The mall slumped off to one side of the highway, a corporate mirage on the edge of a searing-hot asphalt desert. It was connected to the hospital by means of an overpolished glass skyway, that only served to make the mall seem dated and the hospital seem desperate to be liked. Daily, a caravan of cancer patients and office drones traipsed the skyway on their way to the food court, lumbering inexorably toward the mall’s promise of wish fulfillment. Inside, the mall was indistinguishable from any of the other thousands of malls in America. Clerks hurried from stores, tucking their lanyards out of view and pulling their sweaters over their embroidered logos. The faint swish of thighs shoved into polyester hinted at retirees using the mall as a cheap alternative to a gym. Children dragged parents from store to store to argue about shoes and skirts, the parents blissfully oblivious that they would someday haunt the corridors alone, wishing someone would pick a fight with them about an ill-advised hat. It was late in the morning and the air conditioning was already struggling to keep out the Texas heat, which which seemed to swirl downward on a cloud of golden dust from the many desperately tinted skylights. Peter would never find what he needed here.