Rated: PG-13, for the harsh demands of gods.
Bought bred, the new cow had cost three thousand dollars, and so as night fell with no sign of the calf, it was Arnold himself who trudged back and forth between the house and the barn, waving away the hired hands.
“My money,” he grunted. “My problem.”
A storm struck up, not snow but a roaring haze of fine slush that crusted his beard with ice. Far to the west, visible only by their bluish, luminous heat, the old gods of grass and grain bayed to the cloud-buried stars. Arnold ignored them. It was too early in the year for a sacrifice.
On the fifth trip, his youngest child joined him, silent as ever, silvery hair greased down from the rain, in her oldest brother’s canvas coat. She liked their ancient hand-me-downs, though she was so small that everything trailed in the muck like the train of a wedding dress. Over the splattering sleet Arnold heard her rubber boots squelching in the wallow that had been the path. He waited for her to catch up before continuing to the barn. (Continue Reading…)