There is a dead mall somewhere in Virginia that is in an advanced state of decay. For one reason or another, the mall still stands — there have been several plans, some of them quite elaborate, to revitalise the area, many of them calling for the original building’s demolition…but none of them have ever come to pass.
It is quite a shame, a sorry thing to look at today. In its heyday in the 1970’s and early 80’s, the mall was jampacked, the place to be on the weekends, especially Saturday nights. It was upscale, fashionable, and always a happy place to go.
Years went by, and bigger, better malls opened around the city. The mall slowly started losing tenants, until today it is completely empty. If you go in it nowadays, you will be astounded by the vast emptiness — every step you make and every word you speak will echo loudly. Where once scores of people did their shopping, met for lunch, and got together, there is now only eerie silence. Over the years, the happy, upbeat feeling of the place has darkened, more and more, until now many people avoid it — but can never tell you exactly why.
The story would end here, were it not for a very curious rumour: it is said on certain Saturday nights throughout the year, something very strange happens. If you go to one of the entrances of this mall, it will be unlocked. Push open the door, and it will give way — and you may enter.
Near a bench right in the entrance will be a shadowy figure — casting a shadow that obscures than the darkness around it. This shadowy figure can be spoken to — call out to it: “I know your secret, and the secrets you keep.” Where once there was shadow, there will appear a face — a radiantly pale, withered old man’s face, with black holes for eye-sockets.
“No,” he will respond in a voice that will be like the slithering of maggots, “for I know yours.”
He will then ask a question — the question will be about your life, or rather a detail about your life, something that happened many years ago. The question he poses will be one you should know the answer to — but so obscure, it will be difficult to answer at first, if you can answer it at all.
You will be forced to answer — you simply won’t be able to respond with “I don’t know”.
If you get the answer right, the shadowy man will thrust a box into your hands, before dissolving back into the darkness. Open the box, and there will be a note, on which will be written the name of the person you were meant to marry or fall in love with. Only rarely is it the person you think it will be.
If you get the answer wrong, your body will be found the morning of the following Sunday, at the entrance to the mall you came in, mutilated and eviscerated so badly no one will be able to identify the body.