Empty and Occupied

The shopping centre was empty; shop doorways stared out like vacant, unseeing eyes, the hum of escalators gliding up and down was non-existent and emptiness seemed to fill the building, worming its way into all the corners and gaps. Since it had closed for the night, the precinct was quiet and deserted like a ghost town.

Everywhere was engulfed in darkness except for the rare glimmer or artificial light from the street lamps outside, that had managed to poke its way through so that chinks of brightness illuminated the main courtyard where the majestic fountain stood, trickling slightly and dominating the space around it.

The faint smell of cleaning products wafted invisibly through the air as the rare creaks and groans made by the building were amplified a hundred times because of the night time hush. Sinister looking mannequins stood in shop windows, dressed for all occasions, frozen, giving off a ghostly feeling of eeriness.

Suddenly, the main doors clicked loudly and keys turned in locks as the silence slowly slipped away, instead being replaced by echoing footsteps punctured by the whistled tune of a radio jingle.

Gradually more movements and noises were resounding through the building as early morning shoppers purchased items and sipped coffee in the shopping centre restaurant. Bright electric lights glared down from the high ceiling and swarms of people bustled about. The aromas of fast food floated around, invading peoples' senses and mobile phone ringtones and chatter could probably be heard miles away.

Young children and toddlers shouted, screamed and cried while begging their mothers for loose change; their feet slapped across the floor as they ran to the courtyard centrepiece, their loud laughter interrupted by the clink of pennies as they threw shiny bronze coloured coins into the shallow water of the fountain where they glittered when they came to rest.

As automatic doors opened with high pitched 'dings' the shopping centre was crowded; buzzing with activity.