Nobody knows how Peter ended up at the bottom of MacAdam’s lookout. Chloe can’t figure it out, or why his mother seems to think she was his friend. Peter had no friends. He was a loner, more interested in astronomy than in other people. But something – or someone – pushed him over the edge. . .
Scholastic Canada Ltd.
ISBN 0-439-95632-3 PBK
4 3/16" x 6 ¾"
“Peter loved that telescope more than anything else in the world,” a voice said from the door. Mrs. Flosnick’s voice. She startled me. I hadn’t realized she was standing there, and I felt like an intruder using Peter’s things without having been invited. I straightened up in a hurry, knocking against the desk as I did so. The box Thomas has set on it shifted and looked like it was going to topple over. I caught it just in time — well, almost just in time. A couple of books cascaded to the floor.
“He spent hours staring through that telescope,” Mrs. Flosnick said. “He even attached a videocamera to the lens so that he could videotape the movement of the stars.” She smiled. “I watched one of those tapes once. To tell you the truth, I didn’t see any movement at all. But Peter did, night to night, month to month. He shot hours of tape.” She pointed to a place on the bookshelf that was packed with black plastic video covers. “Sometimes he’d sit up here and watch them, all fourteen of them. That’s one hundred and twelve hours in total. I know because he told me. To me, it looked about as exciting as watching grass grow, but Peter loved watching them. He said he found it relaxing. He said every time he watched one of those tapes, he saw something he hadn’t noticed the time before.” Her smile slipped into a quivery, close-to-tears sigh. “I know a lot of people thought he was a little odd. But I’ll bet Albert Einstein was an odd little boy, don’t you think? And what about Carl Sagan? I heard he always loved the stars, and look what he made of his life.”
I stopped to retrieve the books I had knocked over. One of them was the Edgar Allan Poe book. A slip of paper was sticking out from it. It looked like a receipt of some kind. I looked at it more closely. It was a receipt from the flower shop where Peter used to work. He was probably using it as a bookmark. I tucked it back into the book and set it back on top of the box it had fallen from.
“We’d better be going,” I said. “If there’s ever anything else I can do, Mrs. Flosnick . . . ” I hoped there wasn’t, but you have to be polite, right?
“You’ve done so much already,” she said.
I hadn’t actually done a thing. I was beginning to wish I had. I was beginning to wish I had said Hi to Peter at least once, or maybe even had a conversation with him so that I could honestly say something nice about him, something that would make his mother feel a little better. But I hadn’t, and I couldn’t. There was nothing to do now but follow Thomas down the stairs and out the door.
From Over the Edge. Copyright © 2000 by Norah McClintock. All rights reserved.
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