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My story begins in a small town outside London called Chalfont St. Giles.

My parents had moved here from Boston when I was 5 and for most of my childhood I knew only life within the confines of the town, save for a few vacations.

When I got into my 20’s, as most 20-somethings do, I moved out to go to university in London.

This is when things started to go off-track. In the spring of 1998 I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia – an aggressive form of cancer within the white blood cells. This meant that I was in and out of hospital for a long period of time; this severely affected my university courses.

Eventually I was forced to drop out of university entirely. I tried these new online courses that started to become popular in the 2000’s, but I didn’t have a laptop and my cancer started to affect my ability to walk, even if just to the computers in hospital library.

As the years went by the chemotherapy treatments started to work, and by 2011 I was totally cancer free.

Despite the good news, a new problem presented itself; finding a job. You see, I never completed any of my university courses and I lacked the money needed to re-enrol. My CV was pretty much empty, and I was practically unemployable. I lived off government benefits for a few years, until I got the email. It popped into my otherwise empty mailbox, entitled “Job Offer for Dominic.”

How did they know my name? I never put my real name online – this creeped me out – but I was so desperate for a job at the time I didn’t think twice. I should’ve.

The rest of the email read:

Hello Dominic Jones,

I am Jared Miller, a representative of Wilson Foods Ltd. We are a meat processing factory based in Birmingham, and we’re delighted to inform you that you have been selected to fill a space that has recently opened up on our production line. We look forward to working with you,

The team at Wilson Foods Ltd.

The email ended with an address in Birmingham. No phone number; yet another red flag, but I didn’t care. A job was a job.

A few days later I found myself outside the building.

WdRCYFB

It wasn’t exactly in Birmingham; I had had to drive for at least an hour outside of the city centre, as the neat tarmac roads became winding gravel pathways, until finally I was driving on little more than a dirt track.

A battered old logo featuring a cartoon of grinning man in overalls standing next to a smiling cow was hung over the doors. The building was the polar opposite of welcoming, but I walked through.

I was greeted by a large square hallway. On one wall was a reception desk and a battered old iron door labelled “Staff Only.”

The other two walls had doors labelled “Director’s Office” and “Staff Quarters,” respectively.

Quite out of place, a pretty young woman wearing a floral dress, sitting on the reception desk, caught my attention by asking “can I help you?”

“Uh, yeah,” I said. “I’m here for a job interview.”

“Fantastic Dominic. Please go through that door-“ she gestured to the Director’s Office “-and up the stairs. Mr. Wilson is expecting you.

“Oh, ok.” I walked towards the door. How the fuck does everyone know my name? “Thanks,” I muttered, just loud enough for her to hear, as I walked through the door.

I walked up the dimly lit staircase and knocked on the door that it led to. A gravelly voice on the other side muttered “come in.”

I cracked the door open and slid into an equally dimly lit office. It had very little decoration, aside from two pictures, one of Mr. Wilson himself and another of a family. They both reminded me of American Gothic.

The man himself wasn’t remarkable. He wore jeans and a button-up shirt with the top button undone and looked to be in his 70’s – greying hair, wrinkled skin, the like.

“Right. You must be Dominic,” he said.

“Yeah; how d’you know my name?”

“Ah, we’ve been eying you up for a while.”

“Wait, wha-“

“Now, I’m going to ask you a couple of questions, Dominic.” He interrupted me. “I’d like you to answer them.”

“Uh, alright.”

They were simple questions about my personality, why I think I’d be good for the job, et cetera. He got me to sign a few things, explained that I’d be living in provided accommodation and stated the pay. The moment that figure left his mouth I couldn’t sign all the forms he was handing me quicker. I didn’t even read them. I should’ve.

He smiled. “Perfect. Welcome to Wilson Foods Ltd. We’ll give you the weekend to move into your new home and you can start on Monday.”

He gave me a very firm handshake and I walked out. I didn’t realise it then, but I’d made the worst mistake of my life.

The first few months of work were uneventful. I did various tasks such as filling sausage cases with sausage meat, packing the products and operating the machines. My co-workers were alright. We talked a bit, but nobody stayed long enough for me to make friends.

After a year went by I began to realise that something was wrong. Early one morning, three intact human fingers and a generic silver watch were spotted amongst the constant flow sausage meat on the conveyor belt. I thought it could’ve been some sort of sick joke – it was Halloween in a few days, after all – but the fingers looked so real.

A few days later Mr. Wilson announced over the factory speakers that a worker had been injured while operating the mincer and stricter safety measures were being put in place.

That was another thing – you never got to see the mincer. Occasionally workers were escorted through a large wrought iron door labelled “MINCER.” They came out each day for lunch, as usual, but they always came out paler and quieter than they had when they came in. A few weeks later they would always disappear with no explanation.

I never really thought about it at the time, but their disappearance always coincided with the factory getting a new delivery of meat.

A couple of weeks after that, we had the incident. We were all working on the production line, as usual, this time packing fresh mince, when the door to the mincer burst open.

One of the workers who had been escorted into the room yesterday bolted out. He looked absolutely awful.

He had a massive gash on his left shoulder, apparently inflicted by a machete or a large knife. Large scratches, deep enough to draw blood, snaked up his right leg. His factory uniform was in tatters, shredded on the right leg with the main overalls missing entirely.

Staggering up to me, he placed a blood-caked hand on my shoulder and rasped, “no man should ever have to go into that room. No man should ever have to see what was in-“

Two men dressed in factory overalls bolted out of the mincing room and dragged the man back in before he could finish his sentence.

Now, for many people this would be the last straw – indeed, I very nearly considered quitting – but the pay was too good. I was too well off. I turned a blind eye.

That is, until two weeks ago. The factory had shut, and I was on my way home, when I realised I’d left my phone at work. I decided to go drive back and get it.

I walked up to the doors, expecting them to be closed, but they swung open. It was starting to get dark, but I figured I’d be out in a few minutes anyway. I walked into Staff Quarters and picked up my phone, which I’d left on a table in the cafeteria.

I was about to leave, when I realised that muffled noises were coming from the factory floor. I pushed open the “Staff Only” door.

The main factory floor was empty, the lights turned off ages ago. But the “MINCER” door lay ajar. A thin beam of light poked out, fighting a losing battle against the darkness surrounding it. The occasional sound of moaning and wincing interspersed with the constant rising and falling of a large knife drifted out of the door. I tip-toed up to it. My phone pinged – I’d forgotten to mute it – and the knife-falls stopped. SHIT. The growing sound of footsteps grew louder and louder until the head of a factory worker popped out of the door.

“What d’you want?” he asked. He was NOT happy. Without saying anything I grabbed the door and swung it wide open. My mouth dropped in horror.

What I saw was a decent-sized room. The mouth of a mincer sat in the corner, with a large sack sitting next to it labelled “MEAT.” Most of the floor was covered in blood, and on the opposite side of the room sat 7 or 8 medical gurneys. The naked, mutilated body of a factory worker lay on the second-closest gurney to me. He was missing both of his eyes, his legs and his right arm. His other arm had a large gash next to the shoulder. He was also connected to a drip and what looked like morphine.

The other factory worker stared at me blankly for a few seconds, a bloody meat cleaver in one hand. He’d been doing this. The factory had been doing this. They’d been cutting up the workers and putting them in the mince. What the fuck?

Just as I began to comprehend what was happening in this disgusting room, the man launched himself towards me, knocking me over and pinning me to the floor. He raised the meat cleaver and tried to cut into my arm, but I kicked him in the balls. He dropped the meat cleaver and fell to the floor just long enough for me to pin him down myself.

In the spur of the moment, I brought the hefty blade down on his neck. He began to gurgle and wheeze. Blood spilt out of his mouth until finally he went limp. I'd killed him.

I sat back for a moment, thinking about what to do with him. I couldn’t leave him here. Somebody would realise. I picked him up – he was damn heavy – and out of the factory. I could make this look like an accident. Everything would be alright. Beyond the boundaries of the factory, on a grass verge, lay a frequently used train track. I hastily wrote a suicide note, making it seem as if the man had seen what was in the mincing room and was driven insane by it. I jammed this in his pocket and lay him gently on the train tracks. I drove off.

Later the next day the local newspaper reported a suspected suicide outside the factory. It had worked. Again, I considered leaving after that, I really did. But I didn't. I couldn't. The pay is too good to leave.

Now I sit here, typing this. I want to quit. I want to quit badly. But I can’t. I can never quit. I’ve learned now that the security guards have keys to enter the factory-provided accommodation. I've seen them hastily drag body bags out of other factory worker's apartments before. They're the bodies of those who have realised what’s going on. Those who have tried to quit. Those who have tried to be whistle-blowers. I’m going to be next. I don't know when. All I can do is keep working. I can't leave. The pay is too good to leave.

The pay is too good to leave.

Hello,

I am Dominic Jones, a representative of Wilson Foods Ltd. We are a meat processing factory based in Birmingham, and we’re delighted to inform you that you have been selected to fill a space that has recently opened up on our production line. We look forward to working with you,

The team at Wilson Foods Ltd.

Wilson Foods Ltd.,

Factory Road,

Birmingham,

B1 2NY

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