Overdone

📅 Published on April 12, 2020

“Overdone”

Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Otis Jiry

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Scary Stories Told in the Dark – Podcast (Standard Edition) | 🔑 Podcast (Extended Edition)YouTube (feat. Otis Jiry)

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 10 minutes

Rating: 9.40/10. From 5 votes.
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My breath catches on the golf ball sized lump in my throat as it escapes my lungs. The health department’s been making its rounds, and we were the next bakery on the list. We wouldn’t even have known they were coming if not for that asshole Murphy from the cake shop down the street calling to gloat. How the hell they passed inspection is beyond me.

I snap my fingers to gather the employees’ attention the moment I hear the smugness of Murphy’s voice on the line. “I tried calling your cell. You ain’t answerin’, so I called here,” he complains.

“Yeah, I left it in my truck today,” I mutter distractedly. “What’s up, Murph?”

“Hope you’re ready for inspection, Callaghan,” he taunted through a mouthful of food. “We sure as hell were. Hazel just left here; sounded like she was headed your way.”

“Thanks for the tip, Murph,” I respond. “Congratulations on the good report. Talk soon.” My trembling thumb fumbles with the end call button for a moment before successfully hanging up.

I run a clean factory, so it stands to reason that I shouldn’t be worried. But I’d be stupid to be cocky. A lot of the downfalls of great men have been attributed to overconfidence. This factory meant too much to my family to have things left to chance due to blind optimism.

The heels of Hazel’s shoes make pert clinks across the floor. Her face looks powerful and smug, almost like she can see the look on our faces as she proverbially squeezes our balls. I find myself laughing derisively at her inside my own mind. She has a job that literally consists of seeking out filth, among other things, and she tries to dress like Christie Brinkley at a photoshoot. What a waste of good fashion.

She’s been the damn health inspector of this district since my kids were small, and they all have children now. Everyone knows her name, but no one hates it the way that I do. The rush I feel from horrifying this woman brings my heart more joy than it can bear. Problem is… in this business, if you piss her off you get shut down.

I watch her flit assertively through the room like she owns the place and wants to make sure we didn’t move any of her stuff. Audible ‘tsks’ are heard as she checks our log books, day dots and storage areas. I can’t tell if they are from disapproval of their condition, or the disapproval that she can’t find a problem. I wonder if they get paid more for citations? Is it worth more to them to have a flawed report than a spotless one?

Hazel bends down to the floor, inspecting something with great scrutiny. She pinches her gloved fingers together as she plucks it from the ground. Please don’t be a fucking bug. It’s never happened to us before, but if anything’s going to go wrong, now is the time for it. A speck of white rests on the palm of her hand. My mind runs through all of the white-colored parasites I can think of in an instant.

“Hmm… a fleck of bread crumb. Please have your closing employees take more care when closing up, Mr. Callaghan. A clean floor is a passing floor,” she tut-tuts snottily.

This bitch…

“Why, yes of course, Hazel. Thank you for your insight,” I beam through a smile that rots my soul.

It’s at this moment that I notice my employee Mitchell’s shoelace is untied and his shirt lays untucked under his apron. “Hey, uhh… Mitch?” I mumble. “Can you go in the back for me and look to see how many deliveries want the ends left on the loaves? I want the orders to be organized, tucked… and tied away properly.” I desperately hope he remembers the Hazel codes we use. A slight downward glance of his eyes lets me know he gets my drift. A blush dances across his cheeks as he excuses himself to the back office. Friggin’ idiot…

After painstakingly checking a few more areas, she finally hands over our sheet. A huff of breath came out in an audible whoosh to see that we passed. We always do but as I said before, overconfidence is dangerous. There are a few infinitesimally minor infractions, but nothing serious. The fucking paper barely leaves her hand before an acrid stench fills the air as black smoke billows out of the main conveyor oven. Oh god, not today.

Her eyebrows lift in pleasant surprise as she tries to keep a smirk hidden. “That’s not good, Mr. Callaghan,” she purrs. “Is it a normal occurrence to burn product like this?”

I raise my hands in protest. “No, Hazel, I assure you.”

“Yeah,” Roy follows. “There ain’t even anything in there right now, it’s just preheating for the day.”

The smallest of chuckles escapes the corners of her lips. “Well, that’s even worse then. I cannot allow you to operate until the cause of this is determined and repaired. First and foremost, it’s a fire hazard…”

Her voice fades into a dull drone as I attempt to control my anger. I mean it’s not her fault, but she doesn’t have to be so damned chipper about it. This oven’s old; I knew it would only be a matter of time before something gave out in it. I’d just hoped we had more time. Maybe if we could only buy and replace the affected pieces, we won’t have to buy a whole new oven. There’s no way we could afford that right now.

“I’ll leave you with a list of appliance technicians that we recommend to all of the establishments that we inspect. They should be within your rate.” She hands the piece of paper to me dismissively before turning to leave. I’m literally counting the seconds until she walks out that front door so I can lose my shit. This did not go how it was supposed to at all.

Her hand pauses on the door handle for a moment and she turns to look at me.

“I really hope you get this fixed promptly, Mr. Callaghan. You were this close to getting a shining report. Maybe next time.” She doesn’t wait for a response, just opens the door and steps into the evening air.

As soon as she gets into her car I let loose. “Fucking hell! Now she wants us to call a professional company out to fix this. We don’t have the funds allotted for that. Do you know how many people give up carbs for lent?! Roy… Mitch… we are competent guys; there shouldn’t be anything that we can’t tackle ourselves. If I pay you both one hundred and seventy dollars under the table, can you come in early in the morning and help me manage the problem?” They happily agreed to the arrangements before going home for the night.

The disappointed faces of my ancestors chased me through my nightmare-riddled sleep. The sooner the morning came, the sooner I could get my doors back open.

* * * * * *

Roy and Mitch are already there by the time I drive up the next morning. My hands jangle the keys as I unlock the back entrance. Brian, the night shift guy, is here, but we always keep the doors locked during non-business hours for security purposes. We help Brian perform the rest of his nightly tasks before tending to the business at hand. When it can’t be avoided any longer, the three of us enter the kitchen area.

Roy is the thinner of the two, so he’s expected to be the first to crawl inside. He approaches the machine with massive trepidation. Mitchell snickers wickedly as he mockingly makes a motion for the sign of the cross over his chest and face. “Kiss your crucifix boy,” he jeers.

“Now, now,” I interrupt. “Stop it. There is no danger here. The oven was turned off hours ago; Brian told me so himself. Now stop fuckin’ around and get those parts out. If this oven isn’t up to code by tomorrow, we will have to close for the day,” I instruct the two employees.

Mitchell adjusts his tool belt, pulling his pant legs up as he bends down to check the power switch. “How many times I told ya not to wear loose clothing, huh?” I snap at him. After a long hard look at the controls, he mutters some words of satisfaction to himself as Roy begins to crawl inside.

I wait just under two minutes after the heel of Mitchell’s boots disappeared inside of the oven, to make the announcement. “Alright, fellas, I’m booting her up. The temp’s turned off but we need to have the belt in motion so you can find which parts need to be replaced. My grandfather didn’t break his back starting this business for us only to be shut down by old equipment.”

“You’re good, Cal,” one of the workers’ muffled voices calls from inside the machine. They’ve heard me say it time and time again. I flick the button in response, listening intently as the belt roars to life.

“You should feel very little heat inside, if any at all. Brian said he disconnected the thermostat at the beginning of his shift.” My watch read 8:30 AM. I’ve already been here for three hours and Brian started his shift nine hours before I arrived. That’s plenty of time.

“Cool as a cucumber,” one of them confirms. I want to say it’s Roy’s voice, but they’re at a point where it’s hard to distinguish between them. “If I get cooked like a pizza, serve me at my own funeral, will ya?” he jokes from inside.

“Ha, ha,” I quip. “Who the hell would wanna eat you?”

“That’s not how your mother feels.” A new voice, most likely Mitchell, joins in.

“Do you see anything?” I interject.

“Yeah, there’s a lot in here that needs work. It will take more than one trip t-” The voice fades away into the metal recesses of the oven before the sentence fully alliterates.

At that same point, the phone up front rings. Fucking Murphy, I think disdainfully. He’s probably calling to check the status of our inspection; no doubt he’s gotten word by now. I trudge to the storefront, more than annoyed at the interruption.

“Yeah?” My tone comes across more disconcerted than intended.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Brian’s voice sings. “Calling to let you know that I can come in early this evening if you need me to. I’m going to sleep for a few hours, then I’ll be good to go.”

“We should be good, Brian, thank you. Roy and Mitch are in there now removing the parts. I appreciate you disconnecting the thermostat for me. I really gotta get back but I wanted to thank you for your hard work last night.”

“Cal… Wait…”

“No, let me say this. You did a very good job. The place looked great when I came in. Get some rest.” I hang up the phone just as a clatter resounds from the kitchen.

“Everything alright in here?” I shout. One of them probably dropped something. I swear to God, if they messed something up in there I’m going to be so pissed.

“What the fuck?! I can’t breathe!” I hear Roy yell. “Mitchell, back up! Let me out of here.”

“I can’t move!” Mitchell exclaims. “Stop backing up into me! I can’t go backwards, it’s too strong!”

“If we continue to move forward, we won’t make it!” Roy cries. “And if we stay in one spot, we’ll fuckin’ roast! We have to go backwards! Come on, man, MOVE!” The terror in his voice sends chills up my spine.

“What the shit is going on in there, guys? It’s not gonna let you go backwards,” I warn, running to the oven’s configuration settings. The thermostat is indeed disconnected. The conveyor control button refuses to bend to the will of my finger as I madly jab at it. I need to get this belt stopped. The problem with these industrial ovens is that they run on timers, rendering them almost impossible to shut down manually in the middle of a bake cycle.

More muffled cries ring out from inside the machine. “Hbbbt! Hbbbbbt!” Mitchell cries.

“Bud, I can’t hear you. You have to let me know what’s going on so I can help you,” I say in a poor attempt to keep my voice as calm and level as possible. A dark feeling deep in my gut told me it could have been one of two things: hot… or help. One was tantamount to the other, danger-wise, of course.

From the front of the store, the phone once again began to ring. Whatever the fuck it was would have to wait. I need to get Roy and Mitchell out of there.

Their muffled words became terrified wails as the heat began overtaking their oxygen. What the fuck is going on in there?

“I can’t turn the belt off, just come out! Get outta there NOW!” I scream.

The sickening, pungent smell of burnt hair and rubber begins to envelop the room. Tears of defense fill my eyes to protect them from the stench. I consider unplugging the entire oven, but either way they would still have to crawl out one way or another.

A new scent emerges, a glorious one of roasted meat. My mouth begins to water in spite of itself, and I’m ashamed to say I can’t tell if it’s out of hunger or disgust. My god, it’s cooking them!

The realization sinks in that at this point, it’s most likely already too late. The only literal options are to either dismantle the side panels to get them out, which, due to the heat, would take a minimum of twenty minutes, or let them run through the oven cycle and wait to see what comes out on the other side. I’m standing here breathing air and feeling the fan blow a breeze on my skin. While they are being torched, burned alive, the heat is robbing them of their breath.

Sound from within has diminished considerably at this point. I pray to a god I’ve never believed in that their nerves are burnt by now, freeing them from any sensation of agony. In truth, I have no idea if they’re even still alive. Whether they survive or not, Mitchell and Roy will never be the same… even in the best of outcomes from this.

There’s less than three minutes left in this cycle. I pray with all of the will in my spirit that the Lord lets them live. Roy’s been with us for the last nine years; our families are very close. And Mitchell… well… his fiancée Delia’s seven months pregnant with their first child. Delia is a very fragile gal, too much emotion for such a tiny thing. I can’t imagine her being able to do anything on her own, much less raise a child.

A waft of steam emerges from the oven before the first body does. A thick swirl of the scent of tainted, cooked meat blows in my face as the conveyor transports his body from the Hell it just endured to the real world. The sight before me will be burned (forgive the phrase) into my mind’s eye until my dying day.

Roy’s body presented itself with massive burns, mainly concentrating on his face, knees and hands. There were no facial features, only globs of pink tissue haphazardly shrink-wrapped around bone. A yellow sludge oozes from his orbital sockets and his lips were completely gone, leaving an elongated row of blackened teeth and charred gum tissue.

What’s left of his clothing is mostly melted into his skin. My heart drops as I notice the subtle rise and fall of his chest. The crucifix welding the fabric of his shirt into a cotton-skin blend. He’s still alive.

The only thing I can wonder at the time is how the hell to pry his skin off of the belt. If I burned meat like this at home I’d just throw the whole pan away. I catch myself thinking callously. However I don’t have to wait long. His body starts to quiver and convulse, and after a few moments his chest stills, never to rise again.

A series of sickening squelches and cracks come from inside the oven as the conveyor belt grinds to a sudden halt. It buckles and shakes as it unsuccessfully tries to free itself. A weighted pain spikes through my chest as I come to a sickening realization. He’s stuck in the damn machine. Those pants legs… God help us all.

Brian comes running through the front doors. “Dammit, Cal, I’ve tried calling! Don’t let them fucking-” His words die in his throat as he mentally absorbs the scene around him. His face falls solemnly as he realizes he’s too late. His irises glaze over with the gleam of tears. Whether it’s from sadness, horror or the smell, I can’t say. “Fucking… Cal,” he sputters.

“Don’t just stand there! Call a fucking ambulance! Mitchell’s still in there! He’s stuck in the fucking machine!” I bark.

His lips quiver as his eyes burn into mine with hatred. “I… I tried to tell you. I disconnected the thermostat at the beginning of your shift, not mine. The core of that oven is still way fatally hot. You fucking killed them.”

Rating: 9.40/10. From 5 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Scary Stories Told in the Dark – Podcast (Standard Edition) | 🔑 Podcast (Extended Edition)YouTube (feat. Otis Jiry)


Written by N.M. Brown
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Otis Jiry

🔔 More stories from author: N.M. Brown


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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