It was dark and wet. Bobby lay curled up in excrement, his own and the other’s, huddled against the walls. At least this corner gave a small sense of safety. He had tried sleeping, but hadn’t managed more than a little bit of dozing off. Why was he here? It was all so confusing.

When they’d taken him away from his mom, he hadn’t realised what was happening. Before he knew what was going on, he’d been put in a different room, away from her. But he could still hear her screams, and he kept yelling for her as well. There were others in the room with him, and he vaguely knew they were also screaming. He’d shrieked until exhaustion took him. The next day, his wails of despair continued, in echo of his mom’s.

A few days had passed by and the cries had slowly abated until they’d stopped completely. He got hungry, the one meal a day was not enough to satisfy his young body. Bobby had begun to seek comfort with the others when the gate had opened. They’d just stared at the ramp behind it, which seemed to open into a dark hole. Wide-eyed, Bobby had backed away until his backside hit the opposite wall, and still he tried to get further. Then they’d started prodding and pushing him. When that didn’t force him forward quickly enough, hard blows assaulted him. His whole body got hit, painful blows flew everywhere. Panic overtook him and he stumbled, trying to get away, tripping in his scared flight. He didn’t remember what had happened after that.

Sudden bright light hurt his eyes and he blinked several times, trying to see something. He lifted his head but stayed in the corner, his corner. Soon after that, he could hear shrieks close-by, and an utterly terrifying smell assaulted his nostrils. His whole body started to shake with dread. They came for him, prodding him along, closer to the howls and those penetrating scents. The air vibrated with terror. He slipped on the floor, colouring his beautiful white hair into a dirty red.

All the noise was too loud, too strange. He cried. Some of the sounds had a rhythmic quality to it, but it wasn’t his language so it couldn’t soothe him.

If he’d understood, maybe he would’ve fought harder to escape.

‘Ten more calves to go after this one.’

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I don’t have much to say about this one, except that it’s close to my heart. This is what I imagine the short life of a bobby calf could be. It breaks my heart every day.

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