Friday, February 17, 2017

Flash Fiction # 238 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 22: Food


I stared at the newspaper and then dropped it and looked around in haste.  Edmond walked over and stared for a moment, his tail twitching in a way that a human might shake his head.  "Well, this isn't good. They even know about me.  That's going to make things difficult."

"Very difficult," I agreed.  I hadn't realized Edmond could read, but it didn't surprise me, either.  I looked around.  "We need to catch the first train out of here because I wasn't really very careful."

Edmond gave a startled look around.  "You might be right.  Let's be wise, though, Mark.  We can try for something heading east.  No one seems to have noticed us."

I looked around, worried.  People moved here and there, but they all appeared to have duties.  We slipped back into the nearest shadows. 

It turned out that a train with an engine pointing east didn't mean that was where it would go.  The first one we caught hold of went less than a mile, stopped and backed up.  One train had engines front and back, and I thought it was probably headed back over the mountains.

"Yeah, came through in the middle of the night," someone said and far too close to them.  I tried to not even breathe.  "Not on any schedule.  I didn't much like the look of the officials, though."

"Drugs, you think?" another asked.  They passed by within a yard.

"Or worse.  I suspect that boy they're looking for is part of it."

And on they went.

"Yes, let's get out of here," Edmond said softly.

I moved away from our hiding place.  We had to do this wisely.  Could magic help?  I didn't know, and I didn't dare use anything showy.  We choose another train, barely avoiding being noticed.  I pulled Edmond into my jacket, leapt on the coupler, and then used magic to get to the top of the railway car.  I laid flat, Edmond nestled under my arm and used enough magic to pin us there and to keep us from being noticed.  I would not let anything happen to Edmond, and I realized that meant my Protector powers had kicked in again.  That might save us both.

We moved away from the train yard, out into the mountains again, but then down towards the lowlands.

It was not a comfortable ride, but Edmond managed to rest.  The train slowed, stopped when the path to a new track changed, and went on.  By morning we'd left the mountains, and I happened to see the border as we crossed into Kansas.  By then I felt weak and shaky.  Staying on the train would be dangerous.

We slipped off into a field overrun with weeds and burrs, stayed still until the train had gone, and then I carried Edmond to the ruins of an old barn.

"I'm too tired to do anything but sleep, Edmond," I said.  "Sorry."

"Sleep," he said.  "I'll keep watch.  I slept on the train."

I wasn't sure about Edmond as a guard, but I didn't say so.  I found a spot in a corner behind some fallen wood, brushed out the debris, and laid down --

Slept through the day  Nothing found us.  As far as I could tell, nothing had tracked us at all, though now that we didn't have the mountains between Darman and us, I knew that I would have to be careful of my magic.

We went back to the train tracks and caught another train heading east.  That night we slept in an old fishing hut by a lake.  We were getting closer to home, but our supplies were running short.

"I am going to have to go into town and see if I can buy us some stuff," I said.  We had walked far enough to see a small town ahead, and we hid in some bushes a few yards off the main road.  Cars and trucks rushed by.  "You need to stay --"

"No," he said.  "It's almost dark.  I can fly in and keep an eye on you."

"Edmond --"

"Let's go.  Maybe they have some tuna," Edmond said and sounded hopeful.

I wasn't certain if I ordered him to stay if he would.  Besides, I thought it might be a good idea to have someone keep watch while I went into the store.  There was a convenience store right at the edge of town so I wouldn't have to go far.  I had a little money.

And I had magic.  Don't recognize me.  I wasn't sure it would help.  I just had to hope it worked.

The tree at the edge of the lot suddenly shook.  Birds flew off in startled profusion and what was probably a lot of bird cussing.  Edmond really had to learn how to land.

I had no trouble buying some supplies -- trail mix, chips, a couple sandwiches, including one tuna.  I also picked up a newspaper.  The teen behind the register never even really looked at me.

I had a bit more trouble after leaving the shop.  I couldn't just run and head into the weeds.  The road was busy, and cars pulled in and out of the lot.  A big rig truck finally gave me some cover.   I thought about taking refuge on top of it, but there were just too many people around.

Edmond landed and rolled at my feet at the edge of the weeds.  We stopped there, and I unfolded the newspaper.  I was still big news, but tales about magic creatures along the East Coast took more of the space.  This was not good.

"Let's find some place to sit and rest," I said.  "This isn't good, though, Edmond. They know about the magic now."

"Yeah," he said.

We headed farther into the fields and farmlands.  The train tracks weren't far away.  We could catch another ride there --

I heard a shout and saw a line of people with torches heading into the field after us.

To Be Continued....
996 Word Count

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