Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday Flash Fiction - End of the Line

"It's been six weeks, Belinda! Six weeks today. There's no rescue coming! We have to get out of here!" Carlos was as hysterical as usual.

Belinda replied, "Really, Carlos? Again with this? We have food, water and shelter to last us as long as we need, plus we sent out a search party three weeks ago. There's been nothing from them - not even a signal fire over the horizon. We might not know what's out there beyond the train line, but we can assume they didn't find anything good!"

"I'd rather die trying to get home than waiting here for some imaginary rescue party."

Carlos' words hung in the still, cold night air as we sat gathered around our nightly campfire. The problem was that they were both clearly right. We could survive here, stuck in the desert with the last car of a long-gone train, but we could never really live.

"Then you might as well go, hadn't you? There's no reason to sit here and complain at the rest of us. Take what you need and get out, if that's what you really want. Nobody's stopping you." said Belinda, with less energy than she usually mustered for a Carlos rant.

Carlos sat staring at the fire for a while longer, then, without a word, took his battered briefcase, a few strips of dried rabbit meat and a bottle for water and stalked off into the dark night, dusty grey suit, worn leather shoes and all. The silence lasted a long time, and we were all surprised at what Belinda said when she broke it.

"He's right, you know. We all know. The trains should have been running at least once a day along this line, and even if they had to stop for some reason, they should have started again. Maybe we can ... maybe we can make it back if we follow the tracks."

Someone further back piped up, "That's what the search party did."

"Then what are we supposed to do? Sit here and wish really hard for a rescue? Mike and Alice didn't have strength in numbers like we do. If we go now, we can keep up with Carlos, and maybe all of us will survive instead of just us ... or just him."

Nobody called for a vote. Hands went in the air, heads nodded agreement, so we all picked up what we could carry and hurried off down the train line, the way Carlos had gone.

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