Darkness descends

The automatic doors were propped open and the bare minimum amount of lighting outlined the far walls of the store, the most that the store's backup generators would allow.  Uncertain about whether or not it was still open for business, a handful of people cautiously wandered in, almost on tiptoe.  

Inside, the freezer section was taped off with black and yellow police tape, warnings of "caution" repeating itself.  Frozen foods sat in still dark cases, not yet succumbing to the summer heat.  In produce, rows of the fruit and vegetables were shrouded with green felt to preserve their cool temperature and protect against pests.

It was not hard to imagine that in another version of the universe, I would be walking around the store with a samurai sword strapped to my back, in addition to the knife slipped inside my boot.  My calloused hands would be hefting a baseball bat listening for zombies lurching through the aisles.  And instead of the normally bright, gleaming tile, the floor would be slippery with effluvia and grimy with mud and god knows what else.

But no need to get carried away now, there's plenty of time for that later.  Back to reality, or this twisted version of normal...

The silence was maybe what was so unnerving, the most unsettling of all.  No tinny pop music piped through the speakers.  Is there typically music that plays over the loud speakers at Super Target?  These things that I've grown accustomed to and take for granted are suddenly very apparent when they're missing.  There was a confluence of people in the outdoors / camping section of the store, buying mini generators and batteries.  One register was all that backup power would allow and was still able to scan items and process credit card payments.  Customers waited patiently in line, women pushing infants in their shopping carts.  I overheard a murmur of “how am I going to heat up her milk tonight?”

Right outside, in the rapidly melting dusk, the setting sun was just barely bright enough so that I could pick my way through the parking lot without tripping over a curb or a stray shopping cart.  We were, as a city, unprepared for the darkness.


  1. spooky... and oh so true

  2. So eerie, Rooth....with all the things happening now, it's always best to be prepared. Sigh....

  3. Did you bring your new flashlight? How did the lights go out again??

  4. There are worse places to hang during a blackout than a Target, but ideally you wouldn't have had to deal with it at all. You're brave, lady. xo

  5. You've nailed a blackout perfectly, I think. Dim, during daylight and SO QUIET. It was the ambient hum that I missed the most, during our five-day hurricane blackout... Sounds that you don't even know are there until they're gone. Great writing, dearie.

  6. Pretty creepy! I can only repeat myself, I love your writing! Hope you are having a good week!

  7. A great pre-Halloween story! You write wonderfully. If we lived near each other I'd be glad to loan you one of my 8 flashlights/2 lanterns. Different sizes/shapes for different jobs! That mom needed a sterno stove (or a propane grill w/a side burner) to heat the formula.

    PS: "You killed zombie Flanders!"
    "He was a zombie???"

  8. oh my! lovely storytelling my dear! now i am thinking about zombies and ghouls and all that gory stuff. ;)


Post a Comment

Popular Reads