You walk into the barn and creek the door closed behind you. Light shines through the roof shingles as hay flutters from the loft. Your foot crinkles down into the ground among the fallen grains and straw.
Along the wall on your right several pens are lined up next to each other. You walk alongside, questioning their vacancy. The railing is cold, but you keep your hand sliding as you shuffle down the barn aisle. You squeeze between a parked tractor and the railing and once you release yourself from its grasp you find yourself standing at the last pen in the row and meet two pairs of eyes staring back at you.
A ewe and her three lambs huddle in the far corner. Their eyes shine up at you, questioning. Her chest rises up and down, quickening as she inspects you. The lambs nuzzle closer into her wool.
She jolts up onto all four hooves. Her lambs hides underneath her and then fight for her teats: lunch time.
“Hello, mama,” you whisper now, squatting down to eye level. She continues to stare. Her eyes just shine at you in the shadows of the barn.
You reach your hand through the bars of the pen, stretching your arm as far as you can. But she doesn’t budge. With flaring nostrils, she continues to inhale the barn air, filling her lungs and quickly emptying them, waiting for your next move.
Crick crick crick
A gray cat pounces onto your back and onto the tractor. You shoot up to stand and watch as the cat sits on the tractor tire and the sheep sprints to the opposite end of the pen nearly trampling her lambs.
You back away out of the back door and close it shut behind you.