by Marco Smith ©2017
Part of the Flash Fiction Train on Medium.com
Tumbling through the snow alongside a speeding train was not how his day was supposed to be turning out. Breathing had become a big challenge. That fall onto the frozen ground had ironically felt like a train had hit him from behind. The natural rhythm of his lungs was now as frigid as his surroundings. Drifting snow had offered some amnesty from the blunt force trauma normally inflicted in these types of fall, but not nearly enough. Falling into snow for most people is usually fun, but on this occasion snow angels were not on the agenda. Not that Oleg was a snow angel kind of guy. Not many international terrorists have the inclination nor frankly the time for such frivolities. Nevertheless, the impact was both blunt and forceful. Normal service resumed at snails pace as Oleg’s battered body percolated the air through his bloody nose and mouth.
Oxygen once more flooded his system, that suffocating sensation subsiding with each snatched breath. His concussed brain returned to processing information from his nervous system. Something didn’t feel quite right. It was glaringly obvious that things were far from right, he had just been thrown from a moving train after all. Anxiety took hold as Oleg forced himself to look down his body. His leg was gone! Neatly sliced off just above the left knee. Weirdly he could still feel the tightness of his combat boot. His left foot was the larger of the two, so was always a bit of a squeeze in footwear.
That was the moment it kicked in, the searing white hot pain. It felt as though some unknown force had taken a rusty old saw to his leg, and with vigour set to work hacking through his flesh. That was what his brain was telling him, but the reality was more like a surgical procedure had been performed without anaesthetic. The scalpel in this situation was the wheel of the train with hundreds of tons of weight bearing down on it as it flashed through his leg. The sight of his own blood spurting out, turning the snow into a horrific version of an appetising fruity refreshment, was enough to snap him firmly back to the severity of his situation. He was going to die! That was the stark reality, unless he could find a way to stop his vital fluid redecorating the railway embankment. His military training kicked in, and he whipped off his belt. Using it as a makeshift tourniquet, Oleg managed to stop the crimson flow. The train was long gone, an agency clean up crew would arrive on the scene in no time at all. He needed to move, now!
The pain numbing chemical, adrenaline, which masked the initial trauma was totally ineffective now. Delirious from blood loss Oleg cried out in agony. How he wished for a pretty nurse he could call to his bedside to administer some morphine, although a track bed doesn’t have a nurses station down the hall waiting for patients to press their call button. An icy gust of wind, heavy with snow, blasted his face pulling him back into the real world. He recoiled in shock, half expecting to have to defend himself from an invisible attack. Surveying the area, Oleg realised he was alone in a large patch of red snow. He noticed a sheltered banking not far away, and began the agonising crawl. His strength was dwindling, and shock setting in. Death wasn’t imminent, but to survive he realised help was needed. Evasion of capture would not be possible. The trail of blood would reveal his location regardless of any attempts to conceal his tracks.
He still had the tracker, maybe he could hide it nearby, and somehow get a message to his comrades of where it could be found. He fished it out of his pocket. It was small, easy to conceal in a suitable location. His concentration was dwindling, his mind drifting. Oleg washed his face with a handful of snow attempting to clear his head. He spotted a metal signal control box at the side of the track not too far away, the door of which was slightly ajar. He crawled over, and deposited the tracking device through the crack of the door. In the back of his mind this location was tagged, and stored for later retrieval. With his remaining strength he made for the shelter of the embankment. Maybe he could have lit a fire to keep warm, but in fact all that Oleg could manage was to slump against the dirt wall, and light a cigarette. ‘MI6 will be here soon’, he thought as he drifted into blackness.
This story is a part of a collaborative chain of flash fiction stories. Resources and links are available in the master post here: