Chuck Stadler walked up to the glass doors and forced himself to look outside into the parking lot. He was consumed by fear, standing there as the dark night above him covered the world. He saw only a few remaining parking cars sitting under the slowly dimming overhead lights. Chuck recognized some of them belonging to the employees who decided to remain behind. There was also about a dozen abandoned shopping carts standing motionless, left behind by all the customers who had escaped earlier the night before. Daylight would soon be approaching as the sun would rise. A small patch of fog appeared on the cold glass door as Chuck exhaled a nervous breath over the ‘Visa/MasterCard’ logo. He continued to look outside for movement from the indoor safety of the ‘ Wonder-Mart’ super- store. These next few minutes remaining were truly going to be the hardest part of the day for him. The final minutes before they would arrive. It wasn’t all the days before of store preparation for this eventual onslaught that would soon arrive. Instead it was the silent suspense in anticipating his and possibly everyone else’s possible doom. He hadn’t slept in thirty-six hours. Whatever food was left for anyone in the store to eat was depleted yesterday. He glanced over at store associate Donna in customer service. This was a painful anniversary for her. She lost contact with her whole family last year on this same date. Chuck was somewhat fortunate in this respect, he knew his family was still out there….somewhere. Years ago, before the sickness that consumed what was once an America that he knew, Chuck and many people like him had regular lives. Now life in this newly infected present society, was all about survival and being able to live through the day. Chuck looked back around the store for a final time making sure all the power was on and that all the remaining associates standing around were ready for battle.
As the first beams of sunlight hit the lot, Chuck spots the first group entering the outskirts of the parking lot. Eight of them in total shuffling slowly through the lot towards the store. They knock through some empty carts, immune to the apparent pain. Another group then entered the lot from another direction, their attention being drawn by the lights of the store. The creatures continue to aimlessly walk forward-looking to appease their relentless hunger, to consume and take whatever existed within this “living” building. Another group arrived, then another. The parking lot was now filled with easily over a hundred bodies. Chuck felt his heart race and the back of his neck tingle with dread. A few of them approached the door and began pulling on the handle. The upper glass within the foyer began to buckle. Donna was now looking outside with Chuck, her eyes welling up tears. The doors were holding secure for now, but the weight of the crowd was getting stronger. Chuck took a step back, looked at his watch and took a deep breath. The glass doors weren’t going to hold them out for much longer. Chuck knew what he had to be done to stop them from being outside. It was time to face the nightmare. Chuck smiled at Donna, then proceeded to enter the store’s foyer to unlock the doors.
“Good morning! Welcome to Wonder-Mart, Come on in folks!” Chuck bellowed out to the rushing crowd with a forced smile on his face. It didn’t really matter what Chuck said to them, considering half the crowd forced themselves past him to rush into the store. The early morning shoppers were here and nothing was going to stop them from consuming whatever best deals were available to them. Chuck followed the crowd from the rear inside. He looked over at the newly formed line of fifteen people returning merchandise to Donna’s area. She could handle it, Donna was a ten-year veteran of days like this. A large crowd had already surrounded the mountain of specially priced flat screen televisions. They pulled it apart in pieces, like piranhas snacking on a dolphin. Chuck stood and watched them. He shook his head, thought of his wife and kids at home. He couldn’t wait to get home tonight to see them. One of the cashiers called out his name for his first of many price-overrides. The chaotic scavenging of Black Friday was now fully unleashed throughout the building and all the employees were now victims to its full retail insanity. They would all fight to survive, that is at least until the decimated store closed it’s doors for the day promptly at nine o’clock.
December Writing Prompt – Consumed by fear, he stood as still as the dark night above him – Day 8/31