“We’ve got a jumper.” Pratt was one of those orderly, wiry men who pleased supervisors without ever accomplishing much of value. Detective Harr lit his cigarette and enjoyed the growing scowl on Pratts face. Cigarettes were quite illegal in hospitals, but no one questioned a damned thing anyone in his department did.

“Suspected jumper.” Detective Harr pointed toward the one way mirror where a little girl was playing on the floor.“How did she get picked up?”

“Child abuse. She dropped some pretty heavy hints to school officals, teachers, aids and the like, but no one took direct action until she marched right into the Principals office and started demanding police intervention”

“This is unusual behavior?”

Pratt raised an eyebrow. “Abused children don’t usually march right up to their principals and demand that their fathers be arrested.”

Harr shrugged. “A feisty child then.”

“Yeah, a feisty child who poisioned her fathers cereal before school. They had to pump his stomach, he nearly died. We didn’t suspect it was her till the police went to pick him up and found him at the hospital.”

“We’re sure there was abuse?” Pratt handed him a file.

“Read the medical reports yourself. There was tearing of the vaginal wall, and –“ Decetive Harr waved his hand, cutting Pratt off.

“I can read it.” He stuffed the report in his briefcase and stared though the one way mirror where Jenny was playing under the supervision of a nurse. She knelt on the floor studying the bottom of a toy truck. Jenny put the truck on the carpet and began rolling it around, all the time looking at the nurse and smiling.

The nurse fussed a bit when Detective Harr told her to leave, but flashing his badge and smile earned him some alone time with Jenny. He sat on the couch where the nurse had been sitting, the broad bright smiles of the playroom mural made him feel lewd and out of place.

“Hi Jen. Do you know who I am?” She didn’t look at him, just continued to roll her truck around on the carpet.

“Are you a doctor?”

Harr chuckled “No Jen, I’m a police officer.”

Jenny looked up at him though her soft bangs. “My name is Jenny.”

He leaned over towards her and smiled, big and fake. “Jenny is a little girl name, isn’t it?” Jenny rolled the fire engine around on the floor.

“Did you ever hear the story about the fairy and the housewife?” asked Detective Harr.

Jenny kept her eyes on the engine. “Nope.”

“Well, it goes like this. Once upon a time there was a housewife who had a beautiful new baby. Her baby was so pretty that the fairies wanted it, so in the dead of night, they snatched the baby from it’s cradle. Of course, they couldn’t just take the baby and leave nothing in it’s place, so they left an mischevious spirit that made himself look like a the housewifes beautiful baby. When the housewife picked up her child in the morning, she knew that something was wrong, so she picked up the spirit and smashed its head with a cold iron frying pan until the fairy promised to bring back her baby safe and sound.”

Jenny paused and her chubby hands pulled at the carpet. “That doesn’t sound very nice.” she said.

“It’s not. Tricking people isn’t nice.”

Jenny stood up and lifted her arms in the air. “Do you like my dress? Green is my favorite color.”

“Can we cut the crap Jen?” Jenny lowered her arms.


“I mean it. Cut the crap. You’re a jumper. You are accused of the transposition of consciousness onto an earlier time period.” Harr laid her open file on the ground and Jenny glanced at the papers, clenching her little chubby hands.

“You know what he did, the sickness he gave me. You know I will be on treatments for the rest of my life.”

“Jen, the punishment for transposition is removal. Your consciousness will be dispersed.” He tried to keep his voice from cracking. Jenny knelt next to her records and picked out an x-ray of her pelvis.

“What about this body, you’ll let this body rot without a consciousness?”

“There is a little girl in there-”

“We are fully integrated!”

“There are methods. Sometimes we can pick little bits of person out.”

“That’s medieval.”

“Why did you transport yourself back after the first abuse? You must have known you would catch it from him, you knew about the illness.”

“My husband.” said the little girl, her soft voice chiming. “Three days ago, my husband went to the fair with his big brother. It’s his happiest childhood memory. He deserves that day.” Her cheeks flushed red and tiny adult tears ran over her smooth face.

Detective Harr wanted to reach out to her, the instinct to comfort a tiny child rising in his ribs. After a while he stood and took her hand, leading her out the door and down the bifurcated timeline.