The Butcher's Store

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The Butcher stood behind his table. He had just grabbed a new carcase out of his freezer and laid it down in front of him. He smiled. He enjoyed his job, cutting up meat and selling it to his customers. He owned the only butcher's shop in their town, so he knew practically everyone. Each week the same people would come right on schedule. Mr Bernard came on Monday mornings to buy some steak for his family. Ms Whinery would arrive for some chicken mince every Thursday afternoon so she had something to cook for her three kids. The Emery kids would usually come on Saturdays at around midday to fetch some bones for their pet dog. He had memorised the schedule of every customer, and since he often gets into conversations with them, he knew almost everything about their daily lives.

However, there were a few customers he knew nothing about. Most of these mysterious customers came at night, a few minutes before he closed up. They always asked for the same thing, and silently stood by as he went to fulfil their order. He always wondered about these mysterious people, the lack of information was a bit uncomfortable for him, but he always shook off these feelings as he handed them their meat.

Every day was the same for him, he would cut up his meat, talk to his customers, close the shop and go home. He didn't mind the repetitiveness of his life, in fact, he relished it, knowing he can always count on everything to happen the same as always, every day, every week, every month and so on.

Things were not always like this. A few years ago he would have loved to leave this butcher's store and pursue some other greater endeavour. His parents were the previous owners of this store, and he hated them. He hated how mundane their life is, opening and closing the butcher's store every single day. He wanted more to do in his life, some greater purpose, but he had neither the smarts or the courage to do what he wanted. He blamed his parents for everything that was wrong with his life, often trying to run away from home on some big adventure he imagined in his head. He never went through with it, always coming back home before his parents even knew he was missing. The days would repeat like this, and it was nauseating for him.

He remembered when everything changed one night. After his parents closed the shop again, they sat him down on some wooden chairs and talked to him about his future. He was 18 at that time, his birthday had just passed a few days ago, and his parents felt it was time for him to take over the store. Despite not doing well in school, he knew all about being a butcher, often helping his parents all around the store to overcome his ever growing boredom. They started talking about their special customers, the one's that came at night a few minutes before the store closed. He had always wondered about those customers, wearing nothing but black as if they wanted to disappear into the night. Not one of them showed their face, either covered by their hat or collar, and they only ever whispered one thing. 

"Get me your finest cut of meat..."

His father got up and walked to their vault. He had know idea what his parents held in there, never being allowed to go past its giant metal doors. They already had a meat freezer, so it had to be something else. It had always been a mystery to him, imagining all the things that could be inside. His father pulled out an odd looking key and slid it into the door. He expected to hear loud clicks when the door opened, but it made no such sound. It silently unlocked and opened, a dim light revealing its contents. Inside was a short corridor, leading to another door, exactly like the one that had just been opened. His father went inside and beckoned him to follow. He was unsure what to think of this, wondering what his father was trying to show him. He felt a hand on his shoulder, causing him to jump from his chair. His mother stood behind him, smiling that sweet smile she always had on her face. Although, this time, it was a bit more sinister than sweet. Confused at first, he brushed it off and decided to head towards the mysterious doorway.

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