Chapter 7:

The Slaughterhouse


Finding the slaughterhouse proves to be relatively simple. As they scamper down the halls, they open each door they see—sometimes with lasers, and other times with the press of a button—and voilà! They’ve found the slaughterhouse in a room just like any other. Lester didn’t even bother to hide it away, so he must have been confident no one would come here.

Lucky kind of wishes they hadn’t come here, to be honest.

It turns out that Lester’s blustering about the slaughterhouse was true. This place is a place that no Pet returns from. As Viper slowly strides into the room, a yellow light from a rusted, worn machine paints a sickening hue over his back. The place smells strongly of metals that Lucky may have been able to identify if she were a real dog, but as of right now, they scent just reads steel.

The machines are loud, and they pulse with noise in a rhythm disturbingly close to Lucky’s heartbeat. It’s striking how all that noise goes away once Lucky sees the dismembered bodies of the Pets who were forced to come here.

There are thick wires strewn about like veins, and parts and pieces scattered everywhere. Some parts that seem salvageable are in neat little bins, while the rest is strewn about in true junkyard fashion. As soon as Lucky sees the conveyor belt, and the ugly twisting of machines coming together at a singular point above it, she understands.

This is a chop shop for Pets.

“Bliss!” Panic Button cries. “Bliss! If you’re here, say something. Please!”

“P-Panic Button?” a weak voice calls out.

“Bliss…Bliss! You’re still alive. Thank goodness…!” Lucky straightens when she feels tears drip onto her back. She never thought that any of them would be capable of tears as Pets. She’s so glad she’s wrong.

“Bliss. We need to get out of here before Lester finds out we’re here. Where are you? We’ll come get you right now, and then we can all find our own owners together.” Viper almost winces at his own words, as if he couldn’t help but add the last part.

“You…shouldn’t worry about me. Just go.”

“What are you saying, after everything we’ve been through together?” Panic Button asks, sounding properly angry for the first time since Lucky has met him.

“I’m saying I’m not worth this. If you saw what state I’m in…there’s no hope. So just go.”

As Panic Button gears up to argue with her some more, Lucky is straining her ears, trying to identify where her voice is coming from.

In a way, Panic Button and Bliss’s bickering is actually helpful for once. If Bliss realizes that they’re using her voice to find her, she could stop talking altogether. Panic Button is a good distraction from thoughts like that. As long as she keeps talking, they can still try to find her, even if she doesn't want them to.

Lucky’s ears perk up, straining to identify the source of Bliss's voice. She just needs to listen a little harder, but with how loud the machines are, it’s near impossible.

Suddenly, an idea comes to her. “Panic Button,” she hisses in his ear, trying to avoid Bliss hearing. “I can’t figure out where her voice is coming from with that disgusting machine making all that noise. You have a noise cancellation function, right? Use it on that thing.”

Panic Button turns back and nods at her. He looks up at one of the big machinery tubes hanging considerably high above them and launches himself up off of Viper’s back and latches onto the tube. His eyes briefly turn a vibrant, glowing yellow, and just like that, the machine cuts out like a dropped phone call.

“Panic Button? Are you still there?” Despite what she told them earlier, Lucky can hear the fear in her voice at the thought that maybe—just maybe—they had listened and left her here to die.

However, thanks to these terribly sad words, Lucky finally realizes where Bliss is. She drops off of Viper’s back and scampers to a particularly flat part of the garbage heap. “Viper, Panic Button, here! She’s here!”

Lucky frantically begins to clear away the parts of the other Pets with her ears. In seconds, Viper is at her side doing the same, with Panic Button not far behind.

Lucky knows that what they’ll find once they uncover her is not promising. She knows this. A pony is hard to hide, especially in a room like this, where it’s so obvious when something living is among the scraps. She knows this.

She knows this.

Yet when Lucky finally clears the final set of debris and sees that all that's left of Bliss—her friend—is nothing more than a head, she feels as if she hadn’t actually known anything at all about the reality of Bliss’s circumstances.

Bliss looks up at them, her warm brown eye taking in all their faces with a calmness that Lucky hates. “This is why I told you to go. I’m already a goner. As soon as my power reserve runs dry, I’m as good as dead.”

Panic Button picks up her head and holds it up so he can look her in the eye. “Listen. You know I’m not much of risk-taker, but not helping you, not protecting you…I can’t let that be the last memory you have of me. Even if you die, you’re gonna die looking at my furry face trying to save you! Understood?”

“Understood,” Bliss whispers. The two don’t argue.

“Good!” Panic Button huffs. He turns to look at Lucky and Viper. “So, I know I just talked a big game and all, but how do we save her?”

“The machine,” Viper starts, “does it only disassemble Pets?”

“I…I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Bliss responds.

“Hm.” Viper walks over to a lit-up keyboard off to the side of the room and puts his paws on it. “Is this the control panel?”


“What are you thinking, Viper?” Lucky asks, leaning over his shoulder to look at the relatively expansive keyboard.

“I’m thinking we should try to put her back together.”

“Is that even possible?” Panic Button asks.

“We don’t have the time to look for her original parts,” Lucky says, glancing anxiously at the door.

“Hmm, I guess that means we have to use what’s on hand then.” Viper pats one of the boxes with parts in them. “These work well enough to resell, right? If we can just pull the right parts together, we should be able to at least give her a body.” Viper pulls out a piece that looks like it would belong more to a wolf than a horse. “It might not be pretty though,” Viper admits.

Bliss laughs. “That’s alright. I’ve never considered myself pretty anyways.”

“Well, if you’re okay with it, then I am too,” Panic Button says reluctantly.

Lucky nudges Viper in the shoulder. “See? I told you that you’re reliable.”

Viper pats her on the head with his tail before going back to trying to figure out the control panel. “Thanks.”

They quickly all get work, with Viper working on the control panel and Panic Button and Lucky trying to piece together whatever useable parts they can find to patch Bliss together. Some pieces are to long, too short, too thick. Some bins only have a few parts that they need, while other have a treasure trove worth of supplies. Like Viper said, it’s not going to be pretty, but at least Bliss will be alive.

They all become so immersed in what they’re doing that Lucky forgets one very important variable: Lester.

Steward McOy