Feeding The Beasts
By John Ogden
I place the crystal drill against the fleshy walls, close my eyes as I pull the trigger. Even before the bit begins to spin, even before the gravitic harvester starts to siphon the blood, the liquified meat into the thick, stained hose that connects my drill to the feeding vats, the walls start to scream. The mass– it knows what the cold touch of the drill brings. It knows the pain.
And it knows that there is nothing it can do to stop it.
For most of the day, I work with my eyes closed. I hum to myself, let the sound bounce around inside the helmet of my suit. On and on, the walls wail, but I do not stop. I don't dare stop. I have an assigned quota to meet, and any shortfalls will be taken out of my body, my skin. At my age, I'm considered one of the lucky ones. I'm still mostly intact. Mostly.
That is what keeps me going. The memory of the knives, the promise of losing more blood, more muscle. Sometimes I think our keepers assign our quotas hoping we will fall short so that they will have an excuse to make a meal of us. Free range human is said to taste so much better than the meat we drill from the mass, and there are few of us, very few of us, who haven't been carved up after long, hard days of grinding and pulping the fleshy walls.
When the day finally ends, when the screaming stops, I check my yield against my quota. Three point two ounces over the required means I live another day, remain whole at least until tomorrow. Exhausted, dead-eyed, I go through the motions of returning to the only thing that truly feels like it is mine– the plastic coffin where I sleep.
And as I drift away into darkness, into dreams of blood and flying gore, I try not to think about the mass, the way it screams. I try not to think about the star-faring species who enslaved humanity, the fact that they were the ones who engineered the mass we grind to feed them each day.
The fact that they grew it from seeds of human flesh.
- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Feeding The Beasts
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