Chapter 6: Civilized Cannibals

Point of View: Zack Westburn

Josh wrestled the shotgun free, stumbling away from Jake as he struggled to get up from the floor. Josh flipped the gun around in his hands, smashing the butt into the back of Jake's head. His hat flew off, and his body went limp against the floor.

I stood by the door, breathing heavily and bleeding from a cut on my arm. Ashley was against the back wall, staring down at the body with wide eyes. Josh glanced back and forth at us until Mark reappeared in the doorway, holding his arm.

He removed his hand to reveal a nasty, fresh cut, seeping blood down his arm and dripping from his fingertips. A grimace spread across his face, and he recovered the wound.

"Let's get the hell out of here!" Josh said, still clutching the shotgun as he made his way out the door. Ashley and Mark followed after him, and I took one last look at Jake. He wasn't moving, although I could swear his head was turned the other way after Josh had struck him.

"Zack! Come on mate!" Mark called after me. I wasted no more time thinking about, exiting the room and stepping out into the dark hall. Josh and the others went to the right, with Josh leading and the shotgun held level.

I slowly caught up, sticking close behind Mark as we passed by various doors lining both sides of the long corridor. Just as we were about to round another corner, a group of men appeared from inside a room further down. They all clutched weapons in their hands, dressed like hunters, and began coming our way. Josh quietly opened a door, ushering us in.

It was too dark to see inside, so I found the nearest wall and pressed up against it. The men's footsteps padded by, and I listened to the sound of our breathing as they trailed away. I wondered what they would do once they found Jake's body lying in that empty room. I can guarantee it wasn't going to be good.

"What do we do about these guys?" Josh asked with a hushed voice. Well, considering Josh had a shotgun, the thought of attacking them seemed like the right way to go. After what they had put us through, the only thought on my mind aside from escaping, was revenge.

Ashley spoke first though, "Let's just get out of here! We need to get help!"

So we end up waiting a little longer until we were sure the coast was clear. Josh poked his head out of the door and peaked around before slipping out. We followed him again, down the hall and around the corner. I came around a second later than Ashley, frozen when Josh shouted.

"Look out!" he yelled. He pulled Ashley down in front of me, revealing a man at the end of the hall with a readied bow. It was too late though, because the man fired and the arrow sunk straight into my right shoulder. It dug in deep, puncturing through past the bone and splattering my face with my own blood. The pain held off for a second as the adrenaline and shock kicked in, but it eventually won over them and I clutched the arrow in my left hand. The wound had an odd burning sensation, unlike a normal cut. It was as if the arrow was on fire, burning through the surrounding skin.

Josh raised his shotgun, firing off a shot as I crumpled up against the back wall. The gunshot illuminated the darkness, the sound echoing throughout the empty building. It was hard to tell where Josh hit the man, but he must've got him good because his body went limp and he collapsed.

"Zack! Did he get you?" Josh asked, popping up and finding me.

I tried to answer, but my speech was slurred and incomprehensible. Josh's voice sounded deeper, and much slower than it normally was. It didn't take much longer for the room to begin spinning, and dark blotches clouded my vision. I felt myself slowly begin falling, until everything was black.

Awakening strapped to a queen-sized bed, I found myself in an ornate room. The mattress was plush, with a big red quilt and silky pillows. Carved oak bedposts rose up from the corners to support an overhanging curtain that encircled the frame. The rest of the room was the same style, with beige colored walls, pictures, wooden furniture, white carpeting, a ceiling fan, and a white doorway.

Next to the bed, on my left, was a small, wooden nightstand with a silver lamp and black phone. Immediately I began struggling to get to it, trying to yank my hands free. It was no use; black cloth secured each of my limbs to a bed post. Trying to escape also put strain on the wound where the arrow landed, which was replaced by a clean white cloth. It didn't burn the way it did before, but it was certainly still a bit sore.

Maybe I was rescued, and the rescuers just don't want me going insane. Come to think of it, this place was way too nice to be related to the cabin we stumbled across. The first time I woke up in there, I was tied up in that fowl smelling box of a room.

Here though, it was like a four star motel, I even spotted a small television set in the corner next to another door. It must either be a closet or a bathroom. I just wish there was a window, because at least that would allow me to get a bearing on my location.

Without warning, the door popped open and a woman dressed in a pink maid outfit entered carrying a tray of water. She set the try down beside me on the nightstand, pushing a bit of her blonde hair back up under her white bonnet and smiling with her blue eyes. She's young, most likely just a year or two younger than me.

"What is this? Where am I?" I questioned. She doesn't answer, but instead she looked as confused as I was. Her eyes drifted up to my restraints, putting her hands behind her back and rocking back and forth.

She scratched her head, "Umm…are you hungry yet?" her question caught me off guard. It's as if she's trying to remember the lines in a play, thinking about each word carefully before saying it.

"Where am I?" I asked slowly, mimicking her tone and pace. She jumped at my hostility, refraining to look at my eyes. A shadow shifted underneath the doorway, and I focus my attention on it. The shadow moves again, only slightly, but enough that I know somebody is listening in on our conversation.

"Home…are you ready for dinner?" she continued. A tear ran down her face, and she started whispering something to herself. At first, I couldn't put my finger on it, but soon enough it become clear, "Please".

What does she mean home? It started coming back to me now, as I think back to the room we were originally stored in. They bluntly admitted they were cannibals, ready to eat Sarah. So this whole 'are you hungry' thing is just a ploy. I'm not home; I'm still in the cabin.

"Why don't you untie me? And then we'll see if I'm hungry," I whispered. The girl's eyes caught mine, and she slowly shook her head.

I tried harder, "I know you're not like them…just untie me and we can get out of-"

The door flung open again, and the old woman from before sulked in. My heart sunk, and my suspicions were confirmed. If I'm here, then either Josh and Ashley left me behind, or they got captured too.

"Well dear, go see if the others are ready and I'll take care of him," she said. I could see the girl start shaking, and she nodded quickly before exiting the room in a hurry. The old woman watched patiently until the door closed again, before turning back to me with a smirk.

"You'll have to excuse her, she's new," she explains. New, as in, they just captured her and morphed her into a tool for them.

She takes a step towards me, "Now, it's time to eat, wash up."

Darkness engulfed me once again, as they blindfolded me before leading me out into the hallway. Two men walked on both sides of me, each holding an arm. I couldn't do much anyway, because they tied my hands together.

The walk seemed to take longer than I expected, but finally my cover is removed. I'm surprised to see another fancy room, with a long table covered in a decorative white cloth. Expensive wooden chairs with padded red seats are spaced out along it, four on each side and one on both ends. A big window takes up the back wall, showing the outside night sky and forest. The right-wall of the room houses a large fireplace made of bricks and adorning a large portrait of an elderly man in a black leather chair wearing a red robe.

The table is fitted with white dishes, silver utensils, tall glasses, flowers, wines, food, and candles. Around it sit some unfamiliar faces and some I know quite well…Ashley, Josh, Jenny, and Travis. They look relieved to see me, but distressed to be in the situation.

Above the table hangs a golden chandelier, hung up by shining silver chains. The ceiling sits so high up it would be hard to throw something at it, measuring higher than the room is wide. The back wall has a serving table, lined with pots and platters. A few people stand by it, wearing the outfits of caterers.

I'm seated in between Josh and Ashley, in the middle of the table across from Travis and Jenny. The other seats are taken up by people wearing hunting attire, none of which I've seen before. There's some small talk going on, filling the room with conversation of hunting and weather.

"Are you alright?" Josh asked me, shifting in his seat. I looked at him for a minute, glad to see they also patched him up.

"What is this?" I said. Looking around once more, I realized that Sarah, Mark, and Katie were absent. They must've gotten out or are still lost. It wouldn't surprise me if they were, considering this place was abnormally structured and impressively sized. It makes you wonder how they can afford such a large place…and how do they get away with what they do?

"Not sure, but I can guess we're in for a treat…" Josh answered. Before I have time to ask any more questions, the old lady entered into the room and the conversations quieted down. All eyes were on her as she made her way to the table and slowly took a seat on the end. It annoyed me to see how much power she held, and why everybody seemed to be so afraid of her.

She dressed up for the occasion, wearing a white dress and pearl earrings. She had to continuously push up her glasses to prevent them from sliding off her face. Just sitting down in her seat appeared to be challenging, as it took her more than a minute to get situated.

"Alright, let us bow our heads in prayer," she began. I was in disbelief. If we weren't tied up like we were, it might have seemed like a normal dinner in a fancy house. Everything about them seemed so civilized, from the way we are treated, to the way they took their time to 'pray'. She motioned for me to drop my head, so I did, staring down at my feet.

"Dear God, today we wish to thank you for keeping us together as a family, providing us with new members, more food, and even keeping us safe from the harms of the outside world," her voice is raspy, and this mouthful of thanks took some time for her to get out. She continued, "Please keep your eyes on us, and always protect us in our time of need. In your name, Amen."

The rest of the table murmured 'Amen' along with her, and they rose their heads back up. This is all normal for them, and they even joked around about it as their conversations kicked back up. My head began to hurt from all the confusion, until a large pot was brought over and a ladle was dipped inside.

"This is from one of the newest editions in our group! I believe their name was Mark?" the caterer announced.

My heart and jaw dropped, and Travis' eyes opened wide. The whole table looked up at us when Ashley vomited under the table. Mark was in the soup…

Thanks for reading!

Chapter 7 coming soon!

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