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The Nourishing Sun

A good hot.

Published by Vocal

It’s hot out here today. But not overbearingly so. Not one of those sweltering, inescapable hot days where the heat gets under your skin and there is no release. Today is good hot. I enjoy the sun on my body. It feels nourishing. I’d spend all day out in the sun if I could. That can happen when you’ve spent too much time indoors.

It smells like shit out here today. But not overbearingly so. Still, the smell of shit is there. I guess that’s inevitable when you’re on a farm.

Scanning the field, I see the cows, six of them. Most likely the culprits. Can’t blame them though. I see the chickens. How many? Ten of them? These chickens are funny. They make all sorts of noises, noises that signify they want attention. Once they get going they won’t stop until Adam or Candace comes over to greet them and pet them. If I approach them, they run. I guess they don’t want attention from just anyone. Can’t blame them though. I am new here. They don’t know me.

How long has it been that I’ve been on this farm? A week? My memory is a little fuzzy. Scratch that. If ‘fuzzy’ is the indicator of not remembering something, then my brain is a fuzzball with a few shaved spots here and there. I remember the past week or so on this farm just fine. It’s before that. That’s where my fuzzball of a brain turns and turns, looking for a fuzz-free section that contains answers.

I’ve been turning my brain over a lot and can’t find the answers I’m looking for.

“Coo. Coo. Coo.” There go the chickens. They all decided at the same time they want attention. How does that work? Are these chickens on the same emotional clock or do they plan this together? They plan to make these noises at the same time so it’s even louder and there’s a better chance of Adam or Candace hearing and coming out. That’s my theory. I turn to the chickens, give them a friendly look. I’m not going to approach, they’ll just run.

Here comes Adam. If it was a plan concocted by the chickens, it worked to perfection. Adam strolls across the field, happy as can be. This has got to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met… even though I can’t remember a lot. I have this feeling in my fuzzy, hairy brain that I just haven’t met people like Adam… or like Candace. It’s hard to describe. I don’t recall specifics of events well at all, but I still feel my emotions from past events. And they tell me that my past experience with people has been fairly poor.

As Adam approaches the chickens, he takes a slight detour to give me a pat on the back, a smile and a “How’s it going, buddy?”

He strolls towards the chickens. What a nice guy. He didn’t realize when he patted me on the back, he placed his hand right on one of those big cuts. Ooh, it stings! Not his fault. In fact, he and Candace have even been helping me take care of those cuts since they’re in a hard-to-reach place.

I watch Adam play with the chickens as if they’re his own children. I wait for the stinging on my back to dissipate. I wish I could remember how I got these cuts in the first place.

Trying to recall my memories is painful. An actual physical pain arises in both my back and my head. Sharp and hot pain on my back, a dull aching feeling in the front of my head. It’s probably best I don’t try to remember since I never get anywhere, and I just cause pain to myself when doing so.

I just remember being somewhere that I hated. Somewhere sad. Strangely, it feels like this exact farm, but if it were the complete opposite. A sad and dusky version of this farm. The setting the same but the mood so different. I remember a lot of darkness, stale smells, old creaking noises that sent chills traveling down my spine. And bursts of light occasionally showing up. Bright light and heat… the sun? It was always an absolute pleasure for the first few seconds. But then the light and heat were accompanied by immediate sorrow, robbing me of my pleasure from the sun. It’s like someone playing your favorite song while yelling at you. Ruining the moment. Ruining what brings you joy.

Now, when I see and feel the sun… only happy feelings. I’d spend all day out in the sun if I could.

And here comes Candace, on her way to feed the cows. She smiles and waves at me. She stops by Adam to give him a kiss and continues on towards the cows. These two are such happy and nice people. I hardly know them but I’m so glad they found each other. They might be the perfect couple. And the fact that they are letting me stay here, well, I’m so glad I found them. Or did they find me?

Again, I don’t remember much, but I get the strong feeling that they saved my life. Or at the very least, saved me from sorrow.

A flash of red catches my eye and instantly makes me angry. I realize this flash of red that is kicking up dust is Adam’s brother, racing his car up the dirt driveway. Trent. Piece of shit. No consideration for us out here, dirt swirling all around us like a tornado. Can’t he drive any slower? I’d take it easy on him if he didn’t have it out for me. But—

“He’s still here?!” Trent’s yell like an involuntary leg-swing when someone hits your knee. How I’d love to hit Trent’s knee. But he’s Adam’s brother. He gets a pass. Trent wasn’t even halfway out of his car before he started yelling to Adam. As if he can’t control these mouth-spasms of his. He slammed the door shut and decided he hadn’t been obnoxious enough already, so he kept going for gold. “Adam! He is still here?!”

Going for gold? What’s that even mean? I must have heard that somewhere. Anyway, Trent is talking about me. Pointing right at me. Screaming at Adam. Trent’s a real special guy. They better keep me away from Trent’s knee.

Whenever Trent comes by and I see his face and I hear his voice, I start to smell those stale smells and I feel the darkness and I hear the wood creaking. My spine shivers and my blood boils.

Trent marches into the field, right past me, shooting me a glare. I give him an icy cold stare so icy that it wouldn’t even melt in this sun. The chickens scramble and flutter away.

“Adam, you cannot be serious!” Trent is in Adam’s face. Adam’s clearly annoyed but stays calm.

“He’s staying, Trent.” Adam folds his arms. “I never said anything different.”

Trent sighs loudly. He wants to make sure everyone on the farm knows he has lungs that are capable of exhaling, I suppose. “I thought we agreed that he shouldn’t stay here any longer than a week.”

So, it has been about a week.

Candace chimes in. “You said he shouldn’t be here. And then we said that you should leave.”

Have I mentioned I love these two people? Happy, nice, but not pushovers. Look at how they’re standing up for me. But now I am feeling badly. Why are they standing up for me? I’m not even sure what I did. I wonder if I did something bad. Trent sure thinks so.

Ooh, there goes the hot, sharp pains in my back. My forehead is aching. Stupid me, trying to recall memories. I remember the sad place. I remember my sad face. I’m out in the sun but this joy is being robbed of me. There’s a lot of people, too many people. I feel congested. And then there is a large, brute of a man with gentle eyes. I see some of myself in him. I think he sees himself in me. And then there is shouting. Violence. Blood. Blood on me. Is it my blood or—okay this is starting to get really painful. I should stop. Even though I desperately want to know what and where I came from.

“You saw what he did to that guy!” Trent is livid now. “There is something wrong with him!”

Adam has now lost his cool. “There’s nothing wrong with him! You know he was provoked! That guy had it coming, the way he was treating him!”

“People are out there looking for him right now.” Trent points at me. He’s trying to reason now. His loud, shouting voice has gotten him nowhere. He thinks adjusting his volume will get him somewhere. “They’re out there looking for that big guy too. You know, the balding one?”

The balding guy! That’s the guy I remember. Big and balding and gentle eyes and… I think he was trying to help me too. Who was he?

“We’ve made our decision, Trent.” Candace approaches the two and stands by Adam’s side to support him. “And besides, no one has any idea he’s here. Except you. You just need to keep quiet.”

“I won’t say anything, but if anyone finds out… I knew nothing.” Trent is an asshole, but he’s at least a brother to Adam still. “I’m just worried about you guys. Not just taking him in, but everything. What happened to the way this farm used to operate? These chickens and cows just run free. What do you guys do for food? To eat. To sell.”

Adam shakes his head. “We’ve told you. We’ve made major changes for the better. We don’t do that anymore. These animals, these are beings. Lives. Souls. We’re not harming them anymore. And we do fine with our crops. We have plenty of vegetables and grains. We’re getting by fine. But this farm… life is valued on this farm now. All life.”

“Yeah, it’s a regular safe house over here.” Trent glares at me and storms off to his car.

After Trent leaves, Adam and Candace call me over to the house. Wow, I haven’t been to the house yet. But I’ve been more than happy to stay by the barn, sleep under the stars, wake up to that delectable sun each morning.

They bring me inside and direct me to a pile of cushions, pillows and blankets on the floor. A sleeping spot for me! Have I ever had a spot like this? I sit down on the luxurious space and look at the mirror set up next to me. My horns look to be in good shape. A few nicks and bruises on my head. And those cuts on my back seem to be healing up. But all in all, I look alright.

“You’re a beautiful soul and you deserve to be treated with respect like anyone else.” Adam speaks gently. “What happened before, the way they paraded you out there to take pictures with tourists, the way they whipped you—”

Candance puts an arm on Adam’s shoulder. He continues. “Whether you’re a bull or a human, it doesn’t matter. No one deserves that. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about what happened. They attacked you. You reacted in self-defense. Don’t worry for one second, you’re safe here with us. You’re our family now.”

Adam and Candace embrace me with a hug. They head into the kitchen to get some lunch for us all. I cozy up in, what I guess is my new bed.

It’s cool in here today. But not overbearingly so. They must have that air conditioner thing set to a perfect temperature. I’d spend all day out in the sun if I could. But I could spend some quality hours in here too.

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