Pandemonium. People. Craziness. Mayhem. The noise. The unknown. The terror of the human. The fear, the joy,of running in these streets. Not just for us Miura, but for the human too. We can taste it. The cows and steers are around us, but so are the Runners. Everything is out of control, time is running backwards, forwards, stopping.
One Runner goes down, and as he tries to get up, I hit him. Others lie flat, and my brothers run over them. There is no room here to do anything. Escape is impossible. There are human everywhere, but they are so hard to catch. Then the space widens a bit, more light comes in, before what seems like a dead end coming up. One of my brothers swipes at some humans standing against a fence…keep running, fool humans, keep running. It’s what you’re here for, isn’t it?
Then the dead end opens up, and there is more space. And many more human. A little further on I see a sharp corner, but it is impossible for most of us to make without falling. We hit the corner at speed, and I hit a lone, solitary Runner, also caught against the wooden fence of this suicide corner, and I slam into him, hard. You lucky, lucky human, that I was out of control, otherwise your guts would be all over the street.
Then comes a long, glorious straight, but we are tiring now. This street is packed with Runners, and it is hard to get them. One falls and I jump over him, then another and I clip him with my hoof as he goes down. I see one of my brothers ahead veer straight into the side of a building, and wonder why, until I see two human run away, but a third is caught on my brothers horns and thrown into the street. I catch one of the escaping runners, and drive a horn hard into him.
We told you, Runners, we told you. If we have a chance, we will have your balls for breakfast. But human is clever, and my vision is blurred by something waving in front of my eyes, and these two runners are lucky, and we leave them crumpled on the ground, and continue our charge up the street. We are mostly seperated now, and tiring fast. The long street has opened up now, and bright sunshine floods in, but suddenly I am heading downhill, towards a dark, narrow tunnel. And I’m picking up speed again, and feel like I am flying. There can’t be room for all of us to get through this space, but somehow there is.
Then just as I come out of this tunnel, a Runner, who has fallen down, gets up right in front of me, and I hit him, at full speed, harder than I have ever hit anything before in my life, and he flies before me into the ring and hits the sand, almost motionless. This arena is packed full of human, and they scream in horror. This Runner is in serious trouble as I hook my favoured horn towards him, as instinct has completely taken over and I am ready to finish him. He is on the ground, trying to move, and just as I am ready to teach him his final lesson, I feel a soft caress, and a sound like the river flowing back home in Pastureland, while the sun warms the dew on the grass, and, momentarily distracted, I raise my horn away from him, and carry on into the middle of the ring. I’m not sure just quite what happened there, but it felt as if something, human, had been touching me. But there was no human near me, and the GhostRunners said we wouldn’t see them, and they couldn’t affect anything in the run, but…it felt like the GhostRunner, Daniel, had just stroked me. Impossible, surely…
Some of my brothers were also in the ring now, along with the cows and steers, and hundreds of human. But the game was over, and we were cleverly coaxed by some human with capes into another narrower, darker tunnel before emerging into daylight and yet another pen. Our hearts were pumping, our lungs bursting, but we noticed we were only 5. Then a noise came up fom the ring, that sound of horrified humans screaming, before finally Cosmic came trotting past us, out of breath, but smiling.
“What the heck was that noise about?”, we asked.
“Ha!”, he said, triumphantly. “Got one! He won’t be running again for a while”.
And we 6 brothers were together again, for the last time ever.
Our last day in this humanworld ever was spent in this pen, with human constantly coming and going, and always, always, watching over us. There was no privacy, and no peace, but the thrill and excitement of the mornings events kept us buzzing throughout the day. And all day long this Pamplona place, known throughout all Bulldom, hummed and crackled. We could feel it through the earth.
Sunfather scorched his way through the long day, until the heat was burning. Stuck inside the concrete pen, built within this enormous concrete ring, the heat was intensified until it was like nothing we’d ever known, even on the hottest of days back in Pastureland. Ah, Pastureland…at least there we were out in the open.
Eventually things began happening, more human appeared, and we could hear the arena filling up. And smell it. It seemed there must be more human than there were our ancestors in the sky. We were seperated, and it was obvious our time was coming. All too soon my brother Sunbeam was taken away, and we knew our destiny was upon us. We all said goodbye to eachother, and said be brave, be strong, and hope to see you soon up there, in the Celestial Pasture. And then…
…And then, one after the other, my brothers left me. There were five of us left, at first, of course, and though we all tried to talk to Sunbeam, we just couldn’t. With the noise, smells, and extraordinary atmosphere of the ring, and what was happening within it, communication was impossible. But we knew, although we couldn’t see it, that when two human ran past us, pulling two horses behind them, that the sound of something being dragged along the ground behind the horses, was the body of Sunbeam. Our brother had passed on.
We all listened, for a clue, for something, from Sunbeam, that he was on his way to the heavens…but there was nothing. And we were silent.
As I said, one by one my brothers were taken away, to fight in the ring. Occasionally I heard that human scream, and know that one of these bullfighters was in trouble, but it didn’t happen often, and four more times I saw the two human run past me, leading the two horses, who were dragging behind them the body of one of my brothers. Sunbeam had gone, then Moonshadow, then Plutoro, then Comet, and finally Cosmic. I sensed the passing on of eachone as he was dragged passed me, but couldn’t feel him. I hoped this was a good sign.
And now, it was my turn. My fate was upon me, and I was led out of the pen, into a dark, enclosed box. At least it was cooler in here…then bang, the doors were swung open, sunlight blinded me briefly, but I charged out into the burning ring, and to my destiny.
Destiny hurts, let me tell you. The heat is caught in this cauldron, and with no wind, it is like a fire. I hope it is worse for the torero, the bullfighter, because he has everything else on his side. He has more humans with him, more horses, and weapons that cut, and stab, and hurt, and make me bleed. But the worst of it is the cursed cape he uses. It is filled with magic, and he uses it to make it almost impossible for me to get to him.
I hit him once, and manage to throw him once, but he is protected by what are his brothers, I assume. But I get him again, and this time I see I have hurt him, and while he is on the ground I get him again, before the others come and by magic somehow lead me away. But I am tiring now, and this bullfighter is on his feet again, although clearly in pain.
But I am in pain too. They have attacked me twice, from horseback, and punctured me on my back, exactly at the point where my great strength comes from. Now, I am in trouble. I am out of breath, blood is pouring down me, and I can’t see properly. But I have one more chance, as I see the human standing directly in front of me, no cape this time, just still, unprotected it seems, holding something long and silver that glints in the sunlight. I go for him, thinking this time, surely…but as I get to him he leans forward and I feel a searing, burning pain that starts from my back and seems to go on, forever downwards, actually inside me. My front legs collapse,and they are all around me now, these human, but I refuse to go just yet. As one gets close and hooks this thing out of me, I jump up and drive my horn inside him, and see his face go from suprise to shock to absolute agony in the flick of an ear.
I am on my feet again, but I know my time is coming. My lungs are filling with blood, and I can’t breath. The bullfighter is in front of me again, and without the cape he seems almost naked, and he is still, again, with this long silver thing, pointing towards me, that shines in the sunlight. As he moves forward, I do too, and as I hit him I feel this silver thing go inside me again, but deeper,deeper, than before. I am in agony.
It is almost over now. I feel my passing upon me. My lungs are full of blood now, and I feel blood pouring from my mouth. I cannot breathe. I’m drowning. The pain is excruciating, but the heat of the day has gone. It is cold now, and it is dark…where are you, Sunfather? The noise around me is fading into a hush, and I think of my brothers, and Pastureland, and the river. And I hear it now, the whisper of my ancestors, and I feel it now, the shiver of death, and
I had seen these bulls from the day they were chosen for the bullfights on their ranch in Andalucia, to their final passing at the bullfight in Pamplona. I am no great afficionado of bullfighting, but having followed them from the field where they were born to the town where they would die, I felt it only right that I stay with them, to the very end. I watched the bullfight with some friends from the ranch, and all the bulls fought bravely, especially the one young Paco called El Pulido, the Polished One.
They were such beautiful, magnificent animals.
Later on that night, past midnight, I was walking with a friend out by the city walls. At least here, away from all the lights, you could see the stars.
It was a chilly night, but a strange warmth seemed to envelope us, like somone had draped a cape around us. We made a toast to a couple of friends who would never again be able to return to this wonderful town, and as we tilted our glasses and looked upwards, we both saw it at the same time.
Not just one shooting star, but six, one after the other, shooting across the heavens.