Alan Jacob Campbell, the man with the terrible eyes who, unbeknownst to him, is being hunted by dark figures with dark intentions, is in line at the grocery store and trying not to stare. He tries keeping his eyes sternly on the magazine rack by the conveyor belt, but finds them dragged back to the scene before him.

The woman in front of him loads her groceries-- fancy looking items in fancy looking packaging that says things like "Gluten Free" and "Artisanal." Above her head, dark clouds rumble and churn. When she turns to grab something, the cloud's shadow falls over the items. When she turns back to the cart, the shadow moves with her.

"Slide your card, don't insert it," says the clerk, who is the only other person around.

"I wish they'd pick a system," she grumbles.

"Right?" says the clerk. He doesn't notice the shadow that falls over his arm when he hands her the receipt.

She leaves. It's not until she's out the door that both Alan and the clerk realize she's left a bottle of something called kombucha behind.

Without thinking, Alan grabs it and follows her. "Be right back," he calls to the clerk.

Her car is nearby. She stops loading groceries when he approaches.

"Hey, ma'am?"

"Yes?" Above her, the cloud grows darker.

He holds out the bottle. "You forgot this."

For a moment, the clouds become light and bright, as though the sun were peeking from behind them. She takes the bottle. "Oh."

Then the storm returns, more violent than before.

"Well, bye." Somewhat awkwardly, he heads back to the store.

His things are still there, and the clerk rings him up.

"So, she even say thanks?"


The clerk tuts. "Some people."

Alan shrugs.

"Everybody has bad days," he says.


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