The abandoned mall ( a short story) part 1

Tom was tired of being cooped up in the house all day long; with no one talk to and the only voices he heard were his own thoughts; loud as thunder;  the loneliness seem to worsen at night. So to quell his anxiety; Tom decided to take a walk and venture out into the night to see what he could find; anything was better than another night watching late night tv and eating leftover pizza; so off he went.  Tom walked out his door; not having felt the fresh air in days; he was greeted by sound of a young kid blasting loud music from his car stereo; he’d run into problems with him before so he decided to walk on by; he didn’t want to cross this kid.  He didn’t live far from the main road so he went into that direction; no destination in mind; just enjoying the exercise and clear his head from all the stress he endured; the job he hated  and the girlfriend who left him for some guy she met on tinder; he walked with his hands in pocket; wondering what she was up to and remembering she had yet to pick up some of her things.   Tom hummed a song; just to change the conversation in his head.

Tom walked upon the old abandoned mall; it had died a year ago and nothing was done with it; it was an empty building; lifeless; missing were the crowds of people who use congregate that mall on those weekend nights. He thought about the days as a teenager where he’d spend hours with his friends; just hanging out. His dad used to ask him why he hung out at the mall so much and his reply was always “I don’t know, nothing else to do, I guess”  Now that the mall was gone; Tom wondered where the kids hung out; a feeling sadness over washed him; like something sacred was gone; like what once was; was no longer and he shook his head.  Those kids will have no place to go to with their friends; he said to himself.  The mall was an essential part of his growing up and it was gone; snatched by a bad economy and trendy online stores.  Tom wondered what caused all this and why it mattered to him.

Tom then had a crazy idea; he didn’t see any security and the he knew he had to go back to that mall just one more time for old times sake; but he wasn’t going in alone. He texted his friends John and Lauren  ( his best friends from high school; who spent all of their time at this mall)    They all texted him back and agreed that this would be a great idea. 30 minutes later the gang was all back together again; figuring the best way into the mall.  John remembered that he had heard some kids had gotten in a few months before through the parking garage and low behold; they found a way in. They were amazed. How could it be this easy?

They found themselves in the old food court and to their surprise the lights were still on and the muzak was playing. Who was paying for all of this and what was the purpose of keeping this mall running when all the stores were long gone? It was eerie as hell. Lauren exclaimed “Guys, this is creeping me out; let’s just leave”   “Don’t be scared” said Tom, “We’re the only ones here”  John all had a great idea he said ” Hey guys, I’m hungry; I’m wondering if we can find any food” “You guys wanna raid the Pizza place?”    They all agreed.  Low and behold all the food supplies were there ( as if it was still operating)  and John immediately got some dough out; flattening it on a table; threw some tomato paste and cheese and threw it in the over that was still working.  Tom said “This is really weird, I mean if this mall is closed then why does it feel like it’s still open?”  No one had an answer.  John said ” Don’t question it, man.  I just want some pizza”   Lauren was puzzled as well and said “I am really regretting coming here with you, guys but since I’m here; I’ll take some free pizza, I guess”  They all enjoyed their pizza and starting to really enjoy this excursion into the abandoned mall; that seemed to calling to them to explore.

After dinner they walked around the mall; like in the old days and they couldn’t believe their eyes. All the store were open with the lights on and merchandise still on the shelves; as if nothing had changed. And like the food court; they were blasted by music from the loud speaker; missing were the pesky sales clerks. They realized that the mall was all theirs that night.  Tom yelled out “Hey guys check it out: A bike store!!”    It couldn’t get better than that.  They all grabbed a bike and rode around the mall as if they were 13 years old again; all yelling out like children; having the time of their lives.   Tom sang from the top of the escalator at the top of his lungs.  John and Lauren pulled out their cigarettes and smoked gleefully in defiance of the shoppers that were no longer there.

It was like a dream come true; they went through every store; grabbing everything they could. They found some abandoned shopping carts and the race was on; grab as much stuff as they possibly could. I mean, who was going to know? Half of these business’s were closed for good so it was ripe for the picking. John and Tom grabbed everything possible in the video game store; all the gaming systems; hundred of games; hell even the display tv; this was a free for all, man.  Lauren joined them; prying opening the register to see if there was any cash; and it was full of money.  Her brain just exploded in delight; she’d rob this non existent mall for all it was worth; she could pay all her bills; she could take that much needed vacation; and buy her boyfriend something nice ( maybe).  She yelled out “Guys, this register has cash in it; let’s check every store!”   They agreed; tossed the games aside and just gathered the cash instead. What  first was exploration into an abandoned mall was now full on robbery.  They went into every store; smashing the registers; finding tons of cash and finding even more in the backrooms of each store.  None of them had stolen anything in their lives but yet somehow in mere hours they’d become criminals in pursuit of stealing cash.  And none of them felt guilty about it ;as far as they were concerned it was a victimless crime.

They gathered about 4 carts worth of stolen cash; they had at least 5,000$ .  “I mean imagine all the shit we can buy with that cash” said Tom.  Lauren said ” Yeah but we cannot tell anyone about this, ok?  “If we get caught’ they’ll send us away for a long long time and I know you, John; you have a big mouth”   John said ” Lauren what the hell are you talking about? I don’t have a big mouth, why would you say that?”    Remember that time I told you I liked  Pete Michaels and the next day everyone knew about it?” said Lauren.   John said ” Oh that is bullshit. First off, I never told anyone and even if I did, that was high school, get over it” They both started arguing. Tom broke it up;  making sure that everyone agreed to keep their mouth shut.

At that point; they all decided to leave. John had brought his truck and that was enough to conceal the cash under a blanket until they could make it home. They made their way through the food court to the door they had entered from; to their shock the door was locked; in fact it was padlocked.   They were all terrified; how did this door get locked if they were the only ones there? Were they alone or was there someone else here with them?  Was there really security after all?  Tom suggested they try to make their way to all the exits and press their luck; locked every damn time. What was happening?  They’d never been so scared in their lives. They’d could call the police but they had to admit to breaking into the mall; stealing thousands of dollars of cash; they couldn’t do that. They panicked; they were trapped and it was too late to call anyone else and when they looked at their phones; none of them had service.  They had no idea what to do. They decided that they had no choice but to stay there for the night and they’d see if they could call someone in the morning; what else could they do? Now they all regretted breaking into this mall;  who knows how long they’d be stuck here.

Tom remembered there was a few restaurants in the mall and they had beer and wine;  “Hey if we’re going to be here all night; we might as well party and get drunk”  That seemed to lighten the mood. They all ran as fast they could and found the bar in one of the restaurant; Lauren played bartender.  She had worked at plenty of bars and knew how to make drinks.  They drank and drank until they could barely stand up; all they could muster was babbling drunk talk; filling the empty mall with loud laughter; for a moment they’d forgotten their predicament.  They made a raucous; smashing up mannequins, breaking signs and found the muzak radio that piped in the music from the speakers; they broke it piece by piece. “There, no more crappy music to keep us up; sang Lauren in a drunken stupor”   Tearing up the mall was just so much fun; all of that pent up aggression came out; the mall looked like a bomb hit after an hour of this.  John even set a mannequin on fire and threw in that little wishing fountain where people would throw all of their pennies. It looked like a scene out of Lord of Flies except these were adults which made it seem even more disturbing.  How did a curiosity of the abandoned mall spiral out of chaos so quickly?   After effectively destroying the mall; they retreated  to the department store; to sleep off their drunkenness and to try and figure out a plan to escape the next day.   They all crashed; not knowing what lay ahead for them.


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