Peppermint Daydream

8


On the suburbs of Wisconsin, a large yellow semi truck drove up to the back of a forgotten Toys R Us. The owner of the store, Darrel Fleming, stepped out into the cold, watching as it slowly backed up, followed by its driver stepping out.

"Hey there." Darrel scratched the back of his neck. "I didn't know a shipment was coming in today."

The driver turned around, and for a second, Darrel saw an unnaturally tall figure with long, lanky arms which—

He took a moment to blink and rub the sleep out of his eyes before looking back up to the diver, only to see that they were just a normal, black-haired man. They smiled. "Excess shipment from the city! You know how it is, corporate's always makin' mistakes nowadays. So they told me to drop it here! Nice place you got, very calm."

"Ah. Hmm, they really should've called me… Can I see—"

A sudden strange peppermint smell filled his nostrils as the man grinned once more.

"Uh… Bah, whatever. Bring it in."


Later that day, Darrel rubbed their head as they pushed a cart through the Nerf Guns aisle. For some odd reason, the man's peppermint-y scent had lingered. Was he wearing cologne or something? He shrugged, stocking the Nerf Guns onto an empty shelf. At least the products were all fine— no damage or anything. Sure, he might have been a little—

Something cracked under his foot as he stepped back towards the cart.

"Hmm?"

He moved his foot away, revealing a green cracked hard candy.

"Awww, that's a waste!"

But… It was still in it's wrapper.

He knelt down and carefully peeled it off, crinkling the plastic up in his hand before tossing it onto the cart. Bringing the green candy up to his mouth, he tossed it in and crunched down.

And Darrel swallowed the still-wriggling, exoskeleton-less roach.


Finally, after days of not having any customers, Darrel heard the store's door automatically slide open. "Helloooooo, dear customer! What— Huh?" He turned the corner to see a large ox-shaped pinata sitting there on the ground, right in front of the door. "Now how did you get here?"

Darrel approached it, grabbing it by the neck. "We need to get you back on the shelves. Oh, oh! Or maybe you could even be on display! That'd be wonderful!"

Dragging it through the store, he grabbed some rope on his way to the party supplies aisle. Conveniently, a ladder was already there. Darrel quickly tied a slipknot around the pinata's neck, pulling it tightly before climbing up the ladder, hanging it on a hook that was embedded in the ceiling.

"Amazing!" He exclaimed, clapping his hands playfully as he jumped back down onto the floor.

And Darrel walked away from the blue-faced hanging body of an elderly woman.


"You sure this is the place?" Agent Charles turned to his partner, Agent Sienna, who was looking up at the old, dilapidated 'Toys R Us' sign.

"Yep. Amazing Co truck visited here. Must be why it looks so shitty." She unholstered her pistol, stepping forwards. "Lets move in, watch my back."

The store's door slowly peeled open, despite a rust creeping up it. Charles clicked his flashlight on, revealing that the ceiling was full of hanging bodies. Some of them had stickers slapped onto their body parts with advertisements like: '20% off' or 'buy one get one free!'

"Jesus…" He muttered. "Looks like… Twelve of 'em. Dammit…"

In the back of the store, something metal clanged against the ground, followed by an echoing voice. It was strangely cheerful as it spoke: "I told you. I don't need any more pinatas."

The voice grew louder as it approached.

"I've got too many. But I don't think they should go to waste, so…"

A man came rushing out of the shadows, wielding a metal baseball bat, which he swung—

Bang.

He fell to the ground, a bullet in his head.

"Fuck." Sienna muttered, holstering her pistol and grabbing her radio instead. "I've gotta call this in. Sweep the store, make sure there's no other crazies here."

"Can do," Charles said as Sienna walked out of the store.

He looked down at the body, taking a step back from the pooling puddle of blood.

And a light headache began to pound as a peppermint-y smell wafted into his nose.

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