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The Barn

Life Before the Knife

Pushed into a dark barn with a bunch of people, naked. Everyone looks the same; they have terror in your eyes, all shouting out. They are a few  pregnant and some with little children.

There is a fight starting near you. The doors open. Bright light floods in. You try to look out, but all you can see is the outline of people much taller than you. They come in and shut the door behind them. Revealing themselves to the mass, angry faces, charging in between the fighters. Pulling out their weapons from their trousers: Sharp deadly axes.

They grab the fighters one by one, placing their arms around the pillars that help the barn stand. They pull a rope out of their back pockets, tie them tightly around their wrists, and use their axes to cut at the fighters wrists until the person's hands fall to the floor.

The screams of pain echo around the barn. Everyone stood their in silence, shocked at what they have seen (or used to what they have witnessed).

The people turn around to us with axes held high.

"Take this as a lesson. No killing each other or this is what we have to do!"

As they walk past you to exit, you are able to see they are wearing large thick headphones. In your head, you now call them the "headphone gang."

You are left in the darkness again once as the barn doors are slammed shut. Thousands of you so close together, a click of metal vibrates into the barn. It makes you jump. A mechanical noise follows. You look around for the first time and see there are conveyor belts producing food.

Everyone goes nuts for this food, but it's going by so fast, there's so many of you—so little food. Someone starts fighting. Didn't learn from the first time. Within seconds, the headphone gang is back!

You feel your belly ache. You realise you need the toilet. You look around. There's no place to go. There's only the floor that you all stand on. You let your bladder go. No one even notices. Not one disgusted face. Is this what your life has now become?

You've been here for weeks now. The floor is still covered in urine and other body matter. There have been a few deaths, some caused by the environment, by fights, or by the headphone men. Bodies still lie where they fell. Nobody moves them.

Each day someone is taken. You don't know where, but you hope somewhere better than here.

The smell used to make you gag, but the amonia has burnt your sense of smell. You can't smell a thing. You're covered in so much dirt, you aren't even sure what is on you anymore.

Sleeping is the hardest part: No bed; no blanket. The fear of waking up to the faces of the headphone gang goes round and round in your head.

You know the headphone people only come in if there is a fight, or if a woman is in labour. They mainly take the male babies away. Females babies stay, but they aren't allowed to suckle from their mother though. The mother has to find another way to feed their child as the milk they produce is going into bottles from a pump. Someone tried to take the pump off their breasts to feed their child.

It causes an alarm to sound that was so deafening to everyone you had to cover your ears. The headphone gang came storming in, shouted at her, and laid their hands on her until she was black and blue. The child was in their arms crying out—in pain and in hunger. She tried to tell them she wanted to feed HER child.

They didn't bat an eyelid. They smirked as they saw the tears rolling down her face—the look of pain. They forced the pump back on her breast, and put a device on the babies head. It wrapped round the back of the head, and the front of it had a spike. Each time the baby tried to go near its mom to hug them, kiss them, or feed from them, the spike would pierce through the mother's skin.

When you do fall asleep, you dream about the life. The life before you were forced into the barn. You dream about your family. The sun, the grass, the fresh water, and the decent food. The open space. Your sense of smell, but you wake up forced back to reality as another body falls dead bedside you.

Days, weeks, months go by. You get a bit fatter. They've started injecting you all—convinced it's some drugs. You're worried they'll take you soon because the fat ones get taken away.

A bit of you prays they take you—just for the sunshine and fresh air.

Some days you make sure you've eaten and kept by the rules. Not fought with anyone. You've seen the faces of the headphone gang when they find someone plump. It's of happiness. A smile forms and a tongue appears out of their mouth. Slowly rolling against their lips. Wherever they take you will be better than here, right?

One of the days after you've passed out from boredom and hunger, you are startled awake. You open your eyes, but you wish you hadn't, as right in front of you is a bearded headphone person with a metal pole, pointing it directly at your face. You smile at them, hoping it will make them take it away. Instead their hands start mauling you. Checking you, they stop and smile. They lick their lips, put a collar around your neck, and lead you through the feces, urine, blood, and dead bodies.

The barn door opens. Your eyes squint into the sunlight. Blinded by its ray of light, you are guided to a wash station. You are truly thankful for the warmth of the water on your skin. You try to call over to the men watching you. To let them know you've needed this wash. They still have their headphones on so they can't hear you.

The tap is turned off. The water drips off your hair to the ground. The sweet fresh ground. You scrunch your toes to feel the gravel scratch your feet. Oh how good it feels. You look up, the men grab you harshly, and lead you to weighing scales. You don't get to see how much you weigh, but with their pleased faces says, you've done really well... they force you off the scales and drag you to another barn.

You look up. There's sharp knives everywhere, mallets, chainsaws, and hooks hanging from the ceiling. Some are rusty and some look like they've just been used as red substances are dripping off them.

You ask, "What's going on?"

They ignore you. You're just dragged forward. Your stomach starts to flip, the sickness overwhelming you. This isn't what you were hoping for. You get to the far-end of the barn. There's a man in overalls with headphones on—and with a massive sharp knife.

Ropes are wrapped around your hands, legs, and mouth. You struggle, they hit you. You scream, they ignore you. They look into your eyes and smile. You are dragged towards the front of the barn where the man is standing with the knife. You look beside him where a hook is hanging. You look from him to the hook, to the knife, and to the people who have tied you up. You start to try and get loose. You scream and you cry. You try and fight. They tighten the ropes, they hit you hard, and some even electrocute you with their tasers until you've got no fight left in you. You cry, silently. They lift you onto the hook. You feel it go deep in your skin. They let go and feel the hook tear down your back. You cry out and ask them to "stop." They laugh. They ignore you. Their headphones still on. You look at the man with the knife who starts to sharpen it, even though it looks sharp enough.

You wonder if he is doing it to tease you, to prolong your agony. You prey that someone would stop this. That someone would come in and help you. But no one comes. The man in overalls comes over and slaps you on the cheeks. The contact leaves your cheek stinging. 

He says in a disgusting slimy voice: "You're going to be a juicy one."

The knife slides across your throat. At first you don't feel it, you just feel the blood dripping on your body like paint. The pain hits you a few seconds later. Your body gets weaker. The room gets darker. Your heart stops...

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The Barn
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