1. of or relating to fields or open country.

Agnes heard the familiar whirring long before she saw the machines. Things were starting earlier this year.

The day had been perfect up until that point. The sun was out, but there had been a pleasant warmth to it, quite unlike the suffocating heat of summer and the chilly snaps of fall. But the sound of each engine brought a familiar fear to her small heart.

“Where’s Peter?”

Her children looked around, stunned. Shame filled their pink cheeks. They hadn’t even noticed their youngest brother was missing. 

“I’ll go find him, mama–” her eldest volunteered.

“No, Jonathan,” she said with a trembling voice. “I need you to get the younger ones home, quickly. Your father should be back any moment now. Let him know I went back to the hill where we spent the morning to look for Peter.”

Jonathan looked uncertain.

“Hurry now,” she said with more force. They didn’t have time to waste.

Agnes scurried across the campestral landscape, retracing her family’s path. She couldn’t hear her son’s wheezing or even smell him. The aroma the machines put off was masking everything, and the sound seemed to make her heart beat sporadically.

Peter was the weakest and smallest of her children and often given to daydreaming and falling behind. Some days he was distracted by a butterfly above or a beetle below. But today wasn’t a day for distractions. They had already lost too many of their children to the machines, and Agnes was determined not to lose another. Each loss was unbearable.

“Agnes!” The cry came from her right.

Her husband rushed to her side. She felt better having him nearby. Now they could cover more ground together and bring Peter back home.

“Dominik, I can’t smell him–”

“Honey, don’t worry; we will find him.”

“And what if we don’t…it’ll be like all the other times…”

Dominik’s whiskers twitched incessantly, the way they always did when he was nervous and uncertain.

“We’ll find him, Agnes; I’m sure of it.”

The ground began to quake and quiver as the machines began to claw at the field. If they didn’t move forward now, there would be no hope for Peter  and no escape for themselves.

Agnes’ heart sank as fear gripped her belly.

The machines were headed in their direction, but she knew one thing, she wasn’t about to lose Peter.




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