The thin wail of the sirens echoed off of the buildings as the police maneuvered their way through the streets.
Outside, the crowd was becoming larger, the people at the back standing on their toes and craning their necks to get a glimpse, regardless of any danger. The traffic was at a standstill, and cars horns were beeping, their drivers yelling profanities.
Trying hard not to smirk as he ignored the noise, Ben held one gloved hand out.
“It’s over,” he said, his voice calm and steady. “Why don’t you just hand it over, and no one needs to get hurt.”
The man standing behind the counter gritted his teeth. Ben could see his eyes dart from side to side, desperate for an escape, the mask covering his face damp with sweat.
“Oh, that’s just what you want me to do, isn’t it?” the man yelled, a revolver in one hand and the bag, bulging with cash, gripped tightly in the other.
Ben shrugged,” You’re cornered. What choice do you have? You’re already a criminal, but some will see you as confused, lost. If you start shooting though, that’s something different.”
The man’s mouth twisted in a snarl.
“Fine, here’s your money!”
Throwing the bag at Ben, he leapt over the counter, landing neatly as his cape swirled around him, and aimed his revolver at him.
Fumbling with the bag, Ben swore as he noticed the other man’s hands shake slightly.
The crowd behind him gasped and shrieked. Someone screamed. The staff lying on the floor kept their heads down but seemed to huddle closer together.
Narrowing his eyes, Ben threw the bag back at the man who, not expecting it, stared at it as it landed on the floor with a thud.
Ben threw himself at him, his right fist landing on his face. He cringed as he heard it crack.
Staggering back, the man caught hold of the counter, his eyes swimming with tears.
“What the hell?” he gasped, rubbing his cheek.
“Now, are you going to come quietly, or not?” Ben asked, his hands balled into fists in front of him.
Reaching down, the man grabbed hold of a lady lying on the floor, and dragged her up to stand in front of him.
Sobbing, the ladies eyes met Bens.
Don’t let him hurt me, she begged silently.
“I think you’ll move out of my way now, won’t you?” the man asked as he held the revolver against her head.
Slowly, Ben took a step or two back, allowing him more room.
“I knew you’d change your mind with a bit of persuasion.”
The man walked slowly towards the door, his eyes not leaving Ben’s, his arm still gripping the ladies waist.
Don’t panic, Ben willed her silently, It’s all going to go as planned.
The crowd parted as the man walked backwards and out of the door.
“Do you know what?” the man said quietly. “I think I might keep this lady, you know as an extra reward.”
“No!” the lady screamed, squirming in his grip.
Holding onto her more tightly, the man aimed his revolver above his head and fired. Instead of a bullet, a long coil of thin rope shot out of the end and attached itself to the building, higher up out of sight.
“See you later,” the man said, and he shot through the air, disappearing above the heads of the people gathered, who craned the necks and squinted their eyes to try and keep track of him.
“There he goes!” someone yelled, pointing, as the lady still in the man’s grip, screamed. A shoe fell from one of her kicking legs, landing in the gutter.
“That could have been nasty,” Ben muttered to himself as he noticed the sharp, spiky heel.
“Don’t worry,” he said loudly, feeling the eyes of the crowd, and several hundred mobile phones, on him. “I will follow him and rescue the lady.”
The crowd cheered and clapped.
The sirens stopped as the police arrived.
“Is there anything we can do to help?” one of them asked as they hurried over.
Smiling, Ben gestured to the staff still lying on the floor,” I’m sure there’s plenty you can do. But I’ll take this with me and make sure it gets to where it’s needed.”
Scooping up the bulging bag of cash, he sprinted through the crowd, feeling some of them pat him on the back as he passed them, his silky cape billowing out behind him.
“Now that’s a man this city needs,” the police muttered.
Sweating under his own mask, Ben ran through the streets, weaving in and out of the cars still at a standstill, the drivers staring at him with open mouths.
“Probably never seen a superhero with a bag of cash before,” Ben chuckled to himself, as he turned down a dark alley littered with rubbish.
A door, it’s paint grimy and peeling, was open in the building at the end.
Glancing behind, Ben checked there was no one following before slipping inside and locking it.
The stairs were dimly lit and creaked with each step.
Breathing heavily, Ben reached the landing.
“There you are!” the man with the mask said, his feet propped on a nearby table. “Thought you’d stolen the loot!”
“I told you it would all go to plan.”
“He was just telling me his plans with all the money,” the lady said, frowning.
“All the money?”
“Well, it’s not like you need it, is it?” the man asked, pulling the mask off and tossing it the floor. “These things are so hot. Anyway, let’s have it!”
He held his hands out hopefully.
“I don’t think so,” Ben said quietly.
“What do you mean?”
“There’s no way you’re getting all the money.”
Quickly Ben pulled out his own revolver from a hidden pocket, firing it before the other man could do no more than gape at him in surprise, and then watch as his body crumpled on the floor.
“I take it we still have an arrangement?” Ben asked, turning to the lady with a smile.
He froze as he noticed she had the man’s revolver in her own hands.
“You know, I think this might work even better,” the lady said. “Think of the headlines,” Superhero dies bravely defending young lady. Cash missing.”
“Stacey, you’ll never get away with this.”
Slowly Stacey squeezed the trigger, and watched as Ben dropped.
“You know what Ben,” she whispered leaning over him as she picked up the bag. “I think I already have, I mean some one’s got to keep this city just right, don’t they?”