She looked down at her keyboard and saw the orange slip of paper waiting for her, like a train ticket to another world. Picking it up between her thumb and index finger, she stared down at the numbers on the paper. Julianne thought of what she had here. Her job was stale. Her mother was going to be fine without her. And now Scott was gone. She looked up at Lucy, who had finished her dinner and sat in the armchair. The dog tilted her head and twitched an ear. Taking a deep breath, Julianne picked up her phone and dialed. * After taking down her initial information (female, age thirty-six, in reasonably good shape), Dr. Miles declared her registered. “Welcome!” he enthused in a wheezy voice. “Excited to have you on board.” Julianne spent the next few weeks buying supplies—apples, camping and climbing gear, sunscreen—and trying not to think about Scott. When their day of departure finally arrived, she was glad to leave the town and the feeling that she got every time she passed the bank, one of having missed a chance that was now gone forever. Their expedition consisted of only her, the doctor, and one other man, Rick, who Julianne knew as a maintenance worker from the library back home. They spent the first three hours of their journey in a rusty old van that tossed them in the air every time it hit a bump. Rick, twenty-five years old, was journeying to the edge of the earth as an assistant to the doctor, it turned out. Dr. Miles was paying him to help collect rock samples. Despite the money, Rick was skeptical. “What exactly do you have a Ph.D. in?” he muttered, sitting next to Julianne in the van after they’d spent forty-five minutes listening to Dr. Miles ramble on about fluctuating temperatures and landscape elevations and the vegetation of the southeastern grasslands. “Legends and mythology, young man!” Dr. Miles declared. “Why do you think we’re hiking to the edge of the earth, of all places?” “But people have been to the edge of the earth before,” Rick said. “It’s not a secret.” Dr. Miles raised an index finger. “Yes,” he said, “but no one has ever been over the edge, have they?” The party of three sat in silence. Julianne could feel Dr. Miles studying her intently, but she kept her gaze trained out the window. * There had been one time when she’d thought Scott might have seen her as something more than the bank’s most frequent customer. It was early June, and midday sunlight streamed in through the bank’s glass doors, falling in stripes across the tiled floor.