Epic title right?
This was suggested by my good friend Chris Loveder, with whom I will one day make a ukulele album inspired by Hemlock Grove.
The song title challenge is where you guys give me song titles and I write a short story using the song title as inspiration. I’m not supposed to listen to the song first, but I don’t mind if you send me songs that I have heard before. I have yet to listen to this song, but I’m told the album is just as ingenuously titled. Here is, El Phantasmo and the chicken run Blast-o-rama by White Zombie.
Farmer Mike Jenkins stood outside his now empty chicken coop scratching his head with a bemused expression on his weather beaten face. He had heard of the mysterious chicken disappearances, but he hadn’t actually believed them. In fact, even now it had happened to him he still didn’t actually believe it. Just like the others, the door of the coop remained closed and locked but it was empty. There wasn’t a chicken in sight, not an egg to be seen, not even a feather remained. Had he not known any better, Farmer Mike would have assumed he had in fact never filled this coop with chickens. With a worried sigh, he squelched his way over to the farm house to call the police and report that he too had been hit by the disappearance of his chickens.
The mystery of the missing chickens was however, a fairly easy one to solve, if only the police and the farm hands knew what to look for. The truth was, these heinous crimes were being committed by someone who couldn’t be seen, someone who couldn’t leave clues and someone who, try as they might, couldn’t communicate with the people he was stealing from. The truth was, El Phantasmo, was just trying to complete his unfinished business, but, you know, being a ghost is kind of hard, you don’t show up on CCTV, you can’t leave footprints, and hey, people can’t even see you. Especially not the people who advertise in local papers about being able to see you. It was with this sense of profound sorrow that El Phantasmo found himself as he wondered away from Farmer Mike’s fields, the now free chickens clucking and running into the nearby woodland. They would, El Phantasmo mused, probably be eaten by foxes, but, that was nature for you. Chickens, like most animals were supposed to be free, supposed to fight for survival in the food chain. They weren’t supposed to live in coops or behind fences. He had spent his entire life working the land, keeping animals fenced in purely so he could feed himself and his community. Then, one day he’d fallen in one of his coops and was pecked to death by the very geese that he was rearing and in his final moments, had an epiphany. The geese had obviously killed him in an ill attempted plot to get him to see the error of his ways, that they were free creatures that were being held against their will and having their children stolen on an almost daily basis. It was why he had made it his mission to journey around farms freeing poultry. He was sure once every chicken, duck, goose, turkey and guinea fowl was free, he would finally pass on and be able to enjoy his death. He had liberated several hundred farms worth of fowl so far though and was no closer to stepping into the light. What he needed was a sign.
He turned away and meandered along the dirt path, looking for his next farm, the excited clucking getting further and further away as the chickens settled into their freedom.
It was a long and weary walk onwards to the next lot of farm land. El Phantasmo was almost bored of countryside by this point. He trundled on, finally coming to a main road, he looked up and down and then turned right, away from civilisation. Civilised people tended not to live near farms if they could help it. They are very smelly places. He amused himself along the way, blowing over a few small shrubs and stealing the hat from the head of a passing post man. It was then that he saw it, a beautiful green parrot sat on the shoulder of a small boy, merrily skipping along the side of the road, hand in hand with his mother. El Phantasmo widened his eyes, keeping chickens was one thing, this was another entirely. He must free the parrot! The parrot must be the key to eternal sleep, parrots should be in rain forests, not sat upon the shoulders of children! Resolutely, El Phantasmo strode towards the boy and his mother flapping his arms at the parrot hoping to scare it off. He screamed, he squalled, he blew up puffs of air and threw about bits of foliage. The mother and child were both very alarmed but the parrot stayed where it was, sat quite contently on the boy’s shoulder.
“Hurry up Jack, there must be a storm coming!” The boy’s mother exclaimed, gripping her son’s hand tightly.
“Storm coming! Storm coming!” The parrot repeated.
“That’s right, storm!” The boy chirruped happily.
“Storm!” The parrot responded.
El Phantasmo was stunned. This boy and the parrot, they had a bond! They were friends! He was not expecting this. Dejected, he fell to the side of the road, watching as the mother and son hurried off, parrot still perched in place.
He put his head in his hands, what was his purpose now? What reason did he have to continue? What did it all mean? Perhaps it was not birds he was meant to be rescuing, maybe it was sheep or cows? Perhaps cats and dogs, were they not too held hostage by evil humans?
So engulfed in his existential crisis was El Phantasmo, that he didn’t notice the almighty stampede of chickens tearing along the road towards him. In fact, he didn’t notice at all until the first bony feet started climbing over his translucent body. There were too many of them, he was no match for this many wild fowl, El Phantasmo cried out, both in surprise and pain, but the few onlookers that had gathered to see the stampeding chickens could not hear him, they could not see him, such is the curse of being a ghost. They could only stand and stare, bewildered at the unusual sight before their eyes. The dust cleared, the last chicken tumbled from the pile of ecto plasmic goo that was the remains of El Phantasmo as each of the birds tried to find their way home and he left the world for the second time at the hands of a bird.