For a few moments, Katie thought that it would work out. She thought that, even at the end, they might have a chance for some kind of a peaceful resolution. Okay, maybe if the two of them just sat down, they would simply die together. Maybe Leo would panic and shoot them both. But the important thing was, they wouldn't have to kill each other. That was all she could really ask for now. It wasn't a big wish. Just a last little hope, that two friends could find peace.
Rebecca shattered it, of course. It was just like she'd wrecked everything else.
As Katie watched her move, she started some movement of her own. She pulled her gun up, fired one shot, but what was more important was that she moved to the side. For all her unlikely skill with the bow, Rebecca was still firing into the wind on a moving train, and she only had one arrow left. The world seemed to slow as Rebecca released the arrow, as it flew. Katie could see that she had misjudged, had dived into its path, and it traced a line along her left arm, tearing flesh and drawing blood. She opened her mouth, started to scream, but at the same time, she knew the wound would not kill her quickly, would probably not kill her at all. She had won this battle.
Except that she had been paying so much attention to not getting shot that she had, for just a moment, lost track of the fact that they were fighting on a moving train with a rather narrow roof. Katie landed hard, bounced, felt her legs hanging out over nothing. She kept hold of her gun, because without it she stood no chance, but scrabbled for purchase with her other hand. She found none. Still with that strange feeling of slowness, she went over the edge, trying to grab something, anything to abort her descent.
About halfway, she caught hold of a bar. She came jerking to a stop, but with enough force that her shoulder gave a pop. She cried out and involuntarily released her grasp, and was falling once again. She retained just enough presence of mind to kick out, pushing herself away from the train.
It was this that saved her from getting sucked under and crushed beneath the wheels. Instead, Katie hit the ground hard, all the wind going out of her. She rolled a few feet, wheezing, trailing droplets of blood from the wound on her arm. The train thundered past, but it was not of any consequence at the moment. The world seemed far away. Katie just lay there for a few seconds, but then realized that she wasn't done, not anywhere close. Rebecca was still on the train, and so was Leo, and that meant there was still work to do.
She pulled herself to her feet. Her shoulder felt bad, maybe dislocated, but she only needed one hand. She could stow the gun as she pulled herself back onto the train, then retrieve it. It would work. It had to.
Only, Katie saw the caboose whip past her. There was nothing to grab onto.
She gave out a cry of frustration and took off after the train. It was no use, though. Even in perfect health, she wouldn't have had the speed to keep up. Now, she was falling further behind by the moment, and, worse, it was getting harder to breath. The exertion was sucking all the air from her lungs, and a tightness in her throat was making it hard to get back.
Her eyes widened as she realized just what the source of that was. She'd nearly forgotten the collars in the whole mess, but now hers was constricting, clenching the life out of her.
With the last of her energy, Katie pointed her pistol, trying to see through the encroaching spots in her vision, looking for the form of someone standing on the train. She fired again and again, kept pulling the trigger after the pistol clicked empty. Even if she couldn't make it, she'd give Leo the best shot she could.
Then she dropped to her knees in the dirt. The train kept moving, and Katie tried to force herself to stand once more, but the energy was not there. She let out a gurgle, and then the blades burst free and put an end to things.
F04, KATIE TANAKA: GAME OVER
1 STUDENT REMAINS