Instead, there’s a crazy woman sitting on the floor surrounded by food. Lots of bad food.
“Delilah, is she really talking to someone on the other end of the phone?” Cassie whispers.
“No,” I whisper back just as the the woman notices us.
“You two girls go on and find your momma,” she waves a hand at us and then goes back to talking and eating.
I turn and walk away from the aisle, stunned.
“How do you think she got in here, unhurt?” Cassie asks.
“I don’t know.” I shake my head.
The one adult we’ve found, in all this time, is bug nuts. What the hell? Did all of the good ones die, protecting me and others like me? Crap!
I suddenly feel a lot less sure about adults.
We walk deeper into the store. I don’t know about Cassie, but even seeing that woman on a binge, I’m still hungry. The frozen food is out, and the fresh produce has died long ago. I would really love a peach, a nice juicy ripe one that I could eat over the sink like old times. I sigh.
“Hey,” I turn to Cassie. “If the lights are on, then I bet this place has an employee break room like the department store, one with a microwave. We can have hot food.”
Cassie grins. “Meet you there?”
“Sure. Thanks to crazy lady I don’t think there are any zombies in here – otherwise she’d be long dead – but still be safe, okay?”
She nods and run off. I walk down the aisles, collecting canned food, microwave meals and stuff to cook them in. I also grab soda, napkins and forks, so we can eat like civilized people.
It turns out the break room is in between the restrooms and an area full of little lockers. Cassie’s already in there, with a pile of good stuff, but nothing’s in the microwave yet. Hey, I might not know how to really cook yet, but I know for sure how to cook in a microwave. I pour stew into a plastic container, and follow it up with noodles, and that oh-so-pleasant hum starts from the oven.
I sit at one of the tables while Cassie plugs in her PSP to charge, and she starts my phone charging as well. Then we crack open some soda and sports drinks, drinking straight from the bottles. The blue sports drink goes down smoothly, and I remember my dad saying once that if they taste good then you really need it. I go through twenty ounces in under five minutes – I must have really needed it. I sit back and enjoy the air conditioning blasting down on us. I don’t know how that woman found the power, but I sure do appreciate it as I actually feel cool for the first time in hours.
The microwave dings and I put the stew into two bowls, stopping only long enough to take a good long sniff. Ahhh.... Then I drain the water from the noodles, split that into two bowls, and pour a can of tomato sauce over both – good, quick spaghetti. I place a bowl of each in front of Cassie and then set a place for myself.
“Delilah, what’s wrong with that lady?” Cassie asks while we eat.
I shake my head. “She’s cracked. She can’t handle it.”
“Then how did she get here?”
“I’m guessing she has periods of reality, and then periods where she’s gone.”
“Why the food?”
“You’ve never been around people that have been dieting, have you?”
Cassie shakes her head. “My family’s naturally thin.”
“Be glad of it. Don’t ever diet. Now, here’s a question for you – how do we get our stuff back without me getting eaten?”
We spend the night in the back of the SuperMart, and neither the crazy lady nor zombies bug us, or disturb our access to air conditioning and food. I fall asleep so stuffed that my stomach hurts. When we finally settle down somewhere, those are going to be my two top priorities: AC and food.