The warm spring sunshine smiled lovingly upon London this morning. It was a quarter to nine by my wristwatch when I arrived at the building of Lewis Films, the company where I had been working as a scriptwriter for the past five years.
After parking my car in the car park, I walked towards the building. When I set foot in the lobby, I had a feeling in my guts that there’s something not quite right here. The lobby that was usually bustling with employees now looked empty. I didn’t see the receptionist in the reception desk, and the security guards were nowhere to be seen either.
I strolled to one of the elevators and pressed a button. While waiting for the elevator, I asked myself, “Where is everyone going? Am I late, so they all have gone somewhere without me knowing?”
I glanced at my wristwatch. It’s four minutes to nine, so I was sure that I didn’t come late.
“Did I come too early, so my co-workers haven’t arrived yet?” Another question suddenly popped into my head.
“No,” I thought, “Unlike Indonesian people, British people are always punctual. There’s no way they will come late.”
I scratched my head over the possibility of what might happen here. “Wait! Is this office closed today and I become the only one who go to work?”
I dismissed the idea with a firm shake of my head. “No, no, no. If the office were closed, they wouldn’t leave the doors unlocked.”
“It’s really weird! What exactly is going on here now?” I wondered.
The sound of the elevator doors being opened brought me out of my train of thought. Entering the elevator, I pressed the button for the 10th floor that would take me to the meeting room. Yes, I had arranged a meeting with the director and producers today to discuss about our new film project.
The doors closed before the elevator started to ascend. Not long after that, the doors opened. I stepped out of the elevator and then went straight up to the meeting room.
On arriving at the meeting room, I felt confusion sweeping over me as I found my workmates squatting down on the floor.
“Guys, what are you doing here?” I asked in bewilderment.
But none of them answered my question. Instead, they gesticulated wildly at me as if they wanted to tell me something. Too bad I didn’t understand what they were trying to say.
“What are you talking about?” I inquired curiously.
All of a sudden, I felt something cold touch my back.
“Don’t move!” someone said.
I looked back over my shoulder. My eyes widened when I saw a man who dressed entirely in black and was wearing a balaclava standing behind me while pulling a gun on me.
“There is a robbery in this office? No way!” I thought in disbelief.
“Go over there!” The robber ordered, pointing at my co-workers who were squatting on the floor with his gun.
Didn’t want to get shot, I hurriedly obeyed.
Moments later, three more men who were also dressed from head to toe in black and wearing balaclavas came in, dragging Nathaniel Lewis, the CEO in this company, with them. While two robbers grasped him by the arms, the third robber held a gun to Nathan’s head.
“GET OFF ME!” Nathan screamed as he struggled to get away. But they tightened their grips on him even more instead.
The robber who pointed his gun at me just now moved forward and started speaking, “Look! This should go by smoothly if things work out in our favor and then you may return to your family and friends! So don’t try anything stupid!”
All the hostages, including me, remained silent, listening to the robber’s words apprehensively. Fear was written all over their faces. And I was as scared as them too.
“What do you want from us?” Nathan demanded.
“You know what we want,” one of the robbers replied.
Nathan had a puzzled look on his face. “I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
“LIAR!” one of the robbers roared, “We know you have it.”
“No, I don’t have anything you want,” Nathan insisted.
Unexpectedly, a robber shot Nathan in the stomach. Nathan collapsed to the floor while letting out a shriek of pain. I didn’t know if he was dead or just unconscious. But now, he lay absolutely motionless with his eyes closed. I could see blood oozing out of his gunshot wound too.
The hostages started screaming out in terror.
“SHUT UP!” yelled one of the robbers as he fired the gun into the ceiling.
A sudden silence fell in this room.
One of the robbers opened his mouth to say something, but all of a sudden, the meeting room door crashed open and a lot of armed police officers burst in.
I didn’t know how the police could find out about the robbery that took place in this office. But I was grateful because they were here, the hostages would be rescued soon.
“Don’t move-we’ve got you covered!” the police officers yelled at the same time while pointing their guns at the robbers.
The four robbers were totally unfazed by the presence of the police. Instead of surrendering themselves, the robbers decided to shoot it out with the police.
The robbers opened fire on the police, and the police returned fire. Finally, a violent gunfight broke out between the police and the robbers.
“Get under cover!” one of the police officers shouted at the hostages.
Shrieking in fright, my co-workers darted for the table and took cover under it.
I tried to run too, but my legs just wouldn’t obey me. Thus, I was sitting in the line of fire now.
Miraculously, I didn’t get shot. On the contrary, some police officers were shot. I could see blood pouring out of their gunshot wounds.
I shut my eyes because I couldn’t stand the sight of blood, and put my hands over my ears to muffle the sound of gunshot and cry of pain that echoed through the room.
When the gunfire stopped abruptly, I peeled my eyes open. I noticed more police officers were gunned down, and three robbers were shot down too, so there was only a robber left.
Out of the blue, the last surviving member of the robbers came at me. He grabbed a handful of my long black wavy hair and yanked me to my feet.
He wrapped his left arm around my throat while his right hand pressed the gun hard into my temple.
“DON’T COME NEAR ME OR I’LL SHOOT HER!” the robber threatened.
“Help!” I cried out.
“Shut your mouth!” The robber pushed the gun harder into my skull, making me groan with pain.
I stared at the police officers in front of me. I thought they would yield to the robber’s demand in order to release a vulnerable hostage like me. However, to my astonishment, the robber’s threat was swept aside. Instead, the police started walking towards us while turning their guns on our direction.
“DON’T MOVE!” the robber yelled as he trained his gun on my head.
Ignoring the robber’s words, the police kept advancing on us.
“STOP WALKING OR I WILL SHOOT HER!” the robber browbeat.
Apparently, the police guessed that the robber was just bluffing and wouldn’t shoot me. So they continued moving towards us without heeding the robber’s threat.
I shut my eyes tightly, didn’t want to see what would happen next.
“STOP!” the robbed shouted louder.
I didn’t dare to open my eyes yet. But from the robber’s voice that oozed with panic, I knew that the police showed no signs of giving in to his demands.
“I SAID STOP!” the robber yelled one more time. I felt his arm that was wrapped around my neck trembling with fear.
My heart was beating wildly. “Oh no, I’m done for. This robber is going to shoot me. God please save me!” I prayed quietly.
All at once, the robber who kept me as a hostage pushed me over. No sooner had I hit the floor than I heard a gunfire.
“NO!!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.