Tommy fought to keep his eyes open. All of the adrenaline from the chase had left his system, leaving him exhausted. He was starting to feel cold as well, and he could feel Philomena shivering next to him. He had almost given in to sleep when he heard a loud rustling. He started awake, but calmed down when he saw that it was just the hare.
Just behind her were several men in white cloaks. The hare raced over to the children and Tommy scooped her up.
“The Lievres Blancs?” Tommy asked the hare in a whisper.
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“So this is where you’ve been hiding,” the leader of the Lievres Blancs said. “Take them.”
Philomena tried to make a run for it, but there were too many of the white cloaks. Tommy watched, feeling useless, as they caught and trussed her up. Two others took hold of Tommy.
He didn’t struggle. There didn’t seem to be much point. Whatever he did, whichever way he went, he seemed to end up someone else’s prisoner. Besides, he was both outnumbered and outsized.
The leader of the white cloaks took the hare from Tommy’s hands and turned his back to them. Tommy heard a frightened squeak and then on odd cracking sound. He shuddered, and one of the white cloaks growled and thumped him in the ribs.
Two of the brawnier white cloaks slung the children over their shoulders and carried them through the woods. Every once in a while a low hanging branch would hit Tommy’s face. After a short trek, they came to a road, where a slat-sided truck—they kind used to transport livestock—hand been parked. Two other members of Les Lievres Blancs were there waiting.
“Where are the others?” one of the white cloaks asked.
“Dead. The two Lapins got away.”
The truck started. Two of the white cloaks rode in the cab, the other four in the back with Philomena and Tommy. Tommy road with his forehead resting on his knees so no one could see him crying.