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He wondered who built it. It certainly wasn't some phenomenon of nature, there were conduits and rings of metal within the gaping wound. Energy played over these, suggesting a compelling force that drove the machinery to inflict this paradox on reality. Henry looked down at the watch in his left hand, and then to the nearly identical one in his right. Nearly identical except for the woven cloth band that was worn and battered by some time in the elements. He had found the watch first, and then the tunnel, which had appeared only after he picked up and examined the watch. He'd have thought little of the coincidence of finding a match to his own had it not been for the engraving on the back; they were identical, right down to the divot he had put in himself with an awl. The watch was his, but looked to have been here for some time.
It was impossible; much like the tunnel that had appeared from nowhere and was visible only from one direction, with no apparent depth. Henry felt the tug of the tunnel, it seemed to be calling to him, compelling him to move closer, to try and enter it, and explore its mysterious length.
"It's a tear in time," a voice said behind him. Henry turned to see a man approaching. He wore a long coat, a wide hat, and sunglasses; Henry thought he looked like somebody trying not to be recognized. "It goes back nearly fifteen years," the man continued.
Henry backed away, unsure of the stranger. "I'm not supposed to talk to people I don't know," he said, thinking of the warning his parents had given him when they moved from their old familiar neighborhood to this new town.
The man laughed, "Yes, I remember saying the same when I was your age." He hunkered down, and took off his glasses and hat; to Henry he looked oddly familiar but he couldn't put a finger on it. "My name is James, what's yours?" he asked.
"That's my dad's man," the boy exclaimed, relaxing a bit now that he could see the stranger's face. It was a kind face he thought, but also a sad face, "Is something wrong mister?"
James considered the question for a moment, "I guess you could say I lost something."
"Want me to help you find it?" the boy asked feeling more at ease. "I already found a watch, though it's weird, it looks just like mine." He offered the battered watch to the man to look at.
James took the watch and regarded its stilled hands and weather worn appearance. He could feel the tugging of the portal, urging him to what needed to be done; what had been done before. "I had a watch just like this when I was your age," he said.
"Yup, even had the same engraving." The older man was now gritting his teeth, fighting the mental force from the tunnel, the force that was compelling him to push the boy into the fissure. He looked at the watch, frozen at 3:44. "What time is it? This one has stopped," he asked gesturing to the worn watch.
"Three forty three," Henry replied slowly peering down at his watch. He felt the odd pull strengthen, but still didn't understand what it was. He looked up to the that he man had come close. He was about to say something when the man shoved him toward the strange tunnel. He stumbled, and fell into its opening, blinding light and numbness washed over him as he seemed to fall forever.
The opening winked out of existence, and the man heaved a heavy sigh. "I'm so sorry, I thought I could stop it, but I realize now that I never had a choice. I couldn't because it had already happened." He looked at his old watch, and thought about the past fifteen years. He wondered what his father and mother would say, if they would recognize him after so many years. Then he laughed, knowing that for them it was not even an hour.