I held her a long time before that, feeling the pulse at her throat, the warmth of her body, the movement of her breathing. Chickens can sit very calm if you hold them the right way - crouching over her, hand around her neck gently, fingers in the soft feathers of her belly.
Then upside down by the feet, similarly calm. Tied her up on the pear tree right above where my last treefrog was buried. Bright red blood dripping down through the decaying leaf litter. Phil held her wings as she convulsed in death, like a person violently vomiting, blood from a gash in the neck. I hope that she did not suffer; I fear that she did. Three times, deepening the cut. How terrible, how incompetent...
I was barefoot. My toes were painfully cold, I realized once the blood had stopped dripping and her eyes had closed. Sitting on a beach towel on the bathroom floor, drying my feet, I cried to myself, partly in pain, partly from nausea, and partly out of guilt and horror over what I had done. Maybe not long enough, but it was something. I didn't skin the body, though I helped pull some feathers out. I watched Phil do it and held the pan for the organs and meat.
Crouching there, with my knife to her throat, feeling her pulse with my hand - it was like standing on the edge of a high-dive, looking down at the water far below. We're all waiting for you. How could I do this? How could I let anyone else do this instead? But oh, it was far too easy to take that plunge. I'm sorry. And thank you.
I don't want to write about this anymore.
Midnight, Starshine, and Princess Buttercup in their early adolescent years. Year.