The Hidden Mall: Into the Woods

“If we see a faun,” Abigil muttered, “I’m running away.  Just so you know.  All right, so, we’re going to go…”  She consulted her mental map.  “This way.”  She jutted her chin. “And we’re going to go quietly, Liv-one, because Liv-two is right.  It’s snowing.  We want to move quietly.  Liv-two, we need to deal with that wound, okay?  Snow tracks are bad enough, but you’re trailing blood.  And we want to move fast, because we’re going to freeze to death if we don’t move.”

They took a hurried moment, Abigail holding tightly to Liv-one’s hand, while Liv-two cleaned up her wound – a scrape high on her leg – and tied it with half of the scarf Abigail had used.  She cut the scarf with a long, nasty knife – Abigail didn’t ask where she’d gotten it.  She wasn’t sure she wanted to know how long that Liv had been in the malls. Or, for that matter, where Abigail-two had gotten to.

And then they hiked.  They were moving in a mostly-straight line, not because Abigail thought it was a good idea, but because the trees were way too dense to move through otherwise.  Once, when she thought she saw an opening, the trees seemed to shift, and the opening was gone.

The only positive, as far as she could tell, was that the snow was falling fast enough that their tracks were obscured.  There was no wind, either, which was a blessing of sorts.  

She was still pretty sure they were going to freeze to death.  Wherever they were didn’t seem to have doors, didn’t even seem to be a mall.

“Hunh.”  Dirty-Liv stopped and frowned. “Did you see that?”

“S-s-s-ee what?” Clean-Liv was clinging close to Abigail.

“Oh, come on, if I’m not that cold, neither are you.  Did you see something moving in the trees?”

“There’s no room for anything to move,” Clean-Liv complained.  “It’s all packed together like – hunh.”  She frowned at the trees.  “Abigail, do you see that?”

“What?”  Abigail hated the way she wanted to snap at her friend, and the way her heart sank at Liv’s did-you-see.

“There, between the trees, or maybe in the trees.”

“Don’t tell me it’s a beaver,” Dirty-Liv groaned.

“No, but it’s, look.”

They looked.

Abigail frowned.  

It was a doorway.  In a tree.  It was a little small – all of them would have to duck – but it was definitely a doorway.

“Well,” Abigail muttered, “at least it’ll get us out of the snow.”  She tilted her head.  “Go ahead and open it, I guess.”


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One thought on “The Hidden Mall: Into the Woods

  1. Hm, still wondering if this is Narnia. I know it’s not right, but the first thing that came to mind on them finding the door was “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Or they’re about to fall into Wonderland.

    Abigail literally has her hands full — one Liv hand in each hand — and is increasingly frustrated with especially clean Liv. How long before Abigail snaps, and what form will that take?

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