Year 11

Chapter 2
Earlier still

by E.Escher - 8th Dec 2016
'Meet me on the corner of Cross and Saint Ann's,' muttered Colin. 'Nine O' clock sharp. Right.'

He checked his watch for the umpteenth time. Twelve minutes past. It wasn't like Brian to be late for anything, but he'd been acting weird since yesterday, so maybe something was up. Brian wasn't normally the sort to make mysterious telephone calls at five in the morning. It was one of the things Colin liked about him.

The streets in all directions heaved and surged with road traffic and pedestrians. Doubtless that was the reason for Brian's lateness, but it suggested that his mysterious plan wasn't as desperately time-sensitive as he'd implied on the telephone. Busy crowds always seemed a dreadful inconvenience to other people, but Colin found they generally melted out of his way as he approached. He only had to stand behind somebody for a second or two and they'd get an unexplained urge to move aside.

It was strange, but useful. Similarly, if he stood completely still people seemed to ignore him.

Not Brian, though. The man had eyes like a hawk, and missed nothing. He had a seemingly endless catalogue of unconvincing replies when quizzed about his obvious military training. Some days he'd claim he was ex-SAS, other days he'd been trained by a shadowy society of ninjas. He'd told so many lies it was impossible to guess the truth. Brian was a man without a past, or at least no past he'd admit to. That was something else Colin liked about him. They had something in common.

No family ties. No awkward backstory. They'd meet up occasionally, have a few drinks, watch some TV, complain about the world in general, and then go their separate ways. It wasn't a conventional friendship, but Colin wasn't a conventional person, and Brian... well, Brian clearly had some issues of his own. For their own reason, they both saw the world in an unusual way. It made for some interesting conversations.

'Oi oi! Sorry I'm late.' Brian shoved his way through the crowd, all elbows and angles in a dark grey suit. 'Stationary traffic and human vermin conspired against the concept of good timekeeping, as usual, but here I am, at long last. Better late than never, eh?'

He smiled a crooked grin and waggled his eyebrows good-naturedly. With his bobbing adam's apple, hooked beak of a nose and juglike ears, Brian was far from attractive. He got by instead on a surfeit of charm. His dark hair was shaved down to stubble, and for all his six foot four inches of height he couldn't have weighed more than ten stone, and yet he could talk his way into or out of any kind of trouble and nearly always walk away without a scratch.

He unslung a Reebok sports bag from his shoulder, and thrust it toward Colin. 'Here. Your lucky day, you get first pick.'

'First pick of what?' asked Colin.

In reply, Brian unzipped the bag with a flourish. 'Two guns, two masks, and...' he jerked a thumb to indicate the two sides of the road '...two banks.'

'Two banks? What? You want to rob a bank? You want me to help you rob a bank?'

'You always did catch on quick when the chips're down. They're down, Colin, this is crunch time. Here, I'll make it easy, you take the MP5, it's a classic.' He pulled it out of the bag and pressed it into Colin's hands. 'Everybody knows what it does, so you can scare people into line without firing a shot. Just in case, though, here, couple of spare magazines. Best to cover all eventualities, eh?'

'What, like the bobbies showing up, when somebody reports seeing two guys with an SMG in the middle of Manchester?'

'Something like that, yeah. Here you go then, you take the black mask, I'll take the charcoal. It goes with my suit.'

'That was one of the choices? Black or charcoal?'

'And you get to choose which bank. I like the big glass windows on this Santander place.'

'Can I choose not to say no thanks?'

'You can, but I've got a gun, and I say you're helping me rob a bank, or I'll shoot you.'

'I could shoot you first. I've got the better gun, you've only got a pistol.'

'Yeah, but you'd have to explain it to the cops, and they'd never believe you.'

'I'm not sure I believe it myself.'

'Just stick to the plan and everything'll be a-okay.'

And with that, Brian put on his mask, slung the bag over his shoulder and yanked the door open. Colin hastily pulled on his own mask and followed him in.

'Wait, there's a plan?' he hissed.
7 Dec 16, 20:50
MikeL says:
Congrats again. Will be sure to read it. :)
1 Dec 16, 12:05
E.E. says:
Okay, we have a new story! 27 chapters, posting twice a week (Monday and Thursday).
28 Nov 16, 20:26
E.E. says:
Only a couple more days to go on this year's NaNoWriMo project, and everything is on target to actually have a completed story by the end of the month. Watch this space!
26 Nov 16, 02:51
MikeL says:
Congratulations on your story's progress. I realize it is never going to be finished now but I want you to know that your "Sunbeam" story on the old Crystal Hall website was proof that you were a great writer (as if any were needed). :)
7 Nov 16, 22:40
E.E. says:
First 11-thousand words done. Mostly on track to have 50k words by the end of the month.
2 Nov 16, 19:05
E.E. says:
Working on a Nanowrimo story for November. Making good progress.
16 Oct 16, 20:18
E.E. says:
Another short game review: Ride 2. Absolute garbage.
13 Oct 16, 02:26
MikeL says:
Sorry about your C drive. Just want to say again how much enjoyment i have gotten from verity's ark
9 Oct 16, 20:40
E.E. says:
My C: drive blew up this weekend, so I'm facing a few setbacks while I get things back in order. *sigh*
26 Aug 16, 08:23
E.E. says:
New mini-site with info about my upcoming game:
6 Aug 16, 15:28
MikeL says:
congrats on 2 million and looking forward to the game :)
2 Aug 16, 13:24
E.E. says:
This weekend I've been playing Wolfenstein - the New Order, and it's freakin' awesome.
26 Jul 16, 20:13
E.E. says:
Please visit the following page - it's a matter of life and death:
25 Jul 16, 16:53
E.E. says:
That's an ampersand followed by #9829;
25 Jul 16, 16:52
E.E. says:
I think you can use ♥
25 Jul 16, 13:12
Mara Smaragd says:
Aww, code didn't understand the hearts symbols. .. *** <3 <3 <3
25 Jul 16, 13:10
Mara Smaragd says:
Oh wow! 2 million... that's amazing! ♡♡♡
25 Jul 16, 08:05
E.E. says:
Hitcounter tells me we're soon going to reach 2 million hits. Two freakin' million!
22 Jul 16, 07:33
E.E. says:
Announcement time: VA is on patreon, because I'm making a Visual Novel. MOre info coming soon.
16 Jul 16, 09:35
E.E. says:
Can anybody explain to me why I earn less than the national minimum wage, but still have to income pay tax?
13 Jul 16, 22:53
Isegrim says:
spent hours on Rocks&Monsters, btw, heheh. It was a Lemming-like addiction.
13 Jul 16, 22:50
Isegrim says:
Whew. :)
11 Jul 16, 10:13
E.E. says:
It's not all doom and gloom, Isegrim. You'll see.
10 Jul 16, 22:43
E.E. says:
Ugh. I hate soccer. They really need to get rid of all the cheating, but then there'd be nobody on the pitch.
9 Jul 16, 14:36
Isegrim says:
*hugs* I really like your games.
6 Jul 16, 12:48
MikeL says:
Don't give up now, E. That last one percent is REALLY worth it! :)
27 Jun 16, 12:14
E.E. says:
Time's running out for those free Windows 10 upgrades. I've had a laptop stuck on 99% for four days, so I guess that's not gonna happen. Way to go, Microsoft.
25 Jun 16, 00:23
MikeL says:
I envision a big splash panel depicting the battle royal, resembling the cover of the "Wedding of Reed and Sue" Fantastic Four comic only with Verityverse characters. :)
25 Jun 16, 00:18
MikeL says:
Ah Hah! Doomshield is an app from Microsoft! E's demon brain hitchhiker is somehow involved, too! Galaxy Corps will team up with Miki and Jack and perhaps some Whateley universe fan fiction types and ALL the verity's Ark-related stories, including that one about the world turning all medieval, and "The Wraith of the Sunbeam" will be neatly tied together and resolved before the strip ends. :)
14 Jun 16, 22:46
Isegrim says:
Latest comic: