Abby took a step backwards, and another, until ‘Via caught her. “Easy,” ‘Via murmured in her ear. “It’s okay.”
She forced herself to look at – at herself. Except dripping wet and dripping blood from what remained of a leg, leaning on a Liv who was dripping both water and blood, too.
“The – the sharks.” She worked her throat. “Remember? And before that, the fire. This is – this is all the deaths we could have died. It can’t be. We can’t have died this many times.”
“We could have.” ‘Via shifted a little. “I mean. It’s not — I mean. We don’t know how many malls there are. We don’t know how many of them anyone came through. We don’t know if the mall just generated new versions.”
“Some of the malls were fake. Who told us that?” Liv frowned.
“Greg. Greg, in that sort of like dumpster-fire back-mall. Was that the only other time — I wonder if the back malls are the answer?”
“I thought we were going up and to the left?” Olly shifted.
Abby cleared her throat. She looked up in front of her. She looked at — at herself and Liv, translucent and dripping and clearly dead.
“Up and to the left. That’s what the older Liv told us. I don’t think she was lying to us. But she was, she was still there, wasn’t she?”
“Isn’t it a little late to change plans? And if we are — or aren’t — can we — uh. I don’t like this one.”
“I don’t like any of them,” Liv agreed.
“Let’s get out of this mall.” Abby bit her lip. “Okay, I can — I can do this, if you three want to close your eyes.”
“I’ve got this one.” Liv squeezed her hand. “Close your eyes, Abby. I’ll walk us through.”
“Thank you.” She pinched her eyes shut and let Liv lead them through. If felt — well, it felt wet, and cold, and then the feeling was gone again.
“This is, uh. Not getting better. We might need a different plan.”
Abby opened her eyes. She swallowed hard as she stared at a wall of ghost vines.
“Yeah. Yeah, I think we do.”Want more?