Having been bested by Thee Chaotician, the old woman at the top of the aisle shouted out a command in rebellion, "Ratty, go and show that scope-eyed girl your claws."
Ratty only continued dancing to the store music in a goofy manner.
"Stupid girl." The woman atop the aisle sneered. Then she turned her back revealing the brunt of her high collar made up of variously-colored ribs, "Come Manchester, lets leave.. Now!"
Manchester made a motion for her to stop, "Wait Mona!"
As Mona walked down the aisle division, pieces of her began disintegrating into the air. She turned into dust until nobody could see a trace of her but a white strand of her hair which mimicked a bird shape for a second before floating to the floor.
A sudden flash of light hit Lacie and she found herself in a vacant black and white aisle. The floor was all covered with wet, multi-colored paint stretching down the aisle-way, but this was the only color. The paint read in large letters, "Oh that wall has nothing behind it, but we keep jumping to see if there's something more, trying to break the fear don."
'Don?' Lacie thought. 'Did someone forget to put in the letter W?'
Lacie looked up to see the gray monochrome sign in front of her said 'Aisle 9.'
Pieces of burning paper with flew around, the writing on the paper all alien. The floor broke up into disfigured humanoid figures on either side of the aisle. The figures broke up the multicolored letters on the floor, which then dripped off of the floor tiles that made up their bodies. Lacie was frozen in fear, but noticed tiny golden ovals on some of the monsters.
"Where is all the color to everything?" Lacie asked faintly, as though expecting someone invisible, like the former old woman's voice she had heard, to answer her.
The creatures rattled and stumbled towards her while the blazing writings gathered around her in a thick swirl. Lacie shielded her face from the papers and got a glimpse of some trailing violet blur from above the aisle with what looked like red and white running shoes underneath of it.
Behind Lacie, there was a chocolate-frosted, marble cake contained in glass which fell upside-down from a hole in the ceiling. The glass container the cake was in shattered in front of the figures behind her, and she turned to look at the desert. Completely surrounded by monsters made from the floor, Lacie put her long lenses back on in some instinctive attempt to get back to where she was, and save herself from the madness of aisle 9.
Lacie then found herself back in the refrigerated aisle with the strange lenses feeling like they were grafted or glued to her face again. She was relieved to see Syll and Victor who looked as if they didn't know she had left. Ratty still danced away to the music coming from the store with the pink newsgirl hat atop her head. The strange shadows that had surrounded Ratty were now gone and she seem completely possessed by the newsgirl hat.
As though Lacie had never disappeared, the man with ghostly copies on each side of him made his plea, "She wandered to the East following a flock in her head.. no chirping. I couldn't follow, she went through an aisle of mirrors, so I couldn't follow."
Victor took a bite of fanciful, apple-shaped cheese, "An aisle of mirrors you say, ghoul?"
The copies merged and Manchester became one defined shape, "Ah, the television was fixed.”
"Television?" Syll and Lacie asked near the same time.
"As I've said before, no time to explain. You'll have to find a nearby sinkhole. This particular sinkhole has a stairway, you just have to land on it. I think there's still a way from there.. to get to the aisle of mirrors."
"Okay." Lacie and Victor replied simultaneously.
A medium-built, dark-skinned young man in Shakespearean clothing appeared at the end of the nearest aisle opening. He yelled at the trio, "Which one of you killed off the first black character!?"
"What the?" Lacie turned around, mumbling to herself.
Victor pulled his cart of cheese close, Syll had her arm wrapped around his other arm with his hand firmly leaning on his cane.
"We have no idea what you are talking about." Syll replied.
"Bullshit. Where is Mr. Greary?" The stranger didn't let up.
A hefty, light-skinned guy appeared in a similar classic-play get-up, sipping on a large soda from across the other end of the aisle. "Cmon Jeffrey, anyone with common sense knows this is an elongated dream sequence."
Jeffrey pointed at the plump young man, "I'm not up to put up with your shit Geoffery. Go back to soldering electronics and watching science-fiction."
"Wonder what'll happen to you." Geoffery almost sneered at his friend like an angry bull that liked chicken wings.
Jeffrey was muted for a second, gawking at the colorful girl who continued to dance as if possessed. "Who's that fine girl dancing?"
Amidst what was now a pulsing house song on the loudspeaker, with the music there echoed a muffled voice, "The sun is coming up in another world. Shut your eyes to see the time."
Lacie heard the loudspeaker and tried shutting her eyes.. or her lenses. She saw some kind of fanciful clock ticking under the darkness of the metal shutters. The twelve on the clock was larger than any of the other numbers and appeared to glow more than the image of the golden timepiece. And the hands of the clock contorted off of its base in a three-dimensional stretch before returning towards the actual time.
“I.. I think I can see the time we have left.. I think.. We should go.” Lacie said quietly after she opened her lenses to Syll and Victor appearing some feet away waiting.
Ratty jumped down and followed the three.
Jeffrey scolded, “Hey wait a minute! Where do you think your all going? Backstage!?”
Manchester waved to Jeffrey from above as he began dissipating into the air like Mona had, “Tweedledurr.”
Jeffrey gave Manchester a death-stare.
“So I guess its just you and I.” Geoffery took in the final contents of his drink leaving an annoying bubbling sound. “Well, I’m leaving. I have work to do for the technacles.”
“What are you doing messing around with them?” Jeffrey groaned.
Geoffery threw his empty soda on the top of the aisle divider and began walking away.
“Hey! ..wait!” Jeffrey tailed, running down the aisle.
* * *
Victor scratched the back of his head with the silver handle of his cane, “Well here’s the nearest sinkhole, the one that Mr. Greary was sucked up into..”
“Yeah..” Lacie looked around. A bunch of kids with blue war-paint on and blue-dripping paintbrushes went running past the end of the aisle to her right, 'Aisle 10,' where a bonfire had been abandoned. A mess of cooking ingredients surrounded the fire where they had been pulled off the shelves sharing space with tired livestock wearing appropriately-sized clothing. The animals were watching a small, black and white television from across them connected to what looked like a white solar panel.
Victor pressed forward.
Syll reached her arm out, “Victor wait. We won’t even be able to get to the stairway if there is one. That technacle will grab us.”
Just then Ratty dashed out from behind the three and went straight up to the sinkhole.
A technacle came up and grabbed the girl, pulling her down past the floor so quickly that her hat flew off her head. But the headgear met with gravity and fell through the sinkhole after her.
Lacie closed and opened her lenses with a quick glance at the clock which pointed to 9:02. “I don’t know if I should waste any time with N’Quevna being crazy at it is, lets just go down.. and hope for the best.”
“Oh shoot." Victor palmed his face in embarrassment as a gunshot rang off casually in the distance. “I’ll stay behind and take care of this cheese. You girls go without me.”
“Oh.." Syll was reluctant but then smiled for some reason, "Alright.”
Lacie and Syll bravely inched towards the sinkhole.