The Withering of Gold Vol. 3

by

Kaiydyn

2. Pour yourself a drink from the barrel of blood and sorrow

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“Ahhhh!”

“Hmm.”

Waking up to the sounds of easy going thunder, Effryn calmly yawned himself awake. Immediately after, he received an even calmer groan.

It was Gale, who was reading some kind of book that seemed way beyond his limits.

“Ooo, whatcha reading?” Effryn somehow closed the space between them instantly.

“My favourite author.”

“And who would that be?”

“You don’t read, so you wouldn’t know him.”

Pulling himself closer to see, he tried peeking at the spine of the book, but Gale covered his hand over it.

“Fine, keep your secrets!”

Leaping into his bed, Effryn gazed out at the sky blowing away the world. The crowded gray swooped away with luminescent lights.

“Hey Effryn,” Gale said, still looking in his book. “Where exactly did you go yesterday?”

“Oh, you know. A place. Mainly, a dirty apartment section that seriously needs some urgent cleaning.”

“Is that so.”

“Yep!”

Gale flipped the page, purely focusing on his book.

“You’ve gotten happier.”

“Heh?!” surprised by the sudden confession, Effryn jumped.

“I would have thought you’d be moping around instead of jumping out an about. But it was just my thoughts, so maybe I thought wrong.”

“Do I really seem happier…?” Thinking for a moment, Effryn actually thought about it for a long second, until he came up with a solid answer. “I dunno. As long as you’re still here, I still have my reasons for being here too.”

“Hmm. Well I’m proud of you any way it goes..”

“You’re a weird kid.”

It hadn’t been something I remotely thought about, but I guess in a sense my mind has been more uplifting in a way.

Another strike of thunder vibrated the air. Effryn looked and saw Gale was now deeply in his book.

Thank you Gale.

Falling flat on the bed, Effryn began wondering on what to do next. Supposedly, he and Gale were supposed to stay in bed NO MATTER THE COST, but that was too boring. He wanted to do something fun and not just lounge around his whole life.

And as if life was answering his absurd call…

“-Hey guys!”

...the door nearly broke off its hinges as Eizer made his own crazy entrance.

“I-I’ve got some pretty crappy news. I don’t know how else to say this, but uh…”

“Spit it out already!” Effryn barked.

“Well uh, my parents are coming home to visit early.”

Why does he sound so defeated in saying that?

“What are you saying? Bring ‘em in, lets unscrew some caps, and get ourselves blitz wasted in a get-to-know-each-other party!”

“What I’m saying, dumbass, is you two need to leave before they show up!”

“Huh?” Effryn went complete deadpan mode, and everything hereafter flew through his brain.

“That’s problematic.” Gale put the book down, focusing his attention at the problem on hand.

“So when do we have to bail?”

Effryn said what was on both minds. Of course, Gale waited for Effryn to ask so he wouldn’t have to.

“Right now. Get the hell out.”

“Huh.”

“This is extremely annoying.”

Standing in the outer back yard, the two had to sneak out of the house without getting caught by dear Eizer’s mom, run out the back in the storming rain with only one umbrella, and climb a freakishly long wooden fence. Looking at each other afterwards, they both agreed that everything going on was stupid.

Effryn reached in his pocket to pull out a small list:

Dearest Effryn,

Would you kindly go to the bank (without revealing yourself) and get some money outta my checking account? Thanks!

“That bastard!”

“Well, we should go do it to kill some time at least.”

Effryn felt the paper crumple in his hands. There weren't too many annoying things Eizer usually did, with this one definitely hitting a top five. But then again, what were the odds of his parents coming home early from their business trips?

“Look at the bright side: You finally get to walk around some more.” Gale said as he lifted the umbrella to cover both.

“Not like this!” Effryn rebutted while making a pouting face. “Let’s just get through this.”

Starting on their quick journey, Effryn got a text from Eizer.

PS: You might need to know our Pin, so yeah lol my bad!

Effryn grabbed the umbrella from Gale, while reading over the few words of text he received.

You asshole! PS my ass! When we get back, I swear…

Swear…When they get back…? Exactly when is back? Effryn wondered how long his parents were supposed to be staying, so he asked. In text, of course.

And in a matter of seconds, Effryn got his response:

Yeah....about that, I think maybe tomorrow morning they said they both had to leave for work again. So please don’t do anything stupid until then. See ya tomorrow!

“Tomorrow?! Tomorrow my ass, where are we gonna sleep?!”

“Tomorrow sounds annoying. We need to find a suitable place to sleep before anything else.” Gale said as he scanned the area, before snapping his fingers and pointing at Effryn. “Or maybe we’re supposed to use that money for a hotel?”

“Right! Holy man, I think your right!”

And as Effryn jumped in celebratory delight, he received another message:

Don’t you dare use that money for anything else, or withdraw too much. Or I WILL kill you. Love... don’t you dare spend my damn money.

“Shit.”

With the dream of sweet shelter being burned away, Effryn knew he would have to learn to sleep like a dog in the rain tonight.

“Well, it was a decent plan. Then again, we did just get kicked out, so we should borrow some anyways. Like, a fraction, or something. Or we could sell that phone he gave you.” Gale added with a slight mischievous smile.

“Gale, I like how you think! Suck on this Eizer, we’re charging special interest!”

And from the constant mood swings Effryn just experienced, he was now looking forward to sleeping in a hotel room. One fond memory he had was hotel food always being a delightful pleasure, so he was looking forward to that.

He thought about bringing up that he could sell his phone if things got real bad, but decided against it. Sure, the prospects of selling it sounded swell, but what if Eizer texted saying they could come back early? So he decided he should keep the phone Eizer gifted to him before being kicked out.

“Hurry Gale, for we shall rob the traitorous Eizer of his fortunes for own benefits.” Effryn smirked, leading them under the downpour of rain to the city.

Though having only gone to the bank a select few times, or rather, once, Effryn still remembered the path. After a few twists and turns, Effryn was finally able to reach the legendary establishment.

As for the matter of secrecy, there weren’t too many people lounging around the bank, so that didn’t seem like too much of a problem. Matter of fact, there weren’t too many people out in the streets. Like at all.

“Hey Gale, what is today?”

“Friday idiot.”

“Haha, funny joke. Okay, then where the hell is everybody else?!”

“Don’t ask me.”

A city, on a business day, especially at the weeks end. Where the hell was everybody? It was raining, sure, but Effryn didn’t think it was too bad.

“I guess rain is pretty scary to most people. Anyway, you wanna come with me?”

“Duh, I don’t want to get wet.”

Answering while nodding, Gale took the umbrella and carefully forced it back inside.

The lights that usually beamed on the outside of the bank during normal days probably didn’t stand out too bad, but when it rained, the neon signs shone like a beacon in the rain. Everywhere else on the street had nothing when compared to the banks lighthouse, so that could explain why there were so many squatters in the lobby.

“There sure are a lot of people…” Effryn shyly said, hiding his face from the stares.

“Grow a pair and get the money so we can get out of here.” Gale lazily responded with his face now deep in a book.

“Fine fine.” Effryn monotonically responded. “Now where is the line…”

While Effryn was scanning the room, it occurred to him that there were an abnormally amount of people. He could see where the front desk was, and thankfully, they were open. But where the line began was one whole segment larger of the puzzle.

“Over there. Opposite of where we are.” Gale pointed out, still reading his book.

“Nice eye there! Wait, did you just read with your left eye, while using your right to find the line?! You are truly amazing, Gale…”

“Idiot. Let’s just go, I’m hating this crowd.”

After poorly drying their shoes by a mat left on the entrance, the two went to the opposite side to find the line.

From what Effryn saw, people were there to just wait out the rain, and were on their phones doing whatever people do on phones. They received a few glances, but most just stayed in their own bubble. None seemed to recognize them either.

The bank wasn’t too big in particular, but it had plenty of benches and couches courtesy of interest, so there weren’t too many people standing.

“Here we are! And look, there’s only like, six people ahead of us! Oh wait, I think that guy might be before her, or maybe he’s just standing around? Uhhh.”

Gale pierced Effryn with one eye, while the other impressibly, though creepily, read.

“Just wait your turn. It’ll only take a few minutes or so until--”

Unil. Until what exactly? In a normally normal reality, until would have been until it’s our turn, use the card Eizer gave us and get what we came for plus a little extra, and then we find some place to crash for the night. And after that, they would buy a hotel room for the night, and in the morning, come crawling back to Eizer and live the rest of their lives with him. That was what Gale probably thought. Hell, even Effryn thought of it too.

But no. Instead, interrupting Gale’s train of words were the front doors being blasted open, and following were the screams of everybody who didn’t go immediately deaf from the noise.

What the hell?

Smoke filled the entrance, and began pouring in the lobby. Though it was not clear to Effryn, he could see multiple people sprawled over the ground. He saW blood, but it still wasn’t clear whether or not those people were killed or not.

But before getting a chance to assess the situation, two silhouettes appeared within the smoke…

“Listen up everybody…”

“...this here’s a fuckin’ stick up…”

“...so if you make an errous move…”

And out of the smoke came two people wearing funeral clothes with their faces covered by a ski mask. The two finished off each others line, and moved insync with the other. One was clearly a female, with the only noticeable distinguishable feature was her purple tail hanging from the back of the mask. The other was a guy, but nothing really stood out from. Effryn felt a faint hint of nostalgia about him, but nothing came to mind when thinking about it.

“You’ll end up like this poor bastard…!”

And with a smile clearly visible on each face, they shot numerous rounds at some person who was on the ground with hands over his head. Effryn didn’t get a good look at who exactly had been there before, but now, there wasn’t even a point in trying to make out what was there before, as the bullets decimated their target.

Blood splattered everywhere, from the walls to the floor. There were even portions reaching to the ceiling. Someone fell into an audible panic attack, while the entire building erupted in shouts and pleads.

“Listen you bitches!” The non featurable guy yelled, pointing his AR at a woman who held her child in her arms. “If you keep pissin’ yerselves, then I’ll be sure to enjoy this next kill knowing it was yer faults.”

The woman's face grew mortified, and hugged the child tightly, making sure her daughter didn’t have to see anything. Luckily, the room grew silent, and the raging storm outside took over as background noise.

“Good. Now desk bitches! Bring me the monnaayy-HaHaHaHa!!”

“Well Gale,” Effryn smiled awry as he glanced to where Gale was. “All we need to do is keep quiet, and maybe, just maybe, we could get out of this alive-Wha…?!” Effryn’s heart died, came back to life, and nearly died again, from what he was seeing.

“What the hell?! I thought those explosives were supposed to be for emergencies?!” Some guy who was already in the lobby before the explosion occurred yelled.

“That was an emergency! How could we rob a bank without a badass entrance like… H-Hey kid? You gotta urge for death or somethin’?”

All chatter between the robbers, muffled talk between the people, and for a moment, even the rain muted itself, as Gale casually walked up to the men armed with assault rifles.

All eyes were on this strange boy, especially Effryn’s…

What the hell does he think he’s doing?! What can he do?!

His mind ran wildly on the possibilities, but the only thing he could do was quietly observe. Who knows, maybe Gale was some kind of hidden detective ace up his sleeve?

Gale stood before the robbers, with book in hand. The robbers grinned, probably expecting some sad remark, or grovelling for his life…

But instead, he simply pulled his book up to his face, and read like nothing happened.

Huh?!?!

“The fuck?!?!” exclaimed the non feature, pointing his rifle at the bloodied corpse. “Do you not see this dead bitch?! I’ll make sure you’re riddled with twice the bullets!”

“Hmm?” Gale muttered, putting away his book with an annoyed look.

“Hmmmmm?!?! What the hell is HMMM?!”

“What are you guys doing?” Gale casually responded

What the hell are YOU doing?! You’re gonna get killed if you keep this up!!

“What the hell else does it look like we’re doing?! Killin’ and robbin’, what else?”

“Can you hurry up?”

Gah?! Ok, I better step in…

“Hurry up? HURRY UP?! YOU WANT US, THE ROBBERS, TO HURRY THE FU-”

But before the non feature could finish his statement, Effryn, though practically pissing his pants, walked up to Gale, and grabbed his hand with a smile that screamed ‘I love everybody’, and began to lightly scold him.

“Oh, you silly kid brother of mine! I swear when we get home, I’m gonna have to give a nice lengthy lecture on interrupting people when they’re busy. How about we leave now so I can give you your punishment before dinner-”

“Like hell you are!” the non feature shouted, motioning a hand signal his accomplices. “I was talking to your brother! You two ain’t going nowhere.”

Effryn didn’t need much to sense the two guns pointed directly behind them, finger on the trigger, telling him that they were in extreme danger.

“Yeah, I wasn’t done either.” Gale said, slowly opening his book to the previous page he was on.

“Why the hell are you agreeing with the robber dear kid brother of mine?! We should take this opportunity to leave-err-to learn about our situation at hand!”

Then suddenly, Effryn had the idea to follow his brain on what words he should say.

“The fuck are you two on…?” Non feature grew impatient.

“I hear you loud and clear kid brother of mine!” Effryn happily exclaimed while putting his arm around Gale’s neck, tightly choking him. “I get it robber. It must be tough.”

“Mhm Mhm.” Gale agreed in a hum.

“I-uhh...what?”

“All this work of murder, theft, and running from the cops must be hard. Ain’t it, robber dude?”

“Not really. We mess up their comms and stuff, so we have a pretty clear time frame on when they actually arrive. We actually always have some free time after every raid.” Non feature blankly said, while looking at his purple haired friend. “Speakin’ of which, what’s our time limit?”

“Twenty minutes.”

“Sweet! See, no need for whatever the hell you just said. So we should kill you now, and forget any of this ever happened…” As he said so, he raised his rifle to their stomachs.

“-WaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWaitWait!!!” Effryn dropped to his knees frantically begging for their lives. “Before you make this life changing decision, please reconsider!”

“Reconsider what?”

Reconsider. Reconsider what exactly? Them feeling a rush of dopamine at the feeling of unleashing a hail of bullets at a couple of kids? Effryn would hope that in every other situation, anybody else would stop and realize what they were doing wrong, and let the police take them.

But to the people who already brutally killed someone just as an example, Effryn had the slightest hint that maybe it wasn’t gonna work. He burned through his brain, looking for anything to say.

Nothing’s coming. Nothing. Nothing! Why, why nothing! Please mind, something, anything…!

“I was just thinking, those bags of money were looking a bit too heavy for just four people. Mind if we help?” Gale easily spit out, still in the middle of reading.

The entire room died to silence. Faces were perplexed, and everyone couldn’t believe what they had just heard. Even the robbers faces were a bit surprised.

How the hell are bags of money too heavy at a bank? This isn’t even a popular bank, let alone a well known banker company, so why would they need our help…

“You mean it?! Gah, thanks a bunches you two! We could use the extra hands!”

“...Huh?” Effryn’s arms fell to the ground as he seriously deadpanned.

There probably was some kind of malfunction happening in non features brain that was causing him to make these decisions. But that was instantly debunked when his friends cheered on for the ‘new recruits.’

“Catch!”

“Hmpm.” Gale groaned, struggling to get a grip onto the bag of money thrown at him.

“Ugh!”

Why the hell is mine so heavy?! Scratch that, why in God's name are we committing theft?!

“Good. Now all that’s left is for us to wait on the signal and escape through a bridged part of the sewers we created.”

So to top off everything Effryn had been going through in the past hour, he and Gale were kicked out of their current home, forced to pick up some money, and then, by some chance, walked in on a bank robbery. And to make things worse, they were somehow roped into helping the robbers!

“Pst, Gale. How the hell did we reach this point?” Effryn asked, wondering why he was now holding a handgun in one hand, and a bag of money in the other.

“It’s better here than at the receiving end of these guns. Be thankful.”

“How the hell am I supposed to be thankful when I’M the criminal?!”

“Hey!” Non feature yelled over the countertop, with a controller in one hand, and his rifle in the other. “Be quiet while I’m busy. Do you have a report on the camera feeds?”

He spoke to the controller, and when finished, he waited patiently, until a static of white noise erupted:

“Copy, the film files have been erased. As far as I know, we no longer exist in tape.”

“Kickass! Now let’s hurry so we can get the hell out of here!”

Non feature raised his rifle to the air as if he had given a motivating speech, and the people helping with the heist shouted with a quick joy. All except for Effryn, who was panicking about the situation, and Gale, who was staring off into space taking guesses on what would happen next in his book.

“First we incapacite the hostages, leave through the sewers before twelve shows up, and-”

A smaller girl, who Effryn assumed was helping, interrupted non feature with shouts of panic as she sprinted into the lobby.

“Ken! I-I don’t know, or really understand how, but the cops are coming!”

“Don’t worry about it. Do you have an ETA on when they’ll be here?” non feature reassured her.

“A-about that… They’re already--!!”

Flashing lights filled the outside as sirens blared along the rain. Just from the view of the front door alone, there were about seven police vehicles parked over the street, forming a barricade.

Following the police sirens, a speaker broadcasting an older man’s declaration filled the building:

“This message is to the suspects involved with the robbery. We have you, and the building surrounded. Release the hostages at once, or we can set up a negotiation over radio to get this settled. You have five minutes to respond before we use force.”

And there ended the demands of the officer.

Shit. Shit. Seriously, what is this shit?!

“His voice reminds me of someone…” Gale quietly muttered to himself.

“Now is not the time Gale! What are we gonna do…”

In Effryn’s eyes, he could see himself being roped into this without consent, and forced to rob in order to keep himself alive all for his survival. But in reality, he was just another bank robber, who would be grouped in with a bunch of dumbasses who blew open the front door of the bank they were robbing.

“If we don’t do anything, the hostages might start getting ideas.” Gale said, sticking his tongue out with a bit of sarcasm.

“Why are you thinking like a criminal now?!”

Watching over the hostages, the girl with a purple ponytail tied together canisters.

“So, how should we play?”

“Ugh,” non feature sighed, “honestly, this is a total bite in the ass. If our analytics hadn’t screwed up, we’d be blazen off with stacks for the boss.”

Non feature went to the reception area, kicking down the tables and desks to provide cover.

“But according to our team, we had everything up to date, with no apparent mistakes. They said ‘it was if they knew all along’.”

“Well there’s no more room for killing each other over it. Our main problem are those pigs out there.”

“Agreed.”

“S-so what’s the plan sir?” the smaller girl, who handled the electronics asked timidly.

“Nothing! Keep to the original, except I’m calling for a little surprise. Everyone get ready!”

Get ready for what?! What are we doing?! Oh man, what are we doing…

“Yeehaw.” Gale said without emotion.

“This ain’t the west Gale!”

“Come yonder, I have a job for you two!” non feature called for Effryn and Gale, with Effryn scared for his life as he could hardly nod his head. And Gale was lost in his book, merely responding with a ‘Mhm.”

After a minute of being scolded on the importance of knowing how to wire or ‘Blow up and Die,’ the two hurriedly picked up on the skill of wiring, and meshed together canisters and brick shaped plastic in different areas of the building.

And right now, they were focusing on fitting blocks behind the main receptionist desk.

“Why are we doing this? We should definitely be with those other people, as hostages!”

“But they have a higher chance of dying. We at least have a team with a good plan in mind. And besides, say if you were a hostage and survived, then once you got out the police would want to ask questions, eventually finding out who you are and arresting you on the spot.”

“Eh…”

“So this life style fits you just right!” Gale lightly tapped his finger against his nose.

Effryn looked over to the pile of bricks they had to place, seeing only one left.

“You know Gale, I never thought you’d be joking around like this again. Ever since uh...Frael.”

He picked up the heavy piece and placed it parallel to his last, making a weird zig zag like shape across the floor.

Gale leaned against a tipped-over chair, putting his book on his lap.

“I didn’t I would ever either, but here I am now. When it happened, it was like a bed sheet was wrapped around my head, constricting my breathing and my sight. And adding to that, some buff guy then proceeded to lift the sheet and throw me around.”

“That was a bit too explanatory.”

“But it’s the best description that comes to mind. Don’t mistake me for feeling fully better. In all actuality, I doubt I’ll ever fully get over the entire thing. But I can’t let that distract me from the now of things, and more importantly, the future.”

“Woah.” Effryn’s eyes flared up with stars, knowing Gale had grown up so much. He was just a kid, and yet, he had already experienced so much tragedy. But he still wanted to keep going. With all this, Effryn couldn’t help but shed a small tear, along with a flashing smiley hug, “That’s my little brother!”

“Thanks to this heist, I can really let my mind soothe for a bit.” Gale sarcastically added.

“And there goes my love for you… Wait, your mind is being soothed from this?!”

Even if Gale was hurting, it made Effryn feel tons better knowing he was recovering. Though maybe robbing a bank isn’t the best way therapy.

“You two done? The show’s about to start!”

Looking up, they could see non feature leaning over the desk with a grin.

“I just set the last one.” Effryn regrettably said.

“Nice! Now watch and have fun!”

***

“Chief! What’s our move?”

Detective Knox had been rapidly tapping his fingers against the police car hoping for any kind of development to occur. Anything.

“We wait till our five minute timer is over.”

The chief checked his old timer watch, and saw the time limit was nearly up.

“And in thirty seconds or so, we rush in and use brute force. I’d mentally prepare for a fight if I were you.”

“A f-firefight? Sir, are you sure?”

“Unless you want to abandon the hostages and your job, then I’d suggest you arm.”

The tapping from the chief grew to be more vigorous.

This isn’t making sense. Why are a bunch of idiots pulling off a heist with his kinda equipment? Are they feeling cocky, or…

“Jesus…” His finger became still, and his cigar dropped to the ground. Rain seemed like a perfect match up for this day, or so Knox grew to think. “Watt we’ve gotta move--!!”

A blaring radio signal blasted the police cruisers, as a young man began screaming:

Warning all officers reporting on the scene of the bank. There’s a semi-truck rapidly moving at an estimated 80 Mph to your location. This vehicle is unregistered, and unknown. Repeat, all officers, evacuate off the road IMMEDIATELY!!!

Knox grabbed the hand of his young ignorant assistant and sprinted for the nearest building. He looked far off on the road, and saw a truck speedily swerving everywhere towards their direction.

“B-but sir, what about the heist?”

“Damn the heist! We have a new problem on our hands, cause they have backup!”

“Backup…” Watt focused his gaze on the truck ramming every vehicle in its path. “Is that them?”

“I don’t personally know, but my guts screaming at me that it is!”

The truck swerved and swooned, almost like it’s driver had no prior knowledge of the concept of driving. And as it drew ever near…

“S-sir, if he keeps that up, won’t he…”

“Shit, he’s gonna flip!”

Knox pulled his assistant off the road and dashed into a nearby coffee shop. Everyone inside glared with a cautious look, wondering what was happening in the world outside.

Today was supposed to be my first day as a police office. Thought private Taylor, as he looked at the scene around him. But instead of a normal patrol, I get called up for bank heist. Not only that, but they were an organization the head of police were currently investigating.

Private Taylor stood in the dead middle of the road, surrounded by his fellow officers on duty. Well, besides one of the chiefs, and his assistant. He wondered why they dashed off, but it was probably due to that broadcast everyone heard moments ago.

Taylor glanced at the bank, which had its front doors already pried open, and then down at the road, which a semi came flying from the sky. He looked around, seeing other officers in a daze, focusing on the spectacle of the truck gliding through the air.

Oh well, maybe in my next life I can get in a better position than I am now.

And a moment later, the truck landed, starting in a barrel roll. It crushed God knows how many vehicles, along with people, and only hardly slowed down. Metal heavily clunked against the asphalt, as tons of scrap flew as far as the eye could see.

He saw his advisor, who taught him the ropes and know hows on surviving as a cop, get crushed under the tons of metal. He saw his new friend, who had helped him get to know everybody around the office, even buying him lunch, get skewered by the wrath of tiny shrapnel.

He thought for sure he was going to be crushed, as the truck rolled it’s next directly to him.

But in a miraculous move, the truck failed to roll anymore, and came to a halt maybe less than a foot away.

Did I… No, no, no, no… why am I the only one to live? Maybe… Maybe it was God’s will? Maybe It’s my job to tell the tale of every brave hero here, and pass on the legends of--

And acting as a grand finale to the entire killer truck, it seemling imploded, spreading flames everywhere. Anyone close to the explosion would surely have been killed instantly, as the impact, and more shrapnel, erupted. Especially the novice cop, Taylor, who died with what he thought would have been a fun career.

Detective Knox only saw a glance of the explosion, but hid himself to avoid any shrapnel, or shards of glass from windows. He heard screams, but there weren’t too many, which he found strange.

“S-s-s-s-sir?” Watt had barely been able to muster, trembling on the ground. “E-everybodies…”

Knox looked up, and saw many of the previous customers filled with shards of glass and metal, with blood plastered from every corner of the room.

In the middle, was a wailing child in the arms of her father. A woman, presumably her mother, lay on the floor as blood soaked the red carpet.

“E-excuse me, little girl…” Watt picked himself up. “Don’t worry, we’ll escort both you and your father to a safer area.”

“Watt, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Knox rejected.

“B-but sir, we have to get this girl and her father to safety-”

But before he could finish, the father’s body fell to the ground. Blood began slowly pouring from him.

“I wouldn’t do that because there’s no more father.”

“Jesus fuck...Why did the monsters do this?”

Watt kneeled down at the girl and held her, trying to comfort her as her wails echoed with the burning rain.

“We came to find out, but we heavily underestimated their desperate suicide attacks.” Knox picked himself up, and unsheathed his revolver. “I’ll round up the remaining and able men, and force our way in. You stay here with the girl.”

“But sir?”

“No buts Watt, that’s an order.”

Knox went to the entrance of the shop, and tried opening the door, only for it to completely fall off.

“Good luck sir!” Watt yelled.

Looking at the wreckage of the scene, he could tell a lot of men were lost. But there were still some, as they had also sprinted off to different buildings for cover.

Pulling his radio from his pocket, Knox shouted orders with full force:

All able and ready men, report near the entrance of the bank. I repeat, all able and ready men, bring your asses to the bank. We are going to war with these bastards!”

“WooHoo! Look at those fireworks!” Non feature shouted, throwing his fist in the air.

“Holy wow…” Gale muttered, watching in awe as flames caressed the outside of the bank. “I’m starting to think we should we leave.”

“Leave?! We should have left ages ago! Please, can we leave now?”

Effryn knew what they were doing had already put them on a five star wanted level, but if they kept this up, things could get real serious. Gunfire might starting going off, and civilians and police men would get killed…

“Alright, bombs ahoy!!”

“Wait wha-”

Before Effryn could finish his sentence, the bricks he and Gale had placed earlier went off in small explosives, with sparks flying everywhere.

“Everyone go down, I’ll keep a look out while I-”

“Sir,” the small hacker girl frantically interrupted, “sorry but we’re about to have trouble. The remaining police are gathering troops to swarm. I’d suggest to prepare for a heavy firefight.”

A firefight? That means…

Effryn looked at his small sidearm, comparing it to the massive hulking weapon of the assault rifle that non feature carried.

“Excuse me, but how am I supposed to fight with this?!”

“Oh?” Non feature looked with a curious glance, but only laughed at what he saw. “Ha, silly boy! That was meant for intimidation, not for a shootout. I saved a gift for this moment just incase any more pigs still wanted to fight.”

“Effryn, I want to go home.” Gale expressed himself more seriously, tugging away at his sleeve.

“Oh, now you wanna leave?!”

Oh I swear, If we survive this, I’m gonna make you read thousands of books, until you can’t read anymore! Effryn beamed happily, despite this being the only punishment he could come up with for Gale.

And before anyone knew it, the short girl yelled with her lungs at max:

“Riot shields incoming!”

And from the door came men with heavy clunking shields one by one. They moved in a slow, yet matching form, masking themselves in unison approach. And taking cover behind the shields were men with heavy duty weapons like rifles and shotguns.

“Full speed everyone! And remember--don’t stop!”

Effryn had no clue on what his surroundings entailed, and only followed Gale as he was lead to where the explosion went off from where they placed their final plastic block under the reception desk. There, a small hole leading to an underground area, which was probably the sewers, was a circular hallway with water reaching his ankles.

Above him, small bursts of gunfire and screams echoed, until the sound of loose gas added with the sounds, eventually over taking the other two completely.

“Hurry, hurry! Unless you wanna be gassed out, I suggest you make a move on!”

Effryn glanced back to see non feature sprinting, while a gas with the color of red steadily approached.

Jesus shit. What the hell is going on?

“Keep moving up. Further along the path should be a crevice, where we’ll need to crouch through so we can escape. Got it?”

“Yes sir!” Practically everyone said in unison except Gale and Effryn, and for one other guy. He had been further behind the rest, including the two heftier ones...when Effryn had heard a small thump in the water.

“Gah…!”

The man had slipped and fell in murky water. He picked himself up, only to find a red mist surrounding him.

“S-sir, I don’t know, I can’t know...where am I…?” he cried out as his skin blister with red coverings, eventually being masked within the crimson mist.

“Uh, I don’t really know where to go, but I’ll just keep following you Gale!”

“Sure...thing…”

Effryn heard a sheepish tone in his voice, but thought he was just tired as this was probably Gale’s first time running for his life.

-But when Gale collapsed in front of him, he knew he was tired tired.

“Shit, Gale?!”

Effryn could barely hear a moan, but to him was nothing but rubbish.

“You two, what the hell is taking so long? Hurry before the gas gets you!”

Looking back, the red fumes quickly speed up, as if its speed increased by the second.

“Damnit Gale you’re gonna owe me!”

He lifted Gale over his shoulders, and began in what Effryn thought to be his greatest sprint yet. If he were to slow or trip in any way, the poison would surely catch up and kill them both.

“Over here!” Non feature waved, showing a small hole in the wall.

Effryn wished upon God for strength and endurance, hoping he wouldn’t make a mistake. He could feel the gas nearly able to touch him without having to look around, and used this as an incentive to run faster.

“Give the boy to me.”

Effryn promptly followed, roughly tossing Gale to non feature, to which he caught. Gale swiftly disappeared within the hole, and Effryn did his best to follow. He slid in the escape, and found himself in a darker area with the surviving robbers.

“Quick put this over!” the short girl exclaimed, handing over a large piece of rock. “Its the wall cover. Put it on now or we’re all dead!”

“Ah!”

Effryn rolled the big piece of rock to the hole, and did his best to effectively cover the wall to prevent any smoke from entering. He had trouble at first, and nearly panicked himself to run away as small bits of mist flew from cracks, but he eventually found the sweet spot in the wall, and pushed with his entire body weight to make a perfect fit.

Fidgeting away from the rock, Effryn made sure to get a far enough distance incase any gas still poured out. But when he looked back, the dim torch only revealed rocks.

“Is that it?” he questioned, not really sure to himself or everybody else.

“Look at you two rookies! I’m proud of everything you accomplished today, so make sure to use this payday well.”

. We sure did survive everything, huh Gale…

“Gale?” he asked, looking at non feature and everywhere around him.

“Calm down brother, the kids fine. See.”

Effryn followed closely as non feature pointed at a figure sleeping. Though it was a bit difficult to tell at first, Effryn could point out Gale’s small patch of green hair anytime.

“The little bugger must’ve been tired if he passed out from running for only a second or two.”

“Gale... “ Effryn said with a hint of happiness in his voice. “Thank God you’re ok.”

He checked up on him, and saw nothing wrong with him for the time being.

“So what now?”

“Now we get the hell out of here. Those pigs should have no idea where we are, so we should be fine after we leave. You two get somewhere safe and stay low for a while, understand?”

“Yep.”

He looked beyond the dark tunnel, but only saw the recurrence of darkness. He didn’t know how long of a walk it would be, or what might lie after the tunnel, but Effryn knew he had to escape no matter what.

“Oh, don’t forget your bread for today.” Non feature reached out his hand, giving Effryn a stack of cash. It definitely wasn’t too heavy, but neither was it the average amount a person would hold. “Welp, we’re off!”

“Bye-bye.”

I guess… What am I supposed to say, ‘Yeah bro, catch you on the next heist!’?

“So what are you gonna do with your money Beth?” echoed the voice of non feature, bouncing from wall to wall.

“I’ve yet to figure something out. But I can probably guess you’re going to buy something for your stupid game online, right?”

Beth...where have I heard that name?

He felt a slight reminiscence from that name. Beth. Like it was something he had to know.

Who? Who? Who?!

Effryn rammed his brain trying to figure out an answer, and felt his mind roughly neutrons away from thinking up the answer.

“Effryn?” a soft whisper came from below.

It was Gale. He must have just woken up as he was rubbing his moopy eyelids.

“Aw, finally awake? Perfect timing! Let’s go home before they find out where we went.”

“Where are we?”

“Let’s just say we took a cheeky branch off from the sewer.”

“Kay.” he sheepishly muttered, picking himself up.

Damn, maybe I’ll remember Beth later. He thought, as he navigated him and Gale from the depths of the tunnels.

“Damnit!!” Knox furiously yelled as he slammed a nearby desk. “Where the hell could those bastards have gone!”

“Sir, we’ve received info from other groups telling us they’ve yet to come out from the other exit points in the sewers.”

Knox and his current group had been fortunate enough to get out the gases range before they were affected. Though that couldn’t be said for everybody…

“All in all, we lost most of the hostages, and four of our guys.” one of his remaining men said trying to fact check his report.

“Shit…”

Ambulance men came and went, with either the injured or the dead. Some of the new people coming in seemed happy with what they had, but no matter what, the mood wasn’t budging.

“Sir, I handed that little girl to the rescue men. Right now, they say she’s suffering from shock, but amazingly not uninjured.”

“Sounds good. Let’s head back to HQ and recover ourselves.” the chief admitted defeatedly.

“Yes sir.”

He responded trying to mend himself, but echoed with the same disheartened tone.

After escaping from the part sewer/hideaway, Effryn and Gale carefully walked through the city with their heads low. Night crept along during the incident, but the rain remained. There weren’t many cars out late at this time. Or people. News broke out that the bank robbers who successfully robbed the bank, and how they killed countless bystanders from a ‘distraction’ had yet to be caught.

And so, people picked up on the idea of what if? Those poor bastards in the area of the bank had no way of knowing a horrific scheme was in motion, and they paid with their lives for it. There were hardly any people out, which in turn made it more suspicious for the people who still were out.

“Only a bit longer till we reach Eizer’s house.” Effryn muttered while pulling the hood over his head trying to keep him warm.

“Idiot. He said his parents were home.”

Gale chewed at Effryn, though he had a slight shiver in his voice.

“Well, we have no other option at this point. I’m sure everywhere is on lock down right now, looking for any kind of people responsible for the things we did.”

“Understandable. So where do we sleep?”

A simple question to which Effryn had a simple solution to.

“In his yard.”

“Great.”

With hardly any options available, Effryn thought best to go back to Eizer’s and find patch of backyard to get cozy and sleep the night off. Sure, it wasn’t the best plan, but what else could they do? The entire city was practically searching for him at this point, though they don’t exactly know it was him.

“Watch out for a car!”

Effryn held Gale close as he hid in an alleyway, shielding themselves from being seen from the headlights.

“Ew, it’s messy here.” whined Gale.

“Holy jeez! It really is...hey I feel like I remember this place.”

This narrow space reminded him of something persistent…

“Yeah, let’s get out of here!”

“Okay.”

Gale clearly held no objections in leaving, so they continued on back ‘home.’

Yeah, I'd rather not go back and visit the doctors and mine little chase game.

Remembering his game of ‘pray you don’t get injected with God knows what!’ Effryn wanted nothing more than to get Gale away. Though…

I really wonder where I’ve heard Beth from… Ah well, I should focus on getting home and resting.

After leaving the horror memory lane alleyway, Effryn saw and dodged passing cars by hiding behind objects, such as dumpsters, signs-the list could go on.

And he knew there was plenty more stealthing to do. So together, they both did what they could to stay sheathed under the blanket of the night.

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About the author

Kaiydyn

Bio: nushy

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