In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 31: The Robbers are Back

That morning, the situation in one of the biggest banks in Jakarta proceeded as usual. Although the bank was just opened, quite a number of customers had arrived there. A line formed at each teller desk. One of the tellers who was in charge of serving customers was Nina. Yes, this was the bank where Nina had been working for the past few months.

No one was aware that in the opposite side of the building, there were four people, who were dressed entirely in black and covered their faces with balaclavas, watching the conditions around the bank. That’s right. The four of them were the robbers who some time ago became the talk of the whole country. After a long time of not being heard, now the robbers were back with a new mission.

“Are you ready, Guys?” Aiman enquired of his friends.

“We’re ready when you are, Bro!” Putra answered.

Reza and Prama nodded in agreement.

“All right. I’ll say ‘One, two, three, go!’ as a signal for us to get going, okay?” said Aiman.

“Yeah, gotcha,” the three of them said in unison.

“One,” Aiman began.

He paused for a moment, then went on, “Two.”

He stopped again and then continued, “Three.”

Aiman took a deep breath before saying, “Go!”

“Go! Go! Go!” Prama, Putra, and Reza exclaimed together.

At last, the four robbers advanced towards the bank.

“Good morning, Ma’am,” Nina greeted one of the customers, a woman with long dark hair who was dressed in red.

“Morning,” the woman responded with a friendly smile.

“Can I help you?” Nina enquired.

“Yes, I want to—” She was interrupted by the sound of gunshots coming from the front entrance of the bank.

Everyone turned their attention to the entrance and was stupefied to see four people who were wearing black from head to toe with a balaclavas covering their faces and carrying guns bursting into the bank. An injured security guard was dragged with them. Blood oozed out of the gunshot wound on the security guard’s left thigh.

Putra, who kept hold of the security guard’s arm, pushed him over. Rahman, the name of the security guard, groaned with pain as he kept pressing his hand against his wound, trying to stop the flow of blood from the wound.

Screams of horror instantly reverberated through the bank. The employees and customers of the bank were trying to flee from the bank in terror.

Sensing danger, Nina quietly pressed the panic button that was placed under her desk to call for the police’s help before she joined the others in running towards the bank’s doors.

However, their only exit was blocked by the four robbers who were brandishing their guns on them.

The bank customers and employees finally screamed for help.

“SHUT UP!” Prama opened fire on the ceiling, which automatically silenced everyone in the bank.

“NOW, ALL OF YOU SQUAT DOWN OVER THERE!” Reza barked an order while pointing at the far corner of the room with his gun.

Frightened, the bank customers and employees chose to obey the robbers. They all herded towards the far corner of the room and squatted on the floor.

Aiman moved forward and then spoke up, “Look! Everything will go by smoothly if you want to cooperate with us. So don’t try anything stupid if nobody wants to get hurt! Do I make myself clear?”

All the bank employees and customers nodded their heads fearfully.

“Who is the manager in this bank?” Aiman demanded fiercely. But no one dared to answer his question.

Again, Prama fired his gun into the ceiling which succeeded in drawing screams of terrors from the hostages.

“We ask you one more time. Who is the manager in this bank?” he asked wrathfully.

A woman hesitantly raised her trembling hand. “I— I— I am.”

Aiman marched over to that woman with Putra, Reza, and Prama in tow.

“So you’re the manager of this bank?” Reza inquired.

“Y—yes,” the woman stuttered a reply.

Putra knelt down before that woman and traced the line of her jaw with his finger. “What’s your name, Sweetie?”

The woman cringed in fear.

”M—my name is Meyla.”

“Okay, Meyla, listen up! I want you to take us to the vault right now,” Aiman ordered.

“I—I’m sorry, I— I can’t. I would be fired if I did that,” Meyla stammered.

Prama drew his gun on Meyla’s head and posed an intimidating question, “Do you prefer to lose your job or your life?”

Meyla blanched visibly after she heard that. “I—I’m sorry, but I can’t take you there. The vault is locked and I don’t know the password for it,” she reasoned.

“Don’t lie to us! We are sure that you’re the only one who know the password to the vault. If you still love your life, you’d better take us to the vault now,” Reza threatened.

Tears sprang to Meyla’s eyes. “A—alright, I’ll take you there.”

“Good!” murmured Prama.

Aiman ​​turned to face his three friends.

“You take all the money from the teller desks,” Aiman ​​ordered Prama.

“Okay, Bro,” Prama said.

“And you,” Aiman pointed to Putra, “collect all the valuables belongings of the employees and customers!”

“All right, Bro,” said Putra.

“And lastly, you and I go to vault with the bank manager,” Aiman ​​spoke to Reza.

“OK.” Reza nodded in agreement.

Aiman grabbed Meyla by the arm and yanked her to her feet. After that, he dragged the poor woman along with him towards the vault.

Reza followed closely behind them while pulling his gun on Meyla.

On arriving there, Aiman and Reza forced the bank manager to open the door of vault soon. Meyla keyed in her password and the door flew open. Then, the two robbers quickly stuffed as much money as possible into their duffle bags.

Elsewhere, Prama bade all tellers come closer to their desks and he told them to fill his duffle bag with money. The tellers, including Nina, had no choice but to comply.

Meanwhile, Putra strolled among the hostages, holding a duffle bag out to them. “Put your wallet and mobile phone here!” he commanded.

Reluctantly, they all pulled their wallets and mobile phones out of their pockets and put it into the robber’s duffle bag.

The robbers suddenly tensed when they heard the police siren blaring somewhere in the distance and the sound was coming closer and closer. On the contrary, relief surged through the hostages because they knew that help was at hand.

“On no! The police are coming here!” Prama said in panic.

“We have to warn our friends now,” Putra stated.

“I’ll watch them while you go to warn our friends,” Prama said.

“OK.” Putra nodded at Prama and lastly hastened towards the vault to give their friends a warning.

Bursting into the vault, Putra wheezed, “We have a situation, Guys.”

“What’s the matter?” asked Reza.

“The police are coming here!” Putra told Aiman and Reza.

“Let’s get the hell out of here now!” Aiman said.

Aiman and Reza hurriedly zipped their bags shut. The three robbers then rushed out of the vault, leaving Meyla alone.

When they rejoined Prama out the front, they saw that a fleet of police cars had just arrived outside and dozens of officers piled out. The bank was now ringed with police.

“Shit! The police have arrived!” Prama cursed loudly.

“Let’s escape through the back door!” Putra suggested.

“No,” Aiman disagreed with him, “The police must have covered all the exits to this building, including the back door.”

“What are we going to do now?” Reza queried.

While the robbers were racking their brains to find a solution to their problem, suddenly they heard the police shout, “We have surrounded the building. Put your hands up and come out of the bank where can see you!”

Out of the blue, Prama grabbed a teller who was the closest to him and pulled her roughly towards him.

Aiman’s eyes widened in astonishment when he recognized the teller as one of his best friends, Nina. Apparently, Aiman was too bound up in his mission that he didn’t realize Nina was here.

Prama wrapped his left arm around Nina’s neck while his right hand held a gun to her head. He then dragged her nearer the window.

Shinta, who stayed among the police, was shocked when she found out that the robbers kept Nina as a hostage.

“Oh Aiman, what have you got yourself into?” Shinta thought apprehensively.

“We have hostages here. Don’t you dare enter the bank or else we will kill the hostages one by one,” Prama yelled at the police.

Prama’s threat made the hostages start screaming in terror and Nina herself shuddered with fear.

“Don’t do anything rash! The bank employees and customers are taken hostage by the robbers. We can’t let any hostages get hurt,” Police Commissioner General Arifin warned his men.

“You heard what that police said, Guys? They don’t want anyone to get hurt. So I think we can use the hostages to help us escape from here,” Putra gave his opinion.

“That’s a brilliant idea, Bro!” exclaimed Reza.

“You’re right. Let’s go!” Aiman made for the doors. Prama, Reza, and Putra followed behind him, dragging Nina along with them.

The police turned their guns on the robbers as they saw the robbers stepping out of the bank. Because the robbers brought a hostage with them, Police Commissioner General Arifin ordered the police to hold their fire.

“You must let us leave now or else we will blow this woman’s brains out and we are going to kill the other hostages too after that,” Prama browbeat.

“What shall we do now, Sir?” one of the police asked Police Commissioner General Arifin.

Before the Chief of Criminal Investigation Agency could answer, Shinta already took a few steps forward.

“Shinta, what do you think you’re doing? Get back here now!” Police Commissioner General Arifin commanded. He was concerned for the hostages’ safety because what Shinta’s was doing might endanger their lives.

Instead of listening to his commandant’s order, Shinta tried to negotiate with the robbers, “Please stop it! It’s all over. Surrender yourselves to the police now!”

“Don’t come near us or we’ll shoot her!” Aiman browbeat.

Shinta didn’t think Aiman and his friends would really shoot Nina. She was absolutely certain that they were just bluffing. She knew Aiman would not have the heart to hurt Nina and he surely wouldn’t let his friends touch her either. Therefore, shinta paid no heed to his warning and she kept advancing on the robbers.

But apparently Shinta was wrong. She froze with terror when she watched Aiman aimed his gun at Nina and fired her. Fortunately, the bullet only grazed Nina’s upper arm.

Nina moaned in pain as she clutched at her wounded arm. Tears were welling up in her eyes.

“We mean what we say. So don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again if you don’t want her to die!” Aiman warned the police.

Shinta stared at Aiman in disbelief. “What’s got into you, Aiman? Why did you do that to Nina?”

Didn’t want to take risks with Nina’s life, the Chief of Criminal Investigation Agency finally ordered the police to stand aside and let the robbers pass.

Reluctantly, the police obeyed their commandant’s order.

Without wasting time, the robbers marched Nina out of the bank and towards a waiting car that was parked across from the bank. They quickly bundled Nina into the back of the car before they hopped into the car too. Aiman sat behind the wheel, Putra sat down next to Aiman in the passenger side seat. Meanwhile Prama and Reza sat at the either side of Nina in the back seat.

As soon as the robbers’ car roared past them, the police piled into their cars and took up the chase.

The robbers noticed several police cars following close behind. That’s why they wound their windows down and opened fire on those police cars.

Since their vehicles came under fire, Police Commissioner General Arifin ordered his men to return fire on the robbers.

Because they were being shot at, the robbers decided to wind their windows up and slumped back in their seats to take cover.

The chase carried on. The police and the robbers were now involved in a high-speed car chase. The robbers raced their car through the streets of the city with the police in hot pursuit. After a long chase, the police unfortunately lost the robbers in the streets that were bursting with cars and had to give up the chase.

Although they had lost the robbers’ track, but Shinta guessed that she knew where the robbers’ car was heading. Therefore, she pulled her car to the right without other police knowing.

Brigadier Elisa who was in the same car with Shinta protested, “Hey why do you turn the car, Shinta? Where are we going?”

“I think I know where those robbers are going,” Shinta replied.

“OK then, let’s inform our commandant about it!” Brigadier Elisa intended to contact their commandant, but Shinta forbade her.

“No, don’t do that!”

Elisa frowned. “Why?”

“Because I am not sure about it yet. I don’t want to give the others a false information,” Shinta reasoned. The truth was she wanted to find Aiman before the others. She planned to talk to Aiman a fan his friends first and she would persuade them to let Nina go and give themselves up to the police.

“Oh okay,” Elisa commented.

After some time; Shinta finally caught a glimpse of the robbers’ car among the press of other cars. She then pursued that car at high speed.

From the rear-view mirror, Aiman saw that there was a police car gaining on them. Therefore, he swiftly picked up steam in an attempt to shake off their pursuer.

The chase continued until they reached an empty street with a long line of trees on either side of the road. Shinta put her foot down. At long last, she managed to overtake the robbers’ car. She jammed on the brakes a few meters away from the robbers’ car, trying to block their path.

Since the police car in front of the robbers stopped abruptly, Aiman had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

Shinta hopped out of the car. She marched over to the robbers’ car and knocked on the windscreen.

“Aiman, come out of the car now!” she hollered.

“Why did Shinta call Aiman’s name?” Nina wondered in mystification.

Aiman climbed out of the car, slamming the car door shut.

Prama, Reza, and Putra also piled out of the car, dragging Nina with them. At the same time, Brigadier Elisa got off of the car too. They all were very curious to see what would happen between those two friends.

Walking up to Shinta, Aiman whipped the balaclava off his face and asked vehemently, “What do you want from me, Shinta?”

Nina couldn’t believe her eyes when she found out that her best friend turned out to be one of the robbers who kept her as a hostage. And what shocked her even more was Shinta apparently had known that Aiman was a robber but she didn’t tell her.

“You promised me that you’d quit being a robber. But why did you break your promise, Aiman?” Shinta demanded wrathfully.

“Everything I do is for Dinda. I was forced to rob again because I need much money to pay for her surgery. I just want to save Dinda’s life, Shinta. So please help me and get out of my way now!” Aiman pleaded.

“No, Aiman, I won’t help you again. I have ever given you a chance to redeem yourself, but you have never learned from your mistakes. So I won’t give you a second chance this time,” Shinta said with emphasis.

“But this is for Dinda’s sake, Shinta! I wouldn’t rob again if Dinda’s life were not in danger,” Aiman made an excuse.

“Don’t involve Adinda in this! It’s your own fault, Aiman. There must be other ways to get the money to pay for Dinda’s surgery, but why do you prefer to rob?” Shinta chided.

“You don’t understand, Shinta,” Aiman retorted indignantly, “Dinda does—”

“That’s enough, Aiman!” Shinta interjected “I’m sick and tired of hearing your excuses. Now, I want you and your friends to come with me to the police station. You all must surrender yourselves to the police and pay for your crimes.”

“I do not give a stuff of what you say, Shinta. One thing is for sure—I and my friends are never going to give ourselves up to the police,” Aiman stressed.

“Come on, Guys! Let’s get the hell out of here now!” Aiman was about to turn around, but Shinta held him back.

Shinta yelled, “Aiman, stop or else—”

“Or what?” Aiman interrupted, “Are you going shoot me?”

Shinta swallowed hard. “Y—yes, I will shoot you if you dare to run away,” she bluffed.

“Fine. Shoot me if you dare!” Aiman challenged.

Shinta was astounded by Aiman’s words. She never thought that her best friend would challenge her like that.

“Why, Shinta? Are you scared to shoot me?” Aiman asked teasingly.

Shinta pulled her gun on Aiman. “Who say I’m afraid to shoot you? If you can fire at Nina, I can definitely shoot you too, Aiman.”

“OK then, what are you waiting for? Come on, shoot me now, Shinta!” Aiman provoked her.

Shinta was about to squeeze the trigger, but she cried off at the last moment, and lowered her gun instead. She hated to admit it, but Aiman was right. Unlike him, Shinta would not have the heart to shoot her best friends.

Aiman smirked triumphantly. “I knew it. You will never dare to do that. Coward!” he mocked.

Provoked by Aiman’s remarks, Shinta carefully trained her gun on Aiman again. Closing her eyes, she pulled the trigger.

Then, the sound of gunshot was heard followed by Nina’s scream.

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