Johnny preferred his cereal warm and crispy.
|Like a wildfire gone amok in a forest full of freckles, red hair flamed across the five-year-old’s forehead. He pouted over the soggy, sugared rooster floating in his spoon. He preferred his cereal still warm and crispy.
The farm house was eerily quiet; the usual barnyard cacophony, curiously stilled.
Mary rattled around the empty kitchen table setting it for six. She refused to believe she and Johnny were all that remained of her large family. She shuddered as she watched Johnny play with his food.
“Barker b-b-b-bad, Barker b-b-b-bad doggie,” Johnny stammered.
Mary cowered in the kitchen corner as she stared in horror at the friendly family mutt wagging his tail at Johnny in a fervent plea for bacon.
“No, Johnny, no!” Mary’s mothering instincts took over and she slapped the back of the little boy’s hand--for one split second forgetting her fear.
The wildfire spread from forehead to pupil as Johnny’s green eyes glowed a blistering red.
Mary froze as her youngest turned them on her.
“Mommy, b-b-b-bad mommy!”
The sun was a bowl in the horizon. It was full dawn now, and the Bantam rooster would have crowed had he not been drowning in milk; Barker would have barked; Mary would have screamed.
But only the contented crunching of Crispy Critters broke the silence of the empty farm.