The Train: Episode 16

Michael stood in the middle of the street, his leg throbbing and his face burning from the fire of the explosion. He was alone now, and as the Russian soldiers slowly advanced on him, he knew he was running out of options.

Fifteen Minutes Earlier. . .

“Let them kill us?” Nicole asked in astonishment. “Have you lost your mind?”

“Relax,” Michael said. “Just give me a few minutes and I’ll explain.”

While Nicole and Dr. Ricer exchanged confused looks, Michael quickly searched through the metal works factory. Finding what he was looking for, he raced up to the front of the building and returned in a few minutes.

“Okay, let me show you something,” he told Nicole and Ricer.

They followed Michael to the back of the factory until he stopped and stood at the edge of the factory’s blast furnace.

After he explained his plan, Nicole asked,

“Are you sure about this?”

Michael took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

“I’m fairly certain this will contain the blast,” he said, patting the furnace door.

“I’ve planted enough c4 and explosives up front to create the right impression,” he said, pointing toward the entrance.

“The furnace will withstand the blast and the concrete should keep you from incinerating. You won’t be comfortable, but you’ll survive.”

“That’s not what worries me,” Nicole said.

“The refugees?” Michael asked. “They’ll be fine. Ricer should be able to explain what we’re doing.”

“No,” Nicole said, reaching for his arm.

“What then?” Michael asked.

“The blast furnace doesn’t have enough room for all of us. It looks like one person will have to stay out,” Nicole said, concern on her face.

“Don’t worry about that either,” Michael said.

“What are you going to do?” Nicole asked.

“Just wait. I’m working on an idea,” Michael said.

“But,” Nicole protested, “I’m fairly certain we’re supposed to bring everyone back alive.”

Michael glanced out the window and said, “Hurry! They’re coming!”

“But what about you?” Nicole persisted, as everyone but Michael crowded into the furnace.

“I’ve got it covered,” Michael said. “I’ll survive.”

As he closed the blast furnace doors, he added to himself,

“Somehow.”

Hurrying to the front door, Michael stepped outside and when he knew the Russians were within hearing distance, he said in a language he hoped they would understand,

“Stay there. I’ll distract them.”

At the sound of his voice, the soldiers did precisely as he hoped they would. One of them removed a grenade and threw it at him. Michael counted down in his head until the last minute then burying his hand in his pocket, he leapt out of the way and hit the detonator as the grenade went off. The entire factory exploded and Michael rolled up to his feet, looking back at the factory and letting out a cry.

As the factory burned, the soldiers shouted in victory. With a sore leg and burning in his face from the heat and glass, Michael ran as the soldiers fired at him. Down the street, he stopped at the edge of a deep hole where one of the bombs had dropped earlier. When Michael turned around and faced the approaching soldiers, they held their fire and moved slowly towards him.

*          *            *

As he watched the soldiers come closer, his mind was racing. He knew what he had to do next, but he wasn’t sure he could succeed. So far, no one who had tried it had.

“Your friends are dead?” a soldier asked him in Russian.

“Please,” Michael answered back in German.

“It is too late for mercy,” the soldier sneered.

When the soldier raised his rifle, Michael closed his eyes and concentrated. In an instant, his father’s words came back to him.

“Son, out of everything I’ve taught you, this is one lesson I hope you never have to use. It has only a twelve percent success rate, and if you fail, you die.”

His father had taken a deep breath and begun the lesson,

“How to dodge a bullet.”

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Published in: on June 13, 2012 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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