For those of you who enjoy some preamble that explains a situation, here is some preamble to explain this situation:
A few weeks ago I set myself a short story challenge to help keep me thinking creatively. The rules are simple – the story must be under 500 words, and I must write one each week. Easy.
So far I’ve written two stories, neither of which have been well received. Let’s see if story number 3 does any better. I have high hopes.
Life behind the counter.
Ever since the end of the world, business had been quite at Tesco Express. While before there had been a steady stream of students buying cheap wine, and locals looking annoyed by the students (and the lack of cheap wine left), now there was only him. He’d worked behind the counter for 3 years, which was an impressive stint for a temporary job, and in that time he’d seen many an unwelcome sight.
The man being sick down the crisp aisle hadn’t been pleasant, nor had the couple having sex by the ready meals. A dog pissing up his leg one morning hadn’t gone down too well, and the apocalypse was a pretty rubbish way to end a Tuesday.
But in all that time nothing had ever really surprised him. He’d been warned upon taking the role that a Tesco Express was a hotbed for depravity, and having been a student looking for wine there himself once, he knew all about it.
Even when the sky came burning down around him, even when he saw all of humanity wiped out in a few seconds by a blaze of fireballs and the scornful undead, even when the water started to boil and the mutated corpses of all his former friends caused a diversion on his way to work – that hadn’t really caught him off guard. ‘Shit happens,’ he’d thought, and he was right – it did.
He’d wondered for a while whether it was worth working anymore, since all of his customers had perished. But then he remembered that time his boss knew he’d stolen a pack of Milky Way Buttons, and he dared not risk his wrath again, even if he was no longer his living employer.
So, like a faithful drone who knew no better and had no mind of his own, he continued to do what he’d always been told he should: turn up on time, leave his phone in the office and be polite to everyone that came in.
And it was when someone did come in that he was finally shocked. Out of the silence walked a figure, opening up the automatic doors and idly walking around looking for some wholemeal bread. He’d never seen a ghost before, nor understood the appeal of wholemeal, yet now both were facing him head on.
“Would you like a bag with that?” he asked as the figure approached his counter.
“No,” said the figure, licking her lips. “But you’ll make a lovely filling.”