Line of Departure

“This line is not moving,” Marcy complained.

All of the people ahead of her and behind her in line grumbled in agreement. Marcy left work early hoping to get to the toy store and get in line before everyone else, but everyone else had the same idea.

At the front of the line, the store manager stood on top of the counter. “We have plenty of the Rocket Man Deluxe toys left so everyone stay in an orderly line and we’ll make sure you get one,” he said.

Marcy could see the pile of Rocket Man toys behind the counter. Five employees worked the counter, handing out the toys and collecting the “Toy Reserved” tickets, but it was taking too long. Two hours until she needed to board a plane. Her son would be waiting.

She was thinking about pleading her case with the people in front of her when the building started to shake. Toys fell off their shelves and people started yelling. “Remain calm,” the manager yelled. “It’s a minor earthquake.”

While the shaking intensified, a high pitched squeal pierced the air forcing everyone in the building to cover their ears. Over the noise, the manager mouthed something, but no one could hear him. Even if they could, their eyes and their focus were on the roof crumbling above them and being sucked away into the sky.

A dark shadow loomed above the store in the open sky, blocking out the sun and casting them into darkness. Only the emergency lights remained. As Marcy and everyone else in the store turned to run, a translucent wall of orange appeared over the exit, blocking anyone from leaving.
A single point of light shone in the center of the black mass and flashed like a strobe light. Slowly, but steadily, creatures emerged from the light. They descended one by one until the store was filled with feathery monsters with three legs and gnarled hooves.

“Stay calm,” Marcy tried to tell the people around her. “We’ll get through this and… oh no.”

She watched as each monster hopped over the counter to grab a Rocket Man Deluxe. As soon as one of the toys was in one of their claws, the light above blinked and the monster disappeared.

The shoppers around her tried to stop her, but she ran through their hands towards the counter. Only a handful of toys remained and the monsters were eagerly fighting over each other to get to the pile. “Get away from those,” she screamed. The piercing noise masked her words, allowing her to throw an elbow into the back of the head of the nearest creature.

It collapsed before her and she managed to land solid kicks and forceful punches on three others before the light above blinked wildly. In an instant, the noise disappeared, the blockade vanished and the monsters were gone.

She grabbed her toy and ran through the cheering and applauding crowd. “Move! I’ve got a flight to catch,” she said.

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