The refrigerated aisle, from Dairy to Horror, was abnormally long-- spanning across the left side of the store, for anyone facing the back of the store (which would then make it the left side, an imperative fact for those who find interest in the basics of geography).
All sorts of assortments littered the shelves, including a wooden shelf.. and piles of cheese. There was a bearded, gruff man who looked a little 'provolonely'; a real 'Monterey Jack' standing in a vat of a cold colby cheese sauce and making new shelves with a hole-ridden saw resembling a slice of swiss. There were various people smoking, drinking, or sleeping on the cheese, absorbing its iconographic powers.
But the travesty of the far-off Meat and Horror sections were much more nerve racking. And this wasn't just because bologne was on sale. It was not Russian dressing dripping from those distant shelves holding what seemed like animal carcasses recent and ancient. Here was a section full of opened pieces of bloody meat and half-visible discs offering dial-up internet-trials running on into a section of people who were sleeping or worse. Red liquid mixed with water and liquor was spread across the floor and sinking into one of three large sink holes in the floor.
Mr. Greary was stroking his chin impressed and dazed upon the selection of eggs in front of him unsure of what to buy. He already had one twelve-egg carton under his arm.
Lacie waved at him frantically, "Mr. Greary! Hey. Its me! Lacie."
Mr. Greary turned his head, "Lacie?.. Lacie!"
Before anything more could be said, a great and green pointed limb rose from the nearest sinkhole which stretched high and upright in front of Mr. Greary. The limb was covered in sections similar to computer motherboards with all sorts of fans, hinges, devices, and valves for the massive intake of caffeinated beverages: a technacle. The technacle had a plethora of artificial eyes, and other more primitive protruding lasers which seemed designated to scan areas, detecting heat sources and really good movies. Where a normal tentacle would have suction cup like holes, the technacle had cupholders.
Victor rose his arms in front of Lacie and Syll, purposefully brushing Syll's breasts. He spoke with an ounce of deviance, "Wait, don't get any closer."
Mr. Greary and his lack of technological giftery was detected immediately by the present technacle-- just like the man in pink had hinted at. The technacle wrapped itself around Greary, and he was nabbed down into the sinkhole screaming.
Lacie felt a surge of fear as she saw Mr. Greary pulled down into the hole not knowing what to do.
Syll pulled Victor's arm away, "Victor.."
Victor dropped his arms and chuckled, "Quite.."
"What the hell are those things?" Lacie asked.
Victor twiddled his adorned, silver cane contemplating the gap before them, "Technological tentacles, media lovers. Technacles. They'll pull you into those terrible sinkholes if you don't bribe them. Then who knows what danger might befall you."
There was a look of sad concern on Syll's face, "I'm sorry about your friend Lacie. Hopefully he should be okay. Or.. err.. I guess that's two friends?"
"Okay.." Lacie retorted. She didn't know if she considered anyone here a 'friend.' She hadn't had someone she would call a 'friend' since before she left for college.
Above Lacie, Syll, and Victor there was a group of three people in mostly Victorian garb standing on the aisle divider. It might've been to Lacie, that they had came out of thin air, but she wasn't sure. The trio was with darker scope-eyes compared to the ones in Lacie's pockets. Tiny skulls were laced around the middle edges of these strangers' mechanical protrusions, though Lacie didn't pick up on it.
Two of the three strangers were women in dresses and corsets, one in mid-twenties with pink and dark brass lenses, the other in her fifties with crimson and dark brass eyepieces.
The male, looking to be in his thirties, was in back, sporting the 1800's garb with (a much straighter) male surgeon's corset, a modern doctor overcoat, and protruding lenses of a dark brass and dark blue. The man was a blur with multiple ghostly instances of him on each side struggling to stay in a solidified center.
The youngest female, some years ahead of Lacie, had garments of underlying black, with thick slashes of orange and red similar to an area of the ceiling above. Shadows crept across her body as if invisible lights or lack thereof rotated around her. The girl's coiled strands of hair shifted from a rooted pink to indigo ends while orange pipe-cleaners zigzagged outwards from her head.
She leaned over slightly scratching at the air like a delusional animal, her open hands revealing sharpened finger-rings like claws, painted in all sorts of colors. Her porcelain face was tilted in disgust and stained at the right side of the chin with dark gray, orange, and purple, which made her look like she had been trying to drink paint.
"Give me that hat or I'll kill you!" The strange girl yelled.
Lacie retreated backwards holding onto the top of newsgirl cap, "This is my hat!"
The blurring man spoke up in a relaxed tone taking speaking turns with his faded clones, "Ratty, don't hurt.. Ratty, don't hurt the poor girl, its her.. poor girl, its her hat.. its hers. Lets, take the cheese.. lets, the cheese."
Victor's eyes narrowed, standing in front of his cart with his arm on the handle in a kind of motherly protection, "Now listen here you ghoul--"
The scope-eyes of the older Victorian woman rotated in and out under bits of her short, scraggly white hair. Her flowing dress was splattered with dark colors; the dress had a long, twisted collar made up of dyed bones. The scent of cinnamon, blood, and rose emanated strongly from her. She stood quietly with a grim face, and a striking, unpleasant presence to offset any charm she might of been capable of.
"Look.. wait." Lacie pulled her hat off with strands of brown hair going off in all directions. She was glad to give the hat away since it hadn't protected her in any way. Lacie held the hat towards Ratty with her voice shaking and her eyes on the razor sharp claws, "I'll give you the hat I just need to ask you a question, please?"
"Go find your own cheese." Victor spoke angrily with his his cane gripped defensively.
Atop the shelving, the older woman laughed snidely and the man in back moaned to himself in the pain of his multiplicity.
Ignoring Victor's words completely, Ratty snatched the hat from Lacie and spit in her face, "No. Bitch!"
Lacie sneered, bolting at Ratty's high-up ankles to trip her. In reaction to Lacie's anger, Victor held her back from her ribs with his cane and Syll followed holding her back from the shoulder. The Japanese lady tensely inquired upon the trio, "This girl needs to find someone, a woman who thinks she's a bird. That's all we need to know, we'll be gone after that."
Ratty placed the pink hat on her head and let out a smug grin of satisfaction. Then her orange eyes widened for a second, her body going into a short stasis, while Lacie wiped the saliva from her face with her sleeve.
Ratty began making gestures with her arms. She started dancing, as if in a behavioral taunt, and one of the pipe cleaners fell out of her hair.
The man and his ghostly copies moaned in echoes, "Ecila.. my Ecila."
Lacie almost forced the question with her voice breaking, "Is that who she is?"
"Tell them nothing." The older woman behind Ratty crackled, pushing the dancing girl to the side and taking a few steps forward. The older woman on the aisle-top then rose up her hand and snapped her fingers
Syll, Lacie, and Victor looked around to see if something had happened. Victor became dumbfounded with horror. His pile of cheese was melting rapidly through the cart, giving off steam as it left a puddle across the multi-colored tiled floor. The old man fell to his knees, the light fixture above him flickering in and out, his cane dropping to the side. He scooped at the assortment of cheeses and plastic all melting together, quickly realizing the heat.
Victor drew back from the pain in his hands, landing on his butt. The witchy woman cackled and snapped her fingers again causing Syll, Lacie, and Victor to go into a deeper panic as they looked around with terror at what this leathery-skinned villain was capable of. This time had backfired though, and the woman found her hand turned into an enlarged cardboard hand.
The black-clad young man who had been some aisles away drinking had retreated from his beach chair. He had pale skin, short black hair, and circular dark glasses with red chaos stars centered on them. He wore a black trenchcoat with red markings on it, military boots, a black shirt and kahkis on rent; and he sported a cane adorned with a bowling-ball sized, silver chaos star atop it-- the tips of the chaos star dipped in red paint.
The twenty-something stranger hung from a bar supporting the ceiling using the top of his cane, somewhat unsure of his idea of being there in the first place.. and trying to remember how he got there.
"Hanging out here.." His booted legs dangled and fear filled his stomach. As he spoke he was noticed immediately, "I pay tribute to my counterparts, the lost boards and pieces from which they host the differences of compassion. It is not me however farce, who outputs separation from which loss is found wholly without parties who would be so dispassioned."
The young man's cane finally slipped from the bar. He dropped like a rock, a black-clad rock, vanishing in midair in a puff of white smoke. Lacie tried to make sense of the young man's words in her head, while Syll went to help Victor up, who was suddenly in a heavy laughing fit.
Syll pulled at Victor's shoulders trying to get him to stand up, "Why are you laughing so hard? What's so funny?"
"That was Thee Chaotician, I know him.. the Chaotician.." Victor laughed hard to himself with a red face, trying to regain composure, "..solves problems that don't exist."
Lacie and the trio on the above aisle stood in wonderment, save Ratty who continued dancing in a varied fashion to tune of the store music, which had changed to synthpop. The lighting around Ratty's form remained unnatural.
"So what does that mean!?" Syll practically yelled in confusion.
The face of the old woman on the top of the aisle division grew more vindictive..
Victor was on his knees, shaking his head as he continued laughing, "We're by the Dairy section!"