DISCLAIMER: It goes without saying that I own nothing.
"Attention shoppers, please make your way to the nearest exit immediately. Unfortunately the mall will be closing early tonight."
A man's voice came on over the intercom in the ladies room of West Orange mall. "Shit," muttered Anna Davis as she struggled with the reluctant zipper on the brand new lavender bridesmaid's dress she had just bought for her sister's upcoming wedding. She twisted this way and that, fighting not to rip the flimsy material as she tugged the zipper up over her hips and wishing she had gone with the 5 after all.
"Damn you, delicious yet carb-loaded mall Chinese food." Aware of the mall's abrupt closing and exhausted after hours searching for the perfect dress, Anna gave up after several more minutes and resigned to add a couple extra laps at the gym in the weeks leading up to the wedding. She changed back into her t-shirt and jeans, slipped her leather jacket on and hurried out of the restroom.
As Anna stepped back into the mall's food court, she frowned in confusion. Her green eyes scanned the area over and over again, but the room remained the same. Empty. Not a person in sight.
"That was fast," Anna thought, walking towards the exit. She halted to a sudden stop when she saw metal chains locked tight around the handles.
"What the fuck?"
Worry creeping into her mind, she began to walk briskly down the silent hallways.
"Hello?" She called to empty stores. "Anybody there?"
Anna shook her head slowly, looking around. There was no way the mall had cleared out that fast. There was no way it had closed with her still in it. In fact, it didn't seem closed so much as abandoned. All the lights were all still on. Pleasant, festive Christmas music still sounded from the speakers, and most stores weren't even locked up. Some, even, had the metal bars frozen halfway down. Anna wondered for a moment if time itself had frozen. There had to be someone still in this mall. It was Black Friday, the busiest day of the damn year! Shouldn't there be a night guard or a janitor or something?
"Hey, what the hell is that?" Anna heard a man's voice echo. Before she could respond in relief, a scruffy, dark haired man in all black darted around the corner. He stopped when he saw her, seeming shocked, and Anna tilted her head in confusion at the object in his hand. Immediately her whole body froze up: he was holding a gun.
"Don't move!" he pointed his gun at her and stepped forward. "Fuck," she breathed. Without much thought, she dropped her shopping bags and began sprinting the other way.
"Hey, get back here!" She heard rapid footsteps following her, but deduced from a brief look at the young, slightly overweight man that she could outrun him and hide somewhere, hopefully for long enough to call the police.
After sprinting up two escalators, she was now on the top floor hiding behind a giant blowup Santa decoration. She scrambled in her jacket pocket for her cell phone, only to realize it was dead. "Of fucking course," she thought, trying not to cry. She briefly assessed her situation: she was locked in a mall with a crazy man who wanted to kill her, for whatever reason. The exits she had seen so far were locked. Anna wondered fearfully if there were any other criminals in here, then had a brief flashing image of a gang shooting up the mall. "What the fuck is going on?" she thought. She decided that she had to think of something, fast. She thought hard for a moment, then decided to crawl to the nearest directory, which was about ten feet away, and locate a telephone so she could call the police. Simple, but ran the risk of being seen. She had no idea if she had been followed or not. So, mustering up all the bravery she had in her body, Anna held her breath and slowly began crawling across the room. She had barely moved an inch when she heard another man's voice.
"There she is!" Anna gasped and turned her head just in time to see two large men, one the same maniac from before, emerging toward her, guns pointed viciously. Anna panicked, threw up her hands, and blurted the first lines that came to mind: "Don't shoot! I'm clean!" The two men crinkled their brows in confusion, then smirked. They put their guns in their jeans as they closed in on her, grabbing her arms hard and lifting her to her feet. She considered for a minute putting up a fight. But these were strong, terrifying men, and while running was her forte, self-defense was an area she knew nothing about. She began to tear up as she let the men walk her down the hall. "What do you want from me?" Anna whispered. The men said nothing, just exchanged a look.
What the hell have I gotten myself into?