In petrified nature

We've fallen silent. We have nothing more to say to each other. Our heads are empty. Our ears are full of the invisible buzzing of the insects singing on all sides simultaneously. We are in the country, before the first war, or toward the end of the last century, in a land with no parents and no boys, as usual.

We have umbrellas doing duty as sunshades and wicker food baskets. We are reading old-fashioned novels set in the depths of a phantom Africa, full of psychological dramas that are quite incomprehensible in the humid heat and the chirring of the crickets.

The coffeepot still stands on the table under the big tree together with the breakfast cups, the meal having not yet been cleared away.

We have stolen the voyeur's bicycle. It is an ancient man's bicycle that was left in the sheepfold (we always saw it there) and has been called that ever since a dreadful story that was once made up about it. It is more convenient than our bicycles because of the crossbar that holds the skirt up at front and leaves the thighs free. We have heaped the pillion and handlebars with wildflowers.

We are bored. We make bouquets that fade immediately. We are together all the time. There is no more time. We have not spoken for days and days. I think we have lost the power of speech.

Then suddenly we would appear to have heard a curious noise: like a knife being sharpened, up where the road bends. We looked at each other, still without saying anything. And in a single movement we left road, bicycles, food baskets, and sunshades and went running off through the undergrowth as fast as our legs could carry us. We were very frightened, apparently.

Following on as usual are a vertiginous staircase and a long corridor, with blood coming out under the door of a locked room. And the same dreadful story starts all over again, dreamt in the shade of the great, motionless tree.