Extra > Death sentence – short story about a pig slaughterhouse

Posted on December 12, 2016

Image by Duane Uba

Image by Duane Uba

A pig day afternoon by Eloise Mahoney
I wake up, surrounded by hundreds of inmates. We’re all the same, all insignificant. My eyes remain closed, the sights around me are too horrible to behold. I stand in my own excretion, trapped in a box. No way out.

Most of us were born here, but a few were shipped in. We hear stories of how their friends died on their way here. Some of them talk about beautiful things: black starry skies and clear blue days, the warm sun beating down on their back as they shovel down a feast.

I give up thoughts of a better life, and remain in my own torturous existence. One day I may get away from here, as my parents did, as their parents did before them. They left a while ago now; I haven’t seen them since.

I’m comforted by the thought of seeing them again, although I don’t know where or when.

Ah! It looks like the stone-faced prison guards are taking some of the others away now: ‘Say hello to my parents for me!’ I shout, excited for them, finally released, finally free. I wake up Paul, my cellmate.

Most of us were born here, but a few were shipped in. We hear stories of how their friends died on their way here

‘They took another lot of them, we could be leaving soon!’ I whisper almost ecstatic. ‘Leave me alone.’ ‘But Paul! I think it’ll be us next! We’re getting out of here!’

He started snoring within seconds; I looked around and the excitement drained from my system. I can’t wait to be out of this place; the smell, what I see, it makes me sick; but after years of sickness, the constant retching, it becomes familiar, normal.

I often fidget, not wanting to rise, even for food. I feel weak.

The doors open at the far end the building to reveal guards bringing in our daily slop. I don’t know what’s in this mixture, but right now I don’t care – if I don’t eat it I will starve. The doors at the end of the room reopen. Within seconds my cage opens in front of me.

I look up just as the realisation hits home. We’re free! We’re going!

I consider my friend. He must have just given up, I feel his pain, but if he’d only hung on a little longer

“Paul, Paul! Wake up, wake up, it’s our turn!” I practically scream at him, but he doesn’t react. When the guards arrive they prod him with a stick, and roll him over. He doesn’t wake. He’s not breathing.

‘No, he can’t have died! It’s our turn; wake up! We’ve been waiting so long. Come on!’ The guards calm me down by hitting me with a pole; I get the message.

Walking away, I consider my friend. He must have just given up, I feel his pain, but if he’d only hung on a little longer.

The gateway to my freedom gets more real with every step, I feel overwhelmed as I move towards the door. But they open to reveal something unexpected. There’s another room.

The main guard grabs my ear, hurting me. I don’t resist. I am taken to a table in the middle of the room and fastened to it.

From another door, come other men in white coats. They were wearing gloves; I started to panic.

Tools are brought in and laid onto a table next to me, huge sharp knives lay shining, menacing, promising pain, reflecting my fear.

There’s a sharp sting in my belly. I’m free.

Eloise Mahoney

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