NOTES: All right, I haven't run this one by Debbie either. I
kind of figure I can hurt Carter by myself, but I
really need her to patch him up again. So, all
mistakes are mine.
It was easy to see the black-clad forms as they approached, even though the SWAT team was hunched over double. Once they reached the door to the carriage, however, they sank below the level of the windows and disappeared. Before they could all take position, the gunman was already screaming.
"Hey, motherfuckers! I can see you and I know you can see me!" the gunman shouted over Carter's head, holding the baby so that it covered his face from the SWAT team's view. "And I'm sure you can see my little friend - what's his name?" he asked the mother. She whispered something too softly for John to decipher. "Chris, my little friend Chris," the gunman shook the baby roughly, and it started to wail its displeasure. "I know what you want to do here, but I swear to you, I will kill this squalling thing, even if you shoot me right here, right now, with my dying breath I will blow its tiny brains all over this train." Carter could hear Chris' mother try to choke down a sob at the threat.
"All right, calm down," the team leader spoke through the closed door, using a condescendingly placating tone that made Carter wince. They did this for a living, and that was the best the man could come up with? "We just want to talk."
"Sure," laughed the shooter, clearly as unimpressed as Carter. "Let's talk."
"You got a name?"
"Oh, polite talk. And here I thought we were in the middle of a serious situation. Fine. How about... Bob."
"All right. Bob. Why don't you put down your weapon-"
"So you can blow my head off?" the gunman finished with another ugly laugh. "I don't think so."
This didn't seem to surprise the SWAT team leader. He continued on without pause, "Has anyone been injured?"
"Just your rat-bastard pal on the floor there. Didn't catch his name."
This time there was a slight hesitation; then, "Is he alive?"
"Yeah. He's even got his own personal doctor here." Bob kneed Carter in the back. "Tell him."
Carter cleared his throat. "Williams is alive, for now. But - "
The knee jab to the back was harder this time. "That's enough information."
Carter started to turn his head around to face him. "You said I could get medical supplies."
"Don't piss me off right now, Doc, I'm having a bad day already."
If the resident hadn't been angry, the comment might have struck him as mildly amusing. Bob thought he was having a bad day? But Carter had other concerns at the moment. "That man is going to die if he doesn't get treated soon."
"And Chris here is going to die even sooner if you don't shut up!"
Before Carter could argue further, which he wasn’t sure he wanted to do, the SWAT man spoke again, "We don't want anyone else to get hurt here. Just tell us what you want."
"To be perfectly honest, I hadn't thought about it yet. Why don't you and your friends go have a beer and I'll get back to you when I've had some time to think it over."
"Look, all we want - "
"I don't care what you want," Bob interrupted flatly. "Back down now." There was the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking.
"We can't do that."
"I mean it... Five.... four.... three.... " The gunman was sing-songing his countdown.
"For God's sake, back off!" Chris' mother screamed hysterically. "Back off!"
The SWAT teams started to withdraw as quickly and quietly as they had approached. The gunman stopped counting; Carter could hear the rustle of clothing as the man's arm dropped to his side, and the resident breathed a sigh of relief for the baby boy. Chris' mother was sobbing behind him - huge, gulping sobs that filled the entire carriage.
"No!" moaned a middle-aged businesswoman, seated next to the exit Carter was facing. "You can't leave us here!"
"Shut up!" yelled Bob, watching them depart.
He glanced around the carriage, as if evaluating it. Outside it was dark already, and the lights in the train had not been switched on. After a moment's contemplation, he pushed Carter back towards the wounded policeman, and handed the bawling baby to its nearly incoherent mother.
Then he turned to his other hostages. "Okay, all of you, up!" he ordered. They gazed back at him without comprehension. "Get up! I want you sitting backs against the windows. Shift your asses!" Slowly, almost one by one, they stood and looked at each other in bewilderment. "For fuck's sake, if you move any slower, I'm going to shoot one of you." The men and women scrambled to obey. They perched on the window ledges uneasily, feet resting on the seats, backs flat against the windows - effective shields against snipers, but also against any light coming into the train-car.
On the floor, Carter could barely see his own hands in front of him. Williams was still unconscious, still bleeding, and Carter couldn't see a damn thing. He clenched his jaw in frustration, doing what he could to staunch the blood-flow from the entrance wound. "We need some light in here," he told the gunman.
"I don't think so."
Carter bit back his automatic reply, knowing that an appeal to the man's concern for Williams would not result in any favorable outcome. There had to be some way of making it seem to be in the captor's best interests. He was about to speak again when Bob held up his hand, brow furrowing.
The gunman crept to the window, prodding one woman a centimeter to the left as though she were a curtain. "Fuck, they're coming again! They're trying to screw me over!" shouted the gunman, voice trembling with rage. "They don't think I'm serious? Well, I'll show them! I will fucking show them!" He took one step in the direction of Chris and his mother.
Carter stood up swiftly, knees protesting the movement after kneeling for so long, and intercepted him. "How're you planning on showing them?" Carter demanded, desperately trying to stay between the gunman and the mother and baby without actually manhandling Bob. The shooter was getting more volatile by the minute. "By shooting Chris? You think that'll make the police decide to let you go? You kill that baby and you are *never* getting off this train. There is no way in hell the police would let a baby-killer go. They can't."
There was a short silence before Bob sighed audibly. "You've got a point. But I gotta show them they can't fuck with me. It's too bad, Doc, I was starting to kind of like you."
Carter barely had time to realize what the words meant. Bob grabbed his elbow and yanked him towards one side of the train. He removed one hostage from her ledge perch, grasping her shoulder and throwing her to the floor of the aisle. Then he hauled Carter up to within inches of the window, placing his gun at the doctor's ribcage. "Hey!" the gunman shouted, his breath misting up the clear plastic. Just as the SWAT team members looked up, he pulled the trigger.
Carter heard the sound of the bullet leaving the gun. Then his chest exploded in pain. And then he was falling.