Thiefs deception a short.., p.1
Thief's Deception: A Short Story, p.1T. B. Wright
Thief’s Deception: A Short Story
All material contained herein copyright © Taylor B. Wright 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
Cover by T.B. Wright
The following story is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is coincidental.
Dedicated to the people that keep me going. You know who you are.
And to you, the reader. Without you, I’m just talking to myself.
Jameson wiped the sweat from his eyes and returned to the lens, rubbing at it with a chamois. He huffed at the futility; a moment later the glass fogged up again. Peering through the moisture, he found the brown rucksack nestled in between the metal tracks.
A bead began to run down his back, itching all the way to his belt. He cursed openly, scratched at it.
“Goddamn jungle. Goddamn sweat.”
A stifled laugh broke through the thick air. He looked over, almost forgetting that he was not alone. A slim man with a wide brimmed hat sat some paces away, repositioning himself against a tree and fiddling incessantly with the hammer of his revolver. He yawned, settled down into a more comfortable rut.
Jameson snorted, pulling a cigar from a breast pocket and lighting it, took a long drag. “You haven’t been lying on your damn stomach for the last two hours,” he mumbled.
"Lighten up, old man. It'll be here soon."
He clenched his jaw and chomped on the cigar. Old man? Forty was not old. Given, it was far older than most men in his position ever made it to, but regardless. He swatted away a buzzing insect, sighed, returning his eye to the scope of the repeater rifle.
Jameson constantly told himself that he would get out of the mercenary business, move on, start a family. The same things every day. But he was stuck in his ways and he knew it. Mercenary work had taught him many things, but how to raise a family was certainly not one of them. Thirty solid years of bank heists, train robberies and whatever else he could find tended to impair ones skills with the opposite sex.
Being in this goddamn jungle doesn't help either.
A far-off rumble came to his ears, drawing his eyes down the tracks. His younger companion perked up as well, moving on all four to the very edge of their cover.
"It's coming,” he whispered mostly to himself, glee evident.
Jameson huffed and shook his head at the youth's anticipation. He swore he had never been like that. Taking another long drag from the cigar, he shook out his shoulder and nestled his face to the scope.
"Tell me when."
The younger man waved him off, mumbling something incoherent under his breath. Jameson promised himself to push the kid off a cliff if the chance presented itself.
The rucksack full of dynamite came back into his view, all the while the rumbling growing louder. This train was the only to come through the region, making the journey once a month from the Northern Reaches down to the Lithu Valley. The path was fraught with danger; privateers, thieves, flash floods. The locomotive was designed to resist all and more. Except, of course, ten pounds of explosives directly under the boiler.
Jameson sighed. The plan had not been his own, he was glad to say. He would have been much more elegant about it. Dynamite was loud and unwieldy, and quite possibly overkill in this situation.
But he was getting paid all the same.
The younger man, Nathan or Jason or something like that, began playing with the hammer on his gun more rapidly than ever. The thought of him accidentally shooting himself made Jameson smirk.
"Okay, it's almost here. Maybe just thirty more seconds."
Again the youth waved Jameson off. He bit harder on the cigar, pondered if a cliff was necessary.
The rumbling had grown deafening and Jameson slipped in two wax earplugs, happy to have the silence. He had offered some to Jason or Nathan or whatever, but the kid had refused, saying something about how only old people like Jameson needed such things. Now, Jameson saw, the kid was wincing at the din.
A moment passed before the train came into his peripheral vision. It was huge, great puffs of smoke and steam spewing from the chimney. The boiler was much larger than he had anticipated, but it was all the same. The amount of dynamite that had been thrown into the bag would be more than enough.
The kid raised his hand and Jameson peered through the scope, instantly finding the rucksack. It was a hundred paces away easily, but he trusted his rifle. The old stained wood and even older Damascus steel had never served him ill in the past. The scope was a newer acquisition, the best on the open market he could afford. With a ten-time zoom and expertly crafted lenses, the image was crystal clear. Usually, at least. He cursed again as he wiped the lens with the chamois.
Jameson slowed his breathing, steadied his heart beat. He would get one shot before the boiler was past. They needed the cars behind intact, and knocking out the boiler would be the easiest way to insure success.
His heartbeat pounded one last time in his ears and he sucked in a sharp breath, feeling the sweet smoke fill his lungs. The kid dropped his hand and a moment later the train clattered over the rucksack, almost obscuring the bag completely.
Jameson squeezed the trigger and felt the hard thud of the stock against his shoulder.
The wax earplugs did little to block out the incredible blast. A fireball bigger than any he had seen erupted into the air, the boiler shredding to pieces and disappearing in an instant amongst the chaos. Shards of twisted metal ejected in all directions, whizzing past him at phenomenal speeds. The momentum of the train carried the cars forward, the upward thrust and the lack of track derailing it perfectly. The first few cars flipped onto their sides and slid through the brush, toppling trees and causing little critters to scurry away in fright as they piled up one atop the next, spilling their contents of coal and lumber.
After almost a full minute what remained of the train came to a halt, the boiler all but disintegrated.
Jameson snapped open the bolt, the hot brass ejecting into the wild grass. He chambered the second round out of habit; the dynamite had quite obviously done it's job.
"That was amazing!"
The sudden exhortation startled him. The kid was sitting on his knees, his eyes wide and his mouth open in a childish smile. Jameson huffed again and stood, his aching bones screaming in protest. He was, indeed, getting far too old to lie on his stomach for hours on end. Damn arthritis. He promised himself this would be his last job.
Jameson reached down and grabbed his hat from the ground, flopping it onto his head. The leather was damp and heavy from the humidity, but he welcomed its weight nonetheless. Ever since his hairline had started to recede, his hat had become his most faithful companion.
From across the tracks, some one hundred fifty paces away, three men appeared from the overgrowth, touting weapons nonchalantly slung over their shoulders. They walked with a swagger that made Jameson cringe. If there was one thing he couldn’t stand more than kids, it was arrogant kids.
Their leader, a thirty year old ex-soldier named Briggs waved curtly across the way, not bothering to look. Something about his demeanor put Jameson on edge. His eyes glanced to and fro, landing on Jameson and the kid multiple times but never lingering.
The party of three moved towards the second standing boxcar, Jameson and Jason/Nathan converging on the opposite side. Jameson seamlessly slung the repeater over his shoulder and drew the shining six-shooter from its holster.
His hand had almost broken the first time he had fired it, sure, but he tended not to think about that fact.
The boxcars each had a large sliding gate on either side, and Jameson approached the corresponding door. He flattened his body against the coated steel and pressed his ear to the seal, silently cocking the hammer.
Light rustling met his ears. He thought he could hear metallic clicking, as if multiple bolts were being cocked back. Before he could react –
“Knock knock!” someone yelled from the opposite side, shortly followed by the concussive report of a scattergun blowing open the hidden lock. Simultaneously the distinct slide of a bolt being drawn back caused Jameson to
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