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A Short Story: Countdown

posted May 9, 2018, 4:46 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Catherine Alder, Staff Writer

Posted May 9th, 2018

United bank was generally a peaceful rather mundane place. People coming and going, complaining about the weather. Boring. Like any other day. Like any other bank, but today was not like other days; today a couple of delinquents decided to ruin my day. I sat in a chair by the window, facing the exit, filling out a deposit slip, when in walked our masked miscreants. The taller of the two shouted for everyone to get on the ground or they’d start shooting people; the shorter one pulled a gun and pointed it around the room in random directions. I slid down out of my seat and crouched behind it. They didn’t check the room before they entered it they didn’t even do a head count. They had no idea I was there, I could be calling the cops if I wanted to and they would have no clue. Incompetent.

“Hey! You hands above the counter where I can see ‘em” the shorter one shouted at the teller, who had tried to trigger the silent alarm. She didn’t succeed.

The taller one pulled his own gun out of his jacket holster like he was James Bond or something, “Open the vault, if you value your life don’t try to call the police.” and then he said to the short one, “Ja-Jason watch them. Make sure they don’t try anything.” Fools, most people choose a fake name that starts with the same letter as their own name, that combined with his hesitation and the look of confusion on “Jason’s” face completely gave it away. He started to say Ja- so James, Jamie, Jacob etc. Probably Jacob. Jacob pointed his gun at random people looking around the room; he still hasn’t noticed I am here. The bank employee open the huge door to the vault and the taller brunet started to follow him in, I turned the dial on my watch back five minutes, everything froze in place. Blue light washed over the room I stood up and walked across the room. The heels of my boots clicked noisily against the tiled floor, harsh against the absolute silence. I pulled as much money as I could fit in my bag out of the vault, shoving it in my black backpack. I left the area quickly not wanting to waste an extra second in the tiny claustrophobic room. I checked my watch, the numbers glowed an ominous red through the scratched surface; two minutes thirty-six seconds. I crouched next to Mr tall and stupid and tied his shoelaces together. He was wearing jeans and a trench coat. One minute, I pulled the gun out of his hands and waited. The gun was old looking revolver, its dark wood handle shined in the bright sunlight. The blue faded away as my time ran out.

Hey!” he shouted in surprise and moved to point a gun he no longer held at me, “Where did you even come fr- Wait that’s my gun! H-how!?”

I just laughed, “What this?” holding it in one gloved hand.

Jacob came around the corner to yell his companion, “What’s going on, Tony? Do you have the money? Wait- Who are you?” It took him long enough to notice me honestly, neither of them are very bright. He pointed his gun at me, unlike his partner, he didn’t use a revolver. I sighed, and shot him in the leg, he screamed and fell. Tony yelled and went to lunge toward him but fell on his face with a thud that echoed through the quiet room, before he could get up I knocked him out and jumped over him walking away, as I neared Jacob he yelled at me asking who I was.

“Jacob, Jacob, what makes you think I’ll tell you that. I am not that stupid.” I replied.

“How do you know my name?” he responded confusion written across his face.

“Isn’t it obvious?” I called over my shoulder as I darted toward the exit. Normally I would rob the place and get out before the blue time was up but my pride got the better of me this time. I just had to prove to them just how foolish they were. Great. Just great. I wasn’t afraid of the regular police they could never catch me, all I have to do is stop time. But the but the wannabe hero squad will come knocking to lecture me about using my powers for good, or that it’s not too late to turn my back on villainy and join the good guys. They forget that this is real life not a comic book and the line between good and bad isn’t so clear cut; their moral absolutism servers no one, but they won’t accept that. These mutations don’t make them Superman. We are just that mutants. It is not a bad thing but we are not superheros, we are just humans with slightly different genetic makeup. I am not a villain. I am not a good person, but I am not evil.

As soon as I walked out of the door a vanished into the sea of people walking down the busy city sidewalk. An acoustic guitar accompanied a beautiful voice singing a song I had never heard before, probably an original. The sign sitting in his case said college fund. His music was amazing and many people stopped and listened but there was only a few dollars in the case. The “good guys” wouldn’t even notice, he was just another ordinary person. I set my watch back a minute. The city finally stopped; I walked over and left a large amount of money in the case under the sign so he would notice right away and so that no one would steal it. I didn’t want to make a scene, and I was never a fan of attention, so I leave my gifts secretly. I stepped back away from the case, back into the crowd as time resumed and listened for as long as I could risk. I tossed a five into the case smiled at him and continued on my way. As much as I hated living in the city it was useful, and I didn’t want to leave just yet. Though I probably should. I am over reacting they won’t care. They won’t notice. They won’t come after me. They won’t find me. I desperately tried to convince myself that no one would find me if I stayed. I finally decided to just stay in the shadows long enough for them to forget I existed and move on to bigger targets. After all, I only robbed a bank and I stopped the original thieves, don’t superheroes have larger threats to deal with?