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Flashfiction: A murder of cows….

October 22, 2013

I found this in an old file, I wrote it last year at an Arvon course. Enjoy!

Tires squealed and a large engine growled with sharp acceleration. Ignoring a large sign proclaiming ‘Keep Out’, Gemma stomped across the verge and jumped over the gate straight into a large puddle of cowshit. She swore as it splashed her Russell and Bromley leather boots, much more used to striding through London than this remote part of Cumbria. A splash of cold stung her thin legs through her skinny jeans. He had chosen this hotel, near to where he grew up. She did not know why, it was wild and gloomy, miles away from civilisation.

The wind lashed her long brown hair against her set face. The sky was blotchy grey, threatening rain at any moment. Despite the damage done to butter soft leather and designer denim, Gemma set off across the brown green field.

Cows sullenly watched her attack the springy beige grass and sink into the secret patches of muddy swamp that littered their windswept home. Her cashmere jumper was itchy against her skin, and she impatiently pulled up the sleeves of her clean Barbour jacket to scratch her wrists.

It was going to be a long walk to the hotel in this clammy pale imitation of a morning. She could see the battlements of the great house through the trees merely two miles and one valley away. She strode towards it, at least she would have a large g and t when she got in. And she had a phone call to make. A very important phone call that would prove extremely embarrassing for that smug bastard.

She smiled grimly and picked up her pace. Should she start with the kinky sex? Or the lies about the missed dinners and weekends, dance recitals and football matches. Once she knew he had been late for his anniversary celebration. She had made sure that he would not want to get undressed for his wife that night, not after she had marked him with her nails and teeth.

She heard stomping and snorting, but in her anticipation of the grenade she would detonate in the bastard’s life it was background fuzz and no more. She moved quickly over the ground, getting a bit better about spotting some of the more boggy bits, although her boots would be ruined. She would get a new pair with the money from the journalists. Two new pairs.

Something made her glance backward. Was it the crackle of the bracken? She jumped. There were more cows that she thought, in a curious herd behind her, merely feet away.

They seemed bigger close up. She stumbled against a tuft of grass, jogged a step to keep upright. The lead cows – or were they bulls? Surely they were too big for cows – fell into a lumbering trot.

Her breath started to come in shallow little puffs in the grey fog. She broke into a run. The lumbering behind her became a rumble of feet. Truly panicking now, Gemma sprinted towards the fence. She scrambled over the tufts of spiky grass, stumbled into shallow ditches. She could hear the cow’s laboured breath. Was that the puffs of warm cuddy air against her hair.

She ran though ground that sucked and clawed at her boots. Her boot sank, nearly to her knee, and she fell face first into cold stinking swamp. She struggled but her thrashing seemed to sink her deeper into the icy wet mud. Her boots and legs disappeared, and she tried to swim, as the weight of the Cumbrian ground settled onto her chest.

The cows, calm now, watched the interloper gasp into one of the many spot of quick-sand like mud in their large brown green field.

The man watched the placid animals for a while from the penthouse window of the castle-like hotel. He smiled slightly, phone in hand, as he pressed dial, his wife’s number already punched in.

“Good news, darling. The conference ended early, so I will be home tonight for that special dinner after all.”

 

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