It was a long drive to Salem and the scenery spread across the hilly terrain made the ride more worthwhile. It was a vacation planned long time ago by the family of four. The Father needed a break from meeting clients, the Mother needed a break from the classrooms, the smell of chalk powder and unruly schoolkids, Boy-A needed a break from peering into the computer and working on complex software codes and meeting deadlines, Boy-B needed a break from mugging up complex chemical equations and twelfth grade calculus and theory of relativity.
All was going as per the plan, the shining Sun and the lush green fields, and the majestic blue mountain gave the boys enough reasons to keep clicking on their camera, the playlist of songs blaring from the stereo was endless and the road was long and desolated. It was a perfect start to the vacation, and they had a complete control over the itinerary. They were closing in on the nearest town, a sleepy little town where people seemed to be living life at their own pace, it was a Sunday- more the reason to stay indoors and laze around. "Hungry anyone?" asked the Father, the boys reluctantly nodded their heads in unison. The shops in this town were few and far between, and there were fewer people thronging the streets. The Father parked the car on the sidewalk and stepped out to get something to eat, the Boys were busy meddling with the stereo remote changing the songs being played, the Mother was busy going through a magazine. Within that car they were in the comfort of their own little world where all was hunky dory, they were cocooned from the outside world and oblivious to what was happening outside. All seemed rosy until they heard the bleat of the Goat.
The Goat was being led by a big burly man to his small shop, his little boy who seemed to be not more than a ten year old was sharpening the blade with a glee. He was going to witness his father's mastery with the blade, he was seeking a pleasure in helping his father out with his job in what he felt was a honest day's work. The Goat was tied to a tree nearby, and the Butcher was now examining the goat expertly, estimating what part of the Goat will fetch him more money. The Goat knew that death is inevitable, it will die on a Sunday, mercilessly. The Goat bleated with fear, it knew it was living its final moments. When you know death is inevitable, and you will meet it in the most violent of ways imaginable what goes through your mind?
"Of all the parking space available on the road he had to park near a butcher's shop!" the Mother thought. The helpless bleats of the Goat had pierced through their cocoon and had pulled them back to the world outside. Welcome to the world outside. The boys fidgeted uneasily, they rolled up the windows, they turned up the volume on the stereo, yet they could not drown away the vision of the Goat and its helpless bleats from their mind. Boy-A silently cursed "Bastard", silent enough for the Mother to hear it who normally would never allow any kind of swearing in her presence, but this time she chose to turn a deaf ear just like they were turning a blind eye to what was happening in front of them. There was nothing they could do to save the Goat, the Butcher was making a living out of a killing, a killing that was deemed as an "honest way of living" by the society.
Boy-A turned his face away focusing towards the scenic Mountain and the stream flowing between it, but how can one steer away their minds from what was happening in front of them? Boy-B prayed for the Father to come soon, although he had been away for hardly five minutes it seemed like an eternity. The Goat's life would be taken from it piece by piece, measured swishes of the blade would end the Goat's life in minutes. Its remains would later be devoured as "food" garnished with salt and pepper and other spices. If animals are beasts, then men are monsters. The Father came just in time, and the Boys and their Mother heaved a silent sigh of relief. They could move on from here without witnessing the slaughter. The Father was too busy discussing the routes to take asking for their opinion, but all the other three could think of was the Goat that was left behind.