Ye Olde Tyme Dry Goods Market, II

English: Photograph of a cleaver. Deutsch: Fot...

English: Photograph of a cleaver. Deutsch: Fotografie eines Hackbeils (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maria grips Tim’s arm, “Uh…Tim…”  When Tim glances at Maria, he notices that his usually outspoken, brash fiancée is pale and trembling.   Out of the corner of his eye he catches sight of movement.  He pulls his gaze away from Maria’s frightened face and tries to make sense of what he sees.  The old man is now behind the counter, holding a meat cleaver in his right hand, swinging it back and forth.  WHACK!! The old man pulls the meat cleaver back up and brings it whistling down, easily slicing the piece of meat that’s sitting on the old wooden counter.   He quickly pushes that piece of meat to the side and picks up a large hunk of some sort of meat, throws it on the table and begins methodically slicing it.  When he raises his arm to make another cut, blood drips from the razor-sharp edge of the cleaver.

Maria, whimpering, her hand covering her mouth, takes a step back only to be startled by a pair of hands roughly grasping her upper arms.  She spins around, breaking the hold, only to be met by the bottomless dark eyes of the old woman.   Maria moves closer to Tim, not taking her eyes from the older woman.  When she hears the screen door hinges squeal and then the door slam, she breathes a sigh of relief.  Thank goodness someone else is in the store now.  This is just way too creepy.

Tim looks at Maria when he hears the heavy footsteps making their way across the uneven floor.  He shares Maria’s feelings of relief.  He won’t ever admit this to anyone, but over the past few minutes, he believed they had walked into a horror movie, a real-life horror movie.  A dark old building full of squeaks and groans, the strange elderly couple, the meat cleaver, the bloody apron, the weird way the old people could move without making a sound.  The only thing missing was the scary soundtrack.  He chuckles, feeling silly for thinking these old folks would wish to do them harm.  Or even be capable of doing them harm, as old as they are.  Tim shakes his head as he shares a smile with Maria.

Holding hands, Tim and Maria side step around the old woman, anxious to get a glimpse of their rescuer.  When they walk past the end of the aisle, they look toward the front of the store.  Their gazes rake from side to side, not finding anyone else in the store.  They quickly look at one another with looks of disbelief.  And when they hear that same heavy, even tread approaching them from the back of the store, they quickly decide to make a hasty retreat.  As they near the door, it slowly begins inching its way  open, a loud drawn-out squeak hurting their ears. They stop, not sure what to do now, only wanting to get out of this place, to get far away from this town.  As the door opens the rest of the way, Tim thrusts Maria behind him…