A fictional story to illustrate the fact that many do not equate the meat with eat with a living being that was killed for their meal.
Silence clung to the cold evening air like a spider clinging to its web. The misty light was fading into a chilled haze and Dave and Helen trampled through the damp muddy grass.
At 32 and 12, father and daughter enjoyed their evening outings through the countryside as a bonding bookend to the day’s completion of work and education – school-based education at least, anyway.
Tonight, even the birds were silent as the darkness gently kissed the blue skies goodbye. The fire show that the clouds usually displayed for the wandering family was missing too. This evening an eerie silence brought an added chill to the air. Breath and footsteps were all that could be heard as father and child pushed on through the quiet field.
The invasive sound was distant at first. A confused glance from Helen to Dave was all that registered the fact that the low noise was audible to them both. The echo seemed so far away that it barely caressed their ears. But it didn’t cease. As father and child moved on through the field, the noise steadily increased in volume.
It sounded like animals.
Helen’s face was one of panic, Dave’s of confusion.
As the volume was turned up, the proximity of the visitors seemed closer and closer. The air became colder as the deep, rumbling noise steadily grew louder and closer. It seemed to stem from nowhere as the intensity of the sound deepened, so did the ramblers’ panic.
Helen let out an audible gasp and the sound filled her ears. She clutched Dave’s hand tightly as her heart raced and her eyes widened in fear. Her father was scared too, he didn’t want his daughter to register the growing alarm in his quickening breath, but it was so hard to disguise the mounting terror of the unknown which filled the lonely field.
The sound was relentless, the volume still increasing as it surrounded the walkers. There was panic in the noise too. It was cries of fear that installed terror into father and child as the silence of the evening air was shattered by the uncanny cries of distress.
It was cattle.
The noise was mooing and the animals were right on top of the panicked family. Except they weren’t
As the frantic cries of the cattle reached a crescendo, their family’s human eyes darted from side to side, registering nothing but hedgerow, fence, grass and trees. They were alone, the crying beasts were not there. They couldn’t be there. But they could hear them. The pain and the anger was recognisable in the constant, and still increasingly loud, half-cries, half-moos of distressed cows. Cattle that were simply not in the field. Dave knew there were no animals present, and Helen knew it too, despite her tender years.
But they had been there. Both of them remembered. Until last week, the field had been full of Highland cattle, but now there were none. The field had been unoccupied for days. Helen used to enjoy patting the animals’ shaggy coats. She always said hello to the docile creatures. They were friendly, harmless and seemed content. But Helen had often thought their eyes were filled with a deep sadness.
However, she had merely shrugged at their disappearance. Her friends often disappeared from the fields. She did not ask why or how, it was just something she had grown up with as part of her life.
The scared couple clung to each other on the edge of the empty field, the moos now surrounding them, but they dare not run. How could they? They wanted to get home as fast as possible, but they could not see the source of their terror. How can one flee the unseen?
Slowly the noise faded as quickly as it had begun. Father and daughter held each other close as they silently edged towards the stile, their fears unspoken, their reality questioned and their walk cut short by the angry cries of the butchered.
Neither of them had any appetite for the beef burgers laid out for their evening meal when they returned home.