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When Animals Attack
Sunlight filtered through the branches of trees that lined a worn path leading from a small clearing to a quaint, peaceful cabin. The surrounding woods were eerily quiet, the sound of recent gunfire silencing the birds that had been happily chirping their morning song and sending them fleeing their treetop perches in search of safety. Everything was completely still; nothing moved.
"You killed it," Sara Sidle said accusatorily, having already visually scanned the crime scene and concluded that her preliminary findings were enough to render a guilty judgment against the suspect.
Sofia Curtis stood, smoking gun still in hand, to the side of the kneeling CSI and stared down at the dead goat, its once snarling, mad-like features slack and innocent-looking in its lifeless repose. "It attacked me!" she said in her defense and motioned to the crowd of onlookers that had gathered near the perimeter to watch. "Just ask them."
Sara glanced up from her study of the carcass and turned her attention to the dozens of blues eyes and a few dark ones that watched them warily but with a definite interest. She snorted derisively. "Yeah, right, like any of them can shed any light on the murder."
"Murder?" Sofia's voice rose in righteous indignation. Sara had gone too far. "That thing," Sofia said, shaking her spent gun at the dead goat, "has been stalking me for days. It waited until I'd almost returned from my morning run before it decided to attack."
"Why today? Why'd it wait until our last day of vacation?" Sara asked, sounding more like a district attorney than a concerned lover. When it came to animals, Sara lost all ability to reason, only seeing the final outcome and not being able to fully consider other possibilities, such as Sofia being seriously injured by the crazed goat's attack. She always had to be jolted back into reality and Sofia was just the one to do it.
"Would you rather be kneeling over me and have psycho goat standing beside you?" Sofia asked pointedly, working hard to keep herself under control. She loved Sara, she really did, but at times, the other woman was almost too much work. Like now, being forced to have this inane 'discussion' over a shooting that was clearly self-defense, not to mention non-human in nature.
Sara looked from Sofia to the goat and back again. "No," she said softly, seeing for the first time the numerous scrapes and cuts on her lover's knees and arms. She reached out and gently touched the skin around a particularly deep-looking cut on Sofia's knee. "Are you okay?"
Sofia just smiled and offered her hand to Sara. "Yeah, but I wouldn't mind a little TLC, if you've got the time. We can bury the goat first."
Sara slipped her hand into Sofia's and allowed her lover to help her up. She looked down at the dead animal. "No, let's take care of you first. I'll come back and bury it once you're in the shower."
"Okay, sounds like plan," Sofia agreed and started toward the cabin, tugging Sara along beside her. She was pulled up short, however, when Sara stopped dead in her tracks.
"You think they're upset about their friend?" Sara nodded toward the semi-circle of goats that continued to keep their distance from their dead counterpart.
Sofia shrugged. "Guess we'll never know."
"Yeah," Sara said dejectedly. "Too bad we can't communicate with them."
Three bleats sounded in almost perfect unison right on the heels of Sara's regret.
Sofia tilted her head and looked out at the three goats that had stepped forward to seemingly reply directly to Sara. A pure white goat, a black one with a white dot on its forehead, and a rust-colored ram stared back. "I don't think we speak their language," Sofia finally said, although something about the way the goats were looking at them gave her a moment's pause.
Sara nodded sadly and snaked an arm around Sofia's waist. Leaning into her lover, she started back toward the cabin, matching Sofia stride for stride. Neither woman noticed the grateful smiles on the goats' faces as they slipped back under the cover of the trees.
Billy the Kid would never bother them again.
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