“All aboard, Fort Kelsey via Harbourstone!”
Daniel heard the conductor shout in the distance as he eagerly rushed toward the terminal. Lined up amongst others, all patiently boarding something seemed strange a little further down. A small group of men in uniform talking to a coach attendant, arranging seating for themselves. Whatever it may be for, didn’t interest him as it was thankfully none of his business.
Daniel boarded and took his seat next to a mother and son. The mother entranced by a novel, hoping it to keep her occupied for the duration of the trip. Yet her son beside her, knees on his seat and hips swaying around. Wanting to be everywhere on the train but right next to his mother.
A coach attendant went down the aisle asking for tickets and Daniel happily complied. From here on out it was going to be smooth.
For the next couple of hours or so, Daniel had been stuck humouring the child across from him. Since his mother forbode him from leaving his seat, the child had nothing but questions for Daniel to answer.
‘Where are we going? What do you do mister? Why are you wearing a scarf are you cold? What are you doing way out here?’ The questions kept coming, and Daniel did not mind. The mother on the other hand was quite embarrassed for her son and kept pushing her face deeper into the book as a means to hide it.
“That’s enough for now little man.” she spoke.
“It’s just questions maw.” retorted the child.
“Now-now. I’m sure he’s answered plenty. Give the man a break.”
Daniel chuckled to himself, “It’s okay kiddo. I have to get up and look for a food cart anyway. I’m a bit famished.”
“Aw okay mister. would’ja bring me back something, would’ja?”
“Stephen!” shouted the woman, “Don’t ask the poor man such things!”
“we’ll see…” Daniel got up and moved up the cart to the next one. It would be a couple of hours still before they even arrived to Harbourstone so he felt it would be a good opportunity to move around and see what he could find.
The car in front of his had the familiar scene of officers occupying it. Whatever the cargo was that they had with them, there was a decent amount of men on board traveling with it. He nodded to them as he walked past, and they eyed him to keep moving along.
It dawned on him that they were surely expecting some kind of trouble, and kept their wits about them for the entire trip. A little further up the way was a food cart, though he didn’t have money for anything, he figured there had to be something complimentary for such a long trip.
As he was up at the cart about to order something, a familiar voice caught his attention. “What does a girl have to do for a drink?”
As he looked over, there was Malenka St. Clair sitting among the officers. Hands in chains and stuck at the window seat with the officers surrounding her. It’s clear she was the cargo. It was also clear that Malenka recognized him first, as the question was directed towards him.
“No trouble from you woman.” retorted the officer.
“I’m parched, you cad!” barked Malenka.
“You’ve had enough water for a lifetime, witch. Now stay quiet.” The officer smiled to himself, quite pleased with the insult. The others around him chuckled as well.
“Forget you.” She glanced back at Daniel, “ You there! upfront! Fetch me a glass with you? The clutch of these men are making me thirsty!”
“I said quiet, wench!” The officer was getting agitated.
“ay, just give ‘er the water, mate. No harm in it.” Piped up another officer.
“I see there’s one gentleman out of the lot of you.” she replied glaring directly at the officer beside her, who’s been tired of listening to her talk since the beginning of the trip.
“Fine!” he said, angrily. “You there. Bring the pitcher.”
Daniel pointed to himself, as if to say ‘me?’ feigning ignorance. He was the only one around the food cart.
“Who else!” retorted the officer. Malenka looked deeply at Daniel and nodded her head, as if she had a plan. His own ignorance got in the way of caution. Picked up the pitcher of water and presented it to the officer.
He then stood up in the isle with Daniel beside him, and impatiently grabbed the pitcher.
“Fine, you want some water then? Open up!”
Malenka opened her mouth wide, while making a face at the man. And just as he was about to pour it over her face, all too suddenly she knocks the pitcher out of his hands into the face of another. Before the standing officer has any time to react she thrusts at him with her shoulders, knocking the man into Daniel, and the bother of them into the other officers across the aisle.
Daniel was tossed to the ground by all of them, as they got up to attempt in subduing Malenka. Other passengers aboard the car, kept their distance from the woman as she defended herself. Officers swung at her with fists and batons as he danced around their every move.
Daniel picked himself up again, only getting in the way of either force.
“Down Boy!” Shouted Malenka as an officer was running at both of them, he dodged out of the way, falling back into a seat as Malenka’s fist connected with the officers face and he fell into the other behind him.
“Ah, there’s not enough room to move around her!” she said to herself, picking Daniel up in the process. He motioned a defensive position as she grabbed him by the collar of his jacket.
“Thanks for getting in the way for me,” she assured him, “Now we’re both getting off this train.”
Still, grasping his jacket, Malenka stomped further up the train cars. Passengers sitting and staring at a woman in cuffs, forcefully moving a man along with her.
“This isn’t really necessary is it m’am?” spoke Daniel Awkwardly.
“Nonsense boy, I owe you one!” Malenka kicked open the door to the next car.
“This is funny way to owe someone, don’t you think?” As Daniel continued to reluctantly tag along, the officers were not that far behind them, shouting at the passengers to stay seated as they sprinted single file up to the both of them.
The next car that they made their way onto had boxes of cargo firmly attached to the floor with a tarp overtop.
Malenka took a deep breath. “Finally, some air.” she said to herself. Daniel was looking behind them at the officers that are making their way towards them.
“We don’t really have anywhere else to go.”
“Then you obviously don’t know anything about my plan just follow along.”
“I don’t think I have a choice in the matter.” Daniel was referring to Malenka still grasping a hold of him. The officers gathered in front of the entrance blocking a path between Malenka, and a car she had no intention of going back into.
“Put let go of the man and go back to your seat!” announced an officer. Malenka scoffed.
“You think I want to spend the rest of my time in a prison? For no reason other than being a pirate? That’s no life for me!”
“You have no choice woman, this train isn’t going to stop for you!”
“I’m well aware of that boys. And we can stand here allll we want.”
As the train was turning the corner of a mountain, the next destination would work in heavy favour for Malenka. It was a chance she was willing to bank on, as the next terrain the train would reach would be a long bridge crossing over an ocean before tunneling through another mountain.
It would be her only shot of escaping, and considering the distance from the rails to the ocean’s surface. at over 90 feet, it would be a gamble she’s willing to take.
“Stand down, and come back to your seat! There’s no where for you to go!” shouted the officer yet again.
“There’s something you need to know about a pirate, boys…” The arrogance in her voice was sharp. “You can’t keep them away from the ocean.”
Though Daniel felt oblivious to the scene around him, it’s clear whose side he seemed to be on. Only focused on the officers, he watched as they panicked and motioned towards him with their arms in the air like they wanted to grab him. Then he also felt a heavy tug on his coat, as Malenka had clearly jumped off the train towards the waters below.
The force of the pull was enough to drag him along, and he too started to plummet towards the ocean. The only words that came out of his mouth were “Wait” at the top of his lungs as if it were an attempt to stop time itself to get out of this predicament.
As he and Malenka were using this time to fall, the scenery opened itself up. His awareness attempted to recognize where they were geologically, as they fell. 90 feet seemed to be more enough time for him to actually figure it out. In the final moment, he looked at Malenka and shouted, “I KNOW WHERE WE A–”
They hit the water and fell through it’s floor quite a distance from the fall. His consciousness was knocked out of him for a split second. But as he came too, he quickly swam up to the surface. Malenka a little less aware, but still firmly grasping onto Daniel’s jacket.
Their heads bobbed back up, into to see the train going through the mountain tunnel. but they both struggled to stay afloat with the waves crashing into them.
“You can let go of me now.”
“I can’t swim with these blasted cuffs on!” Shouted Malenka, he head bobbing in and out of the water. They were both doing their best to stay afloat, but Malenka’s inability to swim with her arms were dragging them both down.
They were under the oceans surface again, and Daniel struggled to keep them both up. He grabbed her arms and put them around his shoulders. It wasn’t much help, but her arms, were in a comfortable enough position where he could just pull the chain of the cuffs with his neck.
And they went back up to the surface, again, gasping for air.
“I can carry you,” He said, “Just use your legs to help me.”
Malenka coughed up the ocean water whilst replying “I owe you again, boy.”
“Ok,” He didn’t know how to answer to that, “just kick.”
With both of them swimming, they were able to push through the waves, and come up to the rocky shores some yards away. Daniel crawled up to the land and collapsed himself to the surface, Malenka pushed himself off him and laid onto her back beside him. Both of them exhausted and gasping for air.
It would be a good minute or so before anyone said anything, but Malenka broke the silence. “What were you saying?… while we were falling.”
“What?” Daniel was still breathing heavily.
“You shouted something… as we were falling…
“Oh.” Daniel just laid there breathing trying to remember, “Oh yeah. I know where we are.” Daniel pointed his finger into the air, wobbling about in a western direction.
“That’s where we… want to go… Harbourstone.”
Malenka looked up in that direction, “That close?… They’ll be looking for us–”
“No, just you… I don’t care… I’m going home.” He pushed himself up. In an awkward amount of time, he was back on his feet and went a couple of paces before looking at Malenka who was still resting on her back.
“You ought to come with me, if you want to get those cuffs off.”