It was near noon. Grimironie sped north past the last Death Chicken sighting. Bauer's cries of agony still echoed in her mind; they spurred her on.
She saw movement on the horizon. She was near. As she closed the gap, she saw Death Chickens milling through the fields. She'd only encountered them when they were on the rampage, but there they were, as placid as sitting ducks, except that they weren't ducks. They were Death Chickens.
She slowed. They could be an easy kill, but they weren't her mission. A dark figure moved among them. She was down-wind; they wouldn't smell her. The figure became clearer. It raised a hand, and a Death Chicken lowered its beak to his hand. It had to be Poultreus. His laced feed: here was the result.
He sensed her approach before the Chickens did, and he walked towards her. She stepped off Mongoose, overcome by curiousity.
"Here they are, in their natural state," he said. "We can mainstream them, as long as they get their meds. In time, conditioning will take over. The meds won't be necessary."
Grimironie was entranced but skeptical. "You can't be sure of that," she whispered.
"Oh, I can," Poultreus said. "It worked on Frank."
"Snap out of it." Grimironie bit her lip. This development could open up a whole new market: Death Chicken farming. She'd be out of a job. There was always fishing for Alaskan King Crab, but she didn't like the cold or the high seas. He mind was swimming.
"Bauer's behind me," she said. "I breaded his troops. He's not happy."
Poultreus's patently calm demeanor faltered, and then re-emerged. "I've got to get Frank to a safe haven." He turned and ran towards the Death Chickens. Then Grimironie saw a sight she'd remember for the rest of her life. Poultreus pulled a saddle out of nowhere, mounted a Death Chicken and ran the flock northwest in a stampede.
She walked back to Mongoose at a loss. She'd have to revise her plan. It had been simple, but life was never simple.
* * * * * * * *
She calculated that she'd have five hours before Bauer's army closed the gap. It would be close, but it could be done. She remembered the children of the corn and their corn husk arches. "Use what you've got," she grumbled as she started weaving husks into facsimilies of D.C.D.A.'s.
She'd have carpal tunnel for sure, but she worked quickly. The finishing touch was harder. If only she hadn't dropped AP Origami in high school! It was sketchy, but from a distance the figure resembled her atop Mongoose, waving a .50 gauge baster. Then she laced the field with garlic bombs. If they didn't slow Bauer, then at least she'd be able to smell his approach. She looked at her radar; they were twenty minutes away. The sun was nearing the horizon. She left Mongoose's lights off as she drove after Poultreus.