Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Flash fiction

THE BIRTH

The contractions started in the late evening, and she laboured all night, the pains increasing in intensity. She made no fuss. There were helping hands; the hands of people she knew and trusted, and although she had never done this before, she felt safe.

In the early hours of the following morning, she gave birth to a perfect little son, and she felt overwhelmed with love and contentment as she felt his warm breath on her face, and his eager mouth as it sought out her milk. At last, she rested.

But the next day, they took him away. She heard his desperate cries, which were soon drowned out by her own, but she couldn't get to him for they had restrained her. She was not to know that she would never see her baby again.

The farmer was disappointed, but what could he do? He had no use for another bull calf.

20 comments:

  1. Stick them out in the fields with their Mums, and in a few months you have REALLY tasty bio veal.

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  2. This is the unacceptable side of farming. It doesn't have to be this way.

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    1. It does if we demand more and cheaper milk, Adrian.

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  3. :-( :-( :-(
    Reminds me a bit of "Lost & Found", the short story I wrote some years ago (it's on my blog, just in case you are interested).

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    1. I couldn't find your story, Meike.

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    2. It is here:
      http://librarianwithsecrets.blogspot.de/2009/03/lost-found.html
      Two ways of finding it very easily: 1. click the label "short stories" on my blog and scroll through the posts (takes a few minutes, so maybe method 2 is better)
      2. type "lost and found" in the search box in the upper left corner of my blog - et voilà :-)

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  4. I wonder how much suffering animals endure when they are separated from their young? Interesting. Liked the story though. Different animals react in different ways and some creatures like the turtle abandon their eggs and leave their babies to scurry for the sea on their own.

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    1. I'm ure they suffer a lot, Maggie, but I'm told it doesn't las too long. But it's still pretty awful.

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  5. Powerful stuff, Frances. Animals grieve for their young - it is truly horrific the way animals are treated x

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    1. I don't know what the answer is, Teresa. I use milk, so am as guilty as anyone.

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  6. Good twist, Frances, which gets the point across.

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  7. A poignant story but I liked the twist, Frances.

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  8. A really strong, moving story, Frances, with a shocking twist. This will stay with me. x

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  9. We are a very hypocritical breed. We want cheap food but waste huge amounts and certainly won't pay for the cost of inefficient but greener and more humane food. In any case it would be difficult to do that if we want to eat meat and what we consider affordable non-meat foods: certainly in this country where we import so much. As for answers.......who knows?

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    1. I'm as guilty as anyone, Graham. But what's the answer? Vegetarians eat cheese, which comes from the milk the calves don't get to drink. But milk is far too cheap, isn't it.

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    2. Yes Frances milk is far too cheap as are a lot of other things that we eat. Food is heavily subsidised in the EEC and the supermarkets are ruthless too. It's interesting living in New Zealand where food isn't subsidised and where, on the whole outside Auckland and Wellington anyway, food is largely seasonal.

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