The red shed sat alone in the field, its only visual company a flock of evergreens on its one side. Spread upon its boards, a fresh coat of red paint that dripped onto the snowdrifts billowing around it.
The structure looked so out of place and how Tara ended up here was beyond her recollection.
She panted little clouds of smoke into the frosty air and trudged on through the snow drifts. Upon reaching the door, that bitter stench of paint filled her nostrils and made her woozy. She grabbed hold of the bronze handle, red paint brushing against the side of her hand. "Damn it," she cursed the air. She tried rubbing it off onto her jeans, but only managed to smear the stain in both places.
She grabbed for the knob again.
This time, she hesitated.
Why did she have to go in?
What was it that brought her here?
Why was she trembling?
What did she know that she couldn't remember?
Why was she here, stuck in this dream? This nightmare?
She breathed deep, drawing the cold air into her lungs.
She turned the handle and stepped inside the shed.
It was dark and ridiculously quiet.
With only a little stream of light from the open doorway to guide her, Tara paused, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the shadows.
Looking around, she could see sawdust at her feet; red boards, with that same fresh-paint smell, encased the walls of the room; and in the corner sat a large white basin.
She tiptoed forward, forcing herself towards the porcelain monstrosity.
Her boots click-clacked across the wooden floor.
Nearer the object, a terrible stench of urine caught her nose and she felt herself swallow a bitter taste that seemed to fill the air.
She didn't want to look.
She didn't want to see it.
She didn't want to know.
She knew she should run out of there.
She knew there was nothing good that was coming out of this dream. This nightmare.
But she couldn't run.
She could barely hold herself up to peer into the basin.
But she did.
And she could never unsee it.
And she could barely catch her breath.
In that same minute, the shed door slammed shut behind her, snuffing out the little bit of light that had guided her.
She heard its handle latch.
She didn't even try to yell.
She didn't run to the door and bang on it or holler for help.
Tara knew why she was here.
She was here to atone.
Her tears fell hard and they fell fast.
She glanced once more into the over-sized basin.
All that blood.
All those bones.
How many victims were there?
How many more would there be?
How long would she have to stay in this dream? This nightmare?
Tara slumped to the floor and covered her mouth to keep from screaming, knowing now why they called it a slaughter tub.
- Deevious -
Pic from Wikimedia Commons
Pic from Wikimedia Commons