“This is it,” Silas breathed. “This is the Mirror.”

Silas spun around and put his back to the Mirror. “Arianna,” he murmured.

She turned around. She was staring directly at Terra, and a feeling of overwhelming minuteness enveloped her. While they were travelling to the Mirror, she hadn’t bothered to look behind her. Now she could make out all of Astra and the surrounding water, all of the people she couldn’t see, all of their lives she knew nothing about. She was a speck, a piece of dust, a nothing. She had no significance.

She turned back to the Mirror to try and get a glimpse of Earth. If she squinted, she could see  a faint reflection of Terra–that was Earth. That was her home.

She put her hand up again, trying to feel the Mirror through her glove. She ran her hand up and down the smooth surface. The ringing continued as she moved her hand.

“I don’t think I fully believed you until now. That the Mirror was real.”

“Me neither,” he whispered.

A silent moment passed between them, wrapped up in the emotion of finding the Mirror. Arianna had never felt so small and powerful before.

“There’s an entire planet inside of this,” Silas said softly. “A whole planet.”

She thought of her mom and brother, on Earth hundreds of kilometres away. They were probably sitting down to eat supper…without her. What did it feel like, to wonder where she had gone? Did they miss her?

“How did you even get though?” Silas wondered out loud. “It’s solid and–”

His voice cut off in Arianna’s brain. Everything became blurry and vague; images and shapes floated around like a dream. I just want to go home, someone said into her mind. It was the same voice she had heard before. I’m sick of this–I’m not…I’m not that girl they think I am. Don’t–don’t call me Arianna… The girl continued to speak, but Arianna couldn’t concentrate. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping for the voice to stop. Finally the world came back into focus and she could think properly.

She had said her name. The girl inside her mind had said Arianna.

“Arianna?”

She looked up; Silas had spoken. She shook her head, as if to shake off what had just happened. Again.

“Sorry, what?”

“You alright?” He sounded genuinely concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she automatically answered. Well, that was a lie.

“Okay. We probably should head back soon, before people start wondering where we are.”

“You go on ahead,” she told him. “I’ll just be a minute.”

Using the rope to pull himself back, Silas disappeared inside the rocketcar. Arianna looked back at the Mirror. She put her hand up against it, feeling the cold, smooth surface. Just beyond her fingertips was her home.

“Silas?” she said to the speaker.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“Isn’t there any way for me to get through? Couldn’t we reach the end of the Mirror and go around it?”

“Earth isn’t on the other side of the Mirror, Arianna–it’s inside of it.”

The reality of it hit her. Getting home wasn’t as simple as breaking down a barrier. It wasn’t that they couldn’t get her back; they didn’t know how. They had nowhere to start.

She wanted to cut a hole into the Mirror and crawl through. She was so close to home, but she could literally feel the wall blocking her way. There wasn’t any way to get back–she might as well accept it. She felt like she was swallowing hopelessness like cough syrup. All oozy and thick and lukewarm.

She wouldn’t be going home. She hoped her family would be okay.

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