In Red (Chapter 3, page 1 of 2)


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THE SECOND NIGHT WITHOUT SLEEP WEIGHED HEAVILY. DESPITE THE time of rest at the inn, Roxanne hadn't quite been able to close her eyes. She felt she was dragging her feet behind her sister and Alan rather than walking.

"Why did you make me think you didn't know where we were going? That we'd found the inn by chance?" Celeste suddenly turned to ask.

Roxanne couldn't be sure to what point Adelle's behavior, and her own, in front of the girl, had suggested otherwise. But, to be honest, she didn't really care. Everything would be progressively unveiled to her as the need arose. And it wasn't one of her main concerns at the moment.

And, right now, she was too tired to even talk.

"I played it by ear - when we arrived at the village and I realized that we could walk no more."

"But you knew the place and you knew Adelle."

"Mama had mentioned her and she had explained to me where the inn was."

Roxanne couldn't tell whether Celeste was angry. In any case, the latter asked no further questions and they continued their journey in silence.

Eventually, the three of them became very sleepy. They were almost in complete darkness under the thick grove, which induced them all the more to close their eyes.

When Alan stopped on the banks of a river, Roxanne fervently hoped that it was in order to rest until dawn.

The two girls sat on the moist ground on seeing that he did, and the small group remained quiet and still for a long while.

They were very near the water. Roxanne kneeled and cupped her hands to drink. Then, she turned around and was able to make out her sister's figure, lying down. She'd fallen asleep. Alan, some distance away, was hardly a vague shape.

"Maybe, we too should get some sleep," she suggested.

"That won't be necessary. Our ride will be here soon."

"Our ride?"

The car arrived at that very moment. Noiseless. Dazzling them all with its yellow headlamps.

Roxanne's heart began to beat wildly. At first, she had been taken aback by the powerful light, but, then, Mr. Harris's vehicle - which she'd only seen by day - manifested before her eyes.

"No. No. No. No."

Her voice, barely audible, was heard by Alan, who had stood up at the first glimpse of the car and was now not far from her. The driver stopped just at their feet and stepped out.

"Hey, Alan! How're you doing, pal?"

"Wait," Alan told him, holding Roxanne by the waist, certain she was about to faint. "It's OK. He's a friend. He's gonna help us."

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