Years ago now, on Christmas Eve, my mom and I drove to the shopping mall to pick up some stocking stuffers as last minute gifts.
The Sun was setting, but had not reached the horizon yet.
The sky had that wintery look if that can happen in Florida.
It was a cool day and the parking lot was quite empty.
I was able to park 3 vehicles down from a side entrance door to J.C. Penney's.
The rest of the building was a brick wall, an outside sidewalk, and the parking lot.
The lack of crowds at this location was why I chose to enter there, shop, and leave.
It was a long walk on either side to reach the back of the mall entrance and another shop had we chosen to visit.
Mom and I entered the store and immediately spotted what we wanted to purchase, walked to the cash register and stood in line in front of 2 other women who were on the same mission we were, last minute gifts.
There was one cashier waiting on us.
There was no one else around until the door we had entered through opened and 2 tall blonde women walked in pushing an umbrella style stroller, the type that had no spaces for baby accessories such as a diaper bag.
The women appeared to be twins with long hair parted in the middle.
They were dressed in black pants with dark tops, no buttons or jewelry.
They slowed down next to us and nodded their heads as if indicating they wanted us to look at the baby in the stroller.
This is where my mom and I both felt odd.
The baby was covered up to the neck with a plain colored blanket.
Only the head, which was the size of a large orange and appeared to rest on top of the blanket, was visible.
It had no hair, no visible ears, mouth, or nose.
There, looking up at us, were huge slanted almond shaped black eyes.
Mom and I kept looking at the baby, back up at the blonde women, and then up at each other once again.
The women had the same shaped eyes as the baby in the stroller, but slightly smaller, with very pale skin, and we now noticed that their hair was quite thin.
Mom told me to tap the woman in front of us as we had been talking to her while waiting to pay for our purchases, and tell her to take a look at the baby.
I reached out and placed my hand on the woman's shoulder.
I looked up at her, then ahead to see the cashier standing dead still, staring straight ahead as if in a trance.
The woman I had my hand on was unaware of her surroundings and this included the touch of my hand on her shoulder.
One other person in front of her was as still as the others.
No one was moving.
Now we noticed that the girls were pushing the stroller past us to the children's department just behind us.
They turned right into that aisle.
I told my mom I was going after them as mom was saying:
Is there something wrong with that baby?
Its eyes were too big and it was too small to be staring at us like that.
I walked quickly down the main aisle, then turned right into the childrens department we knew the blonde women had pushed the stroller down.
There were no other people in sight.
This was a small department so when I walked in, I could see all around.
The women and stroller were nowhere to be seen.
They were just gone.
The only exit was the one they had come through as we had.
I rushed back to my mom to discover everyone was back in motion.
The lady in front of us was paying for her items, the woman in front of her had already gone.
I asked her if she had seen the blonde women and told her they had to be twins.
She did not know what we were talking about.
We asked the cashier and received the same response.
This situation became even stranger as my sense of reading my surroundings was confused or contorted somehow, as was my mom's.
We both left through the same door we had entered approximately 40 minutes before.
Mom continued repeating her question to me:
What was wrong with the baby?
When Mom gets nervous, she laughs quietly.
She had begun to snicker.
Mom stepped off the wide sidewalk to the road and began to cross and headed for our car.
She is tiny and could walk faster than me.
I was also carrying our bags as I moved toward the curb.
I heard my name called, turned to look over my left shoulder and there, leaning against the brick wall just a few feet from the door, stood 3 men in black suits.
They had hats on, sunglasses, and one briefcase sitting on the sidewalk.
These men were all different heights.
They were a few feet from the double glass door.
I believe that somehow, telepathically?
I was asked to step back to them.
I did so.
When I reached within 2' or so of them I could see that their skin appeared like pie dough.
Each had big dark eyes under sunglasses.
What hair I could see was dark.
I heard a statement coming from one of them.
I say one, but never noticed their mouths moving to speak.
I heard a single male voice coming from their direction.
I was told and knew in no uncertain terms:
You are never to tell anyone what you were just shown while you were in the store.
Do you understand?
I felt unsafe, and had a strong desire to get to my mom so I turned, walked off the curb, and headed toward the car.
I asked my mom if she saw the men and she said yes, and asked what they wanted.
I looked back to see that the men were gone.
There was absolutely nowhere for these black suited men to go because the door had been locked behind us for the night, we could see in every direction and these men would have to walk quite a way to reach the parking lot at the other end of the building.
We would have spotted them leaving.
Where did they go and who were they?