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Author's note: The only thing that inspired me was the craving to do something out of my comfort zone and something original. I always try to make my writing as original as possible and something that everyone can enjoy!
The wind howled menacingly. The dust and sand of the earth spiraled into a tenacious storm that engulfed the Canyon of Red Mist. The burgundy slopes of the canyon where artificial, allowing way for train tracks to trail along its sides. As the sun shined upon the sharp canyon side, it appeared to bleed. There he stood. He wore a tattered sash that constricted and tightened around his arms and waist like a shredded snake skin. The two tails of the yellow sash coiled around his massive collars that fluttered behind him as flames, carried by the building dust devil. He tipped his large bronze yellow hat, smiling in the shadow of his face. He bit into his toothpick with his pointed teeth and his piercing gold eyes flared. His dark brown hair faded into dark red at the tips of his long bangs that ran down the sides of his face. His long, braided ponytail suspended behind him. Within his slanted holster slept his two trustworthy bladed guns: Scarlett and Rose. These double barrel pistols contained three small blades the extended from their tip that ran the length of its body. His yellow sash wrapped around the holster, and its tip was the massive head of a lion. Its mane was thick and heavy. He could hear the distant working engines of a trail following the tracks just at his feet. The sun gleamed down on the bloody canon, overshadowing the pathway just below him.
“Right on schedule.” He grinned while extending his arm out. The sash appeared to react on its own. It engulfed his entire right arm with the lion head at his hand. The exhaust of the train could be heard closing in. The people upon the train attended to themselves. Some slept peacefully, while others hushed their children. Some passengers gossiped while others took their paper. One man in particular hid his face within is dirty brown coat. His scruffy beard emerged from his coat however, running the length of his chest. He held a newspaper close to his face, appearing to be very paranoid of nearby citizens. The window next to him showed nothing more than a rushing canyon wall. He read the top headline of the newspaper: “Dust Devil leaves towns in shambles!” Below the headline was a black and white photo of a dust storm that shrouded a small town. Before the man could begin reading the sub-headings, an sudden swarm of heavy dust swarmed the windows. The people reacted, yet appeared to go about their business.
“Been getting a lot of those recently. Wonder what’s been going on with all these dust devils roaming about.” One passenger exclaimed.
“Oh most certainly,” another added, “So much dust from these storms makes it hard for me to keep my clothes clean!” The man became more than suspicious as he could feel the train slowing to work through the storm. He held close his briefcase of mischievous contraptions.
“Lector the Necro Tactician, a notorious tech junkie who experiments with low-grade technology…and corpses,” The bronze cap held the paper tightly as the dust storm threatened to steal it away from his clutches. The crinkled paper presented a photo of a modern old man of matted hair and a dirty face. “I swear I always get these creepy old timers. Just once, JUST ONCE, I would love to have snatched me up a good babe or two, like her…” His mind drifted off to the only person he had failed to capture in his past. Little was known about her, but other than her breathtaking persona and beauty, she wielded her blade with such grace and valor. “Tch, she got lucky.” He shook his head, not allowing himself to remember the only prey he had failed to contain. The silhouette of the train emerged within the red dust. “Alright, lets get this show on the road.” He opened his arms as he sailed from the peak of the canyon. The sun began to set, blanketing the canyon in a crimson red. The dust upon the jagged rocks appeared to be set ablaze. He felt as an eagle with his body direct, feeling the rush of hot wind coursing through his open glove fingers. After his moment’s bliss, he opened his eyes. With only just a few feet between him and the train he extended his arm. The sash around his body reacted. The lion’s head growled as it curved outward from his arm. Seconds later, it propelled itself down the six car train to the chief car. Its fangs dug deep within the solid steel. The passengers reacted with building anxiety with the car rumbling as it did. The lights flickered on and off consecutively. The suspicious old man arose. The sweat was building at his forehead. The passengers talked amongst each other once again, but louder in tone. The man excused himself from the terrified citizens around him, making his way toward the rear car.
“Man what is with this thick cloud of dust, I don’t ever remember it being this thick!” The engineer squinted while attempting to steer through the red dust that stained the large window. “What does nature have against us today?”
“Don’t blame Mother Nature my friend. Blame your god.” The bronze cap laid casually back in the chair next to the engineer. He whirled the toothpick around in his mouth, with his arms folded behind his back. He rested his feet upon the gears in front of the chair. The engineer retreated to a corner in the small room, overwhelmed by the bronze cap’s devilish demeanor. His eyes followed above the bronze cap, revealing the torn steel hole that he entered from the top of the train. The bronze cap stood, placing his hand upon the accelerating lever. “Nothing personal my friend, just doing my job.” He revealed his fanged teeth with his devilish grin while thrusting the lever to its highest speed, before breaking it off. “Fate is one tricky son of a gun, ain’t it?” The bronze cap placed his hand upon the engineer’s forehead, lifting him up and facing him toward the large glass window. “Do me a favor and tell the one below to reserve about a hundred and twenty seats down there would ya? Let’s start countin…” He whispered in the man’s ear before jarring his head into the double layered glass. The engineers face was embedded within. He opened the door to the second car. A cloud of bloody dust swallowed the inside of the car. The passengers screamed, crawling atop one another and unable to keep balance as the train picked up a great deal of speed. The bronze cap, however, casually walked down the center of the car allowing his eyes to roam the red dust. “You just aren’t gonna make this easy for me, are you Lector? I can smell the decay of all those corpses you toy with from here! Either you come with me or die with them, your choice!” All seven cars of the train where thrown into madness with the train currently at full speed. Lector shoved people side, smacking women and children as they barricaded his path.
“Move you ingrates!” He shouted. He came upon the sixth car, the cargo hold. The mass of luggage prevented him from going to the engine room. “Blast it! It will not end here!” He bellowed, forcing his way through the mounts of luggage.
“This is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.” The emergency lights through the passengers into further chaos. Each person clawed and groped another in a frenzy of horror. “I swear, one little engineer dies and they all lose their damn minds.” The bronze cap stood within the fifth car, examining each cubby thoroughly. “Ugh, the stench is merely unbearable now. Sometimes it really sucks having a keen nose like mine.” He shielded his nose while picking up a newspaper and reading the front headline. “Aw, what the hell man? I thought they finally got my picture in this shot! How am I supposed to become world renowned with crappy pictures like this? Do I have to threaten the news lines directly or something?” He studied the fabric of the seats, examining the dead flesh within the stitching. “Bingo.” Lector was scared. He sweated and salivated as he tore through the luggage, finally reaching the rear the rear car. He burst into the engine room after several tries. The engine of the train was pumping fiercely. Steam filled the entire room along with the red dust. He felt dizzy with terror as he looked from left to right.
“Oh, no! There has to be an exit!” After helplessly looking for several minutes he took to a window in the far back of the car, next to the enormous engine. With his poorly made wooden cane, he eventually broke the glass, straining to crawl through the window. He stood outside of the rear car within the red dust. He gasped for air, only to inhale a mass of the dust and placing his hands over the side of the car to gag. He gasped and backed away noticing the steel hook cutting away at the tracks, connected by a steel chain connected to the car.
“Nice try, but it may have been easier to use the emergency exit in the fifth car you moron.” Even in the thick, hot air, Lector felt the coldest shiver up his spine. He strained to move his neck, turning his head two-second periods to face his predator. Expelling his fear, he withdrew a long barrel musket from his cane. Just before he pulled the trigger he could feel the force of a bullet relieve it from his hands to be lost within the abyss of red dust. The bronze cap twirled his bladed gun before resting it within his holster once more. “Now you have one of two options: This train is on a crash coarse to hell and there’s a ticket with your name on it. You can willingly take this ticket and meet face to face with all those bodies you tirelessly worked on,” The bronze cap explained. Lector’s face was pale as he helplessly pressed himself against the metal bars of the rear car. “OR, you can simply come with me, no questions asked.” The bronze cap felt a sense of joy out of the feeble look within Lector’s eyes. “Now there’s no rush. You’ve got about sixty five seconds to decide. I’d prefer you come with me, simply because if you die, that means less money. We could easily continue to expand our organization without you; after all, your research is a valuable asset. However, you would be much more useful to us alive. I’m sure they have big, BIG, plans for you Lector. What do you say?” Lector studied the bronze cap’s stature and menacing golden eyes.
“Yes, I thought I knew who you where! You are Seth, that Dust Devil fellow aren’t you: A black market bounty hunter that wields that mysterious lion body scarf and one who would kill an entire town of people to capture the most notorious criminals of our time for this unknown organization of yours. Hm, I may burn in hell, but you bounty hunter will simmer a slow death for the crimes you have committed, as the most notorious one of us all.” Lector pointed disgracefully at him. “Even I, one who would dissect the very fabrics of death and weave them to my own accord, would not fathom to tread the path you now walk upon!”
“You know I wouldn’t doubt that, but enough about me. Have you made your decision? I’ve got places to be and while you might be worth a couple hundred thousand of the good stuff, you’re hardly worth even being on the list so don’t flatter yourself, ‘necromancer’.” Seth playfully made “quote” gestures with his hands.
“W-Well I…” Lector hesitated. The tracks screeched and sparks spiraled from below. The entire train teetered to one side, with the everlasting abyss below. Lector tumbled to one side, feeling a great deal of fear while staring down into the red abyss. Seth sat above him on the top of the rear car at near laugh.
“I’m waiting.” He said impatiently.
“Even I would not wish a death such as this upon myself. What a fitting tactic for the hunters said to work for the Devil himself.” Lector outreached a hand to Seth. Seth grabbed hold of Lector’s bony arm with his left hand and extended his right arm toward the stars. The mysterious sash ascended alongside the canyon and its end formed as an enormous lion’s claw that grabbed a hold of a well supported rock. Their feet lifted from the train as the sash pulled them upward. Lector watched as a train of one hundred and twenty plummeted on a crash course to hell, never again to see the light of day.