The following contains descriptions of graphic sexual acts between consenting teenage boys. It is a work of pure fiction and has no basis in the real world. Any similarities between people and places is just simple and plain coincidence. Do not read this story if you are under 18 or the legal age in your area; or, if it is just down right illegal to read this material where you live. And, don't go any further if you don't want to read about gay/bisexuals falling in love and having sex.
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Strangers on a Train
by J. A. Adkins
Part 23-Going After Darren
What am I doing? Why was I here? Why did I keep going? What was I going to do, anyway?
Around and around these questions danced in my adrenaline-drowned mind as I hurried into the smoky train and past the surprised and worried glances of the passengers. They looked on from the small spaces in front of their seats on either side of the narrow isle stretching the length of the passenger car.
"What's going on?" a man shouted in the sun-lit haze.
"Who were those people?" a woman said from somewhere behind me.
"He's got a gun, too!" an old woman cried out in her seat nearby.
"No, wait! It's not mine!" I yelled defensively.
"Call the police!" a person near the back of the car shouted.
"We're on a train," another man said.
"Oh... right," the person answered back.
I reached the end of the passenger car. I could sense the people behind me starting to stir even more. They were afraid and eventually would become pissed-off because of it. Without a moment to lose, I pressed up on the latch of the heavy door, letting it slide open. The warm afternoon air circulating in stale drafts that reeked of oil and other things mechanical filled my nostrils while I stepped through the coupling section and reached for the next door.
The latch snapped and the clicked open, sliding freely away. Two dozen heads turned with start toward my direction. I caught the look in their eyes, recognizing it instantly. My own gaze lifted with lightning speed toward the front of the car just as Mr. French lifted his gun away from Darren's temple and aimed it at my own brow.
"Shit!" I managed to say as I ducked into the seats to my immediate left. The bullets snapped against the doorframe behind me. Each of the three shots brought shouts and screams from the already frightened passengers in both cars. The ones in front of me got to their feet in a panicked mass that bled unstoppably back to the rear passenger car.
I picked myself up out of the lap of the strange, pale-faced woman sitting in her seat, apologizing for the awkward moment then squeezed through the rattled throng trying to flee the violence all too close for anything that would be a hint of comfort. I reach the front of the car, still refusing to look back again. What good would it do? There would only be questions, maybe sanity, and the people cowering in complete and utter freak-out mode.
I pulled on the latch of the door, feeling the stale breeze from the second coupling compartment wrap around me. I was on the edge of the very same freak-out mode as everyone else behind me. It was taking everything I had not to fall off into the other side of it.
I lifted the latch of the next door. I managed a single step into an all-too-familiar looking baggage car. A new round of gun fire split the silence of the darkened car and blistered the air near my ears and shoulders. I ducked, then dove. Bullets snapped mercilessly into the steel frame of the door behind me. I fired a shot, blindly, away from me. It hit a suitcase on one of the nearby racks. Before the doors closed again, I found myself resting against a soft, black leather satchel thrown against the wall. As the last of the light from outside each end of the car was taken away by the closing doors, I slipped my fingers through the still-sweaty straps.
With a deep, trembling breath that did nothing to steady my racing heart or steel my shaking limbs, I slung the small bag over my shoulder. It felt heavy from the weapons cache Darren had tucked inside it. Another deep breath that had just as little effect as the first-though it did keep me from passing out in the darkness-and I took the few steps remaining between the shadowy corner and the forward door.
I repeated the pattern again. Within seconds I found myself still in darkness, only this time the smell of food replaced the mechanical odor hovering in each coupling compartment. I opened my eyes, realizing I had closed them before opening the second door. The kitchen stretched out in front of me. Steam hissed from half-covered pots on hot stoves and meat sizzled with slowly burning onions in the shallow skillets and pans. The four cooks standing near their stations blinked at me. Their eyes moved up and down between my own eyes and the gun in my hand.
After an awkward moment of sweat-inducing silence, I spoke. "Excuse me."
I hurried past them, lifting the latch on the next door. "The food's great by the way!" I said enthusiastically. They were still staring at the gun. "It's okay. You can run now."
Two of them smiled at me before joining the third and fourth in a sudden sprint for the rear doorway. I didn't watch them. Instead, I continued forward through the next coupling and into the lounge. Mr. French turned around let loose another two shots from his gun as soon as I was in sight. I dove back behind a metal partition. Sparks danced on the floor and wall around the doorway. I counted to a number-I don't remember which. My brain jumped up the long scale of digits unevenly. I'm surprised I was still even conscious. I could feel the utter panic ebbing just underneath the surface of my awareness.
I sprang up and around from behind the coffee-scented counter and partition. I was ready to fire when I saw the object leave French's hand. I remembered the object on top of the train... the explosion. That word popped like a cartoon bubble out of the recesses of my brain once more.
It bounced onto one of the table tops. I dropped to my knees. At the end of that single, drum-like heartbeat the grenade went off. White-hot noise crackled and swelled through the train car. Every window shattered. Glass and smoke filled the compartment. I stood up, watching flaming napkin shreds fall like glowing snow out of the heavy smoke.
I took a few more steps into the sulfur-smelling lounge car. Tables were overturned and broken around the compartment. Seats were blackened and torn, shredded by the shrapnel storm. The curtains on the windows were smoldering in a soft amber light that contrasted the heavy, great sunbeams pushing through the choking smoke.
There it was: my panic. It was beginning to bubble over. The volcano of my breakdown would soon show itself. I could feel every nerve tightening and tingling. Every hair on my neck and arms was standing on its end. I didn't want to do this anymore. I couldn't do this anymore. I felt the collapse coming, its presence looming and eclipsing any sense of bravery and ounce of strength I had left.
Then, I heard a scream. A stout-looking man with a tattered red vest and bleeding forehead rushed out of the shadows. I raised my gun with a start and somehow kept from pulling the trigger. Instantly I recognized the frightened character as the snobby crewman who had made share my room with Darren. Still screaming, he reached out for me, grabbing my shirt collar with his fists in a strangling grip. For a second there I did want to shoot him. It would have been my personal thanks for his careless actions which inevitably led me to the most funkified and multiple moments of near-death I had ever experienced.
But I couldn't shoot him. He had also given me Darren. An image of that beautiful face filled my mind. And suddenly, I was calm. I saw that amazing smile and those breathtaking blue eyes. I saw him naked under the trees and felt my panic retreat from its boiling point.
"We're all going to die! My God! They're going to kill us all! They're crazy! Mad! The world has flipped over, man! It's over! It's over! It's all over!!"
He shook my shirt with me in it with each outburst of his own breakdown. I saw the endless fear and erupting sense of panic and loss in his gaze. His pupils were drowned in the deep black of human abandon. And suddenly, from his fear I found strength. I saw what I had been about to become. I recognized what everyone else would see... would feel. I wondered how many times Darren had been in this position. I thought of the moments together where I had been so close to cracking up.
The attendant was still freaking out on me. I shook my head, collecting my thoughts into a more narrow focus. I grabbed the man's shoulders and pushed him back.
"Will you get a hold of yourself!" I slapped him, in perfect bitch-fashion, across the cheek. "What the hell is the matter with you! Now shut up! Shut up!"
The crewman looked at me, stunned. He held his cheek with loose, trembling fingers. "You're a sorry sight," I said, shaking my head. I turned away from him, smiling as I reached for the door latch into the next coupling compartment.
"Why are you so calm?" I heard him ask from behind me.
"I'm not," I said without looking back as I crossed the coupling section. I opened the next door, stepping into one of the first class cars. A shot sliced across the smoky air in front of me. I strafed and twisted to my right, the bullet whizzing past, barely missing me. I stood just inside the opened doorway of one of the small first class cabins. My chest was heaving. "I'm so totally NOT!" I yelled, still answering the crew-man's question.
The door to the cabin across from me slid open. My eyes went wide at the sight of the bare-chested twink I remembered went by the name, Niel. He spotted me in heartbeat. Sunlight from behind me flickered across his short, sweaty black hair and down his tanned, toned chest. His dark nipples held my gaze for almost a second too long. But with my eyes that low I saw his hand reach for the back pocket of his low-rise jeans.
My embittered eyes, afire with blazing hate, locked onto his at the same moment I lost feeling in my arm and fingers. I heard the gun go off. I remember seeing the muzzle flare and then Niel flinch and stumble backwards, his eyes wide and searching desperately for... anything. He bounced against his partner, the spiky-haired Guy. The second twink jumped and turned around in the heat of the commotion. Niel's bleeding shoulder scraped down Guy's chest and arms as he tried to grab his boyfriend.
"Is this... Oh my, God!" Guy shouted, looking at his wet, red fingers. "This is blood! This is blooo...." His voice trailed off as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he sank dramatically backwards against the side wall of the cabin. His body eventually came to a stop on the closed-lid commode, his motionless form sitting extremely slouched across the dark green porcelain.
Niel lay with his back against the bed under the window. His face was a tight scowl as he struggled with what I'm sure was the throbbing, endless pain radiating from the bleeding wound in his shoulder. He looked at me pleadingly. The tough guy shell had been shattered with the birth of a single flesh wound on the corner of his delicate skin.
I blinked for the first time in several seconds. My brain took stock of the scene in the cabin before I finally spoke. "Are you okay?"
Niel took a deep breath that hissed between clenched teeth. "I... I think so."
I nodded my head, holding onto the concerned look for another moment before replacing it with something more serious and Darren-like in nature. "Good."
"Huh?" Niel looked at me fearfully.
"Let's go for a walk."
Before Niel could say anything else I had yanked him off the floor onto his feet. I pushed him out the door ahead of me. Curious onlookers watched with that familiar look of fright as we made our way up the narrow corridor to the front of the car. I awkwardly pressed the barrel end of the gun into the middle of Niel's trembling back. He lifted the latch on the door, stepping with a dizzy gait into the coupling compartment.
Within seconds we had crossed into the the now abandoned bar car. White colored smoke from forgotten cigarettes left hanging on the rims of blue and silver ash trays curled casually toward the ceiling. Drinks of all kinds dripped noisily off tables with food now soggy, spilled by patrons who had to run out when all the commotion reach their lazy solitude.
I glanced up toward the next door at the head of the train car. I knew that beyond it I would find Darren. But I also knew that I would find trouble in the deadly gun-and-bullet form at the hands of Mr. French and his less-than-dashing employer, Orville Devoy. The man reminded me of a tick with a stout, balding monkey on its back. But, that was just my opinion.
"You're crazy, you know..." Niel hissed, his words strained from the pain that I'm sure was still radiating through his body.
"Yeah... I'm figuring that out. I kind of have you to thank for that, though."
"How do you figure?"
"Hmm... let me think." I tapped the side of my head with my finger. "Who was it that tried to drug me, dragged me naked onto the roof of this train, and got me into this whole mess? Hmm?!!"
"Hey," Niel shouted. "I didn't try to drug you. I did drug you. But Guy was the one who stripped you naked. I just wanted to throw you off the side of the train." He actually said this in a voice that might have been close to something resembling care or kindness... had he been talking about things that were helpful.
"I guess you and your butt-boy have some communication issues to work out."
I could see Niel's lip curl into a snarl. "Guess so."
I heard the bottle shatter before I felt the vodka-scented wind brush against the back of my neck or Mizz K's voice call out from behind the head she had just christened. I turned around in time to watch Guy blink with a surprised, lost glint in his eyes. The fingers of right hand were wrapped around the base of a small, black club. I glanced at Niel who stared at his partner as the spiky-haired boy collapsed to his knees before toppling over onto the floor.
"Thanks," I said to Mizz K, who huffed a loose strand of hair out of her face.
"No problem," she said.
A bloody hand pressed hard against my back, catching me off guard and nearly sending me crashing over the unconscious body of twink-boy number two. "He's getting away!" Mizz K shouted.
I recovered from the shove, turning my torso in another Darren-esq fashion. The gun in my fingers at the end of my outstretched arm found an easy target. I squeezed the trigger once. The gun let fly a small, shiny shell that soared at the speed of sound across the bar car. It met the train above the latch on the door, sparking as it collided loudly against the steel. Niel pulled his hand back with a start.
He turned to look at me, seeing my smile which was all kinds of wicked and confident. "No need to hurry out," I quipped.
"He was probably going to try and warn his boss that you were coming. That Devoy-guy's cabin is right in the next car," Mizz K said sternly, walking toward the bar-top wet with alcohol.
"I'm sure he heard the shot then," I sighed, gesturing for Niel to move away from the door. His eyes watched the smoking barrel of my gun while he scooted slowly to the nearest booth.
Mizz K lit a cigarette. "What are you going to do?"
"Rescue Darren." I caught the concern in her eyes when I said that and suddenly remembered another recent addition to Devoy's collection of hostages. "And Jake. I doubt Devoy's killed him. That doesn't seem like the classy thing to do." I slipped the satchel off my shoulders for a second, letting it land on the table next to Niel. I watched him out of the corner of my eye.
"I think Devoy's goons have been messing with the train. I saw these two doing something the other day," Mizz K said, gesturing to Guy and Niel. "And just now, the big guy with the cowboy hat shot out the brake controls in here."
I looked at Niel. His startled eyes shifted between Mizz K and me. "What's his plan?" I barked. "What's Devoy going to do?"
"Kill your boyfriend, for one." Niel spat his words.
"And!" I said, hearing Mizz K's voice at the same time.
"And then he's going to derail the train. He figures by the point the feds are looking for him. Thanks to your boyfriend. And with the train belly-up, that'll make things... tricky for all those official between here and the station in Chicago."
I looked over my shoulder at Mizz K. Her face had gone pale. "He's going to jump the train." Her words were almost a whisper. She was saying it just so she could realize it wasn't something her mind had made up.
"And he's already taken out the brakes," I added. I probably shouldn't have said anything.
"Oh my, God. All these people!" Mizz K could barely find the words to speak. "What are we going to do?"
I looked away from her without an answer. My brain spun wild circles around itself, trying to come up with a plan. I had none. I had no idea what I was even doing. I've heard of being in over your head. But this was being in way past my body. It's not like I could just go charging into the next car, guns blazing, and hope I take out Devoy and the quiet cowboy before they do the same to me... or, even Darren or Jake.
"Taylor..." Mizz K whispered fearfully.
I looked at the satchel on the table in front of me. "I don't know," I whispered back. I could feel that panic inside of me again. "I just don't know."
I kept my eyes on the satchel, looking up and down its side and back, hoping the answer would present itself. That's when I noticed a bulge on the side I hadn't seen before. It was long and slender, swelling out just slightly near the top. Sounds dirty, I know. That could by why it intrigued me so much. I yanked open the two snaps holding the flap in place over the concealed pocket. Tucked within the sturdy leather lining, an unused flare greeted my eyes.
I pulled it out then turned around to show Mizz K, my eyes sparkling with the roots of a plan. "I have an idea!"
"Thank, God," she said, putting her cigarette out on a dry spot atop the bar counter.
"It won't work."
"Shut up!" we both yelled to Niel who shrank into his shoulders slightly with a wince.
"Get everyone you can find to the back of the train. I'll get Darren and Jake out and we'll handle the rest."
"Sounds good. What about him?" Mizz K asked, pointing to Niel. His tan color had begun to pale.
I smiled. "Oh... he's going to help too."