Disappearing - Jennifer Baljko

“Crawl under the pot. Hurry. They won’t see you there.” Maybelle nudged Margo toward the corral where the rest of the cows were munching straw. Margo, who fancied herself more a cow than a chicken (an identity confusion that started after Margo’s family disappeared shortly after she cracked through the shell), wanted to trust Maybelle. She hadn’t been wrong before. This time, though, the pot seemed to small for Margo’s fluffy bum and her neck was longer, making it harder for her to crouch down completely out of view.

She had seen others around the field simply vanish. Maybelle called them the unlucky ones, the tasty ones. She had instructed Margo not to graze on the fine corn meal they kept scattering around. Maybelle had long ago calculated that eating too much of what those, those, uh, humans – yeah, that’s what she called them - directly correlated to the increased number of missing animals a few weeks later. Maybelle had figured out how to beat the system, and Margo was the latest one Maybelle took under her udder.

“Just squeeze in there. I’ll come over in a second and pretend I found something to nibble on over there.” It was Margo’s last chance. The loud little one was gaining speed as she ran downhill. She was the cute one, but still Maybelle had her doubts about that human’s long-term integrity.