“Don’t they have that exact same egg in the window over at Macy’s?”
I glanced at the window display which Mary had stopped to stare at. There sat an enormous iridescent green egg amid gilded branches, smartly dressed mannequins, and products that Macy’s wished to push for the holiday weekend.
“I think I read about that,” I said. “There’s some kind of social awareness project of something. I’ve seen the eggs all over town. Just about every store has one. I think it might be some charity organization, I forget what the article said, but it’s supposed to symbolize life or something. Either way, I think they look stupid. It’s just some group managing to sucker a bunch of stores into spending money on something else that just goes into a landfill when the holidays are over.”
“Wow Brenda, you’re cynical,” Mary said, at least she added a smile.
I came to a stop in front of the window.
“Cynical? Come on Mary, think about it. Some group decided to build all these things, probably with child labor in some third world hell hole and then they show up at all these stores with some song and dance about the symbolism of the egg and how all the stores should share the same symbol for unity; it’s just a marketing ploy or possibly some group looking to suck cash from the stores because they’re too stupid to realize it’s a gimmick.”
“Well I think they’re pretty and it’s probably a nice cause,” Mary said.
Her eyes flashed and her lips thinned, daring me to naysay her. I almost did and quickly did an about face in my mind. Why was I escalating something this stupid into a fight? It was just some dumb window display; it hadn’t cost me a penny so why did I care if it was a scam or something of value? I had to do something to defuse this. I reached out and placed my hand on her upper arm and smiled.
“Yeah, you’re right. They are kind of pretty. The iridescent color does make them kind of fun to look at. Maybe I’m overthinking this.”
The bulwark of Mary’s grimace retreated into a soft, almost-smile.
“It’s just a holiday display after all,” she said.
“You’re right,” I said and pulled her in for a hug. After a moment’s hesitation she returned the embrace. I kissed her and when she enthusiastically participated I knew the stupid almost-fight had been averted.
“Tell you what,” I said, pulling back to arm’s length. “Let’s go in and do some shopping. Maybe there’s another egg inside and we can see it up close.”
An actual smile lifted the corner of Mary’s mouth. “Yeah, that would be…”
Her mouth hung open and her eyes went wide. I turned to see what had affected her and witnessed the egg, which now had a bright yellow light shining through a seam around it’s middle, spring fully open. The egg hinged open to form two halves like a flower revealing its stamen. Inside the egg, standing like Venus on her scallop shell, was another mannequin. It was dressed in a shimmering gold outfit with an outrageous headdress. Hands on hips it stood like haughty supermodel demanding our adoration.
“Now that is an attention grabber,” I said.
The mannequin moved. It pivoted its torso slightly to face us and the headdress began to glow with a greenish light. The light grew brighter and like a spotlight it projected a beam of light through the window toward us. I heard Mary gasp.
The light cut off and I saw that the window glass was missing in a ragged oval in front of the mannequin. Screams reached me from both directions and I turned toward Mary, hoping for some input. She was no longer standing beside me. The ground next to me was scorched and deformed as if it had melted. In the middle of the heat scar lay a charred skeleton.
“Mary,” my scream joined the chorus of agony echoing through the shopping district.
Smashing glass jolted me from my pain. The mannequin, it clearly was no mere mannequin, had smashed the remainder of the window and was stepping through to the sidewalk. Its headdress began to glow once more and it pointed at me. I ran.
I joined the frantic masses running in every direction on the boulevard. Beams of green death lanced out from a hundred windows. We didn’t stand a chance.