As one of the oldest Cotswold that make up this peaceful flock upon a fine green grassy knoll, Gerald had a mildly decent life.
Their shepherd a young man the other human’s called a range of names, sometimes ‘Tom’ or ‘Thomas’ or other times this weird preposterous thing called ‘Jopson’.
Whatever in all the finest lush grass a Jopson was, Gerald did not know. He knew what a Tom was though. There was a Tom among their flock, as well as a Dave, a Kevin, a Richard, a Betsy, a Jane, and a Matt (to whom they would all bleat and tease that he would be butchered and made into a matt) It was a sheep thing, Gerald couldn’t speak for the humans but he could speak for the sheep and he would admit that sheep had a surprisingly dark sense of humor.
Master Jopson was a kind and very gentle soul.
He always made sure their feed buckets were filled, that their coats were taken care of when it came time to a nice shave. Made sure that no mongrel dogs tore them to pieces, he was a nice crack shot with that strange wooden thing that he would point and aim at one of them wolves.
Never had he butchered any of their companions for meat but quite the opposite, if they were sick he would spend long hours be them night or day to help them drink water or mashed up food through a tubular thing that reminded Gerald of the beautiful pink teets on a ewe’s udder.
Yes, Master Jopson was a kind man that they all enjoyed being around.
Jopson was young in human ages, if his skin was anything to go by.
One of the things Gerald would never understand was how humans lived, yet alone how they could even look at themselves.
They were naked! All the time too!
Not the type of naked he or his fellow flock members would be deemed when their coats would be shaved off and picked up off the ground, often letting their bodies cool down from having such tedious coats for so long on summer days.
It was a different kind of indecency, they walked around all pink and pale not much hair on their bodies.
They were in his opinion quite ugly.
And the older they got the uglier they got, their pale skin becoming all wrinkly.
Master Jopson though, he had a sweet enough look to him. He was not very tall, Gerald had seen taller men before.
He had a length of black fur sprouting from the top of his head, he usually pulled the dark tendrils to the side away from his face as silly as it was since his face itself had short trails of fuzz that ran down form his ears against the sides of his head.
A pretty thing he usually did with his mouth that revealed white teeth and for reasons they were still trying to figure out, made them feel safe and happy to be around the human. He also had eyes that reminded Gerald of fresh spring grass covered in a light frost in its light color.
Still, ugly, but not bad. Gerald agreed to himself.
Such an appeal it was to have such nice hair and fuzz and a nice wooly coat.
How in the name of the Four Great Holy Goats did they not freeze to death?
Perhaps that was why they tended to wear things.
Similar to how the ewes had these cute pink little silky ribbons around their necks that Jopson would have to shoo the lambs away from suckling, since they do indeed love sucking on anything soft not just their mam’s.
Jopson lived alone on their little ranch since the passing of the female human who used to live here and take care of them, though he could recall seeing the man much younger in the house too.
Humans aged so very slowly.
Kevin bleated somewhere near the bottom of the hill and Gerald glanced over at him.
Oh fiddlesticks! Didn’t those two just get it on yesterday?
There was a horse trotting up the lane that led to the ranch, a man on top of it in a saddle.
While Gerald’s life was mostly peaceful in the way of a Cotswold sheep, there were some things in his life in the current moment that he found unsavory, much like leaves that had lost their fresh taste as they had started to turn brown and crispy.
One of these things was the man that had been recently coming to see Jopson frequently, stealing all the man’s attention for hours and hours upon end.
He hadn’t been by for a month and Gerald had thought that their last tactic had scared the man off.
Matt with the help of Jane had come up to the man’s horse, a large dapple grey Barb stallion named Oscar. Oscar was a good sport, and he found the idea of tinkering with the man’s saddle to be quite funny and gave not a single fuss as the two sheep worked together to work with the strap that went underneath his belly.
As soon as Jopson’s guest decided to leave he found himself upside down with his feet caught in the stirrup, Oscar dragged the man about ten feet before he’d finally freed himself and thumped into the dirt to quickly roll out of the large horses way.
Of course they didn’t know anything about this misfortune as they continued to munch away, bleating loudly in between indulging on the grass.
Apparently it would take more than that to get rid of the man.
Gerald heard the infernal bang of that wooden abomination that led into the place where Jopson spent the most time when he wasn’t caring for them.
Jopson emerged onto the front stoop, he had a wide grin on his pale face as he hurried down the front stoop.
“Edward! Oh goodness, is this the new one I’ve heard so much about? Good Lord, what a beautiful horse!”
The man let out a low rumbling noise from his throat and now looking at the human Gerald did a double take.
He looked different! He… he… good lord how did he get such a fine dark wool coat upon his face!?
Thick dark hair bushed out on the sides of his head like their master’s except much thicker and wooly, he had hair above his mouth and around it, covering his face all he could make out were bits of pale skin, a white smile, and two big brown eyes.
‘Why does the man look like a sheep!? Is he mocking us!? This is an outrage!’
As the man continued to chuckle he brought the horse a magnificent all black Friesian stallion to a stop. Planting the end of a long limb in the stirrup firmly before he dismounted the large horse, he ran to Master Jopson and easily hoisted him off his feet with two strong arms and large hands that wrapped around his middle.
Master Jopson let out a shrill noise then a laugh and Gerald watched as the rest of the flock moved down in a group to the water bucket, clearly remembering as well as he about some of the awful things they had seen on the man’s prior visits.
“A lovely hello to you too Thomas! Gods how I’ve missed you!” the human, Edward, spoke low and warm.
Jopson reached his arms out, placing his hands on either sides of his face and feeling the thick wool that had grown there, before bringing his mouth to the other human’s.
Kevin, Matt, Richard, Jane, Betsy, Tom and Dave all bleated loudly and took a drink out of the bucket as was their ritualistic game they had made for every time the two human males showed each other affection.
Edward set Thomas back down on his feet smiling broadly before wrapping him into a tight locking hold with his arms, and Master Jopson returned the gesture.
His flock took two more long drinks out of their water bucket.
Gerald shook his head in disgust, humans were so strange.
When the two men parted from the other’s grasp, Edward flashed a wolfish grin, pointing over his thick shouldered body towards the black stallion waiting patiently.
“Want to meet Bill?”
Master Jopson bobbed his head enthusiastically and Gerald watched as they approached the large horse.
Jealousy burned deep inside the old Cotswold. How dare this human come and take their beloved Jopson’s attention away.
He had to go.