All In A Flash
It all happened so fast. She’d been minding her business when he passed by her. With a full trolly of groceries and electronics, he acted like everything was okay.
She’d seen him before and knew exactly what he was doing. That’s when everything snapped into place. With adrenaline surging through her body, she looked at him and asked, “Are you gonna pay for that?” What happened next left everyone speechless.
But for 73-year-old Canadian Adeline Mionette, the day was supposed to end differently. She only wanted to restock her kitchen when she visited the local Walmart.
But she’d seen the man steal items before and wondered why no one was stopping him. She never expected to find herself in this position, doing something she promised herself she’d never do.
Adeline had long led a quiet pacifist life. She hated violence with a burning passion, not knowing that she’d soon find herself employing its tenets. Living in Nelson, British Columbia, she’d seen all that life had to offer.
She’d been around when Nelson was nothing but a huddle of houses alongside the Kootenay Lake in the Selkirk Mountains. She’d seen it grow into the breathtaking city it was now. She never thought it would drive her to such dangerous extremes.
The Good Side Of Things
In the seven decades Adeline had spent in Nelson, she’d experienced all the good and the bad the city had to throw her way. She’d always kept a leveled head throughout these experiences, always looking at the good side of things.
But that day, everything would seemingly work to change her view of the world. By the time she’d be leaving her house, she’d take an item she rarely walked around with.
Adeline married when she was in her late twenties. By her sixties, she and her husband Mark had five kids, each of which was an adult and had moved away from the mother nest.
As a mom, Adeline was proud of what she’d achieved. Raising proper individuals who perfectly integrate into society is difficult, but she’d raised five. That day would show her that some people could have used stern parenting.
The week the incident occurred was unlike any in Adeline’s life. For the first time in seven decades, she heard about an increased city crime rate.
Although Mark was alarmed, wondering if their beautiful city was safe anymore, Adeline saw it as propaganda meant to rile the public. She had no idea that her life would soon be in danger.
The municipality advised locals to walk around in groups and to avoid certain parts of the city. This worked to some extent because muggings and robberies were reduced.
But a different kind of criminal activity was happening right under everyone’s eyes, and it would fall on Adeline to bring it to light. But stepping up would cost her more than she ever expected.
It all started with a needed but harmless visit to the local Walmart. Usually, Adeline would go with two of her best friends to shop. But this week, both friends were out of town, leaving her to make the run by herself.
She hopped into her car and rode into town, hoping to finish everything by the time Mark got home that evening. If only she knew what was about to happen.
An oblivious Adeline filled her cart and got ready to leave. She’d gotten the month’s supply of groceries, which would ensure her next trip here wouldn’t be until four weeks were over.
She pushed her cart to the checkout section while checking her purse for the card. Her mind was so far away when out of the corner of her eyes, she noticed something that made her halt in place.
The man was dressed in all black, from his shoes to his hoodie. He also had a black balaclava, which ensured nothing but his eyes were seen by the public.
Adeline thought his chosen dress was odd, especially given how hot the day was. But she’d never been one to judge people solely on how they dressed. She wasn’t even keeping an eye on the man when it happened.
A Full Cart
The man had filled his cart the same way Adeline had. But unlike hers, his trolley had an assortment of expensive-looking groceries, from fresh vegetables and meats to canned foods and processed snacks. He also had an array of high-end electronics.
Adeline had expected to see him go to check out. Instead, she watched as he pushed the cart straight to the exit, casually leaving without paying anything.
Adeline looked around with her mouth wide open. At first, she thought the man had already paid and was only coming to pick up the items. But the way he carried himself, looking over his shoulder every second, made her wonder if something else was happening here.
She watched as he loaded his car’s backseat with the goods. He didn’t even bother returning the cart to the cart line, only screeched off the parking lot in the most reckless way Adeline had ever seen. But this was only the beginning.
I’ll Be Back
Adeline paid for her goods and left Walmart. But she’d be back soon. Like many store runs, it is usually easy to forget something essential.
For Adeline, it was a few garden tools for Mark. He’d been talking about needing a new shovel for the backyard garden, and Adeline still needed to pick it up. She knew she’d have to make another store visit first thing the following morning.
Adeline woke up early the following day and drove to Walmart. She already knew what she wanted and which aisle she’d find it. So, this run would be quick.
She had no clue that she’d find the same individual she’d seen the other day and that he’d be up to no good again. Regardless, it was a beautiful day, so Adeline hurried to the hypermarket, ready to buy what she needed and return home. But the day would end very differently from how she thought it would.
Adeline reached the hypermarket in record time and hurried inside to get the tools her husband needed. She picked out everything, even throwing in a few fruits so she wouldn’t have to return here anytime soon.
But as she was heading for the checkout section, her sight landed on a familiar figure, this time with a cart filled with top-of-the-line house appliances.
Did He Forget Something Like Her?
Adeline squinted to make sure her eyes weren’t fooling her. She gasped, realizing it was the same man from the previous day.
She remembered how she’d been alarmed that he’d bought all those expensive foodstuffs and electronics. What were the odds that he’d forgotten something just like her? She expected him to go to checkout like here when he took a different route.
The man didn’t even bother to hide what he was doing. He was so fluid and natural with his movements, this time not bothering to look over his shoulder.
He walked out of the store with a cart brimming with house appliances and headed straight to his car. By this point, a baffled Adeline stared around, wondering if she was the only one witnessing this absurdity. She was.
She went to the check out as she’d done earlier and paid for her goods. With everything set, she drove home, ready to start preparing lunch.
The day went on quietly, and Adeline even forgot about the man at the store. But at about 3 PM, she realized she needed to make another store run. She grunted in frustration, not knowing the world was trying to tell her something.
Adeline drove to Walmart for the third time that week. But she carried a bag she’d rarely left home with this time. This one had something special in it, something meant to protect her if ever someone was out to harm her.
She hadn’t planned on taking the bag, only reached for it because it was the closest thing around. She’d be glad she did so soon enough.
It’s Him, Again
Adeline walked into the store with her bag in tow to pick out the item she needed. Since she’d already done the month’s shopping, she only needed to pick a few things, none of which required a cart.
Adeline hurried down the aisles, taking what she needed. But as she made her way back to the checkout area, who else did she spy but the man in the black clothes and balaclava?
She Sees It
Each of the times Adeline had seen the man, he’d been walking out of the store with a full cart. She was curious to know if he’d paid for the items or if he was stealing.
But as she watched him this afternoon, she realized what was truly going on. She looked around quickly, needing to find an employee to report the matter to.
Asking For Help
In less than a minute, Adeline found a Walmart employee, quickly explaining what she’d just witnessed. It seems the man dressed in black was shoplifting and had been doing so all week.
The employee hurried to look at the camera feed with Adeline quickly after her. She agreed that there was something sinister about the man and promised Adeline she’d alert security. But her words wouldn’t amount to anything.
I’m Doing My Part
Knowing she’d done her part, Adeline walked to the checkout to pay for her items so she could hurry home. But the man walked into her peripheral view, casually pushing his cart toward the exit.
Like the two times she’d seen him doing this, the man had pulled his balaclava over his face, ensuring the only thing the store camera would get were his dark brown eyes. But that wasn’t the most upsetting part.
Go Big Then Go Home
He’d filled his cart with more groceries and electronics than the first and second times. He seemed to have grown bolder since his last visit because he was also pushing a brand new bike alongside his cart.
Adeline looked around, her heart sinking when she realized no security was in sight. She knew then that it fell on her to right the situation.
With her bag heavy over her shoulder, she walked to the man. “Hey, are you gonna pay for that?” she asked, and the man said, “Yes.” But he kept walking toward the exit.
Adeline decided to intercept him because she was closer to the door than he was. In her mind, stalling the man for a few minutes would have been enough for security to catch up. If only she knew she’d be forced to do something extreme.
Actions Have Consequences
The man didn’t halt even when Adeline stopped at the door. Instead, he hit her with his full cart, nearly toppling her. He chuckled, calling her a slur as she struggled to steady herself.
And that’s when it happened. Something snapped inside Adeline, spewing hot adrenaline into her veins as her heart thundered. With her hand reaching into her bag, she lunged at the man.
“You coward, show your face to the camera,” Adeline screeched as she pushed the man against the transparent door. She let go of the item in her bag, snatching the balaclava off the man’s face instead.
The man, who had one of his hands on the cart and the other on the bike, was caught off guard. He looked around frantically, knowing he was caught. But in a flash, he squared his shoulders and stepped toward Adeline.
Adeline watched the man transform from prey into a predator. His face contorted with anger, his eyes narrowing. He spat to the side with balled fists, stepping toward her.
She fumbled with her bag, easing back with every excruciating second. She’d gotten herself into this deadly mess. She’d be the only one to get herself out.
Reaching For It
“You’re not getting away with this,” Adeline sneered. The fear bubbling through her was quickly evaporating. Her hand grasped the item she’d been searching for inside her bag.
It was cold, its texture rough against her fingertips. She held it firmly, her heart pounding in her ears. She’d never done this before. But she wouldn’t back down if this man was out to hurt her.
The man charged, and Adeline steadied her footing. It was now or never. She closed her eyes, turning her face away.
A loud bang ripped the air before her, vibrating throughout the store. Glass shattered, and the man groaned. Adeline opened her eyes, her paper spray can tight in her grasp. A security guard had tackled the man through the store’s doors.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.