elephantsThe baby elephant suckled his mother as she grazed near the back of the herd. The morning sun felt good on his back. It was warm, but not yet too hot.

He felt the movement and heard the nervous sounds of the herd around him before he heard the foreign sound himself: the mechanical rumbling of the four-wheeled vehicle quickly approaching.

His mother finally turned her attention from the grass to the ruckus. She glanced at the jeep filled with two-legged creatures holding long thin weapons. She then turned to him, signaling him to move as she rushed to join the already-running herd.

The jeep quickly caught up with them. He heard a loud bang, followed by another and another. He could no longer feel his mother moving beside him. He turned in time to see her body fall and crash to the ground. Her eyes were open and she was breathing hard, struggling to regain her footing. He bent over her, rubbing his trunk along her face.

One more shot rang out, and his mother stopped moving. He heard the roars of the other elephants calling for him when three of the two-legged creatures walked toward them. He backed away but still faced his mother.

One of the men still carried a weapon, but the other two carried another large instrument. They approached his mother and began sawing off her long beautiful tusks. They took her tusks back to the jeep and sped away without so much as looking back at him.

He went to his mother, but he knew she was not really there anymore. He stared at the bloody spots on her body and head where her tusks used to be. He tried to nurse her, but it was difficult. She was lying in an awkward position and she did not have much milk left.

He stayed with her until one of the other cows came for him. She wrapped her trunk over his back and motioned him ahead toward the rest of the herd. He glanced back at his mother but followed the other elephant dutifully. When they reached the rest of the herd, he looked back. He could still see his mother’s body lying on the flat grassland. The sun was high overhead now.


About mcbarlow5

37-year-old working mom in KY
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