Chapter 14Mature

Elsewhere…

The Xiu Xhang kingdom was the kind of place where one wouldn’t want to lose their way. Some called it a kingdom. Others called it a hole in the wall. Nothing about this nearly deserted land seemed inviting. If the sand storms didn’t encourage a detour the uninviting locals certainly would do the trick. Water was as rare as the cold here. The temperature was either hot or very hot.

Three walkers passed through the blazing inferno of sand and insects. Two women and a young child braved the harsh environment. As they struggled along the view of dead animals dying from the heat was not encouraging. Especially since the compass being used was broken. They were lost. All three of them were dressed to fit this place. The taller female wore brown leather pants with two brown gun holsters sewn into the pants at the hip, a brown scarf covering her head, a brown cowboy style hat, black sun glasses, brown gloves and a brown jacket covering a white button down shirt. As for the woman accompanying this desert dressed female the attire was almost exactly identical with the exception that black was in the place of the color brown. The little boy wore a white cloth poncho that covered his head and his body with only brown sandals to protect his feet.

“You sure you know where you’re going. We’ve walked for miles and yet we haven’t gotten anywhere yet,” Jack asked.

“Just keep your eyes open and observe everything in the environment. Be aware of anything that moves that isn’t sand. We’re in constant danger here,” Velencia warned.

Shiva’s head lowered towards Kory. She knew the boy couldn’t take much more of this punishment. If she was barely walking she didn’t understand how in the world Kory was still going. She walked ahead of the child and kneeled down to one knee. Kory stopped. He didn’t want Shiva to carry him. He didn’t want to feel like a burden.

“I can walk by myself!” he shouted in anger. He hated to treated like a weakling. He felt like he had to prove his strength. Especially to Velencia.

“Pick another time to be a bad ass kid. I don’t care what you want to do. You get on my back and you get on now. I’m not about to care for you when you have a fucking heat stroke,” she snapped at him.

While he almost never listened to his mother Kory paid heed to anything Velencia said. She was the stern one of the two parents. Anything she told him to do he did it out of respect and partially out of fear. He knew she would punish him physically or verbally if he did not do exactly what she told him to do. Kory climbed onto the woman’s back. Shiva stood up and felt the weight. She was shocked. The boy had gotten a lot heavier than she expected him to get.

“No more ice cream for you little man,” Shiva said laughing behind her words. That was her attempt to seem less hostile. She didn’t want to scare the boy but he had a problem with authority. Shiva wanted to break him out of this habit.

“You said we’re just ten minutes from our destination, right?” Dunn asked before scratching both her wrists one at a time.

“Yeah, I did,” Velincia answered.

“Well, that was twenty minutes ago. And we’re still not there yet. I’m not questioning your competency. I’m questioning your stubbornness. You’re like a man. You never want to simply ask for help. Let me see the map. I’m good at map reading. You failed that course but the instructor passed you along anyways because he felt like you’d be a good battle asset,” Jack pointed out.

Shiva took offense to those words. She frowned. However, in the back of her mind Jack was always the smarter of the two and was a much better knight in terms of knowledge. Reluctantly Shiva reached into her top of her shirt and down in-between her bra and pulled out the map. She flung it at Jack who caught it, opened it and laughed.

“Fuck me over with a broomstick. We just passed where we needed to be two paces ago. Stop, we’re here,” Jack said. She laughed. She just knew Shiva didn’t know how to read a map very well. The group had passed this part of the desert four times already.

“Really now? I’m wrong? Look at the fucking map Jack. It said a train was supposed to be here. Do you see any tracks anywhere? Hmm? Oh? Answer’s no? Well then you’re fucking wrong!” Shiva shouted. She wasn’t angry with Jack. She was angry with herself. She needed a way to blame Jack even though she knew Jack was right.

Dunn sighed. “The sand is probably just covering the tracks up. Besides, you don’t even know what kind of train it is. It could be a light train. Those don’t use tracks. They use sunlight darling. You know, they fly? Eh, you’d know that if you ever paid attention to our briefing. Brunson said that the places we’d go to aren’t like Apalia in any way,” she explained.

Just as quickly as she uttered her statements a screeching sound could be heard coming from a distance. A slender object descended from the sky. Dunn let out a sigh of relief. She knew this had to be the light train. Her left eyebrow arched when the vehicle came closer and she could get a better look. She understood that this train was different from the rest she ever saw before. This place used to be known as Asia. A lot of the influence of mythology still existed. Therefore, this train looking like a long lizard made of light was not so surprising.

“It’s a dragon? I heard that light trains are actually people. But I didn’t think that was possible until now,” Shiva admitted.

Kory looked up at his adoptive mother. “Well, Eric told me that light trains are in fact people who are just realtors. They reverence the old Chinese culture so much to the point where they become these dragons. The fact that the inside of their bodies doesn’t smell and that their bodies from the inside look like the set up of a train is just a random occurrence. The light trains all belong to a single Chinese family who didn’t want the Chinese way of life to die like the rest of the world did. And them being dragon trains isn’t a coincidence. They wanted to be trains. They wanted to travel around and take people around their kingdom. It’s their way of preserving what little Chinese culture they have left to show the world,” the boy explained.

The two women looked at each other. They were shocked at just how knowledgeable the kid was about this subject. Jack chuckled. She gently pat Kory on the top of the head.

“Damn, they say kids are sponges but I guess that was an understatement,” Shiva said.

The train didn’t seem so big to the three of them from a distance but once it got closer the size of this transportation became clear. Kory knew a lot about the light train but didn’t actually realize that seeing one would scare him. He got off of Shiva’s back and started back pedaling and then turned around into a full retreat as fast as his legs could carry him. The creature emitted a loud roar. A sand storm traveled behind the dragon due to the speed the realtor was traveling at.

“Kory! Wait up!” Shiva shouted out to him.

Velencia and Jack turned to run. At that speed this dragon didn’t look like it was going to slow down. Shiva quickly caught up with Kory. She scooped him up into her arms. Jack wasn’t far behind the two of them. Both of the adults turned their heads while running away from the dragon. The former knights both realized that this dragon wasn’t as much mechanical as it was alive. There were arms on this beast and legs. A tail flickered behind the dragon. Four rows of teeth could be seen every time the creature opened its mouth to roar.

“Damnit! Velencia! Go!” Jack shouted. She had to jump and land on the ground face first. Her hands covered her head. The dragon flew over Jack’s head and was only a few inches from running her over.

One of the dragon’s arms reached down and grabbed onto Kory. Velencia struggled to keep the boy with her but this beast clearly wanted the boy. She wasn’t able to stop the light train from taking the child. Jack looked up with a horrified expression.

“Fuck me! Damnit! Damnit all! Kory!” Dunn yelled.

“Kory! I’m coming! Dopple Gang! I need you!” Shiva announced.

The former colonel launched herself into the air and reached a right hand out. A pink aura became visible around her body. The glow was her soul. She could manipulate her soul and split it into three separate parts. A bit of her soul remained in her body to keep her alive while the other two bits changed into copies of herself.

One copy was slender dressed in a skin tight black jumpsuit. The skinny double wore a smaller breast cup size, had longer black hair and wore a black face mask with holes riddled throughout the facial covering. As for the bigger version of the two there was a vast difference. There were muscles seen throughout this copy’s body. There was no hair. The bust size of this massive woman was about the size of two of her heads. Only a black bikini outfit consisting of a black tank top and black briefs covered this ox of a female.

Shiva was able to shoot the copies of herself out towards the train. The smaller touched the tail of the dragon just as the bigger gripped her tiny sister‘s foot. Just as contact was made a box shaped cut out appeared on the dragon’s abdomen. Shiva grabbed her bigger version’s ankles. All three of them were pulled into the sky. Out of the square holes came a hand. The dragon reached back with Kory in its claw. The protruding hand pulled the boy into the train.

“Velencia! Mama! Help me!” the boy shouted.

By now Dunn was already giving chase on the ground. Her pursuit was hopeless. She couldn’t possibly keep up with this beast. Kory’s last hope was a determined Shiva who was already using her doubles as a ladder to get onto the train. It appeared that the train had some defensive personnel. Shiva watched as a woman leaped from the side of the train and a man coming out of the opposite side. She paid close attention to the woman who seemingly came out of the dragon at slow motion. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“The hell?” she asked herself. Velencia knew who she saw. She just had a hard time comprehending why that woman would be here. Much less why this woman wanted to kidnap Kory.

“Velencia look out!” Dunn warned her former lover.

The dragon pulled to the left quickly. It looked like it was chasing its tail. That beast began to spin around in a circle that only rapidly gained speed the more it turned. The dragon stopped suddenly and flung Shiva and the Dopple Gang off of its body. With a roar the creature shot into the sky with Kory inside of it.

Velencia landed on the sand. Her copies disappeared. Dunn ran over her to traveling partner with tears in her eyes. Shiva looked to be unconscious. Kory was gone. Shiva was out of it. The worried mother didn’t know what to do when Shiva wasn’t around to bail her out of trouble and without Kory to be the light in her life. All she could do was weep. Her sad eye watering turned to anger. She was going to blame herself but now she had someone to blame when she heard a voice talking to her from behind.

“Don’t know why you’re crying now lass. We haven’t even hurt you yet. Oh this is going to be fun!” exclaimed a Jamaican accent.

The End

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