100 Theme #2: Behind Bars

Second story in the 100 Theme Challenge. 98 to go...

Word #2: Complicated

Behind Bars
By BushMaid

A figure crouched in the dark shadows of the building. Though the streetlights lit up most of the street, their light did not reach him in the alleyway, where the night held a multitude of secrets. Dressed completely in black, he watched the building across the street, his eyes darting about nervously. He let his fingers run over the cold metal of the pistol he carried, trying to calm his shaking hands. This was his first assignment, and he was afraid. He had never done this before, and he hoped everything would go smoothly. He eyed his watch, also hoping that his teammates would turn up soon.

The gravel of the nearby sidewalk was crunched underfoot, and the figure pinned himself against the wall, shrinking away from the light at the end of the street. He held his breath as an ordinary business man made his way past, unaware of him watching. Just as the young man relaxed, a hand suddenly shot out of the blackness and clamped over his mouth. Fear and panic flooding his mind, his knees sagged and he slid down the wall. Discovered!

A deep chuckled brought him to his senses, and the second figure pulled down his balaclava revealing a set of gleaming white teeth, grinning devilishly.

“Scare you, Joe?” His smug voice asked.

Joe tore the hand away from his mouth contemptuously. “Mick, you fool!” He rasped out. “I could have shot you!”

Mick continued to chuckle as he kicked a metal object on the ground. “It would have been difficult without your gun.” He flashed another grin at Joe’s discomfort.

Snatching up the gun scowling, Joe wiped the water from the barrel before concealing it inside his jacket. “Where’s Clive? Why isn’t he here?”

“He’ll get here when he gets here,” Mick answered, serious now as he pulled the balaclava back up over his face. He produced a similar pistol and, withdrawing a cylindrical tube from his pocket, Mick proceeded to screw the silencer on the end of the stubby barrelled automatic.

“Come on,” He finally said.

They moved to the edge of the alley, looking both ways to make sure that the street was empty. Quickly, silently, they dashed across the street and hid in the shadows of the building Joe had been observing earlier. Joe glanced around warily. 

“He said he’d be here,” He whispered.

There was a muffled thud from the back of the building, and the two men whirled around towards the sound. A tall figure emerged from behind the wall, moving in their direction.

“When I say I’ll be somewhere, I’ll be there.” The cool sophisticated voice was unmistakable. 

“Glad you made it, Clive.” Mick replied subserviently.

“Let’s go.” Clive said bluntly, and everyone moved.

Entering the building turned out quite simple. The lock was not as complicated as Mick had anticipated, and it wasn’t more than ten minutes before the solid plated door made a slight ping sound and creaked slowly open. Mick hurriedly shoved his lock-picking tools into his backpack and they cautiously crept inside.

The cool polished tiles felt alien to the intruders’ feet, the deserted reception area watchful as they stepped just inside the threshold. Mick passed his loaded pistol to Clive, and as Joe pointed to various locations around the room, Clive fired the silenced pistol at every security camera he indicated; bullets smashing their glass lenses. Joe nodded. That was all of them. Stealthily, they ran past the clerk’s desk down the hallway.

Another wait whilst Mick’s expert fingers found their way through the iron barred door. Coming to his feet, he pushed the door open silently. Clive shoved past him and into the room. Walking straight to a large vault in the wall, he gestured towards it. Mick understood. He quickly set to work turning the dial, the tumblers inside clicking as he did. A sudden clunk made Joe jump, and Mick pulled the unlocked vault open. Clive peered inside.

Pulling a tiny flashlight from his pocket, Clive passed the beam over the contents of the deep safe. His mustached mouth twitched into a satisfied smirk. It was what he had come for.

“Pass me the bag,” He commanded.

Joe dug into his backpack and produced the requested bag. Snatching it from Joe’s hand, Clive deftly swept piles of one hundred dollar notes into the sack, raking the tightly tied piles of money from the safe with his arm. Joe watched nervously; his heart beating his throat, threatening to choke him. They had been here for some time...

A wailing scream shattered the silence, a siren blared unexpectedly out of nowhere. Suddenly the room was flooded with pulsating red light, and Joe’s shocked gaze saw the security light spinning in crazy circles on the ceiling. Clive and Mick shoved past him at a run, heading for the door. Joe - startled - began to follow - only to be met by the cold steel of the iron bars. 

“Hey!” He shouted, panicked. “Wait! I’m stuck!”

He saw Clive and Mick stop in the hallway, strangely unworried about the raucous sound of the sirens. Their lips curled into sly grins, and Joe felt a cold weight in the pit of his stomach.

“Help me!” He shouted, pleading. “Why are you doing this?!”

Clive simply pulled a hundred dollar bill from the depths of the sack. Running under his nose, he took a deep sniff, before glancing up at the whirling red security light above him. The sound of police car sirens suddenly added to the wailing alarms, and his grin widened viciously.

“It’s complicated,” he replied at length as he turned and strode down the hallway, Mick close behind him.

“Noooooo!!” Joe cried as they fled the bank.

Words he thought he had forgotten, a memory he thought he had buried suddenly surfaced in his mind; their clarity burning painfully as he closed his eyes. 

Thou shalt not steal.

“Never again,” He told himself brokenly, as the handcuffs clicked around his wrists. 


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