Dust and Shopper's Rewards
rating: +51+x

In a time before time, when the tree of knowledge was planted and the Darkness Below was born, the creature that became the Scarlet King devoured his brothers and sisters, growing strong on the taste of betrayal.

But he had eaten them all ages ago, so whenever Khahrahk was actually hungry, he had to swing by Walmart.

Khahrahk squeezed himself through the door, grabbing a cart with one hand as he tried to decipher the shopping list A'tivik had written with the other. Who used cursive nowadays?

"Hello, welcome to Walmart!" The mewling, pathetic human in the blue vest said as he walked up to Khahrahk. "Is this your first time visiting us?"

"I will devour your sons and daughters as you watch," he said contemptuously. "I have been here many times."

The human nodded. "Alright. Well my name is Mark, don't be afraid to grab me or one of my fellow employees if you need any help today. We have fifteen percent off all electronics today. Have a great day!"

Khahrahk grumbled as he rolled his cart into the frozen foods section. He hated Walmart, but it was the closest place on earth to the Darkness Below. Why had he not sent Moloch to do this? Or better yet, why had he not turned this world into a rotting, bloody mess yet?

Khahrahk stood in the middle of the aisle, comparing the two jars of peanut butter. Skippy's Delightful Peanut Butter had zero trans-fat and was cheaper, but Chipper Smooth's Peanut Butter Deluxe was gluten free. Was that important? It seemed like everyone these days was worried about watching their gluten.

He decided to go with Skippy's, throwing it in the cart. If they wanted gluten-free peanut butter, they could buy it with their own money.

"Woah, Khahrahk? Is that you?"

Khahrahk turned around to see a man pushing a cart completely full of ████████████. He looked vaguely familiar. Had they met before?

"It's me, O5-1! From the Foundation, remember?"

O5-1, O5-1… "Right!" he said, faking a smile. "Uh, how are you doing? How's the rest of the council?"

"Good, everyone's good. Just securing and containing and protecting anomalies, like usual," O5-1 shrugged. "I'm just picking up some containment supplies, you know, running a bit low. How's hell?"

"It's alright," Khahrahk said. "Armies are slowly getting to the Library, ready to burn it down along with all the Ways and start the apocalypse, so that's something to look forward to."

"Oh, that sounds nice."

"Yeah, should be fun."


The two of them stood there awkwardly for a few moments, both wondering how to end this conversation as soon as possible.

"Well, I should probably get going," O5-1 said, gesturing at the ████████████ in the cart. "Not like it'll set up itself. Uh, I'll tell 231 you said hi."

Khahrahk waved goodbye to the faceless overseer of a grim-faced organization as he wheeled around the corner, cart full of ████████████ squeaking all the while.

He turned his attention back to his shopping list. He had gotten the peanut butter.

Now, what were 'airpods' supposed to be?

After what felt like countless eons trapped inside the worst place on Earth, Khahrahk was finally ready to leave. He spotted an empty checkout lane on the far side of cashiers, speed-walking over to it at the fastest socially acceptable pace.

Just as he was about to reach it, an old woman clutching a pack of batteries seemed to shuffle out of nowhere, taking his justly-earned spot.

Khahrahk stifled a groan. Whatever, it was only a pack of batteries. How long could an old woman take?

"That'll be 5 dollars and sixty cents, ma'm," the teenager droned. The woman pushed up her glasses, squinting at the screen. She looked back at her batteries, then back to the screen.

"He said it was five-"

"I know what he said," she snapped. "This never would've happened in my day. Young people have no respect for their elders these days. It's all that satanic rap music. What happened to when-"

Khahrahk mentally stopped himself from screaming in frustration, as the old woman ranted at him for another eternity. He looked over at the cashier, who seemed to be praying for the sweet release of death.

Forget Procedure 110-Montauk. If the Foundation truly wanted to keep his seventh child imprisoned for all time, they should've made 231-7 a cashier at Walmart. But the Ethics Committee would probably have something to say about that.

The old woman stopped. Finally, she was paying for her batteries. She pulled out her coin purse and placed a penny on the counter. She pulled out another penny and another and another, one by one, stopping occasionally to count it up.

Unholy hell, was she paying entirely in pennies? Five dollars and sixty cents. That was five hundred and sixty pennies.

When Khahrahk got around to slaughtering the pathetic remaining defenders of earth and start the End of Days, he was burning this Walmart to the ground.

Another couple of eternities later, and he was finally done. Now, all Khahrahk needed to do was make a quick exchange at Ikea, and he could finally go home and put the entire day behind him.

If only he could read Swedish. A'nuht wanted a new bookcase, something called a Poäng? Was that even a real word? Maybe the staff would know what she was talking about.

Speaking of which, where was everyone? Sure, it was late, but he hadn't seen anyone since stepping into the store. Khahrahk stepped out of the aisle, looking around. Not a soul in sight.

He gave up, heading back towards the entrance. It was getting late, and he wanted to go home. A'nuht would just have to do with the bookshelf she already had right now. It wasn't like it had to be pretty, it was a bookshelf! All it needed to do was not collapse under its own weight.

Khahrahk jolted back to reality when he noticed there weren't any cashiers at checkout either.

Also, the door was conspicuously absent.

"Huh." He turned around at the sound of footsteps, noticing an Ikea employee. Something about its face seemed off to him, though. Maybe it was the lack of it? Was that normal for retail employees?

"Hey, do you know where the door went? It's getting late, I'm trying to-"

"The store is now closed, please exit the building!" The Ikea employee began to pummel Khahrahk, pathetically flailing away with its odd lump fists.

"That's what I'm doing, I just need directions-"

The employee kept hitting him, not listing to a word he said. "Please exit, the building is closed! The store is closed! Please exit the building! Please exit-"

Khahrahk grabbed the employees head, squishing it like an over-sized grape and then throwing it clear over the aisles, which he just noticed appeared to stretch on for eternity. Great, a pocket dimension.

So he was stuck inside an infinite-sized Ikea with a herd of simpleminded idiotic staff who wouldn't even grant him the courtesy of screaming when he killed them, all the while the groceries in his minivan slowly went bad. Could the day get any worse?

Wait, did he remember to get the ice cream?


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