Edward Harris walked into the barn to find another cow had been gutted during the night.
It was a cold March morning as he slumped down onto a square bale of hay and removed his hat, running his hands through the thinning grey hairs on the top of his head. He let out a sigh and after a deep breath he stood up and walked over to the cow. This would be the third time in as many weeks that he had woken up to find one of his cattle gutted.
He paced around the carcass examining the damage done and unsurprisingly it has been killed the same as all the others; slashed across the throat, deep and wide and then cut from just under its ribs to just before its udder…it was also completely devoid of its stomach and various other innards, just like the last two.
Edward slapped his hat on his knee and let out a quiet curse before he went back to the house to change into his overalls. Moving the carcasses to the woods behind the farm was messy work and he wasn’t about to stain his nicer jeans with cow blood again.
As he entered the house he glanced into the den and stopped.
He hadn’t set foot in there since Mary had passed.
For a long while he just stood staring into the room, as if it were miles away. He regarded the knitting needles she left on her side table with an indescribable sadness. Her glass was still there, stained with the remnants of sweet tea that once filled the cup. With a hollow pop, a single tear rolled down his cheek and landed squarely on the vamp of his work boot and jolted him out of his daze. Edward wiped his eyes and carried on upstairs to change his clothes.
By the time he had gotten back outside the temperature had dropped a good 5 degrees putting it well past comfortable working weather and Edward decided that after moving the carcass he would spend the rest of the day in the cellar organizing the left over winter provisions. Edward finagled the cow carcass onto a large flat board behind the barn, he then hooked it up to one of the horses – same as he had done with the others – and began dragging the corpse towards the back woods. The day had been brighter this morning but now the wind was picking up and by the time he had finished prepping the saddle, board, straps and rope, the air had dropped another two or three degrees and the sky had darkened in anticipation of the storm soon to come.