The Escalator Monster

“If you don’t get off fast enough, it’ll pull you in and eat you!”

My older sister doesn’t remember telling me this, but I sure do. In a two-floor mall in Virginia, a rare sight for our family, I saw my first escalator. When you tell your eight(ish)-year-old brother about a creature that lives under a mode of transportation, it’s a sure fire way to get him to fear it for the rest of his life. 

So for a long time, I never used escalators. Fat as I am, I would’ve still rather taken the stairs. When you’re that young, all someone has to do is utter a phrase, raise their arms, and bend their fingers like claws and you’d be scared of anything.

Sure, it’s silly now, but the way those stairs seem to fold flat into nothing, as if below the creaking machinery’s precipice there hid a world we’d never understand, always awed me. Where the floor ended and those riveted automatons began, ridges overlaid into the metal like tears from the fine talons of a beast. The way the top and bottom halves, right before the black and yellow stripes, always loomed like an unhinged jaw ready to snap. Even in high school, innate cynic I’d become, when presented with an escalator, I’d just freeze.

“If you don’t get off fast enough, it’ll pull you in and eat you!” 

I got laughed at, sure, but whenever my friends stepped onto that moving metal and rose out of view, I’d always have to resist the urge to pull them back.

No, you’re not listening! It’s going to get you!

Thanks to a few years of compartmentalization and forced exposure, I can safely say that the escalator monster does not eat pasty fat white kids from the sticks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dealt with my irrational fear, but every time I step on one, my mind only can only wander back to what must lurk in the empty space in the endlessly folding stairs.

snatch snatch
gobble gobble
chomp chomp
gulp

Surely the breathing room in the machinery could fit the reach of two clawed hands as they pulled a weary shopper down into the dark depths of a cavernous maw.

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