The Train: Episode 18

While Michael crawled out of the crater, Elliot looked around for something to move the Russian soldiers to the edge of town, far away from the drop zone of the coming bombs.

On the side of a nearby barn, he saw an old cart filled with hay.

“Go get the others while I check that barn,” Elliot said, pointing toward the structure.

When Michael returned with Nicole, Dr. Ricer, Lucy, and the refugees, Elliot had hitched a horse to the cart.

“Where did you get the animal?” Michael asked.

“Right inside that barn over there. Now help me get these soldiers in the cart before they come to,” Elliot said.

When the last of the bodies had been lifted onto the cart, Ricer said,

“I’m confused. Why are you here? I thought we were supposed to solve this.”

“You were, but your dumb friend here,” Elliot said motioning to Michael, “almost got himself killed. That means I get involved.”

“I’m sorry but I’m still confused,” Dr. Ricer said.

“I know you are, Doc,” Elliot said.

“How would you know that?” Nicole asked.

“Because A, he just said so, and B he’s an idiot like the rest of you,” Elliot replied. “Now let’s get this thing out of here.”

After they drove the cart out of town, Elliot said,

“Look, I know this is only your second try. They’re always dumber than cow chips the first couple of times. But they all learn. You got to stop thinking like you’re in a movie and start thinking like you’re behind enemy lines. You got to be subtle; stop grandstanding.”

Michael knew Elliot was talking about him.

“I’m gonna’ hear about it for helping you like this, but you’re running out of time.”

“Now unload them soldiers, and let’s get moving.”

Once the soldiers were off the cart, Elliot said,

“Okay, now tell these people they need to hightail it out of here, get to the next town.”

Michael nodded and turned to the refugees.

“Wait a minute,” he said, turning back around. “What about the soldiers?”

“They’ll be fine. This spot is well outside the blast radius. When they wake up, they’ll probably just head back to their unit. Nobody’s gonna’ believe they got knocked out by a cowboy and his one-eyed dog.”

Samuel barked as Elliot rubbed him behind the ears.

Just then they heard a train whistle.

“Come on,” Elliot said. “And remember, from here on out, stop over thinking things. I can’t always pull your butt out of the fire!”

He led them towards the barn and pulled open the door. On the other side was the train station.

Roscoe Bentley, the conductor, was furious.

“If it’s me you’re mad at, Roscoe, hold it. I know the rules. If it’s them, I talked to them. Just settle down,” Elliot said.

With a scowl on his face, Bentley eyed each of the group as they entered the train.

*          *            *

After a short run, the train came to a full stop and everyone quickly exited.

“You folks be more careful this time. Elliot’s not supposed to help you like he did. Every time he breaks the rules, it costs him something,” Bentley said.

“What did it cost him?” Michael asked.

“Just go,” Bentley said.

When they left the train station, they stepped through double doors into a ballroom. Michael saw that he was dressed in a tux and Nicole in a silver evening gown. Dr. Ricer wore a tux with a top hat, and Lucy smoothed the soft fabric as she admired the cool blue dress she was suddenly wearing.

“Greetings, everyone,” the man on the bandstand said.

“Welcome to the grand ballroom in the Carey Plaza Hotel,” he announced as he swept his hand back toward the large band seated behind him.

Dr. Ricer whirled around to Michael and Nicole.

“We need to get out of here!”

He reached for the door they had come through and found it wouldn’t open.

“What’s wrong, Doc?” Michael asked.

“The Carey Plaza Hotel was built in 1956. It had ten stories. On the eve of its opening, the investors and their families had a private celebration in the grand ballroom on the top floor,” Dr. Ricer explained.

“What’s the bad news?” Nicole asked.

“Around midnight, police believe a small quake jostled the building, blocking the only doors out. That wasn’t the worst of it though.”

“Of course it wasn’t,” Michael said sarcastically.

“The quake also started a fire that killed everyone inside the ballroom. With the only exit blocked, they couldn’t get out. Ten floors up, too high to jump,” Dr. Ricer said.

“Well we’ll just find an escape route.”

“That’s not all,” Dr. Ricer continued.

“Really?” Michael snapped.

“Police reports state that around 11:30, someone was murdered. But because of the devastation, police were never able to pinpoint any further details.”

“11:30?” Michael asked as he checked the wall clock.

It was 11:15.

“Oh this is just great. We have fifteen minutes to prevent a murder that we know nothing about and forty-five minutes before we burn alive.”

In frustration, Michael took a deep breath and forcefully exhaled.

“That’s just outstanding.”

 

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Published in: on August 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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