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Submitted into Contest #27 in response to: Write a short story that takes place on a train.... view prompt



     The dining car is mostly empty, save for the young woman quietly eating chocolate cake and ice cream. Her hair is white and fluffy as snow with braids tightly pulling the side of her hair back. A black trench coat covers a gray tank top and camo cargo pants. She sighs, stirring the crumbs around the plate. There's only a day left before the train arrives at her destination, and Diana is no closer to finding her hunt than when she came aboard. It was suppose to be simple; find a thief. Easy. But it’s not. All she has are a few vague descriptions, all different of course. Short with brown hair, a tall red head, a blonde woman. A sifter. Physical descriptions are useless, she needs a scent to follow, that’s the one thing they can’t change. She leans back in her chair and glares slightly at the stuffed rabbit a child left sitting on a table.

     "What?" She snaps at the rabbit." Gloating at my failure?" Diana stands, leaving her plate for a server to clean it up. Her coat flairs around her as she stalks down the corridor to the outside. No one is in the hall this late at night to witness her outburst. The door to the outside squeaks as she pushes it open. The metal clinks under her boot as she steps out to lean against the rail. Wind rushes around her, catching her hair and making it more of a mess then it already is. She sighs, resting her arms across the rail. 

     Three weeks ago, a bank robbery happened in New York, three men and a woman somehow pulled it off. All of them vanished into thin air. It was only through blurry footage and eyewitnesses was she able to conclude that at least one was a sifter. The woman.

      Diana turns around to lean back and stare at the door. She runs her fingers through her hair. The other two most likely aren’t human either, but at the moment this is her only lead. She leans back over the rail to stare at the starless, black sky. She's worked with less. A lot less.

      A good night’s sleep, that’s what she needs. Yet she’s restless and already tried.

     That’s how she wound up eating cake at 4a.m.

     She pulls the door open and enters the still empty corridor. The only sounds are the train moving over the tracks, soft snores from rooms and her footsteps quietly echoing. Diana wanders down the hall, pausing at the door to her room, an odd scent registering somewhere in the back of her mind. She continues on and finds herself in the dining car once again. She slumps into a chair as she sighs and thumps her head against the table. Then jerks back up and whips around. Where did the rabbit go?

     Diana curses. She should have known, it was obvious. She doesn’t hesitate before darting down the hall to her room. Diana slips her pistol from its holster on her thigh and clicks the safety off. She unlocks her door and slowly easies it open with her foot. The small room is completely dark. She examines the vague shapes of the bunk bed and open closet. She didn’t leave that open. Slowly she steps towards the closet her gun pointed at it. Nothing. The outer door swings open and she whips around. It bangs but no one is there. Wind whips against her face as she looks out. She frowns. The whole room is empty and no one could have survived that fall. She flips the light switch. They don't come on. She tries again. Nothing. Okay…. Diana closes her eyes a moment.  That smell is still there, it’s familiar, now that she thinks about it, back in Manhattan where she picked up the sifter’s trail.

     So it’s still in her room, the scent is fresh and strong. She whips around raising her pistol again.

      Lounging on the bed is a young woman dressed as a porter. Long dark curls fall from under her cap as vibrant, orange eyes watch her.

     "I've been wondering when you'd show up, " she purrs. Diana keeps her gun pointed at her. 

"I've been wondering when you'd make a mistake." The sifter frowns.

     "A mistake?"

     "You really think I'm here alone?” Diana’s bluffing, of course, but she may not get another chance. “And now that I know what I'm looking for it'll be easy to track you."

      She sneers "Oh really? What makes you think I'll leave you alive?" She lunges at Diana. The gun goes off, but the sifter grabs it, pointing it up. Diana steps on her foot and yanks her hair. They crash into the dresser, knocking it over as the sifter wraps her claws around one of the braids in Diana’s hair. Books fall on top them from the dresser. Thankfully, the dresser itself is bolted down. They fight tooth and claw, the gun having fallen under the bunk. Diana slams the sifter into the wall next to the outer door. The sifter shoves the door open and trips her out. Diana grabs the door for dear life as the sifter escapes back into the hall, where a small crowed has gathered to investigate the noise. She grits her teeth and leans back, trying to make the door close. A conductor sticks his head out the door and looks at her surprised.

     "Mind helping and not staring?" she snaps. He helps her scramble back inside. She doubles over, panting for breath.

      "Would you mind telling me what’s going on?" the conductor says crossing his arms and glaring down at her. In answer, she fishes a badge from her pocket and hands it to him. A stolen badge, but he doesn’t need to know that. 

     "I'm with the police," she stands and takes the badge back. She glares at the small crowed and pushes through it looking for the sifter, she will have changed her face, but her scent is still strong. Diana has the lead she needs, it won’t take long now.

February 06, 2020 23:23

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