Mary was just closing shop after a long evening shift, flicked the lights off and was about to walk out of the glass door when she saw a masked person standing on the curb in darkness. She screamed and fell backwards, landing on the cold tile floor. Her heart beating rapidly, she kept staring at the figure and was afraid to move. Do they want money? was the only thought running through her head. She started to slowly inch herself behind a shelf and sat there for a few minutes waiting for her pulse to settle down.
After taking a long breath, she peeked from her hiding place. Empty. Whoever had been there, was now gone. With trembling hands, she looked for her phone and called her friend.
“Sorry to bother you so late, Suzui-san, but could you come and pick me up? I’m at work.”
She didn’t get up behind the shelves before she heard a car drive in front of the shop. She peeked outside again and was relieved to see a familiar red piece of junk of a car waiting for her outside. Mary kept looking over her shoulders nervously when she practically ran towards the car and flung the passenger seat side door open. Suzui gave her a puzzled look.
Too afraid to be taken as a complete lunatic, Mary simply answered. “Yeah, just fine. Thanks for picking me up.”
When they finally got close to Mary’s apartment, she could’ve sworn she saw the masked figure standing on a dark alley across the street. Cold shivers ran through her spine and she quickly turned to Suzui.
“Hey, uuh—Do you see anyone over there, across the street?” Mary asked, not wanting to turn her head.
“What? No. No one there, why?” Suzui said, trying to squint through the window.
“Ah, never mind. Thanks for the ride!” Mary jumped out of the car and took hurried steps towards the door. She had her keys ready and she quickly entered the building. She was glad to see Suzui wait until she was inside before leaving. Still giving a last look to the place where the masked figure had stood, but it was now empty like Suzui had said.
I must be going crazy.
Next night Mary was again preparing to close the shop. The evening had been quiet so far, only a few regular customers had come by to buy cigarettes and Mary had taken a habit of reading all the latest magazines during the shifts, even the ones she was not particularly interested in. She had just finished today’s newspaper, nothing interesting had happened. She remembered they would get a couple of weekly magazines tomorrow and felt a bit excited.
Geez, what am I getting excited about? Ugh… I need to get a life…
She didn’t really enjoy the evening shifts; the small shop was located in an area with a lot of office buildings so evenings were really quiet. She also had to run to catch the last train after each shift, manager had been strict about not closing the shop too early, so she had to wait till the last minute. She had already closed the register, counted the cash, locked everything else except for the front door. She kept eyeing the clock, 2 more minutes to go. She grabbed her bag and walked to the door, ready to dash out when the clock hit 11pm.
Streets were empty, Mary always found this time of the night in this district particularly creepy. It was the lack of bars and restaurants, the ones on the street closed their doors around 9pm. She took another glance at the clock. 10:59.
Ok, I might as well… Shit, you have to be kidding me?!
A black town car with darkened windows just pulled up on the curb. A woman got off from the backseat and walked towards the shop, reached the door with few steps and clutched the door handle. Mary watched the strange sight of a silver haired woman, dressed in expensive looking evening gown open the door and walk into the small shop. The whole sight was very out of place, usual clienteles were people dressed in suits and other formal wear you’d find in an average office anywhere. To Mary, they usually all looked the same, she recognized a few regulars but that was all.
“Oh, my deepest apologies for coming so late, the shop is still open?” The fancy lady asked, looking at the gawking girl in front of her curiously.
“W-what? Yeah, sure.” Mary said. Just make it quick…
Feeling slightly irritated, Mary walked behind the counter to open the register again. Being late from the last train meant she had to walk several blocks to another one that had trains running later. After the events yesterday, she wasn’t very eager to walk home. She kept eyeing the silver-haired lady, now walking through the isles searching for something.
“Uh—Can I help you?” Mary asked, trying not to sound like she was in a hurry someplace else. The silver-haired lady lifted her gaze from the shelves, Mary could only see half of her face but the woman was clearly blushing.
What a strange person… Wonder if she’s looking for some hygiene stuff for ladies, there’s no need to be ashamed, they’re always ashamed… I’m a woman too for crying out loud…
“N-no. I’m fine. Just looking,” the mystery woman said, averting her gaze.
Just looking?! Argh, at this pace, I’ll be home at dawn…
Mary tried to find something to occupy her mind while the woman was slowly going through the shelves. She started to straighten the stuff on the shelves behind the counter.
Ugh, this is useless…
Her idle thoughts were interrupted when she heard quiet sobbing. She turned to see if the silver-haired woman was making the sounds but didn’t see her anywhere.
Wait… Where’d she go?
Mary took a quick few steps towards the isle the woman she last saw the woman go through.
She went through the whole store, isle by isle but found nothing.
Eeeh??? This is creepy.
She checked the back room too to be sure, but the woman was not there either.
The car! She came with a car! That must be outside!
She took half-run steps towards the door. It was a bit difficult to see through the glass door, the lights were still on inside the shop, but it was dark outside. She saw the silhouette of the car, heard an engine roar and focused her eyes to see better. She was squinting through the glass door, doubting her own eyes, but she was quite certain she saw a figure on the backseat, wearing the same white creepy mask as she had seen last night.
GEEZ?!?!?! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!
The blonde jumped and flung backwards, nearly hitting the shelves behind her. The car left, but Mary was still unable to move and kept staring out of the window. After taking a few deep breaths, she shook her head.
I must have seen wrong. I’m really losing it.
She called Suzui again. She was not in a mood for a long walk.