Don’t let go.
Can you even do this?
Thoughts flashed in Madison’s head as she followed Ethan’s ever quickening pace alongside the rattling train. Her boots kicked up stones and dirt as she increased her speed. Ethan grabbed the top rung of the ladder and pulled himself up in a single effortless motion. He steadied his footing and turned to scan the long line of carriages behind them. Satisfied with whatever he was looking for he crouched low and beckoned to Madison, reaching out with one hand while holding the ore container’s triangular frame with the other.
Madison matched the train’s speed and reached for the ladder’s top rung. She tested it with her fingers then gripped it tight and pulled up. The slight difference in speed jerked her forward causing her to misstep and drag a toe through the railroad stones. She almost went down but Ethan’s hand found her wrist and pulled her up. For a breathless moment she lurched forward aiming a foot at the bottom rung of the ladder. She found it and swung out, dangling in space like a trapeze artist while the wind pulling at her clothing. Ethan kept pulling and a second later she was squatting on shaky legs and breathing hard on the ore carriage’s metal platform.
A faint smell of oil filled her nose with each ragged breath.
“Holy shit,” she gasped.
Ethan crouch walked to the other side of the ore carriage and looked around the container. He jerked his head back as something pinged off the metal. Madison heard a gunshot amongst the clattering wheels and squeaking metal.
“They’re also on here, but they’re going to have to climb up on those shipping containers. Easy targets. Let’s see if they’re dumb enough,” Ethan put his backpack down and unzipped the pocket with his gun.
He popped out the magazine, checked the bullets and reinserted it, pulling back the slide. He took a breath and looked over the top of the ore container. He pulled head down and Madison heard another gunshot. This time there was no metal ping.
“They’re on top. Let’s give them something to think about hey,” Ethan nodded his head to a count of three, gripped the side of the ore container, took aim and fired two shots.
There was no return fire.
He peeked around the side again and grunted a laugh.
“Check this. Be careful,” He motioned for Madison to come look.
She leaned over his shoulder and looked down the length of the train. Terrance and his henchman were off the train and running along the track, presumably back to the cave.
“Too risky for them,” she said watching them jog.
Terrance gave one last glaring look their way before disappearing into the green wall.
“No chance of them getting to us on here. They probably didn’t know I was carrying this,” Ethan wiggled the gun then stuck it into his belt, he tested the weight and stood up.
“You know what this means, we’re in a television series and not a movie,” Madison leaned against the ore container and laughed.
It was a loud laugh that felt out of place, probably an emotional reaction to extreme stress some doctor might explain she thought. Ethan gave her a puzzled look.
“Series?” Ethan grinned an unsure grin.
“Well after all that, they just jumped off and ran away. Bit of an anti-climax. If this was some big Hollywood movie with a huge budget there’d have been a longer shootout. More action. I might have even been injured. Then you would have fought them on the top of those containers. You know, movie budget,” Madison laughed again.
“I prefer the low budget version thanks. We’re not out of it yet. When he finds out his treasure pile is gone, he’s going to come after us even harder.”
“It can’t be that far to wherever this train is going. Same town as our hotel, right?”
Ethan unzipped his bag and looked at his satellite phone giving a satisfied nod after checking it.
“Went through?” Madison asked.
“Yeah, pretty much right after I sent it looks like. It’ll help if she sends someone to the hotel for us. No signal now. I just don’t know how quick she’ll be. Terrance is not going to want us talking to any police about anything.”
“We should be safe in the town, there’s so many people there,” Madison said.
“Not guaranteed. Money is the law in the jungle. If he’s got some way to contact someone here or get there before us on the river. I don’t know. Too many variables. We’ll just have to keep an eye and be careful.”
“You think he knows which place we’re staying at?” Madison said stumbling a little as the train slowed for a curve.
“His office booked the hotel. He knows exactly where we’re staying,” Ethan looked towards the front of the train nodding at Madison.
“They didn’t stop the train after those gunshots,” Madison said watching the jungle.
“Don’t blame them, safer to speed up really,” Ethan said holding his phone at different angles looking for a signal.
The train clattered along for what felt like an hour. Eventually the scenery changed, and the beginnings of the town came into view. Small shacks poked through the greenery, more signals, lights, and other infrastructure began appearing on either side of the tracks. They passed a row of train husks, carcasses that were missing covers and other parts. Rust tore at the sides and weeds grew through the wheels.
The train had now slowed to a casual walking speed, Ethan tapped her arm and they hopped off onto a brown stained concrete slab.
“Do you know which way to the—” Madison stood on her toes looking around the train yard.
“This way,” Ethan stepped off the concrete platform, across a narrow strip of grass, onto a road and into the crowds.
The street bustled, as they weaved through the crowds. Ethan was cutting a gap as he went, most people seemed surprised to see him and moved out of his way. The only time there was a blockage in their movement was when someone wasn’t paying attention or was hauling a pile of goods in front of them. He kept checking back to see if Madison was following him. She like that he was always keeping an eye on her, it felt safe and comfortable. In a flurry of people, streets, and livestock they turned a corner onto the same street as their hotel. On the pavement a police car waited, two men in uniform watched the road, one was speaking with the clerk from the hotel’s reception desk. Both came to attention they saw Ethan and Madison appear from the crowds.
“Ethan?” The constable reached out a hand stepping towards them.
“That’s us,” Ethan said nodded back at Madison, shaking the man’s hand.
Madison felt wave of relief when she saw the police car and officers. She smiled at the man from the hotel as he said goodbye and went back inside.
“We’ll wait inside for the captain. We can use the conference centre,” The one constable said brushing a fly way from his face then pointing at the hotel entrance.
“Did he send you after getting my message?” Ethan asked.
“Yes, the captain is coming now. He will tell you,” The other man said, he was wearing dark glasses and kept looking up the street.
“Do you know if my FBI man called for us here,” Ethan tested.
“Just the captain. He told us to come find you and keep you safe until he got here. He didn’t tell us anything, called us from the airport. We were on duty there,” The first officer said.
“He’s coming,” the other man said pushing his dark glasses against his face with a fat finger.
“Okay, no problems. Can we just go to the room to change? We’ll meet you now in the conference centre, she needs the bathroom,” Ethan grabbed Madison’s hand and walking towards the entrance of the hotel.
Madison waved at the men, they both stood up and followed them into the hotel. Ethan hoisted his backpack up and gently guided Madison ahead of him towards the lift.
“We’ll see you now,” Ethan said pressing the lift button.
Madison noticed a change in Ethan, he stabbed the lift button again. Looked at the two police officers at reception, smiled at the desk clerk then tapped the button again.
“So slow, we’ll have to sleep in reception,” Ethan said to Madison smiling at her.
A bell pinged and the door slid open. They had to make way for a cleaning lady pushing a cart piled with laundry. The doors closed and Ethan pressed the number two button.
“I thought you were on four,” Madison said.
“I am. We need to get out of here. Those cops are not friendly,” Ethan said as the lift doors swished open.
- : Adventure
- : Swearing
- : Needs a few tweaks