You need a bag for that?

Kwik Trip 
Marybeth had worked at enough of these things to know she worked at a good convenience store. All the toilets worked and didn't actively smell like pee, and the feeling in the air when it wasn't busy, when it was just her putting expiration date stickers on Rice Krispies at 3am, was simply a little lonely. In a bad store, you felt like you were getting sucked into a sinkhole of despair.

Sometimes, though? Being all alone here in the middle of the night got a little freaky - like, it became hard to differentiate from the endless shelf-life of all the gum and candy bars, the 80's soft-rock hits pulled out of the space-time continuum, and her own artificial existence, all brightly delineated in this island of a building in the middle of the night? Like she could just stamp a sticker on her neck and go chill forever in the cooler among the milks.

Too much alone time, dude.

With a small sigh, she began erecting a rice krispie fortification on the counter.

Cris was a zombie.

She was actually, actually getting pretty good at the dumpster diving thing. But she found the later hours of the night to be safer, which was an unfortunate mix with her daytime shift job.

The result was sleep deprivation, at least on some nights, to a degree where her feet shuffled a little and her eyes took on a glassy, slightly less than functionally human sheen to them.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Jeans and dark t-shirt were her standard dumpster diving attire, plus the trusty backpack slumped over one shoulder. She walked into the fluorescent lighting with an immediate squinting of her eyes.

Need food. Need caffeine. Also need sleep. Only get two of those here, Cris.

Distantly, she felt a familiar pull in her brain space. Something supernatural here. Yes. That was interesting. She was interested. Just.

In a minute, she decided, staring glossily at a selection of premade sandwiches.

From behind her fortifications, Marybeth watched the zombie shuffle her way to the door, triggering the electronic chime on her way to a softly humming display of prepackaged sandwiches. Sleepy customers were the best and least dangerous and Marybeth very much liked them.

That one made her nose itch, though. Weirdly. She wasn't due to feed for another day or two, but the girl was waking her up in a way that meant eat, and which subsequently made her seize up with anxiety. Eating at work was a dumb idea.

DUMB, okay? Please stop salivating Marybeth.

Chicken and hummus.

Was it wise to trust a chicken and hummus sandwich from a fucking pharmacy convenience store thing?

Probably not, but that definitely didn't stop her from reaching a sluggish hand out to grab it, her brain still buzzing for attention regarding that magical power person in this building right the fuck now.

She made to shuffle toward the drinks next, just a little closer, enough that she could tap in as she stared down her options. Would Gatorade give her energy? Were electrolytes anything like caffeine?

Tapping into the power as if it would provide her answers, she relied on the fact that her fingers weren't tingling to maybe tell her that this wasn't a lightning or fire or other exploding type of ability.

After a few seconds of nothing, she decided miserably on a Monster, reaching one hand out to grab it.

Except. Like. Her knuckles met cold refrigerator door glass.

But she couldn't see her hand. It was just. Missing from the elbow down.

Startled in her own stupid sleepy brain, she yelped out a "Motherfucker!" in surprise, her hand reappearing somewhat intermittently as she shook it. Surprise invisibility had this special way of scaring the absolute fucking shit out of her, as if that part of her body was removed instead of out of sight.

Prudently, and on instinct, Marybeth's hand reached out to open the drawer containing the panic button. Nice sleepy girl had been downgraded to "Mentally Ill :(" category, and delectable or not, Marybeth did not mess with anything that added unpredictability on top of the normal human amount.

She was here in the capacity of a convenience store clerk, now. It was her highest responsibility. She observed silently from cashier island, waiting to see if this was more of a Random Outburst thing, in which case the girl could probably manage to do her shopping, or whether the profanity was just the start of a longer show.

The hand did return, as if it had ever actually been gone, and Cris gave a huff.

At least it had woken her up a bit, and as she successfully grabbed a Monster and eventually a bag of spicy Cheetos.

Heading toward the counter and spotting a Maybeth name tag, she felt some weird reminder about a Maybeth.

Nope. A Marybeth. Close. She piled her bad lfke choices on the counter, then casually swiped every penny from the plastic "take a penny, leave a penny" tray with one hand as her other reached for her wallet.

This not being Marybeth's first midnight rodeo, she took the penny theft in stride, delicately moving a Crisped Rice Dessert away from the zone of transactions. Maybe if she breathed through her mouth, it would be a little easier to stand across from this aroma.

"A dollar off two for these," she informed the girl dutifully, scanning in the Cheetos and panting just slightly. She peered at Cris, her head tilting.
"Busy night ahead of you?"

Because, you know, the caffeine-drink. Obviously.

That voice.

Cris knew that voice from her awkward call. Visions of weird bear text messages returned to her. Her eyes narrowed some, discerning.

"S'alright," she said with a hand wave to the offer entirely because it felt like a lot of effort to grab another bag of chips. "Just gotta keep the fuck awake on the way home."

A few seconds of staring at this woman and she couldn't keep her mouth shut.

"Were you looking for an apartment in Cedar Creek a while ago?"

A scrutinizing squint accompanied this question, naturally.

Cussing :(

This stare was going on a long time, until - oh! What! What!!

Marybeth's eyes went very wide.

"Dog murderer." -argh- "No, you-" the nice girl, who needed the roommate, "you're the girl with the rat? I, I, I, I responded? We talked on the phone?" SAY LESS MARYBETH

She remembered the rat, and Cris lit up like a shitty sad Christmas tree.

"Yeah. And so you're a vampire?" she asked, but it was a fact. She knew it. Cris grinned, feeling almost predatory herself. But in a nice way.

This woman was a clusterfuck and Cris could tell immediately.

But in a nice way.

Having made it through an upsettingly bad sentence and gotten a big smile in return, Marybeth was also beaming. They had talked! She was nice! She loved her pets! "Yeah, all of me! Did you find a roommate?"

It felt like finding the treasure you'd buried as a child in your backyard. Marybeth hadn't felt elated like this in AGES.

Of all possible responses, Cris had not expected that one. In fact, she'd expected some kind of stammered denial, or maybe even some compulsion to send her running out of the building.

Instead, it was... polite cheerfulness? Like. Really considerate fucking interest?

Cris was borderline at a loss for how to react to this, and so she just kind of smiled and answered? Though the smile faded as she answered because it was kind of a bummer.

"I did. Annnd now he's leaving," she said. "Not because of me. But."

Life sucked and then you died!

"Did you find a place to live?"

Marybeth nodded along attentively, trying her best, as always, to understand what exactly was going on inside the person across from her. Cris had deflated a bit and she had no idea why. "I have a month to month place for now," she responded with a bashful smile, her weight wobbling from one foot to the other. "Oh, hey, are you okay? You were screaming over by the coolers."

No judgment though! It takes all kinds, cheeto-eater.

"I wasn't screaming," corrected someone who had definitely screamed.

"I was startled because of-"

Cris held her hand out, willing it to disappear as her eyes brightened to blue.

This, naturally, did not occur. Instead it began at her neck, creating what would have been a pretty disturbing floating head illusion if she could see it.

Because she could not, she grunted at what felt like magical power disobedience.

"Well. Last time it hand went invisible and it scared the shit out of me. Invisibility always freaks me out."

"You definitely screamed," Marybeth added cheerfully, and then watched as Cris sort of flexed her hand over the counter and made her neck disappear. Creepy! MB mostly stuck with making her entire self disappear, and so she made a yuck-face at Chris being ghoulish. "Oh, that's off-putting." Suddenly the scream made total sense.

But -

Marybeth pointed a finger at Chris. "You're not a vampire too? Oh, did some vampire trick you," she continued, slightly scandalized, in a tone like she had said, oh, did the dog get into the trash again. Those pesky vampires! Her lips pursed together.

Swearing was not screaming. And even if it could be sometimes, she definitely hadn't screamed then.

Cris barely managed to keep this argument to herself.

Whatever was off-putting indicated she was probably doing something, though glancing down at her own body revealed nothing. It was very hard to see your own neck.

"I copy whatever tricks other people have," she said, and brown bled back into her eyes. Invisibility wasn't her jam. "But I have to be near them, so it's kinda shitty."

"Wow," Marybeth replied quite sincerely, picturing her old vampire friend Dino and his very unimpressive ability to dent aluminum cans. "What was the coolest one you tried?"

That was a question she got from time to time and the answer was never really the same ever.

"Right now I'm, like. Learning from another vampire to do electricity shit. Look up at a light and go-"

Cris looked to... one of several fluorescent lights, focused her gaze on it, and snapped a hand into a fist with a quickness and supernatural ability that caused an immediate explosion of absolutely nothing because that's not how any of this worked.

Her middle finger did go invisible, though!

"Pow. Blow 'em up. Shut down whole power grids and things, but I can't really do that yet."

She sighed. "That's really neat. Invisibility is cool, though, because you can sneak around and spy on people." She beamed on this, begging the question, who was Marybeth bothering to spy on, and why? She dug under the counter for a small bag, nestling inside it the Monster and the bag of Cheetos, as well as several rice krispie bars out of a deep-seated Midwestern need to never let go of a loved one without stuffing them absolutely to the brim with food.

"Are you gonna try to do something with your lightning powers?"

She didn't even blink to the mention of spying. Cris was an adult human being who routinely followed complete strangers for multiple city blocks just to try to sniff them out for magic. If anything, she was jealous.

Her eyes lasered on to the additional items being put into her bag. "Free" was her favorite food group.

"Dunno yet. Since I can only do it when I'm around the lightning chick-" Carmen really wasn't a "chick" type of person and she regretted that wording immediately "I'm sort of at her whim. If I get arrested for blowing something up one day, you can tell everyone you met me one time."

She was smiling about that and maybe shouldn't have been but whatever???

She grinned her chipmunk grin, plunking the bag in front of Cris. "I can tell everyone I sold you Cheetos."

A genuine laugh, two pretty ugly notes, and she took the bag. This woman was disarming in a way very, very different from most vampires Cris had met, many of whom were also disarming.

She couldn't place it, but it had gotten her some free Rice Krispies.

"Thanks for the. Stuff."

A jostle of the bag to indicate Illicit Goods.

"Have fun restocking."

Those were her parting words, or at least intended to be, and they were spoken without any sarcasm. There was no fun in restocking Rice Krispies, and Cris had worked enough shitty jobs to know. But some nights were better than others, and she could hope Marybeth's sucked less than usual.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)