The Hidden Mall: Blood, Thicker Than

There was blood everywhere.  Abigail fell down onto the floor and yanked off her cardigan, wrapping it around her ankle quickly.  Too late, she realized she’d let go of both Livs.

“Liv-” she called, but the dirty one was chasing after the clean one, leaving a trail of blood behind her, too.

Somewhere in her bag she had something better for this than a sweater she’d actually been fond of.  She dug through her bag one-handed, holding pressure on the wound with the other hand.  There.  The scarf wasn’t the best thing, but that and the Kleenex and she had a bandage of sorts.   She pressed the Kleenex against the wound until the blood seemed to slow, then checked.

It had somehow not gotten her tendon, just ripped  a gash in the side of her ankle.  She pressed a clean Kleenex over the wound and tied the scarf firmly.  She’d have to find someplace open to grab something better from – assuming she could find a Liv, preferably both.  She wasn’t going home without at least one of them.

She followed the drips of blood down the back of the mall, noticing how quiet it was back here, how still. Maybe they really were between worlds.  Wouldn’t that be –

no, after today, however long today turned out to be, nothing again was going to seem too strange.  Everything was going to pale in comparison to the plastic people, or the creepy place with the clown faces.

She heard the Livs before she saw them. “Get off!  let go of me, you miserable impostor!”

“No, you are staying here.  You can’t go opening a door!  There’s no way of knowing if Abby will find us if we go through a door, and I am not leaving without her.  You may have drunk the kool-aid, but I didn’t!”

Abigail hurried, trying to ignore the pain in her leg.  “Hey, you two!  Cut it out!  None of us are going to get out of here if we fight.  Come on, Liv.  Come on, Liv.  No fighting.  Liv-one, what were you trying to do?”

“The Beavers.  The guy at the spice store promised us, and so far all we’ve seen is horrible things.  I want to see Mr. and Mrs. Beaver!  I want my Narnia.  We rescued the plastic people, come on!”

“I do not sound like that,” complained the dirtier Liv.

“I’m starting to think you were right about the Kool-aid,” Abigail muttered.  “All right, all together then.  Liv, take my left hand, Liv, take my right hand, and there we go, Liv, open the door.”

They both reached for it.  It was clean Liv who got to it first.

Abigail was trying not to think about how Liv – her Liv, her friend who had been with her through things almost as bad as sharks and plastic people long before this mall – had been trying to leave her behind.  She tried not to think about the stranger Liv, and what the Abby who went with her was going to be feeling.  She had to get them out of there.  Second-Liv might be more responsible than first-Liv right now, but Second-Liv had no attachment to either of them.

There were so many things Abigail was trying to consider – two Livs, the pain in her leg, the blood trail they’d left, that Liv-Dirty was still leaving – that she almost didn’t process where they were.

Then the clean Liv whooped and tried to pull away from her.  “We did it!  We did it!  We-”

Dirty Liv slapped a hand over her mouth.  “Even if we did, even if you’re right, shhhh!  Can’t you see it’s winter?

Abigail looked over and around the Livs.  They were standing in a forest, in the middle of a forest, near a lantern pole.  And the snow was falling down slowly and, from the looks of it, quite intently.


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One thought on “The Hidden Mall: Blood, Thicker Than

  1. Right! Sharks are at least capable of causing damage, so definitely not wholly illusions. Good on them for escaping with relatively minor injuries — well, at least to Abigail. Dirty Liv’s injury is unspecified but seems to be bothering her less.

    Dear (clean) Liv: dirty Liv has a point, and you may want to stop being quite so selfish, or at least putting in some noticeable effort rather than letting the candy rule. (Now, if you can’t stop the candy, that’s a whole separate problem, which likely means you get tied to something and watched carefully until it wears off.)

    OK, they found something that looks like Narnia, still in the grip of the White Queen. Can they remember enough of what the Pevensies did to fix the problem? Or is this a lamppost and snow that is completely unrelated — say Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” — that’s going to mess with their heads for a while?

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