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Mall Bats

By Pab Sungenis All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Humor


When Josh is killed in a botched robbery attempt at the music store he manages, he wakes up in an empty movie theater three days later perfectly healed except for a buzzing in his ears and a sudden thirst for human blood. Certainly not your usual day at the office. With the help of a collection of other strange denizens of the shopping metropolis, Josh struggles with coping with his new abilities and urges. If he can manage to stay one step ahead of a self-styled slayer (he’s an expert – he’s seen every episode of "Buffy" at least twice!), deal with the vampire EMT who turned him, and somehow manage to bring his clothes along when he transforms into a flying creature, then maybe -- just maybe -- he can jump-start the romance he was afraid to pursue before he became a blood-sucking creature of the night.


Ever since he was a little boy, Josh dreamt of flying.

At first, these dreams stayed in the nether realm of fantasy, where a young boy could imagine himself levitating off the ground and soaring through the firmament, with birds and the occasional airplane in his wake. In his dreams, Josh took to the air like a leaf caught on a passing breeze, deftly maneuvering high above the landscape to which we poor unfortunate non-flying mortals were bound.

Such lofty dreams rarely stay as just dreams for long. Eventually, Josh felt the need to move those fantasies into the concrete world of reality. Experiments ranged from running really, really fast to running really, really fast with a cape like superheroes wore. He attempted to fashion wings from such diverse elements as chicken wire and balsa wood to the dust jackets of old LP records slipped over his hands (much to the dismay of his mother, the audiophile). While he never learned the lesson the way most kids who dream of flight do, by jumping off the roof of his house or garage, he did make many attempts to leave the ground by running and jumping, rolling down hills when needed, and always (of course) to no avail.

When going the way of Icarus proved hopeless, partially due to his typically non-aerodynamic childhood body, he dreamt of creating his own flying machines. His designs ranged from bastardizations of Leonardo da Vinci’s helicopter to something out of an old episode of The Flintstones. Some of them posited a lightweight metal frame being held aloft by giant kitchen fans, mimicking the design of hovercraft he had never and would never see. Others bore striking resemblances to Flash Gordon’s jet packs, especially fascinating when one considers he was an adult before ever seeing Flash and Dale flying across a strip of celluloid. The closest he ever got was when he strapped a hang-glider to a lawn chair with wheels, and attached a drive chain and motor from a self-propelled lawn mower. With just a little more horsepower, he might have succeeded in taking off, or at least outrun the cop who spied him using Ocean Drive as a runway and pulled his “death contraption” off of the streets and escorted him home to his not-amused father.

As with all dreams, Josh’s dream of flying would eventually take a back seat to the real, bolted to the ground, world. Time would pass, and Josh would think less and less of taking to the skies and concentrate more on the mundane existence around him. Yet the dream, as will happen with all truly good dreams, never completely died out. Within a certain little chamber of his heart, down deep in his soul, Josh’s desire to soar through the skies, feel the breeze whip through his hair, and feel the warmth of the summer sun on his face unhindered by such obstacles as trees and clouds, nested comfortably. It never truly left him.

Josh would never feel the sun on his face in mid-flight, and he would never soar through the air before he died. But he carried that dream with him, and in return, the dream carried him through life and beyond.

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Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

Alex Rushmer: I just want to say that the writing in this is amazing! I read the first couple chapters and was absolutely drawn in by it, The way you use first person in this story is extremely engaging and does wonders with your character development. I immediately had a picture of the characters and plotline...

Alex Rushmer: Although I don't know the story of the Phantom of the Opera, I really enjoyed this story. The writing was very evocative, and it really put a picture of time and setting in my mind. The voice of the story really added to the character development. The idea of the time travelling -- or whatever re...

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

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