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Friday, 20 March 2009

The Rising - Chapter 113: Mid-Season Sale

Sunrise was still an hour or so away but the staff at the Morningside Mall were already arriving for work. In less than an hour, the biggest department store in the mall was going to open for its mid-season sale. Every sale began in the early hours of the morning and the car park closest to the north entrance was already starting to fill up.

The workers all ran from the coach that dropped them off and made their way inside, past the queue of eager shoppers that was building on the concourse.

On the roof of the mall, several groups of men were working hard, unaware of the reason for the tasks they were performing. All they knew was that someone had called their boss in the middle of the night and offered to pay them all a ridiculous amount of money to get on the roof and nail thick sheets of metal over the skylights that dotted the ceilings inside. No one had told them why they were doing it, but they didn’t care as long as they got paid.

As the shop workers arrived at the store, their supervisors thrust racks of clothes in their direction and barked orders at them to make sure the shoppers were faced with the sale stock as soon as they walked through the door.

The store manager clicked her fingers as she realised she had left her handbag in her car. Following a spate of break-ins in the car park recently, she decided it was best to fetch it as soon as possible. She surveyed the surroundings and saw that all of her staff were busy re-arranging the store layout. Everything was going according to plan so she told herself she had a few minutes to nip down to her car.

She walked back through the store and cut through the fitting rooms. She opened a door marked ‘Employees Only’ and walked down the undecorated stone walled corridor, down the stairs at the end and into the cold darkness of the employees’ car park.

That’s weird, she thought as she looked around and sensed that something was amiss.

In the middle of the car park, a truck sat across several parking spaces, with the driver’s door wide open. She walked up to the truck and looked inside the cabin. As she suspected, there was no one there.

Hey, is there anyone here?’ she shouted. Her voice echoed off the cold stone walls but no one answered her call.

She walked round to the back of the truck. One of the doors was ajar and the realisation of what was going on hit her as she opened it. She was faced with a truck full of unconscious bodies.

Everything fell into place.

Of course. The sale. All the people.

She knew that today was the day. And she would be part of it.

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