Maddie watched Chris as he walked away from her.
He had told her that he was going to look for Michael, and she didn't object, Michael had been gone for awhile. She couldn't stand the thought of Michael getting hurt, he was too nice to deserve that. She told Chris good luck as he went and kept sitting next to the wall. She closed her eyes as she leaned back, assuring herself that Michael was okay and that Chris was going to be okay looking for him, since something could have easily happened to Michael and that thing could still be around.
Then, she heard the crack of gunfire.
Maddie's eyes bolted open and she was on her feet quickly. She turned her head to the source of the noise, but saw nothing. The sound must have come from somewhere outside of where Maddie could see. She quickly went over what she should do. Perhaps it was Chris who fired that shot, which meant that he had gotten into a fight with someone. Maddie listened for another noise, any other noise, but no noise came. If there was a fight, she figured she would have heard something more, a scream for help, more gunfire, anything. The fact that there was only a singular gunshot probably meant that a fight had ended just as quickly as it started.
She didn't know what to think. Was Chris okay? There was always the possibility that he was hurt, or worse, dead. Were they actually still fighting and she just wasn't aware of it? And what of Michael? Did that noise mean that he had been caught and killed earlier, and that's why he wasn't coming back? So many questions, so few answers.
Regardless, sitting out in the open likely wasn't the best course of action. Maddie moved all of their bags into the nearby store and poked her head out, watching. Waiting. Hoping that Chris or Michael would show up from around the corner, no worse for wear.
One minute, nothing.
Two minutes, still nothing.
Three minutes, all she could hear was the faint ringing from the blood running through her veins.
Four minutes and she had almost given up hope.
Five minutes and she was convinced that they were dead.
She picked up her own bag and slung it over her shoulder. She couldn't afford to stay any longer. If they were dead, that meant that whoever killed them was still in the mall, probably looking for her. If that was the case, she needed to get out, and soon. She considered taking Chris's and Michael's bags, they wouldn't need them if they were dead, but she still clung to the idea that they were alive. She decided that she would leave their bags, hidden just inside the store, just in case they were still alive so they could get them and go on without her.
She poked her head out of the store once again, half hoping to see one of them, but still she saw nothing. She turned away from the sound of the noise, towards one of the exits to the mall, and made her way out as quickly and quietly as she possibly could.
((Madeline Wilcox continued in Too Cold To Shiver