Holiday Shopping with a Smile

Libby’s famous smile flickers when she sees another woman smile from the opposite escalator with a wide, toothy grimace.

“A face only a mother would love,” she mutters, striding over to the next mall store with extended sales. She smiles at the cashier. He grins back, his ears vanishing behind a wall of gleaming teeth.

Forgetting everything now, she hurries back into a suddenly manic throng, passing from leer to leer as other shoppers direct her to the fire-lit house built with toys. Waifs grab her hands and pull her to an enormous, red man with a wide, open mouth.

(Written for Loren Eaton’s 2013 Advent Ghost Storytelling Fest)

7 thoughts on “Holiday Shopping with a Smile”

  1. Very nice. I read an article a while back about how American culture places a premium on both being happy and smiling. It also explained that the toothy grin so common in photographs is evolutionarily different from a smile that expresses happiness. It’s related to aggression and/or predation.

    Good, creepy, and fun.

  2. …He grins back, his ears vanishing behind a wall of gleaming teeth.

    Yikes. That’s where you got me. That’s where it went from weird to horrible, and I believed you the rest of the way down the rabbit hole. Nicely done.

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