The Haunted Creature

The Haunted Creature

Paul W. Silver

Literature & Fiction / Nonfiction / History

Ken and Donnie are brothers who are both driven by a guilty conscience. Their past lies between them like a black lagoon.“I will be marketing synthetic beef in less than a year,” I told my brother, Kenneth Hunter Wolff. I expected my announcement to surprise him at least as much as had my sudden arrival. I was trembling with excitement. But Ken just nodded, inserting a mother-of-pearl fountain pen into the pocket of his red plaid flannel short-sleeve shirt. I think that is the moment I realized the depth of my hatred. “I'm here to give you fair warning,” I told him rigidly. Shouts of men, bleats of cattle, the clatter of hooves on concrete chutes, smells of alfalfa and vaccine and hot iron and seared cowhide brought back memories of childhood. I had my Leica with me, as always in those days. With it I snapped a picture of Bill Butts, foreman of The Broken Heart Ranch, as he directed the branding and vaccinating of beef cattle. “Beef ranching is doomed,” I purred. “We’re working on synthetic pork, chicken, even vegetables and fruit. We create food from organic compounds without killing animals. Agriculture is doomed.”
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