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 24-Following Darren
The second door slid away out of sight. The wind outside the train batted against the the sides of the narrow coupling section, making the walls rattle and moan unnervingly.
"This is stupid, you know." Niel was trying once more to reason with me. "It's not too late to surrender."
"It's also not too late for you to shut up," I whispered angrily. "I am still holding the gun... And, don't forget about the bag of weapons on my back." I grinned and narrowed my eyes. I could see why Darren made that expression. Niel inched forward into the lead passenger car, glancing over my shoulder at the satchel.
I let him take a few more steps before pulling on his good shoulder. Niel stopped, looking back at me and taking a deep breath as he braced himself against the wall near the first abandoned cabin in the car. I had to take another deep breath myself. The first class car stretched silently forward, the hazy sun light stretching in through a few of the windows in the cabins. I started a count-down in my head.
Zero came faster that I had intended. I raised my arm unstoppably, aiming the pistol locked tightly in the greasy grip of my sweaty, soot-stained fingers towards the coupling. I fired once, then twice. The crack of each shot reverberated with heart-stopping force up and down the train car. I couldn't focus on it though. Already the clock in my head was counting down again. Curiosity would strike like scarlet fever in the remaining occupied cabin. The seconds were against me. I had to move fast. The glazed but confident look in Niel's eyes confirmed my fear.
Without looking down I snapped the top of the flare off the smooth, orange shaft. It hissed loudly, throwing a neon yellow hue that was nearly blinding across the metal walls and doors surrounding us. The glow dimmed after a second, swallowed by the heavy cloud of rolling white smoke as colorless as snow. Sulphur burned my nostrils. My fingers gripping the shaft began to sweat. I glanced at Niel then rolled the flare across the floor.
It's two second trek ended six feet away. Smoke poured out like it was liquid. It bubbled and flooded the base of the thin corridor. I watched it hug the walls and float close to the gaps in the doors. As the ringing in my ears subsided, I could make out the shuffling behind the locked door an all-too-short distance away.
I didn't bother to check how many bullets I had left. There wasn't time anyway. As I raised the gun, the lock on the door snapped free. The thin metal grating against its track, rubbing against the wall as it slid open, echoed deep into my brain. My nerves tightened. My pulse skipped like a jack-hammer. Then I saw him.
First it was only his arm. I recognized the now-tattered sleeve of Mr. French as he took his first step out of Devoy's stronghold. He seemed to turn on a dime, his arm pivoting suddenly. My eyes looked up fearfully and instantly. I saw the beady, excited glaze in his pupils like stars in the rolling smoke. His face was contorted in some awful way, the muscles flexed and bent awkwardly in his cheeks. After a moment I realized he was actually smiling. His porcelain teeth filled my panicking gaze.
I watched him take another step. I saw his arm leveling out, adjusting so his gun found my forehead from five feet away. I saw his finger begin to tighten on the curve of the trigger. I saw Niel flinch excitedly, ready to join his bosses. His blood-stained torso pushed off from the wall.
All of this seemed to happen at once. A thousand heartbeats seemed to pass in the two or three seconds that came and went. I saw it all-too much for my emotionally scarred eyes to handle.
And then, suddenly, as the first shot rang out with world shattering violence, I couldn't see anything but darkness. The muzzle flare pierced the thick abyss the corridor had become. I bounced blindly to the side and squeezed the trigger of my own gun. The darkness around me jumped back then lunged forward again. The train exploded with a maelstrom unlike anything I'd ever seen, heard, or felt. Lighting and thunder that cracked and bellowed with such monstrous ferocity filled the dark, narrow hallway.
I thought I heard someone screaming. Was it me? Was it Niel or even French himself? Again and again the two guns fired at each other. I couldn't even feel my hand. My arms and shoulders throbbed as I bounced back and forth near the doorway into the coupling. Was I winning? Was I loosing? Was I dead yet?
Then, everything changed again. Gravity kicked me hard in the shoulders and chest. The boisterous din of gunfire faded suddenly behind the sudden whip-crack of a small explosion. The whole train seemed to lunge backward and jump off the track, kissing the hot outside air for just a moment before landing with a metallic plop against the rails again.
I felt the floor against my chest and face before I saw it. Light washed down the corridor as it poured in through the cracked windows lining the smoke-filled passage as the train emerged from tunnel outside. My ears rung painfully. Every muscle and nerve in my body tingled electrically.
"Taylor!" I barely heard it. The voice echoed faintly on the edge of my hearing. I blinked and stared at the steel wall beside my head. Small beads of heavy crimson were painted across its surface like a thousand dollar abstract.
There it was again. I pushed myself up onto my knees, quickly trying to get my bearings. The train lurched again. I felt my unsteady balance escape, pulling me forward with it. My arms stretched out, landing on something that wasn't the floor.
"Taylor!!" That was Jake, I think. My ears were still ringing.
"Yeah," I answered weakly. My voice was just a hint above a mumble. My attention was too drawn-in by whatever had stopped me from hitting the floor again. The smoke in the corridor seemed thicker now. There was more gray than white and it carried the acrid smell of fire in its dull, cascading wisps.
My fingers felt wet.
"Taylor!! Wake-up!!" That was Darren. "Earth to Taylor!"
"OK!" I yelled, my hearing better but my attitude suddenly not-so-much. I wanted to find out what was under the smoke. I wanted to know why my fingers were wet. Then my brain suddenly caught back up with the world. Adrenaline surged through me again, just enough so that I was able to pull my hands close to my eyes.
"Blood," I whispered breathlessly. I looked up the smoky corridor and saw no signs of the quiet cowboy. "Oh, God," I said with more volume in my voice.
"Taylor! Come open the door! The lock-" Darren yelled. "You need to get us out of here. The lock is stuck!"
"Taylor?!" Jake's voice called out from behind the walls.
I didn't answer at first. I couldn't. My eyes were locked on what was hidden under the smoke. A pocket in the choking smog opened and I was finally able to see what I had landed on.
"Oh, my God!" I cried out again, staring at Niel's surprised and lifeless, unblinking eyes. His bare chest was a bloody landscape of torn and burned flesh around the dozen wounds where bullets had found their way in and out of him. No wonder I hadn't been shot.
"Taylor, we need your help!" Jake called out again.
"The room is on fire! Devoy set off some kind of bomb!"
More of the smoke cleared for a brief moment. It was long enough for me to see Mr. French's body near the bullet scarred doorway he had emerged from. I couldn't breathe.
"Taaayyyylllloorrr!" Darren growled.
I looked towards the door. Smoke was rolling out the top in an upside down river. "There are two dead people out here!" I yelled, protesting and pleading with him at the same time.
"There's going to be two dead people in here!! Now hurry!!" Darren screamed through the door.
"OK!!" I screamed back.
I stepped over the slain pair of corpses on the floor. It was the first time I had ever killed anyone in cold blood. And Niel... I wasn't sure how I felt about him. Did I kill him or did Mr. French? All these thoughts disappeared when I pressed my hand against the wall beside the door. "Holy hell!" I yelled, pulling it back from the sizzling metal plate.
"Yeah! Fire hot! Fire not good in small space! Fire killing friends!" Darren yelled. I heard his voice through the cracked glass beside me.
"Why not just break the window?!"
"Oh... we talked about that when there was still oxygen in the room, you see. Jake really didn't feel like playing the human battering ram today!"
"I don't think it would be good for my complexion," Jake added sarcastically.
"Fine! I get the point!"
I found my gun on the floor near Niel's motionless elbow. Wrapping my fingers around the still sweaty grip, I turned toward the glass window beside the door and squeezed the trigger.
"What?!" both boys yelled from the smoldering cabin.
"Do you have the satchel?"
I nodded my head to the cracked window. "Yeah!"
"Good," Darren shouted. "Change out the clip!"
"Oh, sure!" I said dryly. "Just umm...show me how and I'll be happy to!"
Jake sighed. "Do me a favor and spread my ashes near the ocean. I hate the desert!"
"I-" In my sudden sadness I let my gaze shift downward in despair, only to spot a bullet punctured panel a few inches wide and in the shape of square. "What's this?"
"Taylor I..." Darren started to say. "I just wanted to let you know... I... That I've..."
I wasn't paying any attention to him. My mind was quickly studying the yellow cord with a small tab on its top.
"Taylor I-" Darren was still saying when I interrupted him.
"Jake! What's this yellow cord?"
"The emergency release for the doors! Why?"
I pulled hard as hard as I could on the tab. Something snapped. Oil and grease oozed out like buttery, molten-brown blood from the square panel. A moment later the locks along the right wall clicked free. The door to Devoy's cabin suddenly slid open. A thick fist of smoke rolled like a boulder into the corridor. I took a step closer just as Jake came stumbling out, tripping over French's body. Darren followed with quick haste.
He smiled at me, coughing as he said, "What took you so long?"
"I ran into some old friends of ours," I said without much humor, glancing down towards the floor.
Darren followed my eyes. He quickly looked over the dead henchmen then back at me. "Nice."
"Where's Devoy," I asked.
The train lurched again. Darren turned around toward the front of the car. "Trying to get away."
"I think he's un-coupling the engine," said Jake.
"Then we'd better hurry," Darren insisted, already opening the door at the front of the car.
I hesitated a moment, no longer sure I wanted to continue. But my mind was changed when a wave of hot, searing flames punched through the glass of the cabin ahead of Devoy's. It gripped the windowsill and swept across the ceiling.
In a flash of sight and sound I was behind Jake, following him closely as we raced through the coupling and into the next car. Bunk-beds lined the walls with tall, narrow lockers separating each three-bunk column of beds. This must have been the crew's car. My eyes circled the car ahead of me before stopping on Darren. His bubble butt swayed as he slid to a halt and opened the next door. It slid away to reveal the late afternoon and the grease-stained rear of the engine car.
Metal clanked and snapped loudly. The crew car lurched again, this time even more violently. "The engine just separated!" Darren yelled.
"It's picking up speed!" Jake called after him.
Darren nodded, taking a step back before jumping across. Jake didn't even stop running. He flung himself over the slowly widening gap, his body landing against the bulky engine car with a heavy thud. I readied for my own jump, shifting my wait forward. I felt myself press against gravity. I even winced as the edge of the train car was nearly under my feet.
And that's when I stopped, turning instantly to the small box near the base of the wall. Somehow, I knew it was the brake controls for the crew car. In his hurry, Devoy had forgotten a set. I glanced down the length the train behind me. Darren and Jake yelled from behind me. I ignored them, thinking only of how to save everyone else on the other cars still barreling toward these. The first class cabin had broken away just after we ran out. It's entire frame was being swallowed by fire.
"Taylor! What are you doing? Hurry up!"
I nodded at them then reached for the break panel. It took me only a moment to find what I was looking for: the emergency brake switch. All I had to do was read the labels above each button and the single, small lever. A single push with all my strength did nothing to move the yellow and black-stripped handled lever. There was no time to keep trying. I kicked it once-twice.
Three times! Then, CRUNCH! The lever snapped down, the upper portion falling with a jagged end to the floor. In the next heartbeat the train car lurched. The air outside and all around it became filled with the high-pitched chorus of each wheel screeching desperately to a halt. I glanced left as I fought to keep my balance. The rolling metal barrel of fire was racing right toward the crew car.
"Taylor, jump!" Darren barked.
By the next second that followed I shifted my falling weight back to the right, pivoting around at the same time. My momentum rolled unstoppably forward. My next two steps came in rapid succession until I reached the edge again. I felt my body sling itself outwards. Up into the air I threw myself, but instantly I recognized it might not be enough.
The engine car rolled ahead. I was falling downward. With arms outstretched I closed my eyes. There was a noise behind me that muted all others in the immediate world. As I listened to the two cars collide in a devastating wreck of vital parts and smoldering remains, I felt a hot wind brush my back.
The two cars were exploding. With a bubble of ear-popping noise ten times worse than the dueling barrage of gun fire in the corridor, the white-wash of energy swept instantaneously outward. I felt the boiling, rippling wall of fire at my back and legs. Shadows from smoldering debris ejected away from the explosion danced across my face. The force of the collision pushed me forward another few inches.
I finally felt his skin again. I looked up as Darren grabbed my desperate, outstretched fingers. He gripped my hand as tightly as he could, swinging me against the bottom edge of the engine. Train trestles zipped dangerously close to the bottoms of my feet from where I dangled only inches above the ground. "Are you all right?!"
"I was almost blown up! I've been shot at more times than I can count today! And I'm dangling from the back of a speeding train! Do I fucking look all right?!!" I yelled in response.
Darren smiled his good-natured smile. "Wanna do it again?"
With that, Darren hoisted me up onto the narrow ledge that wrapped almost all the way around the engine car. I sat on my knees, my head resting against the hot railing above the narrow platform's edge. The tracks rushed by underneath us. I thought again as too how close I had been to them. I could still feel the air bouncing off each individual plank, pushing against my shoes. I sighed and closed my eyes, an uneasy dizzy feeling settling in my vision.
At the same time, I felt Darren digging hurriedly through the satchel still clinging to my sweat-soaked shirt. I listened to the rapid snaps and clicks of new, fully loaded clips being slid into the remaining guns. A shadow fell over my face, making me open my eyes in slow surprise.
"Here," Darren said, handing me back the soot and blood stained gun I had been holding before.
"I don't want it," I said, my mouth dry and my tongue feeling like a piece of sticky sandpaper.
"I don't care," Darren replied, unflinching.
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Fine. But I'm taking it in protest!"
"Noted!" Darren said over the constant rush of air whipping past the lone engine car as it swept across the changing landscape. I watched the outskirts of suburbia take shape where there had only been flat, dry stretches of grass and then endless fields. Now, small houses and assorted buildings of different styles and heights suddenly seemed to pop right out of the Earth.
I glanced down at the disappearing miles of railroad track stretching away behind us. In the expanding distance I could still clearly see the roaring fire of the train car wreckage. Somewhere behind that would be the rest of the train. I only hoped they would be all right. My mind started to wander just then but stopped and jumped back to reality when I heard a noise above the rushing air and heavy din of the speeding engine. It was low and guttural at first, strangely familiar and yet I couldn't recognize it.
Then I saw them. Two pairs of fast moving helicopters raced and dived out of the thick cloud of smoke beginning to hug the horizon. Their formation tightened before breaking as they sped a hundred feet off the ground, flanking each side of the engine car.
"The Feds are here," Darren yelled, handing a fresh pistol to Jake. "It's time to finish this!" There was an honest, dark certainty and devotion in his voice that was actually a little terrifying. How far was Darren going to go to permanently destroy the man he'd been hunting for so long?
"The plan?" Jake yelled from where he stood on the other side of the platform. A thin embankment of metal steps separated the two sides of the single person-wide catwalk.
"You go that way. We'll go this way," Darren said, gesturing toward the front of the train. "You and I will jump in and try to surprise him!" He glanced down at me. "Taylor, you wait outside for my signal! He might think you died back there," Darren said loudly, gesturing toward the barely visible column of smoke.
"If things start going bad-" He had to stop and wait for the chopper circling the train car hungrily to fly back out of ear shot. "...Just... Just wait for my signal. And be ready!"
I only nodded. There was nothing I could say. As it was, the only thing that gave me the energy to stand back up was the new wave adrenaline I was beginning to feel course through my body, coating my muscles and tightening my nerves.
So there I was once more, following that sexy ass of his into another perilous situation that could potentially bring the end to my young, queer life. My brain fought so hard to keep my body going and to keep itself from retreating into the shadows of some quiet corner where there weren't any armored helicopters buzzing a speeding, hijacked train from only a hundred feet or so above the ground while three armed gay boys-being led by an orphaned son on a desperate and blood-thirsty quest to avenge the murder of his father-made ready to lay siege to the control cabin.
What the hell kind of world is this? Where did my life go? This... None of this was in the Blue Sky Express brochure I had picked up a month ago! I decided right then and there to file a formal complaint with their corporate office in Chicago. While the service had been good-lord knows-the overall trip has proven a bit stressful on this young individual. Eat my shorts and lick my sweaty ass Blue Sky Travel International, Inc.!
Darren glanced back at me. There was no innocence in his eyes. That pair of sexy, icy blue eyes beheld a fiery drive that had instincts riding at full, frontal force. There was no stopping him, no pleading with him, no making him see it wasn't too late to stop. I imagined, for a second, that this was the only look Darren ever saw from himself in the mirror. He could only see his father dead. He only saw his life stolen from him and destroyed by a man who didn't think twice about such things. I realized if it were me, those would be my eyes had and frozen, my nostrils flaring and my limbs trembling.
Well, my limbs were trembling. So I had that much in common with him at that moment. I paused a few steps behind Darren, watching him. This was the only vindication he knew. The enemy of my parents was myself. My only vindication would be to destroy and erase forever that which I had once been. Darren took a deep breath. I took one myself, tightening the vice-like grip on the warm gun in my hands. He looked at me one more time. I nodded my head with new certainty. Another piece of that cold, naked twink that had my eyes, my lips, my voice, and my blood slipped out of existence.
Darren fired his gun toward the open door. A second shot rang out from the other side of the train. In a rush of motion and noise partially muted by the sudden turn and dive of one of the choppers that skimmed over the top of the train in a perpendicular path, the new siege was born. I took up position where Darren and been standing, my chest heaving and my gun at the ready.
I could see the reflection of the cabin's interior in a small, round mirror above the far side of the narrow doorway. Guns were raised, the stakes evenly matched when it came to weapons. Two guns pointed at a single body while two more heavy pistols were pointed at each boy sandwiching him in the center of the greasy looking room. Voices raised so I could head their harsh words stabbing at each other above the cacophony of wind and noise around me. I glanced away from the mirror for a moment. Something ahead of the train caught my eye. Against the sharp, vivid orange and pinks of the slowly setting sun, the Chicago skyline reached up towards the gray and purple cotton-thick clouds painted throughout the early evening.
"Oh no," I thought, knowing time was running out.
There was more yelling in the cabin. I looked back at the mirror. Taylor looked at Jake who glanced at the mirror for a split-second. Had I blinked, I would have missed it. "This ends, Devoy! Right-Now!" yelled Darren.
With that I gulped what I air I could from the chilling wind and turned on one foot, rushing into the cabin. Darren stepped aside. Devoy lifted his arm, but not before I launched myself into his stocky, round body. My intent was to push him out the other side of the cabin. As I impacted his soft girth, sinking slightly into his gut, gravity decided not to play fair. My balance faltered just enough that I pushed us of course. Devoy wrapped his silk-suited arms around me, dragging me with him as we sailed backwards into Jake.
The young porter grunted loudly as the heavy weight of Devoy-made even worse by my own-slammed into him at full speed. In the next second before I could recover, I felt a silk-covered knee make brief but personal contact with my testicles. There was a pop in my ears I wondered if anyone else in the cabin heard. It sent me reeling onto my knees, stars of all colors and sizes blinding me as the pain rolled up and down my body.
"Nice try, Brasier!" Devoy laughed breathlessly, holding his stomach and straightening his back. I felt the cold barrel of his gun press against my scalp in a long, emotionless kiss. "Now, put down the gun!"
With ragged breaths I looked up at Darren. My eyes found his through the blinding wave of pain that made the train spin unnaturally. I could see his anger, his hatred, his hell-bent drive for blood suddenly soften. The emptiness behind the icy blue was replaced with a tenderness I had seen in the orchard just before he kissed me. The muscles in his arms, tense and unyielding, suddenly relaxed. I tried to shake my head, to warn him not to give up. One of us had to have their victory.
Darren looked up, first at Devoy's cheeky, smiling face and then at Jake. His face changed again, briefly but noticeably. Then his arm tightened again. The muscles in his face grew hard and he narrowed his eyes.
"You didn't really think you would win, did you?" Devoy shouted above me.
Darren smiled, confidently. "You didn't really think you would, did you?"
His smile never wavered as he suddenly took one step to his right. I knew Devoy and I were seeing the exact same thing at the exact same time. Darren had been standing in front of the viewports in a perfect line from Devoy, making it easy for the sniper crouching in the helicopter hovering low outside the train to find his target. Devoy's muscles tightened. I felt his finger wrap around the trigger.
Glass exploded from the viewport. I dove to the oil and grease-smelling floor. Devoy's finger didn't finish its movement. The sharp shell that had rocketed away from the sniper's gun had found its target. The noise of the bullet making contact with his startled brow echoed with a wet snap and splat around the cabin.
I looked up, seeing those lifeless, surprised eyes staring at Darren. He took a step toward Devoy then kicked him with all the strength, energy, and dark-seeded revenge that had been bubbling in his young body. The silk-suited fat man tumbled backwards and out of the door. In the next instant his body disappeared, colliding with a freight train making a sudden appearance as it raced past in the opposite direction. The three of us looked away. Not even Darren was able to stomach a scene like that. The sound was... well... it was something really awful.
"Are you all right?" Darren asked, looking at Jake.
"Yeah." Jake rubbed the back of his head where it had been forced to hit the wall. "Just got the wind knocked out of me."
"Are you all right?" Darren asked, looking down at me.
"Huh? Oh... yeah. Just got the nads knocked out of me."
Darren reach his hands out, helping me off the floor. "Shame," he said smiling when our faces came eye to eye.
"Hey guys," Jake said with heavy concern. "Do either of you 007's know how to drive a train? You know... seeing as how there is no engineer or anything."
"What about the brake?" Darren asked.
"You mean this sparking-smokey-thingy over here? No. I don't think that's going to work."
"Well, then we better come up with something quick. How close are we to the station?"
I looked out the front viewports, sighing. "I think we're there."