We bolted down the tracks, swerving to vault over couplers between cars and swiftly changing direction to throw them off our trail. A box car was open and gradually picking up speed. We ran for it.
Hale was faster. He caught it and swung himself aboard, reaching out for my hand. “Come on! You can do it!”
I reached, felt his fingertips, but the train pulled him away.
My chest strained with every breath, the fire in my ribs was only outmatched by the burning in my legs, but my life depended on grabbing his hand. I reached my hand as far forward as I could, each step would bring me tantilizingly closer to his fingertips before the train would gain exactly enough momentum to pull him away.
“Brynn! Reach!” Hearing my name on his lips gave me a burst of adrenaline that shot my palm into his in the next step. His strong arms pulled me aboard.
Gunshots rang off the steel sides of the boxcar. The train curved along the track, blocking the car from another good shot.
And we were away.