Hidden Mall 48: Nest

They scrambled on hands and knees through the doorway, one of the Livs making squeaking noises of distress until they were well through, until the other one took a machete to the last hand grasping for them and all three of them swung the door shut.

This likely saved them some headaches, as when Abby looked up above her head, she realized that they had come in just under a mass of briers and as they settled in, the briers closed behind them.

Abby swallowed nervously  -but there was a path opening in front of them.

And the floor, which might have been uncomfortable to crawl on if it had been an ordinary mall floor, was instead something soft and just a little bit squishy, like cork.

“Onward,” Abby decided.  “Come on, maybe we can find a rabbit.”

There was no “up” to choose, but after a little while, there were a couple left and right turns.  Abby took the left the first time but at the second one, one of the Livs made a noise of complaint.

“Tired,” she pointed out.  Abby had to agree with her.

“And,” the other Liv added, “nothing around here nasty so far.  Nothing is …. shaky or falling, either.”

“Urgh, don’t remind me.”  Abby took the right instead and, after a couple dozen feet, found that it started to slope upwards.

They had sloped up probably the height of the whole briar tangle by the time they reached a room.  It was nearly tall enough for them to stand comfortably in, and along the walls there were racks of cozy bedding

Did we find- did we find the Linens N’ Things of the … rabbit world?” Liv offered.  “Or maybe like beavers…”

“Well, we found something,” Abby agreed.  She slipped from the main room into a back room.  “And I found a stock room. It’s a mess -” It was more than a mess; it looked like someone had grabbed things and thrown them around until they had either found what they wanted or given up “-but it’s only got one door, and we could probably block that.”

“I haven’t heard anyone else, have you?”  Liv looked around, head tilted. “You’d think sound would carry in a place like this.”

“You would,” Abby agreed, “but I don’t hear anything at all.  It’s kind of creep-” she stifled a yawn. “-creepy. Well…”

Liv snorted. “It would be creepy, you mean, if it didn’t just seem nice compared to the place we just came from.”

“Yeah.”  She huffed.  “Yeah, pretty much that.  It’s nice… for a little sleep, at least.”

It took them just a few minutes to build a bed.  When was the last time they’d slept? Abby pulled down some pillows, noting a cute human-like pattern hopping across the cases.  Had it been the place with the fruit? No, no it had been the place with the older Liv.

She shuddered.  If the Livs wandered off – and they could, couldn’t they?  Leave her and go off on their own together – she’d be stuck somewhere, just her, living off what she could find and not able to move on to another mall.

She wondered how many of them – Abbies and Livs, Vics and Sandies – had died that way.  It wasn’t a nice thought. She stacked anything heavy she could find in front of the doorway, noticing as she did that a dim light shone in from above somewhere.  It was almost reddish, soothing somehow.

She nibbled on one of the fruits for a few moments, but she had little appetite.  Instead, she settled down into her nest of blankets and pillows. A few moments later, both Livs followed her example.

She found that they cuddled very close to each other and didn’t think to question it.  They were the only support they had here, after all.

She was more tired than she thought she’d been, and she fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep very solidly.

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