“Thanks,” Mac said.
As he approached the youth seated on the bench, he could see that he was drained and pale, and looked especially scared.
“What’s his name, sergeant?” Mac asked quietly.
The beefy cop took up the hint in Mac’s voice and said more quietly, “says he’s Jimmy Caldwell, sir.”
“O.K., let me talk to him a bit,” Mac said in confidence, eyeing the two uniformed officers standing near the boy. The sergeant caught Mac’s glance and signaled the two officers away and out of earshot. They stayed close enough though, so that it kept the boy from getting any ideas about leaving. This, Mac thought, looking at the stupefied face on the boy, would be the last thing he would want to do. Especially with all the cops around to be between him and whatever he was really afraid of out there.
“Jimmy?” Mac said, “I’m Lieutenant MacCallum. How do you feel?”
The boy just stared back at MacCallum with round eyes. Eyes that reminded him of the battle weary kids he had seen in Korea or Nam after they had a rough time.
“O.K., I guess?” The boy said wearily after a few moments.
“I heard you had a little excitement tonight?” Mac said.
“Yeah,” Jimmy replied with a dry taste in his mouth. The Lieutenant saw the scared look of recollection in the boy’s eyes and sitting down next to him he soothingly said, “You want to talk about it?”
“Yeah, sure, O.K.” Jimmy said swallowing hard.
“Take your time then, Jim,” Mac said in an almost fatherly voice. “Everything’s O.K., but this is important.”
“Sure,” Jimmy started. “Well, it’s like this…”
He hesitated again, but Mac said, “No rush, Jim, just try to remember, and tell us everything as you saw it.”
“Well,” the boy began again. “I was sitting here thinking about my girl and me. We just broke up. Actually, she dumped me for someone else,” he said, looking down at his hands.
“Go on,” Mac said sympathetically.
“Well, I was just thinking about what I would do if I caught her with this guy, Joe, that she’s going out with now. Then after the train left,” he said, indicating with a nod of his head toward the other side, “I saw this guy jump on the platform.”
“The big guy with the knife?” Mac interrupted.
“No, the boyfriend,” the boy said with a scared look at the mention of the big man.
“Go ahead,” Mac urged softly again.
“Well, he caught the two of them fooling around at the back of the station,” he said licking his lips as he continued, “and he began to yell at them and call her names. Then she put him on the spot and sort of scared him back.”
“Taunted him, huh?” Mac asked, “What about the other guy?”
“Well, he looked like he got caught with his pants down,” Jimmy said, “and kept the girl between himself and the boyfriend.”
“Real brave, huh?” Mac said questionably.
“Yeah,” Jimmy said a little more easily now. “The
guy was running a line of yellow up his back, really wide.”
“Then what happened?” Mac asked urging a little now.
“Then I saw him jump on the platform as if from the air,” the boy said with that open eyed look again.
“Him?” Mac asked.
“Yeah. He was big,” the kid said looking over to
the platform nervously.
“Can you describe him?” Mac said trying to focus on the facts to get his attention back.
“Sure,” the boy said, half out of his wits. “He was huge and his head almost touched the underside of the roof, but he was built solid, not tall and lanky,” he said trying to gain Mac’s confidence.
“Go on,” Mac said quietly.
“Well, the boyfriend bent down and broke the bottle and screamed something like, “you pushed me too far” or something and made a move as if to slice them up,” he continued, “but before he could do anything, the big guy was up behind him. Then I saw something flash and I saw him put this big knife through the guy.”
Mac stared at the kid as if he was hearing a camp side horror story. The only thing he thought was that if he hadn’t heard it before, he would probably think it was just that.
“Then what?” he asked.
“Then the guy dropped the bottle, but before he could scream, the big guy put his hand around his throat to stop him and then just kept working him over with the knife until he went limp.”
“God,” was all Mac could say.
“That’s not all though,” Jimmy said.
“What else happened?” Mac asked.
“The big guy looked down at the other two, after he let go of the boyfriend and sent them both crashing into the pavement. Then he looked back down at the boyfriend and kind of just shook his head sadly,” the boy finished.
“What do you mean sadly?” Mac asked puzzled.
“Just that! Sadly. Like he was almost sorry he did it,” he said.
“I see,” Mac answered.
“Lieutenant?” the boy said nervously, glancing back to the platform.
“Yeah?” Mac said.
“Are they all dead over there?” he asked, eyes riveted to the far platform.
“No, they tell me that the girl and her date were knocked around badly, but they’ll live. Why?” asked Mac.
“Well Lieutenant, I thought of doing the same thing to my girlfriend and the guy she’s going with, just like that other guy did. When the big guy got finished with them over there, he turned right around to where I was sitting over in the corner and just stared at me, like he could read my mind,” he said.
Mac turned toward him and said amazed, “he saw you?”
“Yeah. I thought he was going to kill me too, but he just stood there and stared.”
“What happened then?” Mac said.
“Then I heard the cop cars and footsteps, and that’s when the cop came up behind me. I thought it was the guy at first. When I turned around, I guess I just fainted,” he said.
“What happened to the guy, though,” Mac asked.
“Right before the cop came up behind me, I saw him walk to the end of the platform and disappear,” he said.
“What do you mean disappear?” asked Mac.
“Just that,” the kid said seeing the doubt in the policeman’s face. “He seemed to leap off the platform and vanish, like magic.”
The boy groaned and just looked away from Mac’s face as if everyone thought he was crazy. But Mac just said, “O.K. that’s all for now, I’ll get somebody to take you home.”
“That’s O.K., sir. I can walk,” he said amazed.
“We wouldn’t want you to run into our friend again, would we?” Mac tested.
With a horrified look Jimmy Caldwell said firmly, “no.” Satisfied that the lad was telling the truth, Mac walked down to the end of the platform to cross to the other side, and left him with the sergeant to take him home. Crossing the tracks, Mac saw Haroldson walking onto the opposite platform from the enclosed section of the station.
“Hi, Lieutenant,” Harry said, not forgetting his on duty formality. “See the kid?” he asked.
“I just spoke to him,” Mac said.
“And?” Harry asked, now keeping pace with him as they walked over to the covered body of Philip Johnson.
“Nothing much. The kid just threw a monkey wrench into the works,” Mac said.
“What do you mean?” Harry said with a side glance.
“I’m not sure myself,” Mac said.
Just then a policeman came barreling up the stairs and trotted over to the two men.
“Lieutenant MacCallum, sir?” he said.
“Yes?” Mac said.
“It’s your boy again, sir. Looks’ like he’s having a busy night,” he replied.
“What do you mean?” Mac said.
“Took down an officer and a stockbroker on twenty‑third in Manhattan.”
“In less than an hour?” Harry said in astonishment to no one in particular.
“That’s the report I just received over the radio
downstairs,” the patrolman said.
“How could that be?” Harry asked in amazement.
“Somehow, I think this guy can do it,” Mac said turning to Harry. “I don’t know what, but something tells me he’s a lot more than your normal kook.”
With that, they both headed for the stairs on the run.
“But how? He can’t make it from here to there in less than an hour. Not without being seen,” shouted Harry.
“I don’t know myself, but we’re going to ask a lot of questions and find out fast,” Mac said as they rushed to the car.
Doomed to darkness..
Two memories had been kindled that night. Two beings, who resembled each other in almost every way, were awakening with a sense of self.
Their thoughts were vague and flashbacks to another time and place were hazy. Both entities remembered being called by the name of Buddy. Why there were here, and who they were was not yet clear. Each seemed to be searching, feeling a need to locate each other, but that was not yet a thought revealed to either of them.
There were moments when time seemed to stand still. There were times when visions and emotions seemed to flash by like a whirlwind. Past hatreds and pain seemed to grip one form as he kneaded the handle grip of a butchers meat cleaver. He could readily remember some of his recent encounters as he slashed out with his emotions with no pain or guilt, at those who resembled people who shunned him in the past.
His other self, some distance away, had similar emotions. Yet, he struck out at those who he saw as a danger to himself and others. These feelings also seemed to remind him of a past life. An identical life that neither knew that they both shared. One common drive seemed to connect them. It was an urge to seek each other. This was their destiny.
Tags: Night Trains