Doc(Burnout 5)

By: Dahlia West

Chapter 1


Izzy’s boots slammed the pavement and her thighs were starting to burn. The skip was still in sight, but she was losing ground. His jacket had indicated he was a high school dropout, low-rent meth dealer with a penchant for teenage girls. It had said nothing about his alter ego being The Flash. He reached a chain link fence that separated the apartment building from the train yard behind it and started to scale it.

“Goddamnit,” she muttered as she raced after him. There were no trains moving in the yard at the moment, but if she lost sight of him and he jumped into an open car, it could be a while before she found him. The sun was already starting to set and she had zero interest in searching the Denver train yards by herself at night.

She grabbed the fence and scrambled to the top, the treads in her boots giving her better traction than the skip had gotten. She was up and over much more quickly, thankfully there was no razor wire at the top. She jumped down to the gravel and took off after the skip, who was already reaching the first stalled train. He climbed over a coupling between two of the cars and vanished. Izzy grumbled again and ducked underneath the nearest car instead of following him over the coupling. She had eyes on his sneakers this way, and as she crawled to the other side, she saw him moving west just past the second stalled train.

She rolled to the second track and scrambled underneath it. When she popped up on the other side, the skip glanced over his shoulder. He spotted her and re-doubled his efforts to put more distance between them. Izzy took off straight down the line, hoping to close as much distance between them as she could before he put another train between them. He was fast-maybe faster than she was, she noted grudgingly- but the thin Denver air was taking its toll on him. He was breathing hard and she knew he couldn’t keep up the pace for too much longer. Izzy wasn’t a sprinter, certainly not in her heavy, steel-toed boots, but she ran two miles every day and was well-acclimated to running long distances this high in the mountains.

She started to close in on him and felt a tingle of glee that she was that much closer to nailing him. The skip couldn’t resist another backward glance and the look on his face said he felt exactly the opposite about his imminent capture. He swerved and launched himself at a coupling on the third train. He climbed over and she ducked beneath again. This time though, his sneakers disappeared, and Izzy was moving too fast to count how many cars ahead of her he’d gotten before he vanished again. When she made it to the other side, the gravel lane was empty. She pulled her gun out of the holster strapped to her thigh and stalked past the first two open cars, ignoring them.

The skip hadn’t back-tracked, so she’d start with the third. From her pocket she produced a small but powerful mag light and switched it on. From her position on the ground, she swept the beam over the darkened interior of the car. It was empty, no pallets or shipping containers stacked inside. She headed toward the next car, listening for the sound of heavy breathing as she approached.

When she reached the next car, she heard nothing but silence from inside. Again she swept the beam and hit upon a dirty blanket, rustling silently. She pulled back the Glock’s hammer. The sharp click didn’t have quite the same ominous sound as, say, a shotgun being racked, but it was enough to garner attention just the same. An equally dirty face appeared from beneath the filthy blanket. Izzy was careful not to shine the light directly into his face. Better to let him see she was armed. He had no way of knowing whether or not she regularly used bums for target practice. Perhaps the sight of the gun would keep him where he was.

Rail riders were notoriously territorial and had been known to kill outsiders whom they perceived to be encroaching on their turf. Izzy was reasonably confident the skip hadn’t chosen this car. If he had, the rider would’ve had something to say about it. The way he did now with her.

“Go ‘way!” he hissed through grayed teeth.

Izzy took one more quick pass over the car’s interior, then stepped back. She moved toward the next car, careful to keep an ear out for the sounds of the bum coming up behind her. She didn’t hear him moving, but she caught the faint sounds of feet shuffling in the next car. As she approached, the skip was valiantly trying to silence his breathing as well, but she could still make it out.

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