It’s just an arcade, just a mall, just a neon expanse of shooting light and calculated palm trees. Every inch of the architecture was made to get you in a kind of buying mood, and then the stores came and went intheir own way and time. That’s normal in human affairs: lots of planning, lots of random changes.

It’s just an abandoned mall, a massive arcade, an expanse of neon light and calculated glittery displays. And they’re just animatronics, walking through the hallways, endless and clanking and inescapable.

It’s just the endless passage of years, becoming more mechanized and more neon and less natural light, and frankly, I love the neon light.

I don’t love the guardians, but I can hide from them. There’s lots of canned food in this mall; there was a shopping mall there once. Although I did run out of my favorite cans a solid six months ago…

I don’t love the guardians, but I can outwit them. Sometimes. When I’m not outrunning them. When I’m not about to lose my head in a literal kind way.

I don’t know what happened Outside. All I know is, it was scary out there. It’s scary in here, and admittedly, it’s probably less scary out there, but I’m afraid to find out.

And you’re here with me. In this metaphor, and possibly in this fear. Are you trapped on some kind of Inside, afraid to go Outside? Afraid of what Outside might even look like?

Individually, we’re afraid. Collectively, we could be brave. Or we could be A WHOLE LOT MORE AFRAID. Because crowds can create a sense of security, and they also lead to the madness of mobs.

Your first job, if you choose to accept it, is to be less afraid. You probably can’t do that on your own. Find a friend, or a frenemy.

From there, find some courage.

You’re not an animatronic; don’t act like one.




Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.