12-Minute Tales – The Gorge

“I’m starving. When can we eat?”

“My feet are tired. Why do we even have feet?”

“Where are we going anyway? I like our old herder more.”

The insipid questions just kept coming as we entered the gorge. I eyed the edges waiting for something to ambush us. Unfortunately, I had no other choice since not only was this the quickest route, but the stupid cattle wouldn’t be able to climb up a few rocks without stumbling. Thankfully, no marauders welcomed us, at least not yet.

“I’m thirsty.”

“We just had a drink,” I muttered, but the cattle kept complaining. If they were being shot at they would still complain about the heat. That’s what I hated about the cattle other than the fact that they were genetically modified with the ability to speak was the fact that they had no perspective. They had no sense of the bigger picture. They had no idea why I was herding them and didn’t even care to care. If they had it their way they would be on the other side of the valley, eating dirt and wondering why the earth was so brown.

“Aw crap.” The sun started its descent and we hadn’t even made it out of the gorge. I blamed the cattle who would often get sidetracked by literally nothing. One would often leave the herd to go stare at the rock face. A couple hours passed and the sky darkened. I set-up camp and shivered by the makeshift fire.

“What’s that?” But I didn’t answer the calf. I was pretty sure it was the same one that had asked what fire was the previous night and just forgot the answer. I turned to my side on the rough dirt and rocks underneath. I had a bedroll but I failed to secure it on my horse and before I knew it the cattle had chewed it up. Because they’re cattle. And they’re dumb.

But I deserved this, I guess. For my crimes I had to hide away on this planet and in order to survive I had to take menial tasks. The cold night enveloped as the fire shifted shapes quietly underneath the stars. I used to think that if I did A, B, and C, then all would be good. But now I saw no path. It was just chaos.

I felt the warm breath of one of the cows spreading across my cheek, but I didn’t want to open my eyes. “What happened to the sun?”

“Shut up…” As I said this I felt bad, but I couldn’t bring myself to rectify it. I was too tired. And like the cattle I was hungry as well. But, fortunately, by morning we would be out of the gorge, assuming that marauders wouldn’t get the jump on us first.

Written for the Daily Writing Prompt #19. The challenge today was to write a story within the Cattle Drive subgenre of the Western.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

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