Home > Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)(3)

Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5)(3)
Rysa Walker

Yep. It’s definitely in my hand.

And the hand and the medallion can't be both places at once.

My mind drifts away and eventually settles on a memory from a few years ago. I’m sitting in the living room with my dad. He’s watching 20/20 and I’m doing the crossword puzzle in the TV Guide, mostly because I don’t want to go to bed yet. Barbara Walters comes on with this story about amputees who can still feel their limbs even though—

That thought rips a scream from my throat. The extra arm moves then, and I discover there's a body attached to it. An entire extra me. Wearing the same clothes, with the monogrammed purse Deborah gave me for Christmas strapped across her body. That seems to be the only difference. I must have dropped mine during the fall.

Stranger still, at the very same time that I see this other me and feel her weight on top of me, I also remember her not being here. I don't mean a memory from before she arrived. It’s not that she wasn't here and then suddenly she was. I remember both things at the same time. They’re both equally true, and that makes my head ache in an entirely different way.

I have to get out of here, but my legs still won't move. They seem to be pinned down.

Turning my head to the right, I see her face—my face—tinted a sickly green from the key. A chair of some sort is just behind her, leaning at a drunken angle. In fact, the entire room seems to be tipped downward, toward the center, almost like gravity is stronger there. Like we're inside a funnel.

She moans again, and opens one eye, staring back at me. When she moves, the medallion in her hand brushes against my face and a sensation like a static shock—a big one—runs through me. She must feel it too, because she moves her hand away.

I don’t know what she is or why she’s here. But I’m certain that this other me shouldn't exist. And from the way her eyes just narrowed, I’m pretty sure she's thinking the same damn thing about me.

When I try to move my arm at the shoulder to push her off, a blinding pain rips through my back. So I try my lower arm. It moves just enough for me to loop one finger under the black cord strapped around her wrist.

I pull the cord. She tightens her grip when she feels the tug, but it's too late. I flick the medallion to the ground on the other side of my body and shove her away.

Or rather I attempt to shove. It's more like a feeble nudge. I can't see what's on top of my legs, can't even feel the weight, really. Just a sense of pressure from a few inches above the knee.

But I can move my lower arm. I feel around the space beside me until my fingers locate a large chunk of something hard and jagged. A rock, or maybe cement.

She pulls herself across my upper body, reaching for the other medallion. Her legs seem to be working just fine. In fact, she's in better shape overall, probably because I cushioned her fall.

When her hand locks on to the medallion, my own face looks back at me with a grin of triumph.

It's instinct. Pure self-preservation. I bring the rock I’m holding down against the side of her head. It isn't a very hard blow, since I can barely move my arm, but the edge of the rock is sharp enough that she doesn’t want a second helping. She dodges away. Just a few inches to the left, toward that oddly tilted chair.

She reaches for the chair to brace herself. A look of pure terror fills her eyes as the chair slides even further, tumbling downward, into the funnel.

"Help me!" She grabs for my blouse, untucking it from my skirt. As she struggles to get a better grip on the fabric, the medallion she’s carrying slips from her fingers. It slides across the floor and disappears into the hole.

The other me pulls my upper body toward her, wrenching it away from the legs that won’t move, that are pinned to the floor by something I can’t see.

We both scream the same scream, in stereo.

I smash the rock downward again, this time on the hand grasping my shirt. Her fingers open.

She screams again when she falls, but I don't join her this time. I just clutch the rock and my medallion to my chest, and lie there, whimpering.

"Dad! Mom! Anybody? Someone help me! Please!"

But no one comes.

My bones are being ripped from my flesh. I try to scream, but no sound comes out.

Voices. A man's face.

Arms lifting me.

Then it’s just the blackness again.

When I open my eyes, I see green. Everywhere. It's like floating inside a bed of lime-green Jell-O. I flex my fingers through the stuff and then carefully move my arms. They move, both from the elbow and the shoulder, but my legs don’t respond. I can't even tell for certain that they're there.

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