When Chicken Feet Cross the Highway
Alma T. C. Boykin
ebook only $0.99
The title of this post may sound like a joke, but when Alexander Zolnerovich saw the house with chicken feet cross the interstate while he was stuck in a Denver traffic jam, he didn’t find anything funny about it.
The poor guy, an Army sergeant, is on his way to visit his grandmother in Colorado. He’s not looking to tangle with one of the worst characters from Russian folklore. But when he gets to his grandmother’s house and finds it deserted, he realizes he doesn’t have much choice.
I found this to be an entertaining short story. Boykin knows Russian folklore, and it shows in the story’s structure. I don’t know much Russian folklore myself, but I know enough to follow most of the references here.
A modern, and less capable writer, would have a soldier come storming in, guns blazing, to rescue to the old woman. Not so here. Alex takes his time, listens to his grandmother’s cat (Ivan the Purrable), uses his wits, and basically enters a Russian folktale, where he ends up doing chores for Baba Yaga. Only he doesn’t do them exactly as he’s told. This was in many ways the most enjoyable part of the story. In many folktales and fairy tales, the flow of time isn’t…I guess you could say isn’t linear. Simple tasks take hours. Events that should take great amounts of time pass quickly. Something like that happens in the second part of the story. It added a deliciously weird tone to things.
This is the first work by Boykin that I’ve read. She has a number of books out, and based on internal clues, I suspect this isn’t the first tale of Alex Zolnerovich.
Oh, and to answer to the question, why did the chicken footed house cross the road? You’ll have to read the story to find out.