The Sausage Man
By: Ira Mayers
Wind whistled through the cracks in the shattered foundations of the brick house, stirring the candle flames scattered haphazardly about the interior. In the wildly flickering light a lone figure hunched over the scarred carving table at the rear of the room. The figure was large and dominated the small kitchen meant for the much smaller former owner who lay now on the table. He shrugged aside the light fixture on the ceiling as he turned and smacked his head on the portion of wall still remaining between the front and rear of the house. With a frustrated grunt he ripped both the broken chandelier and wall remnants from their places as he made his way with greater ease back outside to fetch the rest of his work. There wasn’t much left of the front of the house to get in his way.
In the moonlight the corded muscles on the thick haunches and arms of this beast tensed as it dragged one and then another large body back to join the first. It took no great effort and now there was a trail of red streaked over the debris. One last trip to the front and the massive werewolf hefted a large metal case onto the table and unsecured the latches over the cover. Inside was a well used meat grinder, caked with remnants of past meals and made with a purpose for large jobs. On the front was a small plaque bearing the emblem of his contact within the Animal Society, a fox peeking through the legs of an ornate letter “K”.
The Wolf made quick butchery of the pigs. He was not inexperienced in this although he usually preferred his claws to a cleaver. After his long ordeal with the pigs he relished the work. First the pig with mud caked on his body and bits of straw stuck about him. Minutes pass to the off-tempo rhythm of the blade slamming down followed by the thwack of the meat into the grinder and the wet sliding sound of it slipping down the chute. Next the pig coated in sawdust and bits of splinters. The Wolf stole a bite or two from the carving board. Finally the pig dusted in brick and rock. Three (not-so) little pigs would make a fine sausage for the meal he owed the Fox. Debts and grievances must be paid, after all, and an oath met is a bargain sealed. For the priceless object he sought coupled with revenge and redemption this was a deliciously small diversion. The pigs had squeezed the Animal Society members to the breaking point and now they would be paid back with interest. He crunched down on a large bone as he set the large casing at the opposite end of the grinder and prepared to turn the crank.
The werewolf knew a few things about butchery but quite a bit less about crafting sausage. Instead of making many small links in sequence, he left the casing as one large bloated link and paid little attention as he continued to chuck all the meat in pound by pound. He happily licked his paws clean while he turned the crank until it ran empty and then turned to see the massive sausage nearly bursting from the case. Such a thing would have to be cooked for transport but even the fireplace was much too small. He briefly lamented that he would not be able to sneak any of the sausage for himself now. Revenge was sweeter when you could literally taste it but in the end it only mattered that the pigs were dead and he would have his reputation restored. The influence of the Animal Society members would assure that. As for cooking the sausage, the only thing he could do was set the remains of the stick house ablaze. The ruined half-structure crumbled into a heap letting off a burst of embers as he tossed the meat into the flames.
A short time later, buried in a pile of burning rubble, the Sausage Man stirred. He was cooking, burning, but this only made him stronger and gave him life. He tried to move but of course he couldn’t, yet he had memory of movement and body. He had memory of life and within his reality he could feel not just a sense of self, but a sense of “other” as well in the background of his mind. The Three Pigs were part of him but he was by strange chance also greater and apart from their sum. The Wolf had been more careless than he knew with his meal preparation because he poured into this one giant form the enchanted flesh of three magical beings. It was not only their flesh that was important, but the hearts and brains of these creatures were imbued with powerful magic and, in combination with the magical flesh, this meat still held the power of enchanted life. In the catalytic fire this new magic was reborn. The Sausage Man was awake.
His skin began to tighten and take form, and as he was gaining full awareness of his consciousness he realized that in this proto form he could manipulate his own flesh and will it to take new shape. He struggled from a deep place within his own mind and using the knowledge held by the minds of the three pigs struggled at the limits of his own skin to shape limbs. Long, thin arms and legs took shape. Using bits and splinters of bone from inside his body he gave them definite and solid form, jointed halfway. At the end of each of his four limbs he created three long, spindly, multi-jointed digits that were dexterous and firm. His skin was now stretched fully tight and solid and his flesh was dense and hard. He was done cooking and he stood, shakily at first, and then stepped forward with hardly a wobble. He plucked a long shard of wood still white hot and smoking at the tip from the pile and strode effortlessly from the fire.
He could see the werewolf rather clearly, kneeling about twenty feet away from the fire and turning some small object over in his paws before storing it carefully in his satchel, despite the fact that he had no eyes or any other organs in the traditional sense. It was a curious and somewhat disorienting sensation because the Sausage could remember what vision was like, yet this was completely different. He could hear the shape of things around him as sound vibrated through his greasy body and taste colors and scents in some extra-sensory way. It defied all explanation by knowledge he had available to his compound mind other than to shrug it off as magic. He couldn’t dwell on it anymore because despite his extremely quiet approach the Wolf had of course heard him and was leaping backward even as the Sausage brought the searing pike around to stab into the Wolf’s thigh.
The Wolf howled in pain as he gawked at the Sausage Man. He crudely pulled the stick out of his leg and tossed it aside, leaving a small trail of dripping blood as he stalked forward toward the Sausage Man who was now cautiously backing away. “What sorcery is this?? What manner of creature are you?” the Wolf demanded. There was no response from the Sausage Man who had no manner of speech at the moment. The Sausage held up a bony hand in desperate protest and used the other to sift around at his feet until he came upon a small rock. The Wolf hesitated, knowing intimately of creatures trapped in their own strange bodies, and watched as the Sausage used the jagged rock to carve a slit in his body where his face might be. Hot juices sprayed outward and dripped down as the meat inside swelled up and outward to fill the hole. The Sausage Man tried but could not speak aloud and the hole had already sealed itself.
The Wolf sprang forward and raked his claws at the Sausage. Enchanted or not, his deal must be fulfilled for his own sake. The Sausage Man bent back and turned allowing the Wolf to dig into his side. As the razor claws wiped cleanly through the meat hot grease sprayed out in an arc which Sausage aimed at his face. The Wolf staggered backward under the assault of burning liquid and turned and ran off. The grease was already cauterizing Sausage Man’s wounds which the meat of his body swelled to fill, forming hard scabs that would heal in time.
In the ensuing quiet, the Sausage Man reflected on his nature. It wasn’t just that he was made up of the three pigs and possessed of their essence and personality, he knew now they still were literally inside his mind as distinct entities. During the fight with the wolf he could feel one of them surge to the front of his mind and stab the Wolf. He felt pleasure in doing it coming from three different directions in his mind and heard the voices screaming at the walls of his conscious self for blood and violence. They were kept at bay, but only just. He didn’t want to know if they could actually take over and he feared to find out the answer.
The Sausage Man wandered up the road, thankfully travelling in quite the opposite direction of the werewolf, but with no destination in mind. He had no wealth or possessions, no kin, not even a voice to speak with. He knew from the voices in his head that he had access to a large network of resources but in his present form they were as out of reach as the moon. He mused as to what place a sausage man has in this world but turned away from such thoughts because the pigs, disturbingly, thought of him as dinner. It was a constant balancing act to keep his sanity and focus under such an onslaught.
He walked for some long time, never tiring since he had no muscles to speak of and no breath that needed catching. Oddly he didn’t even seem to need sleep in the normal sense, the constant balancing act between warring minds shifting back and forth acting almost like a subconscious taking control while the waking mind rests. If he were to truly give up and sleep that would give one of the pigs free reign to drive his body around, so he maintained focus as long as he could. Like any skill he was getting better at it but it was a constant mental sparring against three opponents, rather like shifting your weight between one leg and another to keep from exhausting either of them too far. No matter his level of control it was only a matter of time before he would make a slip or be forced to rest his mind. He hoped he would always be able to reassert his control but at least he knew he would remember what happened the whole time. The shared memory pool of the four minds was a boon and also a curse. The three pigs had been despicable sick beings in their old lives.
He found he was now rather far up the side of a large hill along a winding path cut into the side. On his left was a steep grade that would be impossible to climb and on his right a drop down the rolling hill to a valley leading seaward. As he rounded the curve leading to the plateau that the road continued across he was faced with a man blocking his path. At least he thought at first it was a man. It stood roughly the same height as he, about four feet, but the similarities ended there. It was a nightmarish creature that emanated dark magic and purpose. As the Sausage Man could see him he was clouded in a haze of purplish silver-black that almost seemed as flame to his senses. This was a hellish creature bound by some of the darkest magic available just as he was bound by magic that created and enhanced life.
The creature was a patchwork of rough fabric and skin, sewn together with golden thread and seared by flame at the seams. The mouth was sewn shut with golden thread as well. Across the body were all manner of horrible remnants of past use, curls of razor wire going up one arm and around the neck, bent rusted nails down another and peppered over the body, numerous scorch marks and tears that had just nearly been repaired to invisibility. Horrible decorative pins also were scattered half-stuck about the thing. The eyes were black, immeasurable pits that glowed from within with the dull orange radiance of hot coals.
The thing stepped forward and the face contorted as it tore its own mouth open, ripping golden thread to speak. With every word the threads whipped about, slowly reasserting their grip on the mouth again. His speech hissed like the slap of steam from water dripped on a fire and was carried by the dead air that gathers in ancient, lichen infested tombs. “You are not the Three Pigs.” It whispered. “Yet…you must be they. I can see into your essence and I cannot be fooled from my target.” It moved forward in measured steps never drawing its gaze from the Sausage Man, eyes always focused where the sausage would have had eyes. It pulled a pin from the back of its neck with tiny fingers and moved to embrace the sausage.
Sausage Man backpedaled but the thing was deceptively fast, darting forward as soon as Sausage had taken a step. The pin plunged into the center of his “face” and as it was pulled free, a jet of hot grease shot forward into the eye of the thing. It stepped back and stood motionless, steam hissing from the eye socket and the orange glow dimming briefly. The Sausage Man could feel inside his own head the sensation of a spray of grease even though there was no pain. The eye flared bright again and the thing stepped forward to strike but paused mid-step. It dropped its arm to its side, shoving the pin into its thigh.
Again the threads were ripped apart and the thing spoke. “I am called to more pressing matters. It seems you may live another day, meat man.” The thing turned and walked back up the path, calling back as it went but never stopping stride, “Consider it fortunate I am called by one more powerful than the last. My contracts are not easily undone.” It turned the corner and was gone, leaving the Sausage Man standing alone on the hillside.
The Sausage Man stood long still, pondering which way he might go. Behind him lay the road he had already travelled, a werewolf he may yet have to face, but also a network of resources he might yet be able to use. Ahead lay the open plains and a forked road which he knew would take him to any of a number of possible destinations from the signpost at the bottom of the hill. To the right and down was the sea, and in the distance he could just make out the lights of the largest fishing village on this part of the seaboard harboring ships to destinations the pigs had never known. He could probably roll and bounce down the hill without too much trouble. The days were finally taking their toll on him, the healing of his body draining necessary energy and focus, and he sat against the wall of the hillside, finally resting. He considered the journey ahead as his mind closed down before the encroaching presence of the pigs.