Shots rang out.
James was waiting in line for a teller at the First National Bank when the commotion started. Following the shots were the screams, both customers and the robbers.
“Everyone down on the floor!” Another couple of shots. “Anyone who’s standing in the next ten seconds gets shot!”
From his prone position on the floor, James was able to see two men, both with ski masks and guns. From the commotion behind him, there had to be at least one other robber.
“Put all the money in these bags!”
James struggled to see what was going on. Over the terrified face of an old woman, and a father trying to calm his three-year old, he could vaguely see the robbers moving back and forth. One bag was filled, then a second.
“Shit, the cops are gonna be here! Hurry up!”
Suddenly, there was glass shattering around him. A dozen men in black were everywhere around him.
“Everyone, stay down!” Bullets were flying. It was over in moments. The four robbers were down and out. The SWAT team was helping the terrified patrons back to their feet and out the door.
“Die copper!” a voice rang out from behind James. He crumpled to the floor, blood pooling around him. The next thing he knew, he was staring at the clouds while voices surrounded him.
“We’re losing him!”
“Stay with us!”
James woke up in a cold sweat. He stared around frantically, taking in the orange love seat, the sound system, the sunlight pouring in through the window. It was just a dream. He let out a slow breath. Yes, he was alive, in one piece, in his apartment. He waited for his heart to stop pounding before climbing out of bed. Glancing at the glowing red numbers of his alarm clock, he still had a half hour before the alarm went off. Plenty of time for a long shower. He showered, letting the water further calm him down, then dressed and ate some cereal.
By the time he made it to the subway, he was feeling almost back to normal. His heart was no longer jack-hammering in his chest. The dream had been so vivid, but it was only a dream. At least it would give him something to talk about during coffee break.
The morning passed in a blur. Pretty soon it was time for lunch. It was payday, so he had to run to the bank to pay some bills. He grabbed a quick sandwich from a deli, then raced down the street. Glancing at the eagle beside the bank’s name, he felt a moment of foreboding.
“It’s just a dream,” he reminded himself, pushing the glass doors open.
Inside, he got in line. Being a Friday lunch hour, the bank was busy. He looked at his watch. He still had a half hour before he had to be back at work. It was when he glanced up that he recognized the lady in front of him; it was the old lady from his dream. He glanced back to find himself staring into the eyes of the three-year old, who was being held by her father.
And that was when the shots rang out.