Mychal leaned her head against the smooth counter and sighed. Beside her Gus sat with his knees drawn up under his chin and his head was resting against them. The subject of both of their worry and annoyance lay on his back at their feet. A vivid bruise was already forming at Shawn’s temple and he’d been unconscious for twenty minutes. Their worry was overtaken by their annoyance, however, when he started to snore.
Mychal rolled her eyes, “He can’t even take things seriously when he’s unconscious.”
Gus chuckled, “That’s Shawn for you. Think we should wake him up?”
Mychal chewed the inside of her cheek. She knew that she should. The fact that he had been knocked unconscious was a clear sign that he had some sort of concussion and he shouldn’t be sleeping if he did. But at the same time, Mychal wanted to leave him like that. If he was unconscious then he wouldn’t be able to get himself hurt or tick off the people with guns. For that reason she was more than happy to leave him asleep on the floor, except that one of the Trench Coat clan walked by them at that moment. He smiled wickedly at them and raised his gun.
“Bang.” He said and then laughed evilly as he moved away.
Mychal gulped and fought to calm the fear that was revived in the pit of her stomach. Gus tensed beside her and put a comforting hand on her shoulder, but it wasn’t helpful. Mychal closed her eyes and shook Shawn’s shoulder.
“Shawn, come on.” She called, “It’s time to join the land of the living.”
Shawn moaned and rolled on to his side, “Wanna sleep.”
Mychal rolled her eyes, “You aren’t getting out of this that easily, bro. Now wake up.”
Shawn groaned and groggily sat up. He looked up at Mychal and then poked her in the face.
“What was that for?” Mychal asked rubbing her cheek.
“I thought it was the off button.” Shawn yawned, “So, what did I miss?”
“Twenty minutes of you snoring.” Mychal said.
“They’ve teamed up. The guy in the trench coat seems to be the leader now.” Gus supplied.
“The one that hit me?” Shawn asked leaning against the counter.
“His name is Kyle.” Mychal said, “I heard him talking to one of the other trench coats.”
“Maybe we should have show and tell.” Shawn said rubbing his head, “It’d be easier if we knew their names.”
“How would what be easier?” Mychal asked, “You aren’t thinking of talking with these guys.”
“Talking.” Shawn repeated, “No, more like stopping.”
“Stopping. Great, tell me when it’s over so I can pick up the pieces and glue you back together.” Mychal said.
“Why haven’t they taken the money and left?” Shawn asked, “I’ve been out for twenty minutes, you’d think that was plenty of time to rob a bank.”
“Someone called the cops.” Gus said, “I think it was the manager. He must have done it while you were having your little chat with Kyle.”
“Sweet. That’s what I was hoping for.” Shawn grinned, “I knew someone would be stupid enough to call the cops.”
“You mean you did that on purpose so some one would call the police and make them take us hostage?” Mychal hissed. She wanted to scream, but she didn’t think the robbers would like what she was saying.
“Well, when you put it like that it doesn’t sound as heroic.” Shawn said thoughtfully.
“It was stupid!” Mychal hissed, “You could have been seriously hurt. And what if someone hadn’t called the cops? It would have been for nothing.”
“Mychal, save your breath.” Gus sighed, “He does stupid things all the time. Lecture him later.”
Shawn stuck his tongue out at Mychal. It took all of the self control that Mychal had not to reach out and strangle her brother.
“The cops have gathered outside.” Gus said, “Kyle has talked to them on the phone once about ten minutes ago. I think that Chief Vick is out there.”
“Probably.” Shawn said, “Which means that my plan is working out perfectly.”
“Plan?” Mychal repeated, “What plan? The plan that involves you getting a concussion?”
“No,” Shawn said smugly, “The plan that gets everyone out of here.”
“Why am I not liking the sound of this?” Mychal asked.
“What do we have to do?” Gus asked.
“We don’t have to do anything.” Shawn said, “It’s already started, now we just sit back and wait.”
“Wait for what?” Mychal asked.
“Hey, stop talking.”
Shawn looked up and found one of the leather jackets standing over them. He wasn’t much younger than Shawn and looked scared out of his mind. Shawn felt a fragile hand cling to his jacket and didn’t have to look to know that Mychal was leaning closer to him as if to hide from the world. Shawn resisted the urge to comfort his sister and averted his eyes back to the young man in front of him.
“How much were you planning to take?” Shawn asked him.
“Shawn.” Mychal hissed in his ears.
“All of it.” The man said with a slight quiver in his voice.
“You’re lying.” Shawn said, “You only needed a few thousand. What kind of surgery is it?”
The man’s eyes widened and the gun fell from his hands and hung from the strap on his shoulder. He stared at Shawn as if he were a ghost haunting him. Mychal looked from Shawn to the robber completely confused.
“It-it’s an appendectomy.” The man stuttered, “My little sister has to have her appendix out today.”
“And you had no other way of getting the money.” Shawn said accusingly.
“No.” The man said defensively, “We drained our accounts and sold everything. We even got a cheaper apartment. But it isn’t enough. If we don’t pay for the surgery, the state will take her away from us.”
Shawn looked at the other man in a leather jacket. The physical characteristics between the two were almost identical except that the other man was only slightly shorter and had a lankier frame. Shawn looked back up at the man in front of him.
“You and your brother must love her a lot.” He said.
“She’s all we have.” The man said sadly.
The man turned as his brother called his name. “I’ll be right there, Danny.” Matt looked back at Shawn and then at Mychal who wasn’t clinging as tightly to her brother as she had been before. She watched him with sympathetic eyes.
“That your sister?” Matt asked.
Shawn shifted his position so he was in front of Mychal and nodded.
Matt smirked, “Keep her safe.”
With that, he turned on his heel and walked to his brother. Shawn relaxed and leaned against the counter.
“How did you know that?” Mychal asked releasing her grip on his jacket.
“They hadn’t had any sleep for days,” Shawn sighed, “And there was a hospital parking pass clipped to the tail of his shirt. Besides,” He said looking at the two brothers talking in the corner, “Do they look like killers to you?”
Mychal shook her head and looked at Kyle who was standing by the phone, “But they do.”
“Unfortunately, I think you’re right.” Shawn said.
“So about this plan of yours.” Gus said slowly, “When exactly does it happen?”
The phone echoed through the bank as it rang. It startled everyone, even the robbers. Kyle smirked as he reached for it. He looked up at his partners.
“Robbie, Jack, get over by the hostages.” He ordered, “And stay away from the windows.” As his partners obeyed his orders, Kyle picked up the phone and put it to his ear.
“You’ve got two minutes.” He said.
“And that,” Shawn said, “would be the plan, now.”
“Yeah, something tells me that I am really going to hate this plan of yours.” Mychal said.
“I’m not letting a single hostage go until I hear a helicopter outside ready to take us to Mexico.” Kyle said calmly. It was unnerving to almost everyone in the building how collected he was, as if he didn’t care if a sniper took him out then and there.
“Shawn, what if things don’t go according to your plan?” Gus asked, “You do have a plan B, don’t you?”
“Sure I do.” Shawn said watching Kyle intently, “Plan B is hoping that Plan A doesn’t fail.”
Kyle suddenly slammed the phone down on the receiver and ripped the cords out of the wall. The phone clattered to the floor, useless at his feet. He turned to his men and Matt and Danny.
“They refuse to listen.” Kyle said in a chilling voice, “In twenty minutes, we’ll show them the error of their ways.”
“Oh, that sounds really bad.” Gus said, “How’s your plan going now, Shawn?”
Shawn swallowed hard, “If he’s going to do what I think he’s going to do, then it just blew up in my face.”
“What are you going to do now?” Mychal asked.
“Why do you keep asking me that?” Shawn asked, “Do I look like the smart one to you?”
Mychal smirked and tried to hide her laughter, “We’ve got twenty minutes, not smart one. It would be nice if you could figure something out that won’t end with any of us getting an extra breathing hole.”
“Hey, Kyle!” Shawn shouted.
“What are you doing?!” Mychal hissed in his ear.
“You said you wanted me to come up with something, well I did!” Shawn hissed back as Kyle slowly made his way towards them.
“Does anyone get shot?” Mychal hissed.
“I do not for see anyone getting shot. But things rarely go as planned.” Shawn whispered back.
“Well, look who opened his big mouth again.” Kyle said as he stood menacingly over the trio, “You don’t learn your lesson well, do you?”
“No.” Mychal whispered. Shawn elbowed her in the stomach.
“Hi.” Shawn said with a cheeky grin, “Listen, I couldn’t help but over hear your little dilemma and I think I can offer you a solution.”
“Really.” Kyle grinned, “And why would you do that?”
“Well, because you have over a dozen people in here and over fifty cops outside with all of their highly trained guns ready to fire a bullet at your skull.” Shawn said, “I just want everyone to get out of here in one piece.”
“Uh-huh.” Kyle muttered, “And what do you propose we do?”
“Let everyone go.” Shawn said.
Kyle laughed loudly but with little humor, “Why would I do something stupid like that?”
“Because you’ll still have me.”
“Shawn!” Mychal cried.
Kyle stopped laughing and stared at him, “What good would you do me?”
“I told you. I’m psychic. I help the police solve crimes, mostly murders. I’m a valuable asset to the department and they wouldn’t want anything to happen to me.”
Kyle chuckled, “So you want to be hero, huh?”
Shawn didn’t say anything.
“Don’t you know that most heroes end up dead?” Kyle asked, “But you are a valuable hostage.” Kyle leaned close to Shawn as he continued, “In less than ten minutes I am going to pick someone from our little party and I am going to walk five feet out that front door. And with my men covering me, I’m going to kill the lucky contestant. But don’t worry, it won’t be you.” Kyle smirked, “I’ll save you for last as my special bargaining chip.”
Kyle laughed wickedly as he backed away and left the trio sitting on the floor. After a moment of silence, Gus sighed.
“Well, that didn’t go according to plan.” He said, “Now what?”
“Now, we wait.” Shawn sighed.
“Out of curiosity,” Mychal said, “What was your original plan?”
“About the same thing.” Shawn said, “Let him walk out with me so that he could get away.”
Mychal nodded and then slapped the back of Shawn’s head, twice. Shawn rubbed the tender spot and glared at her.
“What was that for?” He demanded.
“For both of your stupid plans.” Mychal said, “When I said all three of us get out of here in one piece I didn’t mean separately.”
Shawn stuck his tongue out at her, “That’s what you get for making me come up with the plans.”
“Are you really psychic?”
Shawn looked up into the hopeful face of Danny. Matt stood right behind him looking skeptical, but with the same glimmer of hope etched in his face. Shawn gave them a reassuring smile.
“Of course I am.” He said.
“My sister, Lizzie. Is she going to be okay?” Danny asked.
“She’ll get the surgery she needs and she’ll make it out just fine.” Shawn said, “But…”
“But what?” Matt asked tensing at the psychic’s hesitation.
“But I’m afraid that she suffers emotionally from the outcome of these events.” Shawn said, “You see, there are only two things that can happen if you plan to go through with this. Either the police will get you and you’ll be killed because surrender is obviously not an option for your little friends over there.” Shawn said nodding to where Robbie and Jack stood, “Or you get the demands you want and lead a life on the run as a wanted criminal. Either way, Lizzie loses her brothers.”
Danny looked at the floor and then slowly up at Matt. “We won’t ever be able to see her again.”
“You will if you get away.” Gus said, “You haven’t killed anyone. The statute of limitations for bank robbery is seven years. You’ll be free of the crime after that.”
“Seven years.” Danny repeated, “She’ll be twenty by then, already grown up.” He looked at his older brother, “Matt, I can’t deal with that. She’ll be on her own by then, already in college. We won’t even be part of her life.”
“What do we do about it now?” Matt asked harshly, anger building in him for his own mistake, “We can’t go back. There’s no other way out of this.”
“Yes there is.” Mychal said, “Turn yourselves in.”
Matt and Danny stared at her like she was crazy. Mychal shrugged.
“Look, no matter what you do the state is going to take her away because you couldn’t pay for the surgery. But if you turn yourselves in and help us get out of here alive then the judge will go easy on you.” She said gently, “He may even let you have visitation rights after your sentence is through.”
Matt looked at Danny, “You’re still a minor, Danny. The judge may let you off the hook.”
“And let you take the blame for this?” Danny said, “I don’t think so. And what about Kyle and his cronies? Do you think that they’ll just let us waltz out of here?”
“You guys better make your choice soon.” Shawn said staring past them, “Kyle’s about to make this into a murder.”
Matt and Danny looked behind them to see Kyle talking to Robbie. They were looking at the hostages as if trying to decide who would be the best lamb to slaughter.
“If he does kill someone,” Shawn said looking up at the brothers, “Then you’ll become accessories to murder. It won’t matter that you didn’t pull the trigger, just that you stood by and did nothing.”
“Matt, Danny.” Kyle called, “Come over here.”
Matt swallowed and did as he was told. Danny looked back at Shawn before following his brother. Shawn looked over at Gus and Mychal.
“I’m out of ideas.” He said, “And I still smell pineapple.”
“Shawn, now really isn’t the time.” Gus scolded.
“But it’s driving me crazy!” Shawn exclaimed.
“Crazy psychotic lunatic coming straight for us.” Mychal whispered, tugging at Shawn’s sleeve.
“I’ve chosen my hostage, psychic.” Kyle said, “But you probably already know who it is.”
Shawn glared at him. Kyle smirked evilly and reached down. Violently, he pulled Mychal to her feet.
“What are you doing?!” Gus cried.
“Let her go!” Shawn shouted jumping to his feet. Kyle aimed his gun at him, stopping him in his tracks.
Behind them, Matt whispered something in Danny’s ear. They split up. Matt walked over to where Robbie stood and Danny went over to Jack. Danny looked up at his brother and swallowed the fear that rose in his throat. Matt nodded at him.
“This is what happens to heroes, psychic.” Kyle grinned, “They try to save everyone and lose the ones closest to them. You should have kept your big mouth shut.”
Kyle dragged Mychal by the arm to the front doors. Shawn followed him ignoring Robbie and Jack’s guns that were suddenly pointed at him. Mychal did her best to kick and claw at Kyle, but nothing seemed to touch him.
“Kyle, don’t do it. Please.” Shawn yelled after him.
Kyle swung around, “Did you see this coming, psychic? Did you see that your sister’s death would be because of you?”
Shawn stared at him and then looked down at Mychal. With tears in her eyes she shook her head as if to say that it wasn’t true, but with the realization that she was about to die in front of her, her mouth refused to work. And the words she knew that Shawn needed to hear wouldn’t come out.
“Take me.” Shawn begged, “Please. Take me.”
Kyle smirked, “No, this is the ultimate pain.” He looked at Robbie, “If he moves, shoot him.”
Kyle stepped towards the door. Shawn hesitated for only a second before starting to run after him. Robbie raised his gun and squeezed the trigger.
And then all hell broke lose.