The Hidden Mall Part V

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

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Abigail frowned at the woman. “There’s a price for leaving something. A price for making something, and a price for taking something?”

“Oh, there always is. I’m just more honest about it than most.” The woman smiled cheerfully. “I’m not out to get you. I can assure you of that. I will return you safely to whence you came when your time here is over, and never will you say that I did not give you a good deal. That is not the sort of shop that this is – although you have the smell of you that you may have gotten too close to one of those. Not Anto, no. Anto is mischievous and difficult, but that is all.”

There were too many loopholes in that little speech. Abigail wanted to say this is where the villain will end up saying ‘ha-ha, but I did not say when your time here would be over.

Liv had other ideas. “I want to make a book!”

“Liv… Liv, come on. We’ve got to get back to the mall before your mother calls.”

“Oh, worry not. You will get back in plenty of time for your mother’s visit.

“I’ve seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you know,” Abigail informed the woman, feeling a little silly. “Time can take a long time here and nothing at all there, can’t it?”

“This is not a Hell Dimension, although that was a very clever reference,” the woman informed her gently. “No, this will take no more than five or six minutes. The trick is, then I will have the book.”

“I can do that! I love this sort of thing. I watched a PBS Special on it! Come on, Abigail. Come on.”

Abigail sighed. “You make a book, I’ll leave a book. How’s that?”

“Oh, you’re no fun. Fiiiine. How do I make a book?”

“Here are the end-boards and here is the book block, all ready for you. Now pick out a color of cloth for the covers, there, and one prick of blood, and end papers, those are good, yes.” The woman slid the prick of blood in so smoothly that Abigail nearly missed it. Liv, caught up in the picking of the cloth – lavender – and the papers – a lavender and silver swirl – barely noticed. “And now we glue and we put together and you say over it, operishlian, ja-ren-thisial, Olivia, operish-ial.

“Operishlian, ja-ren-thisial, Olivia, operish-ial,” Liv repeated dutifully. “There, it’s done, already?”

It had been a little more than five or six minutes, but not all that long. Abigail had pulled the Nancy Drew book out of her bag – and it had been just long enough that she’d started to regret the choice. She’d been so thrilled when she picked it up at the book sale! She’d read all of these when she was little, but sold them back to the book store, and then they’d been gone by the time she changed her mind.

She was not going to chant anything at a stack of paper, though. And she didn’t like the looks of any of the books on the shelves.

What kind of bookstore made you do something? That seemed a little pushy, a lot questionable.

“And there.” The blue woman bowed. “Thank you for your contribution to my library. And you, miss, for yours. If you would like, you can go further in, or you can venture out through Anto’s door.” She tilted her head behind her at the doorway.


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