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. Continue reading
Abby took ‘Via’s hand and put it on her hip, curling the fingers around her belt loop, and squeezed until ‘Via held on of her own volition. She took Olly’s hand with her left hand and held on to Liv’s arm with her right hand.
“Close your eyes,” she told all three of them. “Keep them closed. We’re going to walk forward now, everyone all set? There we go, forward, forward.”
She shut up as she came nose to nose with the first ghost, closed her own eyes and took two steps forward.
It felt like a ghost of fire touching her skin – like the memory of sensation without the pain or the heat, just a strange flickering touch. She moved forward as one of the three – Had to be Olly, the sound was coming from her left – yelped. Continue reading
Author’s note: Guys, this one gets a little dark, even for this setting. If you want to skip it, let me know and I’ll DM/email you a summary. Content warning is for description of formerly-alive people showing their methods of death.
👻 Continue reading
“‘Via? Olly?” Abby moved to the other side of Olly. “What’s – “
In the grey shadows of the mall, three translucent figures were staring back at them. Two of them were definitely her. The third she didn’t recognize at first, a taller man with a gaunt face and protruding bones.
“Abby?” Olly whispered. “Abby, is that you?”
Abby hoped not. One of the two grey women was missing a good third of her throat. The other one had an axe settled in the middle of her chest. It looked—
It looked horrible. Continue reading
‘Via’s stuff turned out to be in a record shop a few rooms down. She had her own nest there, but it looked more like a hovel or a hut than a comfortable place to stay. She muttered something that sounded almost like an apology, but Abby really wasn’t listening. She had caught sight of the people on one of the record sleeves. ‘Via was right. She didn’t want to know what the rabbit-them looked like.
“No shooting Abby!” Liv-home put herself between Liv-Angry and Abby. “None of that! She’s going to get you out of here. You heard!”
“I – what? Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it but I wasn’t going to shoot Abby.” Liv-angry was now more like Liv-befuddled. “No, you idiots. I wasn’t going to shoot her. But think about being left here for weeks, months, all by yourself, in a place that appears to have been abandoned by giant rabbit-people!”
“You mean, like you were going to do to us?” Liv’s voice was dangerous, quiet. “Yeah. I can imagine it all right. You’re not the only Liv whose Abby left her, you know. Hell, last mall, we met a Vic whose Abby left her. Look, we’re not shooting ourselves or Abby or anyone else.” Continue reading
Abby looked between her friends — and this other Liv — weakly. She finally let her gaze settle on her Liv.
She could remember, remember that day. They’d prayed, they’d gone to church together in the middle of a snowstorm and they had held hands and prayed.
“All right.” Abby had to make decisions, didn’t she? That was supposed to be what she did, make decisions, help Liv out, steer things.
“We…” She took Liv-Angry’s hand and then reached out for Liv-Skinny’s hand. “We’re going to pray.” Continue reading
None of them were quick enough for the way the abandoned Liv moved. She dove at Abby, a glint of metal in her right hand and murder shining out of her eyes, tackling Abby to the ground. Abby grabbed her arm just in time, holding the metal thing – a box cutter, what a shitty way to die – away from her chest by only an inch.
She got a foot into the mix and pressed it against Liv’s stomach, remembering, entirely ridiculously, this time when she and Liv, both much younger, had gotten into a wrestling match over a Barbie doll. The doll had lost its head and an arm by the time they calmed down – that was the sort of fight that the two of them’d had, back when they were younger and they could solve things by throwing things and breaking dolls.
It was suddenly too much. Her grip on Liv’s arm went limp, and it was only the other two Livs that saved her from a really unpleasant end. She pushed away and curled up on herself, laughing or crying or possibly, probably, both. Continue reading
“You know,” the voice came from under the blankets where Liv – where Abby’s Liv – had been sleeping. “I could say ‘you can’t be that bitchy, you’re me. But you’re all about how we’re all different, isn’t that what you were saying? So hey, you’re different, you’re smart, go you. Problem is, this Liv isn’t stupid either. So what’s the problem?”
“Oh, come on, are you all that ridiculously brainwashed or what?”
“Being rude isn’t going to make things any better,” Liv-Skinny pointed out. “And it’s really not going to help get Abby to do anything for you. Have you ever found that being rude to Abby – yours, mine, any of them – does any good?”
“There’s two problems.” Abby’d had time to think while the Livs argued. She cleared her throat now, because she wasn’t sure that this had anything to do with her. “There’s the problem that Liv here, uhm, Liv-Bitchy, wants a way out of this mall. I don’t know where she wants to end up, but she wants out of here and she was willing to sacrifice both of the other two of you to do it.
“The other problem is – well, something she said. That her Abby was willing to kill other Abbies to get what she wanted. The One True Abby. Liv, is your Abby the one that’s been killing Abbies? Is it – is it not the mall? Is it one of me?” Continue reading
Abby stared at Liv. She could hear the other two stirring. She flinched, despite herself; she couldn’t play nasty with one Liv and expect the other two not to take it personally – since it was personal, wasn’t it?
“I haven’t even met another Abby.” That was probably the wrong thing to say. “I’ve seen one dead-”
That was definitely the wrong thing to say. “Well, of course you have! Since you want them all dead – tell me, do you even know why? So you can be the One True Abby? It never made any sense to me. But I did figure out that I didn’t mean anything to you. Nothing.” She sneered. Even though this was a strange Liv, Abby could tell that she was hurting. “I figured that much out before you ditched me here.”
“She’s not your Abby.” The voice came from somewhere behind this angry Liv. “You have to remember that. She’s not my Abby, either. So she’s not dead, and she didn’t ditch you anywhere. Yet,” she added tiredly. “She does have this habit of going into situations that can get her killed – but we’re in the Mall. Anything can get her killed.” Continue reading