Welcome to NOVEMBER FURIOUS FICTION!
This month, your story must follow these criteria:
- Your story must begin with a sentence containing just TWO words.
- Your entire story must take place at a SUPERMARKET.
- Your story must include SOMETHING BREAKING.
There wasn’t much time. There never was. My footsteps echoed off the polished floors. It was the only sound, occasionally punctuated by the low, weak protests of my ravenous stomach. I tried to remember the last time I ate. Days, surely. Looking around, I tried not to think about what was on the other side of those walls.
In and out, that was the plan. The supermarket was dark and desolate, aisles illuminated by the intermittent flickering of my dying flashlight. The place had already been ransacked, the floor strewn with non-essentials. Makeup. Deodorant. Tupperware and magazines. Relics of a happier time. A different life. One where the hardest decision I had to make was Fruit Loops or Corn Flakes.
Where are the damn cans?
I carefully made my way over the mess on the floor, eyeing some batteries hanging on the wall. Inserting them in my flashlight with my shaking hands, I dropped one in the process, and it fell to the floor with a soft ting. My heart was hammering through my chest so rapidly I thought it was going to burst. If they got inside, it was all over. They’d rip me to pieces in seconds, tearing chunks of flesh off my frame like pulled pork.
Get it together. You don’t have time to be scared.
I replaced the battery and was rewarded with a narrow beam of light, which I used to search the canned food aisle. There wasn’t much left – some tuna. Beans. Canned potatoes. Who cans potatoes? At that moment, I was eternally grateful. Indiscriminately shoving them in my backpack as fast as I could, I was dimly aware that it was going to feel impossibly heavy in my starving condition. Making me an even easier target.
That is not productive thinking. Keep moving.
The food had been running low for weeks, but nobody was volunteering to venture out. A grim acceptance had permeated the camp like a dark cloud. We’d lost our strongest, doing exactly what I was doing now, but fitter, smarter, better equipped. They became cocky and overconfident. And they’d been eaten.
Now there was just me.
I squeezed the last few cans into the bag and hoisted it over my shoulders. It felt like carrying a car engine. Grunting, I slowly headed for the exit.
That’s it. Just head back.
It was truly desperate to come to this. Trips like this were dangerous, too dangerous. To leave the safety of the camp for this long, alone, was suicide. This was their territory now. It didn’t belong to us anymore. All we could do was survive, keep starvation at bay. At least for a little while.
A window shattered, breaking into a thousand pieces as the cold mass of bodies attempted to press their way in. The rattled gurgling of breath that wasn’t breath, the creaking of joints pushed far beyond their limits. Too close, far too close. I broke into a run.