The Train: Episode 39

As Matthew brought the silenced weapon down to the sleeping man’s temple, he heard the cool reason of Richard’s voice in his head.

“Don’t just kill him. First find out what he knows. Then kill him, slowly

Holding the gun steady, Matthew shrugged and answered aloud,

“I don’t even care anymore.”

Just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was surprised by the low, angry snarl of a dog. Turning his head in the direction of the sound, Matthew spotted a dog just behind him, its lips open and drawn back to expose its bare teeth. The tail was fluffed up, held straight out from its body.

Seeing the creature’s aggressive stance, all Matthew could manage was,

“A dog?”

“Lower the weapon, boy,” a man drawled on Matthew’s right.

Matthew slowly turned his head and saw a man dressed from head to toe like a cowboy. His duster was pulled back to show a hand resting comfortably on the butt of an old revolver.

“Well if it isn’t Buffalo Bill himself,” Matthew sneered.

“I’m not Buffalo Bill, son, but I am standing here ready to shoot off your hand if you don’t lower that pistol. Besides, I’m a better poker player than Bill ever was,” the cowboy said.

“You crazy, old man?” Matthew asked.

With a speed like Matthew had never seen, the cowboy had his pistol out of its holster, the hammer back and the barrel pointed right at Matthew’s head.

“Nope,” the cowboy drawled, “but I am willing to bet I’m faster than you.”

Matthew stared at the barrel of the gun and tried to compose himself as the cowboy tilted his head to one side and said,

“You want to find out, son?”

Matthew saw a smile beneath the cowboy’s thick, horseshoe moustache.

“This guy is crazy!” Matthew told himself as he froze in place, his composure cracking like thin ice in an early spring.

“How about I put this away,” the cowboy said holstering his pistol.

In the seconds it took Matthew to exhale in relief, the cowboy had the pistol back out, hammer cocked and pointed at Matthew’s head.

“And we try it again,” the cowboy remarked.

Matthew felt his hand start to shake.

Once again, the cowboy tilted his head and studied Matthew’s face.

“Or you could just leave and we’ll let this moment disappear into the pages of history,” the cowboy suggested.

Matthew knew he had to leave, but his stubborn pride kept him for just a moment before he put the pistol away. Angrily stalking out of the room, he stopped at the door and looked back at the cowboy.

“This isn’t over!” he spat.

“Of course not, boy,” the old cowboy said mockingly.

With his hand wrapped tightly around the grip of the pistol, Matthew slipped the weapon back into his jacket pocket. He clenched his fists and walked down the quiet hall fuming with anger.

“Who was the guy in the bed, and who was that crazy old cowboy? Well whoever he was, things will turn out differently next time we meet!” Matthew assured himself.

Exiting the hospital, he waited as the three men he left in the SUV pulled up to the front. Grumbling, Matthew opened the passenger door and slipped inside.

When he settled into the seat, Matthew barked to the driver, “Get me out of here! I need a drink!”

He laid his head back to compose himself, but when the SUV did not move, he opened his eyes and saw that they were still sitting outside the hospital.

“Did you hear me!” he snapped.

That’s when he saw it. The driver was frozen in fear, the barrel of a pistol pressed against the back of his head.

Someone in the back seat held the weapon, someone Matthew couldn’t see. The tinted windows of the SUV was blocking out the light.

“Drive,” the voice whispered.

“Don’t move!” Matthew ordered between clenched teeth.

“I don’t know who you are,” he said to the figure in the back seat, “but—”

One quick pop and the driver fell forward, blood oozing from the hole in his forehead. Matthew gawked at the dead driver, at the bullet hole in the front windshield, at the figure with the pistol now pointed at him.

“Drive,” the figure repeated.

Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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