The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Past the Train Tracks
by Melissa R. Mendelson
The skyline was beautiful, or maybe that was the drugs wearing off. My feet shuffled along the train tracks, and my ears strained for the sound of the running locomotive. There was none, no sound, but the gruff mutterings of the man up ahead in his flannel jacket. My eyes watched the smoke dance out of his mouth past the lit cigarette and out into the air, consumed by the clouds above, and the girl in front of me fell down into the dirt.
“Shit.” The man tossed his cigarette aside and blew out angry smoke my way. He hurried over and checked her pulse. “Well…” He briefly met my gaze and then pulled out his revolver, putting a bullet into her head. “Guess that leaves you and her.” He cut the rope wound around the binding on her wrists and yanked me forward. “Let’s go. More ground to cover before the rain.”
The sound of weeping caught my ear. I felt the rope brush against my back. Again, I was yanked forward. My feet slipped, but I refused to fall. My mind screamed, trying to remember. I was at a supermarket earlier today, but there was nothing here, nothing at all. Just us and him, and my mouth was dry.
“I could use some water,” but he ignored me. “I’m thirsty.” Still ignored. “If you want me and her…” I tried to look over my shoulder at the young woman behind me. “If you want us to make it to wherever we’re going, then we need water.”
“The water was in the truck that blew a flat a few miles ago.” He lit another cigarette. “I have no water for you to drink. Now, shut the fuck up, or I’ll put a bullet in your head too.”
“I’m sure you would,” I said.
The quiet was unsettling, and the walk felt endless. We were going nowhere, and the sky was unchanged. And the sky was no longer beautiful. It was ugly, ugly and menacing like that man up ahead, yanking that damn rope every few minutes. I wasn’t going to make it, and as if the young woman behind me read my mind, she fell to the ground.
“Come on.” He threw his cigarette aside. “I won’t get much for one.”
I watched him hurry over to her, and as he did, she threw up on her shoes. He muttered under his breath, pulling out his revolver, and she begged for him not to kill her. But he was set on it, and once she was dead, I would be next.
As he prepared his shot, I saw the lighter stick out of his back pocket and grabbed it. He spun the gun toward me, but just as his finger curled around the trigger, the flame rose upward. I threw it onto his flannel jacket, hoping, praying that it would catch fire, and it did. It was a little fire but enough for him to drop the gun and smack at the flames, trying to put them out. He didn’t have a chance to look at me when I fired a shot into his head.
“You killed him,” she said as I cut her loose.
“It was him or us.” I removed my own binding. “Let’s go.”
“Where? We don’t know where we even are,” she said.
“Doesn’t matter. Let’s go.” I held my hand out toward her, and she took it. I pulled her up to her feet, and we went running, far away from him and past the train tracks toward the setting sun.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.
About Author Melissa R. Mendelson:
Melissa R. Mendelson is a Horror, Science-Fiction, and Dystopian Author. Her short stories have been published by Sirens Call Publications, Dark Helix Press, and Transmundane Press. She also has a variety of short stories and poetry available on Medium.