written by Oscar Blair. Oscar (he/him) is a first year undergraduate student in UCD studying English with creative writing. Oscar is American originally from France who has a passion for speculative fiction. He is a frequent short story writer and occasionally publishes them online.

“Goats’ll really eat everything you give ‘em.”

– Goat Experts 

PART ONE

Pemberton Farm

“Geraldine! Come quick! The goat’s gotten into the wrong watering trough again!” Exclaimed Wilby Pemberton.

This wasn’t a common occurrence at Pemberton Farm, in fact, this was only the second instance in all of human history that a goat had drunk from a watering trough meant for another animal.

The first time had been earlier that week when the Pemberton’s goat Petunia had jumped the electric fence surrounding the sheep field. She wasn’t even thirsty, but hey, a drink’s a drink.

Geraldine arrived almost instantaneously after hearing her partner’s call of distress. She looked through the very same window that Wilby was spying through. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Her soul began evaporating from her body as she was confronted with a life-changing sight.

Petunia had gotten into the cow pen.

When Petunia drank from the sheep’s watering trough, there were some unexpected effects. In the minutes following the goat’s partaking of sheep water, the surrounding grass changed in texture and turned white, as if mutating to become identical to the Saanen goat’s pelt. Aside from this, Petunia experienced a wobbly, if not jiggly sensation, as if her very body was less solid, as though her skeleton was made of cartilage instead of bones.

These effects quickly wore off, after all, it had only been sheep’s water. But Petunia was now about to drink from the cow’s watering trough, and as every decent farmer knows: cow’s water is infinitely more potent than sheep’s water.

Geraldine and Wilby could only watch in horror as Petunia’s head descended into the trough. Tongue out and eyes thirsty.

It happened instantly. It appeared as if Petunia had disappeared, she was nowhere to be seen. But the water inside the trough had turned white and fluffy. The inside of the trough itself did too. Seconds passed. The farmers’ heartbeats weren’t necessarily fast, but they were hard. With every thump, they felt their world rumble. Seconds passed. The pair were still staring in shock, and then it happened. Something leaped out of the watering trough!

The creature that exited the trough was strange, it seemed a puddle moving around of its own volition. And it was strangely furry. 

The fluffy water elongated, it now resembled a form not unlike that of a fuzzy anaconda. It slithered toward the farmhouse, leaving behind a trail of white and furry grass. And most off-putting to the farmers was the gray spot at the front of this being. As it approached closer to the building, the Pembertons could make out a face; it was Petunia’s hircine visage, displaying the happiest expression the farmers had ever seen on Petunia. At least they felt comforted by this in their last moments.

When Petunia finally collided with the building, it was instantly liquified and transformed into more Petunia, along with everything, and everyone, inside of it. This puddle quickly spread over the fields, transforming crops, grass, buildings, and animals alike into more Petunia.

The Pemberton farm had been erased from the Earth, being replaced with something far more valuable, and far more deserving of existence.

PART TWO

Earth

After absorbing the farm, the goat-like pond began slithering around. The towns she passed through fell to the same fate as the Pembertons. The trail she left behind quickly grew in width, as the woolly pond grew in size. Now she had reached the proportions of a lake, and the rate of growth didn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

In fact, Petunia’s growth rate did the opposite of slowing down when it came into contact with a river. Fluff began spreading over the river, flowing bidirectionally. This river carried Petunia to many lakes, and even more rivers, before finally arriving at the ocean.

It only took slightly over a minute for all of the oceans, as well as any water attached to them, to be transformed into more Petunia. This would end up being devastating for the economy.

35% of the human population had already been transformed, while the other 65% fled inland to escape Petunia. They had no idea that touching the goat would instantly make them both happier, and simply better in general for the small price of one’s individuality.

Getting the continents took longer than you would think. Petunia’s face was lost somewhere on the ocean floor, simply roaming around in pure ecstasy, while human populations began their insurmountable challenge of endurance. Different groups had different methods of food rationing and distribution. There were even fights between groups, as well as plenty of infighting. But not a single one of them was prepared for the fur rain.

After the oceans had been consumed, the water cycle continued normally; evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Except for the fact that the liquid wasn’t water at all, it was Petunia, and it turned everything it touched into more Petunia.

After the land had been practically all turned into Petunia, it appeared as if the Earth had completed its transformation. But some say what really sealed the deal was goat rain over active volcanoes. The goat raindrops instantly absorbed the lava into the Petunia ocean, but more importantly, the Earth’s liquid mantle had now been accessed. White fur rapidly spread to the Earth’s core. Now, every last atom on what used to be Earth had been altered into a superior being.

PART THREE

The Universe

Millions of years of isolation passed for Petunia. She didn’t mind it, she thought the world was better this way, and she was right. She had silence. She had peace. She had an almost complete absence of sensory input. The only things she could see were the nightly stars and the moon. She got to experience them in their full glory, as the absence of an atmosphere and human-made lights cleared the path of the light of the celestial objects. She wanted to experience them. To feel what it would be like to be near them.

When a big enough asteroid finally hit Petunia, fluffy chunks were accelerated to escape velocity; quickly enough to leave Petunia’s gravitation. Saanen space dust was now abundant around Petunia, and plenty of the surrounding objects were transformed into more Petunia, notably the moon.

The growth appeared to slow down after reaching Venus, and Mercury, but it only took one molecule of Petunia to touch the surface of the sun for it to be completely Petunified. An explosion of gargantuan proportions ensued.

The exact explanation of why stars explode when they are converted into more Petunia isn’t known, although it’s theorized that the change in density when the hydrogen molecules of a star are Petuniafied forces them to accelerate nuclear fusion, therefore causing them to explode as the gravity of the star isn’t enough to hold it.

The sun’s explosion quickly spread Petunia over the entire solar system, then it continued slowly across the galaxy. It only took a few years before another star was hit, and the cycle continued.

Petunia was now spreading across the Milky Way at practically the speed of light. But the Milky Way would be easy, the real trick is intergalactic Petunification. But even that was proven to be possible when the waves of Petunia molecules reached the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.

The same reaction that occurs when stars are Petuniafied happened again, only at a much larger scale. No longer a black hole, the furry supermassive white hole grew even supermassiver before exploding. Petunia particles were launched in every direction, slowly consuming every galaxy it touched, and then exploding and spreading even more.

A few billion years later, the universe is being Petuniafied quicker than it’s expanding. A large majority of all matter is in fact, Petunia. Things were as they were meant to be. Everything was a goat. Everything was Petunia. And Petunia was happy.  The Universe had finally achieved its goal.

PART FOUR

Beyond

Even though the universe had been wholly united under the ideal form of existence, not even a goat can escape the laws of entropy. Petunia had actually caused a large leap forward in the decay of the universe as she had spread the available energy within the universe in a more even way. There was little Petunia could do, time would create chaos, and chaos would create complete emptiness. Even though Petunia was used to waiting – she even enjoyed it, this time felt different.

She wasn’t happy. That smile that had been displayed on her face for all that time faded. The perpetual bleat of joy grew silent. She knew she was going to end. But she didn’t know when. She didn’t even know if she would be able to tell. It’s not like there would be one moment when she existed, and the next moment she didn’t. She would slowly fade.

She felt the rate at which she was expanded slowed. This wasn’t fair. Petunia was the greatest being possible. How come not even she was allowed to exist forever? She would not have this. This was not acceptable. Petunia would not be passive in her seemingly inescapable end.

She would do the same thing she had been doing for almost all of her existence. She would expand. All the matter in the universe was already Petunia, but it seemed the energy was separate. Why were they separate? After all, energy and matter are made out of the same stuff. It seemed the only thing separating the two things was Petunia not deciding to become one with energy. So she did.

She didn’t stop there. There was more to become. As Petunia continued to realize how arbitrary the distinctions were between everything that existed, she grew more able to expand. Dark matter. She instantly grew. Spacial dimensions. She instantly was able to comprehend the manner in which she existed. Dark energy. She could now control the speed at which she expanded, as you can imagine, there was more and more Petunia with every moment that passed.

What if she could become the very thing that threatened to destroy her? What if Petunia could become one with Entropy? One with the laws of the universe? If she could conceive of it, she could do it. Not only could Petunia now completely control herself, but she could control how she could control herself.

She rearranged the universe once again, turning everything into a form resembling her original goat body, instead of practically infinite interconnected fluffy spheres with a face. Her smile returned. The bleat ensued.

She wasn’t finished. She had become everything in existence. She also decided to become anything she wanted in non-existence. She would connect any non-existent thing she wanted with herself. Omnipotence had been reached.

But now what? What was there left to do?

After existing for what felt like an instant stretching on forever, and an eternity condensed into a moment, Petunia knew it was time to settle down. She decided to create the place where she used to live all the time ago. She created grassy fields, sheep, and cows. She created the farmhouse where she used to spend her days. She created a planet around the farm, so it would have gravity. She created a solar system around the planet so it would have nights and days. She created a galaxy around that solar system so that the nights would be filled with stars. And she created a universe around that galaxy to fill the imaginations of her creations.

She decided to erase her memories, and just be a goat in her home. She was done being omnipotent. She lived a prosperous farm life for some time. Although, she neglected to fix the watering trough problem.


Image: Butterfly by Tony Conneally

Tony (he/him) took this picture in Parque de la Paloma in Benalmadena, Spain.

CategoriesFiction Issue VII