They made it into the health-food store with nothing breaking under them and nobody insulting anyone else. The way the day had been going, Abby was going to take that as a victory.
The store had clearly been picked over, but there were still a few sports drinks and chewy meal-replacement bars on the shelves, as well as some smaller containers of protein powder. While they ate – first making sure Vic-starving got something into her stomach – Vic tried to explain things. Continue reading
They looked at the map for a minute. Well, Liv and Abby looked at the map, while Liv tried to explain Vic-French and Vic to each other, leading to Vic (Abby was mentally labelling her Vic-bitchy, but she’d probably be bitchy if she was left hanging to die from a freaking air mall, too) snapping, “Yes, there are many of us, I get that. The question is, why is she here? We don’t even like you.”
“Because-” something in the tone suggested that the Liv answering questions was probably Skinny-Liv, but Abby barely checked anymore, “-we need as many of us as possibly. We want to take on whatever’s killing Abbies.” Continue reading
The walkway dropped, stopped, and shifted. Abby grabbed tightly to both sides of the walkway and started moving as quickly as her rocky footing would allow. “Hurry,” she gasped. “¡Arriba, Arriba! ¡Ándale, Ándale!”
That was not going to help, but it was all she could think of at the moment. She pitched herself off the walkway and onto another square, this one seeming much sturdier. As soon as she landed, she scrambled to get out of the way for her friends and hauled herself to her feet.
Liv was off the falling bridge; Liv was almost there. She lept, turned, and grabbed Vic, catching the last girl as she leapt from the dropping walkway.
“We.” Abby panted. “Need.”
“-to get out of here,” Liv finished. “Hey, we found the map.” Continue reading
Author’s note: apologies for my French.
She wasn’t sure if having an idea had been the best, well, idea, since every idea here involved those damn hanging walkways.
But it was better to do something than to sit here and wait for death or worse.
Slowly, they inched out onto the walkways, one Liv in front of her, the other Liv behind her and Vic behind her. They were heading for the center of the mall. Every mall Abby had ever been in – at least, every mall she’d been in before this mess – had sported a map near the middle, as well as near most major entrances and near any fountains.
She’d be happy for a fountain now, but more important for her was a map.
Or just to be down from these damn walkways.
“Oh. Oh, don’t look. Any of you. Ne pas – look-ey? Regardez! Ne pas regardez. No. It’s horrible.” Continue reading
Abby bit her lip and repeated herself. “We have to explain things to her. And then, if it’s not what she wants…”
“Do you think we could find her a way home?”
“It’s not like we can find our own way home – or even out.”
The first came from one Liv, the second from the other. They were starting to sound identical. Which, Abby supposed, made a certain amount of sense.”
“She has to know.” Abby sighed. “I think we might need her, but we can’t just, well, force her to come along.”
It was too late already for that, she knew. And if Vic-French could help them defeat the mall…
Still, she should have said something two malls ago and she was going to make sure she said something now. She turned onto a new bridge and made her way, step by careful step, over to the edge of the mall, such as it was.
It took longer than it ought to have to get to the “store,” which happened to be, from the looks of things, some sort of tunic and … leggings? maybe? store. There were only a few pieces of clothing left, hanging from wires or dropped on the floor.
But there was a floor. Continue reading
Abby didn’t pay much attention to the Livs and Vic talking behind her. She was too focused on getting from their entryway to the far side of the mall without falling over the edge of the walkway.
As she walked, she realized that it was pretty unlikely – the sway, while it seemed pretty extreme, was actually very limited, and the sides were a fine mesh that wouldn’t allow anyone to slide through.
“It doesn’t seem like a very good – oh.”
Abby stopped. “Oh?” She did not want to turn around.
“You don’t want to look off to the left right now, Abs, trust us.” Continue reading
Abby’s heart was pounding and her stomach was churning. She sternly told both of them to calm down.
“I want air.” She glared at the doorway. “I want open air and rain and nature. I want out.”
Vic-French murmured to one of the Livs. The Liv responded in French. Vic started to pull back.
“I don’t know if she can get back to her own mall from here,” Abby admitted. “Or even go through a door without help. She might be better off staying with us.”
One of the Livs translated that, just a murmur. Abby caught a word here and there, enough to be pretty sure Liv was actually relaying her message. Then she glared at the door again.
The Liv on her right released her hand and grabbed on to her belt loop. Abby wondered if, when they got out of here, she’d ever stop needing to know where Liv was all the time.
They had to survive, first. She grabbed the door, turned the handle. Continue reading
Abby didn’t scream. Later, it would occur to her as strange: her heart had dropped she’d grabbed for the ropes around her, but she hadn’t screamed. She hadn’t made a sound. But as soon as she had any sort of handhold, she’d looked for her Livs.
They were both fine; Vic was fine, if gaping. and her shoulder was suddenly yanked as all of her weight fell onto her hands grabbing onto the thinning ropes.
The pavement was a long, long, long way below. Someone else was screaming – someone near her, someone who had been too close and was scrambling backwards, reaching for some sort of support.
Abby looked at her Livs. She looked down, down, down at the pavement. “There,” she grunted. “up there, on the left. Meet me there.”
“But you-” Continue reading
They went through the door, into a cement hallway. No, that wasn’t right. Abby glared – oh. Oh, there was a second door, on her left. She ignored the one on the right and, while Vic was swearing and complaining – at least, that was the general feel of her stream of French – pulled the left-hand door open. “In!” she commanded.
And in they went, the Livs dragging Vic-French along.
The sounds of carousel music almost made Abby go back through the door. The images of that gaping clown mouth, the silently-dancing carnival, all of that haunted her.
But this one wasn’t grey and bloody, this one was bright. And Vic was staring in awe. Continue reading
First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
“Quelle est cette merde dont vous parlez?!”
Abby blinked and froze. Liv — probably Liv-1 — rescued her.
“Pardonnez-moi?” she started, in her best offended Miss Piggy.
Then the other one picked up with a line of offended-sounding French, which the first Liv picked up a moment later. Abby — she had taken Spanish; Liv had taken French. It hadn’t actually been their first fight, but it was the first one that had nearly ruined their friendship.
A few offended exchanges later— Abby caught “merde” a few times, something about Colonials, and something clear about The Enemy — the Livs had gotten through something to … Continue reading