The other day I dropped off TG at cheer practice, and instead of going to the Y for a Zumba class, which had become my custom, I decided to go to the nearest mall – Chesterfield Mall.
That was the creepiest decision I’ve made in a long time.
I knew the mall wasn’t that popular anymore, but I wasn’t prepared for the vast empty parking lots outside of the illuminated building. I called my brother-in-law before walking into the building, and he warned me not to get jumped on my way in. I responded that I was so close to the door that my chances of survival were pretty good.
And thus began my adventure fit for a Syfy channel made-for-television movie.
As I walked past the few mall walkers – either couples holding hands or artists carrying a disturbing array of equipment – I looked into the either totally empty spaces where stores once had thrived or at stores that were filled but not open, waiting for the weekend to greet customers.
In one empty storefront I saw a backlit installment of life-sized bronze statues of kids at play. They carried something that looked like torches. Let that sink in for a moment. Then I turned a corner and nearly ran into a life-sized Darth Vader cut-out.
I thought – the only thing that would make this visit to the mall any creepier would be if the empty carousel looming in the middle of the mall started moving in slow motion with rickety music and no children
After getting my eyebrows done at the only store with booming business – I had to wait 10 minutes – I saw the circling lights of the carousel and thought, dear God, it has begun.
I was expecting the Zombi apocalypse as I walked down the long, empty corridor to the restroom. What I found instead of the walking dead, however, was one of the cleanest water fountains I’ve ever seen. I tend to avoid water fountains, as they are petri dishes of unimaginable foulness, but I drank from this one. Somebody needed to; it clearly didn’t get much use.
My last stop was the lone open department store, which was where I entered, and I promptly lost my way. My only touchstone was a pair of pink men’s gators dress shoes I had noted as I entered the mall.
I smiled when I saw the shoes and exited the mall. It seemed a fitting conclusion to my adventure.