My sister and I made a trip to the mall on the Fourth of July to check out the sales. We stopped first at H&M for their 75% off sale (there wasn’t really anything good) and then headed around the corner and into JC Penny. JC Penny has been pretty affordable since they switched their pricing policy but there are still certain brands there that will break the bank; unfortunately they are also the ones with the most beautiful clothing. As we browsed, we came to the section of one such brand of clothing named after a fruit—I’ll call it “avocado” to maintain anonymity. Within the borders of the display the bright summer colors shimmered temptingly above the cherry plank linoleum, and the blazers, dresses, skirts and accessories all beckoned to us like ripe fruit from an exotic jungle. The headless mannequins posed coquettishly in their exquisite outfits and invited us to join them in their trendy land of joy. Even the music in that section of the store was different; the happy, playful pop added to everything else gave us the impression of a shopper’s Garden of Eden.
“Look at the colors!” Isabel gasped, starting to inch toward the threshold of the display.
“Don’t do it,” I warned, “you know we can’t afford anything in that section!”
“I know.” She sadly conceded and turned away.
A few minutes later, I turned from the rack I was looking at to find Isabel; I looked to my left, then to my right—no Isabel. I turned around slowly dreading what I knew I would see. Sure enough, Isabel was prancing into the Avocado section to look at a leather bag that had caught her eye.
“Isabel!” I whisper-shouted, “I told you not to go in there!”
“I couldn’t help it! Look how beautiful it is!” she said, grinning as she held the bag in front of her.
It was beautiful. I skirted around the edge of the Avocado area to get a better look at the bags.
“Look at it!” she held it towards me, “It would make a nice school bag…” she tempted.
“I do need a school bag…” I thought “It’s…too expensive.” I said out loud. I was starting to lose my resolve. Isabel knew it too and smirked as she continued to prance about looking at the different clothing racks. I skirted back around the threshold, using all the will-power I could muster not to cross over.
“Look at the jewelry!” I breathed. Isabel grinned as she waved a striped blazer with peplum trim at me from inside the garden. I walked further along the border until I was in front of a mannequin wearing a pretty, green jersey summer dress. The mannequin was far enough forward that the edge of her dress was just outside of the boundaries of the Avocado section, hanging over into the walkway. I stared longingly at the fabric.
“Go ahead,” the mannequin seemed to whisper, “touch it.” I looked up at Isabel; she was still reveling in the world of succulent, jewel toned apparel. I looked back at the dress. Slowly I reached my hand toward the fabric “It’s not like I’m actually going inside…” I told myself.
Suddenly the music changed completely; what had been a light, inviting tune just seconds before was now a dark, tribal rhythm with a sinister voice speaking the lyrics: “Painted whores, sexual gladiators, fiercely old party children…”
Isabel and I looked up at each other. At that moment, I honestly expected a trap door to drop beneath her, or vines to shoot out of the floor and engulf her and turn her into a moss covered statue.
“Get out.” I mouthed as I motioned her towards me. She darted toward the walkway and back over the border. I grabbed her arm and we both walked briskly away from the Avocado section as the sinister voice said “Come to the light! Into the light! The invisible light.”
“What on earth was that!?” I exclaimed.
“I don’t know,” Isabel whimpered, “it was like a devil party in there.”
I looked up at her, “I think you almost died just now.”
This is a true story. These events actually happened in the way that I have described them and it was legitimately creepy.
It was reminiscent of the scene in the animated film "Anastasia" where Rasputin has his demons try to lure Anastasia into the ocean; or of the way the background music of a video game changes when you enter the boss chamber.
I looked up the song when we got home; it is “Invisible Light” by the Scissor Sisters and the entirety of the lyrics are just…spooky. I do not suggest listening to it.