As promised, here is part 2 of “The Gray Grocer”. You may find part one here. Tune in next week for the conclusion of this story. Phil stood still for just a moment, thinking about the person that leg and boot might belong to. He shrugged, his mind whirling, and turned to go get the mop. That is when he heard the strange shriek of some type of animal or animals coming from the aisle he was planning to mop.
“That’s it,” he grumbled and darted over to aisle 8 and saw Mr. Greg, his grey shirt exposing his rotund belly as he lay motionless on the polished floor.
Silence reigned. No sign of any other soul save Mr. Greg, and some creeping coldness rose up and brushed eerily against the skin of Phil’s back and neck. He shivered involuntarily and shuffled his feet closer to notice that Mr. Greg lay in a red, syrupy fluid that was pooling around out from under his body along with several bottles of mayonnaise, Griffin’s pancake syrup and juices. Phil did not want to get any closer, but he was sure that whoever attacked Mr. Greg would be after him next. He began to wonder if all the checkers had gone home as well. He listened closely for voices and his ears found one, a soft mumbling, coming from behind him.
He spun to see a man standing fifty feet behind him near the discarded meat packages, one of them in his greasy hand, two dark eyes staring out from his dirty, hairy face like the headlights on an old ’57 Buick. He wore a browned and tattered trench coat, some old pants and a gray scarf that someone who cared about him once knitted together but now it was frayed and damaged by misuse. The old guy opened his mouth to reveal teeth that looked like he had been gnawing on a lead pipe, a string of drool fell out, and he mumbled something in a language that Phil did not know or did not want to know.
Phil bolted, running in the other direction down aisle 8, but slipped in the fluid that seemed to be leaking from Mr. Greg and fell face first into the floor, and just as he faded in and out of consciousness, found himself lying face to face looking at the frowning mouth of Mr. Gregg.
And that is when his boss’s eyes flicked open.