Serial no. 3 Tony
He made funny faces at his reflection in the drinking pond. Sticking his tongue out, crossing his eyes and holding his ears straight up made him look like a moose. But he wasn’t a moose, he was a cow, a baby bull cow.
Tony stayed by his mother day and night. He enjoys eating grasses next to her, going on walks amongst the yellowing hay bails and playing hide and seek in the trees surrounding their field. He nestles with her for bedtime beneath the tall swaying pine trees at night. The creaks and moans of the trees in the wind were like bedtime music to him, and his mother’s belly was his pillow.
His mother, Leoni, has the same caramel brown eyes as Tony and black solid, hairy coat. But Tony was less than a year old, and his hair stood in all directions, along with a tuft that hung over his eyes like a floppy mohawk. Tony loves his mom and Leoni loves her Tony. She nudges him as he continues to make faces in the pool, it is not appropriate with so many other cows around.
Tony ignores her at first, but when she flicks him hard on his backside with her tail, he stops. Drinks a few more mouthfuls then he falls into the herd as expected. The sun is hot today, hotter than it had been in a while so it was even stranger when the clouds rolled in and blocked the sun.
In a matter of moments, it went from too hot to dark and rainy. Tony ate the honeysuckles and sweet lavender flowers and ignored the brewing storm overhead. So, it came as more of a shock when a nearby hay bail exploded with a thunderous bang.
Yellow burning strands of grass fell around the herd and caused chaos. They ran in every direction, cow’s screaming and stampeding. Calves were crying over the screams, and mayhem was instant.
The air filled with the scent of fire and Tony scanned the surrounding trees to see hell-like fire liking at their plot of land. Too quickly it spread to the hay bails and grasses. The rain did nothing to slow the spread of the hungry fire. Tony looked frantically for his mom, he mewed and stomped the ground, but she didn’t appear. His nostrils began to burn and his eyes watered from the thick smoke, some of the herd had taken to the drinking pool to hide, but it was small and quickly being surrounded by the lapping flames.
Tony cried; he didn’t know what to do. Without his mom, he was lost. In the middle of the field he grew up in, the one he knew his whole life, he was lost. He ran to one fence only to be shocked by the zap of energy that kept the cows in place. If only there had been an adult bull, he could have helped. But the cows and calves were too small and too scared, to charge at the popping fence. And it sat on all four sides of them, some on opposite sides of now engulfed trees.
Tony ran in another direction, not caring anymore what the herd thought of his sporadic movements. The sweetness of the purple flowers he had just been eating was now being tasted themselves by rolling flames, rushing through the long grasses. It seemed to be chasing him, charging at him like an angry bull or god of fire. It wanted his life.
Some of the herd ran to the outer fence, some huddled together in the middle of the growing demon. Either way, every cow and calf in the field Tony had grown up in, was surrounded by lapping flames. The cloud cover grew so thick he could no longer see the sun. He put his nose closer to the ground, trying to find some escape from the suffocation of the smoke.
The fragrance of the honeysuckles was now that of singed hair. The bright yellow of the bails was scorched brown and crumbling to pieces. Tony could see almost nothing now, but he continued moving forward. Or in circles. He couldn’t be sure. And at least when his nose smelt his mom, he rushed in her direction. Ignoring the sting of fire on his underbelly from the burning grasses.
Leoni was laying down; she didn’t have the energy to be moving through the thick smoke. Her face still held love for her son, and she nuzzled him as he laid next to her. They held each other’s gaze to not see the devastation around them. Tony watched his reflection in her eyes as they embraced to the end.