Hidden Mall 82: Misplaced Friends

“You’ve always been a coward.”

The voice – her own voice – chased Abby as she walked quickly down the mall hallway.  She knew where she was going. She knew she had her Livs with her, and several others, some Sandies.  No Kevins, no Vics. Not yet. 

“If I have always been one and you know it -” Abby looked over her shoulder but kept walking; kept walking, kept walking.  She could tell in her gut that it was important, but she also knew she didn’t want this other Abby to follow her.  “-then it’s because you’ve been one too. We’re all the same at the root, aren’t we?”

That was so different from what she’d been telling her Livs that she expected ‘Via to yell at her.  Instead, ‘Via smirked at her and, to her other side, Olly squeezed her hand. 

“You’re full of bullshit!  I’m nothing like you!”

“And you know nothing about me.”

One of the Vics near the edge of the crowd shifted a couple times and then hurried after them.  A moment later, someone in SWAT gear pulled off their helmet and another Vic followed after. 

“I know plenty about you!  I’ve been you, haven’t I?  With your friends that aren’t really your friends, more like your minions and your family you don’t really care about, not like the Livs care about their family — and what did you do, get Liv to stay with you and not go to church?  Come on, you know you’ve always wanted Liv to pay more attention to you than to her family.”

“That’s interesting.  You know.” She squeezed hands gently and kept an eye on the Livs near the edges of her group.  A couple were lagging. She paused. “Noll?”

“I’m-”  The Liv that was Noll slowed a bit more.  “I just want-“

“I know.”  Abby squeezed ‘Via’s hand again and released her hand to reach out for Noll.  “I know this sucks. I hope you didn’t lose your Abby-“

“I, I misplaced her, but I don’t know.  She left me,” Noll added. She was looking at Abby’s hand like it might bite her.  “She left me here. Not here, but she headed off with a Sandy.”

Sometimes,” Abby admitted, “I can be horrid.  Like that thing with the dolls. I’m sorry if that was me.  But I’m trying not to be. Be horrid. Be that person. Be… that much me?”

“Most of the time,” Olly commented, “my Abby was pretty good.  Sometimes self-centered, I mean. But this one, this one is really trying.”

“We have to keep walking,” Abby told Noll.  “I think it’s really important, okay? And I don’t want you to get hurt.  Any of you.” She swallowed. “I really don’t want that.  I’ll take you all home with me when we’re done if you want.  Or I’ll help you find your home world. This mall might know how.  But first we have to–“

“So you’re just going to run.  What if we start shooting?” Evil-Abby’s voice cut across Abby-Abseil’s encouragement.

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