Midnight Train To Nowhere Ch. 04byHeathen Hemmingway©
This chapter is for the faithful who have followed The Man In Black while I struggled through a long and dark episode of writer's block. Calling it writer's block isn't really fair or accurate, folks. It was a like a writer's blackout. I am writing again now, and I have you to thank for it.
The Kid meets the Man in Black
The Kid walked right into it, carelessly stepping through the partition into the next car. This gave the man in black the few seconds he needed to react, standing to one side and railing him with a hard drive-line punch, connecting perfectly square on his nose. The Kid flew back, his gun flailing upward as he fell. The man in black was fixed on the gun; he could better deal with the man once the gun was out of the picture.
The Kid landed hard on his back, knocking the breath out of him. He had a death grip on the gun with his right hand, and he flailed and scrabbled to right himself so he could take a firing stance. A faint silhouette loomed over him for a fraction of a second, and as he tried to bring the gun upright he was crushed under a punishing weight. He felt his right shoulder pushed hard onto the car's floor and then felt a sudden jarring pain in his right wrist. He could see a man's black boot pressing hard against his wrist, and he made a feeble attempt at punching his assailant in the crotch with his left hand. A strong hand batted his left fist away, almost dismissively. He heard a gravelly voice speak in the darkness.
"You just shit in your hat, Cochise."
The fist reappeared from the gloom and the pain bloomed brilliant again, the world turning an eerie palette of silver and red. His head reeled back and struck the metal floor hard, and for a few brief moments the world went black. After what seemed like an eternity (which was in fact less than one minute) his senses slowly reconnected into a somewhat coherent spectrum, and he opened his eyes to see the man in black standing in front of him holding the Steyr. Behind the man was a cowering shape. It was Lucille.
"You bitch!" The Kid spat, blood flying from his lips.
The man in black reached out and swatted him across the cheek, a quick and hard slap that seemed to amplify the pain he felt.
"Stand up." The man in black commanded softly. "Or I'll put one in both knees."
The Kid knew if he was to have a fighting chance, he needed to be on his feet, and to regain his balance. The world was still spinning crazily and the pain was running over him like an army of angry ants. He slowly stood up, almost falling once, twice, and then finally grabbing a chair to balance himself as he rose on shaky knees. The man in black gave the gun to the frightened woman, and for a moment The Kid knew for sure she was going to empty the magazine into him. She took the weapon uneasily, taking a moment to steady it in her shaking hands. Instead of spraying him with bullets she looked up at her guardian with an uncertain, baleful stare. The man in black looked back at her and smiled gently.
"Can you count to five, Dear?" The man in black asked her.
She stared back at him, confused. "Can I what?"
"It's quite simple," The man in black told her, in an almost casual tone – like a professor about to give an effortless explanation. "In situations like this, all you have to do is count to five."
"Number One," He continued as she looked at him, clearly baffled. "Is the most important. It's critical that you get Number One right."
He balled his fist up tight and punched the Kid in the throat; a quick hard punch struck like an adder and recoiled as fast. The Kid staggered back and gasped suddenly.
"You don't want to crush their throat, just hit them hard enough to get their attention, you know – knock the wind out of them. Think of it as if you're punching a paper bag. You don't want to flatten the bag; you just want to crumble it a little bit."
She watched, stunned as The Kid instinctively reached for his throat, trying in vain to catch his breath.
"Number Two is very important, too." The man in black went on. "There's a right way and a wrong way to do it, you see." He said, and then hiked his right boot up and stomped down hard on The Kid's left foot. He instantly responded by inhaling deeply, his face turning a dark shade of purple. "It plays hell with their balance, and it hurts like hell, too. Never use your toe, though, or you might end up stubbing it and that might give them the chance they need to kill you, and that would not be a good thing, right? Be sure to use the middle part of your foot, the sole."
She was almost catatonic at this point, watching the man in black casually explain his methodology as he beat the living shit out of the man that she believed was most definitely going to kill her minutes before.
"Number Three... well I think you'll like Number Three." He continued, then kicked The Kid in the crotch so hard his that his feet left the ground by an inch or so. The Kid started to fall forward but the man in black grabbed his shoulder and kept him upright. A little spout of bile flew from The Kid's mouth. He had no idea it was possible to experience such intense pain and remain conscious.
"And Number Four, Number Four is very important because it is necessary to completely remove their sense of balance." He instructed, hop-stepping quickly behind The Kid and kicking him in the back of the left knee. The Kid went down like a sack of wet concrete, landing hard on his knee.
"And Number Five." The man in black said, drawing out the words into 'Num-ber Fiiive'. His voice had taken on a decidedly different tone, almost a backwoods drawl that belied his obvious intelligence.
"Number Five is arguably unnecessary at this point, but why would you go this far and not seal the deal, right? Because nothing says 'your ass is mine' like a good hard knock to the back of the head." He said, and as if to emphasize he drew back and gave The Kid a hard open-handed slap to the back of the head, sending him to the floor with a thud.
Lucille was still frozen, staring blankly in disbelief. The man in black took her hands, ignoring The Kid as he lie there defeated and helpless. He guided her hands up and pointed her toward the train car's open door.
"Wh, what are you doing?" She asked in a panic.
"Do you want to make sure this guy never bothers you again? And probably never bothers any other woman again?" He asked resolutely.
"Yes." She stammered. "Yes. Definitely. Oh yes."
"Be right back." He said, and she watched with macabre fascination as the man in black knelt down over The Kid, reached around him to loosen his belt and then pulled his pants and underwear down past his thighs, his bare ass reflecting in the moonlight. He returned to her, seeing the abject horror and confusion in her eyes. He put his hands over hers and pointed the gun off into the dark desert.
"Squeeze the trigger." He said. "And hold it."
She was too confused and frightened to argue, and she still felt a lingering sense of fright. A quiet 'Huh?' was all she managed, and then he cupped his right hand over hers and squeezed. Her finger pressed the trigger and the gun bucked lightly. At first she thought the gun had misfired and pulled her finger away, and then she realized it simply wasn't loud at all, and didn't kick in her hands very much either. He squeezed her hand again and this time she pressed the trigger firmly, holding it as the gun made a lightning-quick series of low snapping noises. A stuttering corona of light appeared at the end of the barrel, dancing like a lantern-light. Within seconds the snapping noises died, followed by a fast clicking sound as the magazine was emptied.
"It's a nice gun, very expensive." He mentioned passively. "The clip is empty now." He said, looking into her eyes and winking. "And now the barrel is nice and hot."
He took the gun from her and walked back over to The Kid's prone body, then looked up at her and said "You might want to look away Dear."
Lucille gave him an odd 'What?' gesture, not understanding what she was seeing, then in an instant she realized what the he meant do and turned her head to look away. She heard a quick sizzling sound followed by a high-pitched feminine scream that dwindled down into a beaten whimper.
The man in black shoved the scalding hot barrel up The Kid's ass.
Later, in the dark.
They were about a mile from train, walking shoulder to shoulder along a vacant dirt road. The storm clouds had long since passed over and the whole world was bathed in silvery-blue moonlight, accentuating the surrounding landscape into an alien array of colors, shapes and textures. Ordinarily she would have been frightened to death to be out in a place like this late at night, but as she walked with him she felt a strange sense of relief mixed with comfort. She realized that for the first time in months she wasn't afraid. The night was alive with sound of crickets and grasshoppers singing in chorus as they walked along the isolated dirt road.
"I guess I should have been more honest with you, and if we had enough time I promise I would have been, Lucille." He said, breaking their silence. "I'm not exactly a saintly type." He said, hanging his head a little. "I'm the violent type, too. I can't lie about that. But I'm not like him."
She was silent for a while, and when she spoke she said simply "No. You're not."
"So you never told me what your first impression was." He asked, cautiously. "And if you don't want to say, that's fine, I understand."
She thought over it for several moments and then sighed, as if she were taking a risk by being honest. 'Then again, your whole life has been a risk lately, hasn't it?' She thought to herself.
"I thought you looked lonely." She said, offering no more.
They walked a little ways further down the road, and after what seemed like some great deliberation he spoke again.
"I am." Was all he said. They walked for a few more yards before he said anything else, enveloped by the desert sounds.
"And..." He started. "I had my own first impression about you, too."
"And what was it?" She asked, not entirely certain if she wanted to hear the answer.
"When I first saw you I thought you were very pretty, for a lot of reasons, and I still do now. And you looked scared. But that's not the only thing I thought. For some reason I thought to myself that I've never had a muse in my life, and if I ever were to, I'd be lucky if it were someone as beautiful as you."
She stopped and looked into his eyes, took his hand, and gingerly rubbed her fingers across the hard calloused palm.
"Why on Earth would a man like you need a muse?"
"I don't know why." He answered quietly. "Maybe you can tell me."
"Maybe I can." She replied and leaned in to kiss him. "Maybe I can."
Fade To Black