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)