The Meat Market. August 5th. Evening.

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Marie stood in line, her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes scanning the small space she and the rest of the customers occupied. The walls were bare except for the sign at the front detailing the items being sold. The floor, tiled and colored white, was clean, much to her chagrin. 

It was a store that butchered its own products, she expected it to be much worse, just like the smell. But, then again, it was a business, a clean appearance meant more customers and more customers meant more revenue, not to mention keeping the inspectors away.

She wasn’t the average girl afraid of spiders and she enjoyed a good gory movie, but the smell of fresh cut meat, hanging downstairs or placed out front; she just couldn’t handle it. It scared her, made her feel sick, and she hated her family for making her go to the Meat Market every time they needed to restock.

Even with her disgusted view on the business, she learned to get over it. The owner offered her a job and she took it without question. Her poor town had nothing to offer her and she was surprised to see the Meat Market opening up their hearts for her. Their reason, they were short on butchers and it was an easy job to teach.

At first, when she went home and filled the application out, she thought how she would be at the Meat Market every day, working in the dark downstairs with one other butcher. She didn’t know if she was ready for it, she was just some senior in high school about to graduate with no job experience, but it was a good paying job and it would look decent when she would apply to college.


She noticed her gaze was fixed on the floor and it was when the owner barked her name that she saw the store was empty and she was standing a few feet from the counter, dumb struck. Her face lit up red and she practically ran to the counter.

“Sorry, Mr. Rowe, I guess I just..kinda zoned out there.” She laughed under her breath and was glad when the owner smiled back.

The old man shook his head, “It’s fine, we all do that sometimes,” he smacked his hands on the counter, a toothy smile on his cheery face, “So what can I get for you? The usual?”

It was Marie’s turn to shake her head, “No actually, um, I was ready for training today? You said I should come in--”

Mr. Rowe’s face lit up, “Oh, that’s right! Well, you didn’t have to wait in line. Next time, just head straight to the back, he should be back there.” He ended his line with a smile, pointing to the door that read Employees Only.

Marie nodded and thanked the owner, making her way to the door with a knot in her stomach. She never met the butcher, didn’t know who actually prepared the meat for her whole family. Hell, she didn’t even know his name, but she knew the butterflies would pass eventually and she would come to enjoy her job with Mr. Rowe being the best boss she would have.

She turned the handle and entered the back room in one swift movement. It was cluttered with boxes that surrounded a desk stacked with papers and a lone computer that looked like it was from the 90's. There was a beat up couch to the right of her, right beside the open doorway, excluding the door, leading down to the basement. And sitting, more like slouching, on the couch was what Marie assumed to be the butcher.

He was more intimidating than Marie thought he would be and older too, yet much younger than Mr. Rowe. His apron was heavily stained with blood, both fresh and dried over the years of work. His eyes were fixed on his gloved hands, smearing the blood around the black latex before wiping them on his butchers apron and standing, bringing his attention to Marie.

He raised an eyebrow, his cold eyes unsettling her, “You’re my new butcher?”

Marie nodded her head, “Yep,” without saying another word.

The butcher smiled lightly and gestured with his gloved hand to the basement, “Let’s get started.”

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