Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Adventurers, Ch. 3

October 29th, 2005

If you're new, read CHAPTER 1 and CHAPTER 2 first. And the Saga continues:


Far to the left, parallel with the cliff, a long freight train was approaching. The sound of its motors got louder by the second. When it came closer Jerry could see that towards the middle of the train, a couple of uncovered cars were filled with manure and hay. Jerry choked at the idea that he was gonna have to jump into one of those. If he missed...

"Get ready..." Apparently Gus had the job of timing the jump.

Jerry thought about not jumping. Just let them go. They wouldn't be able to get to him once they had gone on the train. But no. For the first time in his life he felt he was a part of something. For the first time in his life he trusted people. Besides, they trusted him. It'd be a real disappointment if he betrayed them. No, he would jump.

The train was already passing below them. The hay car approaching very fast now. Jerry thought it would be impossible to time the jump perfectly. He had to jump.

Suddenly, Gus gave a shout and everybody jumped at once. Jerry hesitated a little and jumped late. He was well behind them. He looked down and saw the group land perfectly in the middle of the car. But he hadn't landed yet. The hay car was passing and Jerry almost fell between the manure car and the hay car. At the last second, however, Jerry landed in the manure, hitting his elbow painfully against the metal edge of the car.

The roar of the train was incredible. He sat up and tried to yell at the car ahead of him. It was no use, he could scarcely even hear his own voice. Then Jerry saw a head pop up from the hay car. It was Beau. He tried yelling at Jerry but Jerry could only hear the noise of the engine. Beau tried signaling and Jerry took it as "stay down". Jerry nodded and gave an okay sign. Beau's head disappeared once again.

The force of the wind almost threw Jerry off and for a scary moment his feet were off the ground, but he managed a firm grip on the edge of the car and pushed himself down. He lay down on the soft manure. The cold wind chilled his body. He hoped this would be a very short ride.

The ride lasted three hours. Jerry was aching and freezing when it finally started slowing down. The wind died down considerably and so did the noise. Jerry thought he heard voices but they were just murmurs. Then he heard them. He sat up and poked his head up. Mark, Curtis, and Beau were shouting at him urgently. Gus was watching the landscape up ahead intently.

"Get ready to jump!" He heard them yell, though to him it was only a whisper.

The train was still going fast. Jerry thought they were crazy. But he got ready.

"When I bring my arm down, you jump." Mark was saying. Jerry barely heard him. Then he brought his arm down and they all jumped, including Jerry. He had learned to trust the timing of Gus. Mark had brought his arm down a little after he jumped so that they would land on the same place. Jerry found himself soaring through the air towards a lake. He landed hard and tumbled on the surface until he finally submerged in the water. He had no sense of direction and thrashed about wildly. The wing had been knocked out of him and he desperately needed air. He was blinded by the spraying water and didn't know if he was swimming towards the surface or going deeper into the lake.

Then he was out! After much rubbing of eyes, he was able to open his eyes. Somehow, after all that wild swimming, he had ended up under the bridge where the train had passed. He looked around for the other and spotted them searching the water. Then Gus saw him and gave a joyful shout. Everyone looked and Jerry saw the relief on their faces.

"Man, we almost thought you'd drowned." said Beau once he swam close enough to speak.

"Almost did. How deep is it here, anyway?" Jerry thought it must be pretty deep since he never touched bottom even when he went to sleep.

"Don't know," said Mark, "but we've never tried to go all the way down."

"Hey, sorry we didn't tell you we'd have to get off like this, but the train usually goes a lot slower once it approaches the bridge. I don't know why it went so fast." said Curtis.

Beau spoke up, "Well, what are we floating around here for. This water is cold and we only have two hours to get dry before the hit."

This said, they swam to shore. A few people were there fishing and they looked angry. One of them yelled something about how long he'd been sitting there and how they scared away the fish when they had finally come out. Jerry yelled out a sorry and everyone laughed.

They walked over and stood under the sun. After an hour and a half they were dry and ready to go. Beau passed a comb around and Jerry asked what for.

"So that we can look nice and not look suspicious." answered Mark.

Then they split up. Jerry went with Gus and asked him why they were splitting up if they were all going to the same place. Gus said it was better if people thought they didn't know each other. They walked through a couple of dusty streets and finally ended up in front of a large, old building. They went inside and Gus said to talk about stupid things. Jerry didn't want to ask why. They walked though the aisles for about five minutes, the whole while grabbing items and tossing them into the cart. The whole time Jerry talked about the color of trees, why ants work so much, and the reason why humans can't fly. He noticed that adults who overheard their conversation smiled to themselves in amusement.

Suddenly, a commotion at the front of the store caused Jerry to halt. But Gus grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the running and yelling. There, Jerry saw Curtis and Beau tangled up and crashing into the aisles of food, knocking the food down along with some shoppers and workers. The fight looked real. Both of them were tense and had the meanest looks on their faces. All eyes were on them as Jerry was led away from the crowd. Jerry turned and saw Mark with a huge bag out of the side window. Gus told Jerry to open the door. He did and Gus shot through it, with Jerry right behind him. They piled the packages on Mark's bag. Mark handed Jerry a whistle and told him to go in and blow it four times. Then, Mark and Gus disappeared around the corner heaving the bag in front of them. Jerry turned and ran inside the store but was petrified to find Curtis and Beau held by police. Jerry put the whistle to his mouth. When Beau saw him he shook his head vigorously. Jerry took a deep breath. Beau closed his eyes. Jerry blew four loud whistles. Everyone in the market stopped what they were doing and turned to Jerry. Beau covered his face with his hands. One policeman grabbed Jerry by the neck.

"I think this is another one of 'em, sir." he said.

[end of Chapter 3]


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