IV. Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)
Tony wasn’t that eager to deliver his request. He knew what he wanted, just as well as Trent did. But his wish had to be carefully formulated and expressed. He cuddled his feather, stroke it gently with his finger, spoke to it softly, explaining, elaborating, adding extra touches to his mental picture, which was about to come true.
“This is a robbery! I want everyone to stand still. Nobody’s going to get hurt, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Your alarm system is dysfunctional at the moment.”
Tony still wore his patrol-man uniform. It didn’t really matter, assuming that the initial puzzlement the customers felt towards a cop who suddenly decided to change sides won’t last too long to slow the operation down. He was a servant of the law for quite some time and knew perfectly well that lawful ways are slow and plodding. He was tired of waiting.
“Please put half of the contents of that safe behind you in the bag and hand it over to me” – Tony took his breath. – «And someone has to come with me as a hostage”.
There she was. Right where he wanted her to be. In his still rather haphazardly constructed version of reality, she wasn’t of course the… whoever she was before. There was nothing indecent or unbecoming about her. Just a local clerk, one among many for everyone else. A virgin, of course. He was very specific in this part of his request. Untouched, unharmed and unused. Modest.
“Come with me, my dear. I mean you no harm. We’ll just take a ride. Take the money-bag with you, please”.
Sue got up from her seat, moving slowly, as if something was restraining her or the air around her suddenly grew too thick. The usual spark of defiance was gone from her eyes filled to the brim with puzzlement. Tony took her hand and started to retreat slowly towards the exit. He wasn’t in a big hurry. The news about the robbery won’t reach his or any other police department too soon, he made sure of it.
Slowly he walked Sue towards the car, whispering tenderly in her ears: “Don’t worry! We’ll make it out of here, and we’ll buy the house and we’ll live a long and happy life.”
Tony helped his strangely dull and unresponsive hostage to get into the car and stood outside for a while, trying to hear the sound of sirens. There was none just yet, but there sure will be some pursuit by the time they’ll get to the roadblock.
There was a roadblock at the end of every road that led outside the city borders. Nobody remembered who or why established those roadblocks but they were maintained, monitored and properly manned by the city authorities for as long as Tony remembered. If you wanted to get in or out of the city, you had to pass through the check-point.
Tony thought about this in advance, of course. By sheer stroke of luck, gracefully provided by his tiny wish maker, the only person who could let him through and sign all the necessary papers to make his escape as legal as possible was in charge of the roadblock today. His own brother.
“Hello, Dave” – Tony extended his hand nonchalantly to a portly patrol-man who ran towards the car with his face red and soaked in sweat and his hand clutched on the grip of his gun – “I need your help.”
“Tony! So, you’re the guy who…” – Dave was dumbstruck – “What are you doing?! Why would you…”
“I’m tired of all this, Dave. I want to get out” – Tony thought for a moment and added – “You can come with us, if you want. I’ve got enough money now.”
“That’s ridiculous! I’ve got my own life, you know” – Dave sighed and shook his head in resignation. – “You’re my brother. I have to let you go, if you want to go. I’ll cover it up somehow. But that’s about it. Who’s with you?”
Dave walked around the car to take a look at Sue, who sat motionlessly in her seat, with her hands hanging loosely by her sides and her head turned towards the window. She was utterly silent. There was a single tear in her eye.
Dave took a couple of steps away from the car. He strengthened up and steadied his gaze. He clutched his gun again.
“I’ll let you through, Tony. Just you. Not with… her.” – Dave gulped – “Not with Sue. You have to let the hostage go. Those are the rules.”
Tony lost his temper at once.
“She’s mine! Mine, not yours! I’m taking her with me” – Now Tony was holding the gun too – “I wished for her and my wish was granted!”
“I don’t have to comply with your wishes, Tony!”
A single gunshot boomed, and it was Dave who managed to shoot first, putting his bullet straight through his brother’s forehead.
Dave shook his head once more and looked dazedly at his gun. His hand started to tremble, so he barely managed to put his gun back in the holster. After that he turned to his subordinates, who kept their distance, not sure what to do,
“Call the headquarters!” – Snapped Dave – “Tell them to call the pursuit off! Tell them the robber was shot as he tried to leave the city.”
Then Dave looked at Sue, who kept blinking and rubbing her eyes drowsily. He held out his hand.
“Let me help you!” – He started to walk towards the car, but before he could touch Sue she disappeared, as if erased neatly and suddenly. Dave felt the air move around him and distinctly heard the fluttering of wings.
Sue finally came to her senses. It felt good to be herself again. In fact, what Sue felt was utter bliss. She was lifted in the air by some invisible force, which embraced her gently and carefully. That force had a voice.
“There you are! I’ve found you at last! I don’t want to lose you again.”
Sue felt the embrace grow a little tighter around her.