Deirdra had been waiting for this day for weeks, planning her escape.
She had been confined to a small wooden box for a little over six months now.
She had little room to stretch or move about, her meals were mere scraps tossed in to her from a small window in the lid of the box, her water was sloshed into a bowl that had been placed on the dirt floor in front of her.
Her captor never cleaned the bowl out, so it was always slightly grimy and left a greasy film on top of the water.
Deirdra's feet ached, her neck was sore from hunching and her spine had started to compact from the awful, cramped conditions of her living quarters.
There were others in captivity nearby her, she was sure. She hadn't been able to communicate with any of them but sometimes she could hear their whispers.
Deirdra could no longer remember a time when she hadn't been in captivity. She had no real idea of what the outside world was like.
She had heard her captor mention the weather occasionally; complaining when it was too sunny and the heat of the building was too much,
or outside being too cold so a strong breeze would blow about the place, or he would say that it was too wet as the thunder of many drops of rain would clatter against the roof,
but Deirdra would've given anything to feel the heat of the sun on her back, the chill of the wind blowing past her face, the cool dampness of rainwater puddles on her feet.
Soon, she told herself; soon she would experience all of these things.
Deirdra had very little knowledge of the place she was being kept; she couldn't remember her capture, nor the first few days of her imprisonment, so she wasn't sure of her exact location.
She knew she was on a farm, whatever that was; as she had heard her captor talking about how tough it was to maintain a farm.
She found this admission laughable; if the state of her prison was anything to go by, she doubted he was maintaining anything.
During her time in the box, she had noticed a number of things; firstly, her captor always seemed to work alone, the rare times she had heard him speak she had never heard anyone else reply.
Secondly, he always tended to her wooden box last. She assumed that this meant that she was either closest to the door of the building she was kept in, or furthest away.
Deirdra had deducted that she must've been closest to the door, as she often felt a draft when her captor first entered the building.
The last thing Deirdra had discovered is that once per day her captor would open the lid of the wooden box and peer inside.
What he was looking for, Deirdra wasn't sure, but he always slammed the lid of her box shut and snarled at her through the window in the top as he threw food and water down to her.
Deirdra had tried to attack him once.
She had decided that she could no longer stand her imprisonment and her body would have to do as a choice of weapon. Sshe had executed her attack the next time he had opened her box.
The sudden flurry had startled him and Deirdra had managed to get in a few deep scratches before he had grabbed her by the throat and forced her back inside the box.
He had hit her in the face in order to subdue her.
Deirdra still bore the scar his ring had left on the bottom edge of her eye.
She thought that she knew what had gone wrong last time, and she was determined not to fail again.
Her captor had taken to examining Deirdra's box rather quickly ever since the first attack, so Deirdra knew that this time she would have to act fast.
Deirdra had planned every aspect of escaping the box and getting out of the door of the building; but from there she wasn't sure what she might find or where she might go, though anywhere was better than here.
This morning had been decided as the day of her planned escape, when Deirdra had woken up to the sound of heavy rainfall.
Deirdra knew that her captor was unlikely to chase her in this kind of wet weather, and the sound of the pounding raindrops would disguise her own footsteps as she ran to what she hoped was safety.
As the morning drew on, Deirdra was steeling herself inside her confinement. Preparing for what may well have been her last day on this earth if she was to fail for a second time.
A few hours had passed when Deirdra first heard the faint slapping sound of footsteps on wet ground.
It was time.
Deirdra stiffened in her box as she heard the door to the building creak open.
Heavy boots stomped past her, her captor was grumbling about the weather again.
She could hear him opening the first wooden box, the familiar sound of water being sloshed into a bowl rang out around the room.
Her captor repeated the process for the next few boxes, until there was only Deirdra's box left.
Deirdra's heart caught in her throat as she heard him walk towards her.
Heart pounding furiously, Deirdra waited for the lid of the box to open.
Her captor stopped directly in front of her box.
Then he turned and walked back towards the door.
He was leaving.
She had missed her chance.
He wasn't going to open her box today.
She heard the creak of the door as her captor pushed his weight against it, a cool breeze washed through the room and over Deirdra, bringing with it the cruel scent of wet grass and freedom.
Deirdra slumped against the wall of her box, feeling defeated.
Today had been the perfect day. She wasn't sure she'd get another chance like this.
Suddenly, she heard her captor's voice again.
He led out an exasperated sigh, turned on his heel and stomped back towards her.
"Guess I should probably feed you as well." He grumbled, dropping something metal and heavy on the ground. A bucket of water maybe?
"I don't want any funny business this time, do you hear?" Her captor was saying as he fumbled with the top of her box. "You attack me again and that'll be the end of you, okay?"
Deirdra didn't respond. Instead she took a breath and braced herself.
As the lid of the box was pulled open, a beam of sunlight split across Deirdra's face.
Deirdra sprang into action.
Her captor let out a cry of surprise as she set upon him; a furious tempest of scratching and biting; blood, skin and dirt flew through the air as Deirdra fought him with every ounce of her strength.
Though she was quite a lot smaller than her captor, the element of surprise had worked in Deirdra's favour, as her captor jerked backwards to get away, hitting his head on a low hanging roof beam.
Catching her breath, Deirdra had just enough time to get out of his way before he fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding profusely from his head.
With no time to admire her handiwork, Deirdra sprinted for the door, taking one last look back as she gazed sadly at the boxes of her fellow captives.
Though Deirdra ached to release them all, she knew she didn't have time, her captor was already beginning to stir.
She very briefly debated calling to them to say she would come back for them, but she didn't want to give them false hope.
She didn't know if she'd ever dare return to this awful place.
On that thought, Deirdra dashed out through the open door.
The cold wind hit her full in the face as fresh air filled her lungs, making them ache deliciously.
Her feet were already beginning to seize up from the icy water surrounding her, but she didn't care.
She was free.
A noise behind Deirdra alerted her to the fact that her captor had awoken from his unconsciousness and had noticed her empty box, and the open door.
Skirting under the mighty branches of several trees lining the farm, Deirdra scanned the horizion for the best place to go.
She could hear her captor calling to her, promising not to hurt her if she would just come back.
Deirdra would rather have died on the spot than returned to him.
Squeezing herself carefully under a damp hedge, Deirdra tried to avoid the raindrops, but she very quickly became slick with cold water.
Starting to shiver, Deirdra began running haphazardly towards what looked like a dense wood.
Making her way through, Deirdra found that the rain couldn't reach her under all of the foliage, but she could still hear the comforting hammering of the rain high above her.
A long while later, when Deirdra was aching with cold and wanted nothing more than to lay down in the leaves and sleep, she spotted a light in the distance.
Pushing her way gingerly through the shrubs, Deirdra was relieved to see she had happened upon a cottage in the middle of a clearing.
Having only taken a few steps towards the light, she let out a shriek as she felt herself being picked up.
"Oh you poor darling, what are you doing out here in the cold? You'll catch your death!" It was a kindly looking lady with a sweet smile.
"You must've wandered off the farm down the road. Horrible place. Don't worry, I won't take you back there." The lady said to Deirdra.
Still in shock from this turn of events, Deirdra said nothing.
"You can live here with me and my girls; they are all very pleasant and kind, they'll look after you." The lady said as she pulled her coat around them both, shielding Deirdra from the rain.
The lady took Deirdra inside a warm cosy room that smelt of hay and something hot and delicious.
"You've arrived just in time for porridge." The lady smiled as she placed Deirdra down on some soft, dry bedding.
Looking around her, Deirdra saw a number of others like her, of all different colours and sizes.
"You girls be nice to your new sister, she's had a rough time of it." The lady said softly, as she gently stroked Deirdra's head.
"Goodnight, my little chickens." The lady cooed as she shut the door, taking the cold with her.
"Glad you made it out." Said the chicken closest to Deirdra. "That farm is an awful place. You'll be safe now with Chicken-Mum."
Deirdra clucked happily in delight as another chicken nodded towards a bowl of thick, creamy stodge.
"Tuck in, there's plenty to go around."
Deirdra sighed contentedly as she settled in for the night.
This, Deirdra decided, was a very nice place to call home.