The Widow’s Milk

The sweet milk drew them to the widow, Mrs. Keller daily. Their lips silently spoke of thirst; a parching despair was evident each morning upon their arrival. Mrs. Keller smiled with each new sun as she watched them come in droves. She waited at the door of her barn, tin containers filled with the greenish-white cream. One by one, she’d fill each jug the locals brought. They’d leave with both their spirits, and wallets, much lighter.

They always asked to see the cows that produced her famed product. An off-kilter smile was the only response she ever gave. They talked in hushed rumors of what might be in that old, red outbuilding, what wonderous dairy cattle gave their delicious milk in secret. They imagined a majestic specimen, the fur a color never before seen by human eyes. Others argued she dyed the milk and put something in it for flavor, but they were buying it as well—thus it was unanimously agreed that wherever it came from, it was the very best.

Despite the general consensus on the milk’s quality, some were too intrigued to stay away. Their curiosity made them brave fools, ready to risk a gut full of buckshot at a chance to know. A plan formed, in preparation for the night of the month when the moon would be most dim. A group of three prepped their tools, headed out at nightfall, and waited, watching the barn and Mrs. Keller’s house.

Long after the lights went out, when all went quiet and they thought she must be asleep, they approached the barn. One cut the chain while the others held it and let it down lightly on the ground. They opened the barn doors just enough to slip inside and face the darkness within.

One of them lit the oil lantern they brought and revealed the source of their town’s milk; the commodity they so cherished—the near-godly nectar of some unknown animal’s bosom. Their faces went slack, as did their minds upon the ghastly sight that lay within Mrs. Keller’s barn. It was no cow that produced their prized milk, but a monstrosity they couldn’t have imagined.

In the stall at the far end, a man’s upper half was chained to the wall. His waistline was no more than a scarred line where stitches had once been. Below that, attached to that man, was something inhuman. Its physique didn’t recall anything they could identify. The flesh, if it could be called that, was dark and had the texture of motor oil. It stank of sulfur and burnt rubber. The three intruders held their noses and gagged against the stench.

The man attached to this multi-legged thing beneath howled in agony, raising both the attention and incalculable fear of the trio. His inexplicable bottom half began to shudder and heave. A slit of flesh opened up near its end, which they then noticed was attached to a hose. The human top wailed while that hose pumped green, viscous fluid into tin canisters lined against the other side of the barn.

When the event was over, the wretched smell intensified, and the man atop this beast fell to rest again. Two of the men heard a loud bang, something wet splashed the side of their faces. By the time they realized what happened, Mrs. Keller shot them as well.

As she began with a shovel to bury her unwanted guests, she had a thought: They may be the first to discover what became of my husband, but they most likely won’t be the last.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.


6 thoughts on “The Widow’s Milk

  1. This is one story about something a man was doing better than a woman. I probably shouldn’t say that. What a satisfyingly horrid story, Lee!\


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