Here's a Halloween tale that I did last year at this time. Next week there will be another Halloween story. By the way, Halloween and Walmart are two of my least favorite things. I have had many tragedies happen to me on Halloween from car trouble to accidents to odd happenings. I hope this Halloween is boring! And, well, I just hate Walmart because it's Walmart.
The Walmart plastic bag containing red hair chalk her thirteen-year-old daughter begged for crinkled while it settled into the passenger seat. She slid into the seat and remembered the conversation which brought her to Walmart echoed in her head while putting the key in the ignition.
“Mom, please. I need it for my Halloween costume.”
“I haven’t been in Walmart in two years and I don’t want to break that streak.”
“I’d have ordered it if you had decided what you needed a week ago.”
“It’s not my fault we live..”
“I’m on my way.” She grabbed her purse, keys, and forgot her reusable canvas bag she rarely left behind on a shopping trip.
What I won't lower myself into doing for that kid, she thought. Waiting for the car to warm up in hopes of it not stalling for the hundredth time since the temperature dropped below freezing, she pops out one cd to replaced it with a hastily picked up Queen cd she spotted while waiting in line at check out. Queen was her favorite driving music. She couldn't believe she had purchased her third copy of the Greatest Hits. Queen CDs always seemed to go missing and at three dollars, she couldn’t pass it up. The last copy, she suspected, had been stolen by one of her daughter’s friends she had dropped off at camp this summer.
The radio automatically filled the silence when the cd was ejected. It blared out a hiss and two tones beeped indicating the emergency broadcast system warning announcement. She reached for the volume control to turn it down, but the announcement started. She expected to hear the same old this-is-a-test spiel but instead heard:
Warning all Walmart stores are being closed immediately. Do not enter Walmart under any circumstances.
The beep, beep signal started again and then the same warning repeated.
She shut off the radio and grabbed her phone. Clicking on the Huffington Post app, the 64 point font headline said; Christmas Ornament Kills. Her mind flashed to the quick stroll through the fully stocked Christmas section of Walmart. Previously, it had been a guilty pleasure of hers when she shopped regularly in Walmart. She liked the magical feeling of being surrounded by Christmas stuff even months before December. Since it would likely be another two years before she might have to enter the cursed store again, she indulged.
Clicking on the headline, she scanned the article. The words that stood out were - Christmas Ornament…off gassing…disease…instant...plague…
Looking up from her phone, she watched a large crowd exit the store. To her right was a blue truck, hair was smooshed against the window and droplets of red trickled down the inside of the window.
Her hand went to her head, and she combed through her hair with her fingers.
She coughed...and again… and again into her elbow. Moisture in her elbow started to move along the crook. She gasped at the sight of blood dripping from her elbow to her pants.
The car across from her started up and she recognized the face of a neighbor. Instead of a wave of recognition crossing the friends face, she saw terror.
She coughed and saw her friend cough.
Her body slumped against the window and blood trickled out of her ears.