‘There was another one,’ said George.
‘Another what? What do you mean?’ I asked.
George twisted his head and stared at me. `There was another man here before you. When I woke up, he was next to me – tied to the pipe – just like we are.’ George swallowed hard. `Then the shopkeeper came in with his knife and…’ He shook his head and swallowed again. `After the shopkeeper killed him, he dragged* his body through to the next room…and I could hear him chopping… it went on forever. Then it stopped and he walked past the door. He had a bucket in his hand…He put the contents into a mixer. He was making something. It was food…’
I shook my head. I didn’t want to hear any more. I thought about the sausages I had eaten and their hot, fatty insides. My stomach lurched*. Desperately, I pulled and twisted at the rope, but it was useless. It bit into my skin and I could feel my own hot blood run down my fingers.
Just then, the shopkeeper appeared at the door.
‘Why are you doing this?’ I screamed.
The man just stood and stared.
‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it, please!’ I was wailing now. ‘Don’t kill me. Please, don’t do it!’
‘Shut up!’ the shopkeeper snapped.
I stopped talking, but tears continued to run down my face. I glanced at George. He was shaking his head and mumbling*. I looked at the shopkeeper. His eyebrows rose up; and, like a bad magician, he brought out a knife from behind his back. As he waved it slowly in front of his face, light from the other room danced on its bright blade. He smiled.
‘So,’ he said, ‘who’s first?’
dragged* – pulled in order to move something heavy
lurched* – moved suddenly and unsteadily
mumbling* – talking indistinctly