Steel cages, stacked two high, line the cavernous shed as far as the eye can see. A uniform seven by seven by seven, a full square foot bigger than the industry standard allowing the house to class themselves as one of the friendly sounding "barn systems".
With the front side covered in a reinforced mesh and the remaining surfaces made up of thick steel the barn looks like a cruel pet shop. The inhabitants have a meagre workspace with a tatty mattress tucked under their desks, giving them somewhere to try and grab some sleep in the six hours the harsh floodlights aren't beaming down onto them.
A lot of them were born here, have never seen natural light and know no different. The rest stupidly volunteered for this, countless rejections had broken them but still they soldiered on growing evermore desperate with each manuscript. Then they had read the adverts and thought it was either their dream job or the opportunity they had been waiting for.
"Reputable publishing house, looking for new and exciting writers to expand into the growing markets! Contracted writing with no deadlines! Comfortable living quarters provided! Work and socialise with your peers! "
Each exclamation mark that little further from the truth but more pleasing to the eye than the last.
The socialising wasn't technically a lie, every Wednesday the writers were free to roam within the barn for a few hours while their cages were hosed down and searched for contraband. The searches had become mandatory after Salinger had slit his wrists with a shiv made out of paperclips.
Life in the barn follows a strict schedule. The lights come on at 06:00 sharp and the writers are allowed fifteen minutes to wake and make themselves ready for work. At 06:20 the coffee pipes are activated and the gallon drums attached to the wire mesh are filled for the first of three times during the day.
If the writer is hungry they can press the button and the food chute rewards them with a handful of nutritious oat based, bromide laced biscuits, this button can only be depressed three times per day to stop the writer outgrowing their cage.
At 07:00 the tannoy announces the days aim, this is determined by a complex series of sales trends monitored across the literary spectrum. One day the writer could be writing supernatural teen romance, the next bondage themed love stories. There is of course an allotted time for what the house likes to call "Free thinking" allowing the writer a scant thirty minutes at the end of the day to write a piece of their own creation.
Most of these are of course rejected, but it gives us hope.
And without hope dear reader, we are nothing.
My name is James Josiah and I have wanted to be an author since I was a child, I haven't seen the sun in six months.