Sci-Fi Novel:An-Other World Episode 4
“Everybody, on the floor now! This is a robbery!” a harsh voice slices through the air. Bullets crash into the ceiling, sending down clouds of white dust. I flinch, startled. Adrenaline runs through my veins. My legs turn weak. I can’t believe what’s happening.
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It feels unreal, like something straight out of a bad dream. The intruders point their guns at us, looking a little too eager to start shooting. Shocked and frightened, people collapse on the floor as ordered.
Somebody screams. A security guy flings his arms up and stares at the gunmen. His eyes widen, full of terror. An intruder disarms him quickly and shoves him to the ground. Everything is happening too fast for the guard to react. I’m the only one still left standing who hasn’t complied.
My fingers clench into fists. The splitting headache explodes under my skull. A well-known sensation, which usually means I’m ready to hypnotize. “Hey, you idiot!” one of the intruders yells. “Can’t you hear? I said get down!” He slams the rigid barrel of a .45 into my chest. Instinctively, I step back, eyes fixed on the deadly weapon. It’s been a long time since anybody threatened me with a gun. This is turning into a really nasty day. “Do you think you’re freaking special?” the man shouts. “Get on the floor!”
His voice is assertive, but his hands are shaking. Possibly, this is his first robbery attempt. Being on edge, he may panic and pull the trigger at any moment. I struggle with instincts that scream to hypnotize him. No, it’s too risky. I can’t reveal my secret. Too many witnesses around. Cameras on the walls to capture every move I make. I mustn’t do anything foolish. I kneel down slowly, my eyes glued to the barrel. The nervous perp watches me carefully. A large drop of sweat runs down his neck.
I can hear his heavy ragged breathing. Avoiding jerky movements, I sprawl on the floor interlocking my fingers behind my head. This seems to satisfy the guy and he passes on by. “Where’s the money?” he yells in an unsteady voice, waving his gun in the air. The other two seem anxious as well. They fidget back and forth on their feet, pointing weapons at people. Tension fills the room. I have a bad feeling about this.
They could be on drugs, unpredictable and crazy. Be still, I order myself. Don’t do anything stupid. It’ll be over soon. Mr. Thompson raises a hand and gestures toward the teller drawers and vault.
Two gunmen head over. As they pass the security guard, he scrambles onto his feet and charges into one of the intruders, tackling him. They both hit the ground, grappling. The security officer grabs the robber’s arm, trying to yank the gun away. The second assailant comes from behind and puts a bullet into his head. I shudder from the explosion. A long spray of blood and brains covers the white floor.
People scream in horror. Somebody sobs hysterically. The guard’s body sags down and becomes motionless. Murdered! I shut my eyes for a second, snarling in silent fury. “Nobody moves!” comes a harsh command.
Agitatedly, the gunmen confront the hostages, waving their weapons. People are praying out loud, terrified. Panicking, our boss stands up. He has a frantic look on his face. I feel sick to my stomach, realizing what may happen. “Please,” Mr. Thompson yells. “Please, stop it!” Angered, the robbers fire their guns.
The bullets strike Mr. Thompson, instantly opening holes in his chest. His mouth gapes open in a silent plea for help, as he falls over. I notice a growing blood stain on Mr. Thompson’s white shirt and his still wide open eyes, although I guess he’s very much dead. “Who else?” one of the robbers shouts. “Who else wants to be a hero?” I lie motionless, fighting the impulse to act.
Stay still. Forget who you are. Don’t be stupid. Pain pulsates in my head. Damn it! Where’s the police when we need them so much? The thieves verify containment of those on the floor and walk over to the safe. A huge metal contraption, built into the wall. It’s securely locked, virtually impossible to crack.
One gunman, apparently the leader, approaches Tim, pointing a gun. “You! Get up! Now open the safe!” Sweating, Tim shakes his head. His eyes turn moist, as if on the verge of tears. I’ve never seen him like this before. “I can’t,” he says. “Oh, you’ll do it all right,” the guy threatens, smashing his face with the butt of the gun.
Blood sprays from Tim’s nose. He gulps, covering his head with trembling hands. “I can’t,” Tim repeats. “I don’t know the combination.” “You think I’m an idiot?” the robber asks as he pistol whips Tim once again. Tim lets out a short cry, his body shuddering from pain and fear. This is insane.
He’s gonna kill Tim. I can’t remain quiet any longer. “It’s true,” I say. “Only the manager knows the combination to the safe.” “Which of you is the manager?” the robber asks. “He’s the guy you’ve just shot,” Tim answers softly. The robber glances at Thompson’s unmoving body. Growling, he strikes Tim again. “She knows the combination as well,” Tim mumbles, gesturing toward Mandy. “She’s a lead teller. She can open the safe.” I can’t believe Tim just ratted her out.
My heart sinks. Poor silly and helpless Mandy. As the criminal approaches, Mandy cries out and begins to crawl away. He catches her long hair with one hand and yanks her into a sitting position. “What’s the combination, sweetheart?” he asks, giving her a hard slap across her face. Mandy opens her mouth widely, sucking in air like a fish out of water. “What’s the combination?” the gunman repeats, shaking her fiercely.
I raise my head a little, watching in despair. What should I do? I have to protect myself and Kathy. Revealing my mind breaking abilities would be suicide. “Answer!” the criminal says, slapping Mandy. She stares at him with empty eyes. Her lips move, but no sound comes out. Paralyzed with fear, Mandy can’t speak. I have to do something so I cautiously get up.
Two robbers point guns at me instantly. Time slows to a crawl and I feel my heart pounding in my chest. “She can’t speak,” I say, keeping my voice steady. “Shut your mouth!” the leader shouts. “Just let me calm her down,” I ask. “Get on the floor!” he orders. I kneel down again, lowering my head. I wait for bullets to pierce my body any second. One jerky movement and they’ll shoot. But somehow I make it back down on the floor, having survived the moment. The robbers are too busy working on Mandy. “Answer!” the criminal yells again. “You can know I’ll freaking blow your head off otherwise.” He presses the gun into her forehead. Mandy manages only a few incoherent noises, eyes twitching as blood drips from her lips and nose.
Mandy is completely in shock. My head hurts terribly. I can’t stand to watch it anymore, but unable to look away. I hear a click as the robber thumbs the hammer of the gun against Mandy’s head. “Just stop,” I say, directing my thoughts toward the robber. I can almost physically sense how I capture his mind. My psychic suggestion reaches his brain, momentarily grasping hold and tentatively controlling his will. It takes only a second. He turns toward me, puzzled. His eyes are glazed and inattentive. Thank God, I don’t feel any resistance.
Everything goes smoothly. “Lower your gun and let her go,” I say quietly, getting on my feet. “You don’t wanna hurt her.” He blinks a few times, thinking, but can’t understand what’s happening. His grip weakens, letting Mandy free. She collapses to the floor, crying. “Drop the gun,” I command. He hesitates only for an instant.
Then his gun falls to his feet. The other two robbers stare in shock. “He’s a stinking breaker!” one of them shouts. “Shoot him and don’t look into his eyes!” I don’t have time to pick up the weapon. The surprise wears off quickly, as both robbers backpedal, shooting. Fortunately, the fools believe in myths about breakers hypnotizing people by eye contact and turn away from me as they fire.
They miss. I drop down and crawl behind my desk as a hail of bullets slam into the walls and furniture, splintering the wood. Not good protection, but at the moment I have no other place to take cover. The hypnotized thief still stands motionless like a statue, peering into nowhere. “Shoot them!” I yell to him. “They wanna kill you!” He glances over at his partners, picks up the gun from the floor and fires. One of the other gunmen grunts, bending and pressing a hand into his stomach. His legs give out and he falls.
This is my chance. I leap out from behind my desk, charging into the criminal still standing. I grip his wrist, preventing him from using the gun while slamming an elbow into his jaw. The robber clenches my shirt as he falls, pulling me off balance. We crash together onto the floor. I roll on top, smashing my fist into his ribs. I still hold his gun hand tightly, keeping the barrel away from my head. The guy begins choking me with his free hand. I grab his fingers and bend them back violently to breathe. Two fingers snap, breaking. The criminal cries out in pain. I notice the gut shot robber rising up a few feet away, gun in hand.
Apparently, he’s survived. “No, don’t,” I blurt out, concentrating hard. I’ve never broken two people at the same time. Maybe I’ve run out of strength and am unable to perplex his mind.
“Shoot him!” the robber underneath me yells. “Kill this stinking freak!” “I’m your friend,” I say.
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