Kihüruto, They called it. “That which comes with the wind.”
It came with the winds from the south, and the locals had since learnt to discern the eerie howls and the characteristic dry winds that accompanied it. The trees also seemed to acknowledge the arrival, shedding their leaves whenever the winds began, even during the wet season. To the chicken the winds probably reeked of death, the way they panicked when the ghostly gusts that signaled the arrival blew, but I guess we’ll never know. A local tale told of the demon that came with the winds, that could only be seen by chicken. And woe unto the fowl that had the unfortunate luck of sighting the foul fiend. It was not without consequence, and a deadly one at that.
The locals knew it was futile to lock the chicken up. “How do you hide from what you cannot see? How do you hide from the wind?”, they would ask in despair. They had seen enough of this situation to know how it would play out. The wake of destruction left behind. Some were already making preparations to get new chicken from the villages that were lucky enough to escape Kihüruto. The village elder who lived downhill could be heard cussing loudly; he owned the largest flock in the village, and by morning it would be all gone.
The chicken stopped running, a reluctant acceptance of their fate, it seemed. Just like the last time. A cacophony of clucks filled the air, like a desperate prayer to be spared from the demon; all in vain. All this while the fiendish howls of the winds continued, unperturbed, a fitting background to the show about to take place. Then one by one, their feathers started falling off. The lucky ones died first, and the smell of dead fowl rent the air. The ones which didn’t die would experience the anguish that came with surviving the “first wave”. They remained still, standing, unable to move, caught in the grip of death as their bodies slowly succumbed. First it was the eyes, losing their sight, a dear price to pay for seeing the demon. Then the beaks fell off, slowly, the chicken with no option but to endure the agony.
Finally the bowels gave way, and the legs broke, dead inside, no longer able to support the weight of the now lifeless birds. And with a last-gasp gust, the winds departed, leaving behind a legacy of death. Kihüruto had passed. An uncomfortable silence ensued. A tension so thick it was suffocating. Most had experienced it before, but they could never get used to it. The locals set out to burn the carcasses, otherwise they would stink for seven days straight, and no meat-eater would touch them. Like they knew it was cursed.