By Paul R.Green
Almost there. Just one more step and it’ll all be over. Just one. All I need do is put one foot in front of the other and this all goes away.
Up here on the roof I can feel every shift in the cold winter air as it swirls around the buildings around and below me, almost as if the capital itself is a living breathing thing and it would only take the slightest of sighs for me to be sucked into its fatal embrace.
It’s obvious now that I should never have listened to her, but she
was wearing the blue pinstripe; the one cut to perfection that shows off her every curve. And her perfume; when she leaned in close to make the oh so innocent initial suggestion, coupled with the subtle, yet clearly deliberate, pull of white cotton across her chest, slipped through my already crumbling defences and cut off my brain at the dick.
She said she just wanted to see the jump logs; to see how the system worked, as she was considering transferring out of fieldwork and looking for an alternative that kept her within the department. And I guess of all the Jump-techs
I was the most gullible. Of course at the time, I thought it was because I was the smartest, youngest and most attractive, but we’ve already established who was doing my thinking back then.
Anyway, I waited until I was working a solo shift and showed her the ropes. She was a quick study and pretty soon she was asking questions that I really shouldn’t have answered; but I went along anyway, risking my career for the suggestion of a hint of a promise. I said I was smart, not that I had any common-sense. But that body, that scent, those eyes had a way of making me forget everything else. Of course, with hindsight, she may have just been playing with my mind. Part of me wishes that were true, but if I’m honest, most of me doesn’t. I like to think that my training would be enough to keep her out, but if she’s managed to keep off Topps
‘ radar this long then getting into my head shouldn’t have proved too difficult.
As the wind buffets me, the sudden lurch of my body brings me back to the present and the ledge. My train of thought arrives at its inevitable destination and the question I should really be asking before I take this step; am I here of my own volition, or is this a suggestion she’s dropped into my brain. An emergency backup procedure of sorts, designed to tie up any loose ends in the event of an investigation.
How would I know? Who can I ask for help? The very people who could help me are the ones doing the investigating. Asking for help would put me smack in the middle of their sights.
What if I went to her? Have her help me make a jump and cover my tracks, just like I’ve been doing for her these past couple of years. I could jump to one of the more densely populated Ds. One with a decent but lower tech level and minimal psych abilities. But, she’s
on assignment again, tracking down an arms dealer on cL14
, and I don’t even know when she’ll be back.
I guess there’s only one type of jump
I’ll be making and it’s a definite one way trip.
The wind drops and there’s a beautiful moment of stillness as the sun breaks through the grey clouds. I close my eyes, picturing her as I savour the warmth that spreads across my face, and take a step.