Tales from the Apocalypse: Bloody Shopping Spree

Posted on December 26, 2012

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On the radio, a song was playing that I don’t particularly like. But it had to do. It was R.E.M.’s End of the World. I sang along under my breath as I opened yet another of the multitude of boxes I must open. Being an overnight stocker was a tiring, tedious, and dull job. I hated it. Until that night.

As I sung along to R.E.M.’s song, I overheard a conversation in the next aisle over; the cereal aisle. It was my two coworkers, and subsequently my enemies, Samantha and Mary.

“Yeah, totally dude!” That was Samantha. “Cool,” Mary replied.”When would you want to?”

I froze as I put a can of diced peaches on the shelf. They were making plans. At first, it stung. Then an overwhelming rage made me lightheaded, followed by a sadness that made my stomach churn in protest, as it always does. I always feel the sadness and the hurt in my stomach. I sighed and looked down, my arm still extended to the back of the shelf, my hand firmly gripping the can. I thought about Mary.

It was two months ago when I first saw Mary clocking in. I could tell she was new, as she had that nervous look that all new employees have. A crooked smile, eyes darting from side to side. It’s funny to watch. I didn’t talk to her much that first night. In fact, I didn’t talk to her much for at least the first week she was there. Then finally, I decided, why not?

We became inseparable. At our breaks, at lunch, we talked. We even talked when we should have been stocking the shelves. Then the teasing started. Her and I didn’t mind it very much. We just laughed at our fellow coworker’s theories about our relationship. Mary and I were just friends, even though I did form a small crush on her.

Then something happened. I’m not exactly sure what. She started distancing herself, and the supporting manager began yelling at us whenever she saw us together. The only explanation Mary gave me was that our talking was hindering our ability to do well. I didn’t think so, but it didn’t matter. Mary continued to distance herself. It got to the point where she would blatantly ignore me.

That’s when she began hanging out with Samantha. In one word, Samantha can be described as a bitch. But that hardly does her justice. She is selfish, conceited, bossy, and always gives people an attitude. I had swallowed her insults, her attitude, her selfishness since I had started working there. Finally, I snapped one night. Her and I yelled at each other. It wasn’t too bad. We didn’t call each other names. I just told her I didn’t need her fucking attitude and asked her what the fuck her problem was. To that, she didn’t really give me an answer. But that night sealed my relationship with her. She was my enemy. And Mary had joined her.

Since befriending Samantha, Mary had become a lot like her. Now she bosses people around, gives them an attitude, and insults them. She had sealed her relationship with me as well. She was my enemy too.

It started with a scream. Then another. There was an eerie silence as all time seemed to stop. The music on the radio seemed faint. I slowly set the box of canned peaches down and began to walk to the other end of the aisle. That’s when I heard: “Oh my god!” It was the assistant manager. The sound of his heavy footsteps and key ring jingling was unsettling. He was running in my direction. I heard another scream, and just as I began to turn around, I saw the assistant manager’s domineering figure bolting past my aisle in a blue and black blur. I snapped my head forward again, just in time to see what was chasing him.

A man. He skidded to a stop when he saw me. At that moment, as that man stared at me, baring his teeth, blood dripping from the corners of his mouth, eyes wide with rage, I had never been so scared. His clenched fists at his sides shook, and he was breathing heavily and quickly. His breathing was so loud it was as though he was only a few inches from my face. But then I realized that wasn’t his breathing. I slowly turned my head around, to see another man bearing his bloody teeth at me. Confronted with these two maniacs, I cursed that Wal-Mart had decided to be open twenty-four hours. They surely wouldn’t have been enticed to come here otherwise. But that was long before I realized that these men weren’t just doped up druggies.

They were infected. With what, nobody has figured out yet. I slowly turned my head back to face the first man. Then I crouched down, picking up the box of canned peaches. Thank God I had been too distracted to finish stocking them. I wouldn’t have had any way to escape otherwise. The man behind me lunged. I reacted. Using all my strength, I hit him in the side of the head. He went down hard, and I ran. The cans spilled everywhere.

I ran past the cereal aisle. No sign of Samantha and Mary. They must have escaped. Damn! Next aisle was the baking aisle. I saw a woman crouching over the bloodied corpse of another coworker I had liked. Oh, the irony. She was feasting on his intestines. For a moment I wondered what kind of drug these people were on. The next aisle was empty, and so was the next. I kept running.

Where do you hide in a Wal-Mart? The only places are the break room, the manager’s office, the 99 Room (Where all the signs and tools are stored. Don’t ask me why it’s called that), the Personnel Room, and the bathrooms. Though the best places are the manager’s office, the 99 Room and Personnel. So I ran to the back of the store. As I did, I caught a glimpse of the dozens of infected tearing through the women’s clothing, also heading to the back.

I saw Samantha and Mary come running from the alleyway to my left. They headed through electronics, as I did. I was only a few feet behind them, with the infected only a few feet behind me. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground, my palms throbbing, my knees screaming in pain. Samantha had grabbed an L-Cart as she passed it, and pulled it out in front of me. I had no time to react, so I tripped over it. A few of the infected behind me also tripped. I was on my feet before they were, running to the back room.

But Samantha and Mary had locked the double doors. Where and when they had gotten the keys, and figured out which one would lock those doors is still a mystery to me. I’m guessing they had found the assistant manager dead long before they made their mad dash to the back room. (I did find him lying in a pool of dry blood later on, near the hardware department) I looked at them through the small glass windows for a split second. Then they were attacked from behind. What they forgot was that down the hall from them were another set of swinging doors. Ones that can’t be locked. The infected swarmed the back room as I ran into the women’s bathroom, only a few feet to my right. Once inside, I held onto the handle and laid my weight against the door. Then it was simply a battle of will.

Hours passed. The infected were relentless, but so was I. There was no way I was going to die in the woman’s bathroom. I think after a while, the infected realized that (Probably not). But in any case, they eventually gave up. When I emerged, they had all gone. Not a single one remained in the store.

I walked down to the big, black swinging doors that Samantha and Mary had forgotten about. I passed through them slowly, uncertain of what lay beyond. There was blood, body parts, and guts. I pinched my nose and quickly walked to where I had seen my two enemies fall. When I found them, their mangled bodies were barely recognizable. I smiled.

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Posted in: Stories