The Hidden Mall: Ropes 🌱 Vines

First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
Previous: The Hidden Mall: Moving On

The Hidden Mall has a landing page here: http://www.lynthornealder.com/verses/the-hidden-mall/

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The door stuck at halfway open, but the gap was wide enough to slip through, so Abby led her Livs through the crack.

They pushed through a curtain of Vines and flowers and into a vine- covered beauty parlor.  The door was right next to an old hair dryer bonnet, vines dangling from it like a  hairstyle.

 “Or at least it’s not making my skin break out.”

“Let’s not try that more,” the other muttered.  “This reminds me of Sears  You know, the photo place ought to be right over -”

“-There,” agreed the other one.  Abby wasn’t sure if she liked them getting along well enough to talk in sync.  It could mean her Liv was getting better – or it could mean Skinny Liv was getting worse.

“Okay, so we’re in a tree place.  That’s not – well, as long as we don’t find ‘Seymore, Feed me,’ Liv don’t eat the fruit, damnit…”

There was – or had been – something the size of a mango hanging off of a vine.  Now half of it was in Liv’s mouth – her Liv, she was pretty sure.

Liv grinned at her through a mouthful of juice.  “It’s tasty.  Really tasty.”

“Well,” Skinny Liv sighed, yanking the fruit away from Liv-1, “we give her half an hour to see if she starts acting strange – er – and then we can eat something if she doesn’t.”

“…All right,” Abby agreed reluctantly.  She took Liv’s hand again.  “Let’s see if we can find a place to rest.”

“Sears sold beds,” Skinny Liv offered, a little uncertainly.  “Didn’t they?”

“Well, let’s find out.”

The sales floor was covered in vines, but wide paths still ran between racks.  They didn’t like the tile, Abby thought.

The clothing was still there, as far as they could tell, under the vines.  Abby stopped and grabbed a jacket from the middle of a rack, shaking off the dead leaves on it.  A large frog jumped off when she shook it, but it was a nice jacket, frogs or not.  She tied it around her waist and handed two similar ones to the Livs – in different colors, just in case.

The elevators were not running, of course, but light poured in from a skylight.  

“You know,” Skinny Liv began slowly, “Sears are anchor stores, right?  That means they have an exit.”

“I,” Abby said firmly, “want to sleep.  Once I’ve slept, I can  – damnit, are we going to have to tie Liv down?”

“Hey!”  Her Liv glared at her.

Abby glared right back.  “It’s not like you haven’t run off and left us more than once.  And nearly died.  That candy is making you do stupid things, I know it’s not you, but it’s like you’re drugged.”

“Oh, look ‘spice up your love life.”  Skinny Liv picked up a set of “romance bondage” from the counter by the lingerie.  “This ought to do it.”

“Hey!  I am not getting into some sort of kinky incest thing with – with myself!”

“No,” Abby snorted.  “I’m tying you up.  And it’s not kinky.  It’s just that I want to sleep, Liv.”

Liv sulked, but Abby wasn’t going to budge, and eventually, by the time they found the bed department, she looked like she’d given in.

Then Liv-2 and Abby turned their backs for a moment and she was gone.

“Damnit!”  Liv-2 went chasing her.  Abby let them go, taking a moment longer than she really needed to to tidy up three of the bed displays . There were vines and plants up here too, but not all of the beds were overgrown, and there were a couple really comfortable-feeling mattresses here.

She felt weird, getting ready to go to sleep in a mall, but this place really didn’t look like anyone was likely to come up on them and tell them they were bad for business.

“I wonder what happened here?”  Liv-2 was hauling Liv back to them, using a grip on her hair and on her wrists that looked pretty mean.  “Hey be gentle with your… yourself, there.”

“She’s not me, she’s a potential me that made some bad decisions.  Like this mall is a potential mall that made some bad choices.  Like, uh, planting kudzu in their greenhouse-like garden section there.  I don’t think the fruit is affecting her, by the way.  I think it’s ust…. well, she didn’t want to be tied up.”

“I don’t want to be tied up!” Liv agreed.  “Abby, what’s gotten into you?  It’s like you don’t trust me anymore.”

“You ran off and left us.  Twice.  And come on, every other Liv we meet, their Abby is gone.  It makes me antsy.  And… come on, Liv.”  She sat down on a bed with a flop.  “We’re in a strange world in a dead mall with a doppelganger of you and we have no idea how to get home. The only food is questionable, the people we meet are even more questionable – present company excepted, sorry, Liv-”

“Nah, I’m probably questionable, too.”  Skinny Liv shrugged.

“And I don’t want to lose you, okay?  We have yet to meet a single other me, and that’s freaking me out a little, okay?  I don’t want you just, being lost out there and me dead.”

“Okay, okay.”  Liv squirmed in Liv’s arms.  “Tie me up.  I won’t go anywhere.  I promise.  Okay?”

“Okay.”  Abby felt a surge of relief.  She could actually sleep.  “Thank you.”

“Just remember this when I want to tie you up some day.”

 
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