This is me at the Mall… Friday Fictioneers, December 2014

Copyright Douglas M MacIlroy

The shopping mall floor chills Emily’s scalp but she doesn’t care, she’s transfixed by the circle of faces above her.

Black eyes glitter, pointed ears relish the moans she cannot silence. Ever closer their narrow snouts loom, sniffing her distress with low rumbles of interest.

Flashing lights assail her eyes.

Her coat is ripped open, crossed hands pump rhythmically at her narrow chest.

Something flickers deep within; the onlookers fade away.

“Who were they?” she asks, dazed.

“Jackals,” the paramedic growls.

Turning to his colleague, he shakes his head.

“What kind of vermin, for chrissakes, takes selfies at a time like this?”

Another grim week around this world;  it seems there’s no end to the despair that human nature can generate.  This week’s submission for Friday Fictioneers was prompted by background scenes in the television coverage of these events.

On a lighter note however, I had the best birthday ever on Monday when I picked up my monthly copy of Writers’ Forum, (one of two best-selling magazines for writers in the UK), to find that I’d won the previous month’s competition for a 400 word story written entirely in dialogue. If you’d like to read it click here:  The Chill Factor

Thanks once again to Rochelle for her unwavering service to our little community, and for the support and encouragement she dispenses.

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to This is me at the Mall… Friday Fictioneers, December 2014

  1. First congratulations again on winning the competition..
    Your story is like ripped right out of the head-lines.. still the concept of selfies at a moment like this make it even more gruesome… vermin, jackals… yes the human kind is really the worst I think.

    Like

  2. Dear Sandra,

    You’ve captured my love of Christmas shopping. (Just about any kind of shopping.) 😉 People are vultures. The perfect story for this delightful prompt.

    Congratulations on The Chill Factor…well deserved and happy birthday.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  3. Horus says:

    Yippeeee ! Congrats Sandra – that’s an awesome feat !

    …and this story is surely “chill”-ing too …

    Like

  4. MrBinks says:

    That’s fantastic, well done!

    Like

  5. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    And it’s only going to get worse….

    Great story for our times…and remember,…as Carly Simon used to sing,…’these are the good old days’.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  6. I guess you’re referring to the siege in Sydney – awful. But still, a great story. I liked how you put us in a different place and then brought us (and her) back to reality.
    Claire

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, I caught a glimpse of the onlookers on Sky News. Duh! Thanks for reading Claire.

      Like

    • Bastet says:

      Oh … and I see the light! I loved the story in the sense it was really well written and created the right amount of anxiety in so few words … but I couldn’t figure out what it was about. That seems to happen so often in the U.S. … seems like some sort of viral infection. I hadn’t heard the news here in Italy.

      Like

  7. emmylgant says:

    Congratulations Sandra!
    Unsettling tale but ripe for the times. Very well done.

    Like

  8. I hate the realization that this would be true to a much larger extent than I’d hope. The self as center-of-the-universe has only gotten worse, at least it seems so to me, and the internet allows that to be shared everywhere. OK, I’ve thoroughly depressed myself with that. Thanks a lot for starting that train of thought!! 🙂 So well done once more, both here and in your winning story.

    janet

    Like

  9. Another outstanding tale! Speaking of chilling, as you know, I’ve already read “The Chill Factor” and it is haunting. You rock, Sandra! You really do.

    Like

  10. Congrats on your writing accomplishment and your 100 words here which are chilling and poignant.

    Like

  11. Excellent piece of writing, and a sad reflection of humankind.
    And AnElephant loves your prize story, well done.

    Like

  12. This is something else, you blew me away with your story. Congrats on your success.

    Like

  13. elmowrites says:

    Fantastic way of transporting us right into the character and showing a scene from a different POV. I liked the social commentary too.
    And congratulations on your competition win and publication! No small beer, that.

    Like

  14. Sandra, Congratulations on your winning story! I read it and can see why it won. In the Friday Fictioneer story, those are the same kind of people who stop to look at acciidents on the highway without helping and block firestrucks at fires. Good and well-written story as usual. — Susan

    Like

  15. storydivamg says:

    Sandra,
    I enjoyed the story but got a little confused by the pointed ears and narrow snouts. After rereading twice and browsing the comments, I wonder if I’m just a little dense. I read the story as though there were somehow dogs in the mall, but at the end it seems as though they are humans–posable thumbs for taking selfies and all.

    Anywho, there does seem to be no end to the terrors of a shopping mall, with or without wild dogs inside them. I’ve sworn off such places for the holidays–and almost any other time for that matter.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      The clue, I think, is in the word ‘jackals’ uttered by the paramedic. I’ve often thought how onlookers might look to the poor victim in their overwrought state. And I share your sentiments about shopping malls at this time of the year Marie Gail. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. First! Congratulations and well done.
    Now about your story. You really caught the disjointed feeling a situation like this must bring. And the selfie thing – Brilliant.

    Like

  17. I personally do not like selfies. But it is humorous to think that someone would take one in a situation like that. The few selfies that I do take are on sale on my FACEBOOK page if you are interested though it is hard to tell my face from the rest of the jackals. Randy

    Like

  18. wildbilbo says:

    Ah yes, the tragedy selfie. I remember when I thought the worst regular people could do was rubberneck at a car crash… Then again, it doesn’t surprise.

    Having her seeing the literal Jackals – perhaps the people as they really are – was inspired. Loved it.
    KT

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I’ve often wondered what onlookers look like, to the poor people who are going through their personal traumas. And the word jackals frequently springs to mind. 😦 Thanks for dropping by KT.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Bastet says:

    Congrats for your award! Well deserved … 🙂

    Like

  20. draliman says:

    Great social commentary, and well done on the award!
    I love the description of the people staring down at her.

    Like

  21. Congratulations! That is quite an honor. I didn’t really understand what was going on in your story until I read your background of it. I then went back and read it again and realized it was outstanding – showing the true nature of some non-compassionate humans.

    Like

  22. jwdwrites says:

    You are absolutely right, it has been a terrible week for news, apart from ‘i’ll ride with you’ it has made miserable reading and listening. I can’t believe people have been taking selfie’s amidst all this carnage. Your story is excellent and I like that you have made this point through this medium. Well done 🙂

    Like

  23. Margaret says:

    A clever idea to take the victim’s point of view. Your title is very apt; it shows how the focus of the ‘jackals’ is totally on themselves. A timely piece – the siege in Sydney was very close to home for me. My niece had to be evacuated from a nearby building and my nephew was also locked in his workplace until the police said they could go. Terrifying. Congratulations on your story win. I love the story.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I’m glad things worked out OK for your family. We watched it on Sky News over here and it was very real for us as we’d been to Martin Square for coffee when we were in Sidney some time back. Thanks for reading the stories.

      Like

  24. rogershipp says:

    Just another reason I Christmas shop in mid-October… In a world where selfies rule, I am a peasant. I enjoyed !

    Like

  25. plaridel says:

    it’s an all too familiar black friday scenario in the states when shoppers rush like crazies to the stores for bargains.

    Like

  26. Huge congrats on winning the competition! That is wonderful!

    On another note, that image of jackals is going to haunt me for a while.

    Like

  27. Amy Reese says:

    Great piece, so much happening. I like how you start with the perspective of Emily on the ground. It’s both sad and disturbing what people can do. Congrats on the award! How exciting. You’re such a talented writer. It’s well deserved, Sandra.

    Like

  28. Bravo. I loved it. That switch from gothic horror to smart phone horror. Bravo.

    Like

  29. Really excellent response to the prompt, Sandra– And, I couldn’t agree with you more! The news is so depressing, but how people behave is that much more horrible.

    Loved The Chill Factor. It took me a second, but as a fan of your writing and knack for suspense, I saw it coming… but loved the ride!

    Like

  30. Ellespeth says:

    Horrible week for our world and – as your story shows – it’s all just another selfie moment for some.
    Congratulations on your story! I’ll pass by to read it over the week-end.
    Ellespeth

    Like

  31. rgayer55 says:

    This story reminds me of a cartoon I saw the other day. A person was drowning and screaming for help. On the shore stood fifteen people with cell phones taking pictures to post on Facebook, all too busy to dive in and save the victim. It says a lot about our world today, doesn’t it?

    Like

  32. Dee says:

    Hi Sandra
    Belated Happy Birthday!
    Congratulations on your win – very deserved it was too, such a great story, like your story this week for FF.
    I too saw the ‘selfie-takers’ and thought how low they had stooped, enough about them they don;t deserve the space!

    Dee

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you Dee. I’m glad you saw it too – I thought I must be dreaming when the camera panned across the crowd. And thanks for reading The Chill Factor – I was over the moon with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. liz young says:

    Chilling little story – and congratulations on your birthday and the win!

    Like

  34. Congrats on the win! You words here are so relevant!

    Like

  35. wmqcolby says:

    Hahaha! Bull’s eye! All that crying and carrying on and the kids were even worse.

    Five shopping bags!

    Like

  36. Happy birthday, congratulations, and excellent work this week!

    Like

  37. gardenlilie says:

    Congratulations. I’d like to have seen the expression on your face when finding out. Priceless!
    Funny thing is I read one of yours and had to read another.

    Like

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