Chapter 5

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Kaine remembered the sound of his mother's voice calling to him from outside of their two-room cabin like it was yesterday. "Kaine, Kaine! Go feed the chickens."

"I'll do it later," Kaine called back to her from behind the door.

"Do it now. I'm not going to tell you again."

Kaine sighed before stepping outside, peeking around the door for the family's big, mean rooster. He thought this was the worst chore ever. The rooster hated him. He was pretty sure that it was hiding somewhere, lying in wait for him to come outdoors and spread the chicken feed so it could attack him when he was not looking. At only five years old, he was not big or strong enough to defend himself.

Breathing a sigh of relief when he did not see it anywhere, Kaine grabbed a cup of feed and hurried to the hen yard to toss the food to the birds. He enjoyed watching the hens race each other to the mixture of grain and food scraps and he stayed for a few minutes to watch their frenzied eating.

As he turned to go back to the house, Kaine heard a loud, angry crow and the sound of flapping wings. His pulse racing, he tried to run, but the rooster was too fast. It jumped into the air, feet raised, trying to score him with its spurs.

Kaine squeezed his eyes shut and tried to cover his face with his hands.

"Stop," he shouted, raising his arms to fend it off. He tensed, waiting for a painful scratch but it never came. Instead, the noise from the rooster stopped and it halted its attack. Kaine opened one eye and saw the bird standing quietly in front of him. He backed up and lowered his arms and the rooster moved towards him again.

"Go away," Kaine said, raising his arms to keep it away from him. It stopped again. He stepped back a few more paces and lowered his arms and the rooster came at him again. He raised his arms once more and it stopped.

Kaine laughed. The rooster was obeying his hand signals. He wondered what else he could make it do.

"Walk that way," Kaine said, pointing to the hen house. The rooster walked toward the hens. Kaine smiled. "Come back." The rooster came back to him.

Kaine threw his hands in the air like he was tossing hay. "Jump!" The rooster jumped straight up and landed in the same spot.

Kaine clapped his hands. He spent the rest of the morning making the rooster walk in different directions, jump on posts, and chase hens. When he got bored, he made it run into the side of the henhouse and laughed at the cloud of feathers that flew around. Finally, the rooster collapsed, exhausted.

Serves him right for all those times he chased me, Kaine thought. He decided not tell his parents what he could do. He did not want to get in trouble for making the rooster tired.

Over the next few days, Kaine tried his talent on other animals and learned he was not limited to chickens and roosters. He could control other small animals, too, and spent his playtime hours making frogs and mice do tricks for him. When his mother sent him to catch some fish for dinner, he made a large bass jump right into his net, leaving him the rest of the afternoon free for playing.

Kaine did not let anyone else see what he could do, preferring to keep it a secret. He was not sure how his parents would react if they knew. He never saw his parents charm animals, so he thought maybe his special ability was something bad. As long as they did not know he was doing it, they would not make him stop.

A few weeks later, Kaine came across a hollow tree with bees swarming around it. He knew what that meant; honey. His mother would be happy to have a comb or two of the sweet syrupy treat. Maybe she would even make a cake for him.

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