Danni California, Part 13

Continued from Part 12, here.
Start the story here.

* * *

I didn’t even bother to call this sighting of Danni in to the Organization.  I had too many other thoughts, too many other conflicting questions in my head to deal with first.

I couldn’t deny to myself that now I was obsessed.  There were others out there, after Danni, but I had to get to her first.  I was going to beat the rest of them out, no matter how much of me it took.

“But why?” asked the little voice in the back of my head, still slinking around at the periphery of my mind.  “Are you looking for her to kill her?  You’ve failed at that twice already.  And if you want her dead, why does it matter whether the bullet comes from your gun or from another’s?”

I didn’t have answers to those questions.  But I was still determined, driven despite not knowing why I was so motivated.

Now, although the girl was in the wind once again, I had a better idea of where she might be headed.  Since I had caught her, Danni had to know that the other hunters, ones who might just take a shot from afar, couldn’t be far behind.  She would be headed out of town as soon as possible.

Ordinarily, she’d probably take a car.  But that was how I had tracked her last time – and the girl was young enough, devious enough, to mix things up, to take a different approach.

Boulder City was the perfect place for her to do so.  The railroad, only recently completed, ran right through the city.

But which train would she be on?  I stared up at the list of departures at the station, trying to think like a young bank robber, high on life and living large while she still drew breath, knowing that any minute now her life could end from a bullet.  Where would she go?

I doubted that she’d head too far north.  Minnesota, Montana, the Dakotas – they would be great places to hide, but that wasn’t what Danni was after.

She didn’t want to hide, I knew.  She wanted to keep on living, keep on chasing danger so that she would feel that rush.

She also wouldn’t be going back, back towards where she had already been.  I was fairly certain that I could discount most of the trains headed back east.  Why would she return, when she had already left that world behind?

There was one train, however, that fit all the criteria.  It was headed west, towards California through the mountains.  It had a luxury car attached, and I knew that Danni would want to ride in the highest class.  And most importantly, it was leaving in mere minutes.

I broke into a run, headed for that track.

I barely made the train, leaping up and on board just before, with a puff of smoke and the screech of many tons of metal grinding into motion, the machine began to move.  I ducked inside, not bothering to watch as we pulled out of the station.

Once on board the train, I began slowly moving up through the cars, my eyes peering into every corner and one hand tucked inside my coat, resting on the butt of my pistol.  I didn’t want to draw the weapon out into the open, where it could scare the other passengers – but as soon as I saw Danni, I would have my gun drawn on her.

The luxury carriage, an elegant cabin coupled to a drinks car, was up near the front of the train.  I made it through most of the other cars without any sign of Danni.  But when I stepped up to the window on the door leading into the luxury carriage, I caught a flash of bright red on the other side.

There she was.

I took a deep breath, drew my pistol out of its holster, and then, gun at my side, I threw open the door and stepped into the train car…

To be continued . . . 

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