The steam from the smokestack was forced downward by the angry wind. The gusts of ice cold air burnt the exposed gray faces of the factory workers. They walked at a brisk pace into the front entrance of the building. Stiff bodies walked without souls, which were long ago lost in the mechanized death machine they came to operate. The doors closed behind them and shut out the surrounding world. For what happens inside these giant steel doors is not for this world to see. A dirty well-known secret.

Silas sat in silence on the hillside above the slaughter house, jotting down notes in a small notebook. He sketched out a map of the building. Windows, doors, loading docks, dumpsters. Nestled behind some scrub brush, Silas saw the outline of his body melted into the ground frost. He sat there for five minutes after finishing his sketch. Without taking his eyes off the building, he rose, stuffed his notebook into his inside jacket pocket and headed back up the hill through the woods. The trees broke the morning sunlight into arms, splitting the landscape into short tracts of darkness and light. Silas turned left on the old logging road and walked over to his truck and removed the vegetation he had placed there earlier. He sat in his truck and thought about the task at hand.

He could stop now. He could burn the notebook and leave this all behind. But, when he felt like running from this plan, he remembered the pigs. He remembered the sights and sounds and could not make himself forget. He remembered the herd running scared into the fatal funnel. He could feel their heartbeat in his own chest, rapid and strong, fueling their last muscular drive. The facility was designed to manipulate this fear. Workers behind shocked them with prods as they ran to escape the terror. Their effort to survive drove them deeper into certain violent death because that is what this place was created for. They trampled and squeezed through each other rushing forward to the final act. Herded into a cold steel room that stinks of death, the pigs shoulder and writhe as more are forced in. When the workers cannot fit one more pig in the room, they fill it with gas. Not a poison gas that kills instantly, a simple gas that replaces the air in the room. The pigs panic as they struggle for breath. They panic, and scream. Silas can not unhear the screams. The screams are why he keeps his notebook. The screams are why he is sneaking off this hillside and heading back to formulate a plan.

Silas had always been a practical man. He realized he could not stop the slaughter. He could not stop this horrific industry of creation, only to destroy. But that did not matter to Silas. The screams kept him from peace. The visions of smart, sentient animals fighting for life, without hope, are what kept his soul from rest. He could not settle down until he has at least made an effort. Maybe somehow the universe would understand his act. Maybe somehow the image of a pig boiling to death in a scalding bath would be drowned out. Silas did not know what the future held, but he knew he would no longer sit by and be a part of this insanity. He would do something.

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