by R.T. Allenson

Life was good back in the province.

There was a lot of food to eat and I was with my family and friends. We never really aspired much beyond that – we were given all that we needed and even more but I always wondered what it would be like in the city. Some of my friends have already been taken to the city, they never returned though so I guess it’s a better place there. I wanted to be there.

I was so excited and happy when I found out that I was next among the few to be taken to the city, but I was kind of disappointed that Old Sam wasn’t coming along. He told me they didn’t take the boys to the city and for the first time, I felt lonely. He was the closest thing I had to a father. He didn’t say much after that day; he didn’t even come and say goodbye to me when we left. I felt even more lonely after that.

Along the way we passed by a lot of places and I was especially thrilled when I saw how, little by little, the traces of city life were becoming more apparent. The province seemed so far now and I began to miss my friends who weren’t so lucky. Perhaps in a month or so I’d be with them again along with the rest of my friends who have gone before me. One can only hope, I suppose.

It took us three days to reach the city and another day to get our bearings as the trip wasn’t exactly comfortable. We rested for a while and eventually a handful of us were chosen as the first ones to be released into city life. At this point I was feeling a bit unsure; there was a rumor spreading around our group that there was something else, a different reason why no one returns to the province. Something sinister, that they were selling us to the highest bidder. I was terrified but there was little I could do as we weren’t exactly free to roam about our new home. Days passed and still nothing, we were all lulled to a false sense of safety. We knew it deep in our hearts, the answer to our unfurling dread but it was useless to do anything about it now.

It’s cold where I am now and dark. A lot of us are huddled close together for warmth waiting to be ushered to the next room but we know, from the blood-curling screams and the shrill cries of pain coming from the other room that what lies ahead of us isn’t pleasant. Life was good back in the province, but we were on a timer since the day we were born.

The ones at the front are moved to the next room and I follow. Legs almost buckling, hooves treading the ground heavily, I step into the light and into death.