In Red (Chapter 5, page 1 of 1)

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THE DRIVER'S NAME TURNED OUT TO BE JOSEPH AND HE TURNED out to be considerably well-prepared. Not only was he a doctor, but he also always kept a comprehensive kit in his car, containing the necessary things to remove little objects from wounds.

"What's that?" Roxanne asked when she saw the tweezers were carrying something metallic and not the piece of glass she had expected.

Joseph was baffled, but he answered, putting the question down to be a consequence of the girl's daze. They'd driven for half an hour before beginning to clean her wound, in order to move away from the area.

"It's a bullet," he said, trying not to sound condescending or derisive, but instinctively searching for shared surprise in the eyes of the other two vehicle occupants.

He found it in Alan, not so in Celeste.

"What's a bullet?" Roxanne further asked.

The doctor was astonished.

"What is a bullet?" he repeated, to make sure they were in fact referring to the same word.

Her expectant face confirmed it.

"Uhm… Well… a… bullet," he insisted, while preparing the gauzes and the disinfectant to finish dressing the wound, "from a… weapon - from a… rifle."

She realized what was happening.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what a bullet is. I don't know what a rifle is either."

"Me either," Celeste quickly added, in solidarity.

Joseph fixed his gaze on Roxanne's.

Throughout his life, he had met a lot of dishonest people and, luckily for him, he usually sussed them out right away. But there was not the slightest hint of falseness in this woman's eyes.

"I'll explain to you - to both of you," he qualified, while he put her arm in a sling, "as soon as we reach our destination. Right now, the most urgent thing is to move forward."

When he finished clearing up, he squeezed her hand softly and smiled, half a doctor, half a friend.

"I'll drive for a while," offered Alan.

Joseph, then, made himself comfortable on the front passenger seat and Roxanne, exhausted from the pain - the anaesthesia applied, available, had been certainly too little - leaned back where she was, next to her sister.

"You've been very brave," the doctor turned to tell her. "An excellent patient."

"Thank you," she smiled.

Celeste held her healthy arm and she closed her eyes to rest, while the car went deeper into the night and into the world.

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