By Jeff Baker
It wasn’t until they noticed the writing on top of the train car that they realized they’d climbed into the Russian zone by mistake.
“Aw, Hell!” J.D. spat out.
“Let’s go back,” Kyle said.
“We can’t go back,” J.D. said. “It’s one way, remember?”
“But we climbed the fence; we didn’t use any of the gates!” Kyle said.
“Doesn’t matter,” J.D. said. “We’d have to sign in at the gates. Keep low, follow me and don’t touch the trains.”
The two men walked at a crouch behind shrubbery and several seemingly abandoned train cars parked on the tracks which ran through the fenced-in area. They stopped behind a caboose, careful not to step on a rail. J.D. pointed. There was a black, opaque column extending upward from a fenced-in area J.D. guessed just north of where they were.
“Must be one of the American zones,” J.D. said. “We’d better stay away from that. It’s after sundown there. I don’t want to be around any trains after dark.”
“Look!” Kyle said, pointing in another direction.
“Yeah, I see,” J.D. said. “Clear skies in that zone and I don’t see any tracks. Lemmie think.” He glanced back at where they’d climbed over from the French zone and glanced at where Kyle had pointed. Yeah, they’d be moving in a clockwise direction; the only safe way.
J.D. nodded. “C’mon.”
The two of them crouch-walked past more of the parked passenger cars and quickly scaled over the fence. It had looked grassy with rolling hills from the other side, but now that they were there it was flat and barren of plants.
“Where are we?” Kyle asked.
“Not sure,” J.D. said. “Maybe the desert, maybe Spain.” J.D. had never been to Spain, not the real one. They walked around warily.
“Look out!” Kyle yelled.
A locomotive! Damn! It was positioned in front of the black column of darkness from a neighboring zone, blending in perfectly.
It turned on its headlight.
J.D. doubled over and clamped his hands over his shut eyes. “Don’t look! Don’t look at the light!” J.D. yelled.
J.D. shielded his eyes from sight of the locomotive’s light but could see Kyle staggering towards the locomotive, climbing in the cab.
Everyone always said that trains had souls.
And now, this one had Kyle’s.