks for sharing it.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Shyron, Thanks for reading and for the comment. I think what I had on my mind when I wrote this, and it goes for some of my other stories as well, is that this summarizes what many would do if they had the courage. Whether they take matters into their own hands or continue living under these conditions, they have only horrid memories.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Cam, I wasn't sure until the very end which one it was. Agree with Stella this is a great story, but what a horrid memory Connie will have the live with for the rest of her life and even after.

      Blessings my friend.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      Stella, Nice to see you and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story and on long, hapless marriages. I know it's a little predictable, but I had fun playing with it. I appreciate you taking the time.

    • Stella Kaye profile image

      Stella Kaye 

      4 years ago from UK

      Great story. I guessed the ending but it's probably because I had a chest freezer just like the one in your picture. It was big enough to hold something quite a bit bigger than a mere chicken so you can imagine what thoughts would spring to mind over the years of a long and hapless marriage!


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