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Topic: The Great Escape -- Finished ## Posted on the Story Archives

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Liv909
 
Name
Liv
ACNH Town
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Hello everyone! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Liv and I've written a lot of different fics on this board. It's something I have really enjoyed doing and I've made a lot of friends along the way. I've had a lot of awesome, defining moments on ACC but it's the interactions with my readers and friends that make my time here worth it. =D I took a short year break after writing three giant stories in a row and slugging through my first two years of college. But now, I've decided I want to get back into the game and continue doing what I really love: painting exciting stories that go beyond simple fanfiction.

For those of you who do know who I am and have possibly read my previous stories, I want to thank you for your constant support and I really hope you will be able to continue to do so going forward. It doesn't matter if you're a vocal reader or a silent reader, I truly appreciate the time you take out of your busy lives to read the inspirations and ramblings of my imagination. I look forward to getting back into writing and interacting with all of you more frequently once again.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my brand-new fic, making its debut on the board today -- The Great Escape!


Prologue
--------x------

Walt’s POV

I sat on the train peacefully, reading my newspaper.

There wasn’t much news today, but enough to entertain me during this in-between travel of my business trip. The paper rustled as I flipped the page. I was in the sports section, the headlines proudly brandishing the names and images of high school athletes who achieved victory for their hometown.  Long past my prime, that’s for certain.

The most I did in high school was be involved with the student council. Politics, business and public service were my forte, even before I made it my career. It didn’t exactly make me the most popular kid in school, but it was something I was passionate about that no one else wanted to do. Never made it class president, but treasurer was good enough for 17-year old me.

I got bored of the newspaper and set it down gently, glancing around at the train car. The porter was just in the cabin ahead, driving with dedication. A blue male cat wearing a preppy argyle sweater sat across from me, sound asleep. Drool unceremoniously dripped down his chin. To my right, an older human gentleman was quietly reading a book. I could vaguely pick out the image of a skeleton on the front and the word “anatomy.” Seems to me like the man was a doctor.

The white noise of the train cabin could be filled with the noise originating from a few rows behind me. A young girl was typing furiously on a laptop. She gave me the vibes of being a college student. She had a humble, modest yet intelligent appearance about her. I envied her youth. I remember the good ol’ days of being in college. You think you’re bogged down with so much stress due to your classes and your future, but the real stress doesn’t hit you until after college. When the future you wanted so badly becomes a present that you must constantly maintain.

Towards the front of the train sat a mother sheep. She was without her children, but she kept receiving phone calls and Facetimes from them. She struck me as a mother away from her family for the first time. She was very worrisome, constantly asking her husband if the children were okay and demanding to speak to them. Or them calling demanding to speak to her. It didn’t annoy me, but I couldn’t speak for the rest of the passengers. I understood the plights of a young mother despite having no children or wife myself.

The final animal on this train at this ungodly hour of the night (or morning) was a middle-aged blue rabbit. He wore these brown tortoise frames that made him look nerdier if possible. He also seemed like a professional intellectual. He was reading papers from a portfolio, and occasionally playing with his phone. He seemed like he was on a business trip as well. I couldn’t recognize the line of work as anything remotely similar to my own.

The vibe of this train car was a rather quiet one. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the time or just because of the people. Usually when I’m on business trips, I engage in conversation with the other passengers unfortunate enough to be travelling at this time or date or to the general location with me. However, these people were very introverted. They kept to themselves and we all didn’t seem to have very much in common. I don’t consider myself an overly social man but I do find that some of us have a sort of common bond.

In this case though it seemed like we were thrust together by chance, fate even, for some higher purpose. What that purpose was, I wasn’t sure yet.

You couldn’t tell due to the assorted noises of the train but it was raining. Actually, it was pouring. I glanced out the window and despite the darkness, I could tell it was just pooling out there. The older man who I assumed was a doctor stood up from his seat and headed to the bathroom in the back of the train car. That’s when I saw the mud flowing outside. It was rushing downward. The rocks and surrounding cliffs crashed forward. Like a classic mudslide, the debris and rocks caved in and blocked our path forward. We all heard a loud squeal.

None of the passengers understood what was happening. The train’s brakes activated and the car lurched to a stop. Some of our belongings shifted forward due to the simple physics. Just as if it couldn’t get worse, the lights shut off. The motherly sheep in the front screamed. I heard a thud behind me which I could only assume was the doctor, who was previously standing, now sprawled on the floor from the sudden inertia.

A gunshot rang out in the darkness.
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Bbykat51
 
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OOOO! a mystery is afoot! Can't wait to read more, Liv!
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Filbert06
 
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Awesome, a new story! I'm really excited to see where this one goes!
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Liv909
 
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Liv
ACNH Town
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Thank you Kathy and Ben! I'm super excited to write this in full. =D
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HaileyAlyssa_
 
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Hailey
ACNL Town
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Oooooooh mystery on a train? Yaaaaaaa
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Liv909
 
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Liv
ACNH Town
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Thanks Hailey! It's something different from my normal thing, but I'm excited. Chapter 1 should be posted relatively soon.
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Liv909
 
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Chapter 1
--------x-------

Walt’s POV

When the lights flickered back on, I glanced around the cabin. Everyone was still in their seats, the same spots I remembered them in several seconds ago. The doctor was still lying on the floor, holding his head. However, there was no blood fortunately. The puddle could be seen at the front of the train. The porter—the kind monkey conductor who took my ticket hours earlier—was now lying on his face. His body was peeking out from the door to the conductor’s cabin.

A note was tagged to his hat.

I looked around suspiciously and stood up slowly. Everyone stared at me in shock as I approached the porter and took the note. The handwriting was barely legible but scrawled enough for me to read it. I finished reading the note and looked at the other passengers, waving it.

“According to this note, this train is carrying 100 million Bells from the federal government. Whoever killed the porter…whoever turned the lights off…they’re robbing this train. Did any of you have any idea about this?” Everyone expectantly shook their head no. The doctor finally stood up, rubbing his head where he hit it on the floor.

“Let me look at the conductor. I’m a doctor.” The man bent down and placed his fingers against the monkey’s neck. After a quick check, the doctor’s eyes fell and he sighed sadly. “…He’s dead. There’s no pulse.” I sighed deeply and looked around. Everyone’s faces were pale as ghosts. The doctor cleared his throat. “We should transport the conductor’s body somewhere so the women don’t have to stare at it.” I nodded. The doctor, the cat, the young rabbit and I picked up the conductor’s body and carried it to the back of the train.

There was a small bedroom car no one was using that we utilized for this purpose. We delicately lay the conductor on the bed. I, unable to look at his face, took the blanket and covered his body. The cat nodded and led me out of the train car. The two women were shaky. The sheep was trying to call her family but her phone was dying. The college student was just trying not to have a heart attack.

The rabbit cleared his throat and stepped forward, projecting his voice. “I think the most important thing is that we all remain calm. I’m a lawyer and in this time of anarchy and mystery, we need to maintain order.” Of course he was a lawyer, he had that pompous sort of vibe. “Let’s get to know each other so we can be more comfortable and figure out how to govern ourselves until order is restored.” The doctor scoffed.

“I hate to burst your millennial bubble, son, but you realize what you’re asking us to do? We have a dead conductor in the back, a robbery in action and you’re asking us to sit down and get to know each other? Sorry, boy but we need to get to the front of the train and use the radio to call for some help and assess the physical situation.” The doctor pushed the rabbit aside but the blue cat stepped in the way.

“I think the rabbit has a point, sir! We can’t just barge up there without gathering some sort of wits about ourselves. Besides, all logic points to the sheer fact that one of US has to be in on this. There’s no one else on this train.” I bit my lip.

“Impossible, there’s got to be someone else hiding in baggage or in a maintenance room!” I exclaimed. The female college student spoke up.

“This is exactly what the rabbit is saying! We need to take a minute and breathe. The fact that none of us are dead at this pending moment tells us that we’ll be okay for now. Why don’t we just assess everything and figure out a plan together? Going in somewhere unprepared won’t help anybody, especially if we don’t even know if we can trust each other yet.”


We took a moment of silence, staring at one another. The girl was right. Who could we trust? Absolutely no one, but the fact of the matter was that we were the only people here. We have to use those that are good in this battle to survive. We slowly nodded and the rabbit nodded.

“Okay, great. My name is Doc. As I said, I’m a lawyer. I’m traveling on this train because my firm needed me to go out of town to help a man with a case.” We just happened to be standing in a circle, so Doc pointed to the person on his right. The sheep. She cleared her throat nervously.

“I’m Wendy. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m sure you guys could gather that by me calling my husband and kids this entire trip.” She added with a blush and a giggle. “This is my first time really home away from the family. I’m headed out to West Chester to visit my sister Eunice.” The college girl smiled and waved.

“Call me Kelly. I’m a junior at Plainfield University. Currently I’m majoring in computer engineering. I was headed out to the big city because I have an interview for an internship with a tech company.” Our eyes fell on the doctor. He ruffled his collar.

“Dr. Wendell Shriver at your service, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve been a general practitioner for a good thirty years now. I was headed out to the big city also because of a major medical research convention they hold annually out there. I’m one of the speakers this year.” The cat spoke up next.

“My name is Rover. I enjoy travelling and it’s something I do on a regular basis. I really just love going around, exploring different towns, meeting new people, and immersing myself in different cultures. I was headed to Topshire to visit some old friends of mine.” Finally, everyone stared at me. I cleared my throat.

“I’m Walt. I’m a salesman for a pharmaceutical company. I was headed out to the big city as well. My company was sending me to schmooze with some doctors and the like to promote our newest drug.” Doc nodded.

“Perfect, I think the next step we need to do is separate ourselves into groups and search the train. Maybe by some chance this jerk is hiding somewhere. Either way, I think it’s safe if we secure the entire train and make sure there’s no surprises down the line.” We all nodded in agreement. “Wendy, Dr. Shriver, why don’t you two come with me and we’ll search the front of the train including the front porter’s cabin? Walt, Rover and Kelly, you guys can handle the back of the train. We’ll rendezvous back up there once we’re done.”
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Liv909
 
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I nodded. I gestured for the cat and human girl to follow me. I reached alongside of me and grabbed my umbrella. Rover and Kelly got the hint and grabbed for theirs as well. It’s not the best weapon in the world but it’ll make do if the robber still WAS on the train. We crept quietly towards the back of the train. The bathroom was clear. The sleeping cabins were secure. No one had moved the porter, who was still lying as the men and I had left him. Kelly who was a few steps ahead of us called out.

“Rover, Walt, look!” We both stepped forward alongside of her. The fuse box was on the wall, still wide open. She groaned. “Definitely whoever killed the porter must have tripped the power….and left the fuse box open.” Rover nodded.

“You’re right. In all honesty, the doctor was the only one who was standing up at the time. He was headed to the bathroom allegedly and that’s when this all went down,” the cat said. Kelly nodded in agreement.

“You have a point but he had fallen on the floor and was still there when the lights were turned back on. Ugh! I wish we had like fingerprinting kits or something. I mean sure, whoever did this was probably wearing gloves but we have no way to find real evidence.” I rested a hand on Kelly’s shoulder.

“Don’t worry. We’ll find this culprit or culprits…and bring them to justice. We need to move along.” There wasn’t anything else out of the ordinary. Nobody was hiding in the baggage area of the train. We couldn’t even find evidence of 100 million Bells in the storage compartments. We searched vigorously but we concluded that the robber either hid it in a really good spot that we couldn’t find, or had made off with the money and was long gone.

Rover, Kelly and I made our way back to the passenger’s cabin. Doc, Wendy and Dr. Shriver were just returning as well. “All is secure up there.” Doc informed. “This killer was clearly calculated about this entire plan. The radio is ripped out of the dashboard and the controls for the train are compromised. We honestly couldn’t even move if we wanted to. A mudslide collapsed the cliff in front so we can’t go forward. Is everything secure in the back?” I nodded.

“Yes, there’s no one back there. The fuse box was still open from whoever tripped the lights but there was no sign of anyone in the back. We also tried to look for the 100 million Bells in case it was still there and the person was just hiding it in plain sight. Nothing.” The doctor sighed, plopping down on the seat and holding his head in his hands.

“So what do we even do? We can’t just be stuck here. There’s no way for us to communicate to the outside world.” Wendy shook her head.

“I tried my cell phone but it was dying when we discovered the conductor. You guys try.” The doctor and Doc pulled out their cell phones but there was no service for them. Some operator was redirecting their call due to us literally being out in the middle of nowhere. Kelly and Rover experienced the same thing. I dug for my cell phone in my pocket. I always carry it with me; I hadn’t left it at my seat or in my bag like others had done. I knew it was in my pocket when I carried the porter to the back of the cabin. I knew it was in my pocket when I was searching the fuse box and the back of the train with Kelly and Rover. However when I reached for it in its familiar spot, I was in for a rude surprise.

My cell phone was gone.
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Filbert06
 
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Ooh, the mystery deepens! Great chapter, I can't wait to see who's behind all this!

My guess so far is that it's Kelly who killed Porter and stole Walt's phone, but it might be someone who hasn't even been introduced yet.

My reasoning: The doctor fell on the floor, so I'm guessing it's not him. The sheep screamed, so I'm guessing it's not her (perhaps the scream was a cover-up but I'm guessing it would have come from her seat). The controls on the train were compromised and Kelly said she was majoring in computer engineering, so I don't know if that would have to be used there, but even if not, I feel like she would make a good planner for the murder and it was clearly planned out well. Also, Walt was with Kelly and Rover when searching the back of the train, which was the last place he knew he had his phone. Kelly also said "Call me Kelly" instead of "My name is Kelly" or "I'm Kelly", and even though it's probably a normal way of introducing oneself, it could also imply she has a different name and Kelly is her undercover name or something.

Doc and Rover are also potential candidates in my mind, though (particularly the latter), so I don't know. The main thing I can find that I feel points to Rover and draws attention away from Kelly was that Rover was sort of pointing fingers at Wendell, but Kelly told him it wasn't, and I'm guessing a murderer would be one to put suspicion on people, not drawing it away from people. And Rover was also with Walt at the back of the train. But I still feel like it's Kelly at this point.

It's probably none of the people introduced so far and all my points are probably me just overthinking it, but I like looking for possible clues just in case.
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Liv909
 
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Thanks Ben! Interesting analysis. I like it. ;D We'll just have to wait and see. Keep that speculation going. =D
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HaileyAlyssa_
 
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Omg those people are scarred for life
Maybe not the doctor since he's seen stuff like that before I'm guessing

I don't haven't any guesses so far though ;l
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Liv909
 
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Hahaha I was really inspired by Agatha Christie with this one. I hadn't read Murder on the Orient Express in years but I remember being enthralled when I did read it.
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Bbykat51
 
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So THAT's why the format seemed familiar! I love Agatha Christie! I believe I read most of her books at some point. I wonder if you have a Poirot in mind... perhaps the narrator?
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HaileyAlyssa_
 
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Hailey
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Oh yeah! I think in younger school years I may have read that story!!
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Liv909
 
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I have an investigator in mind, yes. ;D

I also loved her one book And Then There Were None. It kept me going till the very end! =O
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Bbykat51
 
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The British title was "Ten Little Indians". This was one of my favorites too!
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Liv909
 
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Chapter 2
----------x-------

Doc’s POV

The kangaroo reached for his cell phone and his eyes blazed with flames when he realized it wasn’t there. He stared at all of us in shock and snarled viciously.

“One of you—one of you stole my phone!” He turned first to Rover, springing at him and pinning him against one of the booths. “You took it from me. I had it in my pocket! You have to be involved somehow!” I lunged forward and pulled Walt back.

“That’s enough! You have no proof, quit it!” The doctor helped me throw Walt into the booth across the corridor. The kangaroo landed on his back. Wendy and Kelly blocked Walt in so he wouldn’t be able to jump up and assault anyone again. I stared at Rover and sighed. “Rover, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to turn your pockets inside out and let me pat you down.” The cat stared at me incredulously.

“Doc, you don’t believe me? I didn’t take his phone, I’m telling the truth!”

“I have to at least make sure for myself, I’m sure you didn’t do it but I have to check and make sure! Now turn out your pockets!” I yelled.

There was a pause in the train car. The cat sighed and slowly turned his pockets out. They were empty. He held out his arms and I patted him down gently. I checked his pockets. His shirt. His legs. His shoes. He was clean. I sighed and turned back around to Walt. He had calmed down considerably but he still was flustered. Wendy and Kelly moved out of his way and he was sitting up, leaning against the window. I pursed my lips at Walt and shrugged.

“Rover doesn’t have your phone.” I glanced at Kelly. “Kelly, I hate to ask you to do this but you were the only other one back there with Walt. I’m sure you didn’t take his phone but….I need to finish this out.” The human girl huffed, pushing some hair behind her shoulder and crossing her arms.

“I find this witch hunt very unnecessary! If this is what you call law and order—“

“It’s what I call us in the absence of structure trying to keep our sanity and civilization. Does Lord of the Flies mean nothing to you?” Kelly rolled her eyes.

“This is all very inappropriate, but I know I’m innocent so I’ll comply.” She took a step forward and held her arms out. I looked her in the eyes, looking for an additional implicit consent to pat her down. It felt weird. Touching a stranger, especially a female. But this was for law and order. This was for structure. This was for eventual justice. I finished the pat down quicker than I finished Rover’s and stood up again.

“Walt…neither of them have your phone. You must have just dropped it back there. Maybe it fell out of your pocket, maybe it—“ Walt sneered.

“That robber must still be on this train! Or, or one of them did take it out of my pocket and hid it somewhere. My phone is the only one that isn’t dead or would have good service on this train out in Gog forsaken nowhere.” The kangaroo stood up from his seat in the booth and stormed to the back of the train. “I’m going to find my phone and if it’s not here…or it’s somewhere obscure and secret, there will be Bell to pay.”

He slammed the door and we all just sighed. It hadn’t even been an hour and things were already collapsing rather quickly. The doctor straightened the collar of his shirt and huffed to himself. “In the meanwhile, we need to figure out for real how to get help. Whether it’s by fixing the radio or finding some way to get cell phone service, we can’t just sit here like ducks. If that money IS still on this train, the robber will be back with more men. We can take on one jerk, we can’t take on his army of cronies.”

Kelly spoke up. “Dr. Shriver is right. I’m not necessarily a computer genius but let me take a look at the radio. I’ll have a crack at it and see if I can fix it.” I nodded.

“Sounds good to me. Dr. Shriver, why don’t you go with Kelly to the front of the train? Rover, do you mind coming with me outside? I think the rain has died down a bit. We can go assess the scene outside and see if there’s possibly any way we can get out of this canyon or get the train forward.” The cat agreed and followed me outside the train. We stepped down outside and our shoes immediately encountered disgusting muddy ground.

Rover lifted his one foot from the gucky mud and made a face. “Ew gross.” I laughed and headed north about 500 feet or so. Rocks and boulders had collapsed from the cliff and were now lying in the middle of the tracks. They were covered in dirt and were basically unmovable. To make a point I tried to move the center boulder but nothing was budging. Rover sighed. “This looks impossible. There’s no way we can get through.”

I stared over the top of the cliffs. I could barely see what lay beyond but there had to someone…something. I scurried over to the rocks and tried to climb them. Rover followed me staring curiously.

“What are you doing??”

“I want to see what’s past these rocks. There’s got to be someone that can help us, a town nearby or something. We can’t just be all alone out here in the wilderness.” I said firmly. The cat put a paw on my shoulder and guided me off of the debris.

“We very well can be. There’s got to be some emergency supplies in the train. Maybe like dynamite or something. When the rain dies down, we can try to set up a flare and maybe if there’s dynamite, we can try and blow up the rocks.” I nodded and followed Rover back inside the train. We headed to the back of the train tactfully avoiding Walt searching for his phone.

I found a closet in the back of the train that we rummaged through. Besides a first-aid kit, we didn’t understand half of the emergency supplies that were back there. Rover found the flares and the dynamite and held them in his arms. By this time, the weather was clearing. The only evidence of the torrential rain we experienced earlier was the clouds still lingering in the sky.

We walked back up the aisle to the front of the train. Kelly and Dr. Shriver were still working on the computer. The whole dashboard was taken apart and you could just tell the doctor looked amusingly confused. Kelly was in her element though. I had no intention of bugging her. At least not yet anyways. Rover and I headed outside with the emergency equipment. Rover approached the rocks and knelt down, setting up the dynamite near the rocks that were currently blocking the track.

He had a match at the ready. I stood back with the flares in my hand. I gave him the thumbs up. Rover struck the match, holding the newborn flame to the dynamite. The cat quickly jumped up and sprinted towards me wildly. I jumped out of the way a little to make enough space for Rover to sidle alongside of me.

The flame approached the bottom of the wick.

KABOOM!
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Rover and I ducked down, holding our ears. The dynamite exploded, blowing up the rock blockage with it. Debris sprayed everywhere and we closed our eyes to protect ourselves. The dust spread across the gulley and when we opened our eyes after the initial explosion, we couldn’t see much. We had to wait a few moments for the dust to clear. Once the dust settled, we opened our eyes and peered at where the rocks once were.

Instead of rocks, there was a giant hole in the space. We could see the tracks, some of the metal on them charred and discolored and slightly bent from the explosion. However it looked like the train would stay on the tracks perfectly fine. We heard some yelling far off in the distance. Confused, Rover and I looked up and could see a shadow approaching. A brown dog with long floppy ears and a brown vest jogged towards the edge of the cliffs.

“Yo dudes! What’s with the big explosion man? I was trying to meditate and peace out, bro.”

A person! Someone who can help us! At least I hoped…I cupped my hands over my mouth and yelled back.

“Hey, who are you? Please, we need help! Our train broke down! Our conductor is dead! We need the authorities!” I exclaimed. The dog’s eyes popped from underneath his giant round glasses.

“Holy mackerel, bro. Call me Harvey! I run a campground not far from here at all. Let me run back to my landline and call the police. I’ll be right back, dudes.” The dog pivoted and sprinted back to where he came from. I let out a sigh of relief and leaned against Rover’s shoulder.

“Ugh Rover! I hope that this is the light at the end of the tunnel. This guy seems alright, right?” The cat nodded. The door to the train swung open. Kelly was looking at us, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. I called out to the girl while she just stared at the now open plain and clear path in front of us. “Kelly! Good news, we used dynamite to blow up the rocks and some campground owner named Harvey just found us and told us he’d call the police. Any luck with the computer?”

Kelly scoffed. “I hope I never have to say this again but, next time you use dynamite A LITTLE WARNING WOULD BE NICE.” She folded her arms and shook her head in exasperation. “But yes, I think I have made leeway with the computer! It’s still a little static-y and the connection isn’t the greatest but it’s something. I tried to radio to the nearest town and I *think* it might have been successful but no promises. I’ll try to work on the mechanics of the system now.” I nodded.

“Awesome, thanks Kelly! Hopefully Harvey can call the authorities and get them here.” I gestured to Rover. “Help me try to clear away some remaining rubble and debris from the tracks until Harvey gets back.” The cat nodded and soon we were away at work.
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Shorter chapter today, but the plot only gets juicier down the line! =D My sole promise in all this!


Chapter 3
---------x--------

Copper’s POV

I sat at my desk, munching on a donut and staring at the Town Hall security feed in front of me.

As always nothing really happened in Paradise. It was a small town with not much action. I guess that was a good thing for the citizens, because they were safe, and a good thing for me, because I didn’t have to do much. But I never really was one for not doing anything. I liked to be a man on the move. That’s why I became a police officer! I was inspired by those who served the community and I wanted to do the same thing. When I took that pledge in the police academy, I meant every syllable of it.

Being the recently promoted chief of police, I was technically able to enjoy more off days. I didn’t really have the family, the wife, or the kids for it though. I definitely enjoyed the option, but it was rarely an option I would take. At least not for now. I enjoyed the work. I sat back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee.


An animal burst through the door, robed in a police uniform. It was my one patrolman Phil. I prided in the tall ostrich. He was a hard worker with a penchant for loyalty and justice. He was on border patrol duty today; usually his post would be by the train station or the gate. I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Phil, are you on break? What brings you over to the police station?”

“I got an urgent mayday call from a train located not four miles from us. It’s stranded…broken down and the girl told me the conductor is dead!” I stood up and reached for my weapon and my walkie talkie. “She told me they got some note about a train robbery and 100 million Bells of federal money in the back. I already sent out a dispatch to all available officers. We’re most likely dealing with someone armed and dangerous.”

I nodded and loaded my weapon to make sure we were secure and covered. “Are there hostages? How was the girl able to get a hold of the radio?” Phil shrugged.

“Don’t know, Chief. The connection was very fuzzy and not very stable. I think we just need to get down there ourselves so we can assess the situation.” I nodded again, agreeing with Phil. I was almost out of the station when Booker stepped into the doorway and nearly knocked into me.

“Copper, sorry to interrupt! But I just got a call from Harvey. He says there’s a stranded train down in the gulley about four miles from here. There was like some mudslide from the rain that blocked their path and they blew it up with dynamite, but there’s a train robber somewhere and a dead conductor—I don’t really know—“ I waved my hand.

“Thanks, Booker. Phil just got a call as well and sent out officers to check it out and take control of the situation. Stay here and man the station. Let me know immediately if you get any other related calls and just hold down the fort in general.” Booker nodded and saluted. He scurried off to his desk and I hurried out of the station with Phil. He drove one of the police golf carts over. I tossed him the keys to a squad car. We both walked to the first car available, flipped on the sirens and tore down the forest trail.

We sped past curious villagers—Paradise was never a place of excitement. Seeing me in the squad car as we raced to our destination had to have piqued curiosity in many a people. The rumors would be flying tonight. We reached the train station and I directed Phil to make a sharp left. There was a small trail on the side of the cliff for hikers and bicyclers to follow the tracks. Cars were strictly prohibited from taking this trail but this was an exception. The metal rail prevented accidents but you never could be too careful. Phil carefully yet speedily navigated the car down the narrow road. I could soon see other cop cars ahead and behind me heading to the same place we were.

I turned on the radio and spoke into it clearly. “All officers heading to the train’s coordinates, please be careful and aware. We could be dealing with someone armed and dangerous. This is a possible hostage situation. We also could be dealing with a trap; we have to be aware of all the possibilities and stay on our toes. Do not let your guards down and if you see anything suspicious, report it immediately. If you feel threatened for your life, take any necessary action to eliminate the threat while protecting your life. We want to get home to our families tonight, boys. Let’s keep it that way.” Affirmative replies were briefly spoken and the lines were silent for a few moments. I saw Harvey waving his arms at us and he ran towards the vehicle. I knew Harvey—he was harmless. I told Phil to pump the brakes and stop the car.

I got out of the car and prepped my weapon. “Harvey, is everything alright? Are those people still down there?” The dog shrugged and looked distressed.

“I don’t know, man! I was just standing here trying to keep an eye and show them I hadn’t like totally disappeared. But then they blew up more dynamite! They just did it now, right after I told them I saw you guys coming. I can’t see a thing, there’s so much dirt and dust.” I tried to look down in the gulley but Harvey was right. There was dust everywhere and I couldn’t tell what was moving…or what wasn’t moving. I gestured to the cops.

“Men, ready your weapons! We’re going into a potentially hostile situation. We need to secure the train and search it and make sure everything is clear. Put on your masks so this dust doesn’t get in our eyes or impede us. Also, put them on just in case there’s some other gas or toxin they snuck in here, we don’t need to lose anyone to passing out or whatnot.”

The officers obeyed me and slipped on the masks. I did the same. I silently gestured for them to follow me. We had our guns at the ready and descended into the gulley. I instructed Harvey to stay by one of the cop cars and not move a muscle. The dog was a good guy. I knew he would obey me. Carefully, without slipping on any of the rocks and falling, we approached the train feet below. As we had reached the bottom of the cliffs, the dust began to settle. We saw no one. I called out first.

“Hello! Anyone here? It’s the chief of the Paradise police! Show yourselves!” There was silence. Phil sidled alongside of me and I nudged him to approach the train door. We leaned against the metal, straining our ears to see if we could hear anything. Nothing. I banged on the train door once. “Come out and show yourselves! It’s the Paradise police! Either come out with hands in the air or we come in.”

There was a hesitation. Phil and I looked at each other and it was like we had psychic telepathy working. I placed my back against the wall alongside the door, allowing Phil to slam his body against the train door and knock it in. Phil, I, and the other officers swarmed the train car. We split into several groups as we secured the cabin. The front conductor’s area, the passenger cabins and the back areas were gradually secured.

The conclusion was puzzling. There was no one on the train. We investigated all over, all of the cabinets and closets and hatches. There was only one set of luggage, only evidence to prove that one person was riding on this train. Officers searched the suitcase to see if we could identify a person from it. The identity we found through the personal information was that the luggage belonged to a Wendy Parker. She was a female sheep in her 30’s from Cayuga Lakes. Far from home for sure. We had no idea what she had been doing on the train yet. Only time could tell.

I heard Phil urgently call out to me from the back of the train.
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It's getting quite exciting now! What happened to the occupants of the train!?
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You'll see!

Progress on The Great Escape. I'm currently up to Chapter 15 in my writing so I'm super super ahead which is awesome for everyone involved. I definitely see myself being "done" with the story by this time next month. I don't know how many chapters will be in the story yet. My usual amount is somewhere in the 30's. I have a notebook and I literally wrote the story arcs for all of the POV perspectives from my current point in the word document to the end of the story.

So I don't have any excuse for any sort of writers or thinking block. I'm looking forward to continuing to write The Great Escape for you guys and even though this story is just in the beginning stages for you all, I assure you it will be a wild adventure as always!

Thanks for reading!
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Decided that starting next week I'm going to shoot for biweekly updates: Tuesdays and Thursdays to speed things along.


Chapter 4
----------x---------

Copper’s POV

I followed Phil’s voice to one of the bedroom cabins.

He stood there ominously just staring at one of the bunks. He slowly pulled the blanket backwards and we saw the conductor. The monkey lay there peacefully but his untimely ending told a story we didn’t understand yet. I sighed and radioed for paramedics. Officer Alfonso tapped me on the shoulder, ready to confirm what I already figured.

“Chief, the entire train has been secured. There’s no one here besides us and the body. What now?” I bit my lip. This wasn’t exactly I was expecting.

“See if there’s any Bells in the back anywhere. Leave no stone unturned. Meanwhile I want all available units investigating a 10 plus mile radius of this area. Whoever Harvey saw….whoever blew up these rocks….whoever sent in a distress call, they cannot be that far. I want helicopters. I want foot patrol. I want everyone out here looking. I want detectives tracking the origin of this train and talking to whoever was in charge of this dispatch.” The alligator nodded and saluted firmly.

“You got it, boss.” He hurried away and I grabbed Phil and pulled him out of the room.

“Hey, you don’t need to worry yourself with this anymore. We got people taking care of it. I want you with me to talk to Harvey. Right now he’s the only witness we got.” The ostrich nodded and began to follow me out of the train so we could go back up to the top of the cliffs. That’s when Phil tripped over something and nearly slammed me into the wall. “Oooff!” I exclaimed.

The ostrich looked flustered as he steadied himself against the wall. “Sorry, Chief! I tripped over something—what even was that?” The ostrich knelt down and investigated the floor gently. That’s when he felt it. He hurriedly dug for a handkerchief and picked up the culprit—a cell phone. My eyebrows raised.

“Phil, you brilliant klutz.” I grabbed a random officer passing by. “Hey you! We just stumbled upon pertinent evidence in finding out who these people are and possibly discovering where they went.” Phil handed the officer the cell phone. “Secure that in evidence properly. I want that phone analyzed and scrutinized to the highest degree within the hour.” The officer slipped on gloves and placed the cell phone in a plastic bag.

“On it, sir. You’ll be briefed as soon as possible.” It felt good to be boss. Sometimes. Phil and I finally headed back up to where the squad cars were. Harvey thankfully was still up there. The dog looked stressed yet apologetic. He didn’t have a guilty streak about him.

“Chief Copper, I’m sorry, man! I called Booker. I mean I saw those people down there. I know what I saw and heard.” I nodded and smiled.

“Don’t worry, Harvey. I believe you. Right now though we just don’t know a whole lot. If you don’t mind, could Phil and I take you back to the station just to ask you some questions and get an official statement out of you?” The dog nodded, his floppy ears bobbing.

“Absolutely, sir. I don’t know a whole lot either, but I’ll help out in any way I can.” Harvey slid into the back seat of one squad car while Phil and I sat in the front seat and drove the short ride back to Paradise. When we got to the station, Booker was swamped in work. We headed right to the interrogation room and I told Harvey to sit down in one of the metal chairs. I had Phil stand outside staring in from the glass window—which conveniently could not be seen from the inside.

“Harvey, can I offer you anything? Water? Coffee? A pastry? I’m sure we still have some donuts from earlier.” I said with a lighthearted smirk. The dog declined. “So just tell me what you know. Start from the beginning and tell me everything.” I said, prepping a notepad and pen. The dog nodded.

“Well, I was outside my camper just trying to meditate and enjoy the day. It was really peaceful and quiet and I usually set aside some alone time for me to just zone out outside. I wasn’t too far into meditation when I heard this GIANT explosion. It sounded like it came from the train tracks. So I rushed down there and when the dust settled, I looked down and saw this train stopped and these two animals down there.”

“What did these animals look like?”

“One was a blue cat with a snazzy little argyle sweater. The other was a blue rabbit with glasses. I called down and asked them what they were doing. They both told me they were stranded and that their conductor was dead and they needed the authorities. I told them I’d be right back and I went back to the camper to call the police. That’s when I talked to Booker.”

“Okay, did you go back to the tracks before we got there?”

“Yes! I went right back after I called. I told them I had called you guys and that you were on your way. They seemed excited but I don’t know now? Those two went back inside shortly after I said that and there was a couple minutes delay. Then they all came filing outside. The cat and rabbit…they both were carrying so much dynamite! They were followed by a tall, older human—uh he had white hair, a mustache and glasses. There was a girl too. She had short blonde hair. And finally there was a gray kangaroo behind them.”

“And carrying dynamite, you said?” Harvey nodded.

“Yes! The humans were carrying flares and matches. When I saw them with all that I didn’t really know what they were doing. I tried to approach the edge of the cliff and yell down at them. They didn’t need to blow anything else up. They already blew up the rocks and cleared the path on the tracks. So I yelled down at them and told them you guys were basically almost there. That almost seemed to rush them MORE. They looked at me but didn’t respond and just moved faster. They set up everything while I was just trying to get them to stop.”

“Then what happened?”

“They lit the dynamite and it seemed like they blew up the whole dang gulley. There was so much dust and dirt flying everywhere and I was coughing and just trying to see what they were doing. That’s when you guys pulled up.” I nodded; the story seemed to match up perfectly.

“Alright, Harvey. Thank you so much. You’re free to go. I can have Phil drive you back on the golf cart back to the campground.” My walkie talkie beeped. It was Alfonso. “Alfonso, talk to me. “ I said as I gave Harvey his cue to leave. The dog stood up from the chair, smiled, waved, and walked out of the room.

“We found another body. It’s the body of a female sheep. Single bullet wound. We’re currently searching that luggage we found to see if we can identify her—oh! We got her. Her name is Wendy Parker. Approximately 30 years old from Cayuga Lakes. We can work more to figure out who she is afterwards. Did Harvey mention seeing her?” I smacked my lips and sighed.

“Nope, I’m assuming whoever is behind all this murdered her before they did the dynamite stunt to get away. Alright, thank you Alfonso. Get ballistics to compare her injury to the conductor’s. If they’re the same then we have ourselves a trend, a pattern, and a reason to snare these idiots.” Alfonso assured me he would do so and we terminated the connection. I sighed again and placed my head in my hands. I had my work cut out for me.

I guess Paradise now did have a lot of action.
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GEAT CHAPTER Liv!
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Chapter 5
--------x---------

Walt’s POV

The last thing I remembered, I had finally found my cell phone.

The next minute I knew, I was being knocked out with a giant shovel. When I came to, it was just darkness. I tried to blink, I tried to rub my eyes, but my hands were bound. I struggled against the rope and I yelled out to the abyss. Whoever was out there…someone could help me. Apparently there was a sack over my head. I felt it being ripped off. The person who took it off stood over me. They wore a ski mask, all black clothes, and gloves. They punched me in the face, hitting me square in the jaw.

I winced in pain, tasting blood in my mouth. I felt my teeth with my tongue just to make sure they were still intact. I panted after the impact staring at the masked person above me. I narrowed my eyes at them. “Who are you?” I questioned intensely. “What do you want with me? Where are we?” The animal said nothing and kicked me in the thigh before leaving the small compartment I was trapped in. I was still tied up and I needed to break the rope. Somehow I knew I would find a way. I just had to focus. My feet were bound as well.

I squirmed against the ties but they were too strong and tight. If I resisted further, they would cut into my wrists and make a mark, or possibly worse. I glanced around the compartment. It was basically a supply closet. I tried to find something sharp to cut my ties on. I was elated to find an old piece of plywood lying on the other end of the compartment. Splinters stuck out of the board. I shuffled my way over to the wood scooting back and forth and staying as quiet as possible. I picked out a sharp splinter, grinding the rope back and forth to untie myself. Within a minute, my hands were free.

I shook my hands to loosen up my blood circulation and quickly untied my feet. I strained my hearing to see if anyone was nearby. I couldn’t hear much but I could tell they had security monitoring closely. They were protecting something. I assumed it was the money. I didn’t honestly want to know if it was worse. I leaned on the door and slowly opened it. There was no evidence of anyone in the hallways. I grabbed a fire extinguisher from the closet as a weapon and hurried into the corridor. I kept an eye and ear out for anyone suspicious. There was one person patrolling but I used stealth not force to keep myself alive. I suspected that this person was the same one who took the sack off of my head.

I checked my pockets for my cell phone, but it was gone. I knew I had grabbed it. I knew it was in my pocket. But whoever ambushed me wanted to make SURE that I didn’t get that phone. Half of me wanted to find the others who I was on the train with. The other half of me didn’t know if I was able to trust a single one of them. I knew enough and could see out several windows to know that I was on a train. The only question was how? Okay, there were more questions than that. I was really in the dark about a lot.

My thoughts were startled by a loud thumping from my left. It was a door. I could hear some muffled sounds for help. I could always just ignore the cries. If I kept moving, I could keep awareness of me at a low and escape detection. On the other hand, the cries might draw security this way. I might run into one of them accidentally. I made a split-second decision. I opened the door and saw Kelly bound on the floor.

“Jesus, Kelly! What have they done to us?” I whispered quickly kneeling down to untie her hands. She scoffed and shook her head.

“I have no idea. One minute I was working the computer and the next moment, Dr. Shriver knocked me out. I have no idea where we are or where we’re headed. What do they even want with us? We have to find the rest of the people.” I nodded and I instructed Kelly to grab a random mop handle as a weapon. The girl obeyed and we hustled into the hallway. I could hear that same guy making his rounds. He was whistling to himself, happy with no care in the world.

“What do we do? Should we take care of him or just sneak by?” I asked in a hushed voice. Kelly bit her lip.

“If we don’t take care of him now we’re only delaying the inevitable. What do you suggest?” she asked. I sighed and tightened my grip on the fire extinguisher.

“I say we go to knock him out. You walk in front with the mop handle like you don’t see him. When he calls out to you and chases you, I’ll come up from behind him and hit him with this.” Kelly nodded and started to move. She stopped and tapped me on the shoulder.

“You better pull through and be a good hit. Or it’s my life on the line.” I nodded and watched as the girl crept out in front of me. Just as planned, the guy in the ski mask called out to Kelly and started to chase her. She ran forward a bit to give me some space to sneak up behind him. I swung the fire extinguisher backwards and then forward. It connected with his skull and with a loud crack, the extinguisher smacked against his head. The body fell against the wall. He slumped into an unconscious state.

I leaned forward and ripped the ski mask off of his face. I was shocked to see who it was. Kelly and I stumbled backwards just staring.

It was Doc.

We stared at the blue rabbit in shock and I poked Kelly to knock her out of her trance. “We need to get moving. We can’t stay here. Whoever is in charge of all this will be looking for Doc and they will find us. We have to go.” Kelly allowed herself to be dragged away by me. We hurried away, just trying to find some radio, some way to communicate with the outside world. As we were maneuvering the inner hallways, we heard someone else coming. I found a random door and ripped it open so we can hide. It slid open and I stopped in my tracks.
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Piles and piles and piles of Bell bags were stacked on top of one another. It made Scrooge’s pile of gold look miniscule in comparison. I gasped and I turned around to look at Kelly. In that same moment I heard the click of a gun being cocked. I saw that Kelly was facing me, holding a gun to my head. Within a few moments, I saw Dr. Shriver come around the corner holding a gun to Kelly. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was relieved to see Dr. Shriver but I was also shocked Kelly was in on this. I trusted her.

I raised my hands slowly and smiled at Dr. Shriver. “Dr. Shriver, thank Gog you arrived just in time. These Bells—Kelly! Are you in on it? What’s going on?” Kelly smirked.

“Walt, I’m sorry you had to be caught in the crosshairs of all this. Really wasn’t our intention to involve innocent people. The goal was to have the train all to ourselves, not to have loose ends hanging around that we needed to tie up. You know….like Wendy.” I sputtered dumbly, unable to process all of this information.

“Wendy?? What did you guys do to Wendy? Did you kill her?” I yelled, nearly on the verge of tears. “Dr. Shriver, can you believe this? You need to take her down, she’s got a gun to me! We need to stop this train and call the police!” Dr. Shriver laughed and waved his gun, moving it carefully from Kelly’s head to my own. The pause and the movement scared me. I raised my hands further in the air and sought to plead with the doctor. “Dr. Shriver…you were the one earlier who was all for calling the police and getting down to the bottom of all this. Follow through with this.” The doctor shook his head.

“Walt, the problem with you is that you were too direct. I’m a direct guy myself—I enjoy getting down to business. But there’s nothing people hate more than an opponent who can take them on in a two-step.” Dr. Shriver gestured to Kelly. “Who should tell the ol’ chap what we did to Wendy? Me or you?” Kelly pursed her lips.

“I’d be glad to tell the story but it wouldn’t do any justice when you did the deed, Shriver.” My stomach flipped in circles and I felt sick. They did something to Wendy. She was innocent. She didn’t do anything wrong. She was a pawn in this whole game. Dr. Shriver puffed out his chest pompously. He was seriously proud of what he had done.

“Well, when we were making our escape, Wendy was one of the loudest dissenters. She also was the lowest loose ends that would have been more of a burden to drag with us than to just off right there.” Dr. Shriver started. “Wendy was difficult and we knew that it was worthless to keep her around. So it was MY job to handle her. All it took was one. From there I disposed of her but we kept her luggage on that Gog-forsaken trapped train. It was something to keep the cops busy while we made our getaway.”

I wanted to throw up. I wanted to kill them. I was in no position to make demands. All I could do was turn red and want to scream myself blue at them.

“You monsters. Wendy was a mother. She was a wife. She was an innocent bystander, caught in all this crossfire. You said it yourself! How could you just kill her like that? She did nothing wrong!” A gunshot rang out. Kelly shot at me but the bullet actually hit quite inaccurately—far away from me. It missed on purpose. I winced from the noise and stared at the wide bullet. Kelly scowled.

“Don’t make me make that count. Shriver, we’ve had enough of the cutesie Scooby Doo criminal motive reveal. Walt is now our new loose end. We gotta take him up front so they can decide what to do with him. Is Doc okay?” Shriver nodded.

“Perfect as a penny. He just got a little knocked out. Thank Gog you didn’t tell Walt here to give Doc the good ol’ one-two. Doc’s glasses might have been scratched then.” Kelly laughed, lunging forward and grabbing me by the arms. “Walt, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll let Kelly take you where we’re going.” Shriver grunted. Kelly pushed me from behind and I staggered forward. They both held a gun to me and directed me to walk to the front of the train.

I closed my eyes and prayed that I could find my way out of this mess.
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