River held his breath when he saw the swarm of cows loping to and fro as the herd got closer. The noise became earth-shattering like the crescendo of a thousand cannons all being fired at the same instant. The victims, too, heard their death knell. Perhaps some of them were already dead from fright. But River could still see lots of head movement and frightful screaming among them.
A bolt of lightning tore into the ground directly in front of the herd as though it was announcing the curtain raising of a great opera. The cannonade of thunder that followed instantly put the herd into a state of panic. They began to trot at first but quickly picked up speed as they approached the victims�
Even for River, it was a horrifying sight. It took a full two hours for the herds to pass through. And when the drag men got sight of the slaughter they reined up, got off their mounts, knelt in the bloody red dust, and puked.