Hey, everyone! Sorry that this response is coming a little later in the day. I just had a slightly slow day today, as far as writing and getting started. I’m starting to get a new writing setup established for NaNo (because you know that I move every year, as far as where I do my writing), and it has gotten me a bit distracted.

So, anyway. Onward with Prompt #9 response, where the writing prompt was: There was something off about the meat.

Strange Meat

There was something off about the meat. She couldn’t put words to exactly what it was, but there was something strange. It could have been the texture, thicker on her tongue and softer to chew. It could have, perhaps, been the flavor. It was a bit too smokey, just a hair different from the flavor that she was used to. It had been delivered in the same way as the meat had always been – dropped at her door from the chilled truck. It was the same size, the same perfect, square packaging. It was pre-ground, and perfect for making burgers or sauce for spaghetti.

For all intents and purposes, there should have been nothing different about it. The supplier was the same, and as far as she knew they hadn’t changed hands… but there was just something off about the meat.

She chewed it slowly, almost unwilling to let it slide down her gullet. A frown poured across her features, and she put the burger down. Blood oozed from the ground beef, a perfectly cooked temperature.

It looked like perfection.

It should have been perfect.

So what was wrong with it?

Her hands easily phone her cellphone, and she scrolled through the numbers until she saw Meat Unlimited in the contacts.

She hit the call button, and instantly heard the ringing begin. It only took a moment for someone to pick up.

“Meat Unlimited, this is Carlos, how can I help you?”

“Hey, Carlos, this is Sadie. I was just wondering about the most recent shipment that I got in?”

There was a pause, and she could hear him clicking away instantly on his keyboard. He knew her by name, because Meat Unlimited was an exclusive company. You only got linked to them through a reference, and Katherine honestly wasn’t sure where that reference came from to begin with. But it was the best quality that she had found – before, she’d been procuring it herself, whenever she could find it.

Maybe that was how they’d heard of her to give her a reference to begin with.

She wasn’t sure, and she’d never questioned it. She hadn’t questioned them for two years… until today.

Finally, the ticking of the keyboard stopped, and the man on the phone cleared his throat. She could tell just from that sound that something was wrong.

“Miss Randall, I’m very sorry to inform you that there’s been a mix up.” She didn’t like the tone of his voice at all – she didn’t like the apprehension that was clear in the way that he spoke.

“What do you mean?” There was a small part of her that didn’t want to ask. She’d noticed the strange meat yesterday, but she’d eaten it anyway. She’d fed it to her customers, to her family. What if there was something wrong with it?

“I’m afraid…” He paused, hesitating, and then took another deep breath to answer, “I’m afraid that there was some contamination…”

Her heart sank – she couldn’t stand the thought of having fed her family something, the people in her community… what if she made them sick, what if…?

“What kind of contamination.” Her voice was careful, and her stomach was aching just looking at the burger beside her.

“We’ll refund you, of course, and send you a new shipment by tomorrow. We’re very so-”

“What kind of contamination.”

There was a pause, and another deep breath. “We just got news of it five minutes ago. Yesterday, during packaging… one of the workers. He…” Carlos took another breath, “He fell in.”

There was dead air between them for a moment, and Katherine actually felt her stomach roll for a moment – she’d eaten that. She’d eaten…

“Oh, God. How old was he?” Her voice was stunned, and full of disgust.

“73 Ma’am.”

So, that was the problem.

“I see that you have specific orders for the ages of 16-25. We’re so sorry for the mix-up. Like I said, we’ll give you a full refund and your order, as well as half off of your next shipment.” He sounded desperate, like he was trying to make amends.

Still, she’d consumed an old person.

No wonder the meat had tasted strange.

So, there we go. I have to admit that I love taking things to weird places, and the thought of a cannibal who was so used to the specific flavor of an age range of meat being able to notice when something was off..? It was intriguing to me!

NaNoWriMo is coming soon, so I’m trying to keep my prompts down to short stories, as opposed to novels. It’s hard for me to do – I’m already plotting out an extra novel on top of the one that I was going to do.

Because that’s how I roll.

If you guys are interested, I’ll start doing NaNo posts more than twice a week. Just let me know. And, as always, if you respond to this writing prompt, make sure to link back to me. At the end of the month, I’m going to make a compilation of the best responses, and put it together so that people will be able to find it in my master post on my blog (which needs an update desperately, but I’m waiting for that, too. Lazy writer is lazy blogger. What can I say?)

Anyway, I’m really excited to see what you guys did, and I hope that you’re enjoying these prompts as much as I’m enjoying putting them out there for you!

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