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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #5

by Amanda Taylor

The Wells Fargo Bank on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta was in complete chaos. A dangerous new street gang was holed up in the bank with hostages and in a shootout with Atlanta police due to a botched robbery.

The Chief of Police was on the scene calling the shots. His lead detective who was on the case, Jade Crowe, was among the hostages—taken on her day off when she came to the bank to deposit her paycheck. She was a new arrival from the El Paso PD with one-sixteenth Native American with Navajo and Comanche sharing that piece of her.

The gang-banger had the detective outside with a 9mm to her temple demanding for police to let them go or they kill the detective and at least five other people.

Without warning cumulonimbus clouds began gathering at an alarming rate. Lightning cut the sky and thunder rolled. Everyone looked up in bewilderment. The weather report and the radar showed no signs of thunderstorms for today’s forecast.

Wind began to blow over trashcans and carry them down the street. The rain didn’t hesitate to pour down.

Something caught the police chief’s eye while he tried to shield his eyes from the gumball-sized raindrops. A giant bird flapped its wings and soared in the storm with lightning striking all around it. He rubbed his eyes. “What in the…”

Just as quickly as it appeared it was gone. Booming thunder shook the ground and rattled the windows of the police cruisers and bank.

“The gang leader just went back inside the bank, sir,” reported one of the officers to his right. “He took Jade with him.”

“Great.” The chief grunted.

A column of lightning struck about five hundred feet away. Loud, crackling thunder followed less than a second after the strike.

“There are all kinds of weird things going on out here today, chief,” said the officer. “We’re gonna get fried out here—or shot.”

“Tell me about it. We have to do something fast to help Jade.”

“I don’t know if this storm is going to slow down SWAT. This lightning isn’t helping any,” said the officer. “Who is that? Where did he come from?” The officer pointed at a lone, shadowy figure walking to the war zone in the pouring rain. The figure looked like he had something tucked under his arm.

The chief squinted and shielded his eyes to get a glimpse of the stranger. Funny. A Native American man came strolling their way. He was dressed causally in jeans and a T-shirt with complimentary jewelry. His long black hair was partially pulled up in a ponytail with underlying locks hanging free. With all the storming and lightning, the chief was halfway expecting to see Zeus or Thor coming their way, not some random Indian. “Jim, I don’t have the slightest idea.”

The chief then focused on the approaching stranger. “Hey! Are you lost? This is police business! You are strolling in the middle of a shootout zone!”

The stranger picked up his pace to a jog. His cowboy boots clomped on the pavement and splashed in the puddles that had appeared within the past couple of minutes from the downpour. Strangely, this Indian stranger didn’t seem at all bothered by the rain. He met the chief and the officer, Jim, by the cruiser they were using as a barricade.

“Sorry. My mistake. I’m looking for Jade Crowe. Is she here?” asked the man. “I am a friend of hers.”

“She’s a little busy at the moment. You’ll have to come back later,” the chief replied tilting his head in the vicinity of the bank. “I don’t remember Jade mentioning she had friends from Texas.”

The man grabbed the chief’s hand in a firm handshake. “Jason Rainbird. I’m not from Texas.”

The chief returned the handshake. “Brad Rawlings.” Then the chief explained the situation.

“I can help,” Rainbird said.

Chief Rawlings’ eyebrow shot up. “Unless you are FBI or SWAT, I would suggest you sit this one out or you will get yourself, Jade, or innocent people killed.”

The storm seemed to darken the early afternoon to almost dusk.

“Are the power and phones still on?” asked Rainbird.

“Yeah. SWAT are still on the way, but haven’t been able to get here because of this storm. What does that have to do with…”

Rainbird turned his head and looked at the pole close to the bank feeding the power and phone lines into the building. Seconds later bolts of lightning struck the pole overloading the transformer. The transformer exploded with a loud bang and rained sparks onto the street. Lightning ran up the lines and fried the connections into the building. The hoods and the people inside yelled in surprise indicating to the police that the power had gone out.

“Hold this.” Rainbird thrust something into the Rawlings’ hands, and he took off for the bank.

“Did he just—how could he--” Jim stammered. “What is that?”

“No.” Rawlings replied answering Jim’s crazy notion that Rainbird just used lightning to take out the power. The object in his hands was made out of feathers, and it was almost like a costume or a blanket with a bird’s headpiece. “A ceremonial costume, I guess.” He absolutely had no clue.

“Rainbird’s not much for words is he?” asked Jim.

“Nope.” Rawlings was going to yell at Rainbird, but the door was already closing behind his swift entry. Just then the SWAT team pulled up and began getting out of the trucks.

Gangsters began to fly out of the windows of the banks, shattering the glass upon their exits, chased out by sprays of lightning. They landed in heaps on the rain-soaked street, convulsing like they had just been tazed. Some were unconscious, but some were yelling like they had been struck by lightning. Hoods with afros and dreadlocks had hair standing on end like they had stuck their fingers in light sockets. Police and SWAT cuffed the incapacitated hoods.

The freed hostages streamed out of the building for freedom.

Jade and her mysterious friend Rainbird came out last. Jade was certainly glad to see him, but she was also trying to be tough. Her body language screamed of the “I can take care of myself--I had all under control gig.”

A normal day in Atlanta? Not so much.

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