First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
All three Livs were staring at Abby. Abby was feeling rather like, if she could, she would stare at herself.
“Are you talking about – collecting?” Liv-Old looked a little horrified. “Do you know how obvious you would be?”
“Do you know how obvious we are anyway? We’re alive, we’re not plastic, we’re not robots; we stick out pretty much every place we go. Having five or six or an army of us, well. It wouldn’t be Aslan, but it might give us a chance.”
“But that means,” Liv-1 said softly, “that we have to go into the dangerous places again. We have to risk losing you.”
“Well, I have a feeling that if I stay in one place too long, the dangerous things will just come here. The trick is getting people to come along with us. not just Livs, but Sandies and Vics and if we find any other Abbies – all of us.”
She looked pointedly at Liv-Old. The woman shook her head.
“What I can do for you, I can do better here. I can send people your way. I can keep an eye out for more people, and pull them out of danger. And I can scout out trouble. I’m a little past my adventuring days, I’m afraid.” The smile she gave them was sad but sincere. Abby bit her lip, hard.
“All right.” She gave Liv-old a tight hug. “Take care of yourself. I – I worry.”
“Of course you do.”. Liv-Old’s voice was unsteady. “But there’s lots of me. Look around. Take care of you, Abby.”
“I’ll do my best. I promise.”
There was nothing left to do, if they weren’t going to keep fretting at each other and repeating platitudes, but to grab the door, think firmly of answers, and open the door.
They stepped out into a small crowd of people. The crowd didn’t seem to notice them; they were wrapped up in their own conversation
Which… Apart from bring in French, sounded a whole lot like anything teenagers would be saying at home.
Well, as much as Abby could pick up, at least. There was a whole lot of names and eye-rolling, and something she was pretty sure was can you believe? Then there was those eyes! which was pretty obvious in any direction.
That was about as much as her French from high school let her follow, though. Keep left. Up and Left is the only way close to out. She tilted her head at the Livs and up they went.
The signs were all in French. The outfits were sort of 1920’s-like; at the very least, the three of them in their vests and hiking pants stuck out like sore thumbs.
The escalator, at least, was an escalator, but at the top, someone stopped and asked them a long and complicated question. Abby was about to simply shrug helplessly when Liv-2 pointed back down the escalator and towards the way they had come in.
“Just give directions,” she whispered. “Works every time.”
“Quelle est cette merde dont vous parlez?!”