Water dripped down her chin. Hands reached out blindly looking for a paper towel. She took two deep breaths as time slowly ticked by. Cassie waited. How am I going to get this done without anyone getting killed? she thought. Her eyes glanced down at her watch. It was 8:58 a.m. If she was going to do this, the time was now. Closing her eyes, Cassie ran her hands down her uniform shirt and unbuttoned each clasp one at a time. Tearing it free of her body left her standing with only her white tank top. I can’t take the chance of them knowing I’m a cop. A lump formed in her throat as she gulped. Tenderly Cassie folded up the shirt, allowing her walkie to lay across the top. She then opened the trash can and placed the uniform top within.
“I will come back for you later.”
Cassie rolled her shoulders and pulled her gun from the holster, gripping it tightly. She inched towards the bathroom door, opened it, and moved down the short hallway. Voices drifted down the hall as people talked peacefully amongst each other. Suddenly a loud bang rang out that shook her to her core. She peeked around the corner as five men walked in carrying black bags, just like in her vision. Her eyes darted around the room taking in all the people who were there. As before, Gregory wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
The leader broke off from the group and walked over to the teller stand. Cassie didn’t need to be in close range to understand what was being said. He was demanding the money in the tills and poor Sally was scared. Her muscles tightened as she lowered herself to the floor. The four men scanned the crowd of people, circling them into a small group. They were then forced to sit on the floor and wait.
Any minute now Tim would come out of his office, so she had to act fast. Looking at the two desks sitting in the back of the room, Cassie made a dash to the closest one. Her butt slid across the floor as she turned to peek above the top. Good, no one saw me. Now only feet away from the hostages, Cassie took in each individual. She assessed the situation as an officer should. If only she would have turned her head slightly her eyes would have connected with a figure standing in the shadows of the hall.
One of the women was crying her eyes out. She was with a large, bulky man who was probably her husband. His shoulders were squared and ready to strike if anyone touched, but his focus was on the woman in tears. His arm was protectively wrapped around her as his eyes danced over the masked men. He has military training or could be in the force. This might work to my benefit if I give him a big enough opening to act.
Slowly, she inched her way towards the edge of the desk. Her eyes peered out, watching every movement the leader took. Cassie shot a glance at the security door. Still closed. It didn’t look like it was the right time yet for Gregory to make his move. The leader looked in her direction. She twisted herself around, pressing her back up against the wall of the desk. Closing her eyes, she prayed he hadn’t seen her. A few moments passed and nothing happened. She released a sigh of relief.
“What are you waiting for, missy? I want these bags filled and ready in less than five minutes. You understand?”
Cassie snuck a glance over her shoulder to see the leader pacing along the teller stands. Sally was grabbing cash and flinging it into the bags as fast as she could. She breathed slowly, trying to keep her heart from racing. Easy girl, it’s almost time. Panic couldn’t cripple her right now. She had to keep a level head, because seconds later the shit was going to hit the fan.
Snick. Tim’s door shut.
“What in God’s name is going on here!”
Right on time.
The leader growled in irritation. Cassie edged to the left to keep Tim from seeing her. Tim flung his arms into the air as the leader forced his gun into Tim’s face. She could feel the fear coming off him and the others in the room. God, I hope this works.
“Apparently you missed one, boys!”
Tim whimpered as he was drug to the floor.
“If you move you die, understand?”
His words sent gooseflesh across her skin. This guy deserved to die. Cassie closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, then slowly raised herself up and waited for her cue. The security door was cracked open. Eyes peered out from the darkness. Any second now.
“Is there anyone else in this damn bank I should know about?” the leader yelled, slamming his fist down on the countertop in rage.
Gregory threw open the security door just like he had in her vision. He shot off two rounds, aimed at the leader. The leader jumped behind the safety of the teller stands. Cassie bit her lip with trepidation. Labored breathing followed as the leader stood up, shaking himself. His dark eyes glared at the door.
“What the hell are you waiting for, an invitation?” yelled the leader. “Shoot!”
Her shoulders scrunched as gunshots filled the room. Even though she knew he was okay, Cassie couldn’t help but fear for Gregory. Silence followed. The leader motioned towards the red-haired man. He broke from the group and slid inside the security room.
Silence followed. No one left the security room. The leader’s eyes darted right and left. His breathing became labored. The anticipation was killing him, and it was killing her, too. Now was the moment to act.
“I’ve had enough of this shit!” the leader yelled out.
Now! Cassie moved faster than she ever had in her life. His hand reached out to grab Tim. Cassie grabbed him by the wrist mid-swipe. He yelped out loud, wide eyed. She twisted his arm up around his back, snatching his gun. He grunted in pain.
“Where the hell did you come from?” he growled between gritted teeth.
The three remaining men looked in her direction. Cassie hid behind the leader, using him as a human shield.
“Drop your weapons!”
The men looked at each other. Something passed between their eyes. Then to her surprise, and the leader’s, they all raised their guns and aimed directly at her hostage. I can’t believe they would kill one of their own. Panic filled her as she waited for the right moment to take cover.
“Hey you dumbasses, don’t you even think about shooting!”
Cassie was hoping they would stand down, but she wasn’t so lucky.
She dropped to the floor and rolled back behind the desk, leaving the leader to fend for himself. He fell to the floor with a gunshot wound in his right shoulder. The three men went to take cover, but Gregory jumped out at that exact moment, taking one of the men down.
“Police! Hands in the air.”
Cassie turned toward the hallway to see Max emerging from the shadows. He jumped behind the teller stands using them for cover. The tallest of the men shot bullet after bullet at Max. Dammit, I will get my ass rung again if he gets hit. Without thinking Cassie flung herself over the top of the desk.
The man shooting at Max grabbed his chest and toppled over. Everything that happened afterwards was just a blur. Two men remained. One reached to grab the woman Cassie had recognized, but was taken back when her husband jumped up and slammed his fist into the side of his head. He threw his body down on top of the man, pinning him to the floor.
Cassie saw Max standing over the last man. Max had nailed him in the chest while he was distracted by the husband’s antics. Gregory stepped out from behind the teller stalls then made his way over to Sally and the girls. Slowly they took his hand and got off the floor. Tears fell freely from everyone in the room. I can’t believe we got out of this alive. Cassie glanced at Max, who looked her straight in the eye. Something dark flashed across his face.
“It’s over,” Gregory said, comforting Sally.
Sirens rang through the room. Police cars pulled up moments later and the doors flew open. The sergeant stomped in, taking in the scene. Worry filled his eyes. And was that relief she saw when he looked at her?