Hidden Mall 83: No. 1 With a Bullet

“What if we put a bullet right in the back of your head?  You’re running, what’s going to stop us? Blam, and you’re dead, all your stupid followers are dead.”

“We?  Us?” She picked up her pace to a casual speed walk.  “What’s this we?” she called over her shoulder. “Last I checked, Abby, you don’t have a gun.  So you mean what if I tell these nice SWAT people to shoot you in the back? Don’t you?”

Talking to Evil Abby was surprisingly  — or perhaps not at all surprisingly — like talking to herself in the mirror.  The voice might’ve not been in her head, but it was still nasty and negative.  

“Coward!  Turn and face me!”

“There is nothing cowardly about refusing a fight you clearly can’t win,” Abseil said, this time without turning around.  Their backs seemed to make Evil Abby angrier than anything, but she wasn’t following them yet. Why wasn’t — was it Vic? “Do you remember that test?  The one that we copied off of Liv, back in,” she tried to remember what year it had been. Mrs. Thompson. “Sixth grade?”

Neither Abby nor Vic were that dumb, were they?  She hoped her alternate wasn’t dumb. 

“That was fifth grade,” Evil Abby scoffed. “And it wasn’t Liv’s paper, she’s horrid at math.  Come on. Who would copy off someone who couldn’t handle basic algebra?”

Abseil heard the people around Evil Abby moving.  “You know none of us were taking algebra in fifth grade.  Or sixth. And in eighth grade, we had trouble with algebra too.  So what were you copying, in your world?  Off of who?”

“Oh, like you don’t know. You were there.”

Evil-Abby’s voice was getting further and further away. Abseil and her group were getting closer and closer to the Burlingham Coat Wing. She thought she could hear more footsteps coming up behind her, too. She didn’t turn around; she wanted to turn around. She wanted to run. She wanted to turn and shoot although she had no gun.

She kept walking quickly.

“I wasn’t there.” She raised her voice. “I might’ve been there for something similar. I might’ve cheated off of Liv once, but it might have been Sixth grade. It might’ve been algebra, because I was lousy at algebra. Haven’t you figured it out?”  She let her voice drip with disdain, a sound she wasn’t very good at. (Something she was glad she wasn’t very good at.) “We’re all different.  We might have been born the same person, but that’s it.  For one, you’re an idiot, and I’m not.” She could feel an itching in her shoulder blades.  She could hear a sound that could be — probably wasn’t, she reassured herself — absolutely could be people aiming guns at her back, cocking them, thinking about, getting ready to, to shoot her and all these people along with her in the backs.  

Someone squeezed her hand.  Someone else squeezed her other hand.  Abby remembered — slowly, painfully, with strength all around her — that she could do this.

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