Teri could see her reflection in the parts of the ice still free of cracks. Under the broken section, the sidewalk wasn’t visible, only pooling, inky darkness. Teri yanked her foot back, not needing to rewind time to know what was coming. Morgan was still holding onto her arm. Teri had meant to pull her back, but pulling on her friend was like trying to uproot a tree. Losing her balance, Teri ended up falling backwards.
Cold, grey fingers slithered up out of the holes in the ice. Teri’s voice wouldn’t work, so she stabbed at the air with her finger so Morgan would stop paying attention to her and start looking at the ground. Morgan’s head snapped toward the ice just the fingers clawed all the way through.
Rather than jump away like Teri anticipated, Morgan moved closer. She still had her grip on Teri’s arm, and there was nothing Teri could do to keep from getting dragged a few inches closer. Her shoes scraped in vain on cold concrete.
Morgan brought her right foot up in the air and sent it crashing down into the middle of the ice. The sounds of Teri’s struggle had only seemed loud in the quiet night. The crack as Morgan’s foot struck echoed off the houses up and down the street. The sound bounced back at them from a dozen directions in the cold, still air.
The ice was pulverized, some of it drifting in tiny crystals that looked like snow. No fingers to be seen. Teri didn’t take any chances though. As she stood up, she pulled her body as far back as she could. It wasn’t far, since she was still tethered by Morgan’s iron grip, but it made her feel better. Leaning her upper body forward, she peeked under the ice.
“Son of a—” Teri said. “You broke the sidewalk.”
Morgan looked down at the cracks running through the concrete. “Oops.”
“Oops is right. We’d better get out of here. That was pretty loud, and we don’t want our friend to come back either.”
Teri was surprised by how calm her voice sounded. She must be in shock and overloaded. Or maybe she was getting too exhausted to be scared. Morgan didn’t say anything, she seemed pretty shook up herself.
“Are you okay?” Teri asked once they’d turned a corner.
“I feel like a freak,” Morgan said. “And Aiden isn’t going to like me because I’m stronger than him.”
Teri burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it. Even in the dim light she could see the hurt look on Morgan’s face. Scrunching up her brow, Teri concentrated as hard as she could.
Morgan knew what she was doing. “Hey, no fair. You can’t just re—”
But she could. The conversation moved backwards for a few seconds and then Teri relaxed.
“…because I’m stronger than him,” Morgan said.
Teri clenched her jaw. It was a mighty effort, but a couple giggles still escaped. Morgan shot her a look.
“Hey, I’m sorry. I literally couldn’t help it. I even rewound time to try and stop laughing the second time around.”
Morgan looked angry and confused by that. The confusion soon won out, at least for the time being.