Cold Mountain Chapter 3
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The Color of Despair
- Inman is walking away from the hospital. He's headed home, hurrah! He's also at risk of being redrafted or just shot by the Home Guard: not so hurrah.
- Inman's worries start pretty soon. He comes to a small town and has to fight to get out of it.
- More backstory (Frazier loves him some backstory—and he's so good at it). Romantic comedy fans, it's your turn: here we get the tale of how Inman and Ada first met.
- Everyone was talking about Ada when she moved to Cold Mountain, so Inman decides to go to her father's church to catch a glimpse of her.
- After church, all the unmarried men are hanging out and talking about Ada. She's awkward and beautiful, and they want to meet her even though they don't know what to say. It's sort of like if all the jocks had a crush on the same shy but smart history buff at once. They're all talking about how to start a conversation with her.
- Inman's smarter than the rest. He goes to Sally Swanger and says he'd clear an acre of ground for an introduction. This is a bright thing to do, because Sally knows Ada, and an introduction from a respectable married woman is a great way to meet a girl in the world of this book.
- Sally is happy to make the introduction. Ada and Inman have an awkward conversation. They can't quite get it right, but you can see that there could be some interest there. For one thing, they're both smart, if shy. Not the most hopeful first talk, but not the worst either.
- Back to the present. Inman is longing for home and for Ada, and he thinks maybe in the far future he might find hope if she'd go with him to live near Cold Mountain.
- Next RPG obstacle: Inman's got a river to cross. There's a ferry. Problem solved. Or not.
- The men from the small town earlier have chased after him and start shooting. After some video game-type action, Inman and the girl running the ferry escape, but her boat is ruined. Inman gives her money to cover the cost and gets walking.
- After walking to the fork of the river (a few miles from where he leaves the girl), Inman stops to eat. He hides in the brush to avoid discovery. He is afraid to light a fire, so he can't make any corn mush and has to eat cold food. His injury has cracked open in all the action, and he can feel the blood when he touches it. Yep, low on health and food. Tough level.
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