For several minutes, neither girl spoke. The starlight shimmered on the surface of the lake where the mists didn’t cover the water. A gentle breeze stole through the treetops, fluttering the dappled maple leaves into a dance of nocturnal light and shadow. Both girls pulled their blankets snug and huddled closer together. With a hand signal that Anja understood well, the dog followed her mistress’s wish and lay down on the girls’ feet. The pungence of the damp grass blended with the faint scent of columbine, mountain laurel and larkspur.
“This place is harsh and hard at night,” Bettina said.
“Do you think so?” Danielle replied. “I think it’s pretty tonight, in spite of my dream.”
Bettina said nothing for a moment, but Danielle noticed her knee begin bobbing again. “Yes, I suppose that is true,” she whispered.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Danielle asked.
“I understand. There’s no rush. And we’re safe here.”
“Is there no rush?” Bettina replied, a shrillness edging into her speech.
“Tell me, Bettina. Get it out.” Danielle felt strange speaking to an older girl this way. “What is your dream about?”
“Death,” came the nearly inaudible reply. “It’s about death.”
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