Guerrillas in the Glen
Gordon Stearns

Chapter 3
Flight Into The Unknown
page 2 of 3

"We're in luck, Hyde," commented Figan. "Those are train tracks. It'll be a lot easier following them than tramping through the woods."

But by the time the chimps reached the embankment above the railroad bed, fatigue was creeping over them. They had been hiking since the previous night and were exhausted. Thoughts of sleep were interrupted by the mournful wail of a whistle far in the distance followed by a deep rumble that slowly grew louder.

"Mmm- Hmmm!" cried Figan. "A train is coming, Hyde. It could take us miles and miles away from Dr. Spengele."
"Will it stop for us?" inquired Hyde innocently.
"We can try to jump on it," responded Figan hesitantly," but I'm not sure how fast trains go." Now they could feel the heavy tremor of the approaching locomotive. With Hyde close behind, Figan scampered towards a small group of trees. With the unhurried movements of jungle chimps, they easily pulled themselves into the branches that stretched over the lip of the embankment. The rumble of the locomotive grew louder.

An enormous iron machine pulling a long train of cars had toiled up a steep grade. Like a monstrous black whale with dark smoke spouting from its head, it now chugged towards them, slowly picking up speed. The deep rumble became a long crescendo blotting out all other sounds.

"Mmm-HMMM!" Figan shouted into Hyde's ear over the roar. "Trains never seemed this big in any of Charley's movies."

Hyde simply gawked at the approaching freight train.

"I think it's still going slow enough so we can leap onto one of the cars," yelled Figan. The train gathered speed as it approached, its steel wheels clattering loudly. The engine hurtled beneath the quaking tree.

"Now, Hyde!" shouted Figan. Both chimps swung onto the roof of the box car directly below. The sharp impact propelled Figan and Hyde forward towards the edge. Hyde began to go over headfirst, only a heartbeat from being crushed to a lump of blood and fur under the train's wheels. But Figan seized Hyde's foot just in time and pulled him back to safety. He hugged Hyde until both of them stopped shaking.

As the train continued to gain speed, the wind began to whip through the chimps' fur. The landscape whizzed by. But the rhythmic rocking of the freight car relaxed them, and the excitement of their first train ride soon gave way to sleep.

The late afternoon sun was shining upon a lush forest when the slowing of the train woke both chimps. The train approached a narrow trestle spanning a swift creek. "Let's follow that creek," shouted Figan in Hyde's ear.

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Guerrillas in the Glen Copyright 1997, 1998 Gordon Stearns
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