I am standing on our favorite rock in our favorite place in the woods, river water pooling at my feet. There has never been such quiet stillness in the world. I am not certain what day it is.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Water travels heavy down my hair, pulling my chin to my chest. Nothing. There is just nothing.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

I didn’t make it in time. I ran back through the portal as soon as I realized what I had done, but it didn’t work the same this time. Once inside, I was trapped in the light, screaming his name. My voice was lost in the sounds of the storm raging just outside. All I remember is a blinding, painful light.

I woke in the center of the cave floor and ran through the woods on one breath, scraping my legs on the fallen trees. Everything was damaged. Our cabin was barely standing, and my son was nowhere to be found among its fallen parts. I found him here, the second place I looked, floating face down in the river beside our favorite rock in our favorite woods in the whole, wide world. Only this isn’t really our favorite. It is a mangled, shallow clone.

The words scrape their way past the knot in my throat and stumble out weakly without permission.

“Get up, Kala.”

Stinging tears and river water.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

He doesn’t move. He doesn’t smile. His eyes do not sparkle.