What's that you're eating?

‘Can you watch Ben while I’m out?’ Sean asked. ‘It’s too hot to take him in the car.’

His wife, Sandra, sighed. ‘I haven’t fed the animals yet.’

‘Just take him out in the pushchair and put the sunshade over him. He’s napping anyway.’

Sandra lifted the boy gingerly and settled him into the chair. Ben flopped like a fish, apparently unfazed about being moved around. ‘See?’ Sean nodded. He slid his shoes on and grabbed his car keys. ‘Be back in 20.’ He pecked her on the cheek as he slipped out the door.

Sandra took her son out with her, leaving him outside the pens whilst she fed the animals. When her and Sean had first married, Sandra had dreamt of the idea of a bohemian lifestyle. However, the surprise pregnancy had disrupted her plans a little. While she was still content with the farm, it was difficult keeping up with both motherhood and the self-sufficient lifestyle.

She collected the eggs from the chicken hutch and dumped a bag of corn on the ground. Next, she made her way to the small barn where she kept her dairy cow. The cow let out a disgruntled moo at the sight of Sandra carrying the food. Tilly was clearly in a bad mood and Sandra couldn’t blame her, really. She needed milking but Sandra had woken up late and was behind in her work.

 

‘I’ll see to you when Sean’s back, pet,’ she promised the cow.

 

Ten minutes later, there was a shout from the front of the house, and Sandra remembered that she had borrowed Sean’s debit card the night before.

 

‘Oops.’

 

She half jogged back to the front of the house and got his wallet out of her purse. As Sean went to knock on the door again, she opened it and handed him his wallet. ‘Borrowed it yesterday, sorry.’

She smiled and shut the door again quickly.

 

As she returned to her task, she saw that Ben had woken up and left his chair. ‘Ben?’ she called, surprised that he’d woke up so early from his nap. The toddler didn’t answer, and she assumed he’d pottered off to find somewhere to play.

 

The goat was the most difficult animal to feed. The stupid animal had been Sean’s idea. Had claimed they wouldn’t have to cut the grass with a goat around. But instead of eating grass, it would regurgitate it, and when she had called out the vet to examine it, he had told her that Gilly the goat could only process a specially balanced diet.

 

As she mixed the food together, the goat bounced around her like an excited child. It butted her none too gently and she had to keep pushing it away from her.

 

‘I swear to God, you lot are gonna be the death of me.’

 

Suddenly, she noticed that the pig pen was open. She frowned as they jostled at each other to get at something. Strange, they never usually behaved like that unless they were fighting over food. What on earth were they up to? She looked at the barrow of feed that she hadn’t yet put in the pen, and then noticed the pacifier and the trickle of blood leading to the centre of the commotion.

 

‘Pigs,’ she said. ‘What’s that you’re eating?’