A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

by D. J. Russell (Feb 2007)

            His father said today was a good day for him to become a man.

            Clouds hung dark and low in the sky.  The bawling of calves in a nearby pen sounded muffled in the heavy air.  Andrew was on his knees beside Horton, one of the sheep he attended, running his fingers through the sheep’s soft coat.

            “Git to doin’ what I told ya, boy,” came his father’s voice from the barn door.  “There’s a storm comin’.”

            Andrew hated that his father was making him do this.  It had been his task each day to feed and care for Horton.  A tear rolled down his cheek as he picked up a small handful of hay and fed the sheep.  Horton quietly munched.

            He reached one arm around Horton’s neck and gave him a quick hug.   Uttering a prayer for forgiveness, he tightened his hold on Horton and brought the blade up quickly.

            He nearly blacked-out at the smell of Horton’s fear and the sound of his scream as the blade was brought across his throat.  Andrew threw himself away from the animal and against the side of the barn.

            As the sobs wracked his body, Andrew kept his gaze pointed away from Horton.  If this was what it meant to become a man, he wanted no part of it.

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Revised February 2007.