Maze of a Mall
by Maya Cohen
I let out a fast sigh, exasperated that my brat of a little sister won’t talk to me because I was “unfaired”. I reach my hand behind me to slap her on the shoulder for being rude, but my hand goes straight through the air like a knife through hot butter. I turn around slowly, dreading the possibilities of why this is so.
Then my head begins spinning like the wheels on a bike. My stomach starts break-dancing. The brown stool I commanded Olive to sit on is now vacant. It’s cushion has no dents. It’s almost like Olive never sat there.
“Oh, crap!” Mom said she’d be back at the front of the mall in ½ an hour. If I don’t find Olive by then, I’m dead. I spin in a 720º circle clumsily, like a toddler learning ballet. No sign of Olive’s brown curls. A layer of cold sweat lines my hands. Don’t stand there, my mind snaps at me, go find her!! I trip into a run and sprint out of there. My shoe gets caught in one of the floor tiles and ricochets off my foot, but I keep running. The cool tile skims against my feet. I almost feel the puke in my stomach, ready to launch. I lean against a potted plant for support. People are blabbing so loud, making my ears ring like a church bell. I clasp my hands over my ears. I won’t be able to think with all this noise! The lightning bright lights are making me squint so much I only see slits of Jersey Gardens. Huge shopping bags of different shapes and colors, filled to the brim, are going to take off my head! I need some help. My eyes skim the battlefield, and direct themselves over to a mall cop, snapping, Come on, feet! Get your heels over there!
I stumble over to the cop and manage to rasp, “How long would it take to get through this whole mall?” He pulls his cap lower on his head. His eyes point to the ceiling, and he is obviously pondering my question. My worst nightmare comes true when he says, “About two hours.” I try to hold in my horror and disbelief.
“Why? Are you lost?” He puts two warm hands on my shoulders and bends down to my level, his crystal blue eyes meeting my gray ones. I must be oozing sweat now. My throat is sticking to itself, like caramel on a hot day, and my heart beat is making my whole body pulsate.
“No reason!” I reply, mustering up as much innocence as I can. I’m gonna kill Olive.