“When thieves steal even the most mundane objects from people. They never realise the emotional damage they cause. A object that is just money to them is a family heirloom. A reminder of a deceased loved one. A possession they’d worked hard for. Please never steal anything. If you need something just ask for help.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #112 — The picture above.
Word of the day challenge — Purity
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle — Oracle, Liminal, Stop, Tumble, Tribe, Greatness, Person, Layers, Line, Consider, Tendency, Stomach
“Maxi, are you sure this is a good idea?” Kai asked, switching her vision from the forested hillside to the double line of train tracks running beneath the iron bridge she was crouched upon.
“It’s still in the liminal stages. So, if you have a better idea …”
Kai kissed him. “I trust you. I’m just anxious.”
“Me too.” Maxi smoothed her obsidian hair. “The Oracle’s on that train. We have to stop Schweitzer escaping with it.”
They heard the clacking of a large train. Then saw it thundering along the forested line toward them.
“Let’s do this,” Kai took a deep breath as the train came neared.
“I love you.” Maxi touched his lips to hers, stood and vaulted off the bridge.
Kai was right behind him. Falling two-feet she landed on her knees and dropped to her stomach upon the train’s roof. “Ow, why did I choose shorts! Maxi — you okay?”
“No, not quite!” Maxi replied in a strained voice. He’d overcooked his jump and taken a tumble across the train’s roof. His fingertips had prevented him from falling onto the tracks. With a groan of exertion, he tensed his wiry muscles and hauled himself back onto the roof. “That was too close!”
“You have a tendency for close shaves,” Kai rolled her eyes and pointed, “Come on! We know Schweitzer has his private carriage behind the locomotive.”
“Right behind you.” Maxi winked as the couple bent low and ran along the train. Jumping between carriages, they aimed for the black diesel-powered locomotive. On occasion, they were forced to flatten themselves to avoid branches, power lines and junction signs.
With a little luck and agility, Kai reached her destination at a crouch, “It’s the next —”
“You! Get off the … argh!” A soldier had appeared in the gangway between two carriages. He’d seen Kai leap over his head.
Maxi had gone unseen until he swung into the gap. His feet connected with head and shoulder, sending the soldier flying off the train.
“Nice!” Kai grinned as she dropped down beside Maxi and accepted a quick kiss, “Let’s save the hanky-panky for later, shall we?”
“Yeah, I suppose we better,” Maxi reached and turned the carriage door handle — it was locked. “Now, what?”
“My turn.” Kai scrambled back onto the roof. Flattening herself just in time to avoid the framework of another metal bridge, she hung over the side. A sliding window was open, but it was narrow.
“Careful!” said Maxi winking around the side.
Kai nodded and began to wriggle and contort her lithe frame through the gap. A tree raced towards her. She shrieked, took a breath and flexed her shoulders through the window. Landing in the carriages vestibule as the tree passed by. “That was a whiskery one!” she gasped as she unlocked the door.
“Yeah, and you’d look terrible with a beard,” Maxi retorted while checking the luggage store was clear of danger. “Come —”
The safety slide of a luger pistol being withdrawn froze his words in his throat. “Guten tag. That way and no funny business!” A six-foot-tall soldier wearing army fatigues stepped from the toilet. Keeping his gun on Kai, he closed his flies with his free hand.
Kai followed as she watched a bead of sweat rolled down Maxi’s face. “Easy, big boy,” she urged she moved to follow his instructions.
“Herr Schweitzer will be displeased — now move!”
Maxi put himself between the gun and Kai as he escorted her into the carriage’s main seating area. This one bore cream walls with burgundy curtains. A small bar and plush burgundy seats. All were unoccupied aside from two surrounding a table. A pretty brunette in a sleek red dress occupied one. A long black cigarette tube graced her fingers as she gazed at the countryside racing by outside. Across from her, the suited form of Schweitzer with his platinum blonde hair and monocle. Between them an object wrapped in brown paper and hemp string.
“Herr Schweitzer, two intruders for you,” the soldier saluted. His gun never wavered.
“Very good, Karl. Return to your position.” Schweitzer rose and studied his unwanted guests, his nose pointing toward the ceiling. “Maxi, you never quit. Und now, you involved the pretty hexe too.”
“Kai is no witch. Watch your mouth when you speak about her.” Maxi bristled.
Kai placed a hand on his shoulder calming him. A tough thing with Schweitzer snickering just then.
“Funny, boy. You are my prisoners. I will talk about either of you as I please,” he remarked with a gleeful smile.
“Did you, even for one second consider what you took? Do you realise the damage you did to that tribe when you stole their Oracle?” Kai demanded to know.
“Nein, the tribe matters little to me,” Schweitzer raised his arms nonplussed, “The greatness of the person is not measured by how much he cares, but in the wealth, he takes and controls.”
“The purity of the man and his lady are measured in the way they selflessly give their lives to help others. That Oracle not only foretells the future and guides the tribe. It is the centre of their universe. Without it they will war until every last one of them is dead,” Maxi’s nose wrinkled with fury. “There blood is on your hands.”
“Good, That will make it easier to conquer the country when we return.”
“Oh, Heimy. You are a devil, aren’t you?” Simpered the woman still smoking her long cigarette.
“He’s an evil bastard but let’s not mince words.” Kai walked straight towards him. “One chance. Give me the Oracle, now!”
“She is a pretty, brave hexe, Maxi,” Schweitzer said ignoring the threat.
“Yup, she warned you,”
Schweitzer gazed on Kai and smiled.
“Fine,” Kai went from still to swinging like a peregrine falcon diving on her prey. Her fist hammered into his face with a resounding crack.
Schweitzer’s monocle flew from his cheek as he plunged backwards and crashed onto the table.
“Halt!” demanded both guarding soldiers.
Karl’s luger barked off one shot.
Maxi and Kai had been ready for it. Both hit the deck as the bullet zinged overhead.
The second soldier raised his Sturmgewehr 44 machine gun. The luger’s round slammed into his chest. He convulsed, unleashing a volley of bullets into the carriage as he dropped to the floor.
The woman screamed, cowered and dropped her cigarette.
Maxi swore as windows shattered and bullets smacked into the furniture all around him.
Kai had seen Karl preparing to shoot again. She vaulted into a cartwheel, somersaulted over Maxi, and planted her heels deep into the soldier’s groin. Landing on his chest, she winked and punched him into unconsciousness.
“Nice!” remarked Maxi standing with an appreciative smile.
“Thanks. You smell smoke?” Kai asked rejoining him.
“Nein, there is no smoke!” Schweitzer had gained his feet. Blood oozed from his cheek and mouth dripping onto his collar. He held a golden Mauser pistol in his right hand shaking with fury. Beyond him, a column of black smoke began rising toward the ceiling. “Now, you will die!”
“Err, I think the lady just set fire to the train!” Maxi said pointing.
Schweitzer sniffed his eyes going wide. “Verdammt! What did you do, Rosa?”
Rosa scurried from her seat. “I dropped my bloody cig—”
The curtains ignited with a deep whoomph
With springs in his legs, Maxi leapt forward. Cannoning into Schweitzer he deflected the Mauser.
Kai slipped by, her fingers wrapping around the object as she plunged into the thickening smoke. “I got it!” she cried.
Maxi groaned and choked. A knee slammed into his stomach.
Schweitzer pulled back to strike again.
Maxi blocked, collapsing Schweitzer’s nose with a sickening head-butt and shoved him into the minibar. Bottles of spirits rolled away and smashed upon the carpet. The alcohol igniting in pools of liquid fire.
“Run, Maxi!” Kai screamed.
He couldn’t, Rosa had seized him around the waist.
“Don’t make me hit a woman. Let me go and run while you still can!” Maxi said his eyes stinging from the smoke.
“Now, we all die!” Rosa shrieked.
“Hell —with — that!” Kai choked as she stepped from the smoke and delivered a withering slap. Rosa’s head bounced off the train wall.
Maxi didn’t stop to see what became of her. He burst free, seized Kai and ran. “Think this is our stop!” he said as they burst out the carriage. Taking one look at the grassy hillside, he kissed Kai and they jumped.
Both bounced and rolled as they barrelled through bushes and came to a stop inside the tree line.
“Owee! Next time we go on a date. I’m picking a much safer, softer activity,” Kai complained as she examined a new collection of bruises.
Maxi crawled over to her holding the object. Removing layers of brown paper, he revealed a near-perfect sphere of quartz. The transparent carving of an alien with a long skull glinted upon one face. “It’s a deal. First, we have to get this back to the tribe.”
Kai rolled on top of him. “I do love a man who is absorbed in his work. We —” an earth-shaking bang sent a hot breeze billowing through the trees. A ball of fire and a rain of wooden debris signalled the end of the train. Kai sighed, “Well, I was gonna suggest we lay and enjoy the moment for a while. However, we just sent a massive smoke-signal to every soldier in the area.”
Maxi stood. Taking Kai’s hand as they limped painfully into the forest. “Yup, like you said on the train. I have to save the hanky-panky the later.”
Have a great day!