Copyright (C) 2012 George Berger, all rights reserved
cover art by Vanessa Matte
His origins were a complete mystery, even to himself. This was not to say that he was in any way special; he'd come into the world in the usual way, undoubtedly, to a mother and a father who probably could have come to care about him, in the fullness of time. That at least was what he told himself, late at night under the stars, when he'd get a little maudlin, sometimes, and reflect back on everything that had happened to him over the years. His mother, at least, could probably have loved him, if she'd been given the chance. His mother; he should have felt warmth and comfort at the mere thought of her, should have felt some remembered happiness... should have felt something. Anything. But he didn't; he thought about his mother, and felt nothing at all. He couldn't remember a single thing about her, not even what she'd looked like or how she'd smelled, and he worried about that, now and then.
Wherever and under whatever unknown circumstances he'd come into the world, his first memories, his strongest memories, his happiest memories, were of Amanda. Amanda, with the gentle hands. Amanda, with the beautiful, musical laugh. Amanda, with the amazing flaxen hair and the wonderful chestnut eyes. Amanda, who smelled, without fail, of an intoxicating blend of green apples and exotic, fresh-cut flowers. She'd loved him, taken care of him, day by day, for almost a year. They'd been the most remarkable months of his life, and, coming to love her in return with every ounce of his still-growing self, he had been, there towards the end, the absolutely happiest goat on earth.