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.