I must have been more exhausted than I’d known, because when I rolled out the next day, morning was gone and afternoon had already begun. I lay in my bed for a minute trying to adjust to—something different. Even though I wasn’t sure what or why, I knew things had changed overnight.
My contemplations could be handled just as easily while feeding my neglected horse and chickens, so I dragged my butt out of bed and dressed.
On the way through the kitchen I grabbed up my usual apple from widow McVey’s tree, but I guess being afternoon, my stomach wasn’t ready to settle for so little. It growled hungrily, and I took that as a sign that I needed to visit the general store in town. Except for eggs, I didn’t have much on hand to eat.
I gave Clarence his scoop of grain. He hadn’t settled down since the cat incident the previous night.
“Whoa up there boy,” I looked for injuries that I might have overlooked in my tiredness but found none. He trembled and flinched under my hands but calmed a little as I groomed him.
The chickens were even worse. You’d think I’d brought a polecat into the coop with me. The fluttering and carrying-on that they did was silly. My number one layer, Claudine, that usually gave me a nice plump brown egg, pecked my hand when I reached into her nest. Then she used her sharp talon to rake my arm when I filched the egg and retreated.
More astonishing, the red scratch oozing the blood that immediately appeared, almost as quickly, began to heal, zipping closed until even the white scrape was nothing but a memory.