Just Meat


doc_icon.gif risa_icon.gif white_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Meat
Synopsis When Norman White sends out a scavenger team to pick up supplies from Staten Island's abandoned regions, he instead finds out just how dangerous the island is when dealing with professionals.
Date August 23, 2009

Staten Island, A Slice of Heaven Meat Processing Plant

"White! White, Jesus White!" Voices may as well be gunshots at this hour of night, with the panicked cries of a young man rattling out in the expansive loading dock in an enormous but otherwise desolate factory. The corrugated metal doors slide open on rusty rails, spilling in pale yellow light from grimy and flickering street lights.

Three people and one body are dragged inside, two of them running at full speed, one carrying the burden of the fourth man, who's ruined legs drags behind him in a trail of drizzling gore. "Norman!" A woman screams this time, out to the shattered windows of a storage building inside of the loading dock as she hastily flicks on the interior lights; one by one the high ceiling bulbs coming on with a flickering buzz. The young man she ran in with throws down a heavy backpack and starts clearing off a workbench of tools and an old battered lunchbox.

All the commotion, it's enough to rouse the dead. Thankfully for Norman White, he doesn't quite yet have one foot in the grave. When he pushes the double doors open from the unlit packing floor, the tattered blue-green fabric of his bathrobe brushes against the grimy slate gray pajama pants. "Santos you better have a God damned good reason for—" Everything White was blurting out cuts short when he sees the teenage boy thrown onto the work bench, screaming in agony as blood pulses from the stump where his left leg was below the knee.

Immediately, something changes in White, horror painting itself across his face before quickly flashing away with a blink of his eyes. His slippers scuff on the floor as he makes his way over to the workbench, looking down at sweat-slicked face of the terrified young man, resting a hand on his head before looking up at the woman who was calling out.

"Sophie," White's eyes narrow, "go wake up Doc." Her eyes grow wide, not exactly what she's expecting as her mouth opens to form words, only to hand White' hand clasp down over her mouth and the fingers of his other hand grab a fistful of her chestnut colored hair. "Don't." He urges, pointing towards the dark doorway he emerged through in silent order.

Sophie nods her head rapidly, fear in her eyes as White untangles himself from her and takes a step back and to the side, letting her run past him. The enormous blonde man turns his focus towards the two remaining men. "Santos, tell me what happened." White's focus drifts from the young Cuban, looking down at the wounded teen on the table one of his hands held out towards the ground as the concrete at his feet begins to buckle and warp.

"I—" Santos' eyes divert down to the ground as he takes a step back away from White, meeting his gaze only long enough to realize he shouldn't be focusing on what White is doing so much as what he asked him to do. "Me, Sophie, Ellie, Rick and Mark did just like you—just like you said," his eyes drift to a pair of smooth and slithering concrete tendrils that rise up from the ground, and begin coiling around the bleeding stump, squeezing tight like a tourniquet of solid rock as the semi-liquid form begins to re-solidify.

"We found this old nursing home—out on the bypass near the Verazanno—Christ—" Santos' hand rubs across his forehead as he looks back to Mark, who's hunched over by the bay doors, puking his guts out from what he's seen and the anxiety welling up in him. "We busted in, thought we could get some bagged food, bottled water—you know—and—"

"How did he lose a leg?" Those pale blue eyes pierce through the tangled veil of White's hair. Santos tenses up, swallowing awkwardly as he looks back to Mark, who's finally guiding himself in with a hand on his stomach, eyes wide as saucers.

"This place was booby-trapped. Like—like fucking Tom and Jerry booby-trapped." As Santos' speaks, one of White's eyebrows rise up higher than the other. "There were these like—fucking tripwires, they they—fucking grenades came rolling down the stairs—fucking grenades!"

At this point, Mark's close enough to hear, and chimes in. "Norman—Norman they just came rolling out of nowhere down the stairs when Rick tripped 'em. I grabbed Sophie and hit the deck but—but Christ it just went fucking insane. One of the grenades blew, Rick took it and fell back, it was like…" It's only now that White doesn't see Ellie anywhere, looking back accusingly to Santos with brows furrowed.

"Ellie just—Norman I'm so sorry. When the smoke cleared, it—oh my God it was horrible. Six or seven different tripwires all went off, I don't know it was so loud, it was so loud. The whole fucking place went up, Ellie was—Jesus Christ she was everywhere." When Santos says that, Mark wheels around and throws up on his own shoes, hands resting on his knees.

A scowl crosses Norman's face as he storms after Mark, grabbing him by the back of the head and spinning him around, slapping a bare hand across the side of his face. "Go get McIntyre out of the locker." Mark's expression is both stunned from the hit and confused from the words.

"Wh—" Another slap, this time it knocks him flat on his ass, Norman's a juggernaut of a man and Mark is a wiry twenty-something with hardly any meat on his bones. After the two hits, Norman does his best to conceal a wince, and he subtly cradles one hand in the other, working his thumb and index finger over the joint of his wrist. Mark, however, gets the message after being told twice, rushing into the packing floor and past Sophie who's on her way back in with a short, gray-haired old man in a wrinkled suit that looks like it was pulled out of a dumpster.

"Norman you know I don't appreciate being woken up by a shrieking banshee, I thought we had a – " His eyes settle on Rick's heavily breathing form laying on the work bench. His words clench up in his throat and he hustles over, rolling up his sleeves as he does. "Good fucking God where did you go for supplies Afghanistan?"

Santos looks away, rubbing one hand across his forehead with his eyes closed. As Sophie hangs by the doorway, another female figure walks up behind her, resting a hand on her shoulder as her eyes settle on Norman and Doc. "Norman… what's—" So too is Risa's voice stolen when she sees Rick's dismembered form bleeding out on the workbench, a hand coming up to clasp over her mouth as she backs away.

"Can you fix him, Doc?" Folding his arms across his chest, the request made of Norman brings a bitter laugh from the old man and a shake of his head as he looks up to the towering man. A slow, tired shake of his head comes as a weathered hand rubs over his mouth.

"Norman, even if I could stop the bleeding with the first aid kids I have here, this isn't a sanitary working environment. It's a God damned slaughterhouse." His tired eyes drift down to the poor boy, "He'd die of an infection." White's brows furrow as he lowers his head, breathing in deep through his nose as he looks over his shoulder, watching Risa staring wide-eyed.

For a moment, no one says anything. Not until Mark comes in with a wild-eyed middle aged man with a black eye and a split lip, hands zip-tied behind his back. Norman's eyes narrow, watching him uncertainly, "Last chance, McIntyre. Are you with us, or are you against us?"

The dark-haired young man stares in disbelief at Norman, mouth open in a gaping expression as he sees the bleeding body, eyes snapping back up to Norman. "You're out of you fucking mind, fuck you! Fuck you go ahead and kill me, go fuck yourself I don't want— you told me I could go home!"

Norman's eyes lid halfway, lips smack and a deep sigh slides out of his nose. "Bring 'em over Mark." Manhandling McIntyre, Mark drags him over to the table, and suddenly Doc is beginning to piece everything together as he looks up to Norman and moves to stand between him and the workbench.

"No—No you can't be serious. Norman, Norman I am—you can't be fucking serious." He waves a hand towards McIntyre, who looks completely out of the loop. Norman nods his head slowly, waving down towards where Rick is, twitching and spasming on the table.

"Either Rick bleeds out there, or dies from his infection, or someone puts a bullet in his head," Norman's hand waves to McIntyre, "or we save Rick at the sake of this piece of shit." Norman's blue eyes drift from McIntyre's to Doc's, shoulders shrugging slightly as he makes a gesture towards the short old man.

"Norman—You know how risky it—I could kill him if—" Doc looks back to the young man twitching on the table, sweat beading on his brows, face already pale, then up slowly to Risa where she stands in frightened confusion, then finally up to Norman. To save a young teen's life, the thought rolls around in Doc's mind. "I'm only doing this because that snitch doesn't deserve a bullet in his head for what he did to us."

Making a sharp gesture, Doc waves for Mark to drag McIntyre closer, and with feet kicking and panting breaths he's dragged over to the workbench, where White stares McIntyre down for the last time. "I ain't gonna kill you, Mic." There's a slash of a smile across White's face, feral in a way. "Doc, do your magic." Norman brushes past Mark and McIntyre, moving to stand beside Risa and Sophie, one of his large hands resting on the former's shoulder, squeezing gently as he winces when his fingers curl.

She, of all people, notices the tell of pain and her hand comes up to lay on top of Norman's as she looks back to Doc. The old man shuffles over, looking down at Rick's bleeding stump with the concrete tourniquet, a weathered, liver-spotted hand laying down on his clammy forehead, his other hand beckoning for McIntyre to be dragged closer.

Despite Mark's small frame, the young man has an easy time manhandling McIntyre over, dragging him with kicking legs over towards Doc, where the old man lays a hand on his forehead. Doc's eyes immediately fall shut, and he murmurs softly, "God forgive me…"

In that moment, a flash of light surges over Rick's body, a hazy silhouette of the young man's body being ripped out with one hand, then dragged over towards McIntyre, where it's forced inside of the older man's bound and restrained form. There's a scream of pain from McIntyre, a horrible animalistic howl of confusion and fear, and only an arching of Rick's back as he opens his mouth and exhales a gasping sigh of breath as those watching on see what resembles a man's very soul being ripped out of his body.

White turns to look at Risa, who's eyes are focused down at her feet, then back up to McIntyre as the white glow fades slowly. His head tilts to the side, eyes darting to Doc as the old man tiredly steps away and rests a hand on the workbench, palm smearing in Rick's blood as he looks up to McIntyre.

"Rick?" he asks in McIntyre's direction, and the middle-aged man's eyes seem to glass over for a moment before he exhales a sharp, stuttering hiss, looking down to Rick's body as his jaw trembles. Doc smiles, faintly, seeing that recognition and shock in his eyes. "Mark, take those ties off of his hands, get him some water and get him out of here."

Doc turns, looking over to Rick, who's eyes are wide, staring up at the ceiling. "Rick?" The old man's brows raise, and the young man on the work bench looks at Doc with a confused expression, nodding his head. Doc weakly smiles, then takes a step back and looks to White as the enormous man comes lumbering over, resting a hand on Rick's forehead.

"It won't hurt anymore," White says quietly, before snapping Rick's neck with both hands and a meaty snap. Risa practically chokes on her tongue when she witnesses that happening, rushing over to White and slamming a small fist on his back. Doc looks away, moving past Risa as he hangs his head, breathing out a weary sigh.

"Norman! Norman! Norman why—Why'd you—" White turns around, grabbing one of her wrists as he stares her down, his look intense and knowing enough to make her halt in her protests. She swallows back a sob, jaw trembling, dark eyes searching Norman's and finding nothing but that cold certainty and understanding.

"Doc's gift." Norman begins, letting go of Risa's wrist, "McIntyre is Rick now, every memory, everything that made Rick who he was." A hand waves in the direction of the body behind him, "That's just meat now." Tears well up in Risa's eyes as she takes a step back, teeth clenching together as her feet scuff on the concrete floor, eyes forced shut as she rushes back off into the packing floor through the open doorway.

White's shoulders slump down as he sighs, his eyes upturned towards Santos. "In the morning," there's a quiet humility in White's voice, something unmistakably somber, "we'll gather everyone together, tell them what happened, and welcome Rick in his new life back into the flock." A fleeting glance is given to Doc as the old man wordlessly excuses himself, hands wringing together.

"Then, we have a funeral for Ellie. Everyone pays their respects, and we get shit-faced in her honor." There's a crease of Norman's brows, head dipping into a nod as he looks back at the body. "I'll get rid of the meat," he says in a rumble of a voice, looking back to Santos again.

It's all Santos can do to just nod. For as much as White scares him, for as uncivilized as this life is, there's little else that can be done. He swallows back his uncertainty, and comforts himself in the knowledge that Norman White – of all people – can protect him from winding up in a place like Moab ever again.

"Santos," White adds as the dark-haired man starts to move away, causing him to falter in his stride. "Don't beat yourself up over this, everyone makes mistakes." He swallows, tightly, and watches Santos' uncertain nod in response. That leaves Norman with the body, broken and bleeding, one shaky hand moving up to withdraw a crucifix from inside of his gray pajama top.

He moves over to the body, clutching the cross in one hand tightly. "Heavenly Father," he whispers under his breath, "hallowed be thy name…"

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