I still don’t have a blind clue what I’ll do when I catch up with them. They took all of the weapons and ammunition that Adam and I had managed to gather from the army depot. Somewhere in the bowels of their armoury carriage, along with all our guns and other loot, is my handy dandy machete. And I now find myself travelling with a child’s pink backpack with the few bits of food I have managed to scavenge, and a bent piece of rebar reinforcing, about a metre long and very handy for swinging and poking dead people with. I don’t even have my diary, and all this is being written on scraps of paper I find lying around. Other than this, and a deep seated hatred for anybody on the first two carriages of that train, I’m completely without a plan, or the means to carry one out.
But that’s by the by. We’ll cross that narrow, wobbly, suspension bridge over a great yawning chasm when we come to it.
So which option did I choose? Behind curtain one: A no-expenses paid trip the length of the train to be shoved through the door of the last carriage containing any number of reanimated dead people wanting to strip the flesh off my bones. Curtain number two had a carriage of bored maniacs, heavily armed, rippling with blood-encrusted muscles, simply itching to sink sharp objects into my fleshy parts for the pleasure of hearing me scream – oh, and then a trip, either dead or dying, to the last carriage to be chewed on by undead anyway.
Of course I’d go for Option One. Who wouldn’t? I mean, the inevitable excruciating pain as foul and rotting ex-humans rip chunks of your flesh from you at least is predictable and a known variable. Those psychopaths next door, they had the combined mental capacity of a brussel sprout, but still the reasoning power to invent slow and painful methods of making the pain last and last and last. If option three were a bullet, I would have gone for that, but I wasn’t given the luxury. The words spilled from my mouth with very little thought, other than for Adam. He was my primary concern. If I could go to this death knowing he would be safe and looked after, I would have unlocked the door and stepped into that carriage myself willingly. Without that guarantee, the only hope I had was to fight my way out. “Third Class.” I muttered.
The door behind me opened and Kyle stepped back in. I didn’t even turn to know it was him. The stench hadn’t left my nostrils since he had left not 10 minutes ago. He grabbed a fist full of the back of my shirt and wrapped a huge arm around my throat. The bicep bulged and forced my chin up towards the ceiling of the carriage. The lacquered wood there glistened and reflected back my blood-caked face, the eyes darting around in terror.
The Boss simply said “Third Class it is.” And I heard a grunt of disappointment from Kyle and a waft of hot air hit my ear and invaded my nostrils. With that he shoved me forward and I stumbled past the Boss. The child at his feet shrunk back into the shadows for fear of being trampled on. Half way down the carriage we came to an old-style door with a door handle. Kyle’s grip around my throat tightened as his hand grasping my shirt released and reached forward to open the door. The drop to the ground was a few feet and Kyle simply took a step forward and I was forced along with him. My feet hit the ground with a spine-jarring thud and Kyle hanging on to me by the throat simply worked as a pile driver to force his weight on to me as well. I grunted in pain and Kyle bent back and slammed the door shut behind him.
We were standing outside the train now, on the weed covered gravel beside the railway tracks. The smell of diesel and wild flowers hit me before being overpowered once more by Kyle as he breathed “Move” at my face.
The carriage we walked past, well in my case stumbled, was maroon in colour with gold writing on it. It had the name “Xena” across the side of it in bold letters. The rest of the carriages behind that one, in the direction I was being forced, were the blue, orange and white ones of one of the London rail services. For some reason a memory of them being over crowded, unreliable, and exorbitantly expensive flashed through my mind, but that didn’t really matter too much when you were about to be eaten to death.
I did a quick inventory as we walked past the first of the modern carriages, the faces of the meat axes inside leering at me and making rude gestures. There was no escaping Kyle’s death grip around my neck, that was for sure. He was probably armed, but the chances of me getting my tied hands on any weapon were nil. My trouser pockets contained nothing, I confirmed this by patting them as we walked. I wore a pair of faded and dirty jeans. A t-shirt which was once white, but was several shades of grey by now, and a red and black long sleeved shirt over that. I didn’t even have a warm jacket – mainly because it was warm weather at the time and I figured I would pick another one up closer to the time that I needed it.
As we reached the second-to-last carriage, Kyle reached up and pressed the open button on the outside. He obviously didn’t want to open the double doors on the last carriage, instead electing to push me in through the door of the adjoining carriage, this one full of what they considered ‘livestock’. The doors slid open with a hiss. He started man-handling me up into the carriage as, in a blur, a figure shot out the door and into the bushes. Kyle exclaimed “What the..” as he spun to try and grab the small child that had sprung past him. With that all hell broke loose and there were woman and children all rushing for the open doors and Kyle swinging arms and legs around to keep them all inside the carriage.
I was only half way up into the carriage when all this kicked off, so as soon as Kyle’s grip came off my neck to keep the others in line, I dropped to the ground and rolled away. I leapt to my feet and quickly jumped into the bushes where the child had just gone. There was no sign of the kid there any more, and I couldn’t go after him anyway, not with Adam still on that train.
I stopped and looked back and caught a glimpse of Adam looking out the open door. By this time Kyle had swung his bulk back on to the carriage again and was swinging punches at anyone and anything that came near the door. He pressed a button and the doors closed. The train started off again and the last time I saw Adam’s face it was pressed against the window looking out for me.
I chased that train for about three miles, shouting every profanity I knew, before collapsing in a sobbing pile on the hot tracks.
I’ve been chasing that train ever since, and won’t, no, can’t stop until I’ve found my Adam, rescued whoever is left to rescue, and put bullets in the brainpan of everybody answering to the name Boss or wearing black.