The Lock-Down

Chapter 2

The Lock-Down

I made small talk. I never make small talk but these are extraordinary times. It all began to unravel after the Old Lady collected her parcel. I passed her on the way out and she smiled that wrinkly nanny smile that only the old and wise can pull off, smug and humble all at the same time.

“I’m glad you got your parcel,” I smile, trying not to show too many teeth.

She’s pushing a shopping trolley. Not the usual designer fashion accessory The Parent embarrassingly resorts to on occasion. Oh, no. This is a four wheeler metal encased monstrosity. It was built to go off road in every sale and conquer any queue. It clearly worked because the long thin box was popped in with no trouble at all. Now as handbags go, that takes some beating. I ponder the definition of handbag and wonder if the wheeled variety truly qualifies. The Parent would advise me not to be ageist. If Old Lady is no longer able to carry her bag, she should be able to wheel it alone. She pats the top of it.

“Got my handle, dearie. It’s all I needed. Too old to carry stuff around anymore. Bessie… she sees me right! What are you here for?”

I explain. No idea why I decided to tell her. Maybe it was the way she smiled or the twinkle in her eyes. It was as if she knew too. Yes, she knew. Knew and had a plan, I’ll bet. Nannies are tricky like that. They wander around, all unassuming and cute and then Bam! They hit you with “Oh, you’re wearing that today are you?” Fiends!

“Birds don’t eat other birds,” Axe interrupted.

“That’s not strictly true now, is it? What about birds of prey?” Gnome shirt informed, shortly followed by “What is he doing?”

Trying to describe the scene will take some time. Mostly because Axe was too busy throwing up and Gnome was screaming. I will try my best under there trying circumstances. Counter guy was eating his manager. I’ll say it again, only louder in case it lacked impact the first time. COUNTER GUY WAS EATING HIS MANAGER. To be more specific, there was a loud thump as he repeatedly hit the skinny man’s head against the counter until it exploded, oozing grey matter across the lino floor. Then he scooped the brains up in his steady hands and crammed as much into his mouth as he could, growling and salivating.

He looked up.

“You guys want any of this?”

We head for the door on masse only to find that the street outside has erupted into what can only be described as zombie fuelled carnage. A few make it across the road before the hoard sweeps them up without even pausing. Then the hapless queue-mates who tried to break free are attacked by the birds waiting for them on the other side of the road. We head back in to find Counter Guy finishing his meal. The look he gave us left us in no doubt we would be next.

“Oh, dear, not again!” sighs Old Lady, who I feel should be renamed as Nanny Hat.

You see, she’s wearing a blue and white striped beanie hat and a scarf to match her otherwise quiet local pride. I’ll be she’s been to every game. That occupies me for a moment before I remember she said, “Not again?”

“Wait? What?” I ask but she simply winks at me.

She reaches into her trolley and Bessie produces the long box. Nanny Hat tears it open deftly and out slides a long wooden handle. She rummages in Bessie as Counter Guy is licking his fingers,

“Ah, there you are!”

With a hefty final pull, she wrangles an axe head out of the trolley, slips it onto the handle and bangs in twice on the floor to ensure it was securely in place. Swinging the axe over her head with skinny arms, she charges at the Counter Guy. How is she even able to hold it up? We stand and watch in fascinated horror as she hacks at him with sure swings that suggest she has indeed done this before. Not a single drop of blood manages to touch her. It’s everywhere else. Axe is still throwing up. How can one man contain so much sick? If I was of the squeamish kind, I’d be in trouble. Thankfully, I am not.

“We’ll need to go deeper in,” Nanny Hat advises, wiping the blade with her embroidered hankie. ”Wait it out.”

Deeper into a Post Office? I am horrified and excited at the same time. The territory behind the Counter is sacrosanct and not for mere mortals to enter. Therein lies madness and besides, that is where the body goo is and these shoes are my favourites. That might not be a problem for some people but it is for me.

I am so busy considering where I could find replacement shoes in case body goo ruins my only present pair that it takes me a second to process that somebody is speaking.

“Shouldn’t we call someone?” Gnome Shirt asks.

As if on cue (not the long boring kind, the short one that often leads to interesting plot expansion), a police siren draws us back to the window. We watch the car attempt to hurtle past pursued by a mob of slavering undead and decide that probably, The Authorities will have enough to do. It mounts the roundabout at the end and takes to the air, briefly, soaring over the heads of the crowd on the High Street. A flock of angry seagulls bombard it as it lands.

“It’ll burn itself out in a day or so,” Nanny Hat advises, “It never lasts.”

How does she know that? More importantly, if something like this has occurred before, why is everyone else so unprepared.

As we head through the door marked Staff Only (a door that has long tantalised me with its allure of the unknown, presumably pristine and neatly organised interior sorting office) I resolve myself to Social Up And Ask A Question.

Next Chapter: The First Break-in