A woman stood on a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The woman’s hands were tied behind her, her wrists tightly bound with a cord. A noose encircled her neck and was attached to a timber near her left foot. A series of loose boards laid across the timbers of the bridge served as a platform for her and her executioners. Behind her, the young captain in his blue uniform stood rigidly and stared at the back of her head. A strand of her honey-colored hair had escaped the noose and lifted in the breeze while the two privates and the sergeant finished the preparations. The captain noted the shakiness of the young privates’ hands.On either end of the bridge, a union soldier stood sentry, facing away from the center of the bridge. On the North side of the bridge, the federals had built a small log fortification with gun loops and the brass barrel of a cannon protruding. In front of this stockade, further down the grassy slope, a single company of soldiers stood at attention in two parallel lines. Their lieutenant stood to the right of the formation with his sword tip in the dirt. When everything was secured, the sergeant stepped onto the plank, closely facing his captain, and saluted. “Ready, sir.”The captain returned his salute and stepped backward off of the plank, then took two sideways steps. That left the weight of the sergeant on kaçak iddaa one end of the plank and on the other, extending two feet beyond the edge of the bridge, the weight of Penelope Farquhar. She stood as bravely as anyone could have, though her heart was hammering. While she was aware of the preparations behind her, she was trying to control her breathing by focusing her thoughts on her family back home. How would they hear of this? Would they be punished? She wanted them to be her last thoughts but it was the face and voice and body of Cyrus that was pushing his way into her final thoughts. “We’ll be together momentarily,” she said to the vision. “Let me think of the living.”“May God save your soul,” said the Captain, and raised his gloved hand. Immediately the sergeant stepped away from his end of the plank and Penelope Farquhar plunged toward the steam.Instantly, her perception widened. She felt her skirts lifted around her thighs and she could hear them whoosh in the wind. The sun slid along a thousand ripples in the current. The leaves on the trees rubbed against each other. The bridge creaked as the privates leaned over the edge to watch. Then everything was white. Every nerve in her body fired its full charge. It seemed her head would explode…and then she passed out.She came to in the cold water. Though her mouth was barely open, she could feel cold water on her tongue. Her kaçak bahis feet touched the bottom of the dark river and she looked up at the cloudy light of the sun above the surface. As if her thoughts could not keep pace with her senses, she realized that the rope had broken. That she had plunged straight down into the cold spring flood of Owl Creek. Her wrists burned as she jerked her right hand free of the cords that had bound them and began to claw at the rope around her neck.Just as her head broke the surface of the water, she pulled the noose from her throat and inhaled a mixture of clean spring air and black creek water. She sputtered and gasped and flailed her arms madly. She had surfaced facing away from the bridge but now slowly spun around as she coughed and gasped. The privates on the bridge, unarmed, pointed frantically in her direction. The captain stepped to the edge of the bridge and drew his pistol down on her, but the shot flew wide to her right. The sentry on the camp-end of the bridge raised his rifle. She could see his eye squinting, then a cloud of smoke. But his shot was also wide. Behind the sentry, the lieutenant was shouting at the company and she saw them raise their rifles in unison and swivel in her direction. Although she was still choking, she dove as deeply as she could while the bullets, flattened by the impact with the water, fluttered past her.She came illegal bahis up for air again, noting how much further she already was from the bridge and the little blue soldiers furiously reloading their guns. Still struggling to expel the water from her lungs, she began to swim furiously in the swift current. In seconds, she heard the rapid crackling of another volley. She heard the bullets fffwwwippping past her, but she swam on towards the sweeping bend of the river, unharmed.( . )She had come to the bridge to burn it. Rumor had it that a large snarl of dried driftwood lay against the bridge pile. Before the sun had risen, she walked silently up the road with a bag that contained a large bundle of rags, a bottle of lamp oil, and her dead husband’s match safe. In her other hand, she carried the small ax she used for chickens. Her plan was to swing wide of the outpost on the road by skirting through the woods, then, as she approached the bridge, to sneak up to the sentry. If she could get around him unseen, so much the better. She had the ax in case the only way to the bridgehead was through him.It had taken more than a day for her to hear that Cyrus was dead. News of the ambush had spread immediately–who knew that the federal approach had drawn so close, so quick? But confirmation that Cyrus’s regiment had been involved took hours longer to reach her. A man had walked out from the town to tell her that every man in Cyrus’s company had been killed or captured when they marched out of the forest and stumbled into a much larger force of Yankees already arrayed on either side of the road.