"I'm sorry, that's ... to pay."
The red-haired man turned around, looking at the female clerk who reminded him. He stuffed the remaining half of the ham in his hand into his mouth, chewing carelessly, and giggling. It was the stern female clerk who seemed embarrassed now.
The red-haired man stared at the female clerk with a smile, and whispered, "You don't seem to understand what situation we are in now, but still care about the money."
The female clerk was speechless for a moment, her face seemed more embarrassed.
The red-haired man said, "We are trapped here now, and just say that we can live peacefully, or stay a while longer, we should thank God -- what do you expect? During this time, we still maintain the turnover you should have in order to be rewarded by the boss?"
The female clerk was trying to refute something. The fat woman who came behind said, "This young man makes sense. It’s already good that we are alive now, why bother about some small things?" She walked to the female clerk. "However, you can also make notes of what we eat and what was used. If we can leave here safely, it is not too late to sort out the money."
The female clerk thought for a while, and it seemed that she really didn't need to be too serious in this special case, so she didn't say anything anymore.
While they were talking, on the other side of the shelf, the strong man had already opened a bag of bread and nibbled up. Now, the couple also picked food on the food rack. In fact, I was already hungry and my stomach had groaned, but I just endured it a moment ago. Seeing that everyone is choosing what to eat at this moment, I don’t have to be polite anymore.
It's a pity that I couldn't be happy then, and I was in no mood to taste various snacks. I just took two packs of biscuits on the shelf, ripped the pack, and stuffed it into my mouth. After eating a few pieces, I saw that there were only three people in the supermarket who had not eaten "the lunch" yet. Two of them were the middle-aged man and the single mother. They were sitting on the wall and listening to the radio intently. And from their expressions, you could see that they had not heard any useful information. There was another person, the old woman, who had barely moved so far. She was still curled up in the corner alone.
I picked a few bags of cakes on the shelf, took two tins of canned beef, walked to the middle-aged man and the single mother, squatted down and handed them the food: "Get some food first."
"Thank you." The man took the food, divided half of it to the single mother, and helped her open the can lid. But the mother shook her head and refused. I could see that she now cared about nothing but her son, and even the instinct to eat was ignored. The middle-aged man persuaded her for a while before she picked up a cake and barely just took two bites. I dare say that now even she was handed a piece of soap and she couldn't tell the difference from the cake, because all her thoughts were concentrated on the radio station she was listening to.
"Well, have you heard any relevant news?" I felt like I was asking something that I already knew the answers of it.
"No." The middle-aged man whispered, "But we will listen to it and see."
I nodded speculatively, without any hope in my heart.
I was really hungry, and I finished the two packs of biscuits soon, but I didn’t feel full. I planned to go to the shelf and grab some more. At this time, I found that the always gloomy, never-talking little boy was picking something on the shelf closest to him, far from everyone. Suddenly I became very interested in this lonely boy. I wanted to try to contact and get to know him, so I got up and walked towards him.
I walked slowly to him, but he didn’t see me, just looking down at the snack. I noticed that the bag of chips in his hand was a taste that I also liked, and suddenly I had a little affection for him. I tried to make myself smile, and said to him: "Hi."
The little boy raised his head and looked at me indifferently.
His reaction was exactly what I expected, but I didn’t give up: "You know, I also like sweet-pepper-flavored chips."
He still ignored me, not even looking at me. This time, I felt a little embarrassed. I think it was boring that I stayed here and talked to myself. Just when I was about to walk away, the little boy suddenly turned around, took something from the shelf behind him, handed it to me, and said to me, "You need this."
It was a fruit knife sold in this supermarket.
I was completely stunned, and a chill appeared in my back. I didn't understand what he meant, and when I was about to ask, the boy had already turned and left, leaving me standing staring between the two rows of shelves.
I stood there motionless for almost a minute, and my head was confused. I lowered my head and saw that I still had the fruit knife in my hand. I quickly put it back in place, and left the two rows of shelves.
After two steps, I suddenly saw the old woman curled up in the corner leaning her head to look in my direction. I guess she looked here after hearing the conversation I had with the boy. When I met her eyes, I didn't know what to say. At this moment, I remembered that she probably didn't eat, so I took a bottle of mineral water and two bags of bread from the shelf and walked over to her and said, "Come on."
At this time, when I had not approached her completely, at least two meters away from her, the old woman shook her head in confusion, clearly not wanting me to approach her as if I were a monster. I sighed, put food and water on the ground in front of her, and walked away.
Poor man, she was really scared -- I thought to myself -- but what was she afraid of?
And the boy, why was he acting so weird? And what did he mean that I needed that knife?
There’s no doubt that it had been established in my mind -- this old woman and young boy were the most mysterious and weird among us. I even felt faint -- there maybe were some secrets hidden in these two people.
And it was related to the incident we were experiencing now.
She was finally tired. Tired of crying, shouting, and beating. And I was also tired, tired of listening, tired of watching, and bored.
After listening to the radio program for several hours, the single mother did not hear any news about the incident until the MP3 was used up and was charged. At this time, she seemed also to be plugged in, and suddenly became excited. Since the afternoon, she has been standing by the door yelling, crying, knocking against the iron shutter door, and calling her son's name like crazy. I didn’t know what power was supporting this thin woman from 3pm to 11pm. However, now that she was finally paralyzed, I could feel the deep despair and chills in her collapsed limbs and loose eyes.
In fact, she was not the only one who felt desperate. I thought everyone in the supermarket, including me, was already chilling at the moment -- the woman banged and shouted for almost ten hours, and there was no movement or response outside -- I tried not to think about what it meant.
Now, it seemed that everyone was frustrated, and noone in the supermarket was talking, just surprisingly quiet. Everyone was lying on the ground in disorder, and the scene looked like someone had looted a funeral home.
It was close to twelve, and everyone distributed the tablecloths sold on the shelves as quilts to everyone. I wasn't sure if everyone in the supermarket was asleep, but at least they all seemed to have their eyes closed. I found that since being locked in this supermarket, I had some symptoms of insomnia. But I also knew that I couldn't stay awake all the time, so I started to count from 1 to 100 in my heart silently. Gradually, my eyelids became heavier and heavier, and finally closed completely, and at the same time turned off all consciousness in the brain.
I don't know how much time had passed, and I was pushed back by someone, and I could barely open my eyes halfway under the dazzling incandescent lamp in the supermarket. I saw the single mother who was sleeping by the door is just now in front of me. She stared at me with horrified eyes and asked, "Did you just ... did you hear any voices?"
I looked at her in confusion: "Voice? What voice?"
She put her finger to her mouth and booed, whispering: "Don't talk, listen carefully, outside the door."
I did what she said and listened to the movement outside the door. After a while, I heard a low, croaking sound resembling some kind of beast from a place far away from the door. Although the sound was not loud, it made me feel horrified. I couldn't tell what animal was making this sound, because I had never heard this strange whine anywhere before. I looked at the single mother in horror: "What the hell is this?"
"I don't know." She shook her head in horror. "I heard it just by the door."
When we talked, the monster's cries sounded again, and this time it was obviously louder than before. I couldn't help but shout, "God, what the hell is this!"
My cry awakened several people nearby who sat up from the ground. The middle-aged man asked, "What's wrong? What did you hear?"
I pointed at the door: "You hear ... there is some kind of strange sound outside."
At this time, several people got up again, and they all looked towards the door, listening carefully to outside. The monster's cries sounded again, and the sound was louder than the last time. Obviously, everyone in the supermarket heard it, and they all stood up, all staring in panic.
"God, what is this weird cry?" The fat woman looked pale and kept shaking.
This time, the monster's voice was no longer howling, but became a roar. I could feel that everyone in the supermarket is overwhelmed with horror. The face of the fashionable girl’s boyfriend was as pale as the white tablecloth he covered. He shivered and said, "This voice ... is getting louder."
The female clerk left the counter and stepped back: "I feel ... this thing is getting closer and closer to us." In fact, all the people in the supermarket are like her, and they are unconsciously stepping backwards as far as possible.
"Hey, did you find that, the sound is getting closer and closer to us, but ... why can't we hear any footsteps?" The fat woman asked in horror.
At this time, another huge roar came. My beating heart was about to pop out of my chest. I clearly felt that this thing was close to us, to be precise, it might have been at the door then. At this moment, everyone held their breath and stared at the iron door closely.
Five minutes, or ten minutes later, I was not sure, but in short, we no longer heard the monster's roar. The fat woman's voice cut through the dead silence in the supermarket: "Is that thing ... left?"
"Don't talk." The middle-aged man said alertly. "Wait a second."
After waiting for about ten minutes, I finally heard no more sounds, and then everyone was relieved a little, and the tight heart slowly dropped. The fashionable girl asked in shock, "You guys ... does anyone know? What was it just outside?"
"I think it's something that transcends our cognitive scope," the fat woman said abruptly. "The kind of sound doesn't come from humans, obviously, nor does it sound like an animal."
"Do you think ... this thing has something to do with the "horrible virus"?" The fashionable girl ’s boyfriend asked tremblingly.
This is obviously a question that no one can answer. After a long silence in the supermarket, the strong man indignantly scolded: "Fuck! What did the outside become!"
Amy (8.4) - Text
Guo Yutong - Zeichnung