2018-12-26 14:43 fiction flash-fiction

Beastie

Directly above the metal edge he saw a single moist, dark eyeball, set in a broad, furry cranium. The truck pulled away rapidly, acceleration caused the eye to reflexively widen.

He didn't know where they took the beasties. They were harmless really — massive, shaggy, passive creatures. Except that they started appearing in huge numbers. Certain areas of the city were brought to a complete halt. Major roadways closed down. They would stand there, thousands of them, calmly, still, stubbornly resistant to any common coercion. Scientists said they were a new species, but they didn't understand why or how the beasties had gone unnoticed until now, or why they were suddenly drawn to major population centers, highways, office parks, shopping centers. Anywhere, it was said, they were most unwanted and most in the way.

Collectively they emitted a sound in a subtle frequency that had peculiar effects on some individuals. A tranquilizing reaction. Almost everyone could agree that the purr of the herds was pleasant, like that serene fugue you might slip into as a child, while you absentmindedly hum along in the same tone as a mundane appliance like a vacuum cleaner. An audio simpatico maybe, a lazy resonance.

He watched the truck pull away. Where would they be brought? The public distaste for violence against the beasties was clear. So often municipalities would, at night, laboriously ship them out. They didn't resist. He wondered, would they be loaded onto ships and sent to a distant, barren island? There were too many of them now for this, there were more and more every month. He was drawn to them.

He decided instantly, impulsively, to find out where they were going. Several more trucks were lined up for departure. He ran to the back of the line and the back of the last truck. He pulled himself up the gate and then squeezed in over the lip. He could tell they were close, all around him. They were warm and the fur smelled like wet grass. He pressed himself against the side of the truck and the shoulder of a one of them. He couldn't move or twist upwards to see the face above him but he soon felt a wide, rough tongue gently licking the top of his head. With a jolt the truck drove forward.