Peach's Meat presents "Top of the Food Chain", where a mother--Edie Peach--tells her son that they eat meat because humans are at the top of the food chain. She explains that animals that get eaten are supposed to be eaten, and there's usually too many of them anyway.
Smart Mouth and a friend walk down the stairs and through the playground.
The next day, Alice tries to reach Zoe by phone and gets her voice mail.
About a Year Ago
Alice wakes up and finds Zoe standing on her bed, looking for her pet bug, Father Time. They hear Nora crying and go to investigate, and find her sitting on her bed.
Dave from Collections calls Alice about her overdue student loan payment. Alice says that it isn't Alice's number and Alice is dead, and hangs up. Louise comes in and asks Alice to show her where she saw Joseph. As they drive there, Alice tells the landlady that Zoe saw something in Butcher's Block but wouldn't say what, and was terrified. They go to the Marcus home and Louise asks a neighbor if he's seen Iggy. He doesn't respond, and Alice discovers that the front door is locked. Alice explains that Louise wouldn't have gone to see their mother, and says that Nora is gone.
Alice and Louise go to the playground and Louise says that the Peach house was there. The Peach family disappeared in 1952 when a bunch of workers came there and discovered that the Peach house was empty. There had been rumors about the peaches involves with occult stuff, and Joseph's two daughters were murdered in Butcher's Block. They never caught the people responsible, and then immigrant workers started disappearing. The men who came for Joseph found something in the basement and burned the house to the ground.
When Alice sees a red-robed figure running off, she chases into the woods after it figuring that it's Izzy. The figure walks up to a man and goes with him, and Alice follows them. They go up the staircase and close the door behind them, and a shocked Alice approaches the staircase. A high-pitched buzzing noise sounds and Alice clutches at her head and then collapses, unconscious. The staircase flickers and then disappears.
Later, Joseph wakes Alice up and asks if she's all right. He sits down and asks Alice if she believes. Alice says that she believes in a higher power of some kind, and Joseph tells her that he does as well. Joseph plucks a maggot from a nearby rat corpse and asks her if she thinks it was created by God, and asks if she goes to church. She says that she doesn't, and he wonders if being good and taking care of people is enough. As Alice starts to walk away, Joseph tells her that Zoe will be all right. When Alice turns back, she discovers that Joseph has vanished.
Later, Alice and Louise call in the police. Luke and Todd arrive but clearly don’t believe her. Alice describes the man that she saw, and Louise says that she used to write stories about Luke's father. Luke insists that his father cleaned up the force, and Alice returns to describing what she saw.
In a workshop, the God grinds up bone powder and puts it on an unconscious Izzy's face.
Louise and Alice return home and Louise hears someone moving in the house. They investigate and find Zoe standing in the conservatory. She's wearing a 1950s dress, and tells Alice that she doesn't have to worry anymore. Zoe smiles and says that she's cured.
In a nearby junkyard, Diane is cutting at a baby doll and cooing over it. She sees the man standing behind her, reflected in a piece of metal, and quickly runs out of the junkyard. On the street, Diane sees the man standing there. He takes a metal cylinder out of his jacket, and follows Diane as she runs away.
Luke and Todd are sitting in the car wen Diane lands on the hood of their car. The man has jammed the metal tube into her side, tasering her. He chuckles and raises his hands, calls Luke by name, and warns that he doesn't know who he's manhandling. Unimpressed, Luke shoves him down and the man says that Luke smells like nothing at all. The man says that his name is Peach, and Luke assumes that he's lying. The man, Robert, smiles and tells Luke that he's going to make a special project out of him.
Luke takes Robert to the station and locks him in a cell. Robert calls Luke "Mouse", and Luke locks him into a cell with another prisoner, Jeff.
Alice warns that Zoe can't be cured overnight, and says that it's a symptom of her illness. Zoe insists that she's fine, and that she met a man and it was like a dream. She tells Alice to calm down and says that Joseph talked to her but she can't remember what. Zoe remembers the voice of thousands of flies saying that Joseph could fix her, and she did. Alice tells her sister that there is something bad in the city, and Zoe says that it's like Joseph extracted something from her brain. She assures Alice that she'll be there for her and hugs her, and then asks if Alice is wearing Nora's perfume.
Robert sits on a bench and cracks his knuckles, and Jeff stares at him. Jeff finally tells him to stop cracking his knuckles, saying that some sounds make him sick and rage. Robert continues cracking his knuckles, and Jeff comes over. The man says that Jeff is just energy waiting to be converted into a different kind of energy: calories. Robert removes his jacket and folds it, explaining that he hates to get blood on his suit.
Zoe lies on her bed looking up the ceiling, and starts when she remembers the Faceless God. She remembers Joseph saying that he cured her but there is a side effect.
Luke returns to the cell and finds Robert tossing bits of Jeff out into the hallway. Looking in, the officer sees a naked Robert eating Jeff's organs and gasping in ecstasy. Robert looks up and smiles at Luke.
The officers clean up the cell, while Jeff sits in an adjoining cell and whistles. Chief Vanczyk arrives with two men, and tells Luke that Robert isn't their problem now and they're going to send him to eval. Luke warns that it could get complicated, and his father tells him that's why they're kicking it down the road. The chief then talks about how Luke came home and found a pet dog dead, and Luke was the sensitive one. He tells Luke to go home and take a couple of days off, and walks away. Robert looks at him briefly, and Luke comes over and looks at the prisoner.
That night, two men escort Robert out to a car. Luke follows them to Medallion Park, remove his handcuffs, let him out, and drive away. Robert walks into the park and Luke follows him to the playground. Joseph is waiting on the staircase, and escorts Robert to the top.
Alice is laying on her bed and stares at Louise's cat. She hears voices whispering to her, and she dreams of eating the cat.
Smart Mouth enters the house and watches from the hallway as Alice asks Louise about the disappearances and how they're connected to the staircase. Louise explains that there are urban legends of the Butcher, supposedly Joseph. Joseph went mad with grief when his daughters were killed, and people say that the Butcher took them. They hear something break in the hallway and go to investigate. They find the front door open and a broken jar on the floor. There's a candle propping up an envelope on the table, and Alice opens it. Inside is an invitation to come for dinner and spirits at the playground at midnight.
At midnight, Louie and Alice go to the playground and find a dining table set up. Joseph is seated there and invites the women to join him and the others. There are meat dishes laid out, and the house appears around them. Alice asks Joseph what she did to Zoe, and she says that Zoe asked him to perform the procedure and he'd be glad to show Alice what he did. Louise recognizes the people as members of the Peach family: Robert, his wife Edie, his brother Aldous, their grandmother Ruth, and Joseph's wife Evelina. Joseph insists that they are the real Peaches, and they celebrate togetherness and when the day turns to summer. He says that his daughters went for a walk to feed the swans and never returned, figures that the vermin of Butcher's Block did it and they killed them
Joseph says that a higher power blessed the Peaches and the bones of their enemies. Smart Mouth says that their sisters changed into a different kind of energy and dance with the fireflies in the whispering winds. The sisters appear on the swings, and Smart Mouth promises that they'll always remember them. Alice asks what happened to Zoe, and Joseph smiles at her. The wind blows out the candles and the family disappears.
Alice finds herself sitting alone at the table with Joseph. He says that he lightly paralyzed her and advises her not to fight. He assures Alice that there will be no pain and minimal blood, takes out a drilling device, and cuts into Alice's skull. Blood drips down onto her face, and Joseph pulls off part of her scalp, gives her a mirror, and says that she can look. He holds up a mirror, showing the plate of her skull missing, and tells Alice that he can get to her deepest trauma. Joseph probes into her brain, and Alice remembers Nora on the bed. He realizes that it's Alice's greatest trauma, and Alice remembers Nora stabbing her in the stomach. Joseph finds "Mr. Schizophrenia" deep in her brain, and calls him Father Time. He warns Alice that if he wakes up, Alice will be just like Nora and Zoe. Joseph then invites Nora to come up the stairs and meet the family, and bring Zoe. He says that they remind him of his daughters, and leaves.
The paralysis ends and Alice discovers that her skull is intact. She's seated at the table in the middle of the playground: everyone but Louise is gone and maggots crawl over the meat and severed body parts. Among the parts is Tanya's severed hand.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 15, 2018