View Full Version : The deadly cows

January 20th, 2011, 08:20 PM
Colin Ryan thought he'd had the perfect day. He had woken up alert and refreshed and now, after some hours of countryside rambling with his family, he felt as fit as he did many years ago.

He sighed contentedly as he looked all around at the green fields and clear blue sky. What more could life offer.

Colin lowered his gaze and took in the sight of his young son. The boy was no more that eight, but was often as cheeky as a teenager.
"Yes son?"
"I was just wondering why you had that look on your face."
"What look?"

Sam pulled a dazed, almost moronic gaze, desperately suppressing laughter as he did so, and acted as though he was going to fall to the ground.
"That look," the lad chuckled.
Colin groaned and asked his wife, "Tell me I didn't look like that, did I?"

Sandra teasingly clapped him around the shoulder. "Well, my dear, you did look a bit zoned out - but I can see why. It's beautiful out here."

After another few minutes of gentle walking - the healthy family had already walked several miles - the three approached a stile and took it in turns to climb over it.
"Straight ahead Dad?"

Colin pulled out the map from his coat pocket and surveyed it silently. "Straight ahead!" he bellowed finally.

The field was huge. After they ventured some way through its middle they could look all around them and only just see the hedged perimiter.

And that's when they noticed them. The cows.

There was a bunch of cows in the upper left corner of the field. The huge animals looked as though they were all standing to attention, and some seemed to be staring directly at the three trespassers.

"I don't like them very much, Col," said Sandra slightly nervously.
"Why on earth not?"
"I don't know. I think it's just the way they are looking at us."
The family ventured forward. And the cows edged towards them.
There must have been around 20 of the animals altogether, and they were all huddled tightly together - almost as one giant beast - and their eyes all seemed to be fixed on the Ryans.

Sam seemed oblivious to the tension coarsing through the field and he laughed as he noticed the strange huddle of cows moving closer to him.

At this point Sam was some feet ahead of his parents. No doubt if he was closer to them one of them would have grabbed at his collar the moment the lad burst forward and bounded jokingly at the stupid animals.

Sam had jumped to within throwing distance of the first of the giant cows, and now turned to look at his parents, with a smile whipped across his face.

But the panicked look he received shocked him into momentary paralysis.

"RUN!" screamed Colin with all his might as he lurched forward, his hands outsretched.

But it was too late. Sam was sent flying sideways as the first of the cows charged at him, and was utterly helpless as a second stamped its huge mass of sheer weight on the boy's leg.

He screamed. He didn't feel the pain at first, but was aware of someone grabbing his upper body and hauling itself on him. Sam knew that the cows were still thundering over him, but somehow the blows were cushioned.

And it was only after the cows had all charged away that Sam heard his mum's piercing screams. The sounds of which would haunt him forever.
Sam woke up from his unconscious state in the hospital a few hours later. He didn't know what had happened. But one look at his mom's face, as she scrubbed the flowing tears from her severely bloodshot eyes, he knew his Dad was dead.

The boy was too traumatised to speak for more than two weeks, and never spoke about what happened that day until a build up of intense anxiety drove him to me - his therapist. That boy is now 26-years-old.

He will never forgive himself for his innocent actions which led to his father's death. And he will never forget that it was his Dad's human shield that had saved his life - but destyroyed his father's.

I can offer only one message: Beware of cows when walking. And cross them at your peril.

January 20th, 2011, 08:35 PM
I like this, don't really have anything to comment on.
Is this going to be worked into something more or is it going to stay as it is?

January 21st, 2011, 12:14 AM
Haha this was great XD! I get a kinda dark humor to it all but it was brilliant! loved to read it, I don't have anything bad to say about it!

Bilston Blue
January 21st, 2011, 12:32 AM
It's good, quirky. I had a scary experience with a bunch of horses last year, though not quite with the same end result as this poor family.

A point: you say, from the father's view point, that the boy was no more than eight. I think it would read better if you just told his age - six, seven, eight - his father would know.

What part of the West Midlands are you from? Good to see someone on here who's local to me.


MJ Preston
January 21st, 2011, 01:44 AM
How can you not read a story titled? The deadly cows

I enjoyed this, but think it had great promise to be a well orchestrated satire. If you were looking for a serious piece I would consider changing the title.

My only nit would be

Colin Ryan thought he'd had the perfect day. He had woken up alert and refreshed and now, after some hours of countryside rambling with his family, he felt as fit as he did many years ago.

This sounds a bit awkward. Maybe he had awakened alert or He woke alert?

January 22nd, 2011, 05:16 PM
Hi DanielF,
Thanks for sharing your writing, I think the idea is an excellent one and I'd like to reiterate what MJ Preston said about it having potential. However, I don't think that it is quite there as a satirical piece just yet. Have you seen the movie Black Sheep? It's about killer sheep in New Zealand(?). A couple of specific comments:
1) I didn't get the sense of menace from the cattle. Can you describe their eyes in more detail? Did they make any noise? Did they chew the cud with menace? Was there a breeze? How did the tension manifest itself? Also if you are trying for satire perhaps you could play a little more on the character of these animals. You say they are all female cattle (cows), and usually we associate being cow-like with being docile, lumbering, benign etc.
2) It was confusing to find that this story was being relayed by a therapist. Not sure (unless the father had relayed his specific feelings to his son that morning, and his son had then relayed them to his therapist - which seems unlikely) how the therapist would know that he had woken up alert and refreshed. Of course perhaps the therapist is filling in gaps, which would be odd in itself.
3) 'huge mass of sheer weight' is tautological.
4) 'he would never forgive himself for his innocent actions' is awkward. Perhaps 'he would never forgive himself for the actions...'.
5) Finally, you seem to be setting up a story from the point of view of the therapist, but then you end very abruptly with the moral of the story: don't underestimate cows. The story that you could write from the point of view of the therapist is much more interesting than don't mess with the cows, which, in my opinion sounds a bit like a warning issued by a park ranger to tourists.
Please repost if you work on it more! I'd like to read it.