The snow was just beginning to settle, coating the farm to make the perfect wintry picture. Lights twinkled on the farmhouse and the sound of carols and drunken revelry carried over from the village warming the otherwise chilly air. Smoke billowed gently out of the farmhouse’s chimney bringing with it the scent of roasting chestnuts.
The smell carried far. But not quite as far as the turkey pen. Down the bottom of a muddy hill where the snow did not settle, hidden away from the lights, and fun of the festivities, the turkeys huddled together in the cold.
The pen was not as full as it had once been so there was more space to move around which the turkeys all agreed was a big improvement. They had no roof, but at least that meant they could see the sky. The fence of the pen was old, and broken in places, but they heard the lights this year were especially brilliant. If they had wanted to they could leave the pen, it was not difficult, but they did not know what lay beyond it, and they had heard terrible stories from out there. It was better to stay, at least they knew what happened here, and they would get to see the lights.
Eventually, as they knew he would, the farmer came for one of the turkeys. They lined up dutifully. He grabbed one by the neck and was pleased that it did not struggle. The turkey was taken up the hill and saw the twinkling lights for a moment. It closed its eyes after that. It did not want to see anything else. A moment later the farmer placed its neck on a block, swung his axe, and the turkey’s red blood dripped upon the snow.