It's Valentine's Day.
We have killed 50 head of deer today and 12 cows. The bonfire is still burning. And probably will be for a couple of days.
Two days ago we were out hunting. Our first kill popped open like something from the Alien movies. But instead of one little beast, seven little monsters came out. They attacked Billy, but Mike was able to beat them off. I shot the little beasts as fast as Mike could get them off of Billy. They were each about the size of a possum. What they lacked in size they made up for in claws. Billy got away with only a few cuts thanks to Mike.
Really we should have known something was wrong when Mike brought it down. Its belly was huge. The skin stretched grotesquely over the belly, so bad the hair was no longer able to protect the skin from elements. Red patches of frostbite and scrapes riddled the doe's sides. Since then we have made it point to take down any deer that just looks a little too pregnant. We then burn the bodies before the fuckers can escape. They usually seem to take about half an hour to wake up after the host is dead so we have time to get them taken care of. Wandering cattle are given the same treatment.
But this presents a problem. Deer and cattle are our primary source of meat now. Of the 62 animals we have killed only two were not infected. Katherine assures us that eating the meat will not transfer that "infection" to us as long as the meat is cooked. But by the time the beasts are ready to come out, the meat is ruined. We tried eating some of it and it was foul. Not even Emily would touch it.
Mike has noticed some aberrant behavior that will clue us in to an infected animal. Cattle become solitary, shunning the company of the herd, while the herd also shuns the infected cow. It will stop allowing calves to suckle and in fact its milk dries up. Deer become aggressive and attack any other animal that comes near it, even killing its own offspring.
Without large game we will have to rely on smaller animals. Katherine says she does not think that any creature smaller than a large dog can carry one of these to "term" as if we were talking about a pregnant animal and not a parasite. She thinks she can devise a vaccine for the animals so at least we can protect out local cattle. Not really a vaccine, but a drug like vets use for preventing worms in dogs and cats. She tried to explain the chemical processes but it just went over my head.
This was not how I wanted to spend the day. I had plans for the evening with Beverly, but right now, all I want is a shower and to go bed. I don't even want to eat. The thought of eating, especially meat, makes me feel somewhat ill.
Back from my shower.
I just wanted to check the radio. The CB transmissions from Springfield have stopped. I don't know what that means. Have not heard a peep from them since about a week after we got back from rescuing Kyle.
I feel much better since my shower, and I think I see Beverly coming out from the church.
Maybe we can salvage Valentine's Day after all.
© 2009 R. Keith McBride