tagErotic CouplingsThe Day of the Attack

The Day of the Attack

byHypothesis©

I hated how it had come down to this. The WestCrest Mall was in an upscale neighborhood, the building barely two years old, and was genuinely a beautiful and comfortable place to shop for ridiculously overpriced luxuries. However, unfortunately I wasn't there to buy. I found the entrance I was looking for and parked my little coupe and steeled myself for the humiliation. My little talent agency business had died a slow death over the last year and I'd just been through a bankruptcy at the meager age of 29. So I needed a damn job, and the only offer I'd found so far was through Vick, a good friend and former client. At a shopping mall. Kill me now.

The store was called Flash and Style, selling primarily a mix of high-end clothing and extraneous gadgets like the Massage Couch or Stroller/Plasma-TV combo. "Hey, dude, Ry!" Vick waved me over as I entered. It was still before noon, so the mall was fairly empty, and there weren't many customers demanding his salesman attentions.

As always, Vick gave a pat on the back and a smile made of pure charisma. "Hey, you're gonna love it here, man." I gave him a skeptical look. He reassured me, "Well, it's going to be a lot more fun than you'd think, I promise. You remember Corellia?"

Oh god yeah, I remembered Corellia. At the mention of her name, the dark-haired stunner walked up behind Vick. I'd forgotten that Vick met his girlfriend through work at the mall.

"Oh hello, look, it is Ryan who is here," she greeted me with halting English and a hug. I'd forgotten her exact mix of ethnicity; she had told me once- it was some complex formula of South America and the Pacific Rim that resulted in a 19 year old figure of petite olive flawlessness. I doubted that her imperfect English kept anyone from buying absolutely anything she was selling.

Vick enthused, "This is going to be great, Ry. I know it's not where you want to be, but..."

"Hey, no, I'm completely grateful. Even if it's just until I find another job, it's always great being around you two."

That much was very true. Vick and Corellia were this wonderful, gorgeous couple. To start with, they both tested the limits of adorability. For some reason I especially found it charming that at 5'6" she was a bit taller than him. When I used to book modeling gigs for Vick, it was a tough sell to find clients that didn't mind a perfectly handsome chiseled 23 year old male fashion model with a perpetual 5'o clock shadow that essentially came in a 3/4ths scale version. They were the type of couple who teased and whispered with each other constantly, and when they smiled, puppies and rainbows were no match. It was impossible not to love them, and equally impossible not to be jealous.

Vick put his hand up on my shoulder and talked in a conspiratorial tone, "Okay, you already have the job and talked to the owner, but I know you haven't met our manager yet, and I'm totally going to introduce you as soon as she gets here." "Okay. Well, yeah, meeting the manager is one of the reasons that I came in today."

Vick's eyes were devilish. "No, you don't get it. I've been talking you up to her all this week. I know she's 26, single."

"Wait, what do you mean.."

Corellia whispered happily, "Vick is been thinking Maggie is a hot girl for you!"

I started laughing, "So this woman's going to be my boss and you're wanting me to hit on her on my first day. No wait, before my first day."

"Time to climb that corporate ladder, boy. That's how you do it!' Vick began to do a silly sexy dance.

"Oh god. You guys are the most thoughtful embarrassments of my life."

Vick gave me a "just one moment" gesture and then smoothly sidestepped to begin charming the hell out of a college-aged female customer who was browsing some jackets nearby.

Corellia continued with their pitch. "Our Maggie is not as blonde like you, but she is kind of blonde and a red headed. Vick said that you like a red headed, I do remember. But she is very pretty and smart we promise you."

And that's when the explosions happened.

The ground shook heavily. Corellia grabbed my arm to keep her balance...which managed to unbalance me enough that we both fell over. Items fell from the racks and shelves. I turned to look toward the store entrance and saw nothing unusual aside from confused people regaining their composure. Then came another much louder explosion, just a few moments later, along with the groan of bending metal and a cloud of thick grey smoke rolled in from the left of the entrance.

"What the fuck?" Vick looked over at us. He was crouched over the college girl and a younger boy huddled on the ground. I gave an "I don't know" shrug back, and then the mall sprinkler system activated. I held Corellia a moment longer, then told her to wait there as I carefully crawled to the store entrance. I took a peek around the entryway. We were on the second floor. Through the smoke to the left I could see the flickering orange of something on fire. For a moment, the smoke cleared enough for me to make out the wreckage of what used to be an escalator, now bent and shredded toward one side. I heard several people shouting and coughing and saw their dark silhouettes scampering through the mall on the lower level toward an exit. I heard someone jogging in my direction there on the top level but I couldn't see them through the smoke. Vick startled me by sidling up to my left.

"What was it? We need to just get the hell out of here, right?"

"Yeah. Yeah, let's get everyone and..."

Then, the person that I heard jogging toward me earlier came into view some fifty feet to our right. He was dressed in a green jumpsuit and some sort of plastic gas mask. And to my horror, he was carrying a rifle. We watched like deer in headlights as this man in green approached the railing overlooking the lower level and fired on the customers fleeing to the exits. I'm sure that I saw at least two fall.

I was nauseous and dizzy from adrenaline, but consciously tried to keep rational. "Back, back, back, back, we need to get back."

Vick jumped up and away for a moment, and pressed up against the store wall. "Oh shit, man, fuck this. Get the fence, the sliding gate. In moments, he dug a key out of his pocket and turned a lock in the store wall. I heard a latch click above, then helped Vick quickly pull down a solid metal gate that covered the front entrance of the store for when the store was closed. Just before he went out of view, I saw the gunman in green turn and look in our direction. The gate slammed closed, and there was a reassuring click of the gate locking in place.

"Back of the store." I was worried that the gunman might try to fire through the gate, and those aluminum sheets wouldn't really do much to stop a bullet.

"Yeah, there's a back storage and employee area." Vick began to round everyone up. "I'm calling the police."

When the back room door shut with everyone in, I took a moment to assess and think. Seven of us here total, Lights are out except for a meager yellow emergency light above the door. Sprinklers are on, even here in the storeroom. At least one gunman who I assume had no problems with killing innocents. And setting explosions. He knows we're here. Terrorism? A large scale robbery? What else could it be? I guess motive doesn't matter that much. Just distance. I just wanted more distance between the seven of us and the guy with the gun, and everything else would sort itself out. Vick and two others were on their cel phones. Everyone was talking to everyone, trying to make sense of what was happening. I zoned out a bit in thought, or maybe fright. I heard a female voice curse that her phone was dead from being waterlogged.

I was listening to some of Vick's side of the conversation with 9-1-1 when Corellia seemed to have a revelation. She interrupted Vick briefly to take his keys and unlock the door to the manager's office. She led me in by the arm to show me a small one-way mirror of perhaps three square feet looking into the store proper. We watched intensely for what seemed like minutes, saying nothing. There was no action, just a drenched Flash and Style, gate still down, all in near complete darkness. Everyone else filtered into the room in to look through the mirror as well, talking in hushed tones.

Vick hung up his cel phone. "They say stay put, the police now know we're here. They will come to us when it's safe or give us a call when they want us to do something so I need to, like, save my phone battery if I can."

"Did they say what this was about?"

"They said they were working on it. They didn't know."

We took stock of the situation. Mainly, we were miserable and on edge. The sprinklers kept going and the best we could do was sit out of their direct spray, but there was no real getting dry. Vick and I explained what we saw with the gunman. Vick and Corellia took up watch at the manager's office mirror and the rest of us started rummaging in the store room for useful items, particularly possible weapons.

A sixtysomething couple, Ben and Jillian, introduced themselves to the rest of us and seemed generally okay with staying put as long as it took. Ben explained that his weight and bad knees meant that making a break for it with a crazed gunman somewhere out there didn't make much sense, so until things got desperate, they would put up with a dark wet room. College student Amanda and her little brother Adam seemed far less patient. In her stress, Amanda could barely stop talking, at breakneck speed. In the low light, I couldn't see her well, but she seemed cute- with a short brunette bob and nerdy hipster glasses. I felt a little guilty for wishing the lights were up so as to maybe see her wet t-shirt situation a little better at this point. Just goes to show, even in a crisis situation, boys will be boys. I'd been intentionally not looking Corellia's way much to prevent myself from staring.

Adam was perhaps twelve, and understandably freaked out. I went and sat beside them a moment and discreetly hinted that Amanda's nervous energy might be upsetting her brother even more.

She seemed to take that to heart, calming a bit at first. "Yeah, you're right but it's still messed up. This can't be the right thing. If there are people out there who want to kill us, I don't get why we would wait here to let them do it. It's driving me crazy, how can you not get the feeling that we'll die because we decided to sit on our asses when we have a hundred chances to do something about it and just run away!? I mean, it's completely..."

I stopped her there and held her hand a moment. She calmed again noticeably and hugged her brother. "Sorry, sorry... you're right."

"There's nothing to be sorry about."

"Isn't there some way we can just get a clue if sitting here is the right thing?"

Then, as if on cue, we heard rifle fire from inside the mall and another explosion. Amanda started to cry again. After a few moments, the sprinklers sputtered and stopped. I had no idea what it meant, other than this was not over yet. I was beginning to feel the same way as Amanda, I didn't want to sit here if there was a better option. I comforted the two for a moment, then got up to talk to Vick. I opened the office door and went in.

"Close the door, close the door!" I heard Vick stage-whisper, so I closed the door behind me. "No, I meant, don't... oh, oh fuck."

I turned toward them in the dark for a moment but then could pretty clearly see Vick leaning back in the office chair, Corellia squatting in front of him. My eyes were accustomed enough to see her right handed deathgrip in the vicinity of Vick's lap, as three heavy streams of cum shot onto Corellia's cheek and hair. In her squatting state, Corellia's skirt was hitched up completely to her waist, and her panties had either been removed, or were possibly not there to begin with.

It all happened too quickly for me to react before it was over. I stifled a laugh. "Oh, man, I'm sorry, I guess I should have knocked but I wouldn't have guessed..."

Vick pulled on his pants, joking "Oh, it's okay. But you seriously should have guessed I'd be getting some. It's a dangerous situation, maybe like our last day on earth. And... hey, babe, what was the other excuse I used?"

Corellia was cleaning the mess from her face and hair, but still hadn't hiked her skirt back down. "You also said we were in very stressful state, and needed release. You gave lot of good reasons, very convincing. But Vick should know he doesn't need so many convincing reasons for me."

"Well, when men have excuses to get laid, we use them, right Ry?"

"True enough."

Corellia used some of the pooled sprinkler water to try to rinse out her hair and teased Vick in return. "Well you give me good excuse to get laid to everyone. Isn't Ryan in same stressful situation? He needs release I'm sure." She smiled coyly up at me...well, as coyly as a girl can be with her pussy exposed while joking around about sex. "And old Ben too, poor man is stressful and has bad knees."

Vick grinned and rolled his eyes. "Ben's got his wife. And if Ryan can't get laid to that hottie co-ed in there, it's time for his dick to go into retirement."

Corellia swatted Vick. "Enough, enough. Do not tell Ryan lay the girl from school when she is scared."

"Well, anyway, about Amanda. I was just talking to her and I think I may want to at least scout out the situation a little bit."

Corellia was almost angry. "No, Ryan, do not do any such stupid thing!" "I'll be careful, I'm just worried that staying here is the stupid thing."

After a few minutes of preparation, I found myself about to open the door back into the store, the gate key in hand. Vick would be at the door ready to back me up if needed, and Corellia watched from the office.

Amanda was nervous-talking again. "Do not take any risks. You run back here the first second you see anything bad at all. I'm serious. Just take a quick look and come back. And do not just escape and leave us."

"I'm not going anywhere without you. Don't worry."

I shut the door behind me. What little light there was came shone through the outer edges of the closed front gate. I had a flashlight with me, but decided against using it for the moment. The only other weapon I carried was a boxcutter knife. I walked slowly toward the front, trying to make no noise. It seemed to take an eternity to take each step without causing a loud squoosh noise on the soaked carpet. I reached the front entryway wall and entered the gate key, turning it as slowly as I could manage.

The unlocking click was louder than I would have guessed.

I froze, and held my breath. And listened. And waited. Nothing.

I got on my belly, and moved the gate upward less than an inch. The smoke had mostly dissipated. No people, no movement, as far as I could tell. The electricity was out, but there were plenty of windows providing light in the main mall area. I lifted the gate high enough to monkey crawl out.

The mall was a wreck. I stayed low, and headed toward what I remembered to be the nearest exit. Fifty yards at most. Two turns. It was going to be fine. It was going to be easy. I didn't know why I had been so worried.

Until I heard voices. Either they had strong accents or they were not speaking English. It just didn't sound familiar at all. Probably not Spanish, French, German or anything terribly common. I listened. I considered turning back. And I considered turning back again. I edged forward silently and finally peeked around the corner the voices were coming from.

Just thirty feet down the walkway, the man with the green jumpsuit was set up in what I guessed to be something of a sniper's nest there on the upper deck of the mall. His sights were trained downward at an angle toward one of the building's main first floor entrances. That was bad enough. But the worst part was what I saw behind him, just out of his line of sight. It was a young woman crouched between a garbage can and a bench. Somehow, miraculously, she must have hid there without being noticed all this time. At this point in all likelihood, she would not be able to escape without that gunman noticing.

The young woman's eyes met with mine. She looked terrified. I still had the option of not doing anything stupid. I could still turn back, and wait this out with my friends, whatever this was. And if I did, I was sure that she would die.

****************************************************************

Corellia watched her boss Maggie crawl into the store under the narrowly-opened gate, then saw Maggie helping me try to crawl through after her.. "Vick, Vick, get out there and help them in!" "Them?" When Vick and Maggie had finally dragged me inside, I looked up at Vick. "One more to go." Vick looked puzzled as Maggie reached under the gate and began to drag inside an unconscious man in a green jumpsuit. "You got the guy?" Vick was elated. Maggie shook her head. "There are more than one out there."

Once back in the storage area, I only remember small parts of everyone's conversations as Jillian tended to my wounds. Turns out, she was a nurse. "We heard shots!" "What happened?" "How did you find Maggie?" "Ryan, you're all bloody and gross!" Etcetera, Etcetera. I think I let Maggie face the inquisitors, while I decided on the alternate option of passing out. I don't know if you've been shot in the hand before, but it hurts.

I came to in a cold sweat at the sound of gunfire in the distance. Jillian was doting over me and offered me water. While I was asleep I had been moved over to the manager's office.

Ben noticed me wake. "So let me get this straight, sport. You sneak up on this guy and clock him."

"Right, with the flashlight. Like twice. It was pretty awesome."

"But that doesn't knock him unconscious."

"Nope. Is there something more I should have done other than just hit him in the goddamn head? Because I did that."

"So he turns around and shoots you."

"I grabbed the gun."

"You grabbed the end of the gun."

"Well, right. And he shot me in the hand." My left hand was bandaged up with torn clothing. It was throbbing.something awful.

"And then he took out a knife and stabbed you with all these shallow cuts?"

I looked down at my belly and left arm. The cuts looked kind of ugly, but they didn't hurt. "Sort of. I took out my boxcutter, and he kind of made me stab myself."

"What?"

"Listen, I'm not some expert knife-fighter, all right? He did some Judo or something on me."

"And then you knocked him unconscious somehow."

I smiled. "Well, then he fell unconscious. I kind of assume it was from earlier when I hit him in the head twice as hard as I could with a fuckin' flashlight."

Ben nodded. "Probably right."

"Hey, so why exactly am I not in terrible pain?"

Ben grinned. "Well, what's a couple of Vicodin between friends?"

Ben and Jillian left back to the storage area to make room for Vick and Corellia to talk with me for a while. It had been nine hours since the first explosion. Now that I was awake, I could sit up fine and was generally feeling pretty good aside from the throbbing of my hand. Corellia and Vick informed me that his phone had died like the others, but he hadn't noticed until recently.

"It must be some kind of crazy drawn out standoff or something. We're not going back out there unless we have to, the police know where to come and get us when it's over. The bad guy hasn't woken up yet, but he's alive. Amanda went and punched him in the balls though so he might feel that when he wakes up."

"That was sweet of her."

Vick shrugged, "Yeah, I think she likes you."

Corellia added "Among others."

Maggie walked in, smiling at me. To the others, she said, "Hey you two, I'm going to be needing my office for a little while. Shut the door on your way out."

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