Bright rainbow streaks caught her attention on one of the bakery racks and she picked up a clear plastic clamshell container to look inside. It held sandwich cookies filled with at least an inch of chocolate chip cream and nearly as thick a layer of frosting rainbow on top. Nikki's stomach twisted as memory slammed down on her. Trips to Rick's Bakery with Dr. Holwood to buy a birthday cake for Doria, or taking new foster brothers and sisters to Rick's, and seeing the same cookies in the display case. There was so much sweetness in one cookie sandwich, it always made her teeth hurt. Nikki thought if she took one mouthful right now, she wouldn't even be able to swallow.
She hurried out of the day-old section and just wandered blindly. She let traffic direct her path, avoiding knots of other shopping carts, not really thinking of anything and glad of it. When she got caught between two knots of people, the only escape route was to scrap along the metal railing of an open freezer bin. She looked in and down. It took her a few seconds staring through the collected frost and the plastic bag before the features leaped out at her. Was that… a sheep's head? She looked up at the rest of the display case. All sorts of meat, everywhere she looked -- bison, rattlesnake, venison, alligator, and the heads of pigs and calves and sheep. Shuddering, Nikki edged her way past the knot of people and didn't even think of apologizing when her cart scraped theirs.
A warm, strong hand caught hold of her wrist before Nikki recognized the voice. She blinked away tears as she turned and looked into Joan's face."Hey, what's wrong?" Joan slid an arm around her shoulders. "Margie? Help?"