Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malls With Zombies Got Especially Bad Cell Phone Reception... 4/23/14

They tried to call out, but you know how it is. For some reason, malls got lousy reception. They don't want you to communicate with the outside world. They want you to stay and stay and stay and stay. Then, when you spend your last dollar, the mall zombies come and get you.  Most people still don't know this. But some do, 'cause you can hear beleaguered mom's threatening their delirious offspring with - You better shut your mouth, you little son-of-a-bitch, or the mall zombie's gonna get you...... What? You think zombies draw the line at fourth graders, or even babies? Well, they don't. Humans don't. Look at the sobbing, little, bare and vulnerable toddlers they scrapped into caustic gas chambers with rakes in the nineteen forties, or the decapitated tiny corpses from another continent two generations later. Bingo, that's it. Earth folks in a nut shell. Zombies just ain't hypocrites. That's all. But sometimes they like to play, like cats with little mousies, or bow-wows with low flying birds.

The three ninth graders huddled right up against the glass waiting for the security guys to come by. They didn't talk, or make a sound, just trembled and breathed real, real quietly. Every so often one of them would slowly turn around and check the point where the exit passage meets the main thoroughfare. But so far, nothing.... Part of a fountain... A Disney Store and the 'abandoned' cottage-like, rabbit hutch where Peter Rabbit, the Easter Bunny used to live.

In her tiniest voice Sophie whispered - They'll be here soon. They have to.... But the security guards, in their shrink-wrapped S.U.V. never came. And for at least three hundred feet beyond, the parking lot was empty. After that, the woods. Sybil thought she smelled something.... a body?... blood?.... a sweet, thick, mildew, sour smell. But she didn't say a word. And Opal just crouched there. Here feet were numb. Her legs were numb. You think she cared? Come on. She just wanted to live. Who the hell needs feet?

But Sophie saw something. The cottage... The rabbit hutch... It was hard to tell in the gloom, yet wasn't that door closed?... Not the front door. Not the sparkly one near the throne, but the smaller one facing them. The one the kids came out from after they got their Peeps. Mall used to give out chocolate. Peeps are cheaper. But the door... the door was open. And not all the way, only part way. That was worse. 

Then, a sound. A car. The security guards were coming. Opal sighed. She exhaled, frosting the glass door before her. Sybil pressed her forehead hard against the cold, clear surface. Tiny orange lights glistened from the far off woods.... a deer family off on a wee hour jaunt. The world was real. There was an 'outside.' The shrink-wrapped S.U.V. pulled up. It stopped. Somebody set the break. They heard it. And three, little ninth grade hearts unclenched as two moonlighting, or retired cops hauled themselves out of the not quite large enough bucket seats, hitched up their pants and sidled over. 

They banged on the glass. The guards saw. One chuckled, as they stepped up onto the sidewalk and approached the door. Sybil went - Yes! Yes! Yes! ... Sophie  laughed with manic glee. Poor, little Opal with her stiff, numb legs stared wide eyed as the first guard put his hand on the door. It was over.... 

Til the second guard looked up over the heads of the squealing, little mall rats. But Sophie caught that and turned . Fifteen yards down the passageway in the shadows, two figures approached.... tall and spare, in long dark greasy raincoats, with stiff, blood-caked hair straight out of Japanese anime and eyes just as orange as those deer.

The guards simply stood there watching , neither startled, nor surprised. But, then again, they'd seen it all before. Some patterns are well established.

And three little not quite rescued mall-girls, down on the faux marble floor, trembled and sobbed, as pale, gray, long nailed hands reached from filthy, dark raincoat sleeves, pushing two aside before grabbing Opal's ankles and dragging her away. 

Sophie looked through the glass at the guards. They saw it all, checked that the door was locked, got back in the shrink-wrapped S.U.V. and left. 

Time passed. Neither one moved, til she remembered the 'girl scout'   homemade flame throwers and got up to give chase.....

Four heartbeats later Sybil struggled to her feet and scrambled after her. 


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