Until They Come Home

Same shit, different day – I thought to myself as I woke up to the sound of roosters yelling their lungs out. It was the first thing I heard every morning, as far as I could remember. That’s what life is like for a prisoner right? Wake up, take a shit, go for breakfast, head out to the fields with the rest of them, work until sundown and head back to my cell to sleep. Wake up and repeat the same thing the next day. And the next day. It was an endless cycle.

Today was no different. Life in prison wasn’t like in the movies (at least not the ones I’ve caught glimpses of during my walks past the guards’ break rooms). There was hardly any abnormal activity. Nobody planned any break outs, nobody formed any gangs or shanked each other. We were all very docile and peaceful. We came to terms with our life imprisonments very early on in our lives. As far as I knew, the majority of my prison-mates were like me – born and bred here. We didn’t get a fair trial or any hope of being let out.

So like everyone else, I just kept my head down and did my duties. Talking was frowned upon, so we kept our mouths shut and kept to ourselves. We only chit chatted at night and during our meals. But conversation was limited as we didn’t really know what to talk about. Being prison babies tends to have that effect. We couldn’t talk about what we did in the outside world because we hadn’t been outside before.

I had resigned my life to the this place, working to the bone for the rest of my life. “If you get out of here, what’s the first thing you’ll do?” That was one of the most common questions we’d ask each other from time to time. The answer would always be “I don’t know.”

So, like the rest of them, I’d sometimes wonder what life would be like on the outside. Past the fences, over the green hills and rolling plains. What would it be like to run free under the sun, rolling around in the grass? Breathing in the fresh air and not worrying about having to work again. Would it smell different on the other side? Would the air be cleaner? Will water taste sweeter? Nobody who left ever came back to visit to let us know what it was like.

The bell signaling the end of the day rang out. It was time to head back to my cell. Wind down a bit, and relax my sore muscles before I shut my eyes. The night was cool tonight. Great weather to sleep in. Some of my cellmates were already in dream land.

Using my horns, I dug a hole in the ground and made a pillow of hay. This would be my bed for the night. I lowered my belly into the hole and tucked my legs under my body. My neck and chin rested on the pillow and I closed my eyes. Thoughts of the outside world drifted through my mind again. “The grass is always greener on the other side,” a common phrase I’ve heard all too many times. Maybe one day I’ll find out. One day.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: You are in a prison camp setting, looking through the eyes of the male protagonist. He has lived his life in this camp. You realize, only at the end, that he is a cow.

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