YOU short story: Desperate Times

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You short story (Illustration: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
You short story (Illustration: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

In what has become a morning ritual, Amos slings the gun over his shoulder, opens the front door and peers into the dawn sky. Unsurprisingly, there isn’t even a wisp of a cloud anywhere on the horizon. The night is rapidly fading against the rising sun in a defeated, bruised purple. Despite the hour, it’s unseasonably warm.

Amos surveys the barren landscape of cracked brown earth which used to be carpeted by lush, verdant pasture. He sighs, berating himself for daring to hope that today would be any different. He should’ve learned by now that hope is the worst kind of torture – especially when repeatedly going unfulfilled.

His despair still hasn’t abated by the time he steps into the barn. Usually, the gentle lowing of the cattle soothes him, but this time, it angers him as he looks at their vanishing frames, their protruding ribs etched against their hides. He has already lost some of the herd to this drought; their starved, sickly carcasses picked bare by vultures and other predators feasting on the famished. Piles of bones are scattered across the desiccated land, the only memorials to the fact that their owners had ever existed at all.

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