Adriana was never shy. She walked right into the gentlemen’s camp and took a seat at the fire and asked, “What are you cooking?”
The two guys’ jaws dropped and they stared at her. Seconds ticked by on the stolen watch until after a few looks up and down and glances at each other, one of them said, “Would you like some coffee?”
Adriana had never tried coffee before but took a cup and tried not to make a face when the bitter liquid hit her taste buds.
The older of the two guys asked her, “How old are you?”
Adriana answered, “Old enough to know what you two do and that I want in.”
“And what is it that you think we do?” he asked with squinted eyes.
“You rob those trains up there.” Adriana said with a shrug and she took a swig of coffee to punctuate her statement but immediately regretted it.
“And how do you think you fit into that scenario?” He asked.
Adriana put the mug on the ground so she wouldn’t be tempted to drink anymore. “I can sneak on, work some kind of distraction while you two get into position and then we have more hands to collect the loot.”
“Did you always want to be a train robber, miss?” The younger one asked.
“Not really. I have other ambitions but when an opportunity presents itself, why wouldn’t you take it?” Adriana answered.
“Well said. I’m Harden.” The old man offered his hand.
“Adriana.” She shook his hand.
“I’m Garret.” The younger one blushed a little, “Welcome to the crew.”
“The next train will be by within the hour. Have you ever jumped on a train before?” Harden asked.
“No. But I am fast and I can pull myself up.” Adriana said.
Garret started laughing.
“I can.” Adriana said a bit indignantly.
“I’m sure you can but there’ll be no need for that.” Garret said.
“I’ve already put the tree there. The train will stop for us.” Harden said.
“I can hear the train now.” Garret said.
Adriana followed the two men up to the track. They hid behind some bushes as the train approached. The screeching of the brakes was deafening as the train came to a slow stop. The guys were on the train before it had stopped and Adriana rushed after them. The train car was gorgeous. She pulled out her pistols and Garret handed her a lady’s purse to fill up. She walked around looking each terrified person’s face as they dropped valuables into the purse.
Suddenly there was a commotion in the front of the car. “Go, go, go!” Harden was yelling. Garret grabbed Adriana’s hand and yanked her out of the train. He flew down the hill toward the woods and she stayed right behind him.
“Harden?” Adriana asked once she’d caught her breath.
“They got ‘em.” Garret’s eyes welled up a little. They watched as Harden was pulled off the train and escorted away in a police flying machine. Men started walking toward them and they quickly ran to the camp. Garret gathered up handfuls of things that he could carry. He picked up the gold hat and threw it at Adriana.
“Take what you can carry.” Garret told her.
Adriana held the lady’s purse and put on the hat, then they heard dogs.
“Nevermind. Let’s go.” Garret grabbed her hand and they raced through the woods.
They jumped over small streams and downed branches and they fought through thickening brush. They could hear the dogs barking behind them as they ran. Finally Garret spotted a small opening underneath the exposed roots of a large tree on the other side of stream.
Garret rolled in the stream to wash away as much of his scent as he could. Adriana followed his lead then they buried themselves in piles of wet leaves underneath the cave like root system.
The leaves smelled musty and ants and other crawly bugs brushed against their skin. Adriana whispered, “I don’t want to rob trains anymore.”
Garret covered his mouth to stifle his giggle. They both held their breaths as the dogs and their men approached. They could hear the crunching leaves and snapping branches on the other side of the stream but the dogs were no longer barking. They could hear the sniffing and searching start to quiet as they moved down the stream.
Garret and Adriana waited until there was no noise at all to exhale. Certainly they had been breathing before but only out of extreme necessity. They waited silently for another ten minutes. Garret’s watch ticked louder than it should in their ears. Adriana fought the urge to move when a bug walked up her arm.
“I think it is clear.” Garret whispered.
They both quietly got up and brushed off. Adriana was first in the stream this time to wash off any creepy crawlies still on her. Garret quickly rinsed and they started moving with urgency but not running in the opposite direction then the search team.
After another half an hour Garret said, “Without Harden, I don’t want to rob trains either.”
“What are you going to do?” Adriana asked.
“I reckon I should try to get him out.” Garret said. “We didn’t need to do this job. We had plenty already stashed away. Enough for a few lifetimes.”
Adriana’s curiosity was aroused. “Why did you keep doing it then?”
“For the thrill of it, I guess.” Garret shrugged.