Sandra wakes up with a massive headache, her right cheek resting on the steering wheel, her ears ringing from the crash. A warm liquid trickles down her forehead and she raised her hand to touch it, quietly hoping it is not what she thinks it is, but to her sickening horror, blood oozed out of a cut on her head.
She was gaining her bearings when she realized what must have happened. The car had smashed into a tree, the majority of its bonnet wrapped around the tree like a violent hug. Sandra winced as she moved, she had sustained some minor fractures to her ribs but had not gone flying out of the car thanks to her standard intuition of wearing a seat belt.
The same could not be said for the fate of the front passenger who laid lifeless beside the tree with his skull cracked wide open from what must have been a violent collision with the tree.
Sandra eventually wiggled her way out of the damaged car with the money still in her hands. She staggered forward in the forest looking for the main road when she heard some voices coming off a location. People chattered and bickered like it were a marketplace. Sandra hurried towards the source of the sound, hoping to meet someone that would help her ordeal.
She dashed to the front of the supposed market and was greeted with a very intriguing sight.
“Oh my God”, she gasped.
In front of her, in the middle of the forest laid a large abattoir, festering with swarms of flies and oozing a rancid stench of dismembered meat parts. People walked back and forth, haggling prices and making purchases. They all looked unbothered by the putrid odor and swelting heat.
She inched closer and noticed a large wooden misshapen signboard bearing the name of the place. EATOPIA. Written in red, presumably blood, hanging above the gate entrance. Sandra got closer and made a second horrifying discovery. The cavalcade of meat and chopped body parts were all human.
A cold chill ran down her spine as she tried to understand what she was looking at.
“It can not be”
She thought to herself as she stood frozen in terror at the abomination she was witnessing. A human meat market in the middle of nowhere with dozens of people buying body parts like they were animal parts.
As she stood rooted, a deep voice called at her.
“Hello madam, are you entering or not?”
She snapped out of her trance as she noticed a hulking man in army fatigues and a rifle talking to her.
“Are you going to buy something or are you just going to stand there?”, the man added.
As she moved to speak, she noticed him clutch his rifle hanging at his waist and deduced that he must be a guard watching over this obscene place. She thought to herself, she had to act like she was not there by accident.
“Ah yes, I am going in, I just had a minor accident on my way here, you know”, she replied with a forceful smile.
The guard beckoned towards her to enter Eatopia, Sandra walks in, holding back every ounce of anxiety and panic. She has to keep up the charade and then find an exit out of this horrid nightmare.
She walked deeper into Eatopia and saw more unspeakable abominations, human legs and arms hung from meat hooks, human guts, and intestines laid in bowls, swarmed by huge green bottle flies. Sandra was getting woozy from the terrifying sight and fetid odor when a familiar voice called out to her.
“Hey Sandra, I didn’t know that you shopped her as well”
The voice raised goosebumps on her nape as she turned around and saw her lanky neighbor Silas grinning at her.
He was carrying a bag that contained a human lap and casually gestured towards Sandra to join him. Sandra realized that she had to play long enough.
“Silas, wow funny running into you here, do you come here often?”, she said, smiling forcibly.
“Of course, very often, in fact, let me show you my favorite parts to buy”
Silas pulls her to a particular shed that was selling human legs. He pointed at several parts, touching them as he tried to decide which one to take.
“Won’t you pick as well?”
Sandra tensed at the unspeakable horror, she stared at the festering body parts and fought back the thoughts of whom those legs must have belonged too. A doctor? A student? A mother?
It did not matter, she had to make a decision quickly so she could get out of the place as soon as possible.
She realized that the driver and his friend must have been bringing them here to sell them off. She fought back the urge to vomit as she selected a leg of her choice.
The merchant mentioned the price and it shook her as to how costly it was. She grabbed her purse which contained the money she was meant to deliver to her boss. She had to pay for the leg or else she may arouse suspicion.
Silas continued poking at different legs, haggling with the merchant like it was a fish market. Sandra could not believe that she had been living beside a cannibal all this while.
She determined that once she was out of this hellhole, she would relocate from her current place of residence as soon as possible.
Eventually, she decided on the piece of leg she wanted and the merchant proceeded to wrap it up for her. She handed over a substantial amount of the money and collected the item.
“Enjoy tour meal”, Silas said as she walked away briskly.
She sheepishly smiled and waved back at him as she headed for the exit. She kept on fighting back every ounce of her body from retching all love as she reached the exit and bolted out of the market in search of the expressway that would lead her back to the city.
She staggered in exhaustion as the day had gone entirely off the rails. She realized that the leg was still in her possession and she shrieked in horror as she tossed aside the dismembered body part. She kept on advancing forward until she could hear the familiar whosses on speeding cars zooming past.
Her heartbeat quickened in relief as she dashed towards the main road. She gave off a tired smile as she waved her hands frantically at the various cars driving past. Fatigue was beginning to set in heavily as her eyes got weighty. She walked into the middle off the road, arms stretched out, and not having a care in the world before collapsing from all the stress and tiredness.
“BEEP” “BEEP” “HISS” Sandra slowly opened her eyes as various strange sounds echoed around her. She adjusted her sight and focused her attention on understanding where she was. a fan twirled lazily above her as strong odors of chlorine and antiseptics washed over her olfactory senses.
She inched upwards and made the realization that she was in a bed in a hospital. She touched her forget to feel a rough material taped to it, noting the plaster on her forehead. She was still a bit woozy from her experience.
“Good to see you awake”, a voice said beside her.
Sandra almost flew out of the bed as she noticed that there had been a second person in the room. The nurse wore a smile and asked her.
“Hope you are well-rested, a young officer has some few questions for you, if you don’t mind”
She gestures towards the open door of the hospital ward as a young man in a police uniform walked in.
“Good day, madam, my name is Officer Adams and I was alerted to your arrival into the hospital”
Adams inched forward, pulled a chair, and sat on it. He politely signaled towards the nurse to kindly excuse herself from the room to give him and Sandra some privacy.
“I was told that you were found on the highway deep in the Halcyon Forest, covered in bruises and cuts and nearly dehydrated”
Sandra nodded her head slowly as if she was worried it might fall off.
“Upon further investigation around where you were found, we came across a human leg which confused us”
Sandra’s eyes widened as she moves her lips to speak but her throat was extraordinarily dry. Adams noticed this and spotted a jar of water with a glass on a table right next to her, he moved to pour some water for her to drink.
“The thing is that we have actually been tracking a cannibal ring in that area for a while now and the leg served as a clue to where the location may be”
“Di…ididi..did you fiii..innd themmm?”, Sandra asked in a raspy voice as the water cleared her throat and airways.
“Sadly we did not, and so we are hoping to get some information from you that might help us solve the case”
Sandra sat up on her bed, cleared her throat a couple of times, and began narrating her ordeal. she narrated everything she could remember from the hitchhike to the crash to Eatopia and to her neighbor. Adams nodded intently as he listened to all she had to say.
” Wow, that is incredible, thank you so much. This should definitely help the case”
Sandra managed a weak smile, Adams got up from his seat and picked up a rag from a counter nearby, he walked over to the sink where an assortment of bottled chemicals sat.
“However…”, Adams said as he reached the sink, he opened one of the bottles and dabbed some of its content on the rag “…we can’t have you ruining our business”.
Sandra’s heart skipped two beats, she was not sure what she heard. Adams walked back toward her as she laid prone on the bed with the soaked rag in his hand.
“You have no idea how long Eatopia has been and how highly profitable it is”
“My Goo..ood, you are pa..part of them?”,Sandra muttered weakly.
“I’m afraid that I can’t let you go and ruin this for us, there are so many people involved and benefiting from it”
Sandra shifted violently in her bed, but the drugs that must have been administered to her, and her overall fatigue restricted her. Adams was standing over her now and she could smell the content on the rag. She was not a chemist but she did enough basic school chemistry to determine the smell of chloroform.
Adams shoved the rag onto her face, holding her down as she struggled under his weight. She tried holding her breath but it was a futile effort as the chemicals traveled down her nostrils and relaxed her entire system until she started slipping into unconsciousness.
She passed out from the chloroform and laid motionless on the bed as Adams beckoned to some strange men that had been waiting outside the ward. They came in and carried her unresponsive body away
She had escaped the lion’s den but ran straight into the belly of the beast.