Fiction by Craig P. Thomas
By C.P Thomas
It had been six hours or so since the door slammed shut, six hours since Daisy had seen anything other than the grim darkness.
Earlier that day the sun had risen over her Valley, bathing the fields in comforting warmth. Birds sang in the trees and the sound of cockerels echoed across the land, announcing to the world the breaking of the dawn.
Before she had time to wake fully, graze in the open fields and play with the others, the glorious chorus of morning time was replaced with the low rumble of a diesel engine and the startling sound of steel clattering onto concrete. Men marched out of the truck and swarmed across the fields towards her and the herd. Dogs snarled at them whilst men beat them with sticks, forcing her and the rest of the herd towards the ramp of the truck.
Daisy caught sight of the other animals in the opposite field, still lying down chewing on the lush grass enjoying the morning blissfully ignorant as to what was happening to her and the herd. Daisy headed for them. She broke into a canter and was instantly cracked with a great force across her back with a heavy stick that wobbled her back legs. Forcing her to change direction and join the others that were now being loaded into the truck. Out of fear of the stick, she clung to her mother’s side as they pushed to the back of the cramped box slipping and sliding on the steel floor. The door slammed shut and the truck began to move.
It had been six hours of standing, leaning tiredly against her mother with no room to sit or lie down. Unable to reach the tiny air slats on the trailer walls, she watched as the older cows popped their heads out to glimpse the outside world passing by as the truck wound its way through the country roads. She stood shaking for a further hour sloshing around in urine and feces until their metal box came to a stop. Something wasn’t right, she could feel it, she could smell it. A rotting stench filled her nostrils and overwhelmed her senses. The others became uneasy around her, groaning and mooing loudly in terror. The fully grown cows began to buck and kick terrified of the unknown threat facing them.
The familiar jolting sound of steel on concrete shook the trailer as the ramp crashed down, flooding the inside of the box with blinding sunlight. Eager to escape the cramped cold box some of the cows ran down the ramp and off the trailer into the caged pens that awaited them. Daisy followed her mother’s lead nervously trotting down the ramp into the caged pen with the others, the gate to their new pen was gently closed behind them then bolted closed to prevent escape.
It had been twenty-four hours since Daisy had arrived in the pen. Twenty-four hours of painful noise, watching as other cows left and others arrived. Twenty-four hours of putting up with the rotting unknown stench burning into her nostrils. Twenty four hours of unknown screams echoing off the walls, Twenty four hours of hunger and thirst, unable to find any food or water. She still leaned into her mother for comfort and warmth watching as others tried desperately to find a way out of the cramped prison pen.
A gate was finally opened at the far end of the cage and some of the herd were led out. Daisy followed her mother through the open gate arriving into a colder pen where the real torment began. They were blasted with cold water and jostled into a small cramped walkway one after the other, following each other through a hole in the wall. Daisy continued to follow her mother down the walkway until a gate was thrust shut preventing her from following her mother any further. She waited patiently and trustingly, listening to the screams get closer. Daisy urinated whilst her legs trembled with tiredness and fear.
The gate was opened and Daisy was finally forced through the hole in the wall into a hot steam-filled room full of people. Her senses became morbidly overwhelmed by the smell and sights of the room she now found herself in. Cows hung by their hind legs, necks slashed, blood draining out onto the cold wet floor, flowing like rivers into a blocked drain. A circular saw buzzed overhead slicing stretched out cows in two. Boxes of hooves and boiled heads stacked up high in the doorways.
Eyes wide with fear she began to cry out loud and tremble uncontrollably, in desperation she kicked and fought to run free. Her head was forcibly clamped into a gate whilst a man now stood in front of her placing a cold dull object against the side of her head. She kicked violently towards her captives until she felt a blinding pain thunder through her head. Her world turned black.
Walking through the village towards their school on a sunny Monday morning were 4-year-old Harry and his 10-year-old sister Ginny. Harry was leaning into his mother and holding her hand, struggling to wake up in the crisp sunny morning air, toothpaste stains still on the corner of his mouth.
As they waited at the side of the road for the man in the crossing sign to turn green, signaling them to cross, a giant truck came to a stop allowing them to safely cross the busy road. Harry got excited about seeing the truck and its trailer. He had many toy trucks at home that looked exactly like the real-life version now on the road in front of him. The truck driver waved at Harry and tooted his horns. Harry could not contain his happiness, and when he saw the cows’ heads peeking out through the side of the truck, he erupted in an excited voice, “Mummy! Mummy! Look moo cows.” Little Harry had always loved animals especially farm animals, having grown up in a farming community. Harry’s mother, uninterested and in a hurry muttered, “Yes Harry that’s right cows, now come along we will be late for school.” Safely reaching the other side of the road Harry turned to his mother with a child’s innocent intrigue and asked “Where are they going Mummy?” His sister Ginny intervened with enthusiasm, “To be killed and made into burgers for your lunch Harry.” Ginny laughed and skipped away through the school gates. Harry, shocked at this stark truth stomped his feet and refused to go into the school. “No burgers! Save the moo-cows Mummy!” Harry’s mother sighed heavily and kneeled in front of him unable to find the correct words. “One day I will explain Harry,” she said. With tears in his eyes, Harry watched as the truck pulled off and headed up the hill. The cows mooing out loudly as they left. Harry held his mother’s hand, leaned into her for comfort, and then followed her lead through the school gates.
- Craig Thomas is from Wales in the United Kingdom. In the day he is a mechanical engineer and in the night he pursues his passion for writing all types of fiction with a passion for short stories.
Copyright©2021 by Craig P. Thomas. All Rights Reserved.