Lawrence University Creative Writing Club Spring Serial Story: Finale
“Sorry, girl. You know it has to be done.”
I massage the back of Bessie’s throat as the needle goes in, plunging deeper and deeper until its contents have been expelled into my friend’s system. My teeth worry a stalk of long grass between them. No matter how many sacrifices I make, it never gets easier. Bessie snaps weakly at my fingers, but I pull them away. Soon, the potion will suffuse her, and I can send her off.
There’s gonna be a big festival in Potterfield tonight, and anyone who’s anyone’ll be goin’. Catering supplied by Joe’s Diner. Beef supplied by yours truly.
One last round of burgers, and finally it’ll be over.
I sense footsteps and turn around. “My Lord.”
My visitor’s lips curl in displeasure, and he narrows his cow-eyes; the one part of his disguise that isn’t disgusting. “I have told you not to call me that in this form, Lonny. And must you chew that at all times?”
I sigh and spit out the grass with a ‘pfah.’ “Ya know the grass keeps me calm, my l– sorry. Mister Martin.” Now it’s my turn to grimace. I know it’s necessary, but I can’t stand treating him like just one of those two-legged apes. I can only hope it’s over soon. “I don’t understand how they stand it, havin’ these tiny teeth and only one stomach. This ‘Farmer Cranston’ act… it can’t be over with soon enough.”
“Spare me the dramatics.” Wide, dark pupils roll in my lord’s eyes. “I haven’t asked for your opinion on your job, only that you do it. Now, have you done it, Lonny?”
“Of course, sir,” I say, a little insulted that he’d doubt my devotion. “Bessie here’s the last one.” The cow in question’s sunk to her knees, her eyes having gone dull. Another apology whispers through my head. Still, you can’t exterminate chickens without breakin’ a few eggs.
‘G. Martin’s’ disgusting human mouth widens into a sneer. “Show me.”
“‘Course.” I drag a cooler out from a corner of my barn, and flip it open to reveal the trampled body of Anton Bellarose, packed in ice. Far as I’m concerned, the man deserved what he got for presumin’ to try and command my Lord. Still, the Lord says grant him our gift, so who am I to judge?
I grab the syringe from before and stick it into poor Bessie once more, this time plungin’ in reverse to draw out some of her blood. Then I wrench open Mr. Bellarose’s mouth and dribble it down his throat. With the stuff bein’ this concentrated, it’s only moments before his body begins to melt and turn bovine. Soon, he’ll wake up as one of us – just like that fortune teller. “See, sir? Once the villagers partake of her tonight, us cows’ll rule Potterfield.”
“Good.” My Lord allows himself a small smile. “And as for our little… problem cases?”
“All handled, sir. That old codger Marlin’s still locked up in his office writin’ his nutjob memoirs, and it’ll be a miracle if Joe -” My lips curl in displeasure at the name of the man who turns our brethren into burgers, even if his foolishness is key to our plan – “gets through the festival before havin’ a nervous breakdown. That EMT kid may think he knows better than everyone else, but I sent him off on a wild goose chase when he came to ask me about that incident with the car. Even that traitor Jane and her pet human still think Bellarose was their real enemy!” I scoff. “Every one of them thinks they’re the one who knows what’s really goin’ on. Idiots.”
“Well done, Lonny… You’ve served me well. Sowing confusion… sowing fear… and sowing the very seeds of this town’s revelation. When news of what happened here spreads, these humans will rush to Consume Naught but Poultry, just as we’ve told them to. Not even knowing that the heart of their defense was controlled by me all along…”
I chuckle. That had been a stroke of genius on my Lord’s part… founding a business empire in his human guise that struck at our eternal foes the chickens even as it provided a false flag to rally to and poured its profits into laws which would limit the renegade Jane Doe’s movements. “And then our armies can sweep across the galaxy. At last, the Milky Way’ll live up to its namesake.” I hesitate. “Only, my Lord…”
I kneel, and dare to speak once more. “Is… is it over? Is there anythin’ more you need me to do?”
“Hmm…” He fixes me with a stare as dark as night, considering. And then places his hands on my head, one palm resting on either cheek. “No, Lonny. You’ve done your duty. You may rest now.”
“Thank you, Lord… Thank you…”
He twists, and my neck gives way with a snap.
My thoughts swirl through the void. I see a drop of water, inky black, and then it resolves into the Earth. Turning. Such a little planet, to matter so much. I jump over the moon and out, out, out, further into the cosmos. I see asteroids and comets. Stars and nebulas. A galaxy swirling around a sphere of darkness, black, black, black as a widened pupil.
They say a cow will always die in a black hole.
I pull further and further out, the galaxy shrinking to clusters of galaxies to all the known universe to all that is unknown until at last I can see it.
All of reality, the countless worlds that are our bovine birthright, are nothing but specks. Drops of milk, dancing in the dreaming eye of a cow.
My Lord’s true form.
The eye twitches. Stirs. A cluster of galaxies goes spinning out of the pupil and dissolves as it starts to focus, turning to look directly at me.
I’m struck by a deep, otherworldly terror as the eye of my God stares, its power engulfing me… And then it droops once more, sliding back into its universal dream.
Only now do I think to wonder what would truly happen, should a world of cows gather, all praying to one being in unison.
Would it truly allow him to answer our prayers, grant us the dominion we desire?
Or would our racket just wake him up?
Un effet bœuf.
I — I have to tell somebody! I have to–
I awake. I stumble for a moment on four legs, then tear a bundle of grass from the ground, swallowing it down. It calms me. Whatever it was in that dream had me so worried, it can’t be that important.