I was a little too busy to do Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge last week, so I was damn sure I was going to find the time for it this week. His instructions for this weeks challenge were to choose one of the below locations, as a setting for a 1000 word piece of flash fiction.
“The Bone Cathedral”
“Aisle Nine in the Grocery Store”
“The Venom Club”
“The Tower of Babel”
“Suburban Meth Lab”
“Tiny’s Taco Hut”
I chose ‘Aisle Nine in the Grocery Store’, and using all the creative power I could muster I tapped this out. Unfortunately I was all out of creativity when it came to the title, but if you love, like, hate or are just kinda ambivalent about it, I’d love you to leave a comment.
Without any more pre-amble I bring you…
Flash Fiction: Aisle 9
It was 03:47 in the morning and Mickey was standing in aisle nine of his local Kwik-N-Pay trying to remember why he was there. His memory had gotten a lot worse now he’d stopped taking his pills, but he was sure that if he stopped and thought about it long enough everything would come back to him. Mickey grabbed a large bag of chips to answer his rumbling stomach; it seemed as good a reason as any to explain why he was there.
Several feet away down the aisle a red-haired woman in tight jeans, and a biker jacket was filling a basket up with junk food. She stopped and turned round to face him. She had a nice smile he had to admit but then he saw her eyes, they were black; without irises. She opened her mouth, revealing a row of sharp-pointed teeth. Mickey rolled his eyes, he’d been out with a rock-chick before, and couldn’t deal with all the bad tattoos and vampire bullshit. He smiled passively back at her, and returned to the shelf.
‘Can I help you with anything?’ a familiar voice from behind him asked.
‘No, I’m fine thanks.’ Mickey responded without turning round.
‘Forgot what you’re in for again, eh son?’
‘Err, yeah, something like that.’
A hand holding two white pills was suddenly in front of Mickey. ‘Seriously, I’m fine. Thanks.’ Mickey said as he turned round to look up at the overweight, balding store-owner. He was wearing the same contact lenses as the rock-chick.
‘I’m sure you’ll feel a lot better, if you take them’ now Mickey saw his pointed teeth. Why would a store-owner be wearing bad contacts and fake sharp teeth?
‘What’s with the black eyes and pointed teeth thing? It’s not Halloween.’ Mickey asked.
The store-owners smile turned quickly to a look of concern.
‘You really need to take these.’ The agitated store-owner tried again to get Mickey to take his pills, this time grabbing his wrist a little too tightly and trying to force the pills into his mouth.
‘Get the hell off me you psycho!’ Mickey screamed. Mickey kicked at the store-owner trying to get him to loosen his grip, but it wouldn’t budge. The store-owner didn’t look angry or mad, if anything Mickey thought that his eyes were sad, maybe even a little desperate.
The rock chick came round the corner of the aisle and started to approach Mickey. From the other end of the aisle approached a rather small but formidable looking old woman with her hair in a bun carrying a wicker basket. Mickey watched the rock chick approach, she had the same black eyes and pointed teeth. He turned to shout at the old woman for help, but she was now close enough for him to see her face, her blackened eyes and her pointed teeth. She was smiling with kind eyes, but her grin chilled Mickey.
‘Please take them, you’ll feel better. Trust me. I’m…’
Mickey conjured up as much strength as he could and brought his knee up to the groin of the store-owner. With a pained grunt he dropped to the floor letting go of Mickey’s wrist. Looking left and then right he saw the rock-chick and old lady advance on him. Mickey didn’t know what the hell was happening, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to let them get him, whatever they were.
He charged down the aisle towards the rock-chick, and barged her out of the way. She tumbled to the ground, effortlessly. The door was only a matter of feet away, and the confused looking old woman and store owner couldn’t catch him now. He pushed open the door and ran out into the cold night air.
The rain hammered the tarmac, and it didn’t take long for Mickey to be soaked to the skin. Mickey kept running all the way home. Even a near-crippling stitch, torrential rain and a paralysing fear didn’t slow him down. He ran into his house and slammed the door, running straight into the arms of his mum.
‘My god what happened? I was so worried about you?’
Mickey didn’t say anything for a while; he just buried his face into his mother’s dressing gown. ‘I don’t know’ he said eventually. ‘I was at the store, and everyone had black eyes and sharp teeth and they were trying to force me to take my pills. I managed to get away but I was so scared.’
‘It’s the pills; they help you to remember what you are. You have to keep taking them.’
‘What I am?’
His mum took out a hypodermic syringe from her pocket and injected Mickey in the back of the neck. He looked up with an expression of pain and disbelief into his mum’s black eyes, but even if he could find the words to say the serum was already working.
‘I’m sorry honey. You have a good night’s sleep. We’ll sort out the damage to your father’s store tomorrow.’
As Mickey fell to the floor unconscious, she picked up the phone and dialled.
‘Hello, Doctor Iverson?’ she began ‘It’s Mrs Fillis. He’s got worse. He screams at people’s eyes and teeth, he thinks it’s not normal. No doctor I don’t think he has seen himself yet. OK, see you soon.’
Mickey’s mum brushed the hair from her son’s black eyes, and smiled at him. She placed a pillow behind his head, and wrapped a blanket around him to keep him warm until the doctor could get there.