Writers (in order): Fiona Li, Janus Tsen, Eileen Hung, Ciara Chakraborty, Amann S. Mahajan, Emily Zhou, Helena Surwillo, Langston Wu, Jane Fairfax, Irene Hong, Irene Tsen. Editor: Ms. Ja.
Last night, I dreamt I was a cow again. I was standing knee-deep in a field of soft grass waving in the wind and munching away while cars whizzed by on the highway. I had heard of people having the same dreams again, but this was the fourth time. Nothing weird ever happened in the dream, yet it felt important since it kept repeating itself.
At breakfast, I told my parents, “Want to know a really weird dream I had? I dreamt I was a cow, but this is the fourth time that’s happened.” I laughed, hearing how silly it sounded when I said it. I had expected my parents to laugh too, but they shared a curious look.
“What?” I asked. “Is something wrong?”
My parents took a deep breath and said, “Nothing’s wrong, but Ellie, there’s something you should know about that dream.”
“It’s not a dream.”
“Then what is it?”
“It’s… complicated. See, we aren’t your real parents.”
A blinding flash. And in front of me were two cows, one with my dad’s flimsy glasses skewed on its nose, and the other with a blond wig. It hit me like a speeding truck. I wasn’t… human? Then what was I? What monstrosity was I?
The cows turned their heads to look at me properly. “We’re your aunt and uncle, actually. Your parents disappeared not long after you were born. We’ve been looking after you, under the guise of normal humans.”
This was making my head spin. “Wait, so… you’re still related to me? I’m a cow?”
“A half-cow,” my ‘mom’ corrected, “I think an equivalent human phrase would be… were-cow? Mer-cow? Cow-taur?” She then nodded, as if that explained everything.
“I… you… I have a lot of questions.”
“Understandable,” my ‘mom’ said gently.
“Is the rest of our family… ?”
“The rest of us are either animals or weres, yes,” my ‘dad’ confirmed. He looked amused. “Your favourite cousin is a goat. Your least favorite cousin is an alpaca.”
Right. Why not. Setting that aside, I took another deep breath. There was something more important I had to ask.
“My parents. Why did they disappear?”