On the drive back, just before I got to the river, I saw a squad car pulled over between the road and the railroad tracks.
A uniformed officer stood by the car, looking south, almost as if she were guarding the tracks. Just beyond her, those tracks turned into a trestle across the river, and I saw the broad- shouldered form of another officer walking out onto it. It was a scene just odd enough to make me pull over.
"What's going on?" I asked the patrolwoman when she approached my car. Sensing she was about to tell me to move along, I took my shield out of my jacket and flipped the holder open.
Her face relaxed a little from its hard-set position, but she didn't take off or even push down her mirrored shades, so that I saw my own face in them, distended as if by a fish-eye lens. I read her nameplate: officer moore.
"I thought you looked familiar," Moore said. Then, in answer to my question, she said succinctly, "Jumper."
"Where?" I said. I saw Moore's partner, now standing out on the train tracks mid-bridge, but no one else.
"She climbed down on the framework," Moore said. "You can kind of see her from here. Just a kid, really."
I craned my neck and did see a slender form on the webwork of the bridge, and then the flash of sunlight on dark-gold hair.
Excerpted from The 37th Hour by Jodi Compton Copyright© 2003 by Jodi Compton. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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