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Clohè was sleeping on the seat in front of me, I was looking outside the window: I could recognize every single constellation, count all the starts in the universe. Shadows of trees and houses were running in the distance, the moon was a huge shining button sewn on the black sky of the night. A hundred thoughts were piling up inside my head: my family, school and home, that I had left without any explanation, the first time that I’d seen Clohè a few days ago. She woke up, she looked outside the window, too. She made me nervous: her determination and courage made me feel even more insecure about myself. She had planned the whole trip to Berlin: six hours on the train on which we were, then two hours on a bus. She had come to look for me alone, she was the first to know the truth, she had convinced me to take part of that crazy trip. I admired and despised her at the same time: I needed to know more about her.
“So… where do you live?”
She turned to me, the expression on her face was still sleepy.
“Just outside Paris, with my grandfather…” she answered. The French accent made her voice sound even sweeter.
“And where does your family live?”
“…He’s my family”
Silence came down again on our mouths for a few minutes. Then she smiled to me with shyness.
“I’m sorry if I don’t speak too much… I’m not really used to meet new people. I can’t stand crowded places, I’ve always studied at home, I’ve never been into a real High School, and… I don’t know, it just makes me nervous to talk to you”
“It’s ok, don’t worry… I’m not a friendly one, either”
While she was laughing softly, my sight fell on two tall men seated at the end of the corridor: they were both wearing black jackets and pants, one of them was staring at me from a long time. His face was serious and illegible, he was murmuring something to his fellow.
I noticed that something was sticking out from his belt; I looked more carefully, paying attention not to be seen. Then a shudder run along my backbone, I stopped breathing: it was a gun.
I acted normally, as nothing was happening. She was staring at me, worried.
“Are you ok?”
“There are two men at the end of the corridor, on the right side. Don’t turn to look at them, I think they’re here for us”
“What do you mean? Tell me exactly where they are!”
“Fifteen seats behind you, more or less”
The train was stopping to the next station, a metallic sound resounded from the outside. She waited a few seconds, then she turned to look at them. I saw the muscles of her body stretching, her breath stopping, her skin turn to gooseflesh.
She gave me a sight full of terror.
“We have to get out of here, immediately!”
“What’s going on?”
The man that was staring at me was about to stand up, I saw his weight concentrating into the legs.
“Run!” I shouted, picking up my schoolbag from the floor and proceeding as fast as I could toward the exit behind me. The two men stood up quickly and started to chase us.
We got out from the train just in time: the automatic doors closed behind us, and I thought we were safe. But, as usual, I was wrong: exactly when I was about to stop running, one of them punched a window with his elbow, breaking the glass in thousand pieces and jumping on the sidewalk of the station.
“Shit!” I whispered, terrified.
We kept on running desperately, trying to sow them and banging our bodies against lot of people: we went out from the station, and I noticed a wood on my left side: it seemed the only place where we could hide. Clohè was just behind me, I could feel her breathing hardly. The two man were coming out from the station, looking around to find us; they had just crossed the street when we entered in the wood: it was completely dark, I could recognize the trees’ shapes, but not easily. I grabbed Clohè’s arm and I guided her through the forest: I didn’t know in which direction I was proceeding, I just wanted to go as far as possible. I heard a shot from the entrance of the forest, Clohè shouted, I don’t know if she was just scared or if that sound had hurt her ears: little wooden branches were scratching my face, my legs were starting to give up. Then, the trees became less and less, until we found ourselves on a plain and we had to stop: a few metres in front of us there was no more ground.
“A precipice” she whispered, being out of breath.
We had no way to escape.
“How far are they?” I asked, nervously.
“They’re close”
I walked to the edge of the precipice and I looked down: the air was painted with black, I could see anything. But then I noticed a trail of light dancing not too deep in that empty space.
“Clohè, come here!”
She came to me, I could read her eyes: there was hope in them. Her pretty face was ruined by dirt and scratches, trickles of blood were spread all over her skin.
“Can you see anything down there?”
She fell on her knees, looking carefully.
“…Yeah, there’s something moving”
“What is it?” I heard a male voice screaming not too far from us.
“I’m not sure, but it sounds like a rustle or a gurgle…”
“Water” I said, reassured.
She looked at me, and she realized what my plan was.
“No, no, no… You’re completely crazy! I’m not gonna jump from here!”
“You have any other option to save your life?! I don’t think so!”
This time I was not wrong: this time was the right one.
I took a few steps from the edge, ready to face the absolute darkness, and she walked next to me in silence. I could hear the two men, they were running through the last trees behind us.
“Ready?” I asked.
She shook her head, her body was quaking with fear.
I took her hand, I made a deep breath.
We jumped.