Angela managed to squeeze inside the door, behind the queue that stretched its way around the bank. She checked her watch, thinking ’10:30. It shouldn’t be this busy now’, but then stood and waited behind the man wearing the green jacket. She felt the presence of a large man behind her, who too managed to get completely through the door. After five minutes of not moving apart from a couple of steps forwards she began to think something wasn’t right.

The first thing she noticed was that no one was leaving. The door behind her was the only way in and out to the customer area of the bank. This in turn made her realise that she hadn’t felt the door slide open and close again since the man behind entered. She then realised how quiet the place was. Usually, the bank played gentle music for the customers as they waited, but today it wasn’t there.

Angela glanced over to the cashier desks that were along the side and back walls of the room, and each desk was in use. She noticed the people being served were all standing in a similar pose to each other, leant slightly forwards with both arms bent in front of them. As these customers also had quite large frames, she couldn’t see anything further in front of them, but just in the way they were all standing piqued her curiosity.

She glanced at the digital clock on the wall above the cashiers on the side wall, its bright red letters displaying 10:25. ‘Digital clocks shouldn’t stop’, she thought as she began to put things together. The bulky people; the non-movement; the lack of music; the stopped clock… She knew that something untoward was going on, but in a very orderly fashion. The man in the green jacket in front was blocking her view of the rest of the queue moving forwards, but Angela needed to see if she could gather any further details. She decided that she would leave the bank, and return as something very discreet. She turned to walk out through the door, but the bulky man behind her didn’t move to allow her passed. He stood, arms folded, and glaring at her. She stepped to one side to walk by him, and he moved in front of her. She smiled, and apologised for side-stepping the same way, and made herself step the other way. The man moved and blocked her again. He was deliberately keeping her in the bank. Angela glanced at the door, and saw three more bulky people facing the street outside, blocking the entrance. ‘That explains why nobody else is coming in’ she thought. She also noticed two large black boxes on either side of the door, and presumed they must be keeping the doors closed, otherwise they’d be constantly sliding back and to with the three people stood in front of them. She looked back at the man behind her in the queue who was still glaring at her, although he was now pointing some kind of weapon at her. He gestured that she turn around again. She did, but positioned herself so that she had a better view of the queue. She noticed there were about thirty people in the queue, and every fourth or fifth person was one of these bulky people. The people in between all stood compliantly looking forward. She presumed all of the bulky people had a weapon, as did the ones stood at each of the cashier desks. She glanced back at the clock on the wall, which hadn’t changed from 10:25, the colon between the 10 and 25 not blinking. The cashiers themselves weren’t moving, which Angela thought odd as if this was a robbery they would be doing something.

Angela discreetly checked her watch again, which now said 10:40. She pressed the outside of the watch face firmly into her hip, which caused the device to vibrate. The man in the green jacket started to sneeze. The bulky man from behind shoved Angela to one side as he barged passed her, and lifted the man in green off the ground, and flung him across the room into the wall next to the cashier. The people in the queue flinched, some jumping physically. It was then that Angela noticed a few other people lying by the edge of the room, in the corner that was hidden by the self-service machines, some seemingly in more pain than others. Three of the bulky people from the queue, including the one who had stood behind Angela, moved over to the corner and stood facing those who were on the floor. Angela saw the man in green crawl over to the others, before being hidden by the bulky trio.

Angela was now at the back of the queue, and no one was looking in her direction. She decided now was the time to act. As she set into motion her transformative abilities a very loud and unpleasant screeching filled the bank. The customers in the queue flinched again, some grabbing their ears. Others literally fell to the floor. The cashiers too reacted to the sound. None of the bulky people moved until the first one in the corner slumped to the ground, his head bursting with sparks. Then, in turn, each of the bulky people exploded in the same way in a chain reaction that spread around the room, and then out to the three outside.

Angela felt the doors behind her open again, the cool outside air a welcome change. Some of the customers at the back of a queue dashed out passed Angela. One woman quickly followed, looking at Angela in fear. Her face contorted as she screamed, and she cowered passed Angela. Other people escaping looked at her in the same way. Angela glanced at her reflection in the dark glass panel beside her and saw that her facial features had been grotesquely distorted. She had somehow got stuck mid-change. She swiftly tried to change herself back, and nothing happened.

To be continued.

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