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Killer Cows [MultiFormat]
eBook by D.M. Anderson

eBook Category: Young Adult/Science Fiction
eBook Description: Killer cows! They're big! They're angry! They smell bad! They're coming! The only thing standing in their way is a lonely 14-year-old, whether he's ready or not... Randy Meyer is the new kid in Satus Creek, a tiny farm town where nothing ever happens, and his days are filled with tedium. Then one summer afternoon, a meteor crashes nearby. It's just the first in a series of events that will not only change his life, but threaten the entire planet. Soon after, vicious cows are on the rampage all over the country, and they're not of this Earth! Armed with a newly-discovered flying saucer he doesn't know how to fly, and a misfit group of new friends he doesn't entirely trust, Randy is forced to grow up fast if he's going to make decisions that will not only help him fit-in with his new peers, but save the world from a fate worse than death!

eBook Publisher: Echelon Press/Quake, Published: 2010, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2010

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The planet was once a paradise, Grandfather used to say, a lush world with forests of the crispest green, seas of the deepest blue. William could only imagine how it once looked from pictures in history books. A muddy brown ball floated below, an ugly, dying world he should have been glad to leave behind.

But it was home.

He turned away from the viewscreen, unable to look any longer.

From his seat at the center of the bridge, he checked the computer monitor built into his armrest. The other ships drew near. In a matter of minutes they would converge at the rendezvous point and shortly after, leave their home's orbit never to return.

A gentle hand squeezed his shoulder. William glanced to Nadine, his wife, who smiled, but the sadness in her face reflected how he felt. How they all felt. They were the lucky ones, leaving behind millions of people who'd live the rest of their lives in slavery while the planet slowly expired.

Nadine brushed away a stray tear from his face.

The other ships slowly maneuvered into position. One by one, the captain of each vessel announced they were ready. William said, "You better take your seat, dear. It's just about time."

She took one last, longing look at the planet below, then gazed back at her husband. "What do you think our chances are?"

She asked the same question countless times, but he didn't mind. He responded with the same answer he always gave. "We have maybe ten years...that's when the groceries run out. I dunno...sixteen different convoys heading in different directions... There's a small chance one of us may succeed. In any case, if we do find a new world, it can't possibly smell worse than this one."

Hearing such long odds eased the guilt and sorrow she expressed about leaving behind those with no chance of survival. Their chances of finding a new world weren't much better. She took a nearby seat and strapped in.

William stared grimly ahead, then nodded to his helmsman. "Standard speed until we're in open space."

Confirming the order, the helmsman nodded obediently and the ship's engines increased in pitch, gathering speed.

William hit the reverse-view button on his console. He stared in solemn silence at the screen, his home slowly shrinking as they pulled out of orbit.

"Goodbye, Grandpa," he whispered.

* * * *

Chapter 1


They moved only twenty miles away from Portland, Oregon, but for Randy Meyer, Satus Creek might as well have been on the moon. Fourteen-year-olds couldn't just jump in a car and visit old friends whenever they wanted.

Old friends.

He grimaced. That's a laugh. He'd only known them for a few months before they moved again. They hardly qualified as old friends.

"For my new job," his mom told him. "A better job."

Same old story...a new job, a better job. If every new job was so much better, she should be the President, not waiting tables at Hefty's Truck Stop.

Satus Creek was the worst place yet. Surrounded by dairy farms, the town constantly stunk of cows. Who knew one animal could smell so bad? The bat cage at the Oregon Zoo smelled like roses in comparison. He never thought he'd miss stepping in one of Murphy's land mines, back when they had a yard...and a dog. The locals assured him he'd get used to the stench, but it didn't mean he wanted to.

And talk about boring...

There was a mini-mall and fast food joint, and he'd heard a local speedway ran stock car races on Saturday nights. Mostly though, Satus Creek was a dot on the map surrounded by endless fields of cows. Lots of cows. There were probably more cows here than actual people.

A prisoner, sentenced to the dullest place on Earth. Nothing ever happened.

A month after the move, he still hadn't met anyone his own age. Everything was so spread out that even going to the nearest 7-Eleven for a Big Gulp took twenty minutes on foot. Mom always said when summer ended and school started, he'd make a whole batch of new friends. What was the point, since she'd probably find a "better" job somewhere else?

Pausing along the same stretch of empty road he traveled every afternoon, Randy looked up from his worn sneakers to see how much further he had to walk. Downtown loomed in the distance. Beyond that, the stadium lights of Satus Creek High School, where he'd begin his freshman year. He felt as empty as the road before him.

A nearby moo snapped him out of his funk. To his right stood a small herd of cows, their chocolate brown bodies dotted with splashes of vanilla. Square-jawed with fat flanks and ropy tails, they slowly chewed their cud and stared at him from behind a rusty wire fence. They seemed to regard him with cautious interest. He took two playful steps forward and their heads followed. Taking two steps backward, he chuckled when they continued to track him.

"Am I friend or foe?" He stepped forward again; their big square heads swung in unison. He jumped, as did the cow's heads. Aside from a bowlegged one shaking the flies off its hide, the herd only moved when he did.

This is all you fellas have to do with your time? And I thought I had it bad.

"BOO," he roared, spastically waving his arms as he leaped straight up. Startled from their trance, they scampered away, retreating several yards before stopping to gaze at him from a safer distance.

Cows. Funny critters, even if they really stink. He brushed sweaty blonde bangs from his eyes and marched on, leaving the cows to ponder the mysterious stranger who scared the crap out of them.

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