I have worked at Dunedin’s famous Cadbury Factory for four years and it has been a blast. Cheap chocolate has its benefits on a squally Dunedin day, and I’m sad to see this job go. The people here have been great comrades and we have had many a laugh over the years.
However, as I walk through those purple doors for what will be the last time, it isn’t laughter that welcomes me, but one lonely, distant scream. David, one of the more chipper tour guides, stands beside the Cocoa Tunnel, watching me with wide eyes. He definitely heard it too. He tells me that this is the third scream he has heard this morning.
“I’m sure it’s nothing.” I stride towards the movie room. It is 8:43am and the factory doesn’t open for nearly fifteen minutes: a premium amount of time for sleuthing.
I’m not scared, but I snag a hammer from a tool box that sits beside the loading bay, just in case. I stride forward confidently as I approach the factory, trying to appear calm, cool and collected.
I worry that some kid has intruded and fallen into the chocolate falls, and bite my lip. What if they’re drowning in chocolate right now? I quicken my pace and barge into the room with the chocolate fall. There are no children drowning in its depths. There is, however, our janitor, Todd, waving at me from behind his mop. I have always found Todd creepy, but I wave back politely.
I later inform David that it must have been someone playing a prank. “Last day and all that,” I shrug.
The day passes without fault. The factory is full on busy for its last day open to the public; almost all of the chocolate bars in the gift shop are gone. Tours come and tours leave, and, before I know it, it is three, and we’re closing.
My boss, Amanda, hands me a goodbye-goodie bag on my way out. “We made these this morning,” she informs me. “Enjoy that chocolate before Aus decides to slab vegemite in it.”
I get home, peeling the wrapper off a Jaffa chocolate bar. Yum. I take the first bite and enjoy the flavour of chocolate and orange and… what is that? It tastes a little tangy… kind of rusty… I chew it around my mouth a little longer, trying to decide what it is that’s different about it. I think of Amanda’s marmite joke and wonder if he said it on purpose.
Then my tooth bites into something hard. I curse, yanking the chocolate out of my mouth and spitting its contents into a tissue. The chocolate is less brown than I had anticipated, and more red. And what is this lumpy thing? I wipe away chocolate as its shape becomes familiar. How did a tooth get in there? I dig through the goodie bag for another and snap it open. Red goo seeps forth from within. Soon my hands are covered in the stuff.
It is only then that I remember the screaming.