Picture of Aubrey to your right! :D

The devil's spawn stood less than fifty feet away from me as I mentally debated effective ways to kill myself.

"Paper or plastic, ma'am," I mumbled, trying not to stab myself in the eye with the new knife set on the conveyor belt.

"Plastic, of course. Paper can rip easily and all my groceries would fall out. Are you really that stupid?"

From her bad attitude to her incessant, loud gum chewing, I didn't know what I hated most about her. 

Mentally flipping her off, I continued checking out her things. And she continued complaining.

"Don't put the dog food with my cans of soup! What if the dog food leaks and my soup gets ruined? You're like the worse cashier I've ever had."

The customer is always right, Aubrey, I thought, while counting to twenty to calm myself down.

It didn't work.

I dispised this woman's existence. This same middle-aged woman, known as devilish Diane in the lounge room, came to Stop-n-Shop every Monday afternoon with a new list full of complaints. A few months back, she told my manager, Pete that her shopping experience at Stop-n-Shop wasn't up to par due to our "atrocious uniforms".

Our slogan was: "You'll never leave the store with a frown. So, stop and shop here now!"

Corny. I know.

But, because of that awful slogan, we had to smile at this woman and treat her like she was the queen of Stop-n-Shop. Though, she did contribute to a large portion of the store's revenue.

Gag me with a spoon.

"That will be $109.67 " I said after bagging all of her stuff. She looked at me with a wicked grin and handed me a stack of coupons. Lord, help me.

"Oh," she squinted at my name tag. "...Abbey, could you-" A weird noise coming from aisle six cut off the probable ridiculous demand she was going to make.

There were only five employees working in this tiny store in the middle of the small town of Afton, Minnesota. The others were busy living up to the store's slogan and failed to hear the strange sound. As usual, my curiousity peaked and I went to go check it out.

"Hold on a second, ma'am." My eyes were glued to the entrance of the aisle. 

"Are you really just going to leave me here? This is poor customer service. Get back here so I can pay and go. I have places to be," Devilish Diane ranted and yelled but to no avail. I just had to check this out.

Ignoring her cries, I ventured out to aisle six. I looked at the shelves on my left and right, trying to locate the source of the loud sound. From the band-aids to the bottles of Tylenol to the rubbing alcohol, not a thing was out of place.

God, did I hate this aisle. Naturally, us employees had to give it a nickname: Spooky Six. The main source of light for this section went out yesterday, which did not help the situation at all.

I was about to head back to my station when something caught my eye.

A big something.

A very big something that should've caught my eye from the start.

So I forgot my glasses at home. Sue me.

Sprawled out on the linoleum was an extremely large man. His stomach was like a mountain and the way he was laid out on the floor, I couldn't get a look at his face. Just as I was inching closer to see the condition of this man, a voice called out behind me.

"Aubrey, Diane, over here, says you left her at the register. Head back there this moment!" Pete said in his "strict voice". He wasn't actually strict, it was just a façade he used to keep his employees in check. I turned to face them, pointing to the man behind me.

"But, there was a thunderous noise and being the worrywart I am, I went to see what was going on. I was afraid someone got hurt! And someone was!" So what, I'm a great liar. Sue me.

There was a light gust of wind behind me. I was going to ignore it before I saw the look on my manager's and the customer's face - pure horror and disgust.

I turned around and locked eyes with the man eliciting such negative emotions.

Before that day, if you asked me what was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen, I'd talk about the day I accidentally walked in on my uncle Randy using the bathroom.

But not anymore.

The sight before me was so much worse.

The man standing before us was a terrifying sight. His eyes were bloodshot but the pupil was stark white. The rest of the features on his pale face were fairly normal, if you called having half of your face ripped off "normal".

Seriously, how did we not see this guy walk into the store?

My manager stepped in between me and the big guy who was now mumbling incoherently.

"God, he looks horrible." Diane exclaimed. No shit.

"Sir," Pete began with a shaky voice. "We'll call the ambulance. But now, I'm going to take you to the front desk where we keep a first aid kit." He turned to me. "Aubrey, call the paramedics, now!"

But I was too stunned to move a muscle.

I saw all the movies. I knew all the signs. I knew what this all meant. The pale face. The flesh hanging from that pale face. Incoherent phrases. I wasn't totally sure, but one thing would confirm my theory.

"Pete, I think you should back away from the man." But he ignored me, giving his full attention to the wounded man. My blood ran cold.

"Sir, what happened to you?" I couldn't see my manager's face but I could bet millions that it showed true concern. He was just like that. Pete put his hand on the guy's shoulder, a comforting gesture. In the matter of seconds, the big man took Pete's arm and ripped out a large piece of flesh with his mouth. A vast amount of blood and flesh landed on the linoleum floor with a sickening sound. The big guy was chewing Pete's skin like it was a piece steak.

Three screams echoed throughout the small store. One from Pete, one from Diane and one from me.

My theory was confirmed.



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