America’s Retail Wasteland

There’s something unnerving about abandoned places.  Buildings, houses that you know at one time were teaming with light and laughter and people and now they’re shadows.  Masses of empty, forlorn, forgotten places where everyone is gone, and it is just a ghost of its former self.  


While abandoned houses are both creepy and beautiful, there’s something disconcerting about abandoned malls.  Large building that once housed hundreds of stores, food places, and  beautiful designs now left to rot and to be taken back by the land.  There’s a video that shows images of a dark empty mall all the while Dancing Queen by ABBA is playing over speakers.  It’s the most unnerving thing anyone can watch.  Because you’re just…waiting.  

Tavistock Galleria by C. M. Scandreth, et. al. takes the idea of the abandoned mall and runs with it.  A collection of fourteen short stories, written by different authors, all centered in this old mall. Some of the stories, like The End of Tavistock where an old Shaman with a special skill of moving along the most stubborn of spirits is hired by a corporation to exorcise Tavistock are amusing, some, like The Carousel of Tavistock Galleria , a story of a carousel of animals who have feasted on the essence of children for years, and The Fountain, where a group of mall walkers are summoned to a tranquil fountain in the middle of the mall, are disturbing, and some like Times were Different Then, a story set in the future where the dangers of the past are destined to be repeated, and Prom Dresses which tells the story of why wished to be popular are so dangerous, are just…well, disturbing.  

The authors take fears and warp them into a terrifying reality that makes it hard to look away.  Evil never dies, apparently it just goes to the mall.  Hate closing time when you worked at the popular mall store?  Have stories about secret cults that meet in the back storage rooms after hours and a person who can displace you in time and space if you take the wrong turn.  Did you side eye the mall walkers when you went to the mall?  There are two stories about octogenarians feeding the mall. Did the mall carousel make you nervous?  Here’s why. 

Urban exploring and the dangers of falling too far into the past?  In here.  Being the not popular girls standing in front of the stores that held the beautiful Prom dresses and wishing you could, for one, experience that popularity?  Oh boy, is that in here.  


While there were a few stories that weren’t as strong as the others, or just plain didn’t make sense, the collection is held up those few stories that will stick with you long after you finish the last page.  Before you decide to go urban exploring though that old, abandoned mall, read this book first.  You’ll change your mind to the much safer sub-basement tunnels. This is one of those tales of the supernatural that you can read outside October.  It’s summer, which means more kids at the malls. It’s time and the mall grows hungry for new life.

Spring is officially upon us which means more getting outside and doing things.  Remember to take time for yourself, dear friends.  Even if that means curling up at the end of the day with a good book.   

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