The Slaughterhouse

I wrote this about a year ago as an English writing task for my GCSE, but although it was marked we were asked to write a new one relevant to the studied text. I was still fairly pleased with it - it's the only science fiction I've written - and now I thought I'd share it. Feel free to expand upon it.


   Nutrition. Everyone needs it. All creatures great and small, complex or simple, sentient or stupid, all require nutrition to survive. And every creature should have the right to reach out and take it. All life forms are selfish. It is their nature. They take and take and take, invariably at the expense of others. Why should we be any different? What do we owe our fellow organisms? Nothing, that’s what. Surely they would do the same thing if they were in our place…?

    I look at the rows of corpses, dangling limply from the bloodstained racks, reeking in the in the glare of the electric lights. Each one skinned, raw, lifeless; each one stinking of fat. Once they were alive, with their primitive thoughts, families, perhaps even ambitions. Now they are just fuel for our ever growing population.

   I move on, grimly inspecting each carcass with care, interest and more than a little disgust. They are so different from us, with their thick, brawny limbs, limp fleshiness and gory, reddish hue. And so much offal. Why so much offal? How many organs do you need? I give one of them a pat. It swings limply. Once defrosted, it will need tenderising. I proceed onwards, ever onwards, past dizzying numbers of the corpses. They are so similar, once they have been skinned and bled. In numbers like this… it’s enough to make your head spin. I regard them like a museum curator regards his exhibit. I see them every passing day and yet every time I look at them I am filled with wonder.

   I am starting to get a bit of a chill. The thermometer reads -200˚C. I wonder why they keep it so cold? Maybe they just don’t want to waste energy. Never mind. I’m needed on the slaughtering floor anyway. I trundle briskly onwards towards the nearest exit, and make my way down the metal stairs.

   An amazing stench hits me as I enter. I’ll never get used to that stink. The familiar squall of foetid air washes through my body, bringing with it the rank odours of sweat, blood and all the other bodily juices which leak incessantly from every orifice of hundreds of bodies, both alive and dead. And the noise. Compared to the deathly silence of the storage rooms, the noise is incredible, as the livestock screeches and jabbers, and the machinery buzzes, and the blood splashes onto the floor. Struggling to keep nausea at bay, I inch forwards to where two of my comrades are manning the controls. I nod to them as a greeting; I’d rather avoid opening my mouth as much as possible. I look over the banister and see the fresh batch being herded onto the conveyor belt.

   Though they vary in colour and size, they all share one thing in common: they are all strikingly ugly. With doleful eyes, bulbous snouts and weird, sprouting fur, they are one species that I always find look better skinned. They wail and babble inanely to each other, using their primitive vocal communication. I am always struck with their uneasiness; it’s almost as though they know what is coming. They tend to group together too, which makes the job much harder. Sometimes they become unstable and we have to remove them and subdue them separately.

   I watch as one is separated from the rest by a sliding door. It has to be done one at a time, and we can’t risk them being together when it happens, in case they try and intervene. The creature is slowly grasped by the mechanism, struggling even though it is powerless to move. Its head is driven slowly into place. A small spike descends just behind the head, and positions itself. Then, suddenly, and inevitably, it jabs swiftly forwards and penetrates the creature’s skull, releasing a charge of 250 volts straight into the central nervous system. The body is momentarily racked by convulsions, and even though it is held in place the animal’s bones strain under the powerful spasms.

   Then it goes limp. It could be dead or merely unconscious. Either way, it won’t wake up again. It is then hung upside down by its ankle and moves along to make room for the next creature. Before long it is hoisted down to the drainage area. A thin blade quickly slashes open the animal’s throat, and it is left there until most of the blood drains away. I watch as it flows, first in great gushing waves, and then to a more steady, relentless tempo, like a tap. Eventually it thins to a slow rhythmic dripping. Before long its veins are all but empty. Death by exsanguination. I don’t know where the juices go. I don’t really want to.

   Now I have to skin it. Not a job for the faint-hearted, but it has to be done. I hoist the steaming carcass onto a table and grab my instruments. Luckily the hide is thin and soft, and I easily cut into the flesh. Using a special razor I peel back the moist skin, revealing the oozing pink sinew underneath. I hate this job. Not because of the gore, or the hard work, but because wherever I stand, I feel those dead eyes looking at me. I feel as though I’m being studied.

   I’m not sure why the deliveries always happen at night. There must be a good reason; perhaps they are easier to take while sleeping. I sometimes feel that we take too many for our own good, like we are going to run out, and cause another extinction. It’s happened so many times before. But then all I have to do is look out the window at that great blue orb, and I know that it will take a long time to exhaust these creatures. For they are survivors.

   I look down into the eyes of the beast. I see fear, horror, awe. I see a simple but fiery soul in those eyes. Limited as it may be, these creatures have intellect. They seem to cling on to hope, even when none should exist. They make up nonsense, stories of gods and demons, not knowing how insignificant their existence really is. But I can’t help wonder – are we the gods… or the demons? Maybe they need to be studied more closely. None of his family will ever know where he disappeared that fateful evening. No one ever knows where they go. They may say it was a miracle; that he was taken up. He went to meet his maker. And his maker devoured him.

   Over the years we have bled the population. Almost bled it dry. But it survives, always survives.

   And we bleed it still.


The End

0 comments about this story Feed