Life Isn't Always Simpler for Animals...
You wake up at the crack of dawn. Fragrant scents of nature flow into your nostrils on a fair breeze. You return the now moistened and hot gust back into the air.
As you stand, your eyes take in the early dawn horizon. Rolling plains, distant yet stoic mountains, and luscious grass unfolds below as you watch the sun’s golden rays cascade over the landscape.
Nearby, you hear the babbling of rushing water. Cool, crisp, and refreshing.
A sudden snort, followed by a huff, attracts your attention to the mate laying next to you, still embraced in slumber.
As you appreciate the beautiful coat that shrouds your partner, and their marvelous physique, you wonder why it is that you are expected to take any other cows as mates.
The rest of the herd begins to stir. You can’t help but question why your fellow bulls stay so far from the female herd. It all seems so unnecessary.
The routine resumes, as you witness a large, dark brown patch begin to move in the distance. The other males are getting some breakfast already.
As others begin to graze locally for their morning meal, your ears twitch in the cool morning air. You know the time has come to begin to head down south, to the warmer locales, but that alone isn’t what catches your thoughts.
Faint rumbling tickles your inner ear. There are no tell-tale signs of a storm, so what could this be? You have a nagging instinct that something is very wrong. As the smartest member of your community, you decide that it’s worth investigating.
You reach the peak of a nearby vista, your hulking form obscured by small foliage and shrubs. To the west, you can see the large and expansive drop-off cliff, relatively far in the distance. You begin to scour the land for any signs of anomalies.
No sign of wolves, who usually tend to strike when the herd is on the move, trying to isolate individuals. Your recognition of their techniques has saved countless calves.
Mountain lions are more devious, but you’ve not seen one recently, not since the herd passed the plains.
The rumbling grows in volume and intensity, as you begin to hear strange cries and yelps. Whinnies and roars whip the cacophony into an offensive choir.
You turn to check the lower flatlands, to the southeast. Rarely, if ever, do you see much go down or come up from there. This time is different.
A massive cloud of dust chokes the landscape, tailing a large group of strange creatures. They stand what appears to be slightly taller than a bison, have two separate heads, and run on four legs. One long head protrudes from the center of the creature’s back, and has some disturbing, flailing appendages.
They’re coming toward the herd.
As you turn back to make your way down the hill, you spot part of one of these creatures, much closer. It’s separated into two forms, that have silently been watching. How did you not notice them before? They combine back into one horrific amalgamation, like the others, and begin to head for the other side of the cows.
Your heart pounds, your mind races, and your fur stands on end. This is more sinister than a mountain lion. Far more threatening than a pack of wolves. There’s an order to their movement, they’re calculated.
Racing down the hill, you let loose a bellow, attempting to alert your fellow bison. Slowly, they gain a fractional grasp of the situation, and begin to flee west. Away from the predators.
You know it’s not in the nature of your fellows to make a stand, but the female herd will be jeopardized if the males don’t help.
Unfortunately, as you turn your attention toward the bulls, you see that they too are being pursued by a mob of abominations.
Sharp twangs sporadically interrupt the now all encompassing thunder of hooves, accompanied by small puffs of some kind of dark air, chuffing out from the flailing limbs of the beasts’ second head.
Finally, you catch up to the female herd. The monsters have split their group, half on either side, as if they’re trying to control all movement. The cows are terrified, and follow the malicious path set out.
You recall what lies in wait beyond the western approach. The cliff's edge.
Speeding ahead of the females, you attempt to veer them off course, stop them, or otherwise do anything you can to halt the progress of their doomed, forced march.
It’s no use, the ladies are far too afraid. It’s panic and chaos.
In desperation you charge the group of predators, disrupting their path. Some of the creatures separate into their split forms as they fall. Others change direction, and attempt to loop back around. You feel a soft, spongy mass under your hooves, accompanied by a snapping and crunching as one of the split creatures cries out below your warpath.
Hope fills your mind, “Perhaps you can gain the upper hand! If the other bulls charge the monsters, we have a chance to-”
Your heart sinks as you turn to see the male herd driven headlong, en-masse, over the cliff’s edge, farther to the south. Brothers. Sons. Reduced to nothing.
For the first time, your sense of duty wanes, as the pit of your stomach drops, and a sinking sensation takes your heart. Fear has begun to root.
Desperate for any kind of resolution, you turn back to the female herd, to help however you can. But it’s too late. Their chaotic, terrified charge has turned into a deadly dive.
As you watch the last of your kind shed their lives over the horizon, all hope for your herd dwindles into little more than memories. Rage begins to burn within you.
Facing the monsters, who now trot back and forth, as they divide into smaller groups, you release a bellow of gargantuan proportions. This may be the end of your herd, but you will not go down so easily!
The thick hard plate of your skull connects with one of the abominations, which lets out a screeching wail as it collapses.
You hear before you feel, the sharp twangs return. Around you, from all directions. Like deep sinking teeth, cutting into your flesh, they burn with agony.
Trying to resist the pain, to power through, you attempt another charge. But your body begins to fail, your strength wanes. You begin to slow.
Finally, as you collapse forward, then roll to your side, you know this to be your end.
“Why have they done this, why have they slaughtered us?”
As your vision begins to darken, and the pain numbs, you hear their guttural, convoluted speech.
“Gotta give it to them Indians, they sure know how ta hunt!”
About the author
"Tewahway? How do you even say that?" Honestly, so long as you try, you're doin' it right!
I mainly write horror fiction, but I'm here to spread my wings and soar like a literary baby bird.
https://www.talesbytravel.com/short-stories for more
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions