Creative Writings Flash Fiction

The Life of the Cattle



Today is a beautiful day. Nice weather, but I questioned, is it beautiful because of the weather or the event that happened in my life lately that makes my day wonderful?

As a hardworking man, my efforts are finally paid off. I get the chance to leave the countryside because my job promotion takes me and my fiancée moving to town. I imagine a nice urban area where a life of dreams and success usually resides. It’s nice and also sad to leave this place. I will miss the fresh air once I get in town.

Thanks to the promotion, my family and I are making a celebration of my success. We’re having dinner tonight. I let them choose the menu. They chose my favorite: beefsteak. I volunteered to buy the meat. I choose to buy it from the farm ‘cause I think it will be fresher.

Once I get there, I meet a very nice old man who happens to be a farmer. He warmly greets me and shows me a bunch of cattle grazing in the field. He tells me to choose which one would be my dinner. I choose a big ox which I think will be sufficient for my family members. I point at my pick, and the farmer tells me to wait for the butcher to slaughter the ox.

The farmer leaves me alone with the ox I picked and calls the butcher. While waiting, I take a look carefully at the ox. I look him in the eyes. I wonder if he senses anything, any sign of death, slaughter, beheading, or what will happen to him later.

A part of me pities him a little bit, and the rest is “I can’t wait for what a lovely dinner he can be”. I feel guilty. I do feel bad for him. I really do. I will save him if there is anything I can do, but I suppose my will isn’t big enough to cancel the dinner that I’ve been planning.

The butcher takes the machete and walks closer to the ox. The butcher stretches his arm to enable him swinging his hand strongly without spraining his arm. The ox sees the butcher but has no idea if he will be slaughtered after this.

I wonder if he knows that he is going to die, will he choose to run? Or he does know but won’t run because he’s prepared for this time? The butcher gets ready to swing the machete to his head, yet he still has no clue.

One big swing tears his skin. Blood runs from his neck slowly at first, but the butcher keeps swinging the machete to his head, and the stream of blood runs faster as time goes by. I supposed the faster the blood runs, the lesser the pain. I can see his consciousness slowly disappear.

Here he is, lying on the ground, dead. His head is no longer being a part of his body. I recall that a moment ago, he still had grass for his meal. I feel relieved that at least he isn’t murdered with an empty stomach. Now he is ready to be chopped into smaller pieces so it will be easy to carry home or to cook.

For a moment I feel sad and numb. Maybe it’s because I look at him in the eye right before his death.

I find myself staring at his lifeless flesh. It tells me enough of his life that since he was born, the majority of his days were spent grazing a lot; just eating, eating, and eating. When he is old enough, he will be slaughtered. What a mundane life, I think. What if he knows the purpose of his life is just like this? Would he choose not to be born in the first place? But who am I to think it is meaningless?

At least he doesn’t seem to regret any.

I guess I have got to see mine. In some ways, my life is no different than his. I have spent my life arranging the plan to achieve the future I wish I would have, in the hope that I will finally have excitement in this life, but I forget to live in the present. I work and work and work harder, but to get what actually?

I used to think that the cattle’s life was really dull, but I realize that I just don’t understand the meaning of the beauty of life that we, humans, think is without any purpose. Maybe it’s better if I can just live my life.

—I fall too deep into my thoughts and lose track of time. I didn’t realize how fast time has passed. As if it isjust like a minute ago, I see full-grown cattle grazing. Now I see an old farmer carrying a bunch of small sacks of a disfigured cattle body, walking towards my direction.

“What’s the occasion, mate?” the farmer asks.

“Nothing special. We just want a nice dinner, that’s all.” A moment ago, I was prepared to answer this question to brag a little bit about the promotion. Now, I’m not so sure whether it is special anymore.

I then gesture to where I park my truck to hint to the farmer where to put my order. He nods and then carries the sack one by one into it. Once it’s all set, I’m ready to go.

I drive my truck all the way back from the farm, smoking a cigarette with a window open. The wind blows to my face as I playfully hum a song.  I, once again, immerse myself in thoughts.

“Where should I go next?”

Writer: Valentina Pascalia

Editor: Desca Geovani Kristi, Vonna Meisya Saputra (QC)

Illustration: Betsy Mariana Agoha

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