Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/06

I stood across the street from the bank. More accurately, what was left of the bank. And I watched as the big ass wrecking ball smacked the right side of its classic clock out of existence, knowing the next swing or so would take down the left side.

The bank was gone. It had been gone for weeks, but the destruction of the building made it somehow more painful. More real.

I wasn’t alone. Most of the town stood with me, watching the bank building be torn down. In the end, there would be nothing left but a bare spot of ground where weeds and brush would start to grow.

The bank was the last place to go. The doctor had left a few years earlier. So had the post office. The grocery store. The pharmacy. The car dealer had left when I got out of college. There were no fast food places. McDonalds never came to town. Neither did Subway. Or Pizza Hut.

Judy’s mom got too old, and closed down her little restaurant. That had been the last one in town. Everyone in town ate there on Sundays, after church. We’d all cried when the place closed. But we understood. Judy had a job in the big city, three hours away. She couldn’t run the place. It had been her mom’s place.

Judy’s mom was buried in the cemetery. We used to have a couple of guys that kept the cemetery up. Mowed. Weeded. Made sure there were flowers in the gardens by the entrance. The town couldn’t afford to pay them anymore. Now, we took turns mowing, and weeding, in small groups, on Saturdays.

I remembered when Judy left for the city. “Get out, Tommy. Get out of here. This place is dying. Go somewhere that’s living.”

“No. This place is my home. Everyone I know is here. Everything I know is here. Everything I care about is here.”

I’d watched it all die. Main street was shuttered and empty, and looked more like a block from a ghost town than the heart of a town.

Now, they were tearing down the bank. At least they were tearing it down, not leaving it to decay. Not leaving it as a reminder of how the town had died. Of how everything I’d worked for. Everything I’d believed in. Every dream I’d had. Had died.

I put on a fake smile, and told Jim, my neighbor, “Well. We’ve lost things before. We’ll survive.”

Jim nodded. “Yep. Things always change.”

“Yep,” I nodded. “Just wait. Things will get better. They have to.”

I watched the wrecking ball take down the other half of the clock. Then started the walk to my home, a few blocks away. And I wondered as I walked, “Who of us will be the last? Which one of us will be the last to let go, and move on?”

The town was dead. There was no town anymore. We all knew it. Just like we knew we were the last people who would ever live in it.

The world had changed.

That was too bad.

Our town had been such a good thing. Such a good thing.

531 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 9th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.


#CAFSC – The Bank Hiest

Mark Ethridge
732 Words
Anthology – Yes
Charity – Spark Summit

Name of female superhero: Crystal

Name of human alter ego, if different: Cynthia Gardner

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Crystalline surface, no figure (cylindrical, but changeable)

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): Brunette, shoulder length hair with bangs, 5’8” tall. Something like a 34, 28, 36 figure.

Costume: None. She looks like a big cylinder, or whatever.

Personality: Very observant. Very adaptable.

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): Made of nano-machines by genius scientist working for some corporation, as part of his way of protecting the world from the exploitation of his work.

Powers: Automatic repair of any physical damage. Networked (can leave parts here or there for “spying/information collection”. Far quicker than any human. Staggeringly intelligent. Far stronger than expected (she is, after all, a machine). Able to change appearance at will.

The Story:

Cynthia Gardner stood in front of the teller at the bank, “I have to deposit this,” she smiled, handing the teller her paycheck. The teller smiled back, then she looked surprised, then terrified. “Oh, God.”

There were four people with guns drawn, two by the entrance, one next to the security guard, and one at the teller next to Cynthia. A single gunshot echoed in the ears of everyone in the bank, sounding far louder in the enclosed space than it would have on the street. The security guard collapsed, a large red spot appearing on his chest, and thick red pool  forming beneath him.

The man at the teller next to Cynthia belted out, “Do exactly what we say, and no one else gets hurt!”

The two men at the door waved their guns, menacingly. The man who had shot the guard screamed, “Down! On the Ground! Everyone!”

Cynthia thought, “Dang-it,” as she got to the ground. “First thing’s first.” She ordered a string of nanobots to cross the room to the security guard, to render any assistance they could to him. The bots formed an invisible line on the floor, as they crossed the bank, and disappeared into the guard’s wounds. Cynthia received their reports on blood pressure, pulse rate, and physical damage incurred.

The guard was dead. The gunman had known exactly where to shoot. “So much for being nice,” she thought, reprogramming the detached nanobots, and programming another three groups. Each group targeted one of the gunmen.  Cynthia made sure the nanobot detachments were from hidden spaces, so no one would notice peices of her were missing. Toes from inside her shoes, parts of her self she was sitting on, her tongue and teeth, which she didn’t exactly need at the moment.

The nanobot detachments moved to the gunmens weapons, attacking the metal and fiber composite structure of the guns, pulling the molecular structure of the firing mechanisms apart, rendering the guns useless. They searched each gunman for additional weapons, removing sharp edges and points from any knives they found, reporting back to Cynthia what they’d found, and done.

The gunmen kept moving, not knowing anything was happening. They pulled watches, cell phones, laptop computers, cash, credit cards, and other valuables from the people in the bank, quickly filling up the bags they’d brought with them.

As they did, the nanobot detachments informed Cynthia the gunmen were fully disarmed. Cynthia sent them commands to disable the gunmen by disrupting their central nervous systems, blocking the flow of information from their brains to their muscles. Within a minute, the gunmen collapsed, one by one, falling to the floor, unable to move, quickly falling into unconscious states.

With the gunmen disabled, Cynthia knew everyone was safe, and the immediate crisis of the robbery was over. She issued return orders to the nanobot detachments. When they’d returned, she got to her feet, and walked up to each gunman. They would all live. “It’s OK, everyone. I don’t know what happened, but they’re all unconscious.”

The bank tellers set off the silent alarms indicating a robbery in progress, and a few minutes later, the police arrived. They found Cynthia kneeling next to the dead security guard. She wondered if he’d had any family. Any children. She wondered how humans could be so heartless, shooting someone for no reason other than a few trinkets, and some money.

“Miss? Are you OK.” One of the officers asked.

“Yes,” she pointed at the dead guard. “But he’s not.”

The officer nodded. “Do you know what happened here today?”

Cynthia shook her head. “They all just fell over. It was like magic.”

The officer offered her a hand, helped her get to her feet. “I just glad they didn’t get away with it.”

The officers asked questions of everyone in the bank, what they’d seen, what the gunmen had done, what had happened to cause the gunmen to collapse. No one knew anything. “It was like God struck them down.” “It was like some invisible gas or something hit them all.” No one could explain what happened.

Cynthia knew. She’d stopped the men. She’d tried to help the security guard, but had failed. She knew what the police would find when they examined the weapons of the gunmen. She knew no one would ever understand what had happened.

But she knew. And she could never tell.

I hope you have enjoyed my entry into the “Creating a Female Super Hero Challenge (#CASFC). There are lots of excellent entries, and amazing proposals for female super heroes in the challenge. Please go read them all.