Drama Fiction Contemporary

I jumped over the log, my heart racing. They’ve just killed my wife...

The best criminal duo of the 19th century is now a solo.

I heard them yelling behind me, snow crunching under our feet and my hands covering my head. A gunshot echoed out, missing me completely but scaring bird out of the trees. I didn’t even know where to go…  If I took them back to my house, then they’d know where I lived and surely would kill me on the spot. But I had nowhere else... 

So I just ran. I ran and ran and felt my legs burn and pushed through anyways ripping my coat off and throwing it aside. My boots rubbed against my heels, my pain rushing through my upheld arms. I didn’t think I would ever get out of this when another gunshot and more yells shot across the woods and the men stopped running. I jumped behind a tree and hit my head back onto it, listening. 

“He’s getting away, we can’t just stop!”

“The sheriff’s been shot we need to go back!” I heard some shuffling, yelling, groaning, and everything started to get quieter. I smiled, made sure they were out of sight, and came out from behind the tree, throwing a rock up on the cliff. Beth swore at me and jumped down, dropping her gun.

“How’d I do?”

“Well, you shot him.” I breathe heavily.

She raised her eyebrows and looked around. “Caroline?”

I stopped breathing for a second and stared at her, my head whirling and my eyes blinking tightly. “They shot her.”

She nodded. “I’m sorry. What about a job?”

“I didn't finish the job, Beth, they killed my WIFE!” I yelled.

“Well, I’m your boss, so you better finish it soon.” She picked up the gun. “You have three days.” I watched her walk away, past the rock and far, far away, back to the home base.

I sat down and rested my head on the tree again, looking at the big, grey sky. “I will…” 


“Grace, but call me Caroline, please.”


“That your real name?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Good enough for me. You rob houses often?”

“Only when I need to.”

“How often is that?”

I shook my head. “Every other night?”

“Funny…. I’m the same way.”


I pulled my mask up, my nose twitching. Why did we have to rob a bank in winter? That made no sense. 

“Because it’s Christmas,” My sister told me. “And people are extra forgiving at Christmas. They have more money stored up to buy nice presents.”

No one in this small town had any money. It was full of farmers. We had one mercantile, that was it. One restaurant, one church and school building. Of course, I’d never step foot in there. Not unless I had to. If I were on trial or something, or my wife's funeral. But they wouldn’t have one for her. No one liked us. No one even knew her real name but me.

I walked up to the front table, the banker smiled at me.

“Hello, Jonathan, how can I help you?”

I pulled down my mask, showing my own smirk. “Hi, I was wondering if I could take out a loan?” He eyed me. “I need to buy something for my aunt. She's coming in from New York soon for the holidays, I want to get her something real nice.”

“How much were you thinking?”

“Oh…” I pretend to think. Something not suspicious, but enough to buy something from the mercantile. “Three dollars?” He nodded. “I got a job not far from here, I’ll be able to pay it back by the end of the month, I promise.”

He sighed and wrote something down in a book. I watched him bend under the counter and grab the key, turning to unlock a small vault. 

I took the money. “Thank you, Lawrence, much obliged.”

He waved it off. “No problem. Merry Christmas, say hi to your aunt for me!”

“Will do,” pulling up my mask, I added with a devilish smile “Merry Christmas!”


As I sat in the pitch-black cold night watching the snow, I couldn't help but think about Caroline. I know people like us weren’t supposed to love, it’s not typical, but most people don’t understand that we’re people, too. We have feelings Just because we’re poor and lonely doesn't mean we don’t feel the same things others do. 

I loved my wife, she was the one good thing that ever happened to me. I don’t love my sister, no matter how often she gets me out of trouble. She was a taker. She forced me and other men to do jobs and steal and wor all for her gain. She was selfish. Just because I’m a thief doesn’t mean I’m selfish. I at least do give. I mean, I give to a bigger, more important thief, but I still give. I’m like Robin Hood… but the other way around.

I heard the bank door close and a key jangle and a lock snap. Footsteps walked briskly in the snow, and I rugged myself not to last. One bank in all of three hundred miles and there’s no security.

I suddenly got a revelation. Why do I have to be the reverse Robin Hood? I waited until the only sounds were the wind blowing and the tree branches hitting each other and got up, walking towards the bank, my crowbar ready. I turned around the side of the building, hearing my own breath and my heart beating. I swung the crowbar behind my head to hit the door handle, breaking it off. I froze when I heard shuffling inside. Raising it over my head, I pushed the door open with my foot and walked in looking around the corner. I saw a figure in the corner and walked over, sighing…

“Beth, what are you doing?”

She scoffed. “I’m robbing the bank, what does it look like?”

“How’d you get here so fast?”

“I’ve been here since this afternoon. I hid in the well out back.” She pointed to her right and smiled. “Why are you here?”

“I'm finishing the job you so desperately wanted me to do.” 

She nodded slowly. “The three dollars for our aunt? We don’t have an aunt. What was that all about?”

“I had to take the loan to find out where the key is.”

“And why didn’t they recognize you from this morning when you tried to rob them?”

I looked around “Because I didn’t…”


“Caroline did and they were chasing me because they thought I was involved.”

She raised her eyebrows. “So you made her do your job? Something you should have done yourself? Why would you do that?” She pulled up her wet skirt and walked to the vault, unlocking it and pouring the money into a bag.

I followed her. “Sounds a lot like someone else I know.”

She looked at me. “Excuse me?”

“Beth, I’ve always been big on women’s rights. You know that. That’s one reason I let you be the boss and why I had equal sharing rights with Caroline. But I draw the line at this.”

“At what? You’re an imbecile, you know. You wouldn’t get along without me, I'm the one who made you what you are.”

“Yeah, you are. And I'll never forgive you for that. You’re selfish and arrogant and quite frankly a bad leader. Well, think again. This is 1894. I gave you the right to rule over me, and I’m taking it away.”

She walked up to me, her nose right next to mine. “You better think again, young man. I’m a year older than you and I get a say in what we do. Now grab some money and leave.”

I gritted my teeth. “No.”



She leaned back, her botts clicking on the ground. “Fine,” She smiled and opened her mouth to start screaming. I jumped at her, covering her mouth and wrapping my elbow around her neck. She clawed at my arms, drawing blood, shaking her head vigorously. I screamed for help and wrestled with her a couple more minutes until I saw men with guns in the doorway. 

“Help, she’s robbing the bank!” The men shouted and pointed a gun. I threw her against the wall, watching her eyes grow wide. Her mouth formed the word “no!” just as a gunshot ripped through the night. I felt no pity. I’m the reverse Robin Hood.


Grace sang in the back seat to the radio while I drove along slowly, my wife reading a travel brochure. Vacations were by far the greatest art of being a 21st-century businessman. My company paid for vacations. I worked for a business called “Robin Hood” that took donations to help people all over the country who couldn't buy food or clothes or anything really. Sometimes when they had some extra cash left over after a big project they slipped it to their employees. It also helped that my dad currently owned it. Someday I would. It’s my fate to be Robin Hood.  

 “Oh, wait, Johnny, stop here!” I pulled the car over and watched my wife look out the window then down at her paper. “It says this is the most famous bank in the whole state!”

I looked over, Grace jumping up in the seat behind us. “Why?”

Elizabeth looked at me and smiled. “Let’s find out.” I stopped the car and we all got out, walking to the small building welcomed by a woman out front in Victorian clothing.

She took us inside on a tour, telling us the story of a man who asked for a small three dollars. 

“Three dollars?” Grace made a face. “That’s not a lot of money to buy a Christmas present.”

“Back then it was! Three dollars in 1894 is equal to almost $90 today!” The woman smiled at her. Grace dropped her jaw and I chuckled, rubbing her head.

“What happened to the man, do you know?” My wife asked her admiring a crowbar in a window box and vault next to it.

“We have no idea. After he stopped the robbery, he vanished. No one ever heard from Jonathan Wilkes again.” 

My ears perked up and I cocked my head. “I’m sorry, did you say Jonathan Wilkes?”

“Yes sir! His sister, the woman who robbed the bank, was Elizabeth Wilkes and while the name of his wife was unknown, after looking at the corpse, they identified it most likely as Grace Garvey.” The three of us looked at each other. “Is something wrong?”

I smiled slightly and shook my head. “Not that I know of…” I looked around and a small green hat caught my eye. “What’s with the hat?”

The woman looked up and smiled. “After the attempted robbery, it’s said that the sheriff thanked Jonathan and he replied by handing him the three dollars he loaned earlier and saying ‘I’m just being the Robin Hood we all need.’ A couple years later, the Robin Hood Foundation was established. It runs to this day.”

“My daddy works there!” Grace pointed at me. 

“He does?” The woman smiled.

“Yeah, it’s… it’s been in my family since the beginning.” I squinted my eyes. 

“Well, we do have reason to believe that Mr. Wilkes was the founder. There was never a name mentioned in the founding. It simply started and more and more people got roped into it until it became the big organization it is today.”

I nodded slowly.

My wife smiled at the woman and handed her some money. “Thank you so much we really enjoyed this!”

We all got back into the car and sat in silence. Beth turned to me. “That was really weird, wasn't it?”       

I nodded slowly.

“Do you think we could be related?”

I turned the keys into the car and Grace started singing again, buckling her seat belt. “Maybe… I would think, if it’s a family business...”

As we drove back onto the intersection, I couldn’t help thinking about it. Maybe there was more to the Robin Hood Foundation than it seemed.

November 16, 2020 17:00

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.