John Parker lay on the top bunk and blinked into the darkness. It was twelve noon and he was trying to go to sleep as the railcar raced toward its destination, taking them along with it. The journalist tried to make sense of the past four hours and tried not to feel trapped.
They’d found what he was looking for at the museum, then dove off the cliff to avoid being killed by mysterious gunmen. As he’d clawed back toward the surface his eyes had met Andrea— or whatever her name was—and both knew they were about to die. He didn’t want to die but was glad to be leaving this world with her next to him.
Of course they hadn’t died. Divers had pulled them onto an helicopter gunship that chased away the bad guys then whisked them back to town while they changed into dry clothes and drank hot tea. Now they were stowed away on a train headed to Lhasa, Tibet which was exactly where he wanted to go. At least that was what the papers in the compartment said.
His journalist’s instincts told him the guys with the automatic weapons had been lying in wait for the two Americans for at least five minutes. But if this brought up the question of why? Why had a group of masked gunmen been lying in wait for them? Why had an armed black helicopter been there to rescue them? And why were they being smuggled into Tibet?
The compartment itself was a four berth deluxe soft sleeper cabin stocked with protein bars and water so the two didn’t have to visit to the restaurant car. The lavatory was in working order and oxygen bottles and blankets had been on the bunks, reminding them just where they were going. Lhasa, Tibet was at the other end of a thirty three hour ride along the highest railway on earth, passing through Tanggula Pass at over sixteen thousand feet above sea level. The Out of Service tape on the cabin door promised John and “Andrea” protection on the way to Tibet.
Once the train was under way they’d taken turns using the lavatory to change into dry underwear and hang the wet clothes from the reservoir up to dry. Their bags had been watertight but John was pleased that Professor Braun’s leather satchel was also watertight. Its aged appearance belied a state of the art carrying case which wasn’t surprised, considering some of the books that were in it.
With dry clothes on the two ate and drank then settled back for a nap. Even if the LCD television had been connected they wouldn‘t have used it. During daylight came they could read and move about with light from behind a curtain. But after dark their only light came from discreetly used LED book lights.
John looked across the cabin at the woman laying on the bunk opposite him. “Andrea” was at a loss to explain the events of the day and he believed her. Both agreed the events in Cancun were more than coincidence and implied someone was watching out for them. But who? And why?
For the moment the journalist pushed these thoughts aside and just appreciated the fact ‘Andrea’ was asleep across from him. He knew she hadn’t taken a nap until they got on the plane. He was grateful for the trust she was placing in him now.
Of course, John Parker was just grateful for the trust Fate was placing in him to let him spend time with her. John had never really been the lecherous, lustful type. Even in high school he’d hadn’t been interested in getting the clothes off his dates. He hadn’t even kissed a girl until after college and it hadn’t been that much of a kiss. Maybe that was why he still was single.
But right now that didn’t matter. He was here, with her. They’d been given a second chance at life, perhaps even a third. John felt the weight of that on him mingled with ‘Andrea’s’ presence. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Despite the fifteen hour nap the events of the morning had left him tired. As he drifted to sleep he sent up a little prayers of thanks and a prayer for the future. Specifically a prayer for two days from now when they reach Tibet.