Growing up in a rural area, it was hard to find work. Too many times, I was rejected because I looked like a twig, unlike the other guys around my age who could’ve easily made the cover for Lumberjack Weekly. When I got the opportunity to work on a local pig farm, I took it quickly. I wasn’t really experienced with slaughter, but I supposed I could handle it; I’d hunted and killed animals before, mostly deer and rabbits. I’d never butchered them though, and this made me a bit nervous.

Mr. Meier was a local pig farmer who had been butchering pigs since he was twelve. His family had owned that land since the town was founded, back when people wore petticoats and Native Americans were still called savages. He was known as a nice but quiet man, someone who kept to himself but was happy to help. I met him at the local bar over a couple of beers to discuss the work I’d be doing. He had a white “Monopoly Man” style mustache that he revealed was styled with his own rendered and cooled pork fat. His hair was short and scraggly, greasy and wild, and his eyes were small and beady when they looked me up and down. We made small talk; he asked me if I had a girlfriend, I asked him his favorite sports team. We agreed to meet at his farm the next day and parted ways. As I got into my truck I watched him drive away, he had no license plate. I made a note in my mind to remind him the next day. 

I made my way over at about nine in the morning the next day. The road took about an hour and a half to get to, then another twenty-five minutes to to reach the actual farm. Hundreds of acres of fields surrounded the place, it was beautiful to see the green set against the bright blue sky. There wasn’t a cloud in sight and it was pleasantly warm, the air crisp and the sun shining. When I drove up to the farmhouse, Mr. Meier was standing outside holding a large bucket and a dirty cloth. He waved, a gentle smile gracing his rosy face. I parked my truck and walked over, looking around before shaking the man’s hand.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” Mr. Meier chuckled. “It’s not much, but it’s what I got.”

“No, it’s a nice place.” I replied, staring at the large farmhouse. It was two stories tall and pretty grand; beautiful windows and white trim. The porch looked amazing, and I commented on it.

“Nice, huh?” he asked. “It’s great. Perfect for summer’s like these.”

“I’d love to live in a place like this.” I said. He smiled wider and looked at his hands.

“Was hard work, that house has been in my family for years. It’s one of my prides.” 

We walked for a bit to get to the barn and Mr. Meier kept looking at me. I couldn’t tell the look on his face but he didn’t immediately look away when I looked back. It creeped me out a bit but I thought perhaps he was just lonely; he did live all by himself on this large plot of land after all, and it’s not like the pigs were much company. When we made it to the barn and we went inside, I saw the setup: multiple pens where pigs were kept one at a time, an opening into a fenced space in the back with troughs, and a large metal table outside the enclosed space. Next to the table was a large metal contraption with a hook. I didn’t know much about butchering pigs but I knew that was for hanging them to bleed out and be butchered, Mr. Meier had explained it to me when we were at the bar. After we put on some rain gear and rubber boots, he walked into the barn and returned with a pig, leading it by a rope around its neck. Mr. Meier smiled and scratched the hog’s head gently, as if it were a puppy. 

“Alright kiddo,” he said in a soft, loving tone. “It’s time.”

It felt nice to see a farmer treat his livestock with such respect, but at the same time it felt strange. I had always heard it’s easier to kill an animal you have no attachment to. I’d always been told growing up “don’t name the pig”, “don’t pet the stray”, and other variations. I thought perhaps he felt that showing the pig affection gave it a more fulfilling and enjoyable life, one that he could end peacefully. 

My train of thought was interrupted as he called me over, telling me to grab the knife and the bolt pistol, which I handed to him.

“I like to do it outside the pen, that’s why I need help.” he explained. “I think they should see the sky before they go.” 

I nodded and stood over the pig, holding its sides with its back between my legs. The pig seemed so calm as Mr. Meier discharged the bolt gun. It went limp and fell over. Mr. Meier wiped his forehead with the back of his palm, letting out a sigh. We dragged the pig over, hanging it after placing a large bucket beneath it. After the pig was properly bled, he removed the pig with my help and we placed it on the metal table. 

“Blutworst is delicious, the recipe has been in my family forever.” Mr. Meier explained as he carefully skinned the pig, stopping every now and again to guide my knife. “I don’t like to leave my hogs outside to rest. They’re pretty small, so they’re easy for critters to take.”

After skinning and removing the organs, which were put into another bucket, we dragged the pig into the barn, hanging it up there. Something felt wrong about leaving it there for all the other pigs to see; they just stared at the corpse of their brother, skinned and gutted, hanging and smelling.

As if reading my mind, Mr. Meier let out a soft “They don’t seem to mind.”

We made our way back up to the house in silence. We went around the back to strip off our gear and throw it into some soaking buckets that had been placed there. It was cold, which was strange. It was about ninety degrees out at the time and we had been out at the barn for a while; the water should’ve been warm by now if he had filled them up before we headed out. I kicked off my boots and stepped inside. The sun was starting to set.

“Damn, we were out a lot later than I thought,” I groaned, checking my phone. “And my phone is only at 5%. There’s no way I’ll be able to-”

“Listen,” Mr. Meier said gently, placing his hand on my shoulder, “I don’t mind helpin’ you out. I’ve got plenty of room.”

The pinching feeling in my stomach was overruled by my fear of driving home on those terrible roads in the dark. I nodded. “Yeah, alright. Thank you, sir.”

“It’s no problem.” 

He walked over into his kitchen and grabbed a cold beer out of the fridge. I chuckled a bit as I retrieved it and took a gulp. Maybe I was being nervous for nothing.

“So, are you thinking about going to school?” Mr. Meier asked, walking into his sitting room.

It was well furnished with leather seating and a large fireplace. Antique china hung on the walls along with farming awards and a sign that said something in German, designed like one of those trashy “Live, Laugh, Love” signs. 

He lowered himself onto a large couch, stretching his back. “I never went to college, spent too much time on the farm.”

I took a seat across from him, setting my beer on the wooden coffee table between us. “Uh, not sure,” I admitted. “I’ve always been interested in biological science but...college is expensive and I’m short on cash right now. Loans are an option but…” 

The man across from me gave a gentle smile. “Ah, you’re in a very rough part of life right now. Freshly adult, trying to find your way about the world. Guidance is hard to find in such a small town.”

I rubbed my neck. “That sure is true.”

He kicked off his boots and motioned for me to do the same. He chuckled when I looked confused. “This is your place as well for the night, get comfortable, letting you relax is the best I can do.”

I removed my boots, my feet in relief as I stretched them and cracked my toes. “Thanks man, I appreciate it. Can’t they make these boots more comfortable?”

“My father always said: if your feet aren’t screaming for relief by the end of the day, you didn’t do good work.” Mr. Meier said, taking another sip from his drink.

I laughed at that. “Sounds a lot like my dad.”

“Ah, most fathers are the same.” Mr. Meier said, smiling at me.

I laid back and drank my beer, relaxing and stretching my sore muscles. It was nice, quiet, and relaxed. Mr. Meier’s eyes drifted over my legs and I caught him staring.

“Uh...is there anything else I can do?” I piped up,trying to alleviate the sudden tension in the room. 

Mr. Meier waved his hand in a shooing motion. He pointed towards a door frame that opened up into the main entrance. “Stairs to the upstairs are over there. Feel free to run a bath if you’re sore. I’ve got tons of epsom salt for those sore muscles.”

I got up quickly and made my way to the stairs. As I walked up I looked down and saw what looked to be an elevator right behind a corner. I probably wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t looked at that moment. I scurried the rest of the way up the stairs and was met with a long hallway with various doors on either side. 

Which door is it? Did he even tell me? I thought to myself.

The first door I opened was a bedroom, quaint and neat, something you’d find in a grandmother’s house. The second was a small study, with bookshelves lining the walls and a messy desk sat in the center. As I opened the third door my heart caught in my throat. I slammed it shut, pressing my back against it. 

The thing I remember seeing that caught my eye the most was the wooden contraption that sat in the middle. It was a wooden table and attached to the top was some kind of restraint. It looked like the ones you see in medieval themes movies: someone was strapped in, their head and hands sticking out the front to be pelted with rotten tomatoes. 

I walked quickly down the hall, the fourth door being my salvation. The bathroom. The large tub sat filled with steaming water and scented candles wafted a pleasant scent through the air. 

My hair stood on end as I realized the situation. 

Who filled the tub?

I bolted back down the hallway, nearly falling on my face as I tripped and stumbled down the stairs. I yanked on the front door handle, screaming and slamming my body into the hard, heavy wood. 

“I suppose you didn’t want a bath after all.” Mr. Meier’s voice echoed in my ears. “How about you rest a while?”

A sharp pain pierced my neck, and I instantly collapsed to the ground. I laid there, panting and sweating, eyes growing heavy.

“Wow, told you he was a lightweight!” Mr. Meier chuckled.

“He sure is,” another voice said. “Perfect for us, huh?”

My limbs were agonizingly heavy as I awoke, eyelids twitching as they opened. I had no clue what was going on, only that I had the worst headache of my life. I looked around the room I was in and gagged. The room was dark and rank, it smelled like piss, shit, and sweat. The cold floor beneath me was rough concrete crudely covered up by a horribly thin rug. I stretched my right arm, then my left. My legs still wouldn't move, and I dragged myself over to a table that was sitting in the middle of the floor. A pitcher of ice water sat atop it, with a glass placed neatly next to it. I struggled to reach the pitcher, arms aching. A form moved out of the corner of my eye and I screamed.

“Who’s there?! Who the fuck are you?!” My voice cracked and wavered.

As I looked closer I saw the form was another guy. He had messy brown hair down to his shoulders and his pale eyes were wide with fear. He was stark naked, his body a little bigger than me, definitely stronger, which made me even more terrified. If they could subdue him, I had no chance. I could see his muscles, clearly defined, no doubt due to dehydration. I noticed something else too: a white piece of plastic attached to his right ear. It looked crusty and was oozing something clear. I immediately recognized it as a tag. 

He muttered something.

“What?” I asked, voice breaking with a sob.

“The others are at pasture.” he croaked. 

Before I could say another word, loud footsteps were heard coming towards us. I curled into a ball, covering my head and panting. A hand roughly grabbed my hair and yanked my head upwards. I kept my eyes squeezed shut as I felt something pierce my ear and cried out, the pain intense and stinging. I heard a snap and then my head was released. I peeked up at the figure. He wasn’t Mr. Meier, that’s for sure. He had a clean shaven face and his hair was tied into a messy pony-tail. His eyes were large and dark, and his face was absent of the rosiness that Mr. Meier had: it was hard and stone-cold. He grinned, and I felt like he could gut me with his eyes alone. 

“Lovely little sow-to-be, ya’ are.” he cooed, gripping my chin firmly. “We’ll have ya’ hogging soon.” 

The gentleness of his touch was suddenly offset by a swift kick into my stomach, leaving me gasping and clawing at his pant leg.


“Why the fuck am I here?” I squeaked, trying to sound more intimidating than I ultimately did. 

The man chuckled and placed his boot firmly on my chest, holding me down with his weight. I gripped his pant leg and struggled to breathe. 

“Ah, lively one aren’t ya’? Perfect for our hog Willie. Don’t ya’ think so Clarence?” 

I looked over and saw Mr. Meier standing there, rope in hand. “I placed them together, hoping they’d interact but I suppose they need a bit of persuasion, Rob.”

I looked over to the other man who was trapped, Willie, and saw him crawl over on all fours. Shame painted his face as he crawled up to me and got close, taking in a deep breath. 

“Do as they say.” he whispered frantically.

I felt a rope come around my neck and I bucked as it tightened. A hand came down on my head and pet my hair reassuringly. 

“Now now, easy there.” Rob hummed as he tilted my head back and poured a bitter liquid down my throat.

I tried to spit it back up, but he covered my mouth and poked at my throat, forcing me to swallow. I looked over and saw Willie drinking it with no issue. Instantly I became hot and sweaty and my head began to swim. I stumbled a bit, hands aching from resting on the hard ground.

“Lookit that Clarence, he’s ready.” Rob chuckled.

“Told ya’ he was a lightweight.” Mr. Meier replied, hearty laugh booming in my ears.

I felt a buzzing in my skull as I felt Willing get closer to me. When I felt him touch my back I let out a sigh. Embarrassment and fear was soon overruled by the incessant need to feel. I rubbed up against Mr. Meier’s leg, panting and groaning. It felt so intense, every sensation like a burst of light within me. I shrieked as something pushed inside me, tearing me apart and breaking through. I felt something warm drip down my legs as Willie went crazy inside me, tearing me up. I wailed and found those wails growing into moans, and those moans growing into begging.

I couldn’t even register what was coming out of my mouth, all I knew is that I was crying for more. I looked up to Rob and Mr. Meier and they just stood, staring at me, making comments about how well I was taking it. About how pretty I looked. 

A string of lightning shot through my core as I released, tears and snot running down my face. I felt myself become fuller than before, and Willie slipped out of me. I could feel him dripping down my legs and it stung and burned. I looked back and saw he was covered in blood. It was only when I realized where it came from that I vomited, making sick in the pile of my own release and all over Mr. Meier’s shoe. 

I heard the two older men’s laughter and a faux-sympathetic “awww” come from Rob. My neck was released from the rope and I collapsed onto the floor, shaking and whimpering like a kicked dog. 

“Good job, darlin’!” Rob praised, rubbing my shoulder. 

“Yes, you did very well.” Mr. Meier cooed, seemingly ignoring the mess on his boot. 

I panted and gulped, trying not to get sick again. 

“Lovely boy, really great for his first time.” Rob said, voice deep and gruff. “Perfect sow, I’d say.”

“I’d say the same.” Mr. Meier grinned, walking behind me. 

I heard water entering something hollow and my throat felt dry as sandpaper. I looked to the noise and saw Mr. Meier was filling a trough with water. I looked up to Rob and he just stared at me, smiling. I watched Willie crawl over and take a drink and I followed quickly, gulping down water as much as I could. As I drank I felt a hand pet my head once more.

The next three days went the same: I’d wake up, get violated, drink and eat, then pass out once more. It wasn’t always Willie either, there was another named Charles who was my dad’s age and had obviously been through the ringer. 

The fourth day I was put with the rest of the herd. There were five others besides my mates and I. Each of their tags had a number, a name, and a letter. 

134, Becka, S.

325, Armstrong, Ba.

456, Laurence, G. 

398, Lila, S.

749, Cap, St.

I had no idea what the numbers meant, but I was informed that the letters stood for which “type” you were. G for gilt, S for sow, St for stag, and Ba for barrow.

I had no idea what my tag read, I didn’t want to know.

Charles and Willie were the only two “mating males”, but they were treated all the same.

I couldn't tell how long it’d been when I first tried to die. I begged my captors to kill me, to end my life. I gripped Mr. Meier’s legs and reminded him of when we sat at the bar, of when he told me about his family and how he loved hockey and how his favorite drink was a bloody mary. He simply smiled and pet my head before walking away. 

It stopped feeling bad after a while.

It felt normal to wake up in that place, go to sleep in that place. It stopped hurting after a while, I learned to look forward to certain things.

Like pasture.

When they let us outside the room, into the beautiful lush fields. I’d lay there in the tall grass, smelling the crisp air and the wildflowers that sprouted around me. 

Or when he’d let us roam about the house.

The sitting room carpet was lovely to lay on, in front of the fireplace, muffled voices from the television lulling me to relaxation. Only Cap and I were allowed up there, we were their favorites. Cap was fourty, he had been an insufficient mate in their eyes. He whispered to me about his children when Mr. Meier and Rob weren’t around . One day he talked feverishly about how he missed his girls Maggie and Zoe, and how they’d be about five and six now. He laughed about the time they’d spent together. He cried about how he missed their birthdays. 

I thought of my family. I began to sob and Rob entered, petting my head. 

Cap wasn’t seen again after that.

The air got cold and I knew it had been months. Leaves started falling and the sky got greyer every day. 

One evening, Rob and Mr. Meier brought me upstairs. They took me to the room that had frightened me so much before this had become my life.

They strapped me into the contraption and I lay limp until I felt something cold against my right buttock. It was a marker drawing something on my skin. My heart jumped as I heard a mechanical whirring, and I felt  a sudden stinging on my skin. I thrashed and cried but I was held in place by my restraints. Minutes felt like hours and soon the whirring stopped and a cold cloth wiped over the sore skin. I felt a kiss on my back, it was definitely from Rob.

“Lovely, ain’t it?” Rob sighed.

Mr. Meier laughed his hearty laugh and loosened my restraints. I turned around and when I saw what they had done, my blood boiled.

They had given me a tattoo on my buttock: it was fancy lettering, almost like a signature that read “Hurenschwein”. I had no idea what that meant, but I could guess it wasn’t flattering.

When Mr. Meier made a pleased sound, I jumped up and wrapped my hands around his throat, squeezing as hard as I could. Rob started yelling and trying to pry me off but I kept my grip tight, screaming obscenities and pressing my thumbs right into the center of his throat. He choked and gasped and I thought I had him until Rob slammed his fist into the side of my face, sending me flying off the table and onto the floor below. I swung open the door and ran down the hall, Rob right at my heels. I made it to the top of the stairs and he kicked me in the back, sending me tumbling down the steps. I could feel my back bruise and my left leg pop and snap as I landed on it. I shrieked as I tumbled down the stairs and gripped my leg when I made it to the bottom. I could see something poking through the skin on my leg, and I looked up as Rob stomped down the stairs. I cried and pleaded as I backed up against the front door, shielding myself the best I could. He stopped right in front of me and knelt down, grabbing my face roughly.

“I haven’t seen you misbehave like this before.” he grunted. He grabbed my leg and twisted it some more, making me gag and whimper. “Perhaps it’s time for a punishment. I never wanted to have to do this hun, but you leave me no choice.”

He dragged me outside the front door by my hair, my flailing and screaming having no effect on him. He threw me to the ground and grabbed a knife out of his pocket. The blade was huge, and it was dirty with dried blood. Mr. Meier stepped outside as well, leaning against the front door’s frame. I could see the sickly red and purple marks around his neck. He was smiling softly, like he did when he had slaughtered that pig the day I came. Before I knew this, before he was this man, back when he was just a lonely farmer looking for help with his pigs.

“Look at me.” Rob said sternly and as I turned to meet his gaze he brought the blade to my cheek. He came in close to my face and I could feel his hot breath on my mouth. “You’re mine. Meier back there just gave you up for fifty. My rules now.”

I nodded and, placing my hands on his face, running my thumbs over his cheeks. He kissed me and I rejected everything telling me to pull away and leaned into it.

Just a little closer

He pressed deeper into the kiss and when I felt his tongue in my mouth I slammed my thumbs into his eyes. He screamed as my thumbs crushed his eyes, blood dripping down his face as he pulled away. He dropped the knife, instinctively clutching his face and I grabbed it, holding onto it for dear life.

“Son of a-!” 

Before he could finish I slammed the knife into his groin, twisting before pulling out and running as fast as I could.

I could hear his anguished cries as I ran. My broken leg screamed as I forced it to move and my body ached. My lungs felt like they were full of liquid fire. I had no idea how long I ran but soon I was darting in front of a truck and slamming on the front of it.

The driver pulled out a gun and stepped out of his vehicle.

“I’m not a meth-head!” was the first thing that came out of my mouth. 

When he saw my leg he took out his phone, dialing 911.

“We have to get the fuck out of here!” I screamed at him as a gunshot was heard in the distance. 

He loaded me into his truck and sped off. I nearly fainted as I could see Mr. Meier fire a shotgun at the back of the truck, narrowly missing. 

“Alright son, alright, what’s going on?” the man asked. 

I groaned and grumbled “Please, the farm, I have to help them, please.”

That’s all I remember before I woke up in the hospital. An IV gave me fluids and painkillers, my broken leg got a cast, and my other injuries were treated to. My more shameful injuries were documented and I was swabbed, despite me telling them the fluid wasn’t from my captors. They inspected my tag and removed it, taking that in for evidence as well. The piercing was so severely infected they had to remove part of my outer ear.

It became quite a buzz when word got out that Mr. Meier was a maniac. The only problem is that he’d never be able to face the music.

When authorities arrived they found Rob, dead where I had left him in a pool of his own blood. They investigated the property and found where they held us, all of the rest were dead from shots to the head.

The most disturbing part was what they found that I didn’t know about.

When searching for Mr. Meier, they came into contact with a woman named Charlotte. She was in possession of three children, all with the same types of tags they had found me with. Two girls and a boy, between the ages of five and nine; they couldn’t be sure because the children didn’t know their ages and Charlotte refused to disclose them to investigators. 

The exhaustion follows me every day. I have constant reminders of what happened, and the fact is that I always will. I decided to write this because I need to let people know what happened. I need my story to be told if something happens to me. I’ve been receiving flowers that none of my family or friends have sent. They always come with a blank card with nothing but a heart with an arrow through it.

They’re Primrose and Cornflower, the same flowers I’d smelled during those days in the pasture.

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