Ghosts

For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that – All There in the (Monster) Manual. Hope you enjoy!

This Week’s Inspiration: Ghost

Steve is in love with Lily but can’t spit it out. Why else would he help her with her insane plan to break into the mall and film an episode for a new amateur ghost hunting show? It’s not like there’s anything to the stories of disappearances and strange figures moving around the mall at night, right?

======

“This place is so dead,” Lily said.

The two of them wandered the mall’s linoleum halls close to closing time. Stores that had shut down permanently outnumbered those still open by at least two to one. Those that remained open barely hung on. A large department store and a grocery store stood at either end of the mall, downstairs. Once one of them went, the rest of the place would collapse. The mall would shut its doors, go derelict, and either rot or have the land sold out from under it then be bulldozed to make way for something new.

“It’s perfect! Perfect for episode one of Ghost Catchers!”

“Ghost Catchers? Is that really what you’re calling it?” Steve said.

“I’m working on a title.” Lily hit him playfully in the arm.

Even the lights stayed low as if they weren’t worth the electricity to keep them fully on, making the mall dimly lit and shadowy. Only a few other mall goers wandered around. Steve saw a clothing store with no real signage, just some pieces of cardboard promising discounts. Another store, no sign, held tables of junk like knockoff laundry detergent, homewares, old DVDs and garden gnomes. Only one person worked in each of them, looking bored and sour, no customers.

“That used to be another big clothing store,” Lily said. “And that used to be the pet store! I remember looking in the windows at all the puppies and kittens!”

Three naked mannequins posed in the window of the old clothing store. Inside, shelves and hangers stood in empty rows. Signage had been ripped off the front of the pet store and the doorway was shuttered. To either side of the entrance were glass boxes with scraps of newspaper and straw lining their bottoms but no animals. Once he started paying attention, Steve got a surreal sensation. Reality felt thin here, as it did in places made for lots and lots of people when you suddenly found them empty. Like train stations or airports or stadiums that were, for whatever reason, devoid of people.

“This way,” Lily said.

The two of them descended the escalators. Steve wondered how long the place had. It all seemed so desperate. An independent multiplex once occupied a space on the lower level but COVID and streaming services had killed it. The marquee and some old posters remained up in front of it. The food court was a giant atrium with a dry fountain in the middle and domed skylight, dark at that time of the afternoon. Everything looked dirty. Only half the food places were open and the staff in all of them were shutting down for the day.

“Where are we going to hide? The bathrooms?” Steve asked.

“Too obvious, they’ll check there,” Lily said.

The Caterpillar’s Garden, a children’s playground, sat in the rough centre of the mall just inside the main entrance. Its colours were faded and the equipment wouldn’t have met modern safety standards. Hazard tape surrounded a merry-go-round in the corner. Bordered by fake flowers, most of the playground was insect-themed. A couple of butterfly-shaped spring rockers, a giant ant for kids to climb on, and a ball pit with a huge dragonfly hanging over it. The biggest piece of equipment was a huge caterpillar, each segment of its body a different capsule for kids to climb through. A slide emerged from the caterpillar’s grinning mouth.

Lily looked around to make sure no one was watching. “In there.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously, do you want to help me or not?”

Steve wasn’t sure what he wanted. When he’d agreed to this whole thing, it sounded too crazy to really happen. Hide out in the mall until after closing time and help Lily film an episode for this new ghost hunting show she wanted to make for YouTube. Another one of Lily’s crazy ideas, as quickly forgotten as it was conceived. But now that they were here, and really doing it, he was a lot less sure.

In spite of how he felt, Steve climbed the little ladder into the caterpillar. Clearly it wasn’t meant for people his size. As soon as he was inside he banged his shin and then his head, and then his knee. He yelped and complained. Behind him, Lily laughed. Steve slipped his backpack off his shoulder and pushed it ahead of him as he crawled. The place smelled like antiseptic and felt uncomfortably warm.

“This is crazy,” Steve said, but that only encouraged Lily.

The two of them crawled to the caterpillar’s midsection. Different sections had different games and such but the one where they stopped had only a single, scratched up porthole. Steve and Lily sat with their backs against the walls, legs bent. Steve had his backpack and Lily carried a bulky handbag filled with her camera and supposed ghost hunting equipment.

“What do we do now? How long do we have to wait?” Steve asked.

“Half an hour until all the staff should be gone. Then we’ve got to wait for the security guard to finish his patrol and go,” Lily said.

“What if he comes back? Does another patrol?”

“He won’t, I parked my car and left the dash cam recording all night. He does one patrol and then sits in his little hut thing.”

“What about security cameras? Motion sensors?”

“Did you see any of those? As long as we don’t break into any of the stores, we’re fine! I talked to some other people who did exactly this, they had the whole place to themselves and skated all over the mall for an hour. They only left because they started to get creeped out.”

“And that’s why we’re here, to get creeped out.”

“Exactly, it’s a perfect first episode for Ghost Patrol!”

“I don’t know, it’s just that we’re not kids anymore, Lily.” Steve glanced out the porthole in the caterpillar’s side. “If we’re caught we could get into real trouble. Teenagers can get away with this kind of thing but we’re both twenty now.”

“If you want to chicken out, you can still go! I can do this by myself!”

“No, no, it’s fine. What do you want to do to pass the time?”

“Talk, I guess, how are your classes?”

“They’re fine. I mean they’re easy, too easy sometimes. I feel like a community college degree is kind of pointless.”

“What about dating, is there anyone you like?”

‘You’ was the answer that died on Steve’s lips. One little word. Steve shook his head instead. Pathetic, he thought, feeling a stab of shame. Lily had to know it already, surely. One little word, here he was breaking the law for her and he was still too scared to ask her out on an actual date. As long as he’d known Lily he could tell her just about anything, but he couldn’t tell her that.

They talked some more about classes at the community college, and classmates. What some of their old high school friends were doing. Steve asked Lily about some of the projects and side hustles she’d been working on but she’d forgotten half of what he remembered and the rest were all in a state of limbo.

The mall emptied. Someone came by to close off the main entrance and the lights went down. They weren’t shut off completely but reduced to an even lower level, some kind of emergency illumination. Steve and Lily remained undiscovered in the body of the caterpillar. Lily fished her phone out of her bag, rather than her camera, and used it to video herself. The screen cast a glow on her face in the darkness.

“Here we go, ghostketeers,” Lily said. “The mall is officially closed and now we wait. Since a lot of the mall’s stores started shutting down there’s been reports of weird lights and noises at night, and ghostly figures roaming the mall after hours. I’ve heard from people who used to work here that they thought the mall was haunted. And of course there’s the disappearances. Two people who used to work in the big clothing store upstairs disappeared. Since the money they were meant to be counting disappeared with them, the police claimed they must have stolen it and run but their cars were left in the mall parking lot and no trace of them was ever found. At least six teenagers have disappeared and the rumours from their friends were that they planned on breaking into the mall at night, but no sign was ever found. And just two months ago, a little kid disappeared while playing in the playground where me and my associate are hiding right now, right around closing time.”

“I don’t know if you should mention that,” Steve said. “That was a real case, they still haven’t found out what happened to that kid. It’s really sad.”

“They’re all real cases, Steve!”

From one end of the mall, a large, shadowy figure appeared, sweeping the beam of a flashlight from side to side. Steve heard him before he saw him, calling out something indistinct. He stopped in the main entry hall, outside the Caterpillar’s Garden. Steve peeked out of the porthole. The man’s beam swept around and glanced off the perspex as Steve jerked his head back.

“Hello?” The security guard said. “If you come out now, I won’t call the police! Mall’s closed, it can be dangerous after hours!”

Cheeks burning with embarrassment, Steve began to move. Although ashamed to be caught in such a childish stunt, a big part of him was relieved it had gone no further. Lily, however, grabbed his thigh. She shook her head violently. Steve didn’t understand and was surprised when the security guard made a couple more sweeps and moved on.

“What? I thought he saw me,” Steve whispered.

“No, didn’t you hear him saying the same thing while he was walking toward us? It’s just a trick.”

“He said he’d call the police!”

“He’s not, the guys who made the skating videos said he did the same thing to them. He shouted, they thought he knew, but then he moved on.”

“Well, thanks for the warning,” Steve said, and Lily giggled.

They gave the guard the better part of another hour to check the lower level of the mall, the upper level, as well as the bathrooms and such. Everything seemed genuinely silent and still. Rather than go back the way they’d come, Steve and Lily continued through the caterpillar to the head. The giant bug was almost pitch black inside except for Lily’s phone. Eventually, Steve found the hazy outline of the caterpillar’s mouth. He spilled headfirst down the slide on his stomach and rolled over. Lily laughed and he managed a weak smile.

“It’s like it puked me out,” Steve said.

“I remember we used to say the same thing as kids.” Lily slid down as well. “Like it puked us up.”

Both Steve and Lily had flashlights in their bags. They took them out, and Lily palmed her digital camcorder. Steve wasn’t sure if the camera would even be as good as their phones but it made Lily feel more professional.

“We need to let Symone and Matt through the back, they’ll be waiting,” Lily said.

Hurrying to one end of the mall, the two of them swept the flashlights from side to side. Pools of shadow lay between the dim points of emergency lighting. All the stores, operating or abandoned, were dark. Steve had already felt surreal walking around the place before it closed and now things felt doubly surreal.

“It’s sad seeing it so dead now, you know?” Lily said. “This place used to be so alive when we were kids. Even in high school, this was the place to be. We used to hang out here all the time. I remember when I was a kid and my mom and I just moved here. When we came here for the first time, I was, like, mad at the mall for being nicer than the one where we came from. I flushed a whole bunch of toilet paper down one of the toilets to try to block it, to like, punish the mall for being nicer. Kids are weird.”

Near the department store, Lily found the door where she’d told Symone and Matt to meet them. It was alarmed, which gave Steve hope again that this might end prematurely, but Lily knew how to disconnect it. Swinging the door open let the night’s cool, damp air flow inside. Lily switched her flashlight on and off a couple of times. After a few moments, two shadows raced out of the night.

“I thought you were going to message me! I wasn’t sure how long we should wait,” Symone said.

“Sorry, but we’re here now,” Lily said.

Lily ushered the two of them inside and reconnected the alarm. Matt and Symone were an actual couple. They’d come to help Lily since they were her friends too but really Steve figured they were more interested in the thrill of breaking in. Matt jogged a circle around some of the empty mall kiosks. Coming back, he grabbed Symone by the waist and hauled her into the air.

“So, where are these ghosts of yours?” Matt said.

“I think we should split up,” Lily said.

“Split up? Seriously?” Steve said. “Have you ever seen a horror movie? Splitting up is when all the creepy stuff happens.”

“Exactly! Creepy stuff is what we want,” Lily said. “What are you worried about? Have you ever heard of a ghost killing someone or whatever?”

“Maybe not ghosts but if you’re telling the truth about those disappearances, what if it was-, what if it was the security guard? He’s here all alone at night, no one else for miles. Maybe he finds people who have broken into the mall and he hunts them for sport. Maybe he’s a serial killer, who kills people and hides their bodies, and the stories about weird lights and people appearing here at night just make the whole thing sound too ridiculous to really investigate.”

“That’s some Scooby Doo shit right there,” Matt said.

“That’s actually pretty good, can you say that again on camera?” Lily pointed her camcorder in Steve’s direction.

The four of them wandered around for a while, seeing nothing. They headed back toward the main entrance and centre of the mall. Lily recorded various dark corners and mannequins in shop windows at Dutch angles. She tried to get her ghost hunting equipment to work but couldn’t figure it out.

“Did you hear that?” Lily stopped suddenly.

Matt laughed. “Really? Already?”

“No, really! I thought I heard something. It wasn’t spooky, it was like I could hear people,” Lily said.

“I didn’t hear anything, I think you’re just freaking yourself out,” Steve said.

“Okay, okay, why don’t we split up, like I said? Steve, you go upstairs, and I’ll go this way downstairs. And Symone, why don’t you and Matt-,”

“We’ll stick around here.” Matt hugged Symone from behind.

Matt gave Steve a wolfish smile. Both he and Symone had their phones out but Steve got the idea that anything they filmed was going to be unusable on YouTube.

“Sound okay, Steve?” Lily asked.

“Yeah, yeah, sure,” Steve said.
Leaving Symone and Matt, Steve and Lily started back the way they’d come. They passed the playground and returned down the dark and cavernous hall. Lily jumped again, startled.

“You didn’t hear that?” Lily said.

“Are you putting this on?” Steve asked.

“No, I swear! I actually thought it was, like, mall music from the speakers for a second.”

“Okay, well, how about we split up and meet back here in twenty minutes?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Lily left toward the food court. Steve headed for the escalators, although everything was obviously shut down for the night. He held a borrowed camera in one hand and a flashlight in the other.

“Stupid, this is so stupid,” Steve mumbled to himself.

Turning on the camera, Steve walked to the upper landing. Everything on the second level was just as dark and lifeless. Naked mannequins filled the window of the abandoned clothing store not far from the top of the escalators. They looked creepy after dark if nothing else.

Suddenly, something flickered in the corner of Steve’s eye. A flash of blue light, accompanied by just a moment of sound that could have been laughter. Steve spun, afraid someone had just snapped a picture of him. His heart leapt. But there was nothing there. No person, no camera, nothing. And it hadn’t really been a camera flash, the light had been too blue, too ethereal.

“What the hell was that?” Steve said.

Steve scanned the surrounding stores as thoroughly as he could. Glare reflected back on him from empty windows. He felt jumpy. Lily had gotten into his head. When he turned back around though he was haunted by the feeling the mannequins nearby had changed position. Before, he was sure they were looking away. Now they all seemed to be watching him with suspicious intent.

~~~

Downstairs, Lily probed the empty food court. Hundreds of tables and chairs sat empty around the dry fountain. Her flashlight and camera scanned the food outlets, closed for the night or permanently.

“I hear something,” Lily said.

Noise swelled behind Lily. She turned, and kept turning, but the sound remained behind her. Voices, music, people running and laughing. The sounds of a mall food court but one that was full of people and not empty and abandoned. Sparks of bluish light collected at the corners of Lily’s eyes.

“Something’s happening! It’s really happening!”

A whirr that sounded like rollerblades curved around Lily and kept going. Lily tried to follow it with her camera but the screen seemed to fritz. A few metres away, she saw someone’s back, a young woman dressed in workout clothes and legwarmers like a vision from the Eighties, whizzing along on rollerblades. Surrounded by blue light, she flickered for a moment and then disappeared.

“Oh, my God!” Lily turned the camera on herself. “Did you see that? Did I get that?”

~~~

Meanwhile, toward the middle of the mall, Matt and Symone lingered in the Caterpillar’s Garden. Face to face, Matt kissed Symone on the mouth and then moved to her neck. Around them, the mall was dark and silent.

“Let’s do it right here,” Matt said.

“In the kid’s playground? Really?” Symone said.

In the corner of the playground, the ball pit rippled like gases bubbling to the surface in a swamp. Something seemed to be down there, breathing. Brightly coloured balls clicked and shifted.

“How about in the ball pit?” Matt said.

“Gross! Are you kidding me? How many years of pee and boogers and puke and whatever has gone into that thing? It’ll never be clean!”

“Okay, so right here, we do it right here.” Turning on his phone’s camera, Matt placed the phone against one of the playground’s fake flowers before returning to Symone.

“What about the caterpillar?” Symone looked up at the central piece of playground equipment, with its grinning mouth and bulging eyes.

“Let him watch.”

Matt pulled Symone around, kissing her neck. One eye was on the camera on his phone. He pressed himself against her and reached under her shirt.

“Can you help me find my mommy?”

“Jesus Christ!” Symone yelled, leaping nearly a foot in the air.

A little boy, around six years old, stood at the entrance to the playground. He wore chunky sneakers and a Ninja Turtle t-shirt, an old one. Symone grabbed her chest as if having a heart attack. Matt, also stunned, stared wide eyed at the kid.

“Where did he come from?” Matt said.

“I lost my mommy.” The kid started to cry.

Symone recovered as best she could. “Did you get locked in here, sweetheart? It’s alright, we’ll help you.”

“Seriously?” Matt said.

“What do you want to do? Leave him? Jesus, Matt, it’s after hours and he’s in here all alone!”

“Yeah, no, of course,” Matt said, but he looked deeply uncomfortable as he wondered where the child had come from.

Matt hurried to collect their phones and flashlights. Symone took the kid by the hand. In the dim light, it was strange but his skin almost seemed to glow a pale blue. His hand was cold.

“It’s okay, we’ll help you find your mommy,” Symone said.

“You, uh, like Ninja Turtles, kid?” Matt said. “Those are the old ones, aren’t they? The original ones, from the Eighties or whatever?”

The kid didn’t reply. His tears seemed to have dried almost instantly. Reaching for Matt’s hand as well, he took it and started to lead them away into the mall.

~~~

Steve lingered around upstairs. The only sound on the recording was his nervous breathing, but then something barked. He jumped. The security guard had found them and set dogs on them. But again, there was no one around. When the barking came again, Steve noticed it was small and playful. It didn’t sound like any full grown security dog, it sounded like puppies.
Blue light flickered in the windows of one of the abandoned stores. The one Lily had said was an old pet store. More noise and movement focused around the glass boxes where the animals used to be kept.

“What the hell?” Steve said.

Steve closed in on the window, filming. He could still hear the puppies barking, and in the background a chirping as if from a whole wall of caged birds. Then, human sounds, kids laughing, calling out things to the animals. It had to be some kind of trick. A stereo planted in the abandoned store, triggered to play some kind of soundtrack. Maybe Lily had set him up, maybe that was the whole point of this.

Blue light swirled around one of the glass boxes. It coalesced into shapes, moving shapes. Puppies, at least half a dozen of them, barking and playing, falling over one another. Fading in and out, Steve could see skeletons under their skin. They could be holograms, he thought, but they looked so real and he couldn’t see where the holograms would be projected from.

“Mommy! Look at them! Look!” A voice crowed suddenly in Steve’s ear.

Steve fell sideways in shock. A small child, glowing blue, squatted beside him. Others gathered around him, collecting at the windows. They moved right through him without even noticing, and he could see right through them. Holding the camera, Steve turned and gaped at the mall all around him.

Ghostly children and parents moved around Steve. And beyond them, glowing blue storefronts imprinted themselves over the dark and empty reality. Clothing and music and electronics, toys and shoes. Electric beeps and boops came from inside a ghostly arcade nearby. Wraiths, dozens of ghostly people that faded in and out of existence, occupied the walkways.

“Holy shit,” Steve said. “Lily! Lily!”

Fighting his way through the ghostly crowds of shoppers, Steve staggered back toward the escalators. He saw old people with walkers. Parents pushing babies in strollers, and packs of teenagers everywhere. The shoppers seemed to be from a different time, the Eighties or Nineties judging by their hair and fashion. The stores looked different from modern stores as well. The blue glow faded in and out, leaving them almost solid. It was difficult for Steve to find a path. It was as if two worlds were colliding, and he was stuck in one but the other kept getting in his way.

“Lily!”

~~~

Lily followed the sound of phantom rollerblades to the old theatre, and stared in amazement. The theatre was alive. The posterboxes and marquee were lit. Crowds of ghostly customers moved in and out through the metal gate planted across the entrance as if it didn’t exist for them. Storefronts around the theatre glowed blue as they changed as well.

“Amazing, this is amazing,” Lily said.

Lily couldn’t hear Steve yelling for her. There was too much noise and too much movement from the ghosts all around her, and she was too much in awe. Posters had changed in the boxes. So had the marquee, which read ‘GHOSTBUSTERS’ as the main attraction.

Phantom rollerblade wheels skirted around Lily again. She turned and saw the woman she’d seen before, more solid now and more solid than the rest of the crowd. Her hair stood up in a big ball of frizz, held back by a purple headband. A walkman was clipped to her waist. Meeting Lily’s gaze, as the rest of the crowd moved past or even through Lily, she cracked her gum and pulled the headphones away from her ears.

“Hey.” The mostly solid rollerblader smiled. “You want to party?”

“Do I,” Lily said.

~~~

Steve made it to the escalators, but making his way down was difficult. The metal steps under him weren’t moving but ghostly figures zipped smoothly up and down as if they were, getting in his way and then moving right through him. He stumbled and nearly fell, finally staggering off at the bottom.

“Lily!”

More ghosts swarmed around Steve. Storefronts changed constantly as if cycling through different years, different owners. Something about the overlapping kaleidoscope of colours as they became more and more real was almost nauseating. Steve swung his arms in front of him, cutting through some of the figures as they took on more form and colour as well.

“Lily! Lily!”

Steve made it back to the Caterpillar’s Garden, near the main entrance. Ghostly kids climbed all over it, laughing and playing. He could hear them, and the crowds, the mall music. Some of the crowd started to turn, finally noticing him.

“Hey, chill out, dude.”

“Come with us.”

“I can help you find Lily, honey.”

They closed in around him, hands grasping. Between the dark, the blue glow, the half-light of the other world, Steve’s eyes couldn’t make sense of any of it. He couldn’t find Lily. Couldn’t find Matt and Symone.

Suddenly, arms grabbed Steve from behind. Arms that were real, and solid, and strong. Steve automatically fought them but he was too confused and disorientated. They hauled him backward, away from the crowd with his heels dragging on the floor. Before Steve knew what was happening they crashed through the doors of the main entrance. Overhead were stars, the night sky.

“Calm down, calm down, kid.” The security guard had him, the one they’d seen checking the mall.

The security guard dragged Steve to the carpark. Strange lights and sound continued to come from the mall. As soon as the guard let him go, Steve returned to the doors and tried to force them open, to find Lily, but they wouldn’t budge.

“My friends, they’re still in there!” Steve said.

“There’s nothing you can do,” the guard told him. “There’ll be no bodies, no sign of them, no nothing. I couldn’t have gotten you out if the mall didn’t let me.”

“Why did it take them and not me?”

The man shrugged. “Doesn’t take everyone. Sometimes nothing happens at all.”

“Why haven’t you told anyone? Warned people?”

“What am I going to tell them? Who would believe me?”

Steve sat down hard on the front of a car that had been left in the parking lot overnight, maybe one that belonged to the security guard. The guard was a brawny, middle aged man in a grey uniform. The name ‘Liam’ was pinned on the chest of his shirt. His face looked sympathetic.

“What is it? What happened in there?” Steve asked.

“Ghosts.”

“Ghosts? So many? That many people couldn’t have died here. And other things were changing too, the stores, the-, the whole building.”

Liam sighed and shrugged again. “I’ve talked to some people. They think when a place means enough to some people, when it gets filled up with their hopes and happiness, the thrill of the right buy, the nervous anticipation of a first date, it takes on a life of its own. And then when that life is ended-,”

“It leaves a ghost.”

“Right.”

Steve and Liam waited, silent, as Steve absorbed what the man had said. Blue light died from the mall’s windows. The noise and movement faded but there was no sign of Lily and the others.
Suddenly, Steve felt his phone buzzing in his pocket. He groped for it and whipped it out quickly. The name on the screen said ‘Lily’.

“Lily! Lily, where are you?” Steve barked into the phone.

“Steve, it’s so beautiful in here.” Lily’s voice floated dreamily out of the phone. “Everyone’s so hopeful, you know? They’re not so afraid all the time.”

“Lily, I can come get you! Where are you?”

“I can meet you by the pizza place, Stevey. We’ll swing by the arcade and go to the movies, grab an ice cream sundae afterward. It’s so beautiful. I don’t think my phone will work much longer though, they don’t really have phones here.”

“Lily! Lily!”

Lily’s voice faded. In the background, Steve could hear crowds of people, laughing, and mall music. The call died and she was gone.

“Lily!”

Steve looked back at the mall but it was dark, and silent. Wherever she was, she was no longer inside. She was somewhere else entirely. All that was left was a vast tomb. A dead palace in all its rotting grandeur.

=======

Sean: With the Monster Manual, sometimes I’ve been flicking to a random page and trying to form a story based purely off that. I wouldn’t have chosen to write a ghost story otherwise, I deliberately chose the Monster Manual to try to avoid more conventional monsters but genuinely enough I flicked it open to ‘Ghosts’ and managed to come up with this. I’m not a hundred percent on the pacing, short stories are hard to get that balance right and they all want to be longer than what they are. Feel like there’s a lot of setup, not enough anticipation, and then it moves really quickly into the climax. If I was going to indulge more there’d be a lot more shadowy figures dogging them for an hour or two, mannequins slowly turning to look as they moved past like old oil painting with a softing grating coming from the joints of their necks. Maybe a stray cat that’s somehow gotten into the mall and leaps out at them at an appropriately tense moment.

If you’d like some idea of where I think Lily and the others ended up, check out another short story of mine, Escape From All-Mart. I think they went somewhere similarly endless but, you know, nicer, and more of an eighties mall than a department store.

Next Week’s Inspiration: Ettin

Keep your eyes on my website for more in this series, I fully intend to release one every week across 2022. And for more updates you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

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