The Knackerman

This was a short story which made it hard to get to know the characters very well, but perhaps, that is why it led to so many questions, why, what, where and when?

Cows weren't just dying of disease on the Andriss Scott's Farm. They were dying of something else, something unexplainable. Benny Davis was a "knackerman". Benny was 60, with a weather worn face and he walked with a limp. He had fought in Laos along with Jimmy Wales. Jimmy didn't make it and he lies under a Vatica tree over there.

Benny took the dead calves and pulled the winch handle and struggled to get the cow up on the ramp and into the knackertruck bed. The cow looked different. I thought what could be wrong with a dead cow? Benny saw holes in the body, the edges of the skin being different. They weren't normal, they'd been cut. Something was definitely wrong.

While Benny was looking at the cow, a little girl stood behind him watching. She wore stained pants and a jean jacket. She held on to a dirty, hand-made doll. She told Knackerman there were dancing lights in the sky and the poor cows were taken. The little girl was rather odd. To me she seemed creepy. Could she be the culprit?

This cow was about to have a calf. No dried blood around the circular hole below the left shoulder. The triangular wound was deep but bloodless. The smell was a strange, rancid smell with a sweetness about it. The odor didn't seem to bother the little girl. What was wrong with this little girl?

The second cow was diseased. A wave of nostalgia came over Benny as he walked past the post and beam barn. Jimmy's face rose before him. Benny knew why. The wind swept through the fallout field. It looked just like where Jimmy was buried.

Benny speaks to the owner, Andriss. They talk about military stories and Benny starts to feel better. Benny saw a familiarity in Andriss' features. Was he related to Jimmy? While they talked, Corina came in and said, "They're back". What did she mean, who's back?

Andriss told his daughter, they were stars. Corina said, "No, Daddy, not those." Corina went in the direction of the field. They reached the barn and found the cows were disturbed. Andriss had stopped dead in his tracks. Then Benny saw it too. Lights, hundreds of them, in the sky. There were many, many colors and they were dancing.

How did the dead cows and the dancing lights fit into the story? Was it aliens, the mind playing tricks or someone playing tricks on them? What started Knackerman's life to go down this strange path?

Questions, lots of questions are left in the readers head.

Book Blurb for The Knackerman

Benny the knackerman collects dead animals from farms and delivers them to be processed. He's old and feels useless, but carries on with his unusual job because he knows more about it than anyone. Cattle are usually dead of disease or injury, but not on Andriss Scott's farm. Upon arrival at Scott's home, standing next to mutilated cattle, Benny finds a little girl, Corina, who tells him there were dancing lights in the sky and the poor cows had been "taken." Confused, Benny speaks to the farmer, Andriss, and is put at ease by swapping military service stories and the farmer's calm demeanor. A short story.

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2012 3.00