woensdag 15 april 2015

The Woman in Red: Chapter 23

23. On the run

           Jean-Pierre was the first to become conscious again, and he heard a man shouting. Dazzled because of the accident, he looked through the side window of the car. A man in overalls and a cap on his head was making gestures he didn’t understand. He shook his head and apprehended that he was speaking French.
            ‘Ca va, monsieur? Vous êtes blessé? Are you alright, sir, are you hurt?’ He nodded at the man and tried to move. It was difficult. The airbag got in his way, and then he saw that Katarina also was showing signs of life now.
            ‘Are you alright, Katarina?’ Jean-Pierre saw she was slightly bleeding on her forehead. It didn’t look serious, but he wasn’t a doctor. But by the same token she could have a concussion or worse. She looked at him without understanding what he had asked. After that, she looked around her. Her airbag also had caught the hardest blow.
            ‘What has happened… I remember… oh, shit yes, we crashed. Now I know again.’ She moved her arms and feet, obviously just as Jean-Pierre she had nothing.
            Meanwhile, the man in the overalls was calling someone. Probably the police or an ambulance. Both Katarina and Jean-Pierre realized they were in big trouble. What would happen if the police recognized them? Maybe there was already a search notice going on after the raid on the castle. That would be even more trouble.
            ‘Come,’ Katarina said, ‘we’ve got to get away from here.’
            The man who saw they wanted to leave the car tried to prevent that somehow. ‘Si vous êtes blessé, ne vous déplacez pas. C’est dangereux peut-être.’ The man was afraid they were badly hurt, and he thought they better stay put till the first-aid helpers arrived.
            Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre heard an ambulance far away. They both left the car a bit unhandy. Katarina looked around and saw the car of the man that had been responsible for their crash standing a bit further.
            ‘Don’t ask questions, Jean-Pierre, let’ run to that car and hope the keys are on.’ She gave the good example and ran followed by Jean-Pierre to the SUV.
            The driver looked very surprised at them. He obviously hadn’t understood what Katarina has said. When they both dove into the car, he suddenly realized they wanted to flee the place of the accident. At that moment, it was already too late. Because of the shock of the collision, he had left the keys in the ignition and with screeching tires Katarina and Jean-Pierre dashed off.
            ‘Do you see the police behind us, Jean-Pierre?’ Katarina asked while she wiped away the blood from her forehead. Meanwhile, the little wound had stopped bleeding.
            Jean-Pierre turned around and looked through the rear window if they were followed. ‘No, there’s an ambulance now with the man, but I suppose the police will arrive any moment now. We can’t keep on driving in this car. He will be signaled.’
            Katarina took a side way. Jean-Pierre only had seen a board with ‘Gare’. ‘Are we driving to the station?’ he asked Katarina. He saw she was pumping the brakes and the car drove left off the road behind a heap of bushes.
            ‘From here on we’ll walk, you right, of course, this car will be too conspicuous now. If I remember well, it’s about a half hour walking to the station. Let’s hurry.
            Jean-Pierre dictated the pace, but after a while had to slow down. On her lady’s shoes Katarina couldn’t walk so fast,. If she had known she would have put on her sports shoes, however, they didn’t have a crystal ball.
            His partner had been right, a little longer than half an hour they arrived at the entrance of the station. ‘We won’t buy a ticket at the counter, we’ll do it on the train, that way nobody at the station can identify us. We’ll take the first train that arrives, it doesn’t matter where he goes, if it makes us lose the police. At that moment, we can think what we’ll do next.’
            Surprised, Jean-Pierre shook his head. ‘What can we do? We’re on the run and look at our clothes. Those of mine are torn in some places and yours aren’t much better.’
            Katarina nodded. ‘You’re right, but I see on the itineraries that the first train goes in the direction of a place where I have a very good friend. Every cloud has a silver lining. There he is already, let’s get in. I feel the heat around the corner. We shouldn’t push our luck more than is necessary.’
            Jean-Pierre and Katarina got on the train and left the station.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

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