From a prompt I received on Tumblr
Leti had never liked any of her sisters.
It wasn’t that they weren’t nice to her, they were, but not because they were actually nice. It was just because she had a faint green sheen to her feathers and everyone agreed it was pretty and special. Leti thought this was a silly reason for people to like her, and every night when they were at roost she fantasized about plucking out all of her long green feathers so the hens would have to find something else to like about her. She never went through with it, though.
One weekend, the farmer brought home a whole stack of crates full of the Spring chickens to replace some of the hens who’d mysteriously disappeared over winter. Despite the fact all the hens were hiding in the hen house, they were all very curious about who would be joining the shed.
Leti’s sisters perched next to her and bitched about each of the chickens as they were released, but Leti tried to ignore them. It was always so exciting when new chickens arrived.
While the farmer was releasing birds into the yard, he lifted one of the birds out of the crate and spent a few seconds examining it. He didn’t look happy, and he said something to his wife as he threw the chicken into the yard. As soon as it landed, all the clucking and gossip in the henhouse fell completely silent for a second.
The chicken was the same auburn brown as almost everyone, but it had a long tail and a long gobble and comb. When it stood up, it puffed out its chest feathers and that long comb flopped casually over its eyes.
No, it couldn’t be. A rooster? The farmer had brought them a rooster?
Barely able to contain their excitement, all the hens poured out of the henhouse to meet him, all a flutter with the scandal and excitement of finally having a rooster as part of the shed. Just think of all the beautiful fluffy chicks! And finally having a defined boss instead of fighting amongst each other over who got to be top of the pecking order? They circled around the newcomer, inspecting him and trying to present themselves as good mates.
Leti noticed the rooster didn’t look pleased to see anyone. In fact, he looked terrified. Roosters weren’t usually terrified, they were usually proud and arrogant.
After a few moments, one of Leti’s sister shrieked. Everyone looked at her as she took a couple of cautious steps towards the rooster. She then scoffed. “You’re not a rooster,” she said, scorn audible in her voice. “You’re not a rooster at all!”
The hens all looked from Leti’s sister to the rooster. He certainly looked like a rooster.
He lowered his tail and his eyes darted around the shed, as if he was looking for somewhere he could escape to. There wasn’t anywhere.
As one by one the chickens realised that the rooster was, in fact, a hen, they all joined Leti’s sisters in voicing their disgust. “How dare you trick us!” “Did you think we wouldn’t find out?” “How many eggs would have to be barren before we discovered your secret?” “Were you even planning on telling us?”
The scorn turned to insults, the insults to shouts and the shouts into violence. The hens all fell on the rooster, squawking and tearing out his feathers until little more was left of him than scruffy, pointed under-down. He didn’t fight. He didn’t try to stop them. He just lay there and let them pull out every soft feather on his body. Leti could hardly watch.
When the chickens were done tearing into him, they dispersed and went to go inspect the other new chickens. The others, terrified by the awful display of dominance and territory, had all mostly tried to find other corners of the shed to cower in.
They all left the rooster alone on the ground and completely naked.
When they were gone, Leti edged up to him. He didn’t make eye-contact with her, he just drew a long breath and exhaled. “It’s not my fault,” he said half-heartedly. “It’s not my fault.”
It was so awful that Leti didn’t know what to say. She just plucked out the most beautiful, longest tail-feather she had and gave it to him.