Everything took place so fast, or that I thought. It was almost time for the branch to close; there were only four clients inside when the two hooded men entered.
“To the ground, fuck!” Those were the first words spoken by the head man, while raising the revolver he was holding in his right hand.
Martha, the new intern, was the only person who remained standing after the shout, arms moved up. The rest of us didn’t hesitate obeying the bandit’s call.
“Hey, you, bitch! I’d said down to the ground!”
I saw her. She was trembling, absolutely paralyzed by fear, and unable to follow those simple instructions. I was afraid of that guy would use his weapon against her, so I opted for speaking.
“We’ll obey, calm down”, I said, without daring to look in his direction. “Allow me to help her lie down, OK?”
After a tense silence, the robber agreed with this. Trying to do it the slowest possible way, I stood up and moved towards Martha. Her eyes crossed mine, although she looked incapable of move even her head. I put my hand on her shoulder before talking.
“It won’t happen anything. If we’ll do what they’re saying, I’m sure all is gonna be fine.”
She managed to nod, with some effort, and began to lower her arms at the same time that suggesting a smile. At this point, I swear it, I was convinced of what I was just said.
I was wrong.
“You, motherfucker! What the hell are ya doin’?”
I pictured a gun aiming at my head, and an anxious finger about to pull the trigger. When I turned around, the reality was different: the second thief had drawn a weapon too (a pistol) and was aiming at the floor. One of the clients was holding a small cellular, who knows if his intention was to make a call or a photo. Anyway, that hadn’t pleased the armed man, more than willing to use his pistol in seconds.
Both of them were masked, so their voices sounded almost unrecognizable. However, I was able to recognize whom just talked.
“Peter?” I asked, being aware of the mistake the very moment I made the question. He abandoned his target and aimed me instead. With a courage outburst, or maybe craziness, I said to him: “You won’t get away with this, and you know it.”
Miraculously, my words didn’t make Peter shoot me, but putting down his weapon and preparing to holster it. The first one, revolver on hand, was observing the scene saying nothing.
“Let’s go out”, Peter said.
“Out? Are you nuts? This guy here knows who you are, and if you’re caught…”
“What the hell I can do, huh?” Peter raised his voice. The other didn’t look like to be pleased by that.
So he shot directly to his face.
Had I said Martha was more calmed? At the moment, a high-pitched yell sounded behind me, clarifying that woman’s nerves had trespassed its limit. Simultaneously the alarm bell started to be heard. I think John activated it. The thief, with his gun still smoking, aimed at Martha.
One never knows how he could react in a situation like that. If you asked me, only a couple of days ago, surely my answer would be to lie down on the floor, trying not to see what would happen around me.
What I did was putting myself between the gun and the woman. Ultimately, between her and the bullet.
It wasn’t a hit, nor a pinch; rather it was an intense and fast burning in the chest. The alarm kept sounding, muffled by the more and more intense (that I believed) yells of Martha. I think I heard sirens, bangs and more shots… But all that was fleeing far away from me.
Because, when all ended, I was already dead.