It should have been an ordinary Friday morning. The sun was shining, the streets of Liverpool were bustling and the bank on the high street was particularly busy. But it wasn't an ordinary morning. Normality was about to crash and burn and it was all going down in the bank.
Not that its customers had any idea. They were milling about in line waiting to see a cashier, minding their own business.
Ellis Parker, a sharp-featured brunette, checked her watch and did a quick calculation. She had time to do some work-related banking and grab some lunch before she had to be back at the museum for her midday demonstration of Samurai sword fighting for the next school party.
Dr Willow Andrews, an attractive redhead behind her was scrolling through her mobile phone, head down, updating her Twitter feed. ‘Stuck in longest queue eva. #JustShootMeNow.’
Indrani Abbott shifted her backpack, laden down with library books, from one shoulder to the other and sighed. Why were queues in banks always so slow? She was going to be late for her next lecture. This young student was unaware of the looks of admiration she was getting from some of the more lecherous customers in the bank but then, tall, dark-skinned curvaceous beauties aren’t exactly a ten a penny round these parts.
Iris Layla Caddigan-Yves also stood out for all the right reasons, although the attention was as unwelcome to her as it had been unnoticed by Indrani. She kept her head down so that she wouldn’t have to meet the eyes of the man in front of her. He noted her high cheek bones, round eyes and ebony skin appreciatively.
‘Hey.’ He ventured what he considered his most charming smile. Iris pretended she hadn’t heard and blanked him. Behind her in the queue, Maeve Maddox hummed a merry tune to herself. She was dressed from head to toe in a purple spangly outfit which befitted her job as a magician’s assistant but within the confines of the bank made her look slightly mad which was why everyone was looking the other way and pretending not to notice her.
And a dark-haired girl with grey eyes who called herself Facade kept to herself while watching everyone warily from under her hoodie.
None of these women knew each other. But they were about to become acquainted in a spectacular fashion. Absorbed in their own little worlds, no one noticed the striking couple that swished through the double doors, flanked by nearly a dozen men dressed from head to toe in black.
If an observant cashier looked up and noticed that these people didn’t exactly look like legitimate customers then they were too slow to do anything about it. A rapid burst of machine gun fire at the ceiling had everyone screaming and face down on the floor in seconds.
‘Everyone get down and stay down. This is a robbery.’ The striking man shouted, somewhat unnecessarily.
He was tall, broad and spiky-haired with a face shiny with metal body piercings. His female companion was even more unusual-looking. She was as tall as him and dressed from head to toe in the sort of tight neon gear and florescent body paint that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a nineties rave.
If you weren’t terrified of being killed and you took the time to look carefully, you might notice the similarities between them and deduce they were related which would have been spot-on. Today’s criminals were twins Hertz and Candela, there to rob a shit-load of money, and their ten henchmen, who were there because they were too stupid to know any better.
Several things happened at once.
Ellis jumped up, threw off her pinstriped jacket, fished a black velvet eye scarf out her pocket and tied it around her face, Zorro-style, before pulling what looked like a shimmering sword out of nowhere.
Willow looked up from her phone, finally noticed what was happening, turned an unpleasant colour and sidled towards the executive conference room toilet, creeping in without anybody noticing.
Iris sneaked something from her pocket, sniffed it and started sneezing profusely.
And Indrani turned blue in the middle of the room.
This all proved a bit too much for the regular customers at the bank, some of whom screamed at them to ‘turn it in’ while others fainted altogether.
Hertz threw them a filthy look. Rather than be surprised or alarmed by these unusual women he merely looked annoyed at their refusal to lie down on the floor and blubber like everybody else. He opened his mouth and screamed.
There are many kinds of scream in the world, for example, like that of someone who finds a spider in the bath, or that of an angry toddler or someone not enjoying the roller coaster they have been peer-pressured into going on. All are brain-gratingly awful in their own way but Hertz’s scream was something else altogether.
It was so loud and high-pitched it almost blew the windows out. Everyone’s hands went to their ears in agony. The only person who seemed unaffected was the lone cashier still perched serenely on her seat behind the main desk, fondling bank notes and watching wide-eyed.
Another burst of gun fire at the ceiling caused it to partially fall down and a pile of rubble blocked the doorway. They were all trapped inside with no way to neither get out nor for the police to get in.
Ellis swallowed. This was totally crap. She only wanted to deposit some cheques. Why did this have to happen? Hopefully no one would recognise her and report this to the museum. The thought crossed her mind that she might need to invest in a better disguise in the future. The eye scarf looked cool but probably left too little to the imagination.
She raised her telekinetic sword above her head and advanced hoping she looked a lot braver than she felt. Maybe that blue chick will help, she wondered desperately. Whoever she was, she was clearly ‘gifted’ like Ellis.
As if being blue all over wasn’t weird enough, Indrani was now glowing softly and had grown much taller. Her jeans and t-shirt had morphed into a sari and her eyes shone wholly white. The effect was more than a little creepy.
Hertz and Candela stood, unimpressed, hands on hips, while the thugs cracked their knuckles menacingly. They couldn’t see a gnarled hand creep around the edge of the toilet door.
Candela smiled and touched her temple with both hands.
The room seemed to buckle and swell. The edges of everything became fuzzy and the ground seemed to roll underfoot. Our heroes stumbled as though on a boat that was pitching back and forth on the waves. Everyone felt sick, disorientated, confused.
Candela obviously had some sort of mind control she could use to manipulate the environment. Hertz strode over to the cashier, seemingly unaffected by Candela’s mind trick. He threw the cashier fondling the money a sack. ‘Fill it up.’ He yelled.
The thugs began emptying the bags and wallets of the rest of the bank’s customers. Iris, who had been sneezing uncontrollably, had strangely disappeared.
Her head fit to burst, Ellis charged at Candela blindly. She lashed out with a taekwondo kick that connected with Candela’s stomach and sent her crashing to the floor, moaning and clutching her middle.
Hertz spun around and gave a scream of pure fury. The air seemed to clear as Candela’s influence was broken. Feeling sick, Ellis could only watch as Indrani held her arms out, palms out and a rippling wave of heat radiated out from her towards the thugs.
They gave a collective shout of horror and fell to their knees as their black Kevlar body armour buckled and warped as it melted under the intense fire blast spell.
Outside the sound of police sirens wailed, growing louder and louder as the fuzz approached.
‘Who called the filth?’ Hertz screamed at the cowing customers. ‘I thought I told you to take their phones?’ He screamed at his hired help but they were too busy writhing around in pain to say much.
Façade, who had until this moment hung back, saying and doing nothing, charged at them and flung a jaw-crunching punch at the first thug she could find, knocking him unconscious.
This was an eye opener. The young woman worked her way around the disorientated thugs, throwing punch after punch, breaking bones and spraying blood and teeth. Ellis, Indrani and Maeve could only watch. This girl clearly needed anger management classes. For now though, it would have been a lie to say they were upset at her for taking on the bad guys, albeit in a psychopathic way. They needed all the help they could get.
There was a blue flash from the cashier’s desk and Iris appeared on the floor, rolling around in pain. It took a few seconds for them to realise that Iris had somehow been rendered invisible; how they couldn’t tell though she wasn’t now, a fact which almost certainly had something to do with the mysterious cashier, who was still looking on impassively and fondling money.
‘Seriously? Is anyone going to ask her what’s going on?’ Ellis asked the room, exasperated as Maeve helped Iris to her feet. But there was no time to question the cashier as Hertz opened his mouth wide – everyone covered their ears – and turned to Candela, who was still winded, screaming fully into her face.
The sonic force knocked her out cold. Hertz, who seemed to have lost his mind, pointed at the cashier and yelled, ‘IT’S HER!’
That was all Ellis needed. She didn’t much care for the cashier and her money-fondling ways and was quite happy to go on the word of a bank –robbing nut job on this occasion. She punched the window separating them, sending a large crack shooting across the glass. The cashier looked on, unconcerned.
Maeve seemed confused too, looking down at her spangly outfit, clutching her chest and gasped in horror. She looked around, enraged, opened her mouth and screamed, ‘AAAGGHHH!’ It was more than a bit weird.
Hertz meanwhile, had grabbed Candela’s arm and pointed her hand towards the door. A yellow beam shot out from his comatose sister’s fingertips, vaporising the rubble blocking the door. There was confusion all round in the thug camp. It looked like Hertz had turned scab and his cronies weren’t happy. As none of them were brave enough to actually punch him they had to content themselves with vulgar insults that made reference to his mother, before being forced to turn their attention back to the door. Within seconds, the fuzz were pouring through.
Another punch to the cashier’s window exploded it into fragments. The cashier seemed to come to life, leaping over the desk and dodging Ellis as she ran for the exit. The thugs and the police were tussling in a fairly matched contest. It looked like the mysterious cashier and probable mastermind was going to make a clean getaway.
Ellis leapt towards her; telekinetic sword unsheathed, tripped over her own feet, fell and impaled herself on her own sword.
Luckily it only went through her shoulder before it shimmered and disappeared but it was enough to knock her out. Iris, seriously wishing she had obeyed her anti-social instincts and just stayed at home that day, nonetheless ran to the water cooler, hands trembling and filled a cup with water. She had to help if she could.
She threw the water over Ellis, a sliver of lightening discharging through her fingertips as she did so. The combination of being doused and mildly electrocuted did the trick, bringing Ellis round in quite literally a flash.
Hertz seemed dazed, shaking his head as though waking from a bad dream just as a police officer threw a pair of cuffs on him. Maeve also shook her head a few times and smiled in satisfaction as Candela was also cuffed.
As this was unfolding, long, trailing vines were snaking rapidly across the floor from the direction of the toilet. The vines whipped around the thugs’ legs and yanked tight, creeping up their bodies, binding them. It seemed Willow had horticultural talents to offer.
She emerged from her hiding place in all her bark-covered glory in a sight that made the remaining bank customers who weren’t already gibbering wrecks run screaming for the door. Willow, having stopped hyper-ventilating while in the toilet, got her act together for the final showdown. She cast her most potent spell on the thugs. It proved so potent it floored the entire bank.
The pheromones she flooded the room with had every straight man and lady who liked ladies, drooling and fawning at her misty eyed. The policemen forgot to cuff the thugs. The thugs forgot to run away. Indrani giggled and sidled up to Willow, stroking her arm coyly. Considering her own considerable gifts, it could be reasonably expected for her to have a little more willpower to resist a fellow hero’s spell but to be fair, it had been a tough morning.
A lone gay thug remained immune to Willow’s charms. He raced for the emergency exit door at the back of the bank, flinging it open to reveal a getaway van poised to get him away.
Stung by the shame of falling on her own sword, Ellis flew after him and delivered a sucker punch that bashed the thug into oblivion.
The cashier, aka Miss Metamorphosis, criminal mastermind, threw our heroes a poisonous look as she and the remaining dazed thug were cuffed along with the others and bundled into the back of a police van. One of the officers lingered, angling for Willow’s phone number before his senior officer barked at him to drop it.
The police left in a collective screech of tyres and wailing sirens. Only Willow, Indrani, Iris, Ellis, Maeve and Facade were left standing amid the wreckage of the bank, staring at each other. Willow whipped out her phone and tweeted, ‘Went to cash my pay cheque. Kicked villain arse instead. LOL. #That’sHowIRoll
Ellis glanced at her watch. She had definitely missed her demonstration.