June 6th, 2006.
"Stop wandering off, James!" the little boy's mother called. James seemed intent on gathering a box of Twinkies.
"I told you that we aren't getting those!" James teetered back over to his parents, hanging his head in the sadness he obtained from the lack of sugary treats in his house.
"If you want to do something useful, go and get a pack of ground beef from the meat section."
James toddled away from his mother and staggered towards the wall of meat. Being only five, James had no idea what ground beef could possibly be, nor did he care. He was just focused on getting away from his micromanaging mother. As he neared the rows upon rows of wet, cellophane wrapped chunks of flesh, he scanned the counter that an employee would usually be managing, as he needed assistance in finding the beef, but found no sign of any minimum wage paid workers.
But he did notice a steel door behind the display counter, the door that the Walmart workers would usually go through when collecting supplies.
As he was young, and immature, James had no idea that it would be considered trespassing if he walked behind the door and entered without any form of hesitation. He found himself in a white room, with boxes lining the walls, illuminated by overhead phosphorescent lights. He called out in as loud a voice as he could muster: "Hello?"
He listened for a bit as his soft yell bounced around off the tile walls, before he was greeted by another sound: a quiet and continuous thud!
The thud repeated itself four times, before dying away, to be replaced by smooth, and somewhat watery, sliding noise. James decided that the workers must be farther in the complex and moved between hallways of boxes, until he found another metal door, with a porthole window at the top center. The thudding noise was reoccurring (this time only three) followed by the sliding noise. It seemed to be emitting from behind this door, so James quickly entered. This room seemed expansive, but James couldn't really tell, as more than three quarters of the room was shrouded in complete darkness. The only illuminated areas were the circle of light protruding from the door's porthole window, and an overhead lamp a few meters away, swinging slightly and slowly, almost unnoticeable. James was kind of annoyed by the lack of illumination, as he could not see if there were any employees in the room. He timidly toddled under the lamp and looked around. Seeing and hearing nothing but the occasional creak from the swinging light, he prepared to leave.
But before he could go, the lamp's light shined on a pinkish-red object lying on the floor near James. He leaned over to pick it up and, on contact with it, his hand became wet and red. Holding it in the light, he discovered that it was a jointed piece of meat, about a foot long, with five stringy appendages dangling loosely off the upper end of it. He began to ponder whether or not it was the mysterious ground beef he had been searching for.
He turned to the door with the intent of taking his prize back to his guardian, when the thud started again, very loud and coming from within the room. He stopped, and turned back to see if there was an employee that had finally decided to make themselves known. Instead he found a thin arm reaching towards the cord that controls the lamp's light. It tugged on it once and the light became brighter.
And James was able to see what had been in the darkness. All throughout the room, attached to varying lengths of chain and rope, were people! Better yet, some were employees! James recognized them by their blue vests. But they seemed very different from most people that James had met before. They appeared to be lacking arms and legs, some with only one arm or leg, some with none, and some with all, except these people had a large shiny hole in their stomachs. Also, they appeared to be floating two feet off the ground, with large hooks sticking through their chests. This seemed bizarre to James, who thought that only worms ever got hooked. And yet, there these people were, hanging from hooks strung on chains from the ceiling. James decided that they were sleeping, and tiptoed quietly amongst them. He noticed that some had pans brimmed with a smooth red liquid, the same one that was dripping from the meat he was holding.
Then he heard the wet sliding noise.
He turned to see a creature, thin and naked, sliding another mutilated person onto a hook.