Derailing Bedlam: The Asp, The Axe, & The Asshole Part 1 #fiction #adventure

As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence.  It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam.  This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started.  Each one is 99 cents!

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

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Tyler looks like he is about to cry as he watches Cola and the other mechanics continue piling broken parts at the far end of the platform. Cassidy and Lloyd can barely be seen beneath the damaged train car, which has been elevated with the help of a crane. He is confused as to why they are involved, but decides that he should be thankful that the pair have remained after the disaster in Eau Clair. Turning to stare at the local fishermen toiling on Lake Victoria, he frowns at the sight of a few pieces dangling from the bridge they were on no more than an hour ago. The businessman takes out his pocket watch, the picture helping him focus and calm his strained nerves. Knowing that Laurencia is out there with her tanks and a bounty has been placed on his precious train has cost Tyler several nights of sleep. His eyes are slightly sunken and there is a greasy shine to his face from sweating so much. Giving the picture of his family a kiss, he prepares himself to examine the damage once more. His mind is already racing with the fear of having to quit and turn back to Chicago in defeat, but one of his green pills helps push the thoughts from his mind.

“Alexandria is rather nice, but I can’t put my finger on the architecture,” Katie says before placing a metal case on the ground. Wearing a light blue dress and a belt of shotgun shells, the warlord holds her parasol over Tyler’s head. “I have good news from Cola. He says that all of the parts can be replaced from the stockpile you established here. Most of the damage was to the electrical system, but there is a broken axle that will take the most amount of time to fix. Also, a brake box got torn off on the bridge by that hook trap. Still, it happened just outside of town, which is good.”

“Not to mention suspicious,” Tyler replies with a forced smile. Letting out a slow breath, he faces his train and is relieved to see that they have stopped removing parts. “I can tell that you are leaving some information out, but it doesn’t matter. Cola will fix it and my guests may enjoy this small town for a little longer. It was rebuilt after the collapse with a mix of Egyptian and Norwegian influence. Half of the population claims to be descended from one group and the rest from the other. Too bad we didn’t arrive during one of their events.”

“Is it usually this quiet?” the warlord asks, her eyes falling on a building that is flanked by Anubis statues. She chuckles at how it contrasts with its neighbor, which is a tavern with a triangular roof. “Looks like both groups have embraced their ancient cultures. At least, what they think it is because it doesn’t look historically accurate. I’d hate to tell Lloyd about this since he already did his mummy impression back in Wisconsin. The man is a beautiful killer, but can get whiny if he misses a chance to be silly. If you ask me, the Shattered States have calmed him down. Do you think your wife would enjoy this world?”

Caught by surprise, the businessman fights the urge to scowl at the woman, who is casually examining the town. “I don’t want to talk about it. This world is what killed her and my son, so I find it hard to believe she would be happy. Feel free to wander the city since I must stay here and wait for the mayor. I can’t retrieve my stored supplies without a meeting. To be honest, I’m slightly concerned since I have not heard from Alexandria in over a year. They were one of the first to grant me a station and then there was silence once it was complete.”

“I’ll wait here in case you need help.”

“Why would you think that?”

“As I said, it’s quiet here and I don’t like the feel of it.”

“Not every place is as rowdy as LaSalle and Peru.”

“Just something in the air, which Cassidy pointed out when we stopped.”

Confused by the statement, Tyler glances at the mercenary, who is helping Dale push a cart full of wreckage. He does not see anything strange about her until a dead battery falls and clatters behind her. Cassidy jumps and nearly goes for her gun, the motion swiftly disguised as wiping her hands on her pants. Closing his eyes, Tyler tries to remember what it was like when he last visited Alexandria. He immediately thinks of the joyous greeting that led to a dual feast, the two factions refusing to work together on the party. There had always been the smell of incense in the air, but now there is nothing beyond a faint fish odor that grows stronger whenever the wind blows off the lake. Another memory snaps him out of his trance and he scans the area in search of a group of children surrounding a solitary adult. He sees no such thing and pulls out a handkerchief to dab at his brow, which is beaded with nervous sweat.

“Education and knowledge are prized above all else here,” Tyler explains, taking a seat on a bench. He anxiously licks his lips and silently prays that Cola can finish the repairs before anything bad happens. “During this time of day, one could find groups of children from both factions in the parks and streets. They would be divided among the educators, who would find a quiet place and read the lore to them. Not only the Egyptian and Norse tales, but history and mythology from all over the world. The one thing the population could always agree on is that education is important and there were even times when you would find adults sitting in on the class if they overheard something new. Where are those people?”

“Probably hiding inside like everyone else,” Katie says as she closes her parasol. She nods her head at a nearby store, the faces of those inside barely visible in the windows. “This isn’t the place you visited long ago. Something changed and not for the better. Everyone is staying away from the station while keeping an eye on us. I’d suggest calling the passengers back until we know what’s going on. I’m starting to think those hooks on the track were done by the locals instead of outsiders.”

“I have proof of that,” Cola states as he approaches his boss. Holding out a piece of the trap, he points at a series of markings that are a combination of hieroglyphs and runes. “Now, I will admit that it’s possible an outsider simply got these made here. They might want to make us believe a local did it, so we’ll do a sloppy repair and head into a bigger trap. Cassidy took her jeep and one of the mechanics further down the track to search the area. What do you want us to do?”

Running his hands through his hair, Tyler leans back and stares at the rusty awning. “Fix as much as you can with what we have on the train. The storehouse with everything else is over there, but we need permission to access it. Perhaps you can take Mr. Tenay over there and he can persuade the guards to let us in early. No violence, but maybe they will let us in if they know a letter is coming soon. I’m heading to the mayor’s house. They change leadership every three months, but I believe Ragnar Johnson is the one in charge during this period. If not him then somebody in the Norse faction.”

“I’ll do what I can, but the axle is going to be tough,” the conductor admits while examining the metal piece. Unable to think of a way to use it, he throws the junk into a garbage can and takes a can of soda out of his back pocket. “Before you call for Dale, I should point out that I need him here. He’s one of the strongest people on the train and I’m getting worried that somebody will take me again. Sorry, sir. I know he’s your bodyguard and understand if you would rather he go with you.”

“Don’t worry. I plan on going along,” Katie claims while adjusting her hat. Opening the case at her feet, she pulls out a shotgun and back holster. “I can be quite intimidating and dangerous when I need to be. You’d be surprised how often people are more scared of a confident woman than a towering man. Trust me, Tyler. I only have your best interests and the survival of the Holly Sage Express in mind.”

Checking to make sure he has his pistol, the businessman takes another glance at the train and hardworking crew. Silently admitting that he cannot help if he stays at the station, Tyler leads the way down the stairs. With Katie a few feet behind him, the cautious man heads further into Alexandria. Every step seems to echo throughout the quiet town and the only people he can see are his own passengers who are wandering the streets in search of any local willing to talk to them.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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5 Responses to Derailing Bedlam: The Asp, The Axe, & The Asshole Part 1 #fiction #adventure

  1. L. Marie says:

    “You’d be surprised how often people are more scared of a confident woman than a towering man.” 😀 Oh Katie. I love your soundbites.

    Like

  2. Very strange that the townsfolk aren’t clamoring to make money off the passengers. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Derailing Bedlam: The Asp, The Axe, & The Asshole Part 2 #fiction #adventure | Legends of Windemere

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