At Campbell’s Corner Grocery

Blaire tried not to stare at the man who had appeared, nonchalantly, at the till across from hers at Campbell’s Corner Grocery. She wore her favourite orange shorts under the red Campbell’s store apron. “Free Bird” played softly on the radio. Outside, the sun shone intensely. After work she had plans to meet Laverne for dinner. It had been, by Blaire’s current standards, a perfect day. A normal day. 

She tried not to stare at his brown hair, clipped short on the sides, or at his eyes, that sparked almost pleasantly with the same foamy green as the surf. Blaire’s hands moved automatically, bagging groceries for the tired-looking mother with three loud children standing in front of her. But her eyes didn’t see the items going into the brown paper bags, even though she was the one placing them there. They only saw the man. 

Murderer.

Blaire tried not to stare at his groceries, moving by as if in slow motion, inching forward foot-by-foot each time old Josie Montague leaned into the button with her creaky hip to move his items towards the scanner. 

Bananas. 

Yogurt. 

Baby Formula.

Campbell’s Creamy Tomato Soup.

Murderer. 

Blaire tried not to stare at his massive hands, or at his fingers, stained with grime and grease, his fingernails caked with dirt. She tried not to stare as he casually pulled bills from his wallet. She watched old Josie Montague speak to him in her usual friendly way, and shivered. 

Bread. 

Dill Pickles. 

Diapers.

Cranberry Juice.

Murderer.

Still, the man was calm. Relaxed. Normal. A living-breathing human. He smiled at old Josie Montague. He spoke pleasantly and thanked her politely. Blaire had been expecting a monster, but this man had no horns. In any other circumstance, he would’ve been just a man paying for his items; just a man, buying groceries for his wife and supplies for his baby daughter. 

But Blaire did stare. Because the man who had appeared, nonchalantly, at the till across from hers at Campbell’s Corner Grocery was the man who had killed her sister.

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