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Stephen W. Cote

Copyright Stephen W. Cote 2012

Published at Smashwords

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The herds were thinning, always thinning, and today especially lean.  Quotas must be met, measured in kilo of crop-fed prol.  Stupid prols lapped up taint as though the poison sweetened the grass.  Rancid meat wouldn't save them.  Herds must be culled of taint.  If meat wouldn't fill one quota, it could fill another.

Murdet adjusted the plastic mask to sit the groove worn into his cheekbone.   He tightened worn straps, the plastic stretched from repeated use, and unsheathed the machete.   Pinching the electrolarynx against his corroded voicebox, he spun the volume dial to zero.

"Quota," was all the law required him to say.  It didn't stipulate the prol had to hear it. 

The prol stirred in its stall, asleep.  Murdet raised the blade and cleaved into its neck.  The dull edge broke skin and fractured bone.  The prol woke, opened its mouth for what Murdet thought might become a blood-curdling scream, and he swung a second time.  That kept it quiet.  Following a third strike the prol ceased flailing. Blood trickled from its mouth, spurted from the neck wound. 

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