Hostage 28 sat ridged as his wife lay motionless beside him. The fearsome man who had refused to be called anything but ‘Falcon’ had finally left the carriage; but he had stationed a guard whose gun slung heavily over his shoulder. 28 could see the muscles though his shirt and the cruel look upon his face. Age was beginning to show, however this only accentuated the wisdom. Not wisdom in the conventional sense, not the wisdom of the elderly, the comfortable, the ones who had only the experience of a daring life, but of pain, of suffering, of blood and murder and death.
Nobody else dared to look up from their hands but 28’s only emotion was rage. He and his wife were tourists from America; they had been on their way to marvel over the Tower of London when the train had been hijacked. He had now been sitting next to her cold dead body for the last hour, waiting for a chance to do something, anything.
He glanced in the direction of the guard once more, his mind furiously screaming, then leapt up out of his seat and propelled himself forwards. With no hesitation, the guard whipped the gun around until it fit snugly into his hand. 28 didn’t notice and wouldn’t have cared, all that was present in his mind was revenge. To work his way up through the ranks, until he came face to face with the man who had murdered his love. The guard pulled the trigger and 28 stopped short. The revenge of his wife’s death melted from his mind as he sunk towards the floor. The guard got to his knees and stared coldly into his eyes. This was the last image 28 was left with as he slipped slowly into the darkness.
The guard grunted in satisfaction. He was fascinated with watching life dissipate and often imagined seeing the soul fall into the grip of, what he assumed was the fiery furnace of hell.
He glanced up; he had been so involved in watching the breathing cease, he had not noticed the screams. He got to his feet and towered above the seated hostages. Glaring around he quieted all but a young boy, who continued to wail with all the air his small lungs could muster. Afraid the boy’s cries would call back ‘Falcon’; he grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and dragged the screaming toddler towards the next empty carriage.
The boy’s mother protested and tried to keep hold of her child. The guard turned and swung his thick arm into the woman’s mid-section; she buckled up and fell upon her knees before collapsing completely. He continued to drag the young boy towards the next carriage. He slid open the door, threw the boy inside and slid it closed again. Turning around, he noticed that the woman had failed to stand. He walked over fearing that he might need to report to ‘Falcon’ on the casualties. His stomach fluttered briefly when he felt no steady flow of blood in her pulse. Pulling his hand away he imagined it covered in blood, hot, sticky and fresh. He stood up, fearing his visit to first class; ‘Falcon’ would not approve.
He walked towards the front of the carriage and slid open the metal door separating the different compartments. He glanced back slightly, sending a non-verbal warning to the frightened passengers, daring them to move in his absence. He continued forward and slid the door closed behind him; striding through the empty section towards the door that separated first class from the lower population, he checked his demeanour and straightened his shirt. He entered first class and was immediately greeted by five others dressed as he was, holding sub-automatic machine guns. They fell aside as he walked through towards the man known only to him as “Falcon”. He approached the young leader, much younger than himself and about half as smart. Like all of the men he had recruited he was Asian, it seemed he found his own race the most trustworthy. ‘Falcon’ glanced up as the guard approached and a wave of anger washed over his squashed face. He barked something into his cell phone and placed it aside.
“I told you to stay with the hostages Vincent,” he stated, lowering his voice dangerously.
“I’m sorry sir, I have a report” The man who had recently been calling himself Vincent answered.
“Very well, go on”
“Hostages…,” he stopped and thought for a moment, “…28 and 31 have been killed”.
Falcon pulled a blood stained roll of paper from beside him and glanced down at the names on the list that had been collected at gunpoint.
“Thank you, return to your post now”
Vincent turned his back towards ‘Falcon’ and headed to the door.
The amount of relief he felt was remarkable. He had not been killed or even for that matter, punished.
There was a short quiet noise behind him and Vincent winced in anticipation before crashing to the floor. Holding his arm in pain he sat up slowly and took a deep breath, cursing his ability to think way too soon.
Falcon placed his silencer equipped revolver aside and looked down,
“Never leave your post again.” He said as he picked up his phone, he placed one hand over the mouthpiece “And next time, address me as ‘Falcon’”.
Vincent stood up and walked steadily out of the compartment, thankful that he was only wounded. He walked through the empty carriage and entered back into the passenger’s area. He stared around, hoping to find someone to take out his anger on. Nobody was moving, there was nothing even remotely suspicious. This angered him more and he hated to think how bad the next person who got in his way might feel after he was done.
He moved towards the door of the train and took back his post. Looking out over the hostages, he drank in their fear. The salty, dark smell entered his nostrils and travelled through his system, relieving him momentarily of the pain in his arm. He would survive; the bullet had only nicked him. It was not luck, if the “Falcon” had meant to kill him his blood would have been soaking into the carpet, camouflaged within the dark red threads. He placed aside his gun, confident that if he were to be attacked he would not need it. It would be like a Sawmill against a single tree, reduced to pulp before it could wave a branch. He peeled back the sleeve of his shirt which had stuck to his arm with sweat and blood. He looked down at the damage; it wasn’t the worst he had seen. In fact it was rather mild; a red line had been drawn across his arm. Although it was bleeding heavily it was far from fatal. He firmly pushed down on the wound, ignoring the pain. He would need to stop the bleeding if he were to bandage the cut. He looked up from the injury and noticed that the passengers were daring to look at him. He understood that the vulnerability of his position must have caused a great loss of fear. He felt no need to regain it, he was a patient man, and could wait before taking control again.
He touched the butt of his gun to warn off thoughts of an ambush and nodded towards the bodies of the hostages he had murdered. They were gone; he guessed that one of the passengers had moved the rather unintelligent mother, along with the old man and his wife. The three dead bodies had been offered to the carriage in exchange for the young boy, as he now sat on the lap of a grandmotherly black woman. The fact that there had been movement in his absence frightened him more than angered. If anything were to go wrong “Falcon” would have him brutally murdered. It would not be a simple shot to the head but a long painful process. This plan meant the world to him and he would not let a failure go unpunished. He knew from experience that the “Falcon” was a merciless and brutal man. He broke away from his thoughts; he did not wish to dwell on his previous misfortunes today.
He needed to clear his mind, and decided to interrogate the hostages. This was a favourite of his; he only enjoyed the act of torture more.
He swung his gun into his hands.
“Where are the bodies?” He demanded.
“Where are the bodies?”
A lady began to shiver uncontrollably.
“If I have to ask again I will kill all the children.” he remarked calmly.
“In the next com-compartment.” stuttered a teenage boy who Vincent identified as Hostage 12.
“They were disturbing to see, especially for the children. Have some compassion.” Spoke the teen again.
“Compassion? I have enough to not kill you right now. Is that enough for you or do you have better things in mind. I suppose you would be happy if I killed this gentleman instead of you.” At this Vincent reached down and pulled up Hostage 14. “Have some compassion for this man; sacrifice yourself to save his life.”
Vincent shoved the gun into the side of the man’s head. Finger poised on the trigger.
“C’mon, speak up son. What will you do? Who shall I kill? Speak up! Talk to me!”
“Don’t” Whispered the teen.
“Hmmm? What was that?”
“I thought so; remember this lesson next time you decide to teach” Spat Vincent as he pushed the gentleman down into his seat with a bruise the shape of a gun barrel in his temple.
He returned to his post content that he had once again won back the terror of his captives.
Intimidation came easy to him, he’d had plenty of practice of course but it seemed to now be a natural instinct, almost animal. He knew the tactics; he had used them many times, back in ‘the days’ as he liked to refer to them. Back when he had been the most terrifying man in all of Asia. His presence had been dreaded, it had meant certain death. He attempted to push the thought out of his mind. Those days were long ago; they had drifted away and vaporized like smoke. He tried intently to concentrate on the plan of attack.
But despite his efforts, Vincent’s mind began to wander; he was once again back in ‘the days’. Back to his first, back to the exhilaration and adrenaline that had bled from every pore. He had been young and the weights of life had not yet fallen. He struggled momentarily with these invading thoughts but failed. He was lost, gone deep within his own mind. Maybe it was a side effect of the pain, maybe it was a hidden desire for ‘the days’. Whatever it might have been, it had enveloped him completely. The memory was clear and in full colour, every detail had been memorized. It had started in the morning, around 7 O’clock; this was when he had been awoken.