The Hoskings had lived on Alsop Lane as long as anyone could remember, in the old-fashioned barn house in the English countryside, far away from any means of civilisation, except for the small cabins that were usually occupied by travelling students and racoons.
The Hoskings were pig farmers and had a pig pen in the small red shed next to their home. Mrs. Hosking fed the pigs and Mr Hosking kept the pen clean. After the pigs got too old to live in the barn, they were sold to meat factories, so the Hoskings had extra money. They were only in their fifties, so it was slightly peculiar that they had been retired for so long, but they loved to entertain the kids that stayed at the cabins and provided baked goods and cold water when asked. Mrs Hosking had soft wheat coloured hair, pale blue eyes and a rounded nose. Mr Hosking had a receding hairline, round glasses and a face made for frowning.
I had moved from England from Seoul, South Korea a couple of months previous. Having learnt English for many years I decided to pursue the language further still, and came to the motherland of English, before venturing to the small farmlandd in the south with my friend from Jamaica. Chandice and I laughed as we descended the steps of the old yellow bus, carrying our heavy trunks with wide smiles. As we hit the dirt road we waved back at the battered yellow bus, but the driver just watched us with a wary glare.
“What’s his problem?” Chandice remarked, instantly wiping her smile away.
“Who cares?” I said, “We are going to enjoy our time here anyway!”.
“Jae,” Chandice said and looked at me with her large brown eyes. I smiled and we made our way down the dusty road to the cabins. Cabin 1 was written in flaking white paint over the entryway, the room had mildew growing in the corners of the sweet chestnut walls.
“Eww,” Chandice muttered “This place is rank!”
I shook my head and smiled again, “I’m sure we will grow accustomed to it soon.”
Chandice sighed and shook her long black braids. We threw our bags onto the bunks and unpacked our belongings. Chandice suggested we explore the outdoor area and I agreed. Soon we reached a white barn, old fashion style with lace curtains, we already heard about the husband and wife who lived out here, so we knocked on the door. A noise came from the left of the house, and we swivelled our heads towards the red barn next door. “Coming!” came a loud shout muffled from the walls of the red barn and after a few seconds a woman emerged from the back of the barn.
She smiled before saying “I’m Mrs Hosking and this is my home.”
Chandice returned the smile before she replied, “I’m Chandice.”
I chimed in “And I’m J.. Yoo-na” I spoke almost forgetting to introduce myself with my family name since that’s what Chandice calls me. The woman smiled and nodded her head. Another shadow appeared behind the red barn and a tall figure approached them, a man, gaunt, frowning and balding all at the same time, I shivered. He grunted and shook off the pitchfork in his hands, something, like blood, spattered on the toe of my shoe. I winced and looked him in the eye. “We were just feeding the pigs.” He said, as if accused of something already. Mrs Hosking stepped on his foot and said, “It’s no trouble, I’ll take the cookies out of the oven.” Chandice jumped at the offer of cookies, so I followed her into the white barn. Soon we were seated at an outdated table with a steaming plate of cookies in front of us, they looked enticing, too enticing. Chandice already gulped down two before I got my hands on one, the taste was confusingly delicious I didn’t know if it was the smell or the flavour or the texture, but it all came together like perfectly shaped puzzle pieces. A great pain began behind my eyes and I screamed as darkness enveloped me. I came to, in a dark room with no sunlight from any angle, my first thought was “CHANDICE!” I screamed, with no answer, the silence swallowed my soul. Suddenly, a dim reddish light shone on the surroundings. The pig pen. At least 20 pigs were cooped up in the barn, I was in the same coop as them, but they were not interested in me. The pigs seemed to be finishing up their last meal. Blood and flesh. You only need 16 pigs to eat 200 pounds of flesh and bones, 20 was ample. I slowly approached the pigs as to not alarm them. Black braids. Everywhere. Chandice.