ROUND 6 - By the skin of his teeth (LYNCH KILL)
‘I’ve been having strange…I don’t know what to call it…day dreams?’
There was only 11 of the original bank customers left now. It had been 25 with some staff, but through some absolutely confusing arguments that have resulted in the deaths of several innocents and calculated murder, there were just them. Scattered about the conference room on the third floor, 11 people entered hour 6 of their isolation. The quiet was deafening, until someone finally dropped the bomb.
‘I keep…seeing things.’
Slowly unbuttoning his trench coat with one hand, Victor Wes caught the attention of the rest of the bank customers, but not with his eerily spoken words. It wasn’t the beads of sweat forming on his forehead, even with the bank AC keeping the building at a cozy 67 degrees. Nor was it his combat vest with 8 extra 30 round magazines for the M-4 hanging at his right side, inside the coat. All these things did give the customers reason to pause. No, it was the 8 pounds of explosives from his bag that he had strapped to his vest.
‘Dude…what the hell?’
‘Shit…shit shit – wait a minute, wait a minute.’
Victor looked up at them with sad, droopy eyes. Confused at their reaction for a moment until he looked down and seen what he had done, but did not remember doing. He reached for the straps when people got up and backed away from him, the female customers and tellers squelching down screams.
‘Fuck,’ Victor mumbled as he undid the explosives and set them on the table, along with his weapons and ammunition.
He took out his dead man’s switch, inert and disabled, and disconnected the wires leading to the explosives. This isn’t what made him sweat through his shirt or start the nervous tic on his left eye. Explosives were nothing compared to what was going to happen.
‘This isn’t about bombing the bank, not anymore. I keep seeing things, seeing THEM.’
Mr. Green pushed forward in an uncharacteristic act of courage and Victor immediately pulled his 9mm berretta and pointed it directly at the bank manager’s left eye.
‘Mr. Wes….oh, Mr. Wes…wait, wait.’ Mr. Green raised his hands and halted his advanced on the man. He could see Wes’ eye twitching and the sweat rolling down the sides of his face, but his hand was surprisingly, and most terrifyingly, steady. ‘Oh Jesus,’ Green mumbled. Slowly he put his hands down on the table near the explosives, watching Wes as he watched Green. He pulled at the explosives and the detonator and slid them away from the both of them, down the long table.
‘There now, Mr. Wes. You were saying…about your dreams?’
‘They’re not dreams,’ Wes replied in his sad voice. ‘I don’t think it’s a dream when you’re wide awake.’
Mr. Green looked around the room, trying to think of the term for what Wes was experiencing, but could only come up with FUCKING BAT SHIT CRAZY but he didn’t think pointing that out would be prudent. Green waited for Wes to explain.
‘In my head, behind my eyes.’ Suddenly Wes relaxed the hand with the gun and pointed it at his face, showing Green where he meant. The entire room froze and Green winced, not daring to breath. ‘He’s there, telling me…things. But not what you’d think. I know what you’re all thinking.’
‘Mr. Wes I assure you, we are thinking of nothing else but surviving this.’
‘Yes,’ Wes pointed the gun back at Green again, nodding frantically, his head resembling a bobble-head doll. ‘You’ve seen it. You’ve seen it.’
‘Yes, Mr. Wes. I have.’ Green bold faced lied to the young man, only wanting to keep him and the rest of the survivors alive.
‘Then you understand. This,’ pointing to the explosives and holding the gun up. ‘This is nothing compared to what’s coming.’
‘I…wait what?’ Green looked at Wes confused. ‘What’s coming?’
That’s when Victor Wes began to cry. He had seen his share of death; women, children…his friends. War had a very distinct stench, despite the country you’re in; the people ravished by war all have that expression. Children’s faces were worn with wrinkles of pain and fear, women expecting the inevitable torture that would or would not come, men who looked at death in the face with them every day, just waiting for it to happen. Victor felt the tears roll down his face as he tried not to see the face in his mind.
Green shook his head slightly, confused at Wes’ demand.
‘Take IT.’ Wes relaxed his grip on the gun and let the heavy barrel swing back. He quickly turned it around in his hand, butt first, and offered it to Green. ‘Please.’
Green looked at Wes and then took a step forward, gingerly taking the piece of steel that had undoubtedly fought for liberty in places he couldn’t even pronounce, and then handed the gun to whomever was behind him. He felt someone take the weight of the gun out of his hand and then he moved forward, putting both on the man’s shoulders who merely looked at Green and tilted his head to the side, a small smile forming on his lips when Green heard something loud behind him, then felt a puff of wind pass his ear. The splatter of red blood shot back into his face, covering him in it and Wes fell back, the side of his neck blown out by his own gun.
Green fell back against the glass door, looking up at the group of survivors standing around the one that shot him, but Green recognized the looks on their faces. Not one person, but one entity – lynch mobs were formed by hysteria, conjecture, and fear – but it only took one hand beating down on someone for the others to join.
The crowd looked down at Wes as he bled out on the conference room’s floor. The gun hung in the survivor’s hand when another took it up and stepped forward.
Several survivors shot forward and knelt over Wes’ body. Then the yelling began.
‘He’s bleeding out, what the fuck? Why did you shoot him?’
‘He was going to kill us all.’
‘How, by fucking crying us to death? He gave Green the fucking gun, Christ!’
‘He was going to blow up the bank.’
‘The explosives…all that…did he do all this?’
Two tellers ran out and then came back in with towels from the snack room, pressing them against the wound on Victor’s neck.
‘First aid kit,’ Mr. Green mumbled.
‘Oh you just happen to keep blood and a fucking suture kit in your first aid kit? How about a butterfly bandage, that’ll fucking do it!’
Green stood and began to point out the conference room. ‘Down…down the hall, supply room off the…uh…kitchen. We have supplies.’
‘Go, GO. We’ll stay with him.’
Everyone rushed out leaving a group of survivors kneeling over Victor, tending to his wound.
Then, it was quiet.
"I'm sorry that the young man with the bombs and guns met his end, but at least the volume of customers dropping has gone down! Good job with customer retention, Green! You're on the right track here."
Ernest Freeman chews on another "Tic Tac".
Why did I give the old man Xanax? He's gone completely nutty. Maybe he has one of those.. whadyacallit... additive personalities. Or maybe he's hiding some shady past underneath his friendly mustachio'd exterior. Oo! Like a former drug baron, or old-school Mafia. 'Hey, how you doin?'
Ella started snickering, imagining the old man in ever-increasing silly situations and costumes.
Oh, I got it - He's an angel! With huge fluffy wings, and a beautiful golden halo over his head .. and one over his 'stache too!
The image was just a little more than Ella's frazzled nerves could take, and she burst out in huge bouts of laughter. It seemed to echo off the walls and fill up the empty building, a cacophony of ringing peals. Not caring who was looking down their noses at her, Ella rolled on the floor, laughing.
After a good long ten minutes of laughter, she was finally able to gain some composure, and only managed a snicker or occasional giggle as she started doodling to pass the time.
Looking back at the others, Ella waited until there was a brief lull in the racket, and called out, "I have plenty of paper, and look, I found some crayons. Quit fighting and come play!"
Not waiting for an answer, Ella turned back to her paper, coloring in a flower's petals with a bright pink crayon.