Wednesday, 28 September 2011

25) The Horror

    I woke in the middle of the night, by bladder and bowels full and aching. I rolled clumsily out of bed and walked to go to the out house.
    ‘Share one more bottle wine, my dear? One more spot of roast?” She had said. I shouldn’t have said yes. Never again, I swore to myself to over celebrate. Word had arrived from the Mayor’s office that we were to be granted a child after a short test. Then again, when else is it appropriate to celebrate?
    I grabbed the torch by the back door and flicked it on. Its pale yellow light hurt my eyes and a headache threatened from the back of my head. Double cursed I was. Soon to be half cursed, I hope. I told myself to remember to chew some bark before I went back to sleep to cure the hangover before it came through the morning.
    I carefully creaked open the back door, only prolonging its squealing protests. The torch’s beam illuminated twinkling dew on the short grass outside and rocks grudgingly poked at the soles of my feet as I walked to the outhouse. I let myself in, sat on the cold wooden seat, and did my business.
    As I let nature take her course I let my mind wander to the day ahead. I would get up as regular, but instead of tending to the flock I would take the buggy with the Misses and head out to the town and we would take the final test. 
    When I finished on the pot I stood and was lacing my britches back up when I heard a ghostly scream. It started slowly and became loud then nothing. I barely had time to leave the outhouse when another scream came. This time I recognized it. It was my sheep, my flock. I grabbed the torch and ran outside.
    I swung the light back and forth, trying to find the source of the noise, but my torch illuminated nothing and there was silence again. We hadn’t had wolves in a decade and coyotes never came this close to town.
    Then another scream. I ran to the sound, off to the East and the slightly glowing sky. And there, by the foot of the Devil himself I swear, I saw the most horrific sight. There, splattered on the ground, broken open like a pair of rotten apples were my sheep. I could only tell what they were by the chunks that had wool still on them. The torch illuminated sharp bone and shining guts and gristle sprinkled over the rocky ground. I was paralyzed with fear. What had done this? What could do this? Had God himself thrown my flock up into the air?
    Without warning a bleating scream came from directly above me. I instinctively turned around and ran. The scream became louder and was shut off by a loud wet splash. I felt something small and wet hit the back of my night shirt and my stomach turned. Without thinking I brushed it off and my hand came back wet. I ran into the house, breathing hard and sweating.
    This was horrible. Our flock was our livelihood. We had no insurance. We had no savings. We could only afford a child’s license because we’d had several good years in a row. But now it would all be lost, now it was all lost.
    I heard several more faint screams and splashes as I went back to bed. Everything was ruined. I dared not wake the wife. I let her enjoy this last hopeful nights rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment