Days where your life suddenly changes should strictly be Fridays or Saturdays but today was a Monday and my life would never be the same.
Train hopping is dangerous and no one knows this quite like Cleo and Andrew. They can't help it though, travelling is in their blood and a knife in the gut or a few stolen goods aren't going to stop what has been past along from generation to generation. When fate decides to step in, however, and hurt the two in ways they could never have imagined, can the
I don't believe I am going to make it, the train is so far away, but I keep running regardless. I sprint until my limbs feel heavy and my lungs hurt so much it feels as if they have turned into lead. The sound of my heart, pounding erratically in my chest, seems louder than the train itself. I am going to give up; I need to stop and take a breath. As I am about to abandon hope of ever getting on the train, Andrew manages to grab a hold of something on the train. Once he has a firm grip of my hand, he hauls me onto the moving vehicle.
Falling to my knees as soon as I am safely inside, a bright smile takes over my lips as I brush my long locks behind my ear. Ever since we started doing this, anxiousness has always festered in the back of my mind; I have never been sure if we could actually make it.
Train hopping is dangerous, I know this better than most, but that has never stopped the two of us. I have encountered many things that have put a damper on the rush I obtain from managing to get on a train in such an unorthodox way.
It takes me a while to catch my breath since running had never exactly been one of my strong points. I shrug the backpack off my shoulders and plop it down in front of me, beginning to empty to the contents of it to make sure that we haven't left anything behind.
"Check if we have everything." Andrew hummed, as if I wasn't already doing that. The brunette moved so he was sat on the cabin floor, ankles crossed and arms stretched lesiurely behind his head.
"Do you think I'm stupid?" I question, sarcastically.
"I think the only reason you're not licking the walls is because you think they're unripe." Andrew smirked, nodding towards the green walls. I choose to stop talking to him after that.
I roll my shoulders back and begin to relax as Andrew leans against the wall; he’s already sparking up a cigarette. I am about to say something about how the smoke is going to end up making me choke; Andrew has spent enough time around me – twelve years, to be exact – to know this. However, before I can even open my mouth, someone is running at me.
Stumbling to my feet, trying to shake the feeling of exhaustion the running has caused, I try to prepare myself for the oncoming attack. Thankfully, the blonde girl that’s running at me isn’t armed so it doesn’t take long for me to pin her to the wall.
Lip curling into a snarl, the blonde spits on my cheek and it takes all the restraint I have not to throw her off the train right now. Andrew needs to stab her first to make sure that she knows not to try and get back on this train; Andrew is smart enough not to kill her but everyone needs a warning.
My chest tightens as I imagine what it must be like for the girl. She’s going to be stabbed and thrown from a train so Andrew and I can be safe but I don't feel enough guilt to stop Andrew from sliding the knife into the girl’s stomach. I’ve been in both of these situations before and, if we let our attacker go, we’ll be the ones getting stabbed.
"This train is taken." She hisses, hands trying to escape my grip. Nauseous begins to rise and tug at my chest as I have to turn my gaze to the floor, knowing that I won't be able to see this girl in pain. Everything about what I do is overwhelming, adding this on top would be too much.
"By us, yes." Andrew replies, matter of factly, before the knife is shoved inside the girl's stomach and she cries out in pain. A part of me wants to sooth her but I know what I must do now.
Blood pools around the blade and I use as much force as I can muster to throw her from the train, watching her body hit the ground. A deep breath I didn’t know I was holding escapes when I see the girl begin to sit up. It doesn’t take long before I’m throwing up on the ground and Andrew's jeans as the boy soothingly pats the back of my head.
After I have finished covering the floor with the contents on my stomach, the boy's eyes flicker towards mine and crinkle at the corners. He's laughing, even if my mouth is still filled with a bitter taste and my stomach is churning; it’s from more than just throwing up.
We've been doing this for so long - him and I, Andrew and Cleo - that it has become a game.
We get points for not dying.
"So, where are we going?" I question as reach into my bag and pull out a can of coke; they are a luxury item for us but Andrew had been able to steal a bunch from the last job we were working. One of the perks of doing this, hopping from place to place, is that we can take what we want and never care about being caught. Well, Andrew doesn’t care about getting caught; I sit outside tapping my feet, unable to talk as my stomach knots.
"No idea." Andrew shrugs, completing our usual conversation; we've never been talkative people. Ever since we've been little and were taken from town to town by our parents, it's been this way; the both of us never really sure where we are going.
There were only two things I have ever been sure of. The first thing is that my last science teacher was growing weed in the shed behind the school that was supposedly reserved for old gardening club equipment and the second is that I am made for a life of being on the road or the tracks.
A calming silence settles between Andrew and I; the slurping noises of me sipping at my coke the only thing breaking it. After finishing the can, I begin to pick at my nail polish in an attempt to keep my hands occupied.
My eyes focus on the scene outside of the train, taking in the way the trees are sprinkled with the first flurry of crispy snowflakes. They merge with the grey sky, barely separated by a pencil thin horizon, as the sun shimmers cold light onto everything in its path. My heart yearns for a small town or country decorated in trees and flowers instead of the big cities filled with high rise buildings and the scent of pollution pervading the air.
I can only hope we end up somewhere quaint and peaceful.
Opening my mouth, I begin to speak; wanting to ask Andrew a million questions about a million things that won't really matter, when the train jolts forward. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that, reasonably, it has only been ten seconds but it feels like ten hours as the train tips on its side. The space between our bodies begins to widen and panic rises in my chest as I cry out. A part of me wants to reach for his hand while another part of me reminds myself that I need to say strong....I am floating in the air a few seconds after that before crashing against the floor.
Tingling sensations run down my legs and my vision blurs as I begin to feel dizzy. A wet warmth on my head signals that I must be bleeding but before I can find myself getting worked up over it, little black spots begin to cover my vision; I feel myself losing consciousness.
When my eyes finally open, they’re immediately snapped shut again as the blinding glare from the bulb directly above me flickers.
“Callum, for the last time, stop sending prostitutes to the hospital for me; it’s creepy.” The voice in the hospital bed across from mine says into what I assume is a phone. I thought the first words I’d hear while waking up would at least be words of comfort.