“Do you hear what I hear?”
Cow chews on her cud and shakes her head at Sheep.
“Dog and Cat at it again,” Sheep whispers. “Listen.”
Cow stops chewing and strains her ears. Faint growls and yowls can be heard from the other side of the barn. She sighs and begins to chomp once again.
Sheep chuckles. “What do you think it’s about this time?”
“I want nothing to do with this gossip,” mutters Cow. “It’s none of my business and it’s certainly none of yours.”
“Oh, but it is. I answer to that bloody sheepdog, see. The more dirt I can get on her, the better.”
“But you won’t want to face Cat’s wrath when he hears you’ve been spreading rumours about him. Have you ever been on the wrong side of his claws? Not pretty.”
“Aren’t you curious, though? I’ve never seen two animals despise each other quite so much.”
“They’re a dog and a cat.” Cow stomps her hooves. “They’re bound to come to blows.”
“They push each other’s buttons on purpose,” Sheep insists. “Like, Dog ate some of the scraps the farmer put out for Cat. Cat went wild. Cat peed all over the dog’s bed. Dog was fuming. And the insults they throw at each other. ‘Devil eyes.’ ‘Buttface.’ ‘Mange-meister.’ ‘Wolf Reject.’ That last one was pretty good, actually.”
Cow ignores Sheep’s cackling.
“And do you remember when Dog went through that period of interrupting every single one of Cat’s hunts? There were rats everywhere. The farmer threatened to kick the cat out for slacking on the job. And then, then, Dog actually helped Cat hunt to make sure the farmer let him stay. They hate each other, but they can’t bear the thought of not having the other to bicker with. I mean, what’s that all about?”
“They’re in love.”
Sheep’s eyes widen. “No!”
Cow curses herself, but she can’t shake the sheep’s gaze. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” she mutters. “Don’t you see what I see? The touching. The nuzzling. The flirting. Always at times when they think they’re alone. The arguing is just a cover-up. An attempt to deny to themselves how they truly feel.”
“Woah. ‘Cos if word got out that a dog and a cat were in love, the farm would go wild.”
“Huh. I’m impressed. I thought you didn’t want anything to do with gossip.”
“If you spent less time gossiping, Sheep, and more time listening and watching, you’d learn far, far more about this farm and its secrets.”
The crinkle of rustling hay stops the conversation short. Cow and Sheep turn their attention to the other side of the barn and soon spy Cat hopping over the top of a stack of bales, ginger fur dishevelled, whiskers askew. He slinks through the barn doors and out into the night.
“Do you think he heard us?” hisses Sheep.
Cow grunts. “I think he was too preoccupied to hear us.”
More rustling hushes them; the dog emerges from behind the stack of bales, panting heavily, black and white coat ruffled. She glances around the barn and her eyes land on the observing party.
“Evening,” says Cow.
“Nice night,” says Sheep brightly.
The dog growls. “I wasn’t here, okay?” She casts Sheep a pointed glare, shakes herself from nose to tail, then takes off.
“I can’t believe it,” whispers Sheep as Dog disappears into the dark of the night. “I’ve finally got dirt on that bitch! Wait ‘til the flock hears about this. Oh, it’s a nice night indeed.”
I write one new story each week inspired by a random song from my Spotify library. This week it was “Do You Hear What I Hear?” because it’s very nearly Christmas!