Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Food Court

He turns the corner to the food court, expecting to see lines and lines of people pouring out of each store front. But all the tables are empty. All the lights of all the signs are turned off. There are just people in dark blue shirts sweeping the floor. There is a man in a dark blue shirt mopping the staircase right in front of the McDonalds. Fortune knows that he doesn’t work at McDonalds because people who work at McDonalds wear red. Fortune wants to walk up to some of the people in the dark blue shirts and ask them if they have seen his mother and father. But Fortune doesn’t know whether or not the people in the dark blue shirts are just posing as workers to throw him off. Sometimes in the newspaper there are stories of bad guys wearing disguises and tricking people into thinking they are someone else, Fortune gets scared just thinking about it and turns around.
He starts to run through the mall. As fast as he can. He doesn’t know what else he can do. Everything starts passing him by so quickly. He puts one foot in front of the other, over and over. He imagines that he is the star of the Mall of America track team. He is better than the women in the tracksuits. He gets better times. He wants to run faster than them and steal their gold medals.
Fortune is scared and his heart is pounding. He doesn’t know where he is running to and if his parents are even inside. If they ever were. His world starts to mix all of its images together. Signs of the stores turn on. The roller coasters start up. Fortune can hear the first sounds of screaming echo through the once still caverns of the mall. The screams bounce off the ceiling. Fortune looks up and through the giant skylights. He can see that the sky is starting to cloud and the birds have gone.

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