By Xander Woolf
The day the portal opened, everything changed. The tragedy at the King of Prussia Mall was just the beginning of our end. Hundreds of thousands of people died that day. The marble floors are eternally stained with their blood.
I was there that day, shopping at Uncanny! with my best friend. I was looking for the latest issue of Faith as well as a few more Pop Figures to decorate my desk at work. I remember it all so vividly. The screams still keep me up at night.
I was sorting through the comics. I had the one I wanted under my arm, but I was looking to see if anything else caught my eye. My face was turned downwards and I had no line of sight to the doorway. I quickly glanced behind me to ensure that Mara was still on the other side of the store. She was reading the back of a new board game intently, no doubt trying to determine if it was worth $50.
That’s when I heard the first scream. The heat drained from my face as screams multiplied and amplified. I ran over to Mara as my brain swam with the possibilities of what could be happening outside the store. Terrorist attack, active shooter, someone committing a public suicide. The possibilities were endless.
Before my mind could race much longer, though, I got my answer.
The creature that crawled into the store was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen in my life. She had to stand at least eight feet tall. The skin of her humanoid torso was a translucent blue. Her hair was jet black and hung down past her navel. Her eyes were three times the size of a human’s eyes and completely black. Her mouth was impossibly large with what looked like hundreds of sharp teeth. There were pincers where her hands should have been.
Her torso gave way to one of my worst nightmares, the body of a black widow spider. She was as long as she was wide and took up the entire entrance to the store.
I stood as still as I could as the creature crept forward. She grabbed the closest person to her, an unfortunate employee who hadn’t hid well enough, and crushed his body in an instant before feasting on his head. Mara reached for my wrist and pulled me into a dressing room left over from when the space was a clothing store. We looked at each other, wide-eyed, as she placed a finger at her mouth to warn me not to make any noise.
The screams were muffled in this dark space, but they still rang in my ears. We heard crash after crash in the store beyond the door and we knew the spider lady was destroying the place looking for everyone and anyone who might be in there.
I pulled out my phone and sent a frantic text to 9-1-1, detailing, “Attack at KoP mall, send help.” I didn’t receive a bounce back message, so I could only assume it went through.
I could have sworn I heard gun shots at one point, but couldn’t be sure.
It was hours before the screaming stopped.
I looked at my phone to find that it was nearly midnight. Mara and I looked at each other and nodded. We couldn’t stay here forever. We’d make a run for the car and get as far away as possible. We both pushed ourselves up off the bench; my body was stiff from keeping still for so long. Mara made sure I stayed behind her as she carefully opened the door and peaked out. Once she determined the coast was clear, we crept out of the room to see the destruction laid before us.
I clasped my hand over my mouth to keep myself from screaming.
Blood had sprayed everywhere. I forced down a gag at the smell of sticky iron. At our feet laid the half-eaten bodies of people Mara and I had gotten to know over the years of coming to this store. Mara pulled me along with her as tears started to stream down my face. We exited the store to find half eaten bodies everywhere. The scene was more gruesome than I could have ever imagined. There was more red than I ever wanted to see again.
We proceeded through the mall slowly, so we wouldn’t make too much noise. Our shoes stuck to the ground with every step. We passed two demon spider lady corpses. They were both slumped on the ground, riddled with bullet holes.
We made it out of the mall without drawing any attention to ourselves and began to run once we hit the parking lot. I fumbled for my car keys and dropped them as I tripped over some uneven ground. I hit the ground hard and immediately started feeling around for them in the dark.
As my hand landed on my keys, I looked up to see a demon spider lady staring right at me from back where we’d just come. She looked just like the one in the comic store, but she was covered in blood.
I grasped the keys and forced myself up. I broke into a run once more and caught up to Mara, who was almost at the car. We jumped in and I turned the key as hard as I could.
Without looking, I backed up out of the spot. The car smashed into something large, but it didn’t sound like another car. I didn’t dare to look as I put the car in gear and sped away.
We got back to our apartment without any incident. We packed only essentials. Mara grabbed the bow and arrows that she always said she’d teach me how to use. I grabbed every blade – decorative or not – that we kept in the house. We packed the car and never looked back.
Today we’re still in hiding, but the majority of the human race has been enslaved by the demons.