|"Come on shit-fucker. Get out there, and bite that wobbly feathered bastard!"
A boot slams into Humphrey's young tailbone, knocking him through the black curtain, onto the harshly lighted stage.
Chicken in hand, the poor boy stared out at the sea of expectant faces, each one making him feel more nervous than the last.
The audience murmurs loudly, like hollow feedback from a busted wireless.
Humphrey looks around for an escape, something whacks his back from behind the curtain.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the travelling psyche-show is proud to present, Gomble the Geek!"
The crowd claps for the awkward child holding the calm hen.
Not wanting to get beaten by his new father, Humphrey grips the chicken's neck with both of his hands, and begins slowly raising its head to his open mouth.
The room quiets to a cacophony of hushed whispers.
Was it shock or something else?
His young mind doesn't know; his lips pass that feathered crest to gasps and giggles.
The fowl's shriek makes the boy jump, and instinctively toss the bird into the crowd, causing pandemonium.
The audience goes wild, rampaging to the exit.
Humphrey sees his chance and disappears into the chaos.
Behind him, his tormentor gives chase blindly.
Outside of the tent, the boy takes off towards the thick band of trees at the edge of the field.
The heavy canopy overhead enshrouds the woods in solid darkness.
A fearful Humphrey waits for a moment at the outskirts of the forest, hoping the adrenaline can muster the courage to continue.
He jumps; beside him is the chicken, his savior.
With his new friend at his side, Humphrey enters the dark woodland to start a new life, on their own.