I’m quite a tall guy so I think my stride is a bit over a metre long. I’m taking a step about once every second at the fast pace I walk. Let’s round that down to 45 metres a minute to account for breaks, backtracking if I take the wrong fork, and the odd zombie bashing. That’s 2.7km per hour. I’m a modern day guy, so like to work in metrics, although the UK was stuck in the dark ages before humanity crumbled, and they still talked in miles and inches. So in a ten hour day I can get in about 27km, and add in a few hours I dare to continue at night, I think I’m getting up around 30km of walking done per day. I don’t think that train was getting more than about 20km, ten to fifteen miles, per day at the speed it was going. They’d have to shut it down at night so the noise and light don’t attract unwanted visitors. They had a couple of days head start on me, but I should still be gaining on them. I really can’t be that far behind. I hope.
Anyways: Kyle dragged me into the next carriage. He took care to reach behind me and gently close the door. As he reached his foul bulk past me I felt the urge to headbutt him right in the nose, but the thought of the sudden movement made me feel nauseous having just come out of a Kyle-induced coma. Instead I looked over his shoulder at the opulence in front of me. I’ve seen pictures before of old fashioned carriages. Ones the First Class passengers took. The words Orient Express jumped to the forefront of my mind as I ogled at the beauty of the ornate wood panelling, the beautifully carved tables, each with a small, shaded lamp on top. The huge luxurious chairs with high, winged backs on them, the plush, maroon carpet and to top it off, at the far end, the fully stocked bar complete with leather bound stools bolted to the floor in front of it.
The first two tables are unoccupied, and the worn, golden coloured cushions on the chairs looked so inviting. There was a figure in the chair facing us but I didn’t get a good enough look before the Great Wall of Kyle was in front of me again blocking the view. Kyle cleared his throat and then just stood there in silence waiting for something. The figure must have finally given him his attention as Kyle then cleared his throat again and, was it a stutter?
“The new – new guy for you Boss.”
With that he spun his bulk around, and gave me a look filled with both malice and perhaps more than a smattering of glee then shoulder-barged past me and silently exited the carriage the way we had just come in, leaving me there with this Boss guy.
That was the first good look I had of this Boss. The man this band of enormous, black-clad, armed to the teeth, rough, evil sons of bitches must fear beyond measure. At first I thought I was looking at the wrong guy. Perhaps he was elsewhere in the carriage, and this was just his secretary, or the accountant or something. His slicked back, unruffled hair, the crisp, white, collared shirt, a blue tie with red diagonal stripes, slightly loosened after a hard day in the office. It was when his icy, blue eyes pierced into me, the evil and calculating stare of a cold blooded reptile. His clean shaven face bore the pockmarks of childhood acne or perhaps chickenpox. The edges of his thin lips creaked up to resemble a smile that did not reach is cold, mirthless eyes. I could tell immediately why the giant killing machines in the previous carriage feared him so much. He seemed to have bright neon warning signs flashing all around him. Over the imagined sound of the klaxon going off and woman and children screaming, I could hear the slither and rattle of his snake tail.
I shook my head to clear it of these crazy thoughts. He was just a man after all. Humans possessed the ability to reason. Perhaps this one, no, forget that. I looked back in those eyes again and saw what little humanity remaining did not reason.
In front of him, on the table, were a few pieces of paper which he must have been perusing as we had entered. He dropped a thick, shiny silver pen down on top of them and put his elbows up on the table and steepled his fingers, bouncing his hands repeatedly against his lips.
It was then that I noticed a chain leading off from somewhere on his waist, as he sat there in the high backed chair, looping down to a small bundle at his feet. The bundle then moved and I could see a pair of blue eyes look up at me like those of a beaten puppy dog. It was a boy of around five or six. The chain connected to a leather dog collar buckled around his neck. His clothes were mere rags, barely a grey and filth-encrusted covering over his bony frame.
The Boss regarded me for a while before finally addressing me. All the time I just stared into the eyes of the poor, lost child cowering at his feet.