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    Vikki
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The story has some explicit contents and graphic details. Along with nudity and profanity. Reader discretion recommended.

Men in Paradise - 14. Chapter 14 - The Livestock

Animal-rearing evolved from hunter-gatherer lifestyles during the cultural transition to settled agricultural societies. When their breeding and living conditions are regulated by humans, animals are domesticated. The collective behavior, lifecycle and physiology of livestock have dramatically changed over time. In the wild, many modern farm animals are unsuited to life. Dogs were domesticated early; dogs appeared around 15,000 years ago in Europe and the Far East. In Southwest Asia, goats and sheep were domesticated in several events sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago. By 8,500 BC in the Near East and 6,000 BC in China, pigs were domesticated. Horse domestication dates back around 4000 BC. Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7000 BC. In the 1380s, at Blithfield Hall, Bagot goats were introduced to England. By the return of the Crusaders, they were presumably brought back to England, and probably trace their ancestry to the goats of the Rhone valley.

Sakthi's PoV

It started snowing. White cotton like objects started falling from the sky one after another. I saw purple and yellow striped birds flying away from the tall tree next to us. A guy from a tropical region and had to live under blazing sun throughout the year, snowfall is unseen or unheard of. I am not sure about Justin, but the rest of us were awestruck by it. We stood there at the front porch of our house and watched it like an unprecedented event.

"Does Paris get similar snowfall?" Jai asked Justin.

"I have been to Paris only once during my high school days. But yes, they do get snowfall heavier than this" Justin replied to him with a goofy smile.

"What do you mean by heavier than this? It's super cold out here already" Afridi asked him in disbelief. His tooth was already shattering.

"It pours down literally. It will cover the roads and freeze the water. This is just light snowfall" Justin replied to him. He put his arms over Afridi's shoulder for warmth.

I saw Afridi was not comfortable with it, he slightly moved away from him. But yet stayed closer to Justin.

"We get heavy rainfall in our state Kerala. But I have never seen a snowfall. I have seen mist though" Jai said.

"Yes, in Dubai too. But we do not have rainfall as much" Afridi added.

“How about Louisiana?” Jai asked Afridi.

“I live in New Orleans, the climate is moderate there, we do get heavy rainfall, but no snowfall” Justin replied.

Back home in Chennai, we have the longest summer and shortest winter. People even die due to the heat and humidity during summer. But the climate on that island was an absolute wonder. Last couple of months we have seen heavy rainfall and it’s snowing now.

“Are we somewhere in Europe or Canada? The climate here is somewhat like those places, isn’t?” I asked Justin.

“Yeah, that’s what I am guessing too” Justin replied calmly.

The thought that we were stranded somewhere remote in Europe or North America was baffling.

“How do we get out of here?” Afridi asked us. A question that was circulating in our minds too.

“It has been months, we haven’t seen a ship or boat or any other means of transport” Jai said as a matter of fact.

“Maybe we should build a boat and try to sail away. Either we die here alone or at least try to escape from here” Afridi said it casually.

In fact, what he said made more sense then. We realized, we had to find a way out of our comfort zone to get out of that place.

“I think we should wait till winter gets over. We never know if we are stranded somewhere in the Arctic or Antarctica which will freeze during winter. It could be dangerous to sail on the sea this time” Justin raised his suspicion.

“Well, then let’s wait for a few more weeks and then we will leave this place” I told them.

I heard Afridi’s sigh of relief. Yes, all of us were desperate to get out of that island and go back home sooner.

That evening, I was sitting with Justin having our one last tea in front of the bonfire. We were running out of milk powder and sugar we found from the food container. Cold was terrible, roughening our skin and shutting our eardrums. Our clothes were not adequate for a winter like that. Many thanks to those businessmen who travelled on the flight and brought blazers for their business meetings. We used those blazers and modified them using the small knife to fit us. Though they weren’t sufficient enough, especially in the evenings which were nasty while we at work in the farm and gatherings before the light went out. But gladly, we had a loft with bamboo mats to keep us warm at night. Jai brought sacks from coconut trees and stitched together like a wall carpet around us which provided extra protection.

"This is bad omen" I told Justin with deep concern.

"Don't worry, we will get through" He answered calmly as he always did.

"How about the crops and vegetables? Will it wither due to this weather?" I asked him.

"I have a plan" he winked his eye at me.

He started executing his plan in the morning. He tore down the airbags we were using as beds and brought a few more torn down air bags from the rocks and stitched it together into three large rubber sheets.

He used it like a low hanging roof above the farm and garden by tying it with wooden sticks in its corner and planted it. Since that evening until winter we gathered woods and dead leaves to burn it around the farm and garden.

It was hell a lot of work but crops and many garden plants survived that winter. We didn't have to water it daily. The snow at night and occasional showers took care of it.

Before the winter spoils down some of those edible plants we marked at the forest to grow in our garden, we decided to go and pick it up. We carried enough bags and might be too many and marched into the forest.

Afridi looked funny with his outfits. He was wearing all sorts of clothes including an oversized blazer and a blanket. His head and face were completely covered in clothes except his eyes.

"Dude, we are not going for a bank robbery" Jai teased him.

We burst into laughter.

"Huh" Afridi just ignored his tease and continued walking as if he were going to a battlefield.

Justin put his arm over Afridi and marched with him.

"They have become thick and thin," Jai said to me.

"Like blood brothers, An Arab and a White boy" I replied with a grin.

Jai held my hand, reminding me symbolically that we were blood brothers too.

It took an hour for us to collect the plants we needed. Justin said he saw a jackfruit tree somewhere closer to the mountain. So, we marched further.

When we reached a few feet close to the mountain slope. I saw clouds above were moving faster. Some of the trees on the slope were tall. Mountain valley looked like a green blanket. I saw something in white and black with a huge thorn over its head, they were a bunch of them in varied sizes eating grass on the mountain slope. I remembered Justin once told me he saw a deer in the forest, probably they have climbed down the mountains due to extreme cold.

I pulled Justin and Afridi who were walking in front of us.

"Look" I pointed my finger at the animals to Justin.

He turned his head to the direction I showed and saw it.

We saw those animals from a distance, a minimum of 200 feet. So, they looked like a tiny creature to our eyes.

Justin took a close observation on them with eyes narrowed down to recognize them.

"Are they deer as you mentioned earlier?" I asked him.

"No, they are not deer. The one I saw earlier was brown with even bigger size than those" He told me.

"Then what are they?" Afridi asked him out of curiosity.

"I think they are wild goats" He said with still some doubts in his mind.

"Wow, Really!" Afridi might have imagined a full course lamp meal already.

“How did they come here?” I asked Justin.

“May be the same way the jungle fowls were brought to this island by people who lived here earlier” Justin told me.

“Where did those mysterious people go?” Afridi asked him.

Well, that was one question we were yet to find an answer. The Mysterious people who lived on that island for years, had settlements, cattle and even left their marks all over the island were vanished completely, not even leaving a single bone on that island.

"Just in case, let's move closer and find it out" Justin brought me back from my thoughts.

They were in fact goats, but not the regular ones we see at home. They looked different with their huge, curved thorns. Their body color was white. Their head and shoulders were complete black. They were called Bagot, Justin informed us. One of the rarest breeds in the world today, mostly living in Scotland, Ireland, and few other regions in Northern Europe.

"They are the oldest surviving goat breeds since ancient times. This is remarkable" Justin said.

We kept our voices low and moved like a whisper to make sure we were not grabbing their attention.

"How did they come here?" Jai asked Justin.

"They could be living here for centuries or brought by some sea adventurers for a long time. I don't know" Justin said.

"How did people who lived here came to this remote island?" Jai asked him.

"Almost most of these deserted islands have been visited by sailors and adventurers already. Until a couple of centuries ago, it was like a mission to sail around the oceans to look for new lands, but I have no idea how and when people came to this island and what happened to them after that" Justin answered him.

“They were killed by a mysterious creature on this island. It ate their bones too leaving no evidence” Afridi told us as if he was narrating a mythological story.

"Dude, you have seen too many Spielberg's movies" Jai teased him again.

Justin ignored Afridi’s remarks and continued saying "Bagot can be tamed and domesticated. We could use it as livestock for meat, milk and fiber".

That's it. We knew what to do next. We derived a battlefield plan to capture our targets and take them safe and alive back to the hut.

It was a battlefield indeed. They were wild and scared unlike the domesticated goats we have known in the real world. They ran and scattered around the moment they saw us. They used their sharp horns and legs to attack us for their escape.

It was like the oldest battle for survival between primitives and animals. Like our predecessors on the planet, we won. It was a brutal battle. We had scratches on our bodies. Our legs were tired of running and our minds were exhausted. But then we needed them on that deserted island for us to live. They were our livestock. We captured eight goats which included three smaller ones, tied their legs, chopped their horns off and threw them alive inside our bags. Carrying heavy loads which weigh like hundred tons on our shoulders was not easy either. But we did it.

Fortunately, we did not destroy the temporary bamboo shelter we built a long time ago. Thanks to Jai, it was his idea not to destroy them. We locked the goats inside the shelter. They were screaming, but we knew we would domesticate them in no time and make them part of our lives.

Jai and Afridi went to cut grasses near the water stream to feed the goats.

Even though we couldn't find the Jackfruit tree, we got something better than them. Justin and I discussed more about our livestock and I took tips for goats gracing from Justin.

The other two boys returned with collected grass and plants. We watched feeding them to our beloved goats, our new arrivals.

"There could be more living in the mountains," Afridi said.

"Yes," Justin replied.

Afridi picked one of the lambs, it might have been a few months older. Its eyes were staring at Afridi in fear. Afridi fondly caressed its head. In return the lamp placed its head on his chest and lay on his lap comfortably.

“Can I name it as MJ?” Afridi asked Justin.

We smiled. Afridi with a lamb on his lap was one photographic moment, unfortunately we didn’t have a camera.

Justin examined the goats and said, "I think this one has recently delivered a baby, it can provide us milk”.

"Really?" Afridi asked him in astonishment.

"Yep, we can milk it everyday" he replied to him with his usual goofy grin.

"Teach me how," Afridi said. That surprised all, a city boy who lived his life on social media showing interest, but then he was not the same boy we met on the first day. Life had changed everyone on that island.

Justin picked an empty half coconut and started milking the goat.

Jai and I began our garden work in front of the hut. We used the bamboo stick to loosen the soil and started putting various seeds we had. We ensured it has been seeded in separate places within the garden with respect to their types and categories. I planted pumpkins, melons, egg plants and cassava we found from the forest.

Jai went inside and brought back a note and a pen. I did not know where he got it from. He marked and labeled each of those planted areas by its name on a paper board.

"Maybe we can have a banana plantation here on the other side of the house, so that we don't have to go to the water stream every day," Jai said.

I agreed, we didn't do the banana plantation that day. We were starving already, hence we need to cook food for our late lunch.

"Pumpkins" Jai said with a smile.

Lately, Jai and I were getting to understand each other by heart. We barely needed many words to communicate.

"Pumpkins, it is" I echoed.

Jai lit the fire. I sliced open the pumpkin a bit and inserted flour mix along with added sauce and mayonnaise.

"Will it be good?" Jai asked me.

"Let's see," I told him.

Just in case, Jai cut a few melons and kept them on a banana leaf.

"Who wants Milk?" Afridi came running towards us with a scream, carrying the empty coconut on his hand.

"We don't have sugar anymore, it's finished," I told him.

"Man," Afridi said, trying to hide his disappointment.

Yes, we were running out of things too. As much as we got new food sources and expected it to yield us regular food supply, but for a short period of time, we had very little to survive that winter.

Copyright © 2021 Vikki; All Rights Reserved.
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I am publishing my story here on experimental basis. Readers feedback and comments are most welcome

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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