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[personal profile] backdrifter
Okay, that's not the actual title. I can't think of anything that isn't lame like "Grocery Store," though. The assignment was to pick a situation out of a hat, and to allude to that situation in the story without directly saying it. It also had to be set in a grocery store; the story begins when the main character enters the store, and ends when they leave. My professor told me I was a little too quick with certain details, and he is right.


Blood mixed with the sawdust of the supermarket floor, dripping from Elliott's elbow. The crowd of shoppers didn't notice him until he stumbled, and then they parted almost instantly. His wound made him a sudden leper, and he thought bitterly that they were afraid of getting blood on their crappy errand sweats.

"Please," he wheezed, and the fluorescent bulbs overhead made his eyeballs sore. "Please, somebody help, somebody call 911, my friends—"

"Oh my god!" someone outside was shouting, and there were people gathering now around the wreckage. The room spun slightly, and only worsened when Elliott shook his head.

Hands clawed at the shoulders of the two women nearest Elliott, and a stocky woman in a dirty blazer came to stand at his side, followed by a man that looked like a fist wearing a T-shirt with the store's logo. "Sir!" the woman was shouting, and Elliott thought the lights were flickering. "Sir, we've called 911, help is on the way. Just hold tight, okay? You're gonna be fine." She and the human fist were growing taller now, as were the shelves around them. As the back of his head thumped the floor, he thought mundane thoughts about how it would be moderately irritating to wash the sawdust out of his thinning hair, and about the leftover pasta in his fridge he'd been looking forward to finishing tonight with the alfredo sauce he'd just bought.

The ambulance was quick to arrive, its presence announced with blaring sirens. The sound of feet scuffling on the pavement was the EMTs collecting his friends outside first. He could hear Angela crying, long shrieky sobs that probably meant she was okay, or at least going to make it. He couldn't hear Monica, though, and he closed his eyes against the painful idea that Monica couldn't cry, his head feeling tight.

Latex-clad fingers forced one of his eyes open, shining light like needles into it. Elliott groaned, and EMTs were gathering him up now. He heard a word that sounded like concussion, but most of their speech escaped him. The automatic doors leapt open as the EMTs approached it, and Elliott's head lolled to one side as he tried to find his friends. The same fingers that had opened his eyes straightened his head and said something garbled. He looked again anyway, and his stomach knotted when he thought he saw a long black bag past the body of the EMT that was zipping it up. Then the EMT attending him admonished him again, and he was being loaded up into the ambulance.
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June 2011

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