“Once upon a time there was... no. Wait, that’s not the right story.
There once was a... no, no. That is also the wrong story. That’s not how it goes.
Okay, this is the right one, let’s begin our story this way.
Three, fade, and
Four orcs walked into a bank, I know,yes it sounds like a joke one would tell drinking piss out of a unicorn in the sugary lands of who knows what pastel colored land but, believe me on this one though and don’t ask where I got this information yet. Just listen, heed and convey every detail to the confines and circuits of your brain.
In a bank, within a city bordered by a great lake to the west and shielded by tall peaks to the north-east; their caps covered in powdery sugar, slopes seeded with forests full of mysticism and the lore of yore. Minuscule ice sculptures, unique in every angle and curve, blanketed the ground, streets, evergreens and bare deciduous trees. Falling quicker as time went by.
Cars drove slow, people slipped or skated on the ice beneath, and narrowly avoided other incoming vehicles whose drivers struggled with poor visibility. Some others ran around, giggling, having snow fights, rushed to get home or to whatever destination they may be headed too, little children made angels by swiping their arms and legs in the fluffy fields of the park facing it; laughing, opening their mouth to eat the puffy flakes of frozen water. Parents called out, perceiving and judging that the weather would be getting worse sooner than later, with the loudest parental vociferation they could attain. To reach little ears that seldom listened, hushed further by running, crunching, boots on the dunes of silvery white.
Unusual for the time, it was late March of ’95 already and most were expecting spring to be settling in, not another deluge of white that would prevent them from enjoying the outside they had been deprived of for many months now.
So, to go back to the topic at hand, which is the bank that sat on the corner of Fer and Heinrich, majestically standing with banners of sparkling yellow and green hanging from their stone faces and roofs; its facade came in a high peak which created a perfect equilateral triangle. A fascia had been placed on it, golden yellow in color, covering the entirety of the edges of the triangle and extending past the limits before ending in twirls. Columns, in the style of old greco-roman temples, held the massive structure in place, similar to that of an ancient temple, as cover for the people entering the building. Projected from the main structure. On each banner and the face of the triangle, drawn in block glittery letters and carved into stone, was the name Granota. Large stairs, with threads of fourteen inches and width of eleven meters split into three by rails.
Closed in by two elevated statues that sat, so to speak, at the front of the humongous polished building. Frogs, in the shape of the Iberian species, leaned back on the block of marble veined with emeralds. Resting on their elbow, leg bent with the other stretched, grinning faces, one yellow , one green, each held a massive gold colored coin in their hands. On them were words inscribed in a foreign language;“A Plutus ens posem la vida” and the other had this sentence, “Que siguin abundants”. Glass doors, numbering 4 with an extra revolving one at the center, framed in gold chrome as were the windows. Behind the tall entrance, was the main tower reaching 16 floors; constructed of lime tinted windows, steel and concrete, one large banner pictured a happy upright frog smiling with its right hand flipping a coin in the air. Above were the words, “Save money and time with your friendly frog, trust Granota with all your financial needs.”
Four orcs, clad in blue jumpsuits and flat caps, exited a van parked where it shouldn’t have been. Almost exactly in line with the path to the door. Ignoring the sapphire blue sign depicting a mobility challenged individual posted beside it on the sidewalk. Windows tinted ice blue at the cabin, bare aluminum back, painted black with the words clearly and professionally printed on the sides; Krach Soc. 2,75 meters high, beefy, bull necked, walking monoliths. Each carried forward 5 gallon bottles of water, amounting to nine with their tags showing the brand as Ankalakon pure source, plastic the shade of a ripe Crispin apple. Faces appeared human only by the spell of the wicked and nefarious that had formulated the initial plan, hidden, remaining vigilant in the shadows. Large prints led the way in a tidy line, something that would have convinced a big foot believer. Each carried 2 bottles except for the first who had three.
Boots hit the marbled, speckled, polished, glossy, floor of the lobby. Some became silent, perturbed by the sight of the giants coming in, bending down under the low doorway, while others remained to their things and were otherwise unaware of their existence.
Within, the ceiling stretched up 12 meters while the main mezzanine covered an area of roughly 18 acres and then more when considering the tower behind it.
To the left, behind the row of encased tellers in their bulletproof boxes of thick tactical crystal and solid titanium, was the vault which remained open throughout the day; similar to the models of old, with the round, heavy, door showing every artful and precise mechanism of its functions. Although maintained open during open hours, one would need to walk through a hall before finding the second secured door inside that led to the other room that led into the main “caching!” box.
Dangling above the two rows, and double sided, of luxurious plush yellow velvet seats that acted in the way of a median to the pedestrian traffic, were 3 exquisite tiered chandeliers; connected to the center of three vaults in the ceiling. Every star in the cosmos sparkled through its crystal drops, wired together , which came down in the fashion of bleeding heart flowers; from a structure of platinum and gold. Past the median, was a small square desk with a person sitting behind it on an uncomfortable looking wooden chair. Dressed in a polished chartreuse suit. Three phones ahead of him, hidden behind the raised wooden cover, and notebooks with organized red, blue and black pens. Above it, on the little shelf about head high when sitting down, were pamphlets and brochures. Next to it were also two standing, rotating, holders filled to capacity with a wealth of information pertaining to everything from insuring your cat to purchasing your tenth house.
To the right of them, upon entering, was another set of shielded cubicles. Sliding doors, tinted windows in forest green, office spaces for the various bank workers who dealt with all the mundane affairs clients brought in. Four office spaces, doubled back-to-back, then 4 in single row; the corridor divided and met at a T with the others, kitchen between Four and four. Beyond those offices, if you were to look ahead coming in, were the elaborate stone steps, that curved in and out as a crescent does, leading to the manager floor fitted with 4 more offices behind stones and polished flora; their windows to the inside, tangerine view. A little hidden door allowed them to step onto the narrow balcony and snoop. Below the landing of the stairs was also the set of 4 elevators, pushed further to the center of the meeting point of both buildings, situated right past the help desk. Another seating area was beside the offices, fitted with moss-colored velvet seats.
One remained on the ground floor, while the other 3 directed themselves to the elevators.
Headed for the reinforced teller stations first, with a hand the size of a small cannonball, it knocked in the old way of a shave and a haircut, two bits. One of the tellers, who was just about to take her break, came over to open the doors so as not to disturb those still at work. She looked up, long red silky hair flowing on the sides of her rounded-triangular face, freckled nose, cheeks scrunched up at the sight.; lifting her glass-bottom spectacles. Beeper beeping, “mom”.
An intimidating curiosity, inexpressive, projecting an aura that made you queasy.
Door opened, she revolted at the reek emanating from the orc before saying, “Sheesh! Take a shower once in a while! Yuk! You guys are supposed to have your own cards anyways so, who are you meant to be?”
She stared him down from below, attempting to peak through the shadowed eyes that appeared to be glowing faintly. Without a word, its head tilted down and came in close. No words, no expression but, she saw the blueish sclera and orange vertical irises reveal themselves beneath the false face. “Alright, alright, you brute”. Scared by this, she retreated and moved out of the way to let the towering beast enter. “Freak !” She shouted, once out of harm’s way, coat in hand running to a friend.
The orc paid no mind to the chatter, it kept the pace towards the water cooler, as did the rest of the tellers and clients at the window; each preoccupied with their own affairs and lives, too busy to notice the sinister event unfolding. With the ease of a bodybuilder lifting heavy weights, it picked up the half full bottle of water and replaced it with their own; leaving the others to the side of the cooler.
Next, it forced the door and therefore left it unlocked before heading towards the offices with the last item.
On the way there, going around the seats was a mother sitting with her unruly, rambunctious child. Running around, the little boy of about 5 years of age, hit the calves of the threatening being and fell unto his behind. Head up the mass, alike the claw of a pick and win toy machine, down came a massive hand and grabbed him by the back of the shirt. Lifted with utmost ease, the orc spun him around and smiled. This revealed its true nature, yellowed sharp teeth with protruding lower cuspids, pale blue and maroon cow spotted skin; broad square jaw. The child began to run in the air, desperately attempting to escape the orc, crying out loudly for his mother. Hastily, panicked, she came to her boy; leaving all her things behind.
With a stern hand, she slapped the being on the arm that felt as if hitting a solid piece of lumber. She retreated shaking her it in pain but, did not give up a verbal fight. “What exactly do you think you’re doing with my son? I demand you release him this instant! You hear me? Or I will call security and the cops on you!” Some of the officers standing around turned their heads and kept a vigilant gaze on the unfolding scene but did not move right away. Dressed almost identically to forest rangers, without a hat though.
His smile made her recede into her coat, just a tad, and then he tossed her child in the air. Never having been good at sports, she barely managed to grab onto her weeping brat. “I was just admiring a tasty, plumpy, morsel, madam!” He snarled out, inhuman deep raspy voice. Then turned around and returned to his initial mission.
Muddied, slushy steps showed the way on the soft-bristled dijon hued carpet. Traveling the yellow road to the kitchen, no one paid mind, not one soul came out. Making it absolutely easy for it to simply walk in and locate the water tower before switching them; leaving theirs on and the other beside. Once done in the house of silver and gold, it took the remaining one to the second half. Beside the elevators were a set of doors that took you into a short hall that allowed you to reach the other side. There, was a small set of cubicles, a tiny warming station spot in the middle with coffee machine included. Furthest on the right were the security quarters.
Almost too easy again, the beast laughed softly to itself as it made its way there. In disbelief of how aloof and apparently dumb humans were. Feeling as if he could simply wipe everyone one out here, staring at the bright screens, talking non-sense into mouthpieces, while the devils played and danced. So little do they know.
Level 4, one of the orcs exited the elevator with two more bottles in hand and left his accomplices behind; inside of the double-door elevator richly decorated with chrome, mirrors and wood panels. This was the accounting level, where all the numbers passed through as does blood through liver and kidneys. Heart of the operations throughout France and Spain, every vein and artery ended up here one way or another.
It stood by the elevators, looking to the left and then to the right, pondering which way was it that he should go first. A man approached the gargantuan from the side opposite of where its attention was and tapped him on the arm; looking up timidly. The orc turned its head slowly and looked down.
“Um, excuse me, I just noticed you seemed a little lost. I guess you’re new, uh? Well, kitchen area is that way you were looking and then first right all the way to the end. Can’t miss it, I tell ya, big yellow windows.” The young, fun-sized man smiled at the brute and pointed in the direction. In return, it gave him a glistening smile before walking off that left the worker befuddled. “
The man had made the monster’s job easy by showing him the way and he was able to notice the wide space enclosed in lemon colored circles and numbers, on clear glass. Crisp air welcomed it in, a few employees were seated at a table somewhere along the middle. Made of cheap wood, round and white, and standing on thin aluminum legs that made an angled out deformed rectangle; chairs in one piece of green or yellow plastic with matching legs. Counters faces in a vivid mustard hue, tops of solid oak finished in true blue; handles chromed neon pineapple flesh. Orbs hung down from wispy silvery tubes, bright white lights enclosed in cream colored fishbowls. Two water towers, placed exactly angled out in the corners.
Both workers stared as the massive being did his task before turning his attention on them. Bewildered by the strange, frightful sight. It was akin to a latex mask floating loosely on your face, except that the top half was hidden by the brim’s cast. Pale, pinkish white with a faintly drawn thin mouth and a flat, fat, nose. It paused by their table. They watched a hand the size of a large banana bunch grab their roasted chicken whole from the middle of the table without even attempting to stop the imposing thing. Giggling to himself, it turned around and walked away while simultaneously biting half the bird in one.
Level 8, here, another disembarked the elevator of impending doom. One person tried to squeeze themselves in but, promptly walked back out upon sniffing the stench of the beasts. Smell of sterile, warm, machines computing away permeated the air and welcomed the orc in. Soft glowing white lights gave the space a cool feel when shining on the metallic teal walls.
To his immediate left, was a door encased into a frame fixed on to the wall; streaked in aquamarine, thick bands of various width with the door situated at the bottom right corner. Entrance to an L shaped lunch room. The server room wall made the hall, turning its head to the left, on the other end were the offices that surrounded the main server room. Constructed at the exact center of the floor, provided with its own cooling system, enclosed in a crisp controlled mini-atmosphere.
Initiating the first step of his act, to the right it went and opened the door to the lime colored lunch room, equally cool and refreshing. Tables populated the floor, designed as various geometrical shapes, surfaces either decorated with colorful wires or neon binary code, coupled with one-piece “S” shaped chairs in either yellow or blue.
Stainless steel counter tops paired with navy faces and rugged handles in carbon iron. Floors of hard speckled , polished rock; its boots stomped damply on it. Nobody in yet, it found the target situated in the corner near the entrance and repeated the same process as its accomplices. Done with it, it grabbed the other bottle which was relatively full still and carried it together with theirs. People were making their way to the lunch room, the current was growing when it exited the area. Any in its path stepped aside instinctively, eyes to the mammoth splitting the flow. Murmuring to each other before returning their attention to their grumbling stomachs.
By the time it reached the other side of the hall most of the space was already empty and, although there were two more water coolers on the open office floor, its attention was to the entrance of the server room. Door closed to the northern side of the building, at the meeting of two walls pulled away from the outer windows. A key pad awaited him upon arriving, at the gate, the immediate view through the crystal showed no one present except for the large square servers hiding behind tan colored aluminum doors; numbers turning in red. With a firm grip, it pulled on the door and made the metal frame twist and whine before cracking loudly; spreading spider webs in the encased glass.
Noise had attracted the attention of a worker still present, dutifully dealing with sudden issues that deprived him of his nourishment. He came to a halt upon seeing the beast, bottles in hand. “Hey! Can I help you with something? Those go out there, okay? We can’t have that much water in here, it could fry the systems. Getting through to ya?” It smirked at the man and lowered the water tanks on the ground, upright, then walked to him. Behind, in the distance, it could see there was another, a young woman seated at chair observing them focused.
Hat to the side, it revealed its true form to the man who recoiled in terror at the abject creature reaching for him; falling and rolling a bit, then retreating with palms and soles. Witnessing the hungry terror, she squealed and ran off. Chair shoved to the side banged against the wall.
“Oh, but, little piggy, I am indeed meant to be here. I was just...let’s say...not thinking I would have lunch provided.” Smirking, speaking in a guttural voice, “Oh, you poor things how you tremble in the face of something greater yet you yap so valiantly. Let me remind you of how weak and insignificant your species is.” With both hands, the ogre clasped the man by the shoulders and squeezed him until his bones began to crack and pop painfully; he wanted to scream but, due to his lungs being compressed, only a slight gasp escaped as a whistling wheezing squeak. Feeling life exiting his mortal envelope, face purple and red, eyes bulging same as lips, it watched frightfully the mouth of the creature open. Wet, putrid, slimy saliva escaped its gullet and dripped on his face as it prepared to bite.
One loud crunch followed by wet chewing sounds marked the end of a brilliant mind, dome missing and gushing blood in intervals. Another bite finished the skull and it tossed the limp corpse to the side to find the escaped scientist. There was only one door in and out, no running away, where was she?
“I’m not particularly fond of games, why go through the challenge. Surrender to me, come forth and end your wretched existence. What can this world offer you that a liberating death cannot?” He teased her, a cat playing with the mouse before an execution. “Oh, let me guess. You want your mommy? I’d probably eat her too! I am starving. What are you holding on too, human? You are nothing but racing rats, lambs for slaughter. Why cling so stubbornly?Come to me, be released.”
Hidden underneath one of the control panels, she trembled and held herself tight in a bundle; pearls dripping, sobbing into her knees and hoping dear baby Jesus himself would swoop down and smite it. Shaking, more intensely and uncontrollably than a constipated defecating dog would. “Peek-a-snack! I got you!” Exclaimed the monster, reaching and lifting the woman by the ponytail. She squirmed and screamed but, his hand silenced her and shattered her jaw altogether; reducing it to a pulpy mess pushed against the palate. One bite to the neck decapitated her, body flopped down into a spreading pool of blood. Wide frozen eyes stared into the void, it snickered then finished it off; brown strands snowed.
Done with the hunt, it went to the bottles and proceeded to rip the top off the green one first. Spilled the contents onto the servers, after ripping open the thin doors, with nothing happening. Next, it took the water and repeated the process with the marked difference that it seemed to cause some kind of chemical reaction. Small lightening spread inside of the servers and corrupted everything within them, frying every part of the circuitry. This circulated in the way of microscopic vine lightening through the security systems, air circulation, temperature control, and communications. Servers sprouted ice roses and sputtered before bulging, whining, and then finally blowing up from all edges with spikes of ice.
Guards on duty, ignorant to the murders, now looked on through little blueish screens how they danced joyfully in the server room; as if life couldn’t be greater. “Look at these two! Didn’t know the old tech could move like that! Got moves like Micheal Johnson.” One of the officers nudged his co-worker who looked up unimpressed before returning his gaze to the other set of screens head melted onto his hand.
Floor ten, the last one made it to the human resource floor. Matte butterscotch walls, accentuated with heavy traffic carpet squares in shades of swirling flax. Open, square butter columns split sections further. This one had the lunch area to its immediate left, the remainder was open except for the janitor closet behind the elevators. Closed in cubicles, fuzzy corn wheeled sections divided the many foursquare. Fax machines screeching welcomed it into the office, mixed with curses from employees trying to figure out the new computer systems the company had been transitioning too, that of hot paper rolling off printers, and conversations.
An acid green sky basked the edges of the floor, thick cotton drops rushed past, white phosphorescent tubes lit the rest. A row of closed in work spaces built at the end, for meetings and managers. Unperceived it went, on its merry way, and opened the door; a blast of cool air breezed past, refreshing. Walking in, to his right was a man beating the automated ghosts out of an uncooperative coffee machine; repeating clank of plastic meeting a thin aluminum barrier with the force of a dress shoe. Snickering to himself, he returned his attention to the water towers and exchanged the first while the worker continued to swear, slap and kick. Passing behind him on the way to the second cooler, the orc stopped next to the now tiny looking male and gave it a resounding slap with its free hand. Another one broke it, made it swell and pop on all seams; it began to whine loudly. “What the fuck are you man?” Asked the belittled man, slightly frightened to the creature that simply walked away with its water. His eyes tracked it and then returned to the broken spurting, dying mangled piece of cheap trash which suddenly began spraying hot water everywhere. Including the anger management case who screamed high and began to slap himself quickly while tiptoeing.
This amused the savage giant, giggling softly to itself as it rotated the good for the bad. Giving up on the fight, the grumpy human resource individual was left resourceless and vacated the room. Digging into its jumpsuit pockets it took out one large seed, about the size of a large red bean, gray and ice blue in wavy stripes. Enclosed in a meaty cage, he went to the sink and dropped it into the pipe; hitting the metal with force until the echo dissipated into loud crackling and creaking noises.
Falling inside, it left a tail in its trail that iced any form of water present within and then caused it to puff out spikes that pierced the old pipes with ease; a miniature comet of ice age. Growing, multiplying, infiltrating every turn, corner, twist, crack, into all the little conduits man-made or not. People using the toilets in various floors soon found themselves looking at frozen ponds of human filth and stuck in place streams from faucets; perplexed, nervous.
Beneath, the frost snake arrived to the tanks and began to clog the systems all the way to the main pipes of the streets around it and caused such tremendous pressure to build up that water rose to the sky and created abstract sculptures from the freezing geysers. Some, even, flipped passing cars onto their tops or made them swerve out of the way abruptly; a few people had been hit, vehicles piled up around the busy corner, wrapped around posts and trees. Passer-by’s in proximity screamed, yelled, fell, and ran away or stood by and watched safely from the park as the area took on a mysterious yet frightfully magical atmosphere.
All phases of the plan had been executed, giggling as it went on its happy way back to the blue van. He avoided the elevator this time, packed with humans, and instead went down the set of emergency stairs.
To the back of the building where his accomplices await him in the sputtering van. Hats off, heavily scarred heads showed. Not white but, a celestial blue for the sclera with irises of a banana pudding yellow with maroon frays around it. The one at the wheel was missing one of his eyes, a large scar trenched it to the cheek and continued to the mouth where large tusks protruded out. The one next to him had a short, wide, crest of braided hair. Throwing his hat to the side first, it grabbed on to its brother’s hand and climbed the back of the van before the driver sped off with a heavy foot on the gas; scraping the sides of the narrow alley, leaving red sparks on the way. One imprudent and distracted pedestrian was thrown up 10 feet when he or she, whoever it may have been, got struck by the speed demons. Another car, that had been skidding out of control, got t-boned and went off spinning like a dreidel out of a young Jewish boy’s hands.
“You idiot! We can’t attract attention!” Shouted the passenger, slapping the driver up the head with its pancaked sized palm.
“You’re the darn idiot! I got one eye and you let me drive! Can’t see a bloody thing!” Replied the driver as he worked them out of the pouring snow and increasing vehicular slaughter; whether wanted or accidental.
A loud menacing roar erupted from the back of the van, coming from the last orc who had made it in and who appeared to be the eldest or the leader of the pack. “You two focus! If you don’t shut it right now! I swear I’ll throw you both to the ghramhan nadair by my own hands! Feed him two good meatballs!”
Turning, swerving, sliding and skidding, there was no way to get out. Due to the storm combined with the solid geysers that had sprung from the sewers.
“We’re going to have to walk there, Katur, there’s no way left to make it out of here with this scrap.” Stated the one at the wheel.
An echoing, penetrating and semi-hypnotic, villainous voice found its way into their collective minds. “I will show you the way, I will hide you. Follow the alley on your immediate left. Eyes of yours be my own.”
Immediately, the four orcs made their way out into the tempestuous and chaotic midway. Shapes and faces camouflaged by the storm, appearing as no more than tall misshapen shades. To the left, the ground seemed to trace a golden thread made of glittering gold into the dark alleyway.