sych77: Yeah, I know about it moving along too fast. Whoops. ; And hey, I couldn't tell Malkon what to do. It was HIS character, after all. And things will just keep getting stranger later on. That's why I took out one of the characters who joined up later. The guy couldn't RP worth a crud. And REALLY sorry for the delay. I just got a new PC a few weeks ago, and I have other stories to work on...

Chapter 5

The sound of the train shooting along the tracks drowned out any chance of conversation. To the left of the door was some sort of hookshot held in place by two clamps. To the right was some sort of emergency brake system. As soon as Danielle saw it, she ran over and tried to activate the brakes. No luck. The keys were stuck, and there was a card reader on the side. Billy walked on past her to a lever, pulling it down. Behind them, the clamps on the hookshot drew back, allowing it to be taken. Billy nodded, and Danielle picked it up in her hands. "Let's get back to the others!" she shouted over the roar of the train, receiving a slight nod from Billy.

Together, they returned to the kitchen, where the others were discussing what to do next. Danielle held up the hookshot in one hand, straining to lift it up only slightly. "We found this in the back, but that's pretty much all. I guess we should search through the rest of the train again for something we missed."

Rebecca shrugged, walking off through a nearby door. Billy and the new guy followed after her, while Malkon stayed behind. He was staring out the window at the passing darkness, distracted by something. Danielle was about to ask him what was wrong when the freezer door shuddered under the impact of something. Danielle shot a glance at him and got on one side of the door while Malkon opened it. Another of the zombies staggered out, clutching at Danielle's shoulders with rotting fingers.

Reacting on instinct, she kicked the monster away from her and fired twice, hitting the zombie in the eye and upper forehead. It collapsed to the floor, and the smell of diseased flesh quickly filled the air. "Gah, dang it…" Danielle muttered. "Do they always go for the rookie or something? I'm always the one getting jumped by these freaks…"

When the older S.T.A.R.S. member chuckled, she gave him a lopsided grin and pointed her thumb towards the door that led towards the front of the train. "Well, guess we outta catch up with the others before they get worried."

The two of them followed behind the others quickly, listening as the new guy introduced himself. "Okay, who are you guys? I'm Sheen."

Danielle glanced at him. "My name is Danielle Roivas. I'm guessing you already know Billy, Rebecca, and Malkon…"

He nodded. "Okay. I guess it's nice to meet you… if you call this situation nice…"

Billy glanced at the hookshot Danielle now held. "Now, on to business," he began. "You may need to use that to get to the train roof from a window nearby. I remember seeing that the ladder to the top was broken…"

"Well, let's at least try to get outta here…" Sheen said quietly.

Billy shook his head, looking slightly annoyed. "Don't you get it? The train is moving, and the door to the engine card is locked. I couldn't even shoot the thing. We need to find the keycard for it. I found a memo saying that the card was in a briefcase, but it's locked, and we need two rings to open it."

"So, we gotta look for the rings, eh?" Danielle asked. How she was so calm in a situation like this, she had no clue. It was probably because she was with people who could at least handle themselves… "Well, I can go to the top of the train and see if there is a way inside one of the locked cars or something. Chances of that happening are pretty slim, though. If there's no way in, I'll try to get down somehow. You guys search around here for those rings."

She walked off towards the car she had first encountered the zombies in, but stopped when she heard Rebecca speak. "Good luck, Danielle." She glanced over her shoulder, giving the group a thumbs-up and a grin. She opened the door and closed it behind her, the grin quickly falling away. She was on her own for now, and the bravado she had felt earlier vanished.

"It's just a quick check, that's all. Nothing to be worried about." She checked an open window to her left, glancing up at the roof access ladder. It had been broken by something incredible strong. "Well, he was right about the ladder…" Danielle aimed the hookshot up towards the roof and fired. When she was sure the hook was secure, she activated the winch and made her way up. The freezing cold rain drenched her once more, and she struggled to keep her teeth from chattering as she edged forward.

There was a large hole in the train roof, which dropped down into a private cabin. Danielle jumped down, landing in a crouch on the carpet. She nearly gasped when she saw a zombie standing there with its back to her, but she quickly realized it didn't know she was there. She snapped up her pistol and fired a single round at its head. It went down in a spray of crimson, staining the elaborately designed carpet a blood red color.

She shivered a bit as she looked around, spotting a small jewelry case on the floor stained with a few droplets of blood. Danielle opened the case, grinning as she took out a sliver ring. "Bingo…" she whispered. It was time to head back to the others. She pocketed the case and went to open the door, but stopped when she heard strange, slithering noises behind it. A few seconds passed, but the sounds did not repeat themselves again.

"And there goes my imagination…" She opened the door and entered the hallway beyond, immediately noticing the slime that covered the walls and floor. Something had been here, and just before she came out of the room, too. "I hope that whatever it was, it's not here anymore…" she mumbled to herself as she took a right down the corridor. Some stairs led downwards, and Danielle figured out that they must have been the ones she noticed in the second cabin.

The slithering sound came again. This time, it came from behind her. Danielle spun around, aiming her pistol around. Nothing was there. "What the heck is going on around here…" Suddenly, she felt something warm and slimy drip down onto her face from the ceiling. Holding her pistol in a hand that had suddenly gone cold, she looked up to see a mass of leeches moving around above her on the ceiling. She barely had time to scream as the leeches dropped down and swarmed up her body, covering every inch of her in mere seconds.