Yesterday I needed to do a supply run to the grocery store to pick up a few things I needed before the snow came again.
Felix my ever trusty companion, loves to go on these trips, so he hopped into the back seat of the car, and off we went into the grand metropolis of Peterborough Ontario.
About twenty minutes later we pulled into one of our favorite grocery stores, whose name I withhold for legal reasons.
I left Felix in the car. He’s not welcome in grocery stores and he tends to head straight to the meat counter.
I grabbed a cart, pulled out my shopping list and entered the store.
Everything seemed fine until I started down the aisle that housed the yogurt and margarine. As I studied the offerings I glance at a clerk restocking the yogurt shelves.
I did a double take.
I felt the color drain from my face. The clerk’s face was just an outline, with no mouth or nose or eyes or ears.
My heart started thudding in my chest. I quickly looked around but nobody seem to be paying attention to the clerk.
“It must be me. I’m having some kind of mental breakdown.”
I swallowed and quickly pushed the cart past the clerk down the aisle and around the corner.
I took a deep breath, several in fact.
I felt myself calming down. “I didn’t really see that…I’m just tired.”
So I worked my way down two more aisles without incident. I began to relax.
That’s when I arrived at the end of an aisle opposite the milk fridge. Another clerk was opening cartons to stock the fridge.
I could feel my hands start to tremble.
He had no face, just an outline: no mouth, no eyes, no nose, no eyebrows, no ears.
I quickly turned away. My hands shook so violently the cart rattled.
“I’m going nuts…no I have gone completely nuts.”
Just then a kindly old woman with a shopping basket on her arm walked up to me.
“Are you all right? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
With out answering I dashed down another aisle.
I need help. I need an ambulance. My hands shook too badly for me to manage to dial 911 so I made my way to the front of the store to the cashier. I ‘m sure I could discreetly ask one of them to dial for me.
I thought briefly of Felix waiting for me in the car. But I knew I wasn’t in any shape to drive.
I made it to the front of the store, sweat pouring off me. I saw a cashier with her back turned toward me.
As I approached she turned.
That’s when I woke up, lifted my head off my keyboard, and a saw the profile of a faceless man staring back at me.
“Was I still dreaming?”
No apparently not.