Mallsoft by Amelia Engen

Halloween Challenge Winner


The general malaise of this deadened space is trapped like rising heat. The floor is cold, but the air is stuffed with the concentration of dust and carpet fibers hazy in the capacity. Between the porcelain squared tiles dotting the location and darkened corners I imagine something, multiple somethings silent-like in the point. Harmonizing clicks like pitched footsteps snapping behind me. There’s really nothing there, but it’s too quiet for this place to be truly vacant. Some thing is here. Melting too, in the box. 

The decaying plantation of the dead mall, labyrinthine in the transitionally blank hallways. Carpet and marble melds to the brickwork of store and screen, peeling up where it meets the walls. The closed glass doors are hazed with sweaty fingerprints no one bothered to wipe off. The exits are locked, I can see sunlight steamy in the thick choke of moist carpeting. I now crave the outside, yearn for the dulling, lazy orange compared to the rotting yellows and blues of the ceiling pattern high above my head. The silence echoes, static ridging thickened in my ears. Dead and forgotten, until it is broken with the ever pounding tick-ticking along the ceramic tiles. I walk through the rooms, the expansively empty stores in rows along the atrium, the boiling fridges of the food court. There is the Something, a presence burning the hair on my neck. Always. Around corners, behind me in the fluorescent lighting, waiting. But I continue on. I check every door, every muddled window blurring the outside. I peel underneath the rotting carpet, but there is nothing. It is all a slick, unidimensional nothing. 

Time passes, the lights stay the same. A sickly green luster swapped for sunsets, and my eyes still burn. The clicks are louder, ticking in the shell of my ear. I walk. I walk forever, I have been walking eternally in this new life. Through these repetitively empty spaces, echoing nothing but my footsteps and the rot. I can’t find an exit, I have looked through the walls and the windows and the doors. But this is it. The lot, the ending, whatever it’s called. Locked in to wander alone. Alone as possible, I still hear the clicking.  


Published 10/28/21

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