The walkway dropped, stopped, and shifted. Abby grabbed tightly to both sides of the walkway and started moving as quickly as her rocky footing would allow. “Hurry,” she gasped. “¡Arriba, Arriba! ¡Ándale, Ándale!”
That was not going to help, but it was all she could think of at the moment. She pitched herself off the walkway and onto another square, this one seeming much sturdier. As soon as she landed, she scrambled to get out of the way for her friends and hauled herself to her feet.
Liv was off the falling bridge; Liv was almost there. She lept, turned, and grabbed Vic, catching the last girl as she leapt from the dropping walkway.
“We.” Abby panted. “Need.”
“-to get out of here,” Liv finished. “Hey, we found the map.”
Both of them stood up a little straighter. That wasn’t the other Liv; it wasn’t their Vic. “Where?” Abby croaked.
“Help-” It came from-
“Oh, god.” Abby swallowed. “That’s under us.”
Liv was already getting herself down on the platform, lying face-down with her head sticking out over the edge. “Shit,” she muttered. “That’s nasty. It’s ah – hi, Vic. It’s a Vic, and she’s hung, sort of. Urm. Liv, grab my feet.”
Liv grabbed one of Liv’s feet while Abby, fighting down nausea, grabbed the other. Liv scooted closer and closer to the edge, wriggling until she was off of the platform from her hips up. Abby braced herself as well as she could and held on to her friend’s ankle with both hands, teeth firmly into her lower lip.
“There! Okay, here, here, I’ve got you, don’t flail, you know what they say about lifeguards, right? Don’t kill your lifeguard. Okay, that’s not actually what they say, but I’m going to go with it. Liv! Abby! Can you give us a bit of a pull? I’m pretty strong, but I’m not that strong.”
Abby glanced over at the Liv new to her. She started explaining to Vic-French what she was doing, all the while helping Abby slowly pull Liv back up onto the platform. When Liv was back on as far as her torso, Liv let go of her ankle, leaving Abby to serve as brace, and reached down, helpling her clone to pull someone up from above.
Abby took a step back and then another, her stomach roiling. As another Vic was hauled onto the platform, the hooks in her shoulders became obvious, the way she’d been – been hung out to dry, Abby’s mind helpfully offered. Been left dangling from the platforms. She looked weak, sick, and patchy.
A hand caught Abby as she tried to back up again. She started but managed not to jump; Vic-French had just saved her from the edge of the platform and a very long fall to her death.
“I… thank you. Merci. Thank you.” She swallowed hard and worked on the matter at hand. “Vic, I assume you know Vic. Liv, Liv, and I’m Abby.”
“Of course you are. Who else would be falling off a platform in what is clearly a killing room? All of you Abbies are a little too close to suicidal for my tastes — and don’t put that one me, even the Abbies who have never met me are like that.”
Vic-French muttered something that Abby didn’t catch. Abby rolled her eyes.
“I can see you’re not too badly off if you’re being snarky, bitchy, and rude. Here, let’s see.” She pulled one of the weird fruits from her bag and handed it to Vic-hanged, along with a bottle of water. “The fruit hasn’t done anything weird even to Liv—”
“-and neither has the water. I don’t think either are the best for starvation and dehydration, but I’m short on soup and Gatorade right now so try not to puke on my shoes.”
“Abby!” One of the Livs was mortified. “She—”
“Yeah. I know. And Liv just saved her life. Besides, I don’t like heights, I’m hungry, and — and I’m tired of places that are trying to kill me.” They had found the damn map. Abby laughed bitterly as the thing she was leaning on, what Liv had said, all of it, finally came into focus: A mall map. “Damnit. Well, maybe we can find some Gatorade.”Want more?
• She lept¹, turned, and grabbed Vic, catching the last girl as she leapt² from the dropping walkway.
there are twenty million different ways to point out to someone that they made a typo, how do you manage to always pick the ones that make you a jerk