Ayiana had left Collins office with a purpose in mind, to seek out Byrne. It was more than needing his advice from the man she had come to view as a father. He was also the closest thing to friend she had. She did not expect the two guards standing in wait to usher away some place she did not know.
Dark green hood pulled over her head she looked out the stained window, there was little to see. It was once Atlanta, but now it was nothing more than wasteland for scavengers and the infected. Pollution spread from the north, the Appalachian coal companies run amok no longer responsible for cleaning up after themselves had left most of the lands north of Atlanta for three states with the air, land and waters polluted beyond repair. The effects were devastating but the majority of the population still suffered and lived in the stained land. There were only three clean cities on the east coast, Charleston, Buffalo, and Jackson. And only the wealthiest called the places home with little care for anyone who they did not gain profit from.
Ayiana hated the mask; she kept fidgeting with it over and over trying to deal with the discomfort. At least it took her mind off of her destination and companions. If Collins was sending her to be executed, at least a couple of her companions would have been the ones he would have sent along to do the job. But then why so far, they had already traveled two hours northwest away from Atlanta and no one said a word to her let alone a move in her direction.
Logan was a shooter, or at least it was what she knew most about him. Others had described him as the best shot in the underground at a distance. He appeared asleep a couple seats in front of Ayiana, and looked that way almost from the moment he sat down. She had not even noticed a twitch of his eye, a wrinkle on his forward or any discomfort from the mask. She envied how comfortable he looked.
Sarah was another story, like clockwork she would walk down the aisle and back, her arms crossed her chest. She like Logan was a hitter, but of another variety, she was a beautiful young woman. Ayiana had heard Sarah was not afraid to get her hands dirty and her beauty and wide eyed youthful smile got her into places others could not go. And most times her assignments were of lustful men or women who only saw her one way. Ayiana imagined if one of these two were to kill her, it was Sarah who would do it.
The train jerked, as its speed reduced cause Ayiana to jerk forward with her hand on her mask she almost pulled it free in the movement. She glanced up to Sarah who was near her seat holding steady on the back of one of the seats. Logan’s eyes were opened now but he still did not move from his position. “What’s going on?”
Ayiana watched Sarah; the position was perfect for an attack. The high ground, she could almost see her working through the movements of pulling her dagger and thrusting it forward. None of it happened as the slender woman moved away towards the cabin with no answer to the question either.
“Okay kiddies.” A large man rushed into the cabin, almost pushing Sarah down as he moved passed her. “Time for the three of you to make your exit.”
“What’s going on? Where are we?” Sarah questioned only a step behind him as he passed by Ayiana’s seat. She could see the woman had her blade out and ready as she walked. Ayiana looked to Logan, who showed no rush in his movements.
“I only know this is your exit, up ahead about twenty miles this train will be boarded, all on board will be taken captive, unless they resist then they’ll be executed.” The man opened the door quickly tossing bags out into the dirt, “You can lose the masks, we are clear of the polluted lands.” Ayiana had no hesitation in loosing hers and breathing in, she looked out seeing something she had never seen before clean forest. “They are hunting one of you…or maybe each of you are listed with very impressive bounties on your heads. Collins wants you as far from Atlanta as he can get you until things cool down but the government knows you were on this train, or at least suspected. And they see your heads on a pike would go a long way to quelling the rebellion.”
“Where are we to go?” Sarah questioned.
“North, Montana, he wants you to lay low until he sends for you.”
The large man spoke before Logan could finish, “Trust me kiddies, he’ll find you.” Ayiana was the last out the door before the large man slammed it closed. They were still standing there when the train moved away.