The manager’s thoughts started to race as soon as he realized that the girl might be a minor. How many terrifying tales of kids in peril of every description had he heard?
However, there were additional accounts of children getting into trouble all across the area. He hoped the child in front of him did not belong to either of those categories. He didn’t know what he was undertaking.
When Hunter learned that he would be promoted to manager at the grocery store, he was filled with pride and a sense of achievement.
He had been with the company for over a year while attempting to care for his family and to finish school. He was only twenty-four years old and felt proud of his achievement. He had no idea what dread and intrigue awaited him at the store.
Throughout Hunter’s life, having a routine has always been the norm. Most mornings he spent with his girlfriend, who was studying to be a nurse, as well as their daughter.
He would go to school around noon, and afterward, he would get to work. He would then return home for a peaceful evening with his lovely family. He believed that everything in life was ideal. But everything would soon change.
Everything changed when an incident occurred out of the blue. As a manager, Hunter inspected everything in the store to ensure it was operating properly.
He had established a path that he followed, making sure to assist anybody in his route, whether they were employees or clients. On one of these outings, he would have his one-in-a-million chance encounter with the girl.
A Good Start
It was a quiet day for Hunter; he spent breakfast with his family and then made his way to classes. He had already reported to work at midday and was prepared to begin his shift.
The morning had been beautiful, but the rest of the day would be a dark, dreary mess. Even though Hunter had never been particularly superstitious, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was going to happen.
Getting Everything Ready
Hunter prepared to begin his inspection of the shop. He verified the day’s agenda before lining it up with his daily routine after having a few amusing back-and-forths with his coworkers.
His rounds began once everything was in place. His patrol had only lasted fifteen minutes when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks.
He Saw Her
A young woman was standing in front of a cashier in one of the breakfast aisles. She seemed out of place, with her head concealed by a hoody and her outfit consisting of faded jeans. But Hunter was aware that he couldn’t evaluate someone just on the basis of their appearance.
He returned to his workplace, which was nearby, to check the day’s recordings. He gasped when he saw what the camera captured.
The girl had been exploring the store for about two hours, according to the video. She eventually stopped in front of the stacks of cereal boxes because she seemed bewildered by everything. She was also scrutinizing her environment as if something were amiss with her.
Hunter walked over to her, hoping she wasn’t trying to start any problems. Although he noted that the girl appeared to be an adult from a distance, she was actually younger. He had to be cautious around her.
He became agitated as soon as he realized the girl was perhaps a minor. It seemed as if he had heard countless horror stories about children who faced all kinds of uncouth danger.
The neighborhood was full of stories of troublemaking kids. It was Hunter’s hope that the kid before him would not fall into either of those categories. There was no way he could have known what he was about to encounter.
Keeping Her Composure
Hunter quickly made his way back to the girl, who was wearing a stuffed satchel that she had swung to one side. She browsed the aisle of cereals with her fingertips and chose one, but she didn’t put it in her cart.
After taking a moment to scan the area, she stopped dead in her tracks when her eyes rested on Hunter. She appeared to regain control as Hunter approached her and put the box of cereal back on the shelf.
The girl stepped away from the shelve, turning around as fast as possible. But Hunter dashed to her before she walked away, asking her to stop.
The girl turned around, looking up at Hunter with interest. He didn’t want to ask her what was in her bag, but he knew he had no choice. If someone acted suspicious in the store, it fell to him to get to the root of it. Maybe they were in danger or the danger themselves.
Checking The Bag
Hunter introduced himself to the girl, asking her to accompany him to his office. He hoped to at least search her bag in private so that the public wouldn’t harass her with cameras and the like.
The girl agreed to the offer, but instead of following Hunter, she opened her bag before him. What he saw inside made his brows furrow. Was it a joke?
What’s In The Backpack?
The girl held her bag up to Hunter. Inside, several tattered textbooks safely shook. There were notebooks and pens as well.
But as Hunter returned the bag, smiling as he was glad the girl wasn’t engaging in any illegal activities, she asked him something that made the alarm in him ring right back up.
“I need help,” the girl said, her voice a whisper as if she wasn’t sure if talking to Hunter was the right thing to do. “What is it?” Hunter asked as he walked the girl away from the aisle. He could see the worry in her eyes.
“It’s my little sister’s birthday today,” the girl said. She’d spent the day at the library but was looking to surprise her sister before evening. She had enough cash for the present.
Turning The Day Around
“What does she like?” Hunter asked. “Chocolate cereal,” the girl said. “I’ve been looking for almost two hours, but everything seems too good to leave behind.” Touched by the girl’s kindness, Hunter pointed her to one of the store’s best cereal brands.
The girl picked a box and hurried to the counter, visibly happy with Hunter’s suggestion. She was surprised when he followed her out of the store, two additional boxes in his arms. “Tell your sister happy birthday for me,” he said.
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.