The Train Episode 57

Nicole watched as Michael strolled up to Mr. Armstrong in that calm confident way she had grown accustomed to. The first time she had seen that smile of his, even in the face of danger, she had figured he was arrogant, but after a while, she had come to realize that was the face he wore when his mind was in high gear working something out. He was always far ahead of anyone else. She was good at what she did, a killing specialist. But Michael was different. He could do far more than she could, and he usually did it without loss of life. She wondered if she could be spontaneous and nonlethal like Michael. After a moment, she shook the thought from her mind and steeled her resolve.

Of course you can,” she reassured herself.

“Who are you? Where’s Ms. Cooper?” Armstrong asked.

“She’s back at the club, sir,” Wilson answered.

“I’m not asking you,” Armstrong growled.

He turned his gaze back to Michael and asked again.

“So Cooper’s at the club, huh? What I’m wondering is what’s a gumshoe doing in my town and what’s he going to do if I have the girl picked up. . .” Armstrong paused. . .”let’s just say against her will?”

“Absolutely nothing,” Michael said, pompously waving off the idea.

“Then why are you here?” Armstrong asked.

Michael took a deep breath and looking around saw Nicole in the shadows of the next room. When his eyes met hers, he winked.

I am not a private investigator,” he answered, emphasizing the I.

“I NEED you to understand that there are parties out there who would love to see YOU run out of town,” Michael said, accentuating the words.

“Who are these people?” Armstrong asked. “I will have them dealt with.”

“Of course you could easily do that, but these parties will be expecting a response from you. In fact it’s just what they want you TO do,” Michael replied, continuing the word emphasis.

Nicole wondered what Michael was up to.

“He’s emphasizing certain words. I get it. The question is why?” she thought.

“So what? You represent them? Is that it?” Armstrong asked. “You’ve come here on their behalf to tell me to leave?”

“Of course not,” Michael said. “I know better than to TURN on you.”

Suddenly Nicole realized Michael was trying to tell her something.

“He’s telling me that he needs me to turn. . . ?”

“Turn what?” she whispered.

“In fact,” Michael continued, “I am here to help you run them OUT of town.”

“Why should I accept your help?” Armstrong asked.

“Because I’m just THE guy you need to show them the. . .”

Michael paused. Nicole could see he was stuck. Slowly she reached for her pistol.

“What?” Armstrong asked.

“Show them the what?” Wilson pressed.

Michael shrugged and said,

“The light.”

“Got it. Turn out the light!” Nicole suddenly understood.

She put away her pistol and hurried off. Michael could only stall for so long.

 

*          *          *

 

“The light?” Wilson repeated.

“Why’s he talking like that?” Luther asked confused.

NOW,” Michael said, “that is something I can explain.”

“Well I’d like to hear it,” Armstrong said, suspecting Michael was up to something.

Michael saw Nicole slip back into the shadows. He hoped she could find the power box and kill the lights before he ran out of luck.

“I can honestly help you,” he said. “There are people out there who want you dead, and I’m the man you need in your corner.”

“Why do I need another man in my corner? I have more than enough people on my payroll. You’ll have to prove that you’re of use to me and not just another leech looking to feed off my power,” Armstrong responded.

“Wait a minute. I know you,” Wilson said. “Boss, this guy was at the club. He was talking to Cooper’s kid. I think he’s up to something.”

Then addressing Michael, he continued, “Maybe you’re the brat’s daddy. No telling with that tramp.”

“Is that right?” Armstrong asked. “You got a connection with that kid and his mother?”

Michael felt his anger rise. Something made him want to protect the boy and his mom and silence that scum Wilson.

“I’m here to protect the mother and the child. I only want what’s best for them,” Michael said.

“I’m what’s best for them!” Wilson snapped. “They’re not going anywhere without me. They need me a lot more than I need them.”

In that moment, Michael saw something surprising in Wilson’s eyes. The man was serious. He did need them.

“Quiet!” Armstrong said.

“What is it you want? You’ve wasted enough of my time. Give me the truth now or Luther here will escort you out.  Trust me, you do not want that. The last man Luther escorted was never heard from again.”

Michael felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck, and he instinctively knew something big was about to happen.

“I simply want to ensure that YOU’RE not GOING TO get hurt,” Michael spoke emphasizing the three words.

“He’s talking funny again, Boss,” Luther said.

“I can assure you,” Armstrong answered, “no one has the power to hurt me. In my town, I’m untouchable.”

“Are you certain?” Michael asked. “I for one would HATE it if something happened to you.”

“Why are you doing that?” Luther pressed.

“Why are you talking like that?” Armstrong asked.

“Because of,” Michael paused and a smile worked its way across his face.

“What?” Luther pressed. “Because of what?”

Suddenly the lights went out and in the darkness, Michael answered,

“This.”

 

*          *          *

 

By the time Nicole found the power box, she was out of breath. Quickly she cut the power and the lights went out. Seconds after darkness filled the warehouse, she heard Michael with raised voice say,

“This!”

Gunfire erupted and she felt a cold shiver run down her spine.

“Michael?” she whispered into the darkness.

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Published in: on February 15, 2016 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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