Otherworldly Convenience Store ☆ One Operation - Chapter 001
Edited with the help of @chocolala❤!
Arc 1 Volume 1 – The World of Chaos.
I’ve been working here for several years now, and I’m a veteran crew who handles day and night shifts and in charge of ordering. I also have the modest title of “leader crew” of this store.
At this convenience store chain, we don’t call the people working here “employees” or “staff”. We call them crews. Like the crews on the ship.
Today I’m working the night shift, so I’m wearing a uniform with vertical stripes. The day shift wears a polo shirt and apron, but this uniform, which is synonymous to the store, is actually only for the night shift.
I arrived at the shop ten minutes before work time. I changed my uniform in the back room, entered my attendance at the shop computer, washed my hands, disinfected them with alcohol, and greeted the two high school girls who worked shifts before me.
“Good morning. Saori-san.”
The greeting at work is always “Good morning,” be it morning or evening.
I replenished the chopsticks, spoons, forks, straws, and other items that could be replenished, as well as the cigarette shelves. The two high school girls were doing a great job on the evening shift. They cleaned the toilets and restocked the reach-in refrigerator 1 perfectly.
I am very happy to see that they are quite capable. Then I rearranged the merchandises that were cluttered on the shelves.
The shelves in convenience stores are often disrupted by customers. This is largely due to the “first in, first out” system being used during stocking.
This means, the newer items that have just arrived are put in the back of the shelf, and old items are rearranged to be in front of the newer items, but some customers already know this, so customers who want new items forcefully take them out from the back of the shelf. As a result, the display is disorganized and the shelves look like they have been ransacked.
While thinking how wasted time it was for me to rearrange all these, it was already 8pm.
“You can go home now. Thank you for your hard work.”
“Yes, see you tomorrow!”
“Thank you for your hard work. Saori-san.”
The shift consists of two people at a time. The other one is running late, but I’m sure she’ll be here soon. I let the underage high school girls return home on time. I can hear their young voices chuckling in the back room. I want to say that I used to be a high school girl too, but that was many years ago, and now I am in my mid-twenties, I realized that I had reached an age where I felt a little jealous of their youth.
“Thank you for your hard work!”
After changing clothes, the girl came to the cashier, greeted each other again, and they went home together.
Just then, customers stopped coming, and I was the only person in the store. The other person still hasn’t come. There was no word that she would be late.
It’s a little scary being alone in the store at night. At times like these, I decide to stay inside the counter according to the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
I suddenly felt dizzy and fell to my knees on the floor when I crossed the partition between the store and the counter.
“What? … Anemia?”
My head spun and my eyes rolled. I didn’t know which was up or down, so I ended up lying down on the floor.
“Oh, no! Just when there’s nobody around.”
I closed my eyes and stayed still for a while. The store itself seemed to be shaking. I felt like the world was spinning.
When I calmed down a little, I managed to stand up, holding on to the counter like I was grasping on to it.
Something had changed in the atmosphere. Very quiet. I couldn’t even hear the music playing in the store. I feel like the atmosphere has also changed. I moved around the counter to the store entrance and looked outside.
The things out there…
Just what is out there…
“Where am I!?”
All around the store was an unfamiliar scenery to me.
It should’ve been nighttime until now, but it was daytime now, with its bright light. The entire area had turned into grassland. At first glance, the grass and flowers swaying in the wind seemed peaceful, but my heart was in a state of panic. I can’t move for a while.
I don’t know how long I stayed like that. Maybe an hour? Or two hours? I was only frozen in place. Finally, I started to move and fearfully made my way to the store door.
When I opened the door, fresh air flowed in. I took a step out the door … And I could actually go out there. I took two or three more steps, and when I was completely outside the store, I suddenly felt uneasy.
I quickly returned to the shop and took cover inside the counter. I don’t feel like I should go outside the store. I was as if I couldn’t go back.
“What should I do…”
I managed to calm myself down, remembering the phone set in the store, and jumped on it.
—I couldn’t get through.
But then I noticed that the lights in the store were on. Refrigerator and freezer work as usual. Even the water pipes have flowing water. Outside was a field of grass. Where does this electricity come from? Where does the water come from?
Calm down. Calm down, me.
Think about it. Think about it.
There’s something flickering in the corner of my mind for a while now. ‘No way’, pushing the thought behind my mind.
But no matter how I think about it, I can’t even imagine the possibility of such a situation.
No way, no way!
The word comes to mind, flickering.
Think more! Is there nothing else? Is there any other possibilities?
I can’t stop the word from coming to the surface. I don’t want to admit it.
When I looked outside again, it was still the same grassland.
Just as the words were about to come out of my mouth, something jumped into my sight.
It was a green humanoid monster that had appeared outside the store, not far away.
It looked like something out of a standard fantasy novel. I’ve seen it in novels and anime, and I know what it is.
“Go, goblin …?”
What I was denying before came to my mind.
This place… this place is!
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