I crouched at the ready, and estimated when we’d be in front of my spot by the tracks.
I only had one shot at this…
The train began to slow, right on schedule... there was the cracked maple... wait two seconds...
I flew from my hiding spot, tackling the two & driving them out of the open boxcar. In a crumpled mess we bounced, tumbled and rolled into the hole to my “home.”
The two were stunned as I rose. “Glad I found you when I did,” I said nonchalantly, dusting myself off.
“Oh no you don’t!” the girl shrieked, scrambling to her feet. “We’ve had enough! We know this is an ambush, we’re not stupid you know!”
“Now hold it Lily,” the boy tried to say.
“Wake up Ezra! Where have you been the last five minutes? We just got attacked by this, this scruffy little...”
Now this was personal here. “Hey now!" I cried, throwing my hands up in defense. "I just saved you two!” I cried
"Nope!" she cried stubbornly. "Not listening!" She started toward the entrance.
No! I couldn’t let her put herself in danger again! I was not going to let the new-found fragments of the Resistance just walk out and get smothered! I came up behind, throwing my arms over her shoulders & across her chest.
I expected a struggle. I didn’t expect her to push and pull my arm, spin out of my grip, & have me pinned against the wall, threatening to smash my elbow the wrong way. I had no idea someone so tiny could be so threatening.
I had to do something. Fast. Think, Paulie, think!
“Acki acki acki!” I cried using the Resistance distress call. “Ni ni ni!” I freed my pinned left arm, holding out a deactivated tracker chain around my neck. She let go, gasped in surprise & clutched for a similar necklace around her own neck.