The Heist, Part II
Part I can be found here. And now back to our story…
The smell of decay, feces and gun oil stopped them more effectively than the door with the lock. Slim heaved alongside the rail car, splashing orange against the steel tracks. If Clark hadn’t been too wound up to eat his breakfast, he’d be adding to the mess on the ground. As it was, he gagged and covered his nose and mouth with the crook of his elbow. He tried to use the burlap sack he carried, but it was too thick to catch the smallest of breath through.
Foss cackled and twisted his waxed whiskers.
“Told ya you shoulda’ waxed it. Smells no worse than a night after Cappy’s chili.”
Clark wiped the tears from his eyes. He didn’t have time to get used to the smell. They had a job to do. He stepped into the rail car and assessed what he could carry. Pistols, rifles, and crates filled with who-knows-what lined half the car. The other half was caged off and steeped in shadows. That had to be where stench came from. Clark did his best to avoid that side of the car.
“Gimme that.” Foss yanked the colt from Clark’s hand.
“More gun than you can handle, Walker.” His last word spoken like he took a swig from a spittoon. He went on to grab indiscriminately at guns and bullets, shoving them in pockets and belt loops.
A series of gun shots fired. It sounded to Clark to be several cars down. No time to get pissed over a stolen, stolen gun.
Clark opened his bag, and threw gun after gun into it. He came across another Colt Peacemaker with pearl grips. Looking over his shoulder he saw Slim and Foss trying to lift a crate of rifles, and he quick-swapped the rust-pocked revolver in his side holster for the Peacemaker.
A loud crash from behind and Clark nearly jumped his skin. Slim had dropped his end of the crate, smashing it on the floor. It wasn’t filled with rifles.
The crate spilled out small brown jars. Several shattered revealing thick gray sludge. Groans erupted from behind the bars on the other end of the car. Shadows moved behind the bars as shadows moved across his mind. The feeling had him gagging all over again.
The door was between him and the cage. He needed out and took a step toward the door. A gun fired from just outside and McLaren ducked into the car, his shirt sweat-soaked and dark beard covered in dirt.
“And where do you think you’re goin’?” He stared at Clark through squinted eyes. “Your bag’s near empty, Walker.”
“Half,” Clark said more as reflex than defiance.
“You’re still sticking with half are you?”
McLaren kicked open the door all the way, letting light fall into the cage. Fur, feathers, and flesh all trembled at the light. Taloned hands covered human faces, paws and feet paced back and forth. They screamed and growled and pleaded. Clark heard in his ears, and even clearer in his head.
“These are the only Halves I know, Walker.”
Clark counted five… what? People? Animals? Monsters? He wasn’t a monster. They weren’t skinwalkers. The screams in his head said otherwise.
Foss and Slim laughed and scooped up the unbroken jars.
“Break any more and it comes out a your cut. And you, Walker.” McLaren pointed his gun at Clark, a small tendril of smoke escaping the barrel. “You. I’ve got something else for you.”
“Sure, boss. Whatever. You know I’m good.” This wasn’t the time to press his luck with McLaren. Failing this job would leave him in a cell or worse.
“Glad to hear, Walker.” A smile split his beard wide, but he didn’t lower his gun.
Yelling came from outside. Whatever guard was on the train sounded like they were regrouping. Time was up.
“Now tell me again what makes you half a skinwalker? Nevermind, I don’t care. The proofs in the Walkin’, right?”
McLaren pointed to the caged monstrosities with his other hand.
See how it all ends on Friday. You won’t want to miss it.