Act Normal

Just be normal, I tell myself as I stretch my back as I stand up. Turning around, I gather my bags, carefully tucking the bag from the jewelry store between the sweaters I had actually purchased. It seemed as though everyone in the entire mall was watching me. They knew. They had to know. God, you can see it all over my face.

Bracing myself, I step into the stream of the crowd. I hate the mall. Everything is way too crowded. It drives me up a wall. There are too many people in such a small space. Too many people who could have seen what I’d done. Just then, I hear someone yelling. I can’t quite make out what they’re saying but I swear they said my name. My heart drops into my stomach.

I glance over my shoulder, quickly surveying the crowded room. I don’t recognize a single person. This can’t be right. I shake my head, telling myself someone was yelling at a different Charlie. Still feeling uneasy, I quicken my pace. After a few steps, I hear someone calling after me again. I make a beeline for the door.

I burst through the door and hurry into the parking lot. I can feel sweat gathering on my brow. Whoever was calling after me not only knows what I did, but they know my name. I need to get out of here. I walk briskly to my car, monitoring my speed as to not attract attention. I unlock the door and throw the bags into my back seat. I put the car into reverse and speed out of the lot, away from the scene.