"s 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Bovine "

Submitted by R.B. Walsh (

-November 14, 1992

 When I was twelve years old, back in 1976, my dad made the news all throughout Wisconsin.  On the bottom of the front page of the Milwaukee Journal, his face was printed in black and white next to the header, “DAIRY FARMER CLAIMS ALIEN CATTLE ABDUCTION: Edwin Schromer, 38, of Wolfram, claims his cattle were abducted by a UFO Saturday evening.”  I never saw any UFO, let alone any cows floating in the air, but I suppose in retrospect I could have been sleeping.

 I got picked on pretty much the whole way through school.  Everyone in town called Dad “Nutbar Ned” until the day he died.  Now I wish I’d talked to him about the whole thing a bit more, rather than just telling him to shut up about it until he couldn’t find anyone else to talk to.

 Last night, I loaded my shotgun and killed every last cow on the farm.

 I guess they’ll have to start calling me “Nutbar Jr.” again.

-November 15, 1992

 The sheriff showed up and started knocking on my door this morning.  I waited for a while and hoped that he’d just leave, but I heard him mention a warrant and figured that I’d rather he didn’t bust the front door latch.  I kept the chain-lock on when I opened the door.

 We talked for a bit, and I answered his questions.  His main concern was if I was alright, and I told him I was - he figured that maybe some nut had robbed my house and killed me, which is why he got the warrant.  I didn’t know what to say when he asked me why I killed all my cattle, so I just told him that “it had to be done.”  He tipped his hat and let me be.  I didn’t see anyone else the rest of the day.

-November 16, 1992

 I haven’t left the house these past three days.  I’d like to say it’s boring, but I’m on edge.  I’m watching the cows outside as intently as I can, and I won’t go anywhere in my house without my shotgun.  Sure, they’re all dead, every last one -  I made damn sure I didn’t miss any of them - but I don’t trust my eyes anymore.  

 When I first saw the ships, or whatever the hell they are, I wasn’t really scared of the prospect of UFOs.  I was scared because I thought I was going crazy; I thought I was going to end up like my pop.

 They don’t look the way you think they would.  They aren’t those chrome, spinning pie tins you see in old B-Movies.  They’re pitch black, so it’s fairly hard to make them out against the night sky.  You just have to squint and focus.  These ships, or whatever, aren’t much bigger than a phone booth - but they travel in “packs” of four or five.  From what I could tell, they’re sort of football shaped, but I couldn’t quite make out how they move around.  

 When I heard their low drone - it sounds a bit like throat singing - I looked out my window and saw them already there, just suspended in the air.  I must have stared at them for a good fifteen minutes.  As sudden as they came, they were gone in a blink.  Nothing else happened, and I went back to bed.  The next morning, I reasoned that it was a weird dream.

-November 17, 1992

 I ran out of milk this morning.  It got me wondering how I’m going to get food when everything here runs out.  I thought about calling my cousins, or maybe my buddy Al, but I figured I shouldn’t risk it.  I don’t want to rope anyone else into this if it’s still dangerous around the farm.

 The day I killed my cows, I noticed their milk smelled off.  It looked yellow and bubbly, almost curdled.  When I dumped it on the lawn, it killed the grass.  

 When I looked at them closely, to see if they were sick, but I didn’t want to touch them after I looked at them a bit closer.  Their eyes were a bit too small, and their faces were a tad too long.  Their bodies were real soft too, not the firm, muscled texture you’d expect from a farm animal.  The differences were small, nothing you’d notice if you weren’t looking - but I was looking.  Their too-short tails, their too-long legs - it all started to click, and I slowly gained the sense that something was wrong.

 I remember I looked one in the eyes, just before I ran back to the house.  Its eyes were so close together that it could stare at me standing straight forward, like a person would.

-November 18, 1992

 The cows are all gone.

 I want to think that they came back, that they took the cows back into space or wherever the hell they came from, but I know they didn’t.

 I’ve stayed inside and kept the television on, waiting to hear the bad news, should it ever come.

 The night before I shot my cows, the ships came back one last time.  I wish so bad that I had talked to my dad more before he died.  I wish I forgave him for the names I got called, and I wish I could have made him feel like he wasn’t crazy.

 Above all, I wish he could have told me that they didn’t just take the cows.

 I wish he told me that they gave us new ones, too.