The Cedarville Review 2024

28 CREATIVE NONFICTION cone. And then, with a surge of panic, you fl ip over the glass and begin again. Above the escalators, something catches your eye. A grid of overhead fl oodlights fl ashes off. Only evening’s chalky glint lights the premises. You peer up into the skylights and ponder the weak impact of natural illumination. Come to think of it, you hadn’t even noticed the lights were on. You’d just assumed it was only the windows that brought the mall to life. But now, you see that with a fl ip of a switch, every store has become a void. You peer into the “Journeys” to your left and the “Hot Topic” to your right. They stare back at you like empty eye-sockets of a corpse. Beyond them, the lower corridor trails into shadow. You can hardly read the storefronts. Darkness has overcome the light. There is no telling what may lie within those barred storefronts, behind the doors at either end of the hallway, or in the shaded depths around the bend of your childhood street. When you were young, you were afraid of monsters. Anything could lurk in the dark— faceless entities, the boogeyman, a ghost perhaps. As you grow, the possibilities morph. Imagination dulls, but fear escalates. It begins to seep out from under closed doors, around the dark corners. It leaves you alone to think, to wonder about what was, and what is, what could possibly be. For the fi rst time today, you think about death. This mall isn’t dead, you know that. It’s just sleeping until 10 am when it opens up again. You think about the employees, that woman who’d been making the announcements over the speakers.