Shooting out from the alley, he cuts along a back street, staying close to the fence line and away from the traffic. This is the only section of his route that takes him close to a roadway, and even though it’s a residential area, he keeps his eyes peeled. Watching. Ever ready.
Then, from somewhere behind, seemingly over and above his left shoulder, he hears a rumble in the sky. A forceful stirring of the wind that sends fear deep into his bones. It closes in, the rumble becoming a loud roar, an ominous growl. It churns his adrenaline, and he reaches deep inside, pressing his pace faster and faster, his legs stretching out longer.
He breathes hard. Quick.
It’s right over him now, despite his pace, his training, his preparedness. Its reverberation makes the cement quiver below him, the fence boards along his side rattle and shake. A tornado-like blast of foul heated air crashes into the tress, their branches swaying and rocking, throwing a flurry of leaves onto the parked cars and blanketing the street.
He closes his eyes. Clenches his fists. Pushes even harder.
But it’s not enough. From just above, a voice cuts through the roar, angrily shouting out from a loudspeaker on the helicopter. “This is the police! Stop now! Throw down your weapon and drop to the sidewalk, arms and legs spread out!”
He legs stop on their own, just as two police cars screech around the corner ahead, their lights flashing, sirens blaring. Defeated, he tosses his gun to the side, unhooks his backpack stuffed with the bank’s money and lays it on the curb, and then drops to the concrete, spreading out as if making angel wings in the snow.
He thought for sure he was prepared. Ready.
But so were they...