Jacob was gunned down as he ran toward the attacking forces. Todd would have known they weren’t from West Caldera even if Kyle hadn’t already told them. These people wore plain clothing, dark and nondescript. Troops from West Caldera would have been uniformed, as the soldiers helping the people in the depot were.
Nick grabbed Kyle and didn’t hesitate, look around, or even take another step. Covering his head with one arm and clutching Kyle with the other hand, he threw his weight back, trying to drop to the ground and drag Kyle down with him. Todd vaulted from the train and ran at them. The captain and a few of the soldiers from the train charged in, returning fire, but it was too late.
Kyle was obviously the target. The first shot went to his head, with more blasting his chest. Nick lunged forward, trying to hold onto Kyle, but more bullets whizzed over his head, ripping into the man’s body. Nick cringed away, both arms over his head. He hit the depot floor and curled into a ball.
“Go, go!” the captain shouted, waving one arm. He and the others moved with Todd, ready to retrieve Nick when Todd realized the shooting had stopped.
As Todd reached Nick, bent, and helped him to his feet, Todd looked around. The snipers were gone, the others retreating through the woods. Nick put his good arm around Todd’s neck and pressed to Todd’s side, shivering.
“You ever do anything that stupid again, I’ll shoot you myself,” Todd ground out, pulling Nick more tightly against him.
Nick nodded, making his hair brush against the side of Todd’s face, and muttered against Todd’s neck, “Okay.” He turned his head far enough to look at Kyle and Jacob. “They were the targets.”
“Let’s get you inside and fixed up,” Todd said and steered them to the train.
“I think I’d rather tangle with the ghosts.” Nick sounded shaky, but he managed a small, nervous laugh.
The minute Nick was deposited in one of the cars with other wounded, Carol was there, ordering him to get his jacket and shirt off.
She had medical supplies set up and ready.
Nick swatted her away and fumbled inside his jacket with his good hand. “I’ve got to…” He tried scooting back, but she grabbed his uninjured arm and turned a look on Todd.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Nicky—”
“No,” Nick barked and finally succeeded in wrestling something from his jacket. Nick bent his knees, propped a package against them and had it unwrapped in seconds. “I have to know. Now. Right now!”
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