27. Writing Prompt – Rosemary: Part 2

If you missed Part 1, find it here: Rosemary Part 1

She shuffled into the kitchen the next day to see a pile of bones nestled in the center of the table between the primrose tea set and the salt and pepper shakers shaped like dancing shepherdesses. Her hopes that the light of dawn had undone the undead deed were dashed by the tiny skull withdrawing from under its wing and staring eyelessly at her. The axe in the garden shed might solve her problems, but Rosemary wasn’t sure it was possible to kill what was already dead. The only thing worse than an undead chicken was a headless undead chicken with its undead head flopping around. So she fixed her usual breakfast of a soft-boiled egg and a lightly buttered English muffin and hoped she wasn’t consuming any relatives of her current guest. Her neighbor had given her the eggs.

Later that day, while buying a bag of corn from the same neighbor, she learned that Mr. Pepper had returned home with four kittens in tow. Rosemary was offered her pick of the litter, but she refused with a resolved sigh, settling for her bag of corn instead. If she had just waited a day, this whole mess might have been prevented.

“Planting a garden?” her neighbor asked.

“Yes,” Rosemary quickly agreed, realizing she had no other explanation for why a tiny old lady living in a tiny cottage needed such a large quantity of corn.

She wasn’t sure undead chickens required food, but if it did get hungry, the last thing she needed was it trying to find its way home. No amount of gossiping could conceal a reanimated bag of bones wandering around.

“Are you sure you don’t want one of the kits?” her neighbor asked again, carrying her sack of corn over his shoulder down the lane back to her tiny cottage.

He had refused to let her carry it, and she was glad she had shooed the chicken into the oven and closed it in there before she left.

“It’d be good company,” he added. “I dare you to look at their cute faces and go home without one.”

One unwanted pet was quite enough, and despite his offers, she arrived back at her tiny cottage sans kitten. To her dismay, he insisted on delivering the corn right to her back garden. When he asked what that scratching noise was in the kitchen, she quickly announced, “rats!” and shooed him home.

“Told her she needed a cat,” he muttered as he trudged out the door, no doubt thinking her too deaf to hear him.

She released the chicken from the oven and pulled on her wide-brimmed hat, rubber boots, and gardening gloves. Her corn wasn’t going to plant itself, and no doubt half the village would have heard about it by the end of the week. The pile of bones rattled along behind her into the garden, and she was grateful for the thick hedge surrounding her cottage.

Rosemary had intended to keep the chicken only until she figured out what to do with it, but after weeks of talking to it while she planted rows of corn and reading to it from the book of incantations, hoping one of them would turn it back into a pile of dust, she grew attached to the clunky little thing and looked forward to their peaceful days together in the back garden. It would happily chase after the bugs her gardening disrupted or occupy itself with plump corn kernels, repeatedly gulping them down as they tumbled back onto the grass from its empty rib cage. When it grew tired of that, it would lounge under her growing plants, kicking plumes of dirt over itself, but that was nothing a quick rinse with the watering can couldn’t fix. The day she called for “my little Jinx,” not out of frustration but out of affection and it had come sprinting across the yard to her, she knew she had decided to keep it.

That winter, when the corn was harvested and the weather turned cold, Jinx would perch on the back of her armchair, snuggly dressed in a tea cosy Rosemary had cut wing holes into, while she read a book and sipped tea by the fire. And when several more years had passed and the villagers began to notice that Rosemary had been 92 for a while now, she carefully packed Jinx into a cardboard box in the front seat of her tiny old car next to her cauldron and book of incantations, and they set off to find another tiny cottage on the edge of a tiny village.

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