by Baxter Balick, Rype & Readi Contributing Writer, Flagler Sophomore College Student
It was a brisk, sunny morning at the Rype & Readi Farm; the rising sun heralded a day full of possibility, and the lack of any events being planned down the line meant that the farm’s inhabitants were all free to lay down, relax, and do whatever they-!
“Cole! Oh, thank goodness I found you!”
‘I’m never gonna finish grazin’ this field…’ Cole thought to himself with a roll of his eyes before raising his head to watch as Annabelle trotted up to him, her fur glistening with sweat. “What seems to be the problem, Annabelle?”
“The same problem as last time, I’m afraid…” Annabelle moaned wearily as she put a hoof to her forehead. “Have you seen Apollo anywhere? He’s trotted off and I can’t find him!”
The black bull responded with a derisive snort that shook him. “Ain’t seen hoof nor horn of the boy since yesterday, sorry. But are you sure you ain’t worrying too much over nothin’? He is a growin’ calf, and all calves gotta leave their mothers eventually.”
Annabelle affixed Cole with a dry glare. “He’s a month old!”
“So?” Cole questioned with honest curiosity. “That was how old I was when I left my ma.”
Annabelle hid a roll of her eye by glancing to the side. “And that explains so much.” She muttered to herself.
“What was that?”
“I said if you see our son, tell me!” she mooed over her shoulder in an irritable tone as she turned around and trotted away. Thankfully, Annabelle didn’t have to go far to come across someone else she could ask for help.
“Maybelline!” Annabelle exclaimed joyously, garnering the white cow’s attention. “Oh, you have no idea how happy I am to see you! Have you seen Apollo anywhere?”
Unfortunately, Maybelline’s reaction was less than encouraging, as she started to gnaw on her lip with worry. “No, but I think I’m starting to see a very disturbing trend.”
It took Annabelle a second to connect the dots, but once she did she felt all four of her stomachs drop. “Wait, you don’t mean-!”
“I’m afraid I do,” Maybelline shook her head miserably. “I can’t find little Noel, and Betsy and Zoey can’t find Rio or Zeus either. We’ve been looking all over, and we’re worried sick!”
Annabelle moaned miserably. “Ohhhh this is just terrible! We need to find them straight away. You check the geese pond, I’ll go and see if they’re stuck in any of the cow guards.”
“Will do,” Maybelline nodded in agreement before darting off.
The search goes on
A half hour of searching later, the situation had not improved too much.
“Oh dear oh dear oh dear…” Annabelle shook her head miserably as she wore a circle in the grass.
That is to say, not in the least.
“All right, let’s think, let’s think…” Annabelle muttered frantically. “Betsy checked with the sheep and at the farmhouse, Zoey at the pastures, Maybelline said they weren’t with the geese, and they’re definitely not in the cow guards or in the vegetable patches, so where could they… possibly…” Annabelle trailed off as a thought occurred to her, and she slowly turned her head towards the main barn with a grimace. “Oh, it couldn’t possibly be that easy…”
Thankfully for her sanity, a quick glance inside the ajar doors confirmed that indeed the barn was empty and it wouldn’t be that easy… but the sounds of mooing and laughter that were coming from behind the barn told her it would be pretty darn close.
Annabelle finds Apollo
Moving as fast as her hooves could take her, Annabelle trotted around the building and beheld… four calves standing around and cheering a bunch of snails?
“Yeah, woo! Go go go!”
“Come on, faster! Faster!”
“He’s gonna win! He’s gonna do it!”
“Just a liiiiitle bit more-!”
After a few seconds of stunned silence, Annabelle cleared her throat with emphasis, causing the calves to jump with yelps of shock, one particularly dark calf leaping extra high.
“M-mom!” Apollo stammered nervously as he eyed his mother. “H-how did you-!?”
“Apollo,” Annabelle silenced him with a single word, giving her son the evil eye. “I’ve just run myself ragged trying to find you, so you are going to explain yourself right this instant, young bull.”
The calf hung his head with a moo of shame. “I… I’m sorry, Mom… the other calves and I, we made this club, see? And we just wanted to hang out, race some snails. We didn’t mean to scare you…”
Annabelle maintained her glare… for all of a minute before letting it abate with a relieved sigh. “I’m just happy you’re safe, and it’s fine if you want to play with your friends, but… just make sure to tell us first, all right? We were all worried sick about you.”
Apollo smiled gratefully and moved in to hug his mother. “I’m sorry, Mom. I love you.”
“I love you too, Apollo. …by the way, you’re grounded until your first birthday.”
Editor’s Note: There really is a Calves Club at the Rype & Readi Farm though we haven’t actually spotted the young calves watching a snail race. We invite you to come out and get to know the animals! You’ll find that they each have their own quirky personality.
Downloadable Story Version: The Calves Club
Downloadable Coloring Page: Apollo