A die is just numbers. Small dots tripping over themselves to claim victory on top. Dictating the player's moves, the players luck. Dictating how they go about their day. My day. My one single day. Just as the die commands a competitor, the numbers command my path. One moment. Two stories. Three people. Four seconds. Five clicks. Six lives.
I walked swiftly though the clean-cut doors, sparkling glass opening to my arrival. Crisp air-conditioning awaited me, vacuumed seats placed neatly for my wakened legs.
People milled slowly around me, some passing cheques to the tellers, other negotiating loans. And the people conformed in uniforms, all with smiles covering their lips. But still amongst the deals, everyone looked happy, like they were proud to be amongst the elite some that commandeered worldwide amounts.
A number flashed on the above screen and I looked down to the slip in my hand. I rose and wound my way down the straight path to the box.
"Welcome to Pensvil bank, how may I help you sir?"
"I'd like to bank this cheque please," I handed the folded note to her.
"Of course sir, it won't be a moment. Is there anything else you'd like?"
"How has your day been?" She fiddled on her computer, punching in numbers with a click.
I saw her blue eyes grasp mine, her pretty face signal to me. "It's been-"
I spun, instinctively following instructions, dropping to the floor. A scream came and I looked up. Three men, clad in midnight black stood with matching guns, one pointing to the roof. A loud noise erupted from its peak, signalling the remaining risers to the ground.
The men dispersed, two moving out of sight, one remaining in his spot.
"No one will move," he spoke with authority, with leadership.
"If you do..." Another bang into the air, trailing off his intentions.
Fear thudded through my coursing bone, driving questions into my head.
Workers came piling from behind closed door, the last tripping at the point of a gun. Briskly they were shovelled into a corner. The attendant, who had sat before me, huddled into the middle. Her plaited blonde hair lay straggled with distress.
"Hey move it," the butt of a gun nodded into my side.
I startled, noticing my distraction. Quickly I heaved myself up, following the throng to a corner; where I landed myself in the middle.
Beside me a small girl enclosed herself in women's arms. On the other an elderly man, surprisingly calm.
The two followers sped off again as the leader began to pace, the gun swinging in his hand.
"Don't worry," the women was hushing in the girl's ear.
"Mummy, I'm hungry," the girl whined.
"I have nothing dear," whispered the women, close to distraught.
I fished around in my bag, still hanging on my shoulder."Excuse me," I tapped the women on the shoulder, "would your daughter like a sandwich?"I showed her the package.
"Tia, would you like a sandwich?"
The girl looked up, hunger in her eyes. "Yes please," her small voice came.
I handed it to her, seeing it grow in her small hands.
I smiled. The women mouth a relieved thank you, returning to her daughter.
I looked up, the leader still pacing viciously, seeming to of not noticed our exchange.
Outside I could hear sirens, and through the locked panes flashes of blue and red appeared.
But inside, away from the rushing and turmoil. Silence. A ringing broke into the unhearing noise.
Hurried glances around, until.
"Hello," the phone rested in the leaders hands.
Conversation we could not hear came from the phone.
"I have seventy-one people in here, if anyone comes, or tries to advance, I will start shooting. Or I might shoot someone if I feel like it."
We all heard it loud and clear. Pushes were made to go further to the wall.
My mind raced with the possible responses, the actions the police would take.
"Not much really," came the strong voice again. He didn't seem to wait for a reply, the phone closed down upon the receiver.
"Ha," he laughed. "Seems like you all have some value on your life." He paused solemnly, his voice deepening. "It also seems like I'm not being taken seriously. I think we need to show them how serious I am." He motioned to his accomplices, who with a glaring pace nodded.
As one looked over the workers, the other looked over us. Purposely he dived into the mess, kicking people out of the way. His eyes turned to me and he leaned down.
"You'll be next," he whispered coldly in my ear. Then he stood, grabbing the women clinging to the child, dragging her by the hair. She cried out acquiring a whack to her cheek. The child was left sitting there, silent tear crying.
I wrapped my arms around the stranger, feeling her unresisting effort. The woman looked back at me, and with a knowing nod, I turned her child's head away from the scene.
Six people lined slumped against the wall. The lady who had so served me amongst them. As I stared at her soft pale face she looked at me, seeing the child clasped in my arms.
"You six," the leader motioned at the chosen, "will be examples for my seriousness."
My throat clenched up, I could see the terror reflected in their eyes.
It took only one moment for the glint to touch the leaders eyes. Two stories merged to become one. Three men turned into culprits of death. Four seconds to finish the planned conclusion. Five clicks sounded, the last enveloping in the silent screams. Six lives stolen from six families.
I never got to tell the beautiful girl behind the counter that the bank was the highlight of my day.
I can never recall the rest of the time in that death house. Fear pounded in my ears, blocking out all sound. Tears showered over my eyes, blocking out all sight. But through all the child remained in my grip, her body shaking. At one point a women offered to take the girl, to which I shook my head.
Somehow, amongst my confused memories we were lead out, by whom I cannot remember.
And surrounding us; a scene I will never forget.
Barricades placed around our vicinity. Police cars screaming their blue and red. People piling together to grab a look. Cameras glowing to claim that front page photo. Ambulances with open backs, to where we were directed.
Throughout all the rushing I saw a single man. With a slight smile of relief he looked at me and slowly I stepped towards him.
The girl in my arms looked up as we came near and carefully I surrendered her from my arms to his loving care.
As I sat in the back of a police car, the route taking me home, I again saw the small girl. Tears overwhelmed her small eyes, arms covered her small body, she looked up as I passed and in her eyes I saw bravery far greater than mine. Uncontrollably tears started to cascade down my broken eyes.
The car swiftly carried me out of sight but still I cried, still I cowered.
From my tears I saw a small novelty hanging from the rear view mirror. Two dice, swinging with the car. Except one had stopped.