I wrote this story for a little boy named Simeon. Simeon, at 8 years old, couldn’t read very well because See Spot Run just didn’t excite the mind of a child raised in the Call of Duty generation. I asked him what he’d like to read about, and he said, “Exploding chickens,” so I wrote this story. I hope you like it. He did.
Well, the world ended almost a year ago. Sort of. I mean, the world is still here, duh. I’m still here, my two brothers are still here, and, unfortunately, the Creeps are still here. Everything else is gone, I think. My parents are gone, my dogs are gone, my school is gone, and TV is gone. Some of that is good, but most of it is bad.
There was a disease that killed almost everybody. I don’t know why I din’t get it. Some people survived, but their goodness died. They are left with only evil. We call them the Creeps because they’re really quiet, and they sneak up on you and try to kill you.
Only my brothers and I never got sick at all, as far as I know. I hope there are more of us out there, but we haven’t found any yet.
My brother Alex is the oldest–twelve. He always carries a big backpack stuffed full of… I don’t know. He won’t tell me, and he never opens it. Anyway, one day, he was really grumpy.
My other brother is older than me, but not as old as Alex. He’s Brandon and he’s nine. Brandon came running back to the cabin we found in the woods far away from the creeps. He was carrying his bow in one hand, his arrows tied to his back, and in the other hand he had a dead, bloody chicken.
“Alex! Casey!” Brandon shouted. That was stupid. Creeps can hear if you’re too loud, and then they can find you. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I’m Casey, and I’m eight. “Hey guys! I shot a chicken! We can have chicken nuggets for dinner!”
Like I said, Alex was not having a good day. “Brandon!” he hissed. “Are you crazy?” Alex ran to Brandon and clamped his hand over Brandon’s mouth. “You’re going to bring all the Creeps back here and we’ll have to move again. Do you think we’ll be lucky enough to find a cabin this good again? We’ll have to live in a cave or a tree!”
“Sorry, Alex,” said Brandon, more quietly this time. “But we can have chicken nuggets!”
Alex looked over Brandon’s shoulder and his eyes went really wide. “Run. Get Casey and run to Checkpoint A,” Alex muttered way too calmly.
Checkpoint A is about a mile past the cabin. There are some big rocks next to the river. Really big rocks. If I stood on Brandon’s head, and he stood on Alex’s head, the rocks would still be taller than we are. But there’s a space between two of the rocks halfway up where Alex keeps an extra bow and arrow, a blanket, and a knife.
There are two more checkpoints that have the same supplies in them. If Checkpoint A is too dangerous and we can’t get there, we try Checkpoint B, then C. I don’t know what would happen if Checkpoint C doesn’t work out.
Brandon didn’t even look to see what Alex saw. “Run, Casey! Checkpoint A!”
I dropped my pencil mid-drawing and ran. I was drawing a really good shark, but I know if one of my brothers says run, I need to run.
Alex made me practice running to Checkpoints A, B, and C so many times, I could do it with my eyes closed. I’m the fastest runner of all of us, so I got there first. No Creeps. I climbed up and turned around to see Brandon running as fast as he could through the woods. He still had his bow and dead chicken in his hands.
Good. At least we can still eat chicken nuggets tonight.
“Throw me the chicken, then you can climb!” I told Brandon. The chicken was bloodier than I thought , and it sprayed all over my face. “Gross,” I said. Brandon finished climbing up and laughed at me.
I tried to wipe the blood off my face with my sleeve. Just then, I caught sight of Alex, also covered in blood. He got to the rocks, jumped up, and pushed us all the way to the back in less than two seconds.
“Shhhhhhh!” Alex said. “There are Creeps. Lots of them. More than I can count. Stay quiet.”
I could hear the Creeps crawling around the forest. I had to hold my breath to hear them, though. They were so quiet.
After what seemed like a year, the creeps all moved on.
“Sorry, Alex,” Brandon whispered.
Alex glared at him. Like I said, he was grumpy. “Guys, it isn’t safe here anymore. We have to move on. We have to find out if there are more people alive like us.”
Just then another Creep wandered past us. Luckily, she didn’t see us, and she walked on.
“How are we going to get past all these Creeps?” I asked Alex as Brandon started to cry quietly.
Alex looked at the chicken in Brandon’s hand. “We aren’t going to have chicken nuggets,” he muttered as he took the chicken from Brandon and flipped his knife open.
I had no idea what that meant, but I watched as he cut open the chicken’s belly, and all its guts spilled out.
“Nasty!” I mouthed.
Brandon looked like he was going to puke, but he didn’t. Alex opened his backpack and pulled out enough fireworks to last two Fourth of July’s.
“Alex, where did you get those?” Brandon whispered.
“They were Samantha’s.” Samantha is our cousin. WAS our cousin. She’s gone, too. She was sixteen and had been arrested twice for blowing up mailboxes.
Alex stuffed the chicken full of fireworks and put a piece of string in there, too, but only one end. Then he sewed up the chicken’s belly. The string was long.
“Now what?” Brandon asked Alex.
“Climb down,” he replied. “GO about one hundred feet downriver as quietly as you can.”
So we did. There were Creeps everywhere, just as I thought. “Now what, Alex?” I mouthed the words, too afraid to actually make a sound.
Alex didn’t say anything; he just held up one finger, telling me to wait. He handed me the string and walked away with the chicken.
When he pulled the string tight, he was fifty feet away. He put the chicken down as quietly as he could, then he came back quickly and set the string on fire. We watched as the fire ate the string slowly until it got to the chicken. We held our breath, and the fire disappeared.
Nothing happened. Oh no! We were stuck in the middle of the biggest Creep camp we’d ever seen, and our chicken bomb wasn’t working!
I think some Creeps smelled the chicken because they all swarmed it. We started to panic. The chicken was too close to us! They could surely see us, then we’d be dead!
I looked back and forth between my brothers, Alex wound up tight like a cheetah ready to pounce, Brandon more like a statue. Alex, never taking his eyes off the Creeps fighting over the chicken, motioned with his hand for us to back up.
As we crept backwards, we made a bit of noise, but the Creeps were too busy with the chicken to notice us.
Suddenly, as the Creeps tore at the chicken, Alex’s stitches ripped out, and we heard the biggest BOOM!!!!!!!!!
Blue, red, purple, and green sparks shot into the air, and a whole pack of screaming fireworks filled the forest with deafening shrieks. Creep arms and legs and heads flew everywhere, and they smelled terrible, like they had already been dead for a long time.
The chicken head flew all the way over to us and hit Brandon in the stomach. This time, he did throw up.
“Run!” Alex screamed as he grabbed his backpack.
The explosion killed a bunch of Creeps and momentarily distracted the rest, so this was our chance!
We ran for almost a day. I couldn’t breathe. “Alex!” I called, panting. I stopped running. I had to bend over and rest my hands on my knees. “I haven’t seen a Creep in hours. Can we stop running?”
“Yes,” Alex managed to squeak out between his wheezing breaths. He and Brandon both collapsed to the ground next to me. “But keep an eye out. There could be creeps anywhere.”
That’s how we left our hometown for good. We haven’t killed all the Creeps yet, but Brandon is getting really good at making animal bombs. I’ll tell you all about it later. Right now, I’m going to go eat some chicken nuggets.
I figured this new edition deserved some updated art by the author.