The following is a short story that I had to write for history class. The assignment was as follows...
I wrote it in only two hours while listening to patchwork techno made from friends. When printed, it spanned eleven pages. The teacher wrote at the top after correcting, "excellent A". Here is the story...
It was a foggy and brisk morning in August. I had landed with my family: a wife, a ten year old daughter, and a twelve year old son. We have landed with a group of settlers, 105 in total yet five have been victim to disease. At my feet was a large chest containing all of our belongings as a family: four blankets, cooking utensils, 8 sets of clothes, an ax, a gun, and ammunition. What was about to begin was an adventure that I would never forget.
The leader of our group was a man named Captain Salvez. He was a Spanish fellow and very capable of leading us. The group of 105 marched, following the footsteps of Captain Salvez as he searched for a decent location to settle as a people. The wind blew hard at our backs as we marched ardently, our faces so pale we appeared to be ghosts to this new landscape, enveloped in fog and mist. We covered our faces in our shawls and whatever other clothing we had. Pine trees ruggedly and pointedly stuck up out of the ground. We continued to march, each family together with the parents holding the hands of their children; as I had marched with the hands of my children in my hands.
Finally, a break in the walking. Captain Salvez had found a destination he believed to be suitable to living in. It was a clearing in a forest. The 105 settlers gathered around him, awaiting for him to speak. "This shall be the place that we as settlers shall settle. We must first set up temporary homes before we consider anything else. Erect your tents!" At that time, the bodies faded away from the crowd that had once surrounded the captain. With a cold breeze stinging our faces and our hands, we mechanically opened our chests, revealing a tent. Shaking, and almost mechanically, we forced our bodies through the will power of our mind to construct tents. It was difficult to control our bodies in such a hostile environment; we moved slowly and without individuality. Every man and every woman, every daughter and every son, was just a slow mass of body parts, working in an attempt to build a suitable home that would grand us shelter for a night.
Slowly, yet steadily, the empty ground that we had come to was dotted with tents. Once every family had erected its own tent, the families gathered together in the center, surrounding Captain Salvez. "We have now erected all of our tents. We have shelter for a week or two and during this time we can hunt for food and build permanent cabins. Does anyone have anything to say?" One hand in the crowd raised. "I have something to say," said Thomas Loxley. Mister Loxley was an entrepreneur and a merchant. In fact, the only reason that he had come to settle with us was that he planned to set up a chain of stores and to feed off of our wealth. Even though we are in the midst of a new world and are pioneers, he was arrogant enough to hire a servant to accompany him and construct his tent for him.
"I think that hunting for food would be too difficult for us to do," he continued, "There are other ways that we can keep ourselves sustained, and I'm not talking about nuts and berries, but a system in society that will allow us to survive. We will need permanent homes and there is nothing I can do about that, but there is a way we can live without having to hunt. With this system, we can lead luxurious and productive lives, all the while being properly fed. We will not need to hunt nor farm. All we will need are cabins."
The crowd that had gathered around Captain Salvez become uproarious. Still with the stingingly cold wind in their faces, they become heated. "Tell us this system!" cried one. "How can we do this?!" cried another. The expression on the face of mister Loxley was calm and optimistic, for he knew what he was going to say and what he was going to do. "There is a way," he started, "And it is effective and grand. Every morning, that there is no food, we all line up. And then we all take a ticket out of a bucket. The person who picks a ticket with an X is killed and used as food." The crowd stood agasp at his plain. Slowly, and through consideration, they thought. They were all in mid-consideration. "But won't we need to gather resources to pay off those who brought us here?" shout out one individual.
"We can use the utensils, clothing, and belongings of those who died here to pay off those on the ship who brought us here," said Loxley. "Aren't dead human bodies poisonous? How will we survive off of just that!?" cried another voice. "We can live off of dead human bodies," shouted a doctor from the crowd, "It'd all work out." 104 chins were being scratched by 104 hands. "That sounds like a good idea!" shouted one person. "Aye! I agree!" said Captain Salvez.
"All right!" shouted Captain Salvez, "You have heard the words of Loxley and you have agreed, as I have. We must kill one person now. Do we have a bucket?" One of the colonists pulled out a bucket. The colonist, the captain, and mister Loxley all began creating the 104 tickets. Tension rose up in all of our hearts. All of the colonists lined up in a circle. "Everyone grab a ticket!" shouted the captain. He walked around the circle with the bucket. Everyone picked out a ticket, sure in their mind that they would not be picked out of the 105 colonists. Captain Salvez went around with mister Loxley, checking all of the tickets to see if anyone had been picked to be killed. Finally, they had found one man who had been the unlucky individual. He was not happy that he picked the ticket and he showed this through fear and pain. He tried to flea, but a mob of colonists hoisted him to the middle of the crowd. He pushed down and shot in the back of the head. Blood soiled the ground. The body collapsed. From the gunshot wound at the back of his head came pouring blood that came out with ease. The crowd looked at his lifeless body with heightened shock and fervent expectations; they were now going to eat him. Slowly, their innocent-sounding steps crept towards the body, but a shout disrupted the mood that captivated the crowd. "Wait!" cried the doctor, becoming the main target of the crowd's attention, "We cannot eat the body until the blood has poured out entirely. Besides, we ought to divide up the parts of the body evenly." The doctor, the captain, and mister Loxley walked over to the body. The doctor slit the throat of the dead body, releasing a thick, rich blood that poured without difficulty. The blood poured out and the stained left the image of a red tree. Then the three men, with assistance from ten others, began cutting up the body and dividing up the pieces.
After thirty minutes, dishes were passed around, each containing approximately one to two pounds of flesh, enough for one day. We all began cooking our own meat. I made sure that my children properly cooked their own meat. I cut off a small piece of flesh. At least while cooked it did not smell as horrendously bad. The stench was a vile stench that worsened with time. After lightly salting and lightly peppering the flesh, I took a bite. This body put into my own, this flesh put into my own flesh, did not taste extravagantly different from other pieces of flesh I have eaten. Beef, pork, and now human. My children and wife also seemed not to mind it. After eating just half of it, I put it away to eat later on that day. The men went into the forest to chop down trees. Some returned and began constructing cabins. Even though the body of the poor chap who had been killed was either consumed or stored, a horrid blood stain remained in the middle of the settlement. Some women tried to remove it by kicking around the dirt, but it remained, a constant reminder of what we had done and what we would continue to do throughout the year. Later that night I had finished off the remains of the human I had stored. I slept soundly with warmth of my family near by. Today was August 1st.
August 2nd was similar to the first. In the morning, all the 104 settlers lined up and grabbed a ticket. The captain and mister Loxley went around the settlement checking tickets to see who had been picked. All of a sudden, there was a burst: one man began running away from the colonists. He ran towards the woods and the captain shouted, "Get him!" A mob chased after the man, in hunger for his flesh and he ran for his dear life. Finally, some colonists caught up with him and dragged him back. He was fighting with such viciousness, tears welling up in his eyes as he fought back in a fit of rage and sadness. They could not shout him, as he was quick and it would be near impossible not to hit someone else. The captain pulled out a club and hit the man over the head. The man's eyes closed and he fell to the ground, motionless save a few yawns and twitches. I knew the man. He was a baker in England. His name was Philip Harris. My family often bought bread from his shop. Just as in the past, it will be Philip Harris who delivers me food tonight. Even though he was surely still alive, they began to prepare the body for distribution. They cut his neck, allowing another unsightly stain to cover the earth. Within moments, his body became a pale blue and he quivered no more. His lips were as blue as the ocean and as cold as the snow. After cutting up his body, it was passed out to all of the colonists. I received my fair share as did my family. We cooked it and my children became less sickened at the idea of cannibalism. I ate one third of my John Harris and put the rest away for storage. The cabins being built by the men of the settlement were surely coming along. Some were near completion. More wood was gathered and more work was done. Since the men did not need to hunt or gather, all of their time was devoted to constructing housing.
August 3rd was an especially chilly morning. We wrapped our extra clothing around ourselves and walked out to the center of the settlement. The same monotonous drill began to become part of our regiment of our daily lives. We all took a ticket and lined up in a circle, the captain and mister Loxley checking our tickets. The captain came to a man whose face was down. "Show me your ticket, son," he asked, referring to the man as son because he was so young, perhaps in his early twenties. The young man looked up and his eyes were watering, his mouth was opened, and his body was shaky with uneasiness and anxiety. He dropped his ticket; it was guided with the gentle caressing of the wind and finally landed on the ground, stuck in some mud. It was marked with an X. The colonists saw it and all started chanting. "Kill him!" - "Take his flesh!" - "I'm hungry!" The captain quickly grabbed one of the man's arms and mister Loxley quickly grabbed his other arm; it was no need, though. He was accepting his fate to be food. The ground, now having two stains of blood, was already soiled, but with the tears of this young man. He walked past the large crowd with dauntless sadness and a calm sob hidden within. The screams and yelling of the colonists becoming more brutal and savage. As the young man walked past the screaming colonists, his foot prints left marks that were left in the soil infinitely. Some of the colonists were absolutely brutal, their face in anger and deeply inside taking pleasure in the acts themselves. Others showed their pleasure, by shining their smiles as they chanted.
His unshaken eye lie steadily on the ground, unmoved by the crowds. The captain and mister Loxley tugged harder at the request of the crowd, but the man would not budge any faster. At the extremely slow pace that he was trudging at, he was already going to die, and far too soon. Even the captain and Loxley started to fade into the background chants in the mind of this child. His lack of haste caused the crowd to erupt into screaming and flaring. The emotional state of the air was an unsteady and undetermined height of anger that tickled by the sad sobs of the fated young man. He was brought to the center of the crowd, his face now wet with tears. The tears had gone past his neck and into his clothes. The captain pulled out a gun and shot the man in the back of the neck. The man fell the ground and THE INSENSATE MOB UTTERED A CRY OF TRIUMPH! Slowly, their emotions dying down, they became more civil. Men aided the captain and mister Loxley in dividing up the body of this young man. One person, with the last name of Punker, cried out, "Did anyone know the young lad's name?" A voice came hollering back, "He was John Hacksworth." The food was then divided up and we were a colony of 103. On my plate lie a piece of a hand - at least three fingers - and some other flesh. I cooked it and it warmed my stomach and mind. I ate half of it and went in to the forest to cut down trees for housing. I left my family in the tent as they ate parts of John Hacksworth. By the end of the day, many of the houses had already been constructing, but not nearly all of them.
August 4th was another day, just like any other, hoping you would stay alive. We all lined up in the center and picked our tickets. By now the fear of death was alive and well within our minds. We had all seen the deaths of other men and what they had gone through. We had all cheered and screamed at them. I took a ticket without checking it. Before I looked at it, my body was numb. I was shaking and my breathing heavily. The nerves of my body were wrecked and overflowing with emotion. I had not even checked my ticket and tears welled up in my eyes. I look down, at my ticket.... there was no X. I wiped the tears from my eyes, being thankful, but thankful for what? That another man will die instead of myself? Exactly. Captain Salvez and mister Loxley went around the colony checking tickets. There was another burst. One man fled from the colony and the entire mob chased him. Into the woods they went in a furious rage, all throwing themselves at this man so that they may taste his warm cooked flesh in their mouths. Hurriedly they chased. He went deep into the forest and several of the colonists returned empty handed. "We now have 102 colonists. We will take another ticket drawing." Again, everyone took another ticket. I checked my ticket immediately, to save myself from the stress, and it was not marked with an X. The captain and mister Loxley went around the colonists checking tickets. To their amazement, one man stepped forth holding his X-marked ticket in his hand high above his head. Everyone cheered and the man looked proud and confident. As the captain and mister Loxley drew closer to him, the man pulled out a gun fired it at the captain. The captain fell to the ground, not fatally wounded and moaned. The armed man had fired his only bullet and his gun was not cocked or loaded. The colonists were already surrounding the young man holding the ticket. At that moment, something indescribable happened. As though a building collapsed or a tent falls down on itself, the hundred colonists made a mad-dash at the armed man. They attacked him and he fell to the ground. The pack of wild savages had gone so fast and so brutally that it left me stunned. Even more barbaric was that the man who had shot the captain had bites of his flesh taken in the fight, even though he was still alive. The man died, under the beatings of a hundred fists, under the feet of a hundred feet. The doctor had repaired the arm of the captain and together with ten men, they served the rest of the colony their food. It was a colony of 101 colonists, 1 being eaten and 1 fleeing. The rest of the day was labor and work. The rest of the colonists had nearly built all of their buildings. Only a handful remained unconstructed.
August 5th rolled around and the colonists were slow at getting up; a forced hypersomnia. Even though it was one chance within one hundred that they would be killed, they did not want to handle those chances. At the same time, their savage and barbaric side began taking over. Their intelligence fading into barbarism and their compassion dissolving into hatred. As the colonists lined up in a circle in their regular routine, one man came running into the middle of the crowd and shouted, "The colonist who fled yesterday is in the woods dead!" The group of colonists headed with a slight haste towards the village. Had the man been still alive, it would have been a mad dash. The captain and mister Loxley found the man's body and brought it back. "Instead of taking a ticket pulling today," said the captain, "We will just consume the body of this colonist, a coward and a fool." The body was cold and stiff. "His name was Greg Folly." I had to boil the flesh of Greg Folly extra that day. His rigor mortis status made the flesh unbearably chewy and stiff. By the time that he was able to be chewed and swallowed, I tasted on some of the finest human flesh ever. I could barely tell what I had, but it appeared to be an ear part and some face pieces. The smell and taste of flesh now, even uncooked, made my mouth water and made me smile. By the end of that day, we still had 101 colonists, but we had finally a home for each colonist.
August 6th was a day of trifling and revolt. We all lined up without hesitation at the center of the colony. We all drew our tickets; I had no X on mine. The captain and mister Loxley went about again, checking the tickets. A woman had been picked. She was dragged out to the center with heavy tears in her eyes and a heavier weight on her heart. "No, please!" she begged, "Don't kill me!" She spoke to the crowd as though it would listen. Angered by her begging for mercy, by her wish and desire to live, the crowd responded by screaming louder and throwing items at her. Pots, pans, and garbage was thrown in her direction. She fell to the ground in tears. But she was dragged to the center. The captain held her head to the ground with his foot while mister Loxley held down her body. The captain drew a gun and pointed at her head. At that moment, a man shouted. He was a drop of reason in a pool of confusion, a beacon of intelligence among barbarians, a lover of life between haters of compassion. "Stop!" he yelled and so ardently that the crowd's emotions nearly dropped, "You are all barbarians! We cannot do this! We are human beings and we all deserve the right to life!" The captain sneered and his face looked with snide. The man who shouted was mister Punker, referred to as Punker. "Humans have no distinct right to life!" screamed the captain in ardent arrogance, "Consider the plight of non-humans. You and others may say that we cannot judge on skin color between different humans. You say that there is an equality of man and that we all deserve rights. Whether one is Indian or British, French of African, you say, they deserve the right to life. What your arrogance and devout foolishness has ignored was the fact that you judge on grounds of quantity of legs and species! Surely, you murder animals by hunting and rearing them, only to fatten your body. If you cannot say one man deserves more rights than another man, then how can one animal, a human, deserve more rights than another animal?"
Punker's voice was calm and steady. His eyes closed and his head bowed. He looked up after a moment of hesitation, his eye steady with confidence and an unforgettable look. The young woman who was about to be executed was struggling greatly to flee. Mister Loxley was disdained by her attempts, and hit her in the face. Her head was against the ground and it could not move back further, so all of the pain and suffering of that one blow was absorbed into me the mind of the poor women, almost knocking her out cold. Punker went back to what he was saying, "We are all conscious beings. We are white and black, human and non-human, male and female. Without these barriers of race, species, gender, or sexuality, we are all one and the same: conscious beings, all capable of feeling pain and suffering, joy and desire." A voice from the crowd erupted, "You are nothing but a heathen, Punker!" Another voice shouted out, "That's right! He was excommunicated!" The captain looked at Punker with this new information. "You pagan, infidel scum. I did not know that the presence of this colony was graced with an... an... an Atheist!" His voice was enraged with anger and brutish instincts. "Whether or not one believes in god," said Punker, "They are still a conscious being. As an Atheist, I still cry and laugh. I love life as it is now, without the barrier of species and without the consideration of a future life. I think it would be-" A shot rang forth from the gun of the captain, going through the skull of Punker and knocking his body to the ground. Again, the crowd cried a cheer of triumph.... but Punker was not quite dead yet. The captain walked up to Punker and looked at his body. Punker was twitching considerably and trying to crawl away. He was writhing in pain. The only thing that the captain gave Punker was his spit. Punker was still alive when they tied him up. For the mere sake of being cruel, the captain ordered Punker to be cut and divided up by the colonists while he was still alive, even though the blood had not yet drained from his slightly moving body. The knives that cut thoroughly through his flesh went smoothly and caused Punker to moan and cry. When Punker's legs had been gone, he had died. The woman who was initially chosen to be killed was allowed to live. That night I ate the flesh of Punker. It tasted like no other flesh I had tasted before. Only 100 colonists left.
August 7 was much like the other days: one man was killed and 99 colonists were left. August 8: one man was killed and 98 colonists were left. August 9: one man was killed and 97 colonists were left. By now, we had so small a population that we had been able to live two days off of one death. August 10: one man was killed and 96 colonists were left. August 12: one man was killed and 95 colonists were left. August 14: one man was killed and 94 colonists were left. August 16: one man was killed and 93 colonists were left. August 18: one man was killed and 92 colonists were left. August 20: one man was killed and 91 colonists were left. August 22: one man was killed and 90 colonists were left. August 24: one man was killed and 89 settlers were left. August 26: one man was killed and 88 colonists were left. August 28 was something different, though.
I came out on August 28 like any other day and surrounded the center of the colony. I had seen the faces and the bodies of the people. They were savages, turned nearly inside out. Their bodies were fed with the bodies of their murdered comrades, their minds were poised with the concept of savagery. Their faces were almost expressionless, except when they consumed hungrily the flesh of their own species. It was salted and peppered, yet quite delicious. I even became sickened with myself. I came out on that morning like the others, August 28, and something horrible happened. Everyone took a ticket and the captain came around checking; my ticket had no X. Unfortunately, my son had the ticket with the X. He was small, but big enough for a crowd of 88. He sobbed uncontrollably, a child of 12. Finally, the captain just picked the child up and brought him into the center. My face was expressionless and my heart was beating a million times a minute. I loved my son and I did not want him to die, but my body and mind did not seem to care enough to do anything, even if anything could be done. I wanted to move, but I remained apathetic and nihilistic, allowing the more barbaric side of me to come through. I did nothing; I stopped nothing; I allowed this to happen. They butchered my son and I did nothing. They put my son on the ground face down and were moments away from killing him. I felt a jolt of emotion run through my body and I rushed out from the background of colonists cheering and screamed, "No! Wait! Stop!!!" My son looked up, his face wet with tears, but it was too late, as only moments later mister Loxley had crushed a rock into my son's skull, killing him instantly. That one second, though, that I had to look into my son's eyes, will be enough time to last me eternally. The flesh of my son, of my own blood, was flesh like none other. Punker's flesh was only an obscurity among men's flesh. This flesh, my son's flesh, was an obscurity to me. My daughter ate the flesh of her brother and my wife ate the flesh of her son.
I did not sleep easily that night. The chilly August wind blew in small, cool gusts of air that caressed my face gently while piercing it with coldness. Fear and anxiety overwhelmed my body. I did not know who I was or where I was going, or even if I had any direction in my bath. There was a civil war, and it waged within my mind. Even though any other knowing nation may consider us barbaric brutes and savages who are cannibals, this one vicious colony of the king, we were still emotional beings. I cried that night. I recollected the faces of everyone who was murdered. I remember the first killing, I remember the baker, I remember the young man who did not want to die, I remember all the killings, and I remember the killing of my son, for whom his body still rested in my gut, physically and emotionally. It was tearing me up inside and I could not deal with it. The war between all rationality and all brutality was a fervent one, but rationality was giving up, being taken over by brutality. At the death of my son, something was lost forever, and it will never be returned to me. It was the final blow that destroyed my conscience. The days from there on were blurry days of pain and deceit, anger and disgust. The days were always foggy, covered in the thick moistness that blanketed our small colony. Nothing made sense any more. Nothing mattered any more. Nothing.
August 30: one man was killed and 86 colonists were left. September 1: one man was killed and 85 colonists were left. September 3: one man was killed and 84 colonists were left. September 5: one man was killed and 83 colonists were left. September 7: one man was killed and 82 colonists were left. September 9: one man was killed and 81 colonists were left. September 11: one man was killed and 80 colonists were left. September 13: one man was killed and 79 colonists were left. September 15: one man was killed and 78 were left. September 17: one man was killed and 77 were left. September 19: one man was killed and 76 were left....... By November, only 50 men were left, but one body kept us going for three days. On November 8th, something happened...
This day was a horrible day. I had to do some horrible things on this day. I was asked by the captain to help kill one of the men, since one of the normal killers had been eaten the day before. I went with two other men and held the chosen man and tied him to a post, but he was fighting us hard all he could. I tried with as least effort as I could to hold him to the post. He kicked my in the shin hard, caused blood to come out. The blood made the others salivate. It only made me angry and hurt. With the other two were holding the chosen man, I kicked him in the stomach and he fell over. Still full of animosity, anger, and hate, I stomped on the man's head, repeatedly. My teeth were gritting and I kept stomping. Finally, the captain and the others had to pull me off. My teeth were still gritting, but I was in tears and crying. Look at what I have done... I have killed a man directly. I moaned, even while I chewed his very flesh in my mouth. Today was November 8th and there were 49 men left. I slept uneasily that night.
November 11th: one man killed and 48 colonists left.... By June, there were 34 colonists left and we were consuming one body within four days. Our diet has taken such an evolutionary change it was incredible. Our minds were fed on hate and pain. Our bodies were fed on the bodies of our friends. Some of the days I was held responsible with others for cutting up and dividing the flesh. The flesh cutters taught me all they know about preparing the human body for consumption. I had to make sure that every edible piece of meat was taken from the body and that nothing edible was left. My clothes had been bloodied when I finished. When I cut the stomach, blood also shot back out at me, so I worked in to the stomach from the side. Consuming humans became ordinary. Dividing and cutting them also became ordinary.
June 22nd: one man killed, 33 colonists left. July 17th: one man killed, 24 colonists left. I would say than it was on this date that something horrible happened, but on every date something horrible always happened. But surely, something horrendously tragic happened on this date. My wife was taken from me. She was taken to the center of the colony and I watched, helpless and close to careless. They killed her. I was responsible for killing her, as well. However, the captain said that I could take a "leave of duty," as this would be hard for me to do. He was understanding to the situation. I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the screams of pain. She was not an easily killed woman. I could not look at her dead body, nor could I taste her dead flesh. The only one of my own blood left was my daughter, and she ate the flesh of her own mother and brother, I have eaten the flesh of my own wife and son.
By September, there was 13 of us left. On the 18th of September, they killed their last: my daughter. She was taken to the center and murdered in front of the colonists. I was so heartless and careless that I could look and watch her die. I was alone, now. I was among 12 other men as I ate the flesh of my daughter. They were strangers. Mister Loxley had been eaten weeks ago. Captain Salvez was still around. We were once a colony of 105 colonists. Now were are a huddled group of 12 cannibals. I felt sick. When they ship came to pick us, we gave the items of the devoured as pay for our travel cost. From that day on, I never consumed another piece of flesh for the remainder of my life, no matter how small nor from what animal. They all carried with them the same, monotonous smell of death and my eyes would water at their smell. They all came from a conscious being: human or non-human. It was this meat, this flesh, that I vowed never to consume again. And I never consumed it for the rest of my life...