Author's Note

This chapter is particularly short, and I expect to write more if I ever get around to writing the rest of this story. Yes, there will be more, although even I, the creator, don't know how far it will go.

The quiet was particularly pronounced that night.

The sun had just set and Harold felt that he had done a good day's work. He hadn't done anything much really; he had been in a constant state of eating for the better part of the day, and he had moved about every once in a while, just to stay active.

By almost any standard, this would not be considered a good day's work, but a cow's standards are about as low as you can get, without including inanimate objects. This was, mostly, because cows don't have much to think about, and therefore think quite highly of what many would consider goofing off.

However, Harold, like most cows, was often perplexed by the hustle and bustle that was often going on about him involving the skinny, two-legged creatures that only seemed to stop running about at about the same time as the cows would go to sleep. In fact, Harold was often perplexed by the skinny, two-legged creatures themselves. There were only a few of them, but the tallest one would appear regularly, every day, and every day the cows were briefly aware of his presence, until he failed to do anything note-worthy, such as feeding them. So, no less perplexed, the cattle ignored the strange bi-pedals, who took a great interest in them regardless.

Harold probably took even less notice of the humans (as I will call them for the sake of clarity) than the other cows, if only because he was one of two bulls; the other was Dave who was the more masculine, and the more active. Harold often took a great interest in whatever happened to be in his line of sight. After a few seconds at the most, his brain limited its functions to the ones dedicated to keeping him alive: the ones that Harold couldn't possibly comprehend. The ones that, if he did try to comprehend them, the involuntary sector of his brain would quickly shoo him away and point him back toward the sector dealing with food.

Harold's brain did have the greatest trouble keeping him in line. Sometimes, on the calmest days, when every other cow was fairly far off and Harold just happened to glance up at the sky, he would begin to contemplate. He would wonder why the sky was so blue and why he couldn't tell how far away it was, like he could with a fence or the barn. He wondered what kept that great big thing up there and what was on the other side. He wondered if there was anyone living there, if there were other cows beyond the sky watching him. At this point Harold's brain, worried that Harold might catch on to something, or worse: burn out, would promptly step in and desperately make all four of his stomachs growl with hunger. So, Harold would go back to chewing some grass and his brain would relax, contented that this wouldn't happen again for another month or so.

Yet, one part of Harold's mind, aroused by his contemplation, was always nagging at him. It was persistently trying to bring a very important thought to light, but was always suppressed by the rest of his brain. The majority of Harold's brain always told the one part of his mind that nothing good would come of all this persistence, and that it should just give up, and it wasn't making its life any easier. In the end, Harold would tell both parts of his brain to keep quiet so he could get back to eating.

Despite all of this internal turmoil, Harold led a fairly humble life; because Dave was the preferred bull, Harold was usually left alone by the farmer, and most of Harold's world that wasn't alive was edible, so that he could eat no matter where he was. Eating filled his stomachs, which made him happy, and sleeping rejuvenated him so he could eat again in the morning.

This simple, pleasing cycle was Harold's life: the life of a happy cow.

And so, Harold continued to chew some particularly juicy grass he had just come across, content and distracted from the darkness that was the accepted sign that it was time to go to sleep, and that had called all the other cows back to the barn for the night.

He was also distracted from the small light in the sky that slowly grew brighter until it became several lights that formed a skewed circle.

He completely failed to notice that, as the lights drew closer, they began to outline the shape of a large, metallic object.

He was totally unaware of the flying saucer that swiftly yet quietly approached and then hovered several yards above him.

Harold remained ignorant of the bright light that shone down on him from the spaceship.

Until he began to rise.

The quiet was particularly pronounced that night.