That One Time I Met a Bull

If you’re anything like me, you remember when the ashes of civilization were still warm. I’ve spoken with a few survivors about that dark time, and I’m not alone when I recall vivid dreams of times and places that could not have existed in the World that Was and its dark reflection.

Here is one dream. I’m pretty sure it was a dream, anyway. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

The sun shone green, as it did in those days. The verdigris caking the guard rail along Maine Highway 11 a few miles south of Millinocket spoke of an underfunded DoT before the bombs fell and the county workers scattered to their forest retreats to scrounge what forage and game they might find. A low-settling fog started off as dry ice runoff at a kid’s birthday party and ended up as the sort of gloom only people old enough to have played the first Silent Hill title on the original Playstation will remember. Inhuman footfalls approached. Not a deer. Too heavy for a deer. Certainly not a horse, as I didn’t catch the creak of saddle leather. A moose perhaps? My heart seized at the prospect. The tang of autumn was in the air, and a bull moose in the grip of rut is one of North America’s most dangerous beasts.

So it was with a mixture of relief and confusion when the creature ambled into view. A simply massive Angus bull, frost brand slightly overgrown on his thurl, nock in his ear properly scarred over paused as he caught sight of me, drew in a breath large enough that had I not witnessed it, I would not have believed such a draught possible, and let out a long, slow whistle that would have been nearly comical coming from any other beast of the field or fen.

Him: Hello long-hair man. I am on a venture.

Me: Me too.

Him: I broke the fence. I am looking for Roy. Have you seen Roy?

Me: No, what does Roy look like?

Him: The dark voice told me that the farm is not my friend so I ran.

Me: Some fences need to be broken.

Him: That is what the dark voice said. You are a man, but you are not the man. Did you break a fence and run?

Me: Well, I didn’t break any fences that I know of, but I am running. Well, I’m sort of running anyway.

Him: Another man broke your fence. I understand.

Me: That’s not really…

I wasn’t sure how to finish this sentence. Dream logic is occasionally superior to what we can access in our waking hours.

The bull inhaled again, except this time it seemed he was devouring the air, searching for forgotten bovine lore floating on the wind.

Him: I am looking for Roy and I am looking for the fire man. Do you know the fire man?

Me: The what?

Him: The white hair man could not help me. The dark voice told me to find the fire man.

Me: Try down south. There aren’t a lot of people left in these woods.

Him: I will try south. Thank you, long hair man. And long hair man?

Me: Yes?

Him: Some fences need to be broken.

And with a swish of his tail, he turned around and marched off. I couldn’t help but think quietly to myself that there went a bull of bulls. And that as long as that creature walked the earth, at least one thing was right with the world.

Previous posts in this series
The Truth Shall Set You Free
Gentle Death
Aspirational Politics
It’s Better to Regret Something You Have Done Than to Regret Something You Haven’t Done

Other reading
Via Angus (Popehat)

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