The Train: Episode 17

As Michael focused on the soldier aiming a rifle at his chest, he remembered his father’s voice as he had taught him how to dodge a bullet.

“The trick, Michael, isn’t about the bullet at all. You can’t dodge a bullet; it’s moving way too fast. But, you can dodge a person’s reflexes. It’s all about moving the second they pull that trigger,” his father’s words echoed in his head.

And as he had been taught, Michael began the lesson.

How to dodge a bullet:

Step 1:  Remain calm.

Michael exhaled, trying to ease his tensed muscles.

Step 2:  Keep your eyes on the trigger finger.

He let his gaze drop from the Russian’s eyes to his hand and the finger resting on the rifle’s trigger. That was the finger that would squeeze the trigger, firing off the shot, and Michael must move as soon as it did.

Step 3:  When the shooter pulls the trigger, move out of the way as fast as possible.

The Russian soldier began to squeeze the trigger, and as he did, Michael leapt out of the way, as quickly as his reflexes allowed. When the rifle fired, Michael felt the bullet slice through his shoulder as he twisted and went limp, falling backwards into the crater behind him, tumbling over and over before settling at the bottom. He held his breath as two of the soldiers walked over to the crater’s edge and looked in.

“Is he dead?” one asked in Russian.

“Must be. I shot him at point blank range,” the shooter answered.

“But I see no blood,” the soldier said.

“Then I will shoot him again,” the shooter replied.

Michael’s nerves exploded. If they opened fire, what could he do? How would he escape the raining bullets? He had taken a gamble and now he was going to die.

*          *            *

At the edge of the crater, the soldier raised the rifle and took aim at Michael’s head.

“Why shoot from here?” the other soldier asked.

The shooter lowered his weapon.

“Because I don’t want to go down there,” the soldier said, motioning to the crater’s bottom.

“Are you afraid?” he teased.

“No, it’s just— ”

The soldier stopped abruptly when behind his comrade he saw what looked like a husky standing in the middle of the street, snarling as its one eye held the soldiers in a steady gaze.

“What is that?” he asked.

The other soldier turned to see the dog, its teeth now bared and the hairs along its back standing on end.

As he reached for his side arm, he laughed,

“Let me see if I can put out the other eye.”

Suddenly, they heard a scuffle behind them When they turned quickly, they saw a tall man, dressed like an American cowboy, holding a rifle over the unconscious bodies of their comrades.

“Howdy,” the cowboy said as he approached.

Swiftly the soldiers raised their weapons to fire, but the cowboy was faster. He struck one with the butt of the rifle then kicked the other’s leg out from underneath him. As the soldier hit the ground, the cowboy slammed him in the forehead with the heel of his boot.

*          *            *

Below in the crater, Michael remained still, trying to decide what to do next. The soldiers had stopped talking. He waited. Had they left? Out of the quiet, he heard someone speaking American English and quickly rolled over, Priscilla in hand.

Standing at the top of the crater over the unconscious bodies of the soldiers was Elliot Tombs and his dog Samuel.

Surprised, Michael asked, “Why are you here?”

“Because you’re an idiot,” Elliot drawled. “Now pull yourself out of that hole and help me.”

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Published in: on July 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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