"They don't pay me enough to deal with this", Liz thought for the umpteenth time that day. Being the store manager at a fast fashion retailer in the mall carried no weight in her social circle and barely covered the bills. Phoebe and Kira were her latest staff additions. Phoebe showed great promise, at least as far as teenagers could in these positions. Kira on the other hand was destined to be the problem child. She barely showed up on time and when she was there, she spent more time chewing gum and messing around on her phone than she did helping customers.
The girls were coming up on the tail end of their 90-day probation. Liz was fed up enough with Kira that she decided it was time to introduce them to the "store room run". Everyone on staff this holiday season had made the run successfully. Liz believed without a doubt Phoebe would pass with ease. Kira on the other hand...First up, Phoebe.
"Alright, I need you to go get a box of hangers from the store room. You're going to go out the service door, turn right, then at the T-junction, turn left. The store room door will be immediately on your left. It's decorated with our logo so you can't miss it. The code is 257. Grab a box, and bring it back. Got it?"
Phoebe nodded. She'd listened to the instructions intently.
"Alright, see you back here in a minute. Shouldn't take that long and the boxes aren't heavy."
Within five minutes, Phoebe was back with the box. Just as Liz thought, Phoebe passed with flying colors.
Liz sent Phoebe to unpack a shipment, then went to find Kira. She found her tucked back in a corner by the dressing rooms, talking on her phone.
"Oh jeez, hold on. What do you want, Liz?" Kira was obviously not pleased with being interrupted.
Liz repressed the urge to fire her on the spot and instead gave her the same instruction she'd given to Phoebe. "Huh? Yeah, okay. Whatever. Tiff, you still there? Yeah, I gotta go to some stupid storeroom to get hangers. Ugh, this job is so stupid. I'm telling you, I'm only here for the discount. As soon as the season ends, I'm outta here."
Liz silently agreed then went back to helping Kyle and Tracey at the cash registers.
Kira walked to the back of the store, through the dressing rooms, and out the employee entrance. The hallway stretched to both sides, just wide enough for the delivery guys to roll the various carts, dollies, and small pallet jacks through with the orders for the stores along this side of the mall. The walls were painted white, but they'd suffered over the years, most were streaked with black marks and scuffs from all the boxes that had rolled through.
Kira made the right turn, never once stopping her conversation. When she got to the T-Junction she turned right again. Both the sound of her voice and the signal on her cell phone faded as she walked further down the wrong hallway.
Liz and the rest of the crew responded to the police the same way; Kira had left to go to the storeroom and never came back. Corporate sent their safety officer down to give the usual speech about how important the buddy system was and to report any suspicious-looking shoppers to mall security immediately, and Liz went back to making the storeroom runs herself.
When I first heard about "The Backrooms" I was deeply unsettled. The idea of these in-between spaces that go on indefinitely...just... *shivers*
Anyway, have you heard of The Backrooms? Click the picture above to go to the Wikipedia page and check them out. Then come back and tell me how you might use these "fictional(?)" spaces in a story. Share your ideas below.
That's all for now. Thank you so much for stopping by. See you tomorrow with another spine-tingler. Sending light & love,