Trigger

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3

The train station was incredibly busy for this hour of the morning, to Dylan’s dismay. People of all sorts shuffled around, sat, stared up at the board as it constantly rotated through train departures and arrivals.

He needed to clean himself up before he did anything, heading straight for the restroom. He checked each stall, all empty, before dropping his bags at the sink. The sight of his face in the mirror was a shock. He’s surprised the taxi driver didn’t take him to a hospital. He had dried blood all over his mouth and chin, a split in his bottom lip. It stung when he touched it.

He wiggled his jaw, tested where it hurt the most. Probably not broken. His mouth was a little swollen and might bruise. His teeth felt sturdy but his tongue was sore on one side. He’d bitten it during the attack.

Nothing he couldn’t manage.

His hands were red and ached when he flexed them. There was some blood on them, too, and he didn’t let himself think too long about whose it was.

He cleaned up as best he could, washing his face and hands until the water ran clear.

He licked at the cut on his lip, pressed his tongue there to feel the sting. It shouldn’t need stitches. He’d had worse. He crouched down to dig through his bag for his passports, deciding which one to use. The British one would probably be easiest, but he looked young in the photo, no stubble on his jaw or scar below his eye. Too young to pass for the man in the mirror right now. He needed to update that.

He chose the Czech one he’d had forged by a local a few weeks after he got his apartment. A safe bet in his current state. Luckily he’d picked up enough of the language to buy a train ticket confidently.

The door of the bathroom swung open and Dylan reached for his gun as the stranger rounded the corner. He didn’t even look at Dylan, wheeling his suitcase to the urinal and minding his own business. Thank god.

Dylan left him to it, lifting his bag back onto his shoulder and heading for the ticket counter.


The first-class cabin was nearly empty when Dylan picked his seat, only a few other businessmen and women with their noses buried in the newspaper or their cell phones. He sat facing backward so he could see the door leading to the other cars. If anyone was going to sneak up on him, they’d likely come from that direction. This way, he had a clear line of sight.

The coffee he’d bought at the station was cold now, but he sipped at it dutifully, holding the cup to give his hands something to do. It was five and a half hours to Munich. He’d picked a non-stop train to avoid any chances for someone unsavory to board along the way.

He should have felt safe.

The door to the cabin slid open and Dylan’s eyes snapped to the newcomer, entire body poised and ready to strike.

“Please have your tickets out,” the man asked. “Tickets, please.”

He let out a shaky exhale. Caffeine probably wasn’t the best choice for his nerves. The man looked at him and his ticket, eyed both of his bags sitting at his feet, and punched his ticket. Dylan checked his watch. Five hours and twenty-one minutes to Munich.

He almost snapped the wrist of the woman who shook him awake and offered him a plate of food. His stomach growled and he had just enough automatic manners to thank her. They’d be about halfway through the journey by now, judging by the time. The train probably crossed into Germany while he slept.

The nap helped, he felt marginally more awake and alive. Not so jumpy. The faint headache pounding away at his temples was a dull reminder of last night, of what he was running from. Everything was fine.

He took stock of the passengers in the cabin. All accounted for. No one new. Safe.

The woman who delivered his sandwich and chips returned. “Anything to drink for you, sir?”

Most of the adrenaline of the evening evaporated his hangover but Dylan still considered ordering a beer to ease the transition to sobriety even more. “Another coffee would be perfect, thank you. And a water.”

His politeness earned him a smile as she set out a little cocktail napkin for the bottle of Fiji water she placed in front of him. “Cream and sugar?”

“Neither.” The bitterness of coffee couldn’t be helped, no use in trying.

He sipped at his cup as the train passed by snowcapped mountains in the distance. This part of the world was as beautiful as it was frigid. It wasn’t quite December yet but nature had already dressed itself up for Christmastime; grass and trees and rooftops all covered in white.

He rolled his neck, urging it to pop and stretch. He grimaced when he found a tender spot, held still as he let the pain work itself out. Arms were next, stretching them across his body and behind his head. His shoulders were tense and achy and if he took too deep of a breath, he felt his ribs protest. His knuckles had started to bruise.

He should get up and walk around, keep the muscles moving. At least go to the bathroom and check the status of his face.

The restroom just outside of first class was taken so Dylan continued his walk through the train. Most of the seats were taken in the next car but it was quiet. Still early enough that loud conversation was impolite.

He reached the next bathroom at the same moment another man did, coming from the opposite direction. Dylan smiled waved the man ahead of him. He could wait.

“No, please. After you.” He was French, the accent clear.

Dylan wasn’t interested in playing a game of who could be more polite, so he stepped into the loo and turned to slide the lock into place but the man was already pushing the door open.

“Can I help yo--.”

He shoved Dylan back and locked the door, which turned the overhead light on. Dylan saw the knife immediately.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”


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