“There he is, get him!” cried the man aloud
The boy’s eyes widened in fear as he saw two large men barrel towards him. He turned, and fled, his feet pounded the cobbles so hard that he felt a sting in the soles of his feet as they slammed into the uneven surface. He darted down an alleyway, narrowly missing an older lady walking her dog, which caused him to knock over a small barrel, he heard the barrel bounce, its contents sloshed and spilled out across the alleyway, the noise of heavy wet footsteps followed shortly after. He rushed out into the next street at such a speed that he nearly ran in front of the horse drawn carriage coming along the narrow street. The driver yelled in alarm and the horses reared and brayed loudly, the carriage halted and clattered as it impacted and scraped along the curb. Onlookers in the street turned to see the commotion, but the boy dared not stop. Instead he continued to pelt down the street weaving in and out of people as he did so. The cries of his pursuers and the driver became muffled by the loud beating of his heart in his ears, even the sound of his feet hitting the pavement were but distant echoes to the thrumming of his heart. He suddenly veered left into the next street and began to head down to the old docks. A tingling and tiredness was beginning to grow in his legs, causing him to drag his feet. Suddenly he stumbled forward as his foot caught the top of a cobble, he now felt himself uncontrollably moving forward, seemingly in slow-motion until his foot met iron. A shooting pain shot through his foot as he fell forward, he threw his arms forward ready for the hard embrace of the relentless cobbles underfoot, with a thud he landed. More pain shot through him as he laid on the floor, now winded he coughed before rolling over onto his back, his chest heaving as he gulped down the cold air. The sound of commotion behind him snapped him back to reality, he jumped back up, and began to limp forward, looking back briefly to notice that he had fallen over the old sea train tracks.
The boy trailed his eyes over the tracks down to a large abandoned warehouse which was set back a ways from the road he was on. He smirked, that would be a great place to hide he thought, but I need to find a way in quickly. He turned on his heel and quickly limped towards the warehouse, his eyes desperately scanning for a way into the building. He let out a slight sigh of relief as he noticed that one of the smaller lattice windows to the side of the large barred wooden door was open slightly. He lifted the window open and squeezed himself inside, closing it quickly behind him, and sunk down into the corner of the room into the darkness. His breath still came in small spurts, hard and loud at first, but through sheer will he managed to suppress them to slow shallow breaths. He hunkered down in the corner of the dark warehouse. He could feel the panic in his aching limbs subsiding slightly now that he had escaped from his pursuers sight, he placed his hand in his pocket and removed a small brass orb.
“you better be worth all this trouble” he whispered
He absentmindedly rubbed his thumb across the orb and felt a series of grooves under his thumb. As his thumb came into contact with both of the grooves he heard a low thrumming noise emanate from it and it began to lightly vibrate in his hand at the same time a faded line of glowing green symbols appeared across its circumference.
“What the..” the boy muttered
However his thoughts were cut short as he heard the sound of quickening footsteps heading in his direction. He quickly and silently stuffed the orb back into his pocket, and closed his eyes, seemingly in silent prayer to keep himself calm.
“Where did he go?” gasped a breathless man
“He must be around here somewhere. He’s fast, but he’s not that fast” replied a second voice
Opening his eyes he slinked forward and peered through a crack in the door near its hinge. He took a sudden intake of breath as he saw the two large men who were chasing him approaching the rail on the street where he had previously fallen. They both must have been getting on, 7 foot tall. One was a larger framed, bald with a large dark moustache, he wore a cloth shirt, dark breeches, and appeared to have a large knife tucked inside his left boot. The second was a man of a more wiry frame, with untidy blonde hair. He wore a red waistcoat over a tan shirt, dark breeches and long brown boots. The larger man stopped at the rail and turned towards the warehouse. His eyes seemed to lock with the boys for a moment causing him to panic and fall backwards away from the door. Silently he retreated back into the warehouse, his eyes never leaving the door until he backed up against something hard and metallic. He looked up to see the gigantic dark form of a Sea Train towering over him. He could smell the soot and the scent of old oil coming from this now defunct machination. His brow furrowed slightly as he gazed up at it, there was something with a faint sheen just above his head, could it be a brass plaque? He stood up and turned to face it, he squinted and stared, it was a plaque, but it was too dirty to read. He took the sleeve of his shirt and wiped away the grime, straining his eyes in the poor light he could see that it bore a name ‘The Fetchling II’.
He stepped back, gazing up at the large soot covered technical wonder before him, he had seen one once before, but that was years ago. Back before he lived alone, when he lived in warmth and comfort, he still had a family, back then he even had so called friends in good repute. He remembered sitting on the sea wall nearest the merchant quarter, waiting for the sea train to return from the Beyka Isles. Back then he would tell people with pride, my dad built that! That must have been five years ago now. He closed his eyes blocking out the bad memories that followed. Bodies washing up on the shore, Canal-ways turning black with oil & blood, the sound of the dying and screaming of the mourning and smell of burning. After that the Sea Trains were branded unsafe, and the work of a folly of a man. They were all decommissioned and hauled away for scrap. What came next wasn’t much better, a mob, more pain, destitution, and homelessness. But, why is this one still intact, and in a warehouse? and not some scrap yard.
Someone was trying to open the large wooden doors of the Warehouse
“You reckon he could be in ‘ere, Stan?” said the man
“Could be Jack, i’ll go look around the back, and see if there is another way in” replied Stan
The boy stiffened, before frantically climbing up the side of the train into the Cab, he closed the iron door and barred it from the inside and curled up in the back of the cab.
“Well this is a fine mess you’ve got yourself into Brendon” he muttered to himself.
He felt an unfamiliar vibration from inside his pocket, he took out the brass orb again, It was vibrating more than it was previously and this time the symbols around the circumference are red, he looked more closely and saw that there was a word amongst the symbols ‘Impel’.
Mindlessly Brendon spoke the word aloud “Impel”
The orb began to pulse and glow brighter with a red hue, at the same time a dim red light began to emit from the centre of the front console, Brendon rose to his knees to see the light was coming from a circular recess within the centre console. The sound of a door slamming open cut through the silence of the warehouse and echoed like a drum of impending doom.
“Shit” mouthed Brendon
He slowly rose to his full height so that he could look into the side mirror, There he could see the thinner man slowly walking down the side of the engine scanning the room as he went, he was now holding what looked to be a metal pipe in his hand, he’d be on him in a matter of minutes.
Brendon gulped, and slowly stepped up to the console, and looked down at the controls. He had been in his father’s cab once, he strained his memory to see if he could remember anything his father might have told him about driving a sea train, but his mind was full of panic, he needed to get away, and get away quickly. He stared down at the console, to the left there was a vertical pull lever clearly labelled ‘Full Forward‘, ‘Full Stop‘, and ‘Reverse‘ at precise increments, alongside the lever were several switches and buttons each one individually labelled with indicator lights, all of which were currently off. The right hand side has a series of dials and gauges showing various pressures and speeds, and in the centre of the console is the glowing red recess. Brendon took the mysterious brass orb, and placed it in the central recess, the Orb seemed to magnetise into the recess and turned 90 degrees on its own accord, with a loud Hiss and a Click, the Console Dashboard suddenly lit up, and red symbols appeared all over the console. There was a sudden whoosh of escaping air followed by a roar behind him as the furnace erupted into flame and the engine rumbled and purred to life. The thinner man jumped back in shock as the engine suddenly roared to life next to him, he quickly began to sprint up to the front of the engine. Brendon could see him approaching quickly out of the corner of his eye, In a blind panic he grabbed the lever and pushed it to Full Forward, billows of steam suddenly emitted from the engine, engulfing the thinner man who yelled and coughed loudly, the locomotive groaned and began to creep forward. He frantically looked at the buttons and switches, his eyes came to rest on one label in particular “Thrusters”. He remembered that his dad had told him about thrusters, and they were used to create rapid bursts of speed & power needed to ensure that the train could break through any unruly waves during a sea crossing. Speed, plus power minus big door equals escape Brendon thought, as he flicked the switch the indicator light turned green and a strange whirring noise began to build. Brendon turned to see an angry face of the taller blonde man appear in the Cab side window, Brendon jumped back and grabbed the console rails in surprise. It was like a sound like Brendon had never heard before, it was somewhere between a Cannon and the bowels of a very upset Cow. The Fletchling II shot forward at such a speed that Brendon could of swore it was flying, the impact with the door was almost instantaneous to the noise, it ripped through the large wooden door like it was a piece of paper. Splinters of wood and nails erupted outward littering the empty street. Light flooded into the cabin blinding Brendon, causing him to recoil and close his eyes. The train swayed slightly as it made the turn into the street, and then continued its journey down the tracks towards the docks. Blinking quickly to regain his vision Brendon looked to the window, the man was gone, The Fetchling was now at a more normal speed and was gliding effortlessly down the old rails. Brendon looked out of the window as the train turned again, he could see the smashed remains of the warehouse front in the distance and two small figures standing nearby. He had done it, he had escaped, but for how long?