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Westfield Arcade Sample Pages

Westfield Arcade Sample Pages

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Published by Andy Hunt
The first few pages of my upcoming novel, The Final Day at Westfield Arcade
The first few pages of my upcoming novel, The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

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Published by: Andy Hunt on Jun 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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January 6, 1997
Scattered snowflakes drift in the morning air like ash as a four-beater, late-80smodel Buick LeSabre pulls into the parking lot outside of Westfield Mall in Indianapolis,Indiana. Leaving fresh tire tracks in the light snow dust sprinkled on the asphalt, the car 
cuts through the expansive lot, on a direct path towards the mall‟s entrance. This early in
 the morning, a full thirty minutes before the mall opens, the LeSabre is the only sign of life outside the mall--there are no other cars anywhere to be seen, no pedestrianswandering about, no shoppers waiting outside the entrance for the mall to open.The car pulls nose-in into one of the empty vertical parking spaces that align theedge of the mall and idles in the spot for a few seconds, brake lights illuminated, tailpipespewing plumes of foggy exhaust. The brake lights go dead and the exhaust cloud slowly
dissolves as the car is turned off. A man emerges from the car, slamming the driver‟s
side door shut behind him. Bundled up in a heavy parka with a fur-lined hood pulled
over his head, he trudges up to the mall‟s entrance and enters through a revol
ving door.
Directly inside the mall‟s entrance, Westfield Mall‟s night security guard sits on a
metal folding chair. Scrolling through the contacts on his silver Nokia flip phone withone hand, he gives a disinterested look up when he hears the revolving door rotating onits hinges. His face widens into a grin upon seeing the man in the parka.
“Look at what the cat dragged in,” he says, flipping his phone shut and walkingover. He‟s a younger guy
--blonde-tipped hair spiked with gel, earrings in both ears,
looking like someone straight out of N‟Sync or Backstreet Boys or one of the other hundreds of boy bands dominating the current music charts. “Mike Mayberry. The manof the hour.”
 The security guard reaches Mike and extends an open palm to him. Mike looks at
the palm, then looks back up to the security guard‟s face. He tentatively slaps the open
 palm. The greeting looks about as awkward as one would expect a high five between athirty-seven year old man and someone half his age to look.
we go,” the young guard says, still smiling. “So today‟s the big day,huh?”
“Yeah,” Mike says, unzipping his parka, shaking free of his hood. “Today‟s the big day, all right.”
“Damn. You feeling nervous?”
“Not really.”
 Mike looks at him.
“Sad?” He thinks about it for a moment. “Yeah. Of course I‟m sad.”
 The guard nods once, a quick bob of the head. He opens his mouth to saysomething but is interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone. He looks at the number displayed on the phone, then looks back at Mike.
“Shit, I gotta take this,” he says. “But good luck today. I hope it goes well.”
2The security guard answers the phone and begins speaking into it as he returns to
his metal folding chair. Mike turns away from the guard and walks down the mall‟s main
corridor, which is as dead as the exterior at this early hour. A light melody plays fromthe speakers hidden throughout the mall as Mike walks past the metal security gates that
cover the entrances of the darkened storefronts that line both sides of mall‟s mainwalkway. At the end of the walkway, he reaches Westfield Mall‟s food court. T
he foodcourt is a sea of empty tables with chairs resting legs-up on top of them.At the far end of the food court, nestled away in the corner, is a lonestorefront. Westfield Arcade, reads the neon sign above the entrance. WhenMike reaches the metal security gate that covers the entrance to Westfield Arcade,he fishes around in the pockets of his parka and finds his set of keys. He fits oneof the keys into the gate, unlocks it, and slides the gate upwards.The overhead lights inside Westfield Arcade are off, but he can still make out thesilhouettes of the eighty-
four video game cabinets that comprise the arcade‟s current
selection. Each one of the arcade games is powered off, and everything inside the arcadeis eerily silent and still.Mike walks towards the back of the arcade. Like slumbering giants, freestandingarcade cabinets with darkened monitors are all around him. Some of the games he passesare of the modern design, with bucket seats resembling a car interior and steering wheelsmounted to the cabinets. Others have plastic machine guns and pistols mounted onto thecontrol panel. One game he passes, Hang-On by Sega, has a replica plastic motorbike for a player to sit on while playing. Towards the rear of the arcade--where old video gamesgo to die--are the leftover relics from the golden age of video games in the early 1980s.These games are of the simpler variety, most with nothing more than a joystick and a few buttons on the control panel below the monitor.In back of the arcade, sandwiched between the Missile Command and Asteroidscabinets, there is a door. When Mike reaches it, he opens it a crack. He snakes his arminside and feels around the wall until his fingers find the main power switch for WestfieldArcade. He flips the switch on.And just like that, the arcade comes to life.Every one of the games in the arcade powers on at the exact same moment. Thearcade is illuminated with light from the 24-color display monitors of the older gamesand the 3000-color LED monitors of the newer games. The arcade is flooded with sound--monotone blips and bleeps and archaic sound effects emitting from the older machinesin back, Dolby-enhanced explosions and synthesized voices drowning them out from thesurround sound speakers of the newer machines in front.Mike Mayberry has been opening Westfield Arcade in the mornings for the pastseventeen years of his life, and this one moment of the day, the moment when everygame in the arcade powers on simultaneously, never fails to give him goose bumps.Mike closes the door in the rear of the arcade and walks back towards the front.Each game he passes stirs up emotions and rekindles memories from the nearly twodecades he has worked at Westfield Arcade. He passes the Pac Man machine, andremembers the craze that swept the nation when it was released in the early 1980s--everyteenager at the time had at least a couple Pac Man t-shirts, every grade schooler took their 

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