Karla had just been putting a tin of beans in her basket when she looked up and saw the solider with a sub-machine gun standing in front of her. You didn’t often see armed men on the tinned goods aisle.
He winked at her and put his finger to his mouth. She smiled at him, he was a bit of a hunk.
“What's going on?” She whispered.
“Don't worry, you'll be fine.”
“This is a customer announcement, will all customers please leave their trolleys and baskets where they are, and go to the frozen goods aisle, that's aisle 7. All customers please go to the frozen goods aisle.”
She bent down and put her basket on the floor and then headed to aisle 7, where about twenty five to thirty customers were standing looking confused. It ws cold in that frozen goods aisle.
“What's going on?” Karla asked one woman who just shrugged back at her.
“Don't worry,” Karla said echoing the soldier’s words, “we’ll be fine."
There were soldiers at each end of the aisle now, six of them, plus three walking up and down. Each had their own gun. Karla looked at their uniforms, they were all slightly different and there was no insignia.
This was odd.
“Stand in a line up against the freezers,” the ugly man shouted. The confused customers did as they were told.
“Time to go home,” he said.
He walked down the aisle, looking at all the faces.
“You! Scum,” he shouter, and pulled out a woman wearing a hijab.
“Pig,” he grunted and pulled out a man in a turban.
“Filth,” he said, as another brown skinned woman was targeted. “Take them away,” the fat man cried and the three frightened customers were led away by one of the soldiers.
“Now,” said the ugly man, “let's see. You,” he pointed to a young man. “Where are you from?”
“Cardiff,” the man said.
“You,” ugly pointed to Karla.
“Barry,” she said.
“Speak up woman,” he shouted
“Barry,” she said again.
“You,” he pointed to an man in his forties,
“Prague,” the man said. Ugly slapped him and pulled him out of the line.
“You,” he pointed to the woman Karla had reassured moments before.
“Cardiff,” she said, but her accent betrayed.
“I said from, not where do you live, or do you not understand English, you piece of foreign shit.”
“Poland,” the woman said.
The man spat on the floor, his gob landing just a centimetre away from the woman's foot.
He pulled her into the aisle ready to be taken away. He pulled out three more people and then signalled one of his mean to take them all.
“Take me too,” Karla said.