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Hidden Mall 42: Rescued

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

Hidden Mall 41: Big Ideas 💨

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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

The Hidden Mall 40: Bad Ideas 💡

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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

The Hidden Mall 39: Don’t Look Down 👇

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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

Hidden Mall Thirty-Eight: Open Air ☁️

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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

The Hidden Mall 37: By a Thread

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

The Hidden Mall 36: Further up and further in

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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

Hidden Mall 35: Miss Piggy

First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
Previous: Ordinaire

“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

The Hidden Mall 34: Ordinaire 😐

First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
Previous: Copies

All three Livs were staring at Abby.  Abby was feeling rather like, if she could, she would stare at herself.

“Are you talking about – collecting?”  Liv-Old looked a little horrified. “Do you know how obvious you would be?”

“Do you know how obvious we are anyway?  We’re alive, we’re not plastic, we’re not robots; we stick out pretty much every place we go.  Having five or six or an army of us, well. It wouldn’t be Aslan, but it might give us a chance.” Continue reading

The Hidden Mall 33: Copies 👭👭👭

First: The Hidden Mall – a beginning of something
Previous: Advice

They got ready to take the door that Liv-Old suggested, because it would be silly not to trust her now, their robotic whites changed out for sporting clothes, their packs re-balanced with new supplies.  “You won’t need protection from the rain or other elements much,” Liv-Old had commented, “but you might need protection from cold floors or rampaging monsters.”

It had seemed like good advice, but Abby had noted Liv-2 grabbing an umbrella and had grabbed one of her own, which had gotten Liv-1 to grab one, and then they were taking the door.

“Remember,” Liv-Old warned them.  

“I remember,” Abby assured her.  She reached out and touched the woman’s cheek.  It was still her friend. Just… her friend like three times her age.  “Take care of yourself, okay?”

She turned away politely so she and Liv-Old could pretend she hadn’t seen tears in the older woman’s eyes.  “All right. Livs?”

Liv-1 hesitated.  “We could stay here, you know.”  She gulped. “I mean. We wouldn’t get home that way. I know.  But we could stay here, and… never see any beavers, but I can’t remember why that was important.  And maybe we would just, I don’t know. Collect more people?”

“The thing is,” Liv-2 answered very slowly, “that something is eating Abbies.  But nothing is eating Abbies here. We could stay here.” Her hand tightened on Abby’s.  “Stay here with Liv-Mom and be safe.”

“We could,” Abby answered.  They could. She looked between the Livs.  Her Livs both looked hopeful. They looked worried.  They looked… tired. “But the thing is… something is eating Abbies, right?  And the problem is, if we stay here, nobody is going to stop that thing from eating other Abbies.  Which, well. I don’t like something eating me – people that are a lot like me.  People that look and think like me. I don’t like something eating anyone,” she added, feeling a little selfish.  “And we can’t stop it if we stay here, tucked away and safe.”

“But, well, the thing is,” started Liv-2, “how do we know that we can stop it?  We don’t even know how to find whatever’s eating the things. We’ve gotten bitten by sharks and chased by plastic people – and by robots! – and then there were the vines that were literally eating people.  There aren’t a lot of safe things out there.  But if, uh, if older-me is right and there’s something in this multiverse-mall targeting you, how are we supposed to find it, much less stop it?”

“It’s fine to think about what the Pevensies would do,” Liv-1 put in, “but they had Aslan and the Beavers and a whole host of other people.  All we have is ourselves.”

“Then… I guess we need more of ourselves.”

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