The dim light flickers above his cell. The room is calm and silent and only the sound of bones scraping against the cement walls chews the boy’s ears.

“Heeellloooo theeeereeee…children.”

The cells around him begin to rattle as the children in them quietly sob, as if they were starving mimes in Paris. Their faces droop and their eyeballs cave into their skulls, devoid of any emotion or sight. To the left of the boy is a still body, but his name was Jerry.

“Helloooooo theeeeeereeee…children.”

A rotten and brown-stained wooden door opens and offers the children the smallest sliver of blue sky they’ve seen in weeks. A figure walks down the ancient, rickety stairs of fate. The floorboards groan and tremble under his weight. The figure inspects the room. They hear his heavy breathing through his mask. His mask is a goat’s head that has hair blacker than the motor oil in their water bowls, a grey nose that sniffs the room for fear and desperation, limp ears that hear the whimpering of the three-year-old children, horns that jaggedly protrude from its forehead, and empty eye sockets that are now home to his bloodshot eyes.

Blood drips from the edge of the mask’s neck, but the goat simply collects it with his fingertips and licks it.

“Art, children, is fresh, and never stops. Who wants to make some art with me after dinner?”

He looks at a small girl. The girl crawls to the far-most corner of her cell and wraps herself up into a fetal position. Her dirty, matted hair covers her dull eyes and her cracked, muddy skin.

“My love, 32. You’re invited to dinner, so let us…have some fun.”

“I…I want to go home now, mister. I miss…I miss my mama,” the girl whispers.

“And you’ll see her again, my love,” the goat says.

The goat unlocks the cell’s rusty door, grabs her by the neck, and sniffs her near her lips.

His eyes roll back and his fingers twitch by his side as he licks his chapped lips and says, “You smell…sensual tonight, my love.”

Her eyes meet his. The pupils dilate and retract as if they were breathing as quickly as she was. They see something they shouldn’t see.

“Shut the hell up!” the goat shouted.

He grabs her throat and squeezes until her face is purple, her eyes are swollen, and her hands are weakly grabbing his mask.

The goat slaps her twice, leaving a deep red mark across her cheek and nose. He throws her to the ground and stares at that limp rag doll, torn and slashed.

His chest heaves, his fingers twitch and form small fists that open and close, and his mask settles into its place.

That…thing walks to the boy’s cell.

“Well, looks like someone likes to watch. 32, I say we got ourselves a…voyeuristic psycho. Who’s,” he looks at Jerry, “your friend here? Looks like a fun time.”

He kicks Jerry’s body and watches as the rats scurry away from the decaying carcass, casually carrying away bits of Jerry’s penis in their mouths to their homes.

The rats leave trails of pus from that infected body all over the floor.

“Disgusting creatures, eating my children.”

The goat quickly looks up, flashes the boy a smile, and unlocks the cell door.

“Alright, 18, let’s go. You’re invited to my house for a treat.”

His calloused hand grabs 18’s neck and drags him away from the hell he’s known for what seemed like decades. He drags 18’s and 32’s carcasses up the stairs, apathetic to their bodies banging upon the rough wood. Their backs are rubbed raw. A small trail of blood follows their ascension into the unknown. The children in the cells look away, instead preferring the scene of a cellmate joining the rats in their feast upon Jerry.

No one blames them.

The goat finally drags the souls into the outside world and its blinding daylight. He picks up a thick chain and laces the door’s lock with it. He then grabs four padlocks and secures the chain with them. The girl looks at 18, looks at the creature’s back, then back at 18. The shortness of her years, the vast majority of them wasted inside of a cell as if she were a dog or mere plaything, were spent with the goat and with others who laid trapped in there.

Her flushed face laments over what could’ve been.

She shakes her head at 18 with no emotion. The girl stands up from the ground and begins jogging toward the forest that is behind the shed. The girl runs and runs, feeling the bits of gravel, dirt, bugs, and dried grass beneath her tiny feet.

She doesn’t look back at them.

The goat notices her from out of the corner of his eyes and rolls them in disappointment and sadness.

How could she have betrayed him after all those years?

“Why didn’t you tell me, 18?”


“Why didn’t you tell me!? How could you have…ugh!”

The goat clenches his fists and runs them up and down his thighs.

He thinks to himself, remembers everything that ever occurred between them, relives the quiet moments when he was in the cell holding her as she slept, and swallows the lump in his throat.

The goat reaches for a revolver that sits at his waist.

The revolver rattles in the quietness of the countryside as if it were a rattlesnake.

He aims it at the girl and shoots.


The bullet explodes from the barrel as sparks fill the air for a split second. The sparks fly beautifully as if they were exploding stars in a faraway galaxy. The chamber rotates as the bullet whizzes toward the girl’s head.

She doesn’t make a sound.

The air cracks with a single shot.

A pathetic thud.

Bits of grey matter land on 18’s forehead and an eye hurls itself by the creature’s feet before she had hit the ground.

“What a shame, 18,” says the goat, “she would’ve made a lovely wife, but that’s alright.”

“That’s alright.”

He looks down and picks up the eyeball.

He bites into it.

An audible pop resonates from his mouth. He continues to chew the pale red hunk of rubber-like sin and slurps the viscous ooze that dribbles from his teeth.

He smiles from horn to horn.

Those teeth are jagged, chipped, and too close together. They look like yellow bits of glass that were just shoved in there.

His gums are bleeding.

The mashed eyeball swirls around his tongue, casually mixing with his thick saliva.

Some of the innards of the eyeball land on 18’s cheek.

The goat swallows and says, “She always did have an eye for you, 18.”

He puts both his hands on his hips.

“It was a good one, 18. You know that.”

No response.

“Well, she’ll make a great meal.”

He aims the revolver at 18 and quickly flicks it up, making a bwooooshhh sound with his mouth. He finally jogs toward the girl’s body. The goat throws her over his shoulder and walks back toward 18. The black blood that gushes from her split head douses his shirt, leaving it sopping wet and smelling like rust.

The goat quickly puts a bit of his shirt collar into his mouth and begins sucking the girl that it had collected.

He pulls 18’s arm and guides him toward the house that overlooks a field of nothingness.

The house lays in the middle of 16 square miles of field, devoid of any neighbors and hospitality.

Some goats stare at the figure and 18 while they’re grazing at the field.

They’re all pregnant.

“You know,” the goat says muffled as he kicks open the screen door, “no one ever visits your old Uncle Ronnie, but that’s okay,” he throws the girl’s body onto a couch, “because Ronnie is doing just,” he pokes his chest with his thumb, “fine! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to make dinner.”

His collar is clean now.

He grabs the body again and drags it into the kitchen to dress her pretty.

The house is dark and ravaged. The couch’s cushions are sliced open and stained with what seems to be black tar. The nightstands are pushed over and broken windows are boarded up with previous issues of Hustler, Playboy, and Food Weekly.

The walls are covered in torn wallpaper that once had pictures of daisies on them, and blood is smeared into disgusting art that depicts little people worshipping a bigger person who wears a goat’s head. The walls, ceilings, and carpet all have AND HE IS GOD scrawled out using rotten fetuses from, one would hope, animals. The fetuses have all been drained and are now just shriveled bits of fruitless love.




On the cracked coffee table that overlooks the kitchen lays a decapitated goat that has a car battery hooked up to its nipples via jumper cables.

There’s semen oozing out of the goat’s still twitching trachea.

The goat’s innards are strewn about the room as if they were party favors.

Ronnie slams the body upon a moldy countertop and proceeds to rummage through a drawer. Bolt cutters here, pliers there, and a hacksaw nearly everywhere.

“Ah, here we go,” he says, and pulls out a cleaver the size of his forearm.

He grabs the girl’s arm and carves a sliver of meat from her underarm. Ronnie grazes her armpit with his right index finger and then goes in to lick the bits of sweat from her armpit.

“This, 18, is the best part of a woman’s…supple body,” Ronnie says and holds the slice of meat up for the world to see. “It has fat, but it has the most tender bit of meat; don’t tell anyone I told you that,” he says.

Ronnie smiles through the mask and points the cleaver at 18.

Ronnie bites into the meat, moves it around in his mouth, and swallows it. His throat squeezes the meat and pushes it down while it makes a squishy, sticky sound.

He stares at 18 with wide eyes all the while.

“Fresh as art, 18. Fresh as art.”

The blood creeps out from her arm as he carves and harvests more pieces of meat from her. 18’s stomach begins stabbing itself as he’s forced to watch, lest Ronnie cultivates his fingers like he does to her.

“Hey, 18! I give this girl,” he thwacks off her thumbs and holds them up, “two thumbs up!”

18 stays silent to his tasteless joke; 18 shakes his head.

“C’mon, that joke was a…killer!” He cackles and rapidly hits the countertop as if he were playing the bongos.

“Ya know, I had another joke, but I just can’t put my finger on it.”


“Tough crowd.”

Ronnie lays the pieces of thinly-sliced meat upon her stomach and places a pan upon the nearby stove. Ronnie places a finger behind his right ear as if it were a cigarette. The stove grunts and squeezes out a flame that engulfs the pan’s underside. Ronnie cuts into the body’s side ever so slowly. The intestines splurge onto the counter’s ledge and rest with all its glory.

Bits of steam and vapor escape from her body as she’s finally able to fully breathe after years of being pent up.

Ronnie then scrapes off the fat from the intestines and flicks it into the pan. The fat begins melting until the crackling and popping sounds fills him with glee.

Some bits of the girl do backflips and summersaults.

She loved gymnastics.

There’s a silence as loud as a banshee mourning for her child.

“Have you,” says Ronnie, “loved anyone so much that it hurts to look at them?”


“That you know almost everything about them and would do anything to make them happy?”


“That you’d rather be dead than to see them bleed or cry?”


“That you hate them so much, 18?”


“Then you get it.”

Ronnie takes a deep breath and closes his eyes to only reopen them a moment later. He looks at the body and begins to work again.

“Humans are so self-sufficient,” he says.

“So independent.”

Ronnie grabs the slices of meat and places them onto the pan. The meat jumps and dances around the pan as the fat fries the flesh. The pungent smell of sin and disgust wafts through the house. He deeply inhales and claps.

Agh, do you smell that…delicious aroma? It smells like Mother’s cooking! Don’t you love my cooking?”


He turns toward 18 after a minute of stillness.

He pulls out his revolver and pulls the hammer.

“Don’t you love my cooking?”

18 nods, but no matter how hard he tries, his smile cracks and commits suicide.

Ronnie winks at 18.

“Come, 18, to the table and eat.”

In the kitchen is a table that is sparsely supplied. There is a lone salt shaker, two pepper packets, a metal fork and knife, a plastic fork and knife, and no table sheet. The table itself is made from different pieces of wood that used to make up previous furniture back when the original owners of the house were still alive.

“Here we go!” Ronnie throws pieces of flesh upon the table and sits down with 18 across from him.

“Well…eat, 18.” Ronnie slices the flesh with his knife, the pink center of the flesh exposing itself to 18.

“Oh, 18! I-I nearly forgot! Oh, how could I forget!?”

Ronnie stands up, cups his hands to his mouth, and yells, “MAMA! MAMA! COME GET YOUR DIIIIIINNNNEEEEERRRR!”

The mother said nothing, and the two were left alone in the kitchen.

“Right, I forgot, 18. Excuse Uncle Ronnie while he fetches Mama.”

Ronnie gets up from the table and goes into a room toward the end of a hallway. A squeaking sound is birthed from that room. Ronnie pushes a figure on a rickety wheelchair.

18’s eyes widen with fear, disgust, hatred, and sympathy for Mama.

The woman, if one could even call it that, sits on the wheelchair like a doll, her skin fused with the corduroy fabric. Mama is connected to a respirator that slowly pumps dusty oxygen into her lungs. Mama is obese, her face resembling a pug’s, and her eyes are grayed like a blind person’s. Mama’s hair is but a few strands of silver, and the fat accumulated in her forehead rolls over her eyebrows, making her look like a Neanderthal.

Her chest is ripped open for eyes to eat. Her organs slowly move out in the open air, writhing and bumping into each other as if they were balloons in a grand box. Mama’s organs process some artificial preservative Ronnie makes in the basement. The ribs that should be spiked and jagged have been filed down to a round, dull tip. Her organs are clear, nearly snow-like, as she no longer has any blood to operate on.

“She’s a miracle,” her baby says. “She used to be like you, 18, when she was more than just alive. She used to be like you, 18, when she was more than just…alive.”

There’s a pause in his expression, but he continues anyways.

“Dad left me a brother in her before he died. I…I don’t know how to do a C-section. I,” Ronnie places his right hand on the goat’s head and runs his fingers through the hair, “tried helping, 18, I did. I swear I did, 18. I cut into her, but I kept taking things out, and out, and out, and then it was just a big ol’ mess of a C-section.”


“She didn’t have nothing in her after that.”

Ronnie’s grip around the wheelchair’s handles tightens and he takes a deep breath.

“Let’s get dinner started, 18.”

The idea of consuming someone whom 18 saw suffering for so long is sickening and makes 18 want to grab a knife and jam it into his own throat.

18 looks at the girl that lays on the table before him.

She couldn’t have been more than six years old.

18 realizes that this will be his fate as well in due time.

“Eat the meat, 18,” says Ronnie.

Ronnie cuts his steak into small pieces and feeds them to Mama, who opens her mouth whenever she feels the heat of the meat near her purple, chapped lips.

Mama’s food goes down her throat and into her clear stomach. It just lays in that sagging pouch, as sad as can be.

Ronnie puts down his fork and knife and massages the stomach with his bare hands. The acid comes bubbling up like a cauldron, taking the girl with it.

“Eat the meat, 18,” says Ronnie again, this time with his hand near his revolver that sits on his lap.

18 doesn’t cry.

18 doesn’t whimper.

18 doesn’t even look at Ronnie and Mama.

18 just grabs his plastic fork and dies inside.

18 wants to die.

The flesh sticks onto the fork. His hand convulses and brings it into his mouth. His tongue feels the slimy texture, the smoothness of the bone, the softness of the hair, and the roughness of the seared skin.

18 dry heaves, but Ronnie says, “Keep it in, 18.”

He swallows the pain and he swallows the misery of death.

“Bleat for me,” Ronnie says and glides the revolver’s barrel across 18’s lips, “and make Ronnie a happy daddy, child.”

18 softly bleats, but Ronnie just gets near the child’s ear and says, “Louder, 18. Make Daddy happy.”

Ronnie moves toward 18’s face and licks his lips before he gently bites 18’s lower lip and sucks on it.

18 shivers and pulls away.

“Look at me when you’re bleating! You look at me!”

He pistol-whips the child across his temple, the blunt force tearing a small gash. 18 screams and bleats as loudly as he can. Ronnie screams and bleats as well. Eventually, he and 18 bleat back and forth, raising their volume during the exchange.

“Shut up!” Ronnie fires two rounds into the ceiling and aims the revolver at 18.

“Just shut the fuck up! Finish your food, 18! FINISH YOUR GODDAMN FOOD!”

“Kill me, Ronnie! Put that damn revolver in my mouth and pull the fucking trigger! I dare you, Ronnie, you sick fuck! Just fucking do it already. We both know you’re gonna blow my fucking brains out and then skull-fuck me while your mom watches.

“Just get it over with, Ronnie! I fucking dare you.”

Ronnie’s hand trembles as he aims the barrel at 18’s head. For a moment, 18 sees something flash across Ronnie’s eyes.

Was it fear, or was it anger?

“Oh my God…you don’t have the balls to actually do it to me, Ronnie.”

A sly smile slides itself on 18’s face.

“You’re not much of a man then, are you?”

“You’re a barrel of laughs, 18,” Ronnie says.

He quickly lifts the revolver up and sits down, setting it next to his heap of flesh, and continues to eat his abomination.

He stares at 18, casually shoving hunks of skin into his mouth with his palm.

The deep blue of his eyes drowns 18, as if he placed the child’s feet into a cement block and pushed him into his oceanic abyss.

18’s heap is bottomless, but he shoves the now cold flesh into his mouth, and without chewing, swallows the chunks.

Mama makes a squealing noise and cranes her neck from left to right.

“I’m thirsty, Ronnie,” says 18.

“So? I’m not Mother Theresa; go get your own damn water, and call me Uncle Ronnie, God damn it!”

“You know, you’re supposed to give a dead man his last wish before he dies. I thought you had class, Uncle Ronnie; I just want a drink.”

Ronnie rolls his eyes, picks up the revolver, takes out a carton of milk from a disconnected fridge with no door, gets a glass from the sink, and returns to the table.

He sits the revolver between them and pets it. The glass cup is severely chipped and opaque from the grease and grime. Ronnie opens the carton of milk and pours its contents into the cup. The milk sloshes out like sludge from a sewer drain. The chunky, yellowish-brown milk lands into the cup with a thud. He proceeds to fill the cup to its brim.

“There,” he slides the cup to 18, “is your damn milk.”

“That wasn’t so hard, now was it, Uncle Ronnie? Thanks.”

18 grabs the glass and tips it toward his mouth. The sour substance evolves and taints his mouth. 18 chews and gags. It crawls down his throat and leaves his mouth feeling drier than before. Yet, 18 finishes the glass of milk and holds the cup in his convulsing hand.

“Alright, 18, give me the cup.”


“Give me the cup.”

18 shakes his head at the figure.

Ronnie leans over the table.

“Give…me…the c—”

18 smashes the glass cup into the mask’s eye sockets. The shattered glass slices open 18’s right hand like a scissor through paper. The glass lodges itself into Ronnie’s eyes. He screams in agony and flails his arms around, desperately trying to grab 18 so that he may snap his neck.

18 snatches the revolver and presses the gun into Ronnie’s throat and says, “Bleat for me.”

The bullet leaps from the barrel of the gun and penetrates Ronnie’s throat, nestling itself into the drywall.

Ronnie’s eyes widen as he slams onto the floor. He shakes and squirms. He clutches his throat in a desperate attempt to stop his blood from rushing out. Yet, Ronnie quickly succumbs to the dying light that we all face at some point in our life.

Ronnie lays there, cold, numb, and empty.

18 breathes heavily. This was the first time he had ever killed a man, if you could even call him that.

Mama groans again and swirls her head around. She wets her lips with her tongue.

18 quickly unloads the remaining bullets into Mama.

Her organs rupture and spill acid on the floor.

Mama screams and joins her baby for the last time.

Blood quickly spreads upon the linoleum.

18 drops the revolver on the floor.

His hands shake, his lungs heave, his eyes become blurry with tears, and his mouth twitches.

He’s stained.

There’s a silence in the house, unlike the rest, that clings to the air as if it were a child missing its mother.

18 searches through Ronnie’s pockets, takes the keys, and exits the house running. He reaches the shed that once bound him with fear and death. The padlocks are quick to unlock, and the chain that once held Ronnie’s secrets comes tumbling down.

The stairs sway and whisper tiny secrets.

18 rushes down the stairs as quickly as he can. The cells open, but the children don’t move.

The children don’t move as they stare blankly at each other.

“Y-you’re all free now; get up and leave!”

They all turn to him with empty eyes that fill 18 with dread.

In unison they say, “Goats never travel alone; goats travel in packs.”

They look at the stairs as they hear footsteps descend the stairsteps with heavy breathing accompanying it.

“AND HE IS GOD,” they all say soullessly.

Heeeeelllloooo theeeereeee…children.”