Saturday, January 06, 2007
New Beginning 181
Sheep were good at dying. Considering each sheep could only do it once, so practice was hard to get, they showed real natural talent for being found stiff in the field with their legs in the air, or collapsing in the barn, looking at Laura reproachfully--You're the human, you do something!--before shuddering to a dead stop. They died as expertly as teenagers in a horror film.
Laura looked over at the not-yet-dead sheep, clumped against the fence in an untidy heap of dirty wool, as if they were piling themselves into a knitted replica of Mount Don in the distance, then looked down at the biologist who crouched among the grassy tussocks and scatters of sheep-droppings. “I wasn't raised on a farm, Mr. Rennie,” she said, brushing back a strand of faded blonde hair, limp in the heat. “I used to think sheep were soft fluffy things, like big stuffed toys. I guess my husband thought so too, when he bought the business.”
Rennie looked at Laura, a humorless smile on his face. “You’re not the first city folk to be misled. They’re evil creatures. They lure you in with their soft, white fleeces and gentle bleating--”
A sudden noise behind them, and Rennie spun around. He raised his shotgun and fired off a shot. “It was about to lunge,” he said. “A Scottish Blackface. They’re the worst. They hunt in packs. There’ll be more of ‘em around here somewhere.”
“Of course there will. It's a sheep ranch.” Laura looked around. “Why there must be--”
“No! Don’t count 'em, ma'am. That’s how they get you. You’ll be unconscious in no time.”
Rennie glanced around nervously. “The contamination is an STD,” he said. “It has to be cut off at the source. The ram.” He picked up his shotgun.
“But we don't have a ram.”
The biologist closed his eyes. “I was afraid you'd say that,” he said. He stood up, and for the first time Laura noticed how thin and tired the man looked. Although his shoulder holster looked worn in places, his German Luger looked as deadly a force for decontamination as when Laura had first seen it.
Rennie threw down the shotgun and pulled out the Luger. He felt the weight of her gaze and sighed. “I wish there was another way, ma'am. Don't take it personal. Now where's your husband?”
Laura resignedly led the way.
Opening: batgirl.....Continuation: ril, Lp