They slide quietly past the hissing engine, reach the first shuttered wagon
Hirate desperately tries to peer through the cracks in the carriage, there are people in there,
he can smell them, for a start. There is crying, and sniffling.
Unmistakeable, packed human misery
"Truck" hisses Okano, "this is hopeless........"
Mioko's voice pierces the cold
"here!, we are in here!"
A firmly locked second carriage that defeats immediate efforts to open it
'truck!, and truck again"
The guards are there, gathered around a fire at the end of the train.. It will take just one to glance
Tan takes charge
'Quick, follow me"
he moves quickly towards the engine, the other two following. A practiced leap, climb,
and he is on the steaming platform.
The driver is there, startled, he reaches for his shovel, as if to defend his train.
And places it down.
Tan too stops. "Ah, Engineer Arigati!.......so good to see you again!"
Arigati nods respectfully, 'Hiei!......
"Not the Tokyo line I remember Arigati.......things have changed, for the worse"
The Old engineer nods again.....glances down towards the back of the train, spits
in their general direction,,,,,,
"That they have.........how may I help you Engineer Tan?"
"I want to steal your train"
"What!, hisses Okano
"If I remember Okano, once some men of Zuiho stole an elephant, and a tank, a train is nothing"
The old mans eyes widen, then crinkle with glee......"Shall I drive?, or can you
remember how to handle her?'
Tan grimely grips the throttle, places his hand on the brake lever. "Oh, I think I can.....
grab the shovel boys, we are going for a ride".
They only go three exhilarating miles
In the dark, on the siding, a thousand desperate people are freed, vanishing into the snow
There is little time for reunion, Tan gives the girls an address, deep in the
maze of Hiroshima.......
By midnight, all three of them are climbing the gangway again onto Musashi's deck
The whole night, to Hirate, seems like a dream
But one part, he will never forget
Tan leaves them with this " Nothing, you know, will
ever beat driving a steam train, not even a battleship"
< Message edited by 1275psi -- 11/23/2015 8:38:54 AM >
big seas, fast ships, life tastes better with salt