“Get me a little closer!” Jack shouted over the roar of the motorcycle’s engine. Charly maneuvered the bike closer to the train, the scent from her bobbed hair teasing Jack’s nostrils as the wind whipped past them. The kabose was still a dangerous distance away but Jack didn’t want to risk getting any closer.
“Wish me luck!” He said close to Charly’s ear before readying himself to make the jump. The wind hit him and threatened to throw him off balance but Charly maneuvered the bike like an ace, giving him just enough time to make a leap.
He hit the metal deck of the train hard but got his grip on the rails. Charly blew him a kiss before accelerating further up the road. Jack smiled to himself before climbing over the rail and putting his mind back to the task at hand. The rear entrance door was locked so he hoisted himself up to the car’s roof and made his way along to the next car.
The rolling countryside of Southern France stretched out like a portrait painting, filling his vision. The sunlight was bright but didn’t overpower the brilliance of the blue or the fields of wheat passing by as the train carried on towards Spain. It would have made a beautiful place to spend an afternoon, with only the plumes of smoke and the whistling of the wind to interrupt. Almost sad to leave the vista, Jack hopped over to the next boxcar.
When he reached the car Charly had marked, he laid flat on the roof and pulled his .45 out of his shoulder holster. It was a tough shot but he could just make out the lock on the side door. Charly was alongside the car, Thompson balanced on the handlebars and aiming at the door. Jack fired and the bullet pulled the lock off. With a hard tug, the wind did the rest of the work for him and the door slid open with a bang loud enough to be heard over the din of the locomotive engine.
The bang was followed by the chest-thumping report of Charly’s Thompson spraying into the boxcar. She gave him a quick nod and Jack hoisted himself down into the now-opened car, .45 readied. Inside were a handful of utterly confused and panicked goons, who’d clearly expected an uneventful train ride.
“Good morning gents! Hate to barge in unannounced but we won’t be long.” He said, tipping a non-existent cap. He hustled all the men into a group and gestured to the long crates they had just a moment ago been sitting on.
“Open ‘em up!” Jack pointed. A scrawny man with a heavy black stubble on gaunt cheeks seemed to understand and started to work the nails off the crate. Another man cautiously joined him in the effort while the rest of them stared Jack down, their expressions changing from confusion and panic to anger.
The wooden lid came free and revealed a box full of weapons. Jack stared at it in disbelief. This was a far-cry from the gold ingots promised by the Irishman. Could he have gotten his information wrong? Impossible.
The Irishman was never misinformed.
In the moment of confusion, one of the goons made a go at Jack and managed to get his paw on Jack’s arm, twisting the gun away from the others. They pounced on the opportunity and made for the crate. Jack wrestled with the man who’d grabbed onto him and threw a quick knee to the stomach. Charly let loose another burst of gunfire into the car as the now-armed goons made for cover.
Jack clambered behind a box as bullets began rittling through the close hot air of the car. The metallic reverberation stung his ears and splinters of wood peppered his face. He peeked out from the side of the crate and fired off a few shots, wanting to keep the goons’ focus on him. More bullets answered and chipped away the panels of the other crates in the car. Loose straw packaging fell out, further choking the air and Jack could make out more weapons.
A another burst of Thompson fire cracked through the train car and one of the goons fell to the ground. However this was no time for drawn out gunplay and they clearly stuck their beaks into something they shouldn’t have. Jack shot again and caught the scrawny man in the arm.
The small victory was answered with what felt like an entire army’s gunfire. Jack had to make a move before the boxes he was hiding behind were reduced to kindling. He peered at the open door and the countryside flying along. It was still relatively clear ground, no fences or wires. It would be a hard landing but he didn’t really have any other option. He exhaled and fired his .45 until it ran dry, trying to keep everybody’s head down. When the slide locked back, Jack made his move for the door.
He lept as close to parallel with the ground as he could manage from the awkward angle and with bullets around him. He smacked hard into the ground, bounced and tumbled down the road. The impact knocked the wind out of him and sent shoots of pain all across his body. Charly pulled up and quickly hopped off, coming to his aid.
“Are you all right?!” She asked. With a great and painful effort, he rolled onto his back and gave her his best smile.
“Don’t…I…look…it?” he forced the words out through pained breath. She tenderly cupped his face in her hands before kissing him hard, causing a fresh wave of pain to race across Jack’s body.
“You’re welcome to walk yourself back then.” she said with the fire burning bright in her bright green eyes.
“And spoil…our day in the country?” he retorted, his breath slowly returning.