Story a Day: Day 5
Rain pelted the window. Jen stared through the glass at the residents of the steel reinforced animal pen. Dull vacant eyes gazed toward the house. They had no idea what was happening to them. It looked as though they didn’t particularly care.
She expected fear or misery in those eyes but found nothing. Docile, flat visages that manifested not even a spark of intelligence meandered back an forth in the pen. Feeding time roused them a bit but even then it was nothing more than the primal drive for food. Jostling for position at the food tray, they scarfed down the specially prepared mixture of proteins, anti-biotics, and whatever else it was that Aunt Marcy mixed together to keep them well fed.
Jen didn’t want to be ungrateful but for all the world she wished that she could just be a vegetarian. The killing made her ill thinking about it. She knew her Daddy and Uncle were not inclined to cause any creature extra suffering. They made sure the poor beasts had plenty of space, were well fed, and died as quickly as possible. They were also careful not to waste. Still, the whole situation depressed her.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Her Dad asked
“I don’t know. It just seems wrong somehow. They are just waiting there, day in, day out, until it’s their turn on the dinner table. I can’t help but wonder if what were are doing is right or if maybe it’s some sick game of re asserting our position at the top of the food chain.”
Zeb Daring sat down with a sigh. It wasn’t a sigh of exasperation. It was the sigh of a man who has seen and experienced much, yet knows there are still questions that will never have simple answers. His daughter somehow made it through the plague with her conscience intact.
For a long moment he stared out the window, remembering. After the initial outbreak society collapsed, humanity traded its morals for survival. During the early days, the plague spread like wildfire. Survival of the fittest, nature’s oldest precept, returned to govern the shattered remains of society.
Survival of the fittest, however, now had a caveat. Fittest no longer meant fastest, strongest, or most powerful. It now included smartest and the smartest were able to stop the spread of the plague. With the contagion halted, people began to focus on survival. Food was scarce, and few left remembered how to acquire it. Zeb and his brother Zeke had grown up on his Dad’s farm where they raised and slaughtered their own meat.
“Daddy couldn’t I just be a vegetarian. I can stand the thought of eating them. They look so helpless and dumb.” Jen pleaded.
“I wish you could but it’s going to take a few years to get the greenhouse repaired and crops growing well enough to feed everyone properly. You know we only kill for two reasons, baby girl.”
“I know, Daddy. Only kill things if you intend to eat it or if it intends to eat you.” The girl dutifully quoted the mantra she’d been taught since she could talk.
“Make no mistake, Honey, out in the wild those things would eat you without a thought.”
“I know, Daddy, I remember. I really do. I still get bad dreams.” Her voice trembled with emotion. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes. Zeb put his arm around her.
“It’s just so sad, Daddy.”
“It is, baby, it really is sad. Your mama and I, try hard to make sure that dinner doesn’t look much like what you see out there in the pens. We know how sad it is, but seeing you or your brother starve would be so much worse. I know you’ve grown a lot and you can’t help thinking about what you know. I just want you to know that as a human you have to do what you can to survive. I promise as soon as we get that green house repaired you can become a vegetarian. “
Her smile warmed his heart. Zeb hated to see her sad. He’d talk with Zeke and see if they could prioritize that greenhouse. Heck, a salad would taste good alongside steak. Jen could go all vegetarian, once there was enough food. Right now though, it was time to get dinner. As Zeb grabbed his axe, his ten year old son came bounding up to him.
“Can I help pick one out. I saw one that’s perfect.” Zeb tousled the boys hair. No doubt about it, his son, Seth, was never going to be a vegetarian.
“Sure can.” As he heeded the boy out the back door, his wife hollered at them.
“Seth, you be careful around that zombie pen.”
**AUTHORS NOTE: This is a First Draft Fiction piece that has not received the benefit of an Editor’s attention. Please feel free to provide feedback as the opinions of readers always add value to a writer’s work. Remember the most important part of any story in the part that happens in your mind. You the reader give these stories life so feel free to comment on what you like, hate, or want to see in the future.**
*~ MAJK ~*
Other Fiction Pieces by Story A Day Participants:
I Never Thought - The Fisher House – Erin Sharp
Love Me When I’m Gone – Roberta’s Stories – Roberta Gray
May I Write of Heroes: Kobul – To Write Perchance To Dream -Aaron Shively
Tights & Tissues – Undefined – Dauna Talor
Samuel’s Birthday & A Different Story is born eleven years later - Julie Undefined – Julie Jordan Scott