The police continued to question her, taking note of everything she could tell him of interest. Julie didn’t even look at him when she gave her answers. It was like a nightmare she couldn’t wake up. Her body and mind were set to automatic mode. She tightened the blanket around her shoulders, but she was still shaking. She wasn’t cold, just still in shock. She kept her composure during a very long time while her best friend sobbed. Now she was unable to control herself. Someone gently put an arm around her shoulders. The cop had finally finished with all his questions. He withdrew from them, thanking her for her cooperation, letting her rest her head against Maxim’s shoulder. She wiped her cheeks.
“Where’s Karen?” he asked.
She closed her eyes.
“In the ambulance with Philip. She wanted to be the first person he sees when he wakes up in the hospital.”
“Is she okay?”
“Not really,” she said, shaking her head. “At least I managed to convince her to examine too.”
“Did you talk to her?”
His voice was now hesitant, unsteady. She turned toward him, questioning gaze. Who was he talking about? The look he gave her was enough for her to understand. She sighed, looking away. She didn’t want to talk about it. Not now. She had just told her story to the police dozens of times and she felt unable to do it again.
“So?” he insisted. “Did she say something? She told you why she did that?”
She went away from him, shaking her head. She still had too much questions to discuss with another person involved in it. Rachel’s motivations were so bizarre that she didn’t understand anything. He gave her a moment to find the right words. He knew she didn’t want to talk about it, but he still wanted to know the truth. His girlfriend was dead and he was trying to understand why this girl, who claimed to be her best friend, had left her to die. Julie didn’t know exactly what to say. She sighed deeply, closing her eyes again. She couldn’t tell him about the scene she had seen in the car. She heaved a deep sigh, unable to hold it any longer. She thought he had the right to know.
“She didn’t tell you anything before hitting you?” she asked him.
“No, I don’t think so. Perhaps, it seems to me that no…”
She knew he was rummaging through his thoughts. Was he keeping any recollection of what happened before she hit him? It seemed not. He closed his eyes and threw his head back.
“You’ve seen her, but you don’t want to tell me. That’s it?”
“Yes, I saw her.”
“Is she really dead?”
“Did she suffer…?”
There, she didn’t know what to answer him without describing what she had seen. It was too horrible. She was still seeing Dominique on the backseat… All the blood… She shook her head to clear the images from her mind. She didn’t want to think about it anymore. She sincerely hoped that Dominique had no time to realize what was going to happen. Maxim understood anyway. He lowered his head and sighed. A tear slid down his cheek as he closed his eyes again. She bit her lower lip, feeling guilty. She would have liked to lie to him, but she was too exhausted to do so. She had seen too many things she wanted to erase from her head. She gently touched his hand with her fingertips. He took her by the shoulders to take her in his arms before bursting into tears. She remained very surprised by his reaction. She contented to hug him to comfort him. He finally calmed down after a few minutes.
“Sorry…” he mumbled, looking away.
He wiped his eyes, slightly embarrassed. He dared not to look at her. The young girl couldn’t blame him. A policeman came to take Maxim’s deposition. Julie decided to leave them alone. From the corner of her eye, she saw Matthew in a corner, arms crossed over his chest. She decided to join him. He looked at her before looking away. She ventured to ask him if he had any news of Christopher. He shook his head.
“This… she fiercely attacked him,” he moaned. “He was…”
She closed her eyes, holding back her tears again. The screams… I still don’t believe it was Christopher who screamed like that… She stabbed him how many times, this bitch? She hadn’t seen what Matthew was able to hear and see. He saw his best friend being attacked, massacred. She tried again to chase the images formed in her head. Matthew sniffed and sighed. The paramedics had to reanimate him before taking him to the hospital… She asked him the question directly, wanting to know how it all happened, and he finally looked up at her. She could see the pain in his green eyes. A wave of pity took over the young girl. He only replied that it wasn’t very pretty.
“Why didn’t you go with him?”
He shook his head.
“I didn’t want to be there if he…”
He didn’t finish his sentence, holding back a sob. She understood anyway what he was unable to tell her. He was very close to Christopher. She wouldn’t have wanted Karen or Nancy to die before her eyes. And he saw everything without being able to do anything… She nodded and sighed. Without saying anything, she walked around the cottage to go to the lake. The sound of the waves calmed her. Now alone, she no longer felt the need to control herself. She burst into tears. Tears rolled down her cheeks as if a dam had given way under the pressure. She didn’t know how long she stood watching the water through her tears. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to see Maxim standing before her. She threw herself into his arms before crying again. He pressed her hard against him.
“You have been very strong,” he whispered in her ear.
“I… I couldn’t protect you all… I tried…”
She wanted to find Joel and Nancy then get back to the cottage and get them all out of there, away from Rachel, before the police arrived. But she hoped that Rachel was unable to get rid of her clumsy cords. It wasn’t the case. Rachel had regained consciousness to coldly attack Christopher, almost killing him. Julie had been unable to save him. She had been unable to save her friends from the massacre, from the madness of this girl… What would have happened if they had all separated from each other after all these years? She would have hunted them one by one like in the movies? Unfortunately for them, it was a real stroke of luck for Rachel that they were still very close friends. Why did I stay at the car until help arrives? I lost time! I should return to the cottage! If she hadn’t waited all this time, she could have saved them all. Perhaps Christopher and Philip wouldn’t have been as messed up as they were. Tears still slid down her cheeks. Now that the stress and adrenaline had fallen off, she was unable to regain control.
“Everything’s all right,” he said in a calm voice. “Perhaps you wouldn’t have been able to do it, you know. She was there… And I couldn’t do anything either.”
He tightened his grip, still trying to calm her down.
“It’s all over now.”
“You think they’ll lock her for a long time?”
“I’m sure. She really needs help.”
She nodded, closing her eyes swollen with tears.
“Yes, you’re right,” she replied with a sigh. “Everything is over now.”
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