As the herd grazed on the vast green field, William's attention was interrupted by a sound coming from the gravel driveway. Many of the bullocks suddenly lifted their heads, looked in that direction, and then continued to munch on the grass.
William struggled to keep looking; It was a cattle truck, but not like any he'd seen before. It was fancy, jet black and shiny, almost like it wasn't meant for cattle at all. The truck stopped at the end of the drive, and William saw the farmer walk away from the herd, towards the truck. But soon his willpower faded and the chip in his brain made him believe that there was absolutely nothing to look at. Once again he was thoroughly enjoying the grass meal, like all the other prisoners dressed as bullocks.
There has to be a way to override this brain chip, he thought. If I just practice exerting my will, every day, I will eventually be able to fight it...
William wanted to know why the strange truck had come here. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the farmer talking to the truck driver. They were standing just beside the truck. He couldn't hear them, but he figured that some of the bullocks over on that side of the field could probably hear.
I'll just walk over there...
But that was more difficult than it seemed. A bullock wouldn't just decide to go listen to the farmer's conversation. He tried to move his legs but they wouldn't budge.
Think, William. Think! he told himself. How can I make myself go over there?
He thought for a moment, and was quite surprised when the answer finally came to him. He simply had to convince himself that the grass was fresher on that side of the field.
Of course! he thought. I remember how good the grass was the last time I was grazing on that side...
It wasn't particularly better than the other grass, but William didn't admit that. He kept thinking how great the grass was over there, and how horrible it was right here. Before he knew it, his legs were moving. He didn't allow any other thoughts to distract him until he had reached the outer perimeter of the herd, and he could hear the distant sound of the farmer's voice.
"Well I s'pose I won't miss a few of 'em... 'slong as I get 'em back when yer done wit' the exper'ment. If the'r still in good condition, I mean."
"Thank you so much, sir. You're very gracious," said the truck driver.
"y'reckon three oughta be 'nuff?" the farmer asked.
"Yes, that will do."
Both men started walking towards the herd. William saw their feet approach one of the bullocks near him. He looked up briefly and caught a glimpse of the truck driver. He looked equally as unusual as the truck, in just the same way. He was dressed in a black suit, although it was the hottest time of the year. His bald head was smooth and shiny, as were his black shoes. William saw him place a hand on the bullock's shoulder and guide him away, towards the truck.
He could hold his head up no longer, but he watched the farmer's feet approach the bullock directly in front of him. The bullock's feet began to move too, and together they followed the driver and the first bullock.
William suddenly became acutely aware of the graveness of his situation. He was now the closest bullock to the truck. When the men came back for the third bullock, they would surely pick him. Unless he could force himself to move... If he could mingle back into the herd they would pick someone else. But did he have the strength?
His feet didn't move, but his mind was racing. What is going to happen to them? What sort of experiment are they going to do? He remembered the farmer's words, "if they're still in good condition..."
William didn't even have time to deliberate whether his life would be helped or hurt by this strange experiment. He hadn't shifted an inch when the driver and the farmer returned to the field. They advanced toward William, and there was nothing he could do. He felt a warm, firm hand on his shoulder, and the odd man in black began to walk. He led William straight into the back of the truck with the other two humanimals, and together they awaited the inevitable experiment that none of them could understand.