Layower stormed into the house after a disastrous day of school.
“Bad day?” Dad asked.
“Extremely,” Layower replied, flinging himself onto the sofa.
“What happened?” Mum asked.
“Oh the usual, got blamed for setting the school turtle free, got threatened by the older boys,” Layower replied.
“That’s not right,” Dad said.
“They were just idle threats,” Layower replied. “Anyway, I’m going to the farm.”
“What about your homework?” Mum asked. Layower had a pile of homework he’d decided to leave until later.
“I’ll take it with me,” Layower replied. He dropped some jotters into his school bag and went out the door.
After he’d left, Mum said, “William, I’m getting worried about him. Getting blamed for setting the school turtle free! He’s being bullied."
“I know. How about I arrange an appointment with his headmaster?” Dad replied.
“That would be good,” Mum said.
Layower tripped into a ditch on his way to the farm so he arrived soaking wet. His Aunt got 5 hairdryers to dry him off!
His Aunt was called Bella. His Uncle was called Robert. Aunt Bella was his Mum’s sister. She’s met Robert on a trip to New Zealand and he’d convinced her to move in with him on his farm. They’d had one son, but he’d moved away to go to University years ago.
“Could you go and collect some eggs from the hen house?” Uncle Robert asked. “And then could you move Van into the field I told you about yesterday?”
“Sure,” Layower replied. Van was their only cow, and Layower wondered why she was named that.
He put the eggs into the fridge and moved Van out of her current field. A rabbit ran past him as he did that. There were a lot of rabbits on the hill. It really annoyed his Aunt and Uncle but he couldn’t see why.
Then all of a sudden Van screamed an agonising scream and fell onto the ground. Layower saw she’d tripped on a rabbit hole. Her leg was bleeding.
“What happened?” Uncle Robert shouted. “I heard the scream.”
“Van tripped!” Layower said.
“It looks broken!” cried Aunt Bella.
“Layower, I suggest you go home now,” Uncle Robert said, looking angry. Layower wanted to argue but he knew not to cross his uncle. He collected his unfinished homework and left.
There was no vet in Neyunn. The nearest vet was many miles away, and very expensive. Van needed a vet to recover, and was in a lot of pain. Uncle Robert had to shoot her to put her out of misery the next day.
Layower was very upset. He’d loved that cow. She was roughly the same age as him. He’d remembered in previous visits to Neyunn that he’d spend hours talking with her. And her death was his fault…
His Aunt and Uncle were less happy about him going to visit. They made him do easy jobs and most of the time he did nothing. He started going less and less until he eventually stopped altogether. The farm used to be the only thing he enjoyed in life. Without that he had nothing to be happy about. He still had 11 months until he moved.
© Copyright 2016 Mathew Nicolson. All rights reserved.
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