No one knows for sure where he came from. He appeared at dawn on a Monday, standing atop the tallest barnyard fence pole.
As the tip of the sun broke the horizon, he stood, a black shadow against the blazing sunrise. He stretched his neck twice it’s size and pointed his beak straight up; his bright red comb stood out like a warning flag. Never before was heard anything as magnificent as the sound that poured from this beast’s throat! The single, masterful crow caused the startled milk cow to scramble to her feet. The pigs snapped their heads up from the feeding trough and the piglets scrambled for their mom. The whole sun seemed to spring above the horizon as if it had been waiting for the sound.
Twenty-one prize laying hens tried to leave the chicken coop through one little hole, all at once, to see what could have created such a siren. Finally arriving, around the corner of the barn, wearily trotted Clyde, the yard rooster. He’d been resting in the loft after staying up all night in the chicken coop, guarding and maintaining his house.
One huge Red Rooster jumped down from the tallest fence post in the yard, strutted ten struts and then stopped, poised as if to give everyone a chance to see. His full name was Rojo Grande El Magnifico, but they just called him Rojo Grande for short. Rojo Grande stood dead still. He slowly inspected the twenty one plump, orange, champion laying hens all lined up as if waiting to be inspected. He brought one eyebrow up to widen the view in that eye. He l i k e d what he saw.
It was then Rojo Grande spotted the rather disheveled, yellow brown yard rooster. There was a quick turn of his head and a single strut. Nothing stirred. Two more struts and the hens started a low volume, slow, warning cluck. They could smell roosterosterone and feel the tension in the air.
This is where the sleepy, exhausted yard rooster made his mistake. He took a slow, cautious step toward Rojo Grande and looked him straight in the eye. As the Clyde’s foot touched the ground, there was a flash and a red blur. Taken by surprise, Clyde was in the air fighting desperately, his feathers flying loose everywhere. As Clyde touched the ground five feet from where he originally was, his instincts took over and he ran as fast as his wings and legs would take him in the opposite direction of the blur.
In the middle of the yard stood Rojo Grande El Magnifico, his chest held high and comb up, straight as an arrow. The hens were cackling excitedly.
As Clyde watched from his perch in the hayloft, Rojo Grande let one masterful cluck loose. Twenty-one prize layers immediately headed for the hen house to do their job.
Rojo Grande El Magnifico stood alone, master of the farmyard.
One warm, lazy day late in the summer, it seemed as if the Earth had stopped breathing. The air was dead still. The clouds were not moving. There was a silence that almost never happened in the normally noisy farmyard.
The animals that had been napping felt something unusual and perked up their ears. They stood, eyes widened, and began to search. The hens, normally pecking, stopped and looked toward Rojo Grande and then upward toward the loft!
Clyde felt the vibration change. He jumped up on his long spurred legs and walked with curiosity to the loft door. As he did, some straw was accidentally kicked over the edge of the doorframe. It floated straight down. There was not even breeze enough to make it float in any direction other than down. This is very strange because windless days in this country were extremely rare.
From the top of a stand of Elm trees on the west side and just outside of the rail fence, the slight rattle of the driest leaves could be heard. The breeze that caused the leaves to move had jumped over the rail fence and into the farmyard. The tiniest of whirlwinds appeared and kicked up enough dust to define itself. The bottom of the tiny twister danced first left, then right and sometimes seemed to circle while the top remained steady and traveled in a straight line through the barnyard. Everything in the yard watched it as it exited through the gate on the east side of the yard. There was again, silence. One older hen took a tentative retreating step toward the chicken coop. She knew something was up!
As that hen’s foot came back to the ground, a terrifying screech ripped the silence and shattered any calm left in the farmyard. The sound came from behind and above that Elm stand. Nothing was seen immediately, but another screech tore through the air.
Then Demus appeared. His four-foot wide black wings were set in a swift and calculated dive. His talons extended to capture his reward. Demus had one of the prize-laying hens in his sights.
The animals in the farmyard knew Demus. His arrival terrified and sent every one of the animals scattering to whatever haven was near. The older hens tended to run toward the hen house in a straight line. The younger hens ran in a much more panicked, confused and indirect way. The newest even ran in circles. This was the effect Demus intended when he arrived with his screech and sudden appearance. Confusion and surprise are his friends and although he’d never succeeded getting his supper in this farm yard, his tactics had been successful many, many times in other yards on other farms.
Demus had never been successful on this farm because of his nemesis, Clyde the yard rooster.
Clyde was this farm’s guardian. He was there the first time Demus attacked and Clyde defended the farm animals with ferocity every time.
On this day, Demus had been observing the farm yard from very high. It was his habit to circle unseen in the sky to find his target. He didn’t see Clyde and probably would have by-passed this farm if he had. What he did see was a strutting Rojo Grande. This was a new addition to the farmyard and an opponent Demus had not tested. Maybe there would be a nice fat hen from this farm today. He would find out.
As Demus sped over the top of the Elms in his surprise attack, he located his target. Off to the side of his sight, Demus watched for Rojo Grande El Magnifico’s inevitable defense. The rooster was easy to spot. He was the largest red thing moving in the yard. Demus continued his attack dive.
Expecting a side attack from Rojo Grande, Demus braced himself as his talons closed upon the slowest and largest hen in the retreating flock. Surprised to actually make contact and grab the hen, he had to look up suddenly to judge his escape with such a heavy and undefended surprise. As he looked up, Demus saw a red flash going out of the yard gate ahead of him. Astonished at his success, Demus miscalculated the weight of his prize, the speed of his unimpeded attack, and his direction. Wings pulling hard and just missing the side of the barn, his escape path took him very close to the open loft door.
There was a yellow brown flash and the side attack he’d been expecting from the red rooster earlier, arrived. It was Clyde, the yard rooster with his long, three-inch leg spurs.
Demus dropped the hen at the tremendous blow and plummeted to the ground with the yard champion firmly attached. They hit the ground in a cloud of dust, mixed with the screaming sounds of defense and the furious sounds of attack. It was a blur of wings, feathers, beaks, talons and spurs. The dust ball of battle rolled gradually into the middle of the yard. From every corner of the farm yard, the other animals watched the melee.
Suddenly, they separated. The separation surprised both. Slowly backing, Demus turned with damaged wings and pride, flapped several tortured wing beats and rose, just clearing the Elms.
Clyde, watching the sudden departure of his opponent, could barely stand, wounded and exhausted. The animals left their hiding places and approached him. From the hen house paraded twenty-one prize-laying hens. Clyde counted and counted again. All of the hens were there, one more time. As Clyde straightened himself up, he took a step toward the stairway to the loft. The animals cleared a path for their protector. Up the stairs he went, wearily hopping up one step at a time, one step and a pause, one step and a pause. The animals watched as he appeared in the doorway of the loft. Compacting himself in a rooster ball, Clyde shortened his neck so his head rested on his body and he closed one eye. He was one exhausted rooster!
What ever happened to Rojo Grande El Magnifico? At the last sighting, Rojo Grande was seen running down the road in the opposite direction of the battle and would never be seen here again. Legend has it that he found another farm yard where he could strut his stuff and impress some unsuspecting hens. Then there was another farm and another. Hopefully, he found a place where he will never have to deal with the evil Demus or a Clyde, the Exhausted Rooster!
The End of Part Two
Stay tuned for more adventures of Clyde, the Exhausted Rooster! Coming soon to a Writing.com near you!