Too Little, Too Late
By Joseph Logsdon
They were nearly out of time. Gloria jumped the fence, narrowly escaping the searchlight. Her partner, Jackson Holman, was directly behind her. He grabbed the barrier, just barely managing to keep his grip. He struggled and struggled, his arm aching with an intense amount of pain. It was a metal fence, the type of fence that was designed specifically to keep people out. At the very last minute, Jackson managed to climb to safety. Once securely on the ground, he continued to flee the scene.
They were at the end of their rope. Just one wrong move, and they would spend the rest of their lives regretting it. Approaching the railway, Gloria immediately slowed down. Jackson, on the other hand, continued at the same pace. He passed her up, barely noticing his immense speed.
"Slow down," Gloria stated.
Jackson didn't take her advice. He was determined to escape the police, regardless of what the cost might be. Jackson could see the lights from the nearby city. If he could make it there, he would start a new life, with a new name and identity. It all seemed very promising, and that was the problem. Jackson was so close to his goal, he failed to recognize what was happening to him. Almost instantly, he came to a sudden stop. His foot was caught, wedged between the tracks. He tried to break free, but with every attempt, his foot sank deeper and deeper.
There he was, stuck on the railroad. Gloria stopped, her heart going into overdrive. Her partner, her lover, was in immediate danger. The police were only several miles behind, already aware of the amount of money they had stolen. Jackson looked at Gloria, the deepest sorrow in his eyes.
"Well, guess this is it," Jackson stated.
"What are you talking about? We started this together, we'll end this together. Do you think I could just leave you?"
"That would be best, for you and for the money. I'm stuck, in more ways than one. It's better this way, I reckon. You can finally start living the life you've always wanted to live. As for me, well, I've got a date with a train," Jackson stated.
"You can't give up, not now! We're close to getting what we want; it would be foolish to just quit. I'm asking you, begging you, to not give up. If you die, I'm sure to follow you," she cried.
The ground started to vibrate. The sound of an engine could be heard, gradually approaching from the south. The engine grew louder, almost too loud for them to bear. Despite it being miles away, it was still very near. The train was in their minds, creepily driving them to the point of extreme anxiety.
"It's coming," Jackson stated.
"Aren't you going to try to help yourself? I've worked too hard, too long to let you ruin everything for me. Frankly, I don't understand. Just a few moments ago, you were more than willing to fight for your life. What changed that?"
Jackson didn't respond. He remained silent, calmly listening to the sound of the train. The horn was blowing in the distance. It pounded along the railway, steadily scraping against the track. The engine teased their fear and nervousness. Jackson remained motionless, content with what was about to happen to him. Desperate to save her partner, Gloria quickly grabbed a hold of his leg. She tugged and tugged, simultaneously screaming and crying.
"Don't bother with that. You can try all you want, it won't make any difference. You come first, I come last. It's been that way ever since we met. It will be here soon, steel and all. I don't want you to see me die. You ought to know, death isn't a pretty sight. Get out of here, start the life you've always wanted to start," Jackson exclaimed.
Gloria gazed into the night sky, frustrated with herself. Deep down inside her, she wanted to die with her boyfriend. Without him, life wasn't worth living. She listened to the train, finally coming to a surprising conclusion.
"That train isn't just coming for you; it's coming for both of us. Nothing you can say will change that. Your stubbornness murdered us, destroyed both our lives. It's me, you, and that train. Our fates are tied together, attached to the roughness of the tracks. The way we're acting right now, we're as lifeless as that train. Are you sure this is what you want?"
Jackson gazed into the brightness of the stars. Somewhere nearby, music was being played. It was a soft kind of music, unlike anything they had ever heard. The sound of the guitar sent them into a state of tranquility. Gloria embraced her boyfriend, every part of her submitting to him. Underneath the stars, they submitted to each other.
"Why did we even rob that bank? In the long run, it wouldn't have gotten us anywhere. We would have been caught, undoubtedly by some screwy cop. It's better this way, I think," Jackson exclaimed.
The train approached from the south. The ground shook, its very foundation coming loose. There it was, the train of death. Sure as anything, it was coming for them. Jackson trembled with fear and anxiety. In an act of pure luck, his foot managed to free itself from the track. Jackson peered down, not trusting his own eyes.
"I can't believe it; I'm free," Jackson exclaimed.
"You're free? God Almighty, it's a miracle," she exclaimed.
With very little time left, Jackson managed to cross the railway. Gloria swiftly followed him, her feet scurrying as fast as humanly possible. She was about to make it across, when out of nowhere, she collapsed on the tracks. The train roared, vicious in its nature. Jackson could only sit and watch. Her screams were met with deaf ears. The train hurried ahead, more than willing to kill an innocent woman.
"I love you," she gasped.
The train passed over her body, promptly putting an end to her screams. Jackson gasped, sick to his stomach. The train whistled as it steadily left the area. Jackson ran towards the railway, horrified as he searched for her. She was nowhere to be found. There was no body, no blood, no nothing.
"Too late," Jackson uttered.