Chapter 3

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My heart thumps, and I feel like I might throw up. I bend over, my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath.

My powers have been more and more erratic since Sofía disappeared, but they've never brought me back here, to this moment. And I've tried. I've tried to get back so many times.

I gather myself, breathing in the crisp morning air. I may not have meant to snap back to this time, but that doesn't mean I can't use it.

On the day Sofía disappeared, I had gone for a walk by myself. I went north to the gate on the boardwalk and then turned around and was heading back to the school. But I veered closer to the beach and went past the old camp ruins. They're state-owned property, and we're not supposed to hang out there. But that day I ignored the Doctor's rules.

I look around and then up. You'd be surprised how adept you get at using the sun to tell time when you never know when and where you're going to end up. Judging from the position of the sun, I figure that the past me, the me on a walk about to meet Sofía and screw up her life, is probably near the polio camp ruins.

The abandoned camp is left over from the days before vaccinations, when the sick had to be quarantined. It was built in the '50s for people with polio, but it remained open through the '80s. Now, after years of neglect, it's just a bunch of rotted wooden buildings that look like a haunted summer camp. Berkshire was built when the camp closed, and no one bothers to maintain the abandoned buildings.

I still don't know why I went there that day . . . but I did.

And that's where I saw Sofía.

To be accurate, I saw her shoes first. Bright red, perched on the edge of the remains of a shallow swimming pool at the center of a circle of broken-down buildings. It's nothing but a concrete depression now, no water or anything, and Ryan keeps talking about how it should be turned into a skate ramp, but Dr. Franklin says that's disrespectful.

She was just sitting there, her legs dangling over the edge.

"Hey," I said.

Sofía didn't respond.

I walked over and sat down next to her, her red shoes between us. It seemed strange that she'd taken her shoes off. The morning was cold, the dew on the blades of grass frozen like crystals. It was no longer quite winter but close enough. I guess Sofía was in denial about the weather.

"What's up?" I asked.

Still, nothing.

And that's when I noticed she was crying.

Not, like, loud, sniffling crying that makes your shoulders hunch and your face hurt. Just quiet tears leaking from her eyes, trailing down her cheeks, and dripping from her chin. She was so lost in her sadness that I wasn't even sure she was aware of my presence until I touched her cold face, wiping away one of the tears with the pad of my thumb.

"Hey," I said as gently as I could. "What's wrong?" I moved her shoes so I could scoot closer, but she stood up abruptly, stepping back from the edge of the pool.

"Nothing," she said, and I knew it wasn't true, but she started walking away, barefoot on the cold, sandy soil. I figured if it meant that much to her not to talk about it, then she could keep her secrets.

Still, I followed her. I knew she wanted to be alone, but there was something about the way she walked, something about the little hiccup sound she made as she wiped away her tears and pretended like they never existed . . . it didn't feel right to abandon her.

Maybe I should have left her alone. Maybe then she wouldn't have gone away.

As she passed by one of the old camp buildings, she whirled around. "You can go back in time, right?"

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