South Of Nowhere

by Aurelia

DISCLAIMER:  This is an original work of fiction. All characters are the property of the author and cannot be used without permission


FEEDBACK:  I’m always open to comments, preferably nice ones, so let me know what you think at:


© October 2017

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It had been one hell of a night. Her sat nav had taken her on a guided tour of the local area with spectacular success but failed at the last hurdle by depositing her nowhere near where she needed to go. It was now 11 p.m. and her trip was wasted. The party would be in full swing and she still didn’t know where she was.

“Hall-o-wee Mart – Best Prices in Town”

Never had Julia been happier in her life than to see that sign. She pulled into the car park and got out of her car. Maybe someone inside could give her directions.

The car park was half full, so the supermarket was well patronized. That could only bode well, right? She grabbed her keys and wallet and locked the door, but the answering beep did little to reassure her.

She approached the large double glass doors and pushed one open to enter. It was, well, a darn side nicer than Walmart at midnight that was for sure. She watched the shoppers wander around gathering their groceries. The standard of dress was comparable, if not a little more on the creepy side. One particular shopper went by with an axe sticking out of the top of his head, blood and grey matter making its way down the side of his cheek and dripping off his chin. Not that it seemed to worry him. He was too busy feeling the oranges.

Julia shook her head. Some people took Halloween way too seriously. She herself was on her way to a party before her sat nav decided to take a holiday. Maybe the company who owned the device had shares in this particular supermarket.

“Ahh, hello there. You look a little lost.” The chirpy voice floated over her vision of a werewolf jumping up onto the lip of the large open refrigerator in the aisle and hovering over the packaged meat.  Julia couldn’t stop looking and had to mentally slap herself to draw her attention away from it.

“Yes, I seem…” Her attention moved to what appeared was a ghost floating through the store. “Wow, some people really put some effort into their costumes, huh?” She pointed at the spirit now hovering above the liquor section.

“Sure do. Pretty clever, eh?” The woman grabbed Julia’s hand and shook it vigorously. “Howdy, my name is Prudence. You’re not from around here, are you? How can I help you?”

“I’m lost.”

“It happens a lot around here.”

Julia had second thoughts about continuing the conversation when a female zombie dragged her way up to the desk, dropping body parts like a second-hand Chevy.

Prudence barely seemed concerned. “Hi Alice.  It’s in the freezer section near aisle 8.”

“Uugghhhh,” Alice replied then turned.

“Hey! You left this behind.” Prudence trotted up to her, picked up a finger off the floor and tucked into her breast pocket. “Don’t give anyone the finger, okay?”

Alice groaned.

“Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. Off you go.” Prudence stood there and watched Alice slowly lumber down the aisle and turn left, like some concerned mother watching her child go to school on her first day.

Julia wondered what dimension she had walked into. The zombie looked pretty real, as did the ghost, werewolf and the guy with the hatchet. They were all costumes, weren’t they?

Prudence sighed happily and turned to regard Julia. “Now. Map.” She detoured to her station and opened the bottom filing cabinet, drawing out a folded map. “Over here!” she called out, leading Julia to the counter of the Deli Section. “Now let’s see….”  Prudence perused the map laid out on the benchtop. 

The sound of footsteps drew her attention away from the map. “Hey! Ronnie! No running!” A spindly youth ran by, followed by a fat young man, his face red with anger.

Hey!” she yelled louder. Prudence turned her attention back to Julia. “Sorry about that. Now where were we…”  Prudence‘s finger lay on a point on the paper. “Here we are. Where did you say you wanted to go?”

Julia dug around in her wallet for the invitation and showed it to her. “Here.”


 Prudence looked up. “Oh oh.” The boy ran by again, this time followed by a hulking bull, its eyes glowing red. “Ronnieeee,” she drawled angrily. “Stay here,” she said to Julia.

“Sure, no problem.” There was no way Julia would stick her neck out on the other side of the deli counter with all the chaos going on. She liked her head right where it was.


Prudence ran to a large box fixed on the wall and opened it. She rummaged around and drew out a large syringe. The boy ran by again, barely two steps in front of the rampaging bull. Vaulting over the counter, Prudence put herself in the way of the animal. “Ronn…” She barely got one syllable out when the beast turned its interest on her. “Oh, shiiiitttttt.” She took off down the aisle, running as fast as she could before she became a smear on the floor. “Now, calm down.” She yelled over her shoulder, but he had no intention of calming down, leaving Prudence no choice but to clamber up the shelves and let him charge by. “Ronnie! You get back here!”

The bull slid to a stop and turned around, lining himself up to collect the shelves… and her.

“Are you all right?” Julia called. It was a stupid comment, especially with Prudence hanging on to dear life from the top shelf of Pepto Bismol and a bull about to collide with the fixture. 

“No!” Prudence launched herself onto Ronnie’s back and plunged the needle into his flank. Immediately he flung her off, sending her into the shelves of toilet paper. It was a small mercy for the partially soft landing, and no broken glass, but the shelving was unforgiving. It was turning out to be a tough night.


Julia watched Prudence race down the aisle, closely followed by the bull. She wasn’t even going to begin to wonder where that come from. Prudence disappeared around the corner. The bull slipped as his feet tried to get purchase on the linoleum floor and ended up slamming into the display at the end of the aisle. He quickly recovered and continued the chase.

Julia lost sight of them both. A moment later Prudence appeared on the top of the shelves, looking ready to pounce. She flew off the top and there was a scuffle before a big bang. Twelve-pack toilet tissue flew into the air like confetti. Then there was silence, at least from aisle 2. She wanted to see what was happening but there was no way she would leave her haven behind the deli counter.

While she contemplated what to do next, Julia checked out the items on display in the deli section. There was a variety of ‘items’ that could only be described as gross. Being Halloween she passed them off as jokes. Crickets, flies and cockroaches she expected, but at the far end of the cabinet was something that looked like human fingers. She picked one up and sniffed it. It was a smell she knew she’d never forget, stored away in her memory with the smell of skunk. Placing it back on top of the pile Julia looked around for a cloth to wipe her hand on.

What was it with these people? If she didn’t know better she could very easily come to the conclusion that these ‘people’ were real. Suddenly, she felt the need to leave. To hell with directions.

With that decision, she began to move. Prudence appeared around the corner and walked stiffly toward her. When Prudence reached for her back Julia felt guilty. She couldn’t leave when Prudence had obviously been injured.

“With you in a minute,” Prudence uttered before moving to her desk and lifting a microphone.

“Dennis, clean up on aisle two. Bob, you can pick your brother up off the floor in aisle two.”

Julia was gobsmacked. Prudence had been chased by a bull and she was treating it like an everyday occurrence.

“Where did that thing come from?”

“Err, it sometimes happens. This is a rural area. Animals wander in all the time.”

All the time? Maybe it was a country folk thing…

“I really should get going,” Julia said as she tried to inch her way to the exit.

“But I didn’t show you how to get out of this place.”

“Never mind. I’m sure my sat nav will come good.”

“Sat nav?” Prudence looked genuinely confused. “What’s that?”

“It’s an electronic map. It tells you where to go.”

“Really? Well, hoo-wee!” Prudence exclaimed. “Then I suppose you don’t need this.” She began to fold up the map.

“Yeah…. Right.” Julia was nearly at the door. “Well, thanks anyway.”

“You sure there’s nothing I can do for you?”

“No, no.” Julia held up her hand to stop her. “Everything’s fine. Thanks again.” Julia took that as the end of the conversation and slipped out the door. She couldn’t get out of the place quick enough.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness and she had trouble locating her car. She removed her keys from her pocket and pushed the button. The car beeped at her and flashed its lights. As she walked steadily across the carpark to her car she noticed that the other cars were really old; around the 1970s if she had to guess. Strange. It was like the community was caught in the past. Maybe some of the smaller towns were, content to live in a simpler time.

A few steps from her car Julia heard a scrape then a snuffle. She didn’t look around but quickened her step to get to the car and safety. God, was she going to become someone’s meal? In the safety of the inside Julia finally looked out into the darkness. Not taking any chances, she locked the doors and slipped the key into the ignition.

She looked up and nearly jumped out of her skin. Sitting on the hood was something big and hairy. It reached out a clawed hand and ran a finger down the windscreen, making a sound reminiscent of nails on a chalkboard. Julia shivered. It repeated the motion, its ghostly eyes staring at her, glowing with an inner blue fire.

Julia waited. It seemed content to scratch the glass and she was afraid to make a move that would launch it into an attack. Suddenly it pounced, opening its jaws and roaring at her. Julia screamed then fainted.


Her senses returned and Julia was once again aware of her surroundings. The creature was gone, and so was the supermarket. She put on the headlights but there was no carpark, no cars and no supermarket, only an empty field. The dashboard clock winked at her. 12.02 am.

Did it really happen or was it a dream?

Julia put the car in gear and slowly drove out of the field back to the road. She looked in her rear mirror and saw something perched impudently upright on the rear deck.

Alice had given her the finger.