Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Reece felt his stomach drop, his heart pounded in his throat. Soria was positioned awkwardly behind him, wedged into the corner out of sight. Footsteps sounded from the other side of the carriage then the thump of a body hitting the floor.
The Train carriage shuddered and Quint let out a pained groan. Reece slowly peered around the corner of the crate. He saw the carriage door open and the open sky drifting past. The sun shone interrupted by the occasional steel support beam.
“Go and grab him.” Soria whispered in his ear.
He twisted around to face her. “Huh?”
“Go and grab him. You’re a big guy you can do it.” She repeated. “Pin him down. And keep him there, so he doesn’t decide to get up and shoot us.”
Reece opened his mouth to offer an excuse but no words came out. He grasped his chest, trying to force away the tightness. A small push from Soria and he sprang forward, he’s art racing, eyes darting around the carriage.
He glanced Quint slumped against a wall. There were flecks of blood on his face and jumpsuit. Reece suddenly felt nauseous. Shaking away those feelings he darted towards the man. Adrenaline pumping through his veins, his fear melted away, he grabbed the man’s arms pinning him in place.
“Got him!” he yelled, but it came out as more of a squeak.
Soria materialised at Quints side and reached into his jumpsuit’s inner pocket, feeling around for the gun. She finally pulled the weapon out of his jumpsuit and jumped back so Reece could pin him down. Reece took Quint’s jumpsuit top half off and used it to tie his hands behind his back. Finally he stepped back and looked at the man in question. Quint had dark patches blotching his face, his nose was twisted at poor angle and his lips were split and bleeding. His breathing was shallow and Reece winced when he realised he had just jumped on this man and tied him down. Quint couldn’t even move, he wasn’t a threat.
“The crowd must have got to him.” Soria said from behind. Her arms were crossed, the gun in her hand, it seemed natural like she had spent years with a gun in her hand. To reiterate his point she opened the chamber of the gun and counted the bullets in the cylinder.
Reece had never seen her with a gun. So how did she know how to do all that, surely it was just her natural talent.
“What are you gawking at?” She said looking directly at him. Reece flushed and turned to face.
“What do we do with him?” he asked.
“I say we kill him.” Soria cocked the gun and pointed it at Quint, who sat there oblivious to what was happening right in front of him.
Reece jumped back away from Quint he felt his jaw slacken and he stared at Soria. “What, kill him?! Are you serious?”
“Of course…” She looked down the sights. “An eye for an eye. The justices system in the Black Mire is twisted of course, but I doubt Quint will live much longer anyway.”
“Wait, if you kill him then you are no better.” Reece’s heart thundered in his chest and he felt as if it was going to burst. Soria glanced from him to Quint, finally she sighed and lowered the gun.
“To think I’d let you convince me to do something.” She chuckled, but it was hollow. She must be scared, and not thinking straight. At least he hoped that was the case.
She stowed the gun in a side pocket on her merchant jumpsuit. The gun out of sight, he noticed Soria relax a little. How does that girl do it, always so calm, so careful but so quick to adapt, like a piece of wet clay. Always perfect for every situation, knowing exactly what to do and when. Reece was no doubt impressed by her, but also concerned. Just who was this woman? She had said things and done things he would never have imagined.
He shook his head, those thoughts were for later. There were several things on his mind that had priority right now, one of them being the killer bound and slumped against the wall
“So then, Reece. What do you suggest we do with him then?” Her voice was soft but held a darkness and strength Reece had never experienced from her before.
He swallowed and glanced at the battered form of Quint. “Leave him?”
Soria paused, a look of shock on her face. “Leave? Leave him where? For the Cluster to find when the train stops. There may be minimal laws out in the Mire but on the coast, the Cluster specifically there are authorities. Tin hats and private eyes. Someone will trace this beaten man back to us, especially if he’s allowed to live.” She slipped the gun back into her hand and took aim at Quint.
“W-wait!” Reece shouted instinctively. Soria paused but did not point the weapon away. “Surely there is another way?”
“Not in this business.” Soria cocked the gun. Reece froze, he did not want her to kill him, it would make her no better. But he was scared, an emotion he thought would never surface when around her, let alone from her.
“We have left the Citadel, Reece.” She said finally. “There is only one place the train stops. And if we show up at the cluster with a barely breathing body, it’s his word against ours. I don’t like those odds even if it two vs one.” She squeezed the trigger and the hammer slammed against the cylinder, fortunately no shot was fired. Soria swore and cocked the pistol again, checking the chamber this time.
Reece glanced at the gun and her, disbelief and confusing evident on his face. She really was going to kill him. He licked his lips and spoke up. “How about we interrogate him first?”
Soria swayed the pistol in her hand and sighed. “Yeah. Okay, that’s not a bad idea.” She stowed the pistol and stepped away from Quint. Reece let out a relieved sigh.
“Let’s wake him up.” Soria grabbed the man’s leg and dragged him to the autoloader. She motioned Reece and instructed him to find and cut open a water pipe. Reece obliged as he felt his dry throat beginning to ache. After slicing the tube Reece took a few gulps. The water tasted like motor oil and metal but it was better than nothing. Soria also took a few sips from the tube. She then released a valve and sprayed water all over Quint.
He jolted upwards with a start, but then gasped from the pain and the cool sensation of the water. He coughed violently and trembled. He looked up at them, his expression pined and his eyes clouded.
“Quint.” Soria said, in a calm voice that did not reflect the gun she had waved in his face earlier. “We would like you to answer a few questions.” Quint did not make a move to reply, so Soria continued. “First off all we need to know, why. Why did you kill vicar Wilton?”
Quint coughed and winced as blood flecks came with it. He spoke between laboured gasps. “H-He… deserved… worse.”
Soria frowned. “That’s not an answer.” She pulled the gun out and aimed for Quint’s leg. “Now answer.”
Reece paled in horror. Was this man serious? He glanced at Soria. And Quint she go through with it. She had a dark look on her face, one that masked a rage he hadn’t seen from her, let alone anyone ever.
She cocked the gun and was about to pull the trigger when Reece dashed forward and grabbed her hands. She jumped at his touch and her sweat covered amber skin and knotted black hair said it all. She didn’t want to do this.
“Let’s do this another way.” Reece said. He glanced at Quint and then at the open carriage door.
Soria noticed this and nodded. Together they helped the man stumble over to the open door. Reece had a firm grip around his shoulder as he cut him loose. He watched his arms fall loosely to his sides, lest they move to grab one of them. Soria had the gun jabbing into his back.
“Im sorry. For everything. I had to do it… I…” Quint whispered. Reece took no notice and glanced out the carriage door to see where an open space would be. All around them he saw Mire, drifting past, no canals no duckboards, not a speck of civilization in sight.
“What did you just say?” Soria stared at the mans back dumbfounded. She lowered the gun. “You were ordered too?”
Reece froze, he loosened his grip on Quint’s arm.
“VacaneTech… they told me too.”
With a sudden burst of strength Quint threw himself forward, attempting to drown in the mire below. Reece toppled over with him, his heartrate skyrocketed and he managed to hook his foot around a door, preventing the two of them from falling.
“Soria! Help! Now!” Reece shrieked, quite literally dangling over the edge by a thread.
Her hands grasped at his back, pulling him in. Quint was still dangling over the edge and once Reece stabilised himself he hoisted the man back up.
Soria rushed over gun in hand, pressing its barrel hard against his temple. “Do you work for VacaneTech? How is that possible?” She opened her mouth to fire off more questions but stopped. Quint wasn’t moving.
Reece sat down, he held his hands and just watched as Soria, the merchant he had known for so long stick an arm down a murdered throat. Retracting her arm Soria stood back as the unconscious Quint threw up the contents of his stomach.
She immediately sifted through it.
“Soria, for gods sake what are you doing?” Reece asked, shocked at the woman’s actions.
She didn’t stop though, eventually picking up a little plastic tablet, about the size of the grain of rice. Sighing she edged away, wiping her hands on Quints clothes.
Reece looked between them, Soria sitting cross legged idly banging her against the wall, and the crumbled eerily still form of Quint. “Soria?”
“He’s dead, poison tablet stored in his mouth, killed him instantly.” She muttered.
Reece didn’t know what to think, all his muscles ached, and he felt sick. He wanted to go to bed.
They stayed silent for a while. Letting the sound of the train and it’s subtle rocking occupy them while they clawed at the confines of their mind.
This just got a whole lot more complicated.