Tap your heels together three times - or here - to go home.

Piggly Wiggly

Luke Skywalker (no relation) sprinted around the corner, the homicidal mob not far behind.

If the doors are open I'm home free, he thought. If not, well, better to not think about 'if not.'

The doors weren't open. In fact, Luke came to an abrupt halt about halfway down the aisle when five people appeared in front of the door.

Luke looked behind him and saw the mob rounding the corner. When they saw him trapped they slowed, then stopped.

Crap, thought Luke. I'm gonna die in the pet food and party supplies aisle of a Piggly Wiggly.

"Grab him," the leader of the mob snarled. Her name was Patty Olaffsonn. Up until an hour ago she had been the cashier in charge of helping people check out at the self-service stations. Now? She was the cult leader in charge of helping people check out...permanently.

A lot had happened in the last hour.

Luke tried catching his breath. He hadn't had to run like that since high school gym class two decades ago. He put his hands on his knees and asked, between gasps, "Why is it," he huffed, "that every time you need a human sacrifice," he puffed, "you choose an unbeliever?"

"Unbeliever," echoed the mob in dull, lifeless voices, slowly raising their right hands in unison to point at Luke.

"Okay, that's creepy," said Luke, putting his hands on top of his head. He vaguely remembered Olympic sprinters doing it at the end of races to increase oxygen flow. Or was he supposed to put his hands on his hips instead?

"Grab him!" yelled Patricia Olaffsonn, sticking with what she knew.

The mob started moving toward Luke...slowly...inexorably.

"Wait!" said Luke, taking his hands off his head and holding them out toward the mob. "I mean, really, wouldn't it be better if the sacrifice was someone who believed instead of an unbeliever?"

"Unbeliever," echoed the mob again, stopping and raising their right hands in unison to point at Luke.

"So creepy," repeated Luke as the mob, once again, started moving toward him. "I mean, if an unbeliever-"

"Unbeliever," echoed the mob again, stopping and raising their right hands in unison to point at Luke.

"Sorry!" said Luke, as the mob started moving again, "I mean, a nonbeliever-"

"Nonbeliever," echoed the mob, again stopping and raising their right hands in unison to point at Luke.

"For gosh sake," said Luke, as the mob started moving again. "Disbeliever?"

"Disbeliever," echoed the mob, again stopping and raising their right hands in unison to point at Luke.

"Really? Huh," Luke mumbled. The mob started moving forward. "Okay...I mean, if somebody doesn't believe in what you believe in…" and here Luke paused to see if they were going to stop, raise their right hands in unison, and say 'doesn't believe in what we believe in.'

They didn't, so he continued, "Wouldn't it be so much more meaningful a sacrifice to-" he hesitated, "I'm sorry, folks. So embarrassing. I can't remember the name of the eldritch horror you want to sacrifice me to."

"Cthulhu," said Patty.

"Cthulhu," chanted the mob.

"Right! Right. Chtulhu," said Luke. "I mean, sure, you could kill me and drink my blood with these Dixie Cups here," he grabbed a package of Dixie Cups with playful little pink kittens on them from the shelf beside him then shook them at the mob, "but really, what kind of blood is the blood of an unbel...a nonbeli...I mean...a person who doesn't believe what you believe compared to the blood of a believer? Wouldn't it be so much more meaningful to Chtulhu if you sacrificed someone whose blood dripped with rock solid faith in the eldritch horror instead of the weak, diluted blood of someone like me? Wouldn't it be better to sacrifice someone who actually believed in him?"

The mob stared at Luke.

"Her?" tried Luke.

The mob stared.

"It?" asked Luke.

The mob continued to advance when, suddenly, the earth began shaking, a giant tentacle exploding from the floor of Aisle 6, Pet and Party Goods. It waved occultishly then grabbed the Dixie Cups from Luke's hand and gave them to Patty.

"He's right," said the cyclopean voice of the eldritch horror. It sounded like hornets buzzing, snakes hissing, and cockroaches scuttling across a ceramic floor. "I would actually prefer the blood of a believer to that of an unbeliever."

"Unbeliever," echoed the mob, raising their right-

"Stop!" roared Chtuluhu. Windows and lights shattered. Bags of dog food became sentient and trotted away. Lambent shapes appeared out of mist. Half the mob fainted. "That's so annoying."

The conscious half of the mob lowered their hands...in unison.

"As I was saying - give me the blood of a believer," said Chtulhu, his tentacle sinking back into a squamous, unnameable shore, the floor knitting itself back together. "And make it quick. I'm famished."

The mob looked around at each other, unsure of what to do next.

"Well," said Luke. "This doesn't really have anything to do with me now, so I'll be going."

He walked toward the front of the store, past the mob, and grabbed a 3 Musketeers bar by the registers. On his way out, he stopped briefly at the sliding doors to listen to the mob shouting, then screaming, behind him.

"Patty believes more than I ever did-"

"Bob was the one who told me about Cthulhu in the first place-"

"I only started believing ten minutes ago-"

"Not sure I actually believe in him anymore-"

With a big, shit-eating grin, Luke ripped off the candy bar wrapper and began eating the chocolate, nougaty goodness as he walked out into the parking lot, where he was quickly devoured by Nyarlathotep.

"Don't care much who believes in me as long as they're tasty," said Nyarlathotep to himself. "That Chtulhu always was a picky eater."

Nyarlathotep turned away and belched a sepulchral, chthonian belch. "Ewww," he said antediluvianly. "Nougat."

caveat lector