They turned around. Abby forced herself to look at the bodies in front of her.
The ghosts. They weren’t corpses, they might just be illusions. This place had certainly given them enough of those already – fakes and shames and traps.
The one that looked like Vic was gesturing to them.
“I – Vic doesn’t even like us,” Liv protested.
“But we don’t like her either,” Abby countered, “and that hasn’t stopped us from saving her life. Or anything else, you know?”
“This can’t be a good idea.”
“Maybe it is,” ‘Via mused. “Because if it was you or me, if it was one of our ghosts, we wouldn’t be able to handle it. Right We can barely stand to look at them. So why not have it be someone that doesn’t freak us out just to see?”
“She’s got a point.” Olly stepped up close to Abby as a second ghost – this one burned badly enough that none of them could identify it – joined the first. They wanted them to go – down this side hallway.
“What if… would old-Liv have lied to us?” Abby swallowed around a mouth far too dry and took the first step towards the ghosts.
“Why would she have lied to us?” Liv frowned. “If I was-“
“If I had been stuck in here for long enough to be called ‘old’,” ‘Via cut in, “I’d want company. Maybe her route brings you back to her. It doesn’t look like it keeps you safe.”
“Well…” Abby considered. “The only dangerous mall – actually dangerous – since we started following her lead was the hanging one.”
“Abby, you nearly fell to your death!”
“Trying to escape,” Abby countered. “I don’t know. I haven’t been, uh, tracking the rate of dangerous to non-dangerous malls. Let’s follow the ghosts this time. At least we don’t have to go through the vines.” She shuddered. “I think I could stand never seeing a vine again.”
“Yeah.” Olly twitched. “Yeah, I don’t like those. All right, let’s hope the ghosts aren’t just trying to add to their number.”
A third ghost – this one just pale and too skeletal to determine a face, but wearing a football jersey – joined the other two in gesturing down the side hallway.
Abby sighed. This could definitely end badly.
She looked around at the ghosts and sighed. Everything in this mall, even sleeping, could end badly. Eating had ended badly for them before. There was nothing that had a good chance of ending well, including a shower, in this place.
She squeezed the hand on either side of her and followed the ghosts. It was something. It wasn’t the plan. But it was something and she didn’t have to go through the vines.Want more?