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The door is locked.  You can’t get in and all your attempts to alert whoever is on the other side that you are there and don’t want to be left out in the cold has been in vain.  Either nobody hears you, or is opting to ignore you.  It’s a terrible feeling.  You’re alone and left to rot while those on the inside enjoy all the luxuries they have at their disposal while you stand there with nothing.

What’s worse is there’s a terrible storm approaching.  There’s no way to fully escape it as it will hit.  You don’t want to be in it’s path and despite trying to force your way through a door that refuses to give way, you’re not going anywhere.  You begin to panic and all rhyme or reason you may have had within is lost.  You are lost.  At first you press yourself up against that door, hoping somehow you can at least melt into it to avoid the incoming wrath.  You then look side to side for a window.  Is there one?  If it is, is it open?  If not, what do you have at your disposal to either open it or break it so you can get in that way?

You try those windows and they are locked just like that door.  You try to smash your way through, just like you did the door, but to no avail.  Your situation feels more perilous as the wind of that storm is already pounding into you, along with spits of rain that feel like mini daggers into your flesh.  Your clothes are beginning to soak and your desperation level has reached new heights.  No longer caring if you injure yourself in the process, for the sake of self-preservation you smash that one window to force yourself in.

So you get in, but then realize you’ve cut yourself up pretty bad in the process.  At least you made it in and no longer have that rain pounding on you, which has since then turned into bits of hail.  You at least have that going for you now.  Congratulations!

But, now you’ve got a new problem.  You’re bleeding and in pain.  As you pluck the penetration of glass that has scarred you, you’ve become so used to the pain that you’ve failed to realize the people of the house that didn’t want you in are offended that you dared to force your way in uninvited.  They clearly didn’t want you there and couldn’t care less why you broke in.  They want you out!  So, they work together to welcome you with violent hostility where suddenly staying out in that storm doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.  Next thing you know, instead of wanting to stay in that house for comfort you want out.  However, those whom you’ve invaded with your presence has other ideas.

Since you dared to enter their domain without proper authorization they won’t let you leave quietly.  They want to hurt you.  Some want you dead.  Either way, they want you to pay so that you become a lifeless soul that they can puppet with ease.  Even those who merely want to hurt you are entertained by the idea of putting you through so much misery that death is exactly what you plead for.  Of those who want you dead, they too are amused at the idea of at least making you suffer as much as possible until you’re finally beaten to death.  This makes you realize the situation you were in prior to this suddenly didn’t seem so bad.  At least in the storm, even if you got the pounding of your life from it, still leaves you with hope that you’ll survive it.  When it comes to a mob bent to destroy you, your odds of survival is far less likely.

So as this mob surrounds you, grabs you and beats you, they figure since you opted to enter their home without their direct approval they will take you to a room they feel you deserve to be in at that point.  First, the open a door and you see a staircase leading downward.  You are guided down there by a gentle force of puppet handlers who are careful with each step until you reach the bottom.  Once there, you realize you’re in a dark room where the only light you see is from blood-stained, illuminated skulls that have candles wedged on top of each of them.  First looking at it all in disbelief, you soon realize those are human skulls of previous victims of people who’ve made the exact same mistake as you just did.

However, the discovery of this reality isn’t enough as you find yourself forcefully strapped to a machine where your amused captors inform you that unless you keep them entertained they will unleash harm unto you until you’ve learned your lesson and go back to entertaining them.  They also tell you that in order to avoid punishment you’ve got to keep that machine moving.

You’ve got no choice.  You have to comply as your legs are shackled to a chain that’s attached to the base of this machine.  You already know if you don’t move in the direction they want you to do on your own, those chains will eventually force you to lose your footing and you’ll get dragged.  Considering your head is sporting a football helmet like device where you can feel a spike just nudging the top of your crown and a handful of spikes pushing your hair just enough where you know there’s something there, falling down would not be a desired option.  And it’s not helping you can see the floor below you has fresh stains of blood, guts and crushed bone fragments from whoever it was that was strapped to this machine before you.

The second you’re strapped in this thing you don’t have time to get comfortable, if there even is such a thing.  You are promptly ordered to move and you do so.  At first it’s difficult because you can already feel the flaws to this machine that makes it hard to move.  It clearly needs refinement, but it’s obvious the owners of this machine don’t want that.  They want you to operate it to keep them happy and really don’t care how much you suffer in order to keep it moving.

Determined not to let them down, you grunt as you push hard to get at least some kind of momentum going.  You’ve realized this is key.  You have got to move forward if you expect to survive.  You take one step before the other and soon realize this doesn’t seem so bad.  You’re able to make it work and you plant it in your mind that this is merely just a test of some kind to impress those who are watching from their cushy thrones.

Each step you make has a squeak to it and you can hear liquid running.  You observe fancy decanters attached to tubes that has fluids of various colors slowly pouring into them.  So it seems like it’s some sort of distillery you’ve been ordered to operate to please those who’ve just become the masters of your fate.

Okay, that’s not so bad.  Maybe these people will find in their hearts to take mercy upon you for a job well done and reward you for it.  Perhaps not with your freedom, but maybe just enough to keep you fed, clothed, housed and maybe even some entertainment for yourself.  When you think about it this way suddenly your situation doesn’t seem so bad. You slowly begin to convince yourself you can live with these conditions and you keep plowing forward, doing the best you can to keep those in control of you happy.

However, someone in this little group is not pleased with your progress.  You’re not moving fast enough as their decanter isn’t quickly filling up to keep their golden goblet full of whatever it is they’re drinking.  He yells out with a sneer and you see a silhouette figure strapped to a chair that has one hand that has all five fingers glued to a dial and the other hand glued to what looks like the stick shift from a car.  You quickly realize this silhouette is also a human, just like you, forced to do the bidding of these masters.  You watch helplessly as this silhouette adjusts the hand holding the dial, turning it inward.  As this occurs you can feel pins moving past your hair and alarming you with a slight piercing into the back of your skull.  No sooner does your eyes widen with awareness do you see that silhouette’s other hand move the stick shift upward in a sudden movement.

You cry out in pain the second this happens as you feel a sharp spike just penetrate the flesh of your crown.  You can feel the warmth of your blood escaping from that spot, just like how it escaped when you felt the pins penetrate the back of your skull.  That blood gently trickles downward and it’s warmth touches your ear.  You realize at that moment you have to quicken your pace and so you bring yourself to do so.

So you speed up and your captors seem happy again.  However, that happiness is short-lived as one of them cries out she’s hungry.  You are then ordered to run instead of walk.  You dare not ask why.  You just do it because you don’t want to feel those pins and needles drive into you further.  The moment you begin to go from a walker’s pace to a jogging one you can hear a loud cry come out from within the heart of this machine, along with grinding of bones and the squishing of something you’ve quickly realized is meat and flesh.  There’s people stuck inside that machine!

Before you have much time to grasp the horror of that realization, you watch chunks of raw meat spitting out of holes that prop open from within various spots of this machine.  The second this meat lands on the floor, an ill-looking child steps out of the shadows that looks more like an animated skeleton structure and picks up these pieces of meat and brings them to all those within the room who demands a piece.  You watch in disgust as they gorge themselves with the meat, washing it down with the wine in their goblets.  No sooner do you ask yourself if there really are human beings who behave this way you feel the sharp pain of those pins and needles drive further into your head and you cry out in pain.

The well-dressed slobs around you burst in laughter.  They love it!  They quickly cheer and clap when someone from behind, someone you can’t even see, lashes a harsh whip against your back.  That hurt!  Before you have the opportunity to realize the full sensation of this new pain that has been inflicted upon you, the orders to move forward are bellowed and you grudgingly comply.  You realize you don’t have much of a choice here.  You must comply or suffer the consequences.

So you continue your routine, spinning in circles as you operate a machine you’ve come to realize is nothing more than a sadistic meat grinder.  In this time frame you’ve realized all that fluid that’s going into those decanters is the combination of blood, sweat and tears from all those who are stuck within this machine.  You can even see that silhouette gradually weaken and you can see why.  There’s tubes and attached to it’s legs and fluid is leaving the body and joining the rest of everybody’s fluids through tubes and into those decanters.

By this point you’ve figured it out.  All that you’re doing is to feed the machine, which in turn feeds this sadistic group of demonic creatures that disguise themselves as human beings.  Real humans wouldn’t do this or even support this, would they?

Before you have much chance to puzzle it all together and perhaps come up with solutions to get yourself out of this mess you’re in, your captors have noticed this change in you and are no longer entertained.  Promptly they drop down the dark walls around you and the room lightens up with brilliant screens that’s animated with a variety of images you find impossible to ignore.  You’re taken in by them and suddenly a new awe has struck you where you forget who you are, where you are and what you’re really doing.  You keep moving as your eyes are fixated on these images.  They’re amazing!  And it’s even more awesome as music works it’s way in and soon drowns out the sounds of horror that had previously plagued you.

This art of distraction couldn’t have come at a better time as you were reaching a point you had never been before.  You forget the reason why you’re in the situation you’re in and before you know it, willingly comply without reaction to what your captors want from you.  At least they’re keeping you entertained too, so now it’s not that bad.

Until the screens begin to lose their light, flicker and in some cases, go dark.  At first you’re angry because you want the show to go on.  It’s pleasant.  It helps you forget just how dire your situation is.  You don’t want to remember the nightmare.  You want to only focus on whatever ounce of entertainment you can find to keep yourself amused.  You want no part of the darkness and just seeing glimpses of it makes you want to run as fast as you possibly can in hopes it’s enough to bring up those brilliant screens of distraction once again and everything is back to what you’ve come to deem as normal.

So you run.  You run as fast as you can, even knowing you’re running out of juice in the attempt.  The screens are back up, but it’s no longer the same.  The music playing has become louder to the point where it’s now giving you a headache.  Or is it the pins and needles that have since driven further into your head where all you can see through your eyes are the blood that’s coming from your own body?  At this point you’re not sure if you can even feel anymore.  Certain sensations are becoming numb.  Are you still alive?  Is there anything left within that has a chance to break free from this madness so that you can go back home and be yourself again?

You need something – ANYTHING – to get out of this mess!  You’ll do whatever it takes to get out of it, just so you can live.  You beg, plead, outdo your personal performance levels to new heights in hopes your cruel masters will finally realize what they’re doing and stop this madness.  This isn’t fair!  How do they expect to keep themselves fed and entertained if they kill the very thing that keeps them going?  You’re growing weary and you can feel it.  You know deep down you can’t hold on for much longer.  Sooner or later you’ll either wind up in the mechanical meat grinder you’ve been running, or become one of the skull candle holders that surround the room.  Deep down you know it’s only a matter of time, but a part of you is still in denial.  It can’t be that bad!  Even if it is, there’s nothing you can do about it.  These monsters are too powerful and don’t care that you’re suffering.  They actually enjoy it and your misery is what fuels their happiness.

Before you know it, you somehow hear the knocking of the door upstairs.  Someone else wants in the house!  The second this happens you see your captors around you shift focus as their eyes all move from you to the stairs they shoved you down.  Their eyes light up as they realize they now have a new toy to play with.

But there’s just one problem.  Only one puppet is allowed to operate the mechanical meat grinder and you’re it.  You also know you don’t have much juice left.  There’s no fight left in you.  There hasn’t been one for some time.  Your captors saw to it that you’d be manipulated in such a manner that any ounce of hope you had to escape this mess would be dashed.

Before this group who owns you rushes upstairs to deal with the new blood, they turn their eyes back to you, realizing the old blood needs to be finished off.  Some demand your death while others say “the pit” and you wonder what this pit is.  Deep down you hope the pit is something not as bad as what you’re going through and you quickly comfort yourself as soon as you learn the winning decision among the group is to send you to that pit.

You are unshackled and freed from the machine.  Thank God!  That was horrible!  Aside from becoming ground up as meat or drained as wine, what fate could possibly be worse than pushing a machine that is also sucking the life out of you?

As you’re dragged from your spot you are brought forth to the center of a floor where you see the markings on form the design of the pentagram.  You also see a six-sided star, laced with lines of red veins and painted blue intestines that have been stretched thin inside this pentagram.  Once you’ve been placed in the middle of this oddly designed floor, the captors turn their backs on you and walk away.  They each position themselves at the tip of the six-pointed star, as well as the ten points of the pentagram and begin to chant.  You try to make out what they’re saying but can’t.  You have managed to conclude it is evil, but you are too weak physically and in spirit to do anything about it.  You know you have nowhere to go and you also know there’s a new victim who is about to experience what you’ve just experienced.  Maybe luck will have it the person behind you will be smart enough to repeat the mistakes you’ve made.

You then hear the shattering of a window.  That answered your question.  You close your eyes and bow your head, realizing that person behind you cannot be saved unless that person can escape on time to avoid capture.

The chanting stops and the lines of the six-sided star and the pentagram light up.  You use whatever ounce of strength you have to at least see what’s coming next.

Then you hear something you didn’t expect.  “Mom?  Dad?”

It’s your children!  Did they come looking for you, or did they simply follow you as they trekked through the storm?

Before you can react, the centerpiece of the floor you’re lying on vanishes and you drop into what feels like a bottomless pit of despair.  It is a worse fate than you have just experienced, but that right now doesn’t concern you.  You’re worried whether or not your children will be able to escape the clutches of the captors who’ve just tortured you and all those victims around you.  Before the opening you fell through closes up you can see your captors eagerly rushing in one direction, which you already know where that is.

However, there’s nothing you can do about it.  As you continue to fall all you can do is hope your children somehow escape, or at least suffer not nearly as bad as you have.  This pit you’re in now is never-ending.  It’s shrouded with screams, cries and visuals of grotesque agony that has found a way to pierce into your skull far more painfully than the helmet you wore when pushing the machine ever did.  You want to die, but somehow there’s forces around you that won’t let you.  At this point you merely exist, but nothing more.  There’s no real life to you, but you’ve now become just like that machine you pushed.  Mindless.  Soulless.  Heartless.  Cold.

Just like your captors…. and all those who’ve fallen into this exact same pit you’ve found yourself in.

You then think to yourself and ask why didn’t you just weather the storm and put take a leap of faith that no matter how hard the hail pounds upon you you’d survive it.  Why did you run to what looked like safe shelter when in truth it was a house of horrors?

It’s then realized looks can be deceiving.  Just because it looks safe doesn’t always make it so.  If you take the time to pay attention to where you’re going and why you’re going there, you have a better chance to think about what you’re leaving behind.  By doing so, that storm you’re so afraid is catching up with you may actually prove to be your means of rescue from a situation that not only benefits yourself, but those whom mean the most to you as well.


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