They looked at the map for a minute. Well, Liv and Abby looked at the map, while Liv tried to explain Vic-French and Vic to each other, leading to Vic (Abby was mentally labelling her Vic-bitchy, but she’d probably be bitchy if she was left hanging to die from a freaking air mall, too) snapping, “Yes, there are many of us, I get that. The question is, why is she here? We don’t even like you.”
“Because-” something in the tone suggested that the Liv answering questions was probably Skinny-Liv, but Abby barely checked anymore, “-we need as many of us as possibly. We want to take on whatever’s killing Abbies.”
“So you’re looking to kill yourselves, is that it? Count me out. Someone’s already tried that, and I didn’t like it. I’ll stick with you ‘till you get out of this mall – or you won’t survive otherwise; this place is a hell hole – and then I’m out.”
“You could take Vic with you.” Abby turned around and made herself look out at the array of platforms. “Right. The health food store ought to be right there. Up one level and over one, that’s easy enough.” She started walking. “If you take French Vic with you, she’ll be out of the trouble. She didn’t really – she didn’t really sign up for this.”
“What, any of us did? But sure. You want one body less, I’m not gonna argue.”
“Abby, aren’t you-” Liv frowned at her. “But we need-”
“We do. I think we do, at least. But the thing is – Vic’s right. This is going to be dangerous.” She looked down slowly, looking at the bodies hanging here and there. Nobody else was moving, at least. And they weren’t *all* people she knew, or doppelgangers of people she knew but she saw two Kevins, and one that might have been another one, their faces sunken. “Deadly, maybe. And that means that we really should ask people, rather than just dragging them along. I mean. I mean-” She flailed. “I mean I don’t know. This isn’t a math problem. It’s not the sort of thing that comes with an easy answer. But someone is trying to kill me, and I’m trying not to – I don’t know.”
She sank down onto the bridge and put her hands over her face. After a moment, someone patted her shoulder. She didn’t look up. She didn’t want to see how much she’d disappointed her friends.
“Look.” The voice next to her ear wasn’t Liv. It was Vic. “I know this sucks for you. I don’t know what’s going on either, or why we all ended up in this mess-”
“We were running from you,” Abby snorted quietly into her hands.
“Well… ha. Okay, that makes sense. I was running from Sandy. So. I know it sucks. And I do appreciate you guys saving my life. I just – I’ve got it now, you know? And if I’m going to be stuck in here, I’m gonna find one of the relatively safe malls to retire in.”
“The last time we thought we had a safe mall, we found a dead Abby.” Liv’s mutter sounded more sullen than warning.
“Yeah, there’s been a couple of them. But sometimes that means the threat’s moved on. Well, maybe. So look, there’s the health-food store right there, and I think even I can make it that far before I fall over. And then – well, and then I’m gonna tell you everything I figured out, cause if you guys actually want to fight this thing – more power to you, ya know?”
Abby finally looked up. “You will?”
Vic’s smile wasn’t exactly kind, but it was hard to tell quite what she was going for on her wasted face. “Yeah. It’ll get rid of you faster, won’t it?”Want more?