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Trifecta Week 61: Abattoir

This week’s prompt is here, and what follows is my grim little submission entitled “Abattoir:”

It was dark in there, as always. My portable oxygen was full and my mask was fully functional: when I opened the door I automatically started breathing through my mouth, despite the mask; some habits are hard to break, especially for those of us who had this detail before all this fancy equipment. My historical (hysterical?) memory helped me taste the smell in this shit hole anyway. As my eyes adjusted, I remembered just how much of a bitch it was to be on clean-up detail. I mean, no part of the job was cake but coming in here after the deeds were done was still, in my opinion, so much worse than starting the thing. Clean-up detail requires that we swab the floors and walls, get the spare parts in the incinerator, and make the place tidy so the next batch won’t know where they are when they get put in here. I tap the light on my helmet twice to get it to go panoramic; I need to see wall to wall because I pride myself on not tripping on spare parts or slipping in spilled blood when I clean. I want to make sure everything is good because I am training a new recruit.

I see him coming: new recruits are easy to spot because they are always jumpy. I try not to remember their names since most don’t last long. I still get a kick out of how green they go when they first step in the room and I always make sure they start on parts. If you can hold your vomit while picking spare parts, you’ll make it in this business. This one’s already gagging and he hasn’t touched anything. I turn him toward the floor incinerator and hand him the rake; must have been a small batch this morning because there are only a couple of fingers, a short length of intestine, and blood. It might be an easy shift after all.


  1. barbara January 22, 2013 11:28 pm

    okay . . . ewwwww!

    well done! I would read more.

    • AR Neal January 23, 2013 3:11 am

      Thank you Barbara!

  2. joetwo January 23, 2013 12:17 am

    I like the detail of the gagging. I’m reminded of a scene where medical students are all knocked out by their professor’s antics with a cadaver.

    • AR Neal January 23, 2013 3:13 am

      Oh, yeah! My Certified Nurse Assistant students always had stories about their first experience with a cadaver…

  3. Sandra January 23, 2013 9:22 am

    Grief! How horrific was this. Well written.

    • AR Neal January 23, 2013 3:36 pm

      Yes…it was a moment, for sure…thank you 🙂

  4. KymmInBarcelona January 23, 2013 1:08 pm

    Right to the end I wasn’t sure if this was a packaging plant or Auschwitz. Then those fingers. Eww.

    • AR Neal January 23, 2013 3:37 pm

      This is the result of watching “The Descent 2” before writing…

  5. gretchenfogelstrom January 23, 2013 6:45 pm

    Oh my gosh, seriously disgusting. But exceptional writing. Even though I disliked the content I wanted to know more.

    • AR Neal January 23, 2013 6:52 pm

      Thank you! Yeah, it was gross. Writing is an art, and art takes so many different forms; if you take a peak at my Līgo post, I touched on travel and longing…it is a strange place inside my head most days 🙂

  6. Tom MacInnes (@cobourgcobbie) January 24, 2013 1:41 am

    Gritty realism to the extreme here! Very good technical writing here. Very clinical feel which is, I presume, what you were after. Not a world I ever want to find myself in. Very well written.

    • AR Neal January 24, 2013 4:30 am

      Amen! I too would not want to live in such a world; interestingly, I once went for a job interview, only to discover once I arrived, that the company offered cryogenics services. Eww. Needless to say, I and my cheap suit made it back to my car in as much of a hurry as I could.

  7. deanabo January 24, 2013 1:44 am

    yuck! You did really good with your descriptions!

    • AR Neal January 24, 2013 4:31 am

      Thank you 😉

  8. Rachael January 24, 2013 6:01 am

    Wow. This does so much in so many directions…My mind went to the concentration camps…Is the narrator indifferent because he doesn’t care? Or because he is immune? Or is it something else completely (I saw your comment about Descent 2)?! Definitely worth some contemplation…

  9. atrm61 January 24, 2013 12:45 pm

    What a gruesome discovery for the new recruit-poor chap!I don’t envy his job or his “seasoned” Boss;-)Loved this grossly fascinating piece ,Neal,with bits of dark humour thrown in for good measure-“Some habits are hard to break”,”I tap the light on my helmet twice to get it to go panoramic”,”must have been a small batch this morning” & the last line made me smile-must be my macabre sense of humour;-)

    • AR Neal January 24, 2013 3:55 pm

      [she takes a bow] Thank you!!

      • atrm61 January 24, 2013 4:33 pm


  10. steph January 24, 2013 10:57 pm

    I love the word abbatoir – always have – though not what happens there. I visited one once when I was a kid. My father thought it would be educational. He was that type of guy. All I remember is the door that slammed behind the poor beasts. Nothing was going on when I was there, but that door. I’ve blocked the rest out. For awhile I was a vegetarian. I’m ready to do it again and stick with it. That’s what your piece conjured up for me. Really well done! And then you get to the fingers…and the mind reels!

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 2:58 am

      Thank you so much! Your memory is the stock for a great story, you know!

  11. trifectawriting January 24, 2013 11:26 pm

    This is awesome!

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 2:58 am

      Thank you 🙂

  12. Draug419 January 24, 2013 11:39 pm

    mmmm delicious <3

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 2:59 am

      So cheeky you are 🙂 Love it!

  13. Mike January 25, 2013 2:18 pm

    A worthy winner.
    Great, chilling description delivered in an almost matter of fact way.
    Had me feeling sorry for the new recruits.

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 3:19 pm

      Thank you!!!

  14. lexy3587 January 25, 2013 7:00 pm

    That sounds dreadful. Like some futuristic version of the things that happened in Nazi concentration camps. Well written, though – you did a great job of making my skin crawl.

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 9:29 pm

      Thank you–it was rather creepy, so skin crawling is definitely in order!

  15. Dawn Lamond January 25, 2013 9:02 pm

    Beautifully horrid. Or, horridly beautiful! Take your pick – it was awesome in its horror. Worthy of Alien or some other dark sci-fi thriller 😀 Congrats!

    • AR Neal January 25, 2013 9:30 pm

      As a true fan of the first Alien film, my heart warms at your comment! Thank you 🙂

  16. Cheney January 26, 2013 5:30 am

    Dude. That was AWESOME! And gross and gory and everything I love. MOAR!

    • AR Neal January 26, 2013 6:38 am

      (the ol’lady takes a bow, thankful that her powers worked for good and not evil. sort of) 🙂

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