By: Hector Blizzen
Sunday Augusta 5, 1043—The city of Kinnley has a problem, dear readers. No, it’s not the recent rise in street car fares or the back-ups in the sewer system which have been popping up in recent weeks. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a crime problem.
For nearly a month now, our fair city has been under attack by a vicious criminal gang dubbed “The Obvious Bandits”, who have been rampaging about perpetrating violent armed robberies of our banks and jewelry shops. These men, in their black masks and skullcaps and black and white striped jumpsuits, with their high-powered machineguns and cruel intent, spare no one’s possessions and unblinkingly take the lives of all who resist them. So far, three municipal banks and four different jewelry stores have been hit, and they don’t seem to be slacking up.
When I asked her about the Kinnley Police Department’s constant lateness to the scenes of these crimes, Police Commissioner Eleanor Garner replied, “These guys are crafty, but we have our best men and women working around the clock to crack this case and bring these monsters to justice. We will not rest until these Obvious Bandits have paid in full for their crimes.”
When I pressed her for further details, her only comment was, “This case is still under investigation, so revealing any further details to the press may serve to further complicate matters.”
This was a bad sign. Commissioner Garner is known mostly for her straight-forward, no nonsense approach. For her to begin speaking like a woman with a secret when asked about this case must mean that truly dark forces may be at work here, folks.
The Public Toll
To get a better idea of how the crime spree is affecting the public, I went to talk to Beatrice and Martin Jones. In the recent attack on Eighth Street Municipal Bank, their daughter, Laura, was shot dead by one of the bandits after she refused to hand over her dolly. She was just six years old.
“That doll was very precious to her,” Beatrice sobbed as she recalled her little girl. “I made that ragdoll for her when she was a baby, and she would take it just about everywhere with her except the bath. We’ve never had much, so it was basically her only toy. That doll was her treasure.”
“It all happened so sudden,” Martin said. “One minute I was in line to cash my paycheck so that Laura and I could have our monthly father-daughter lunch and the next…All of these guys in stripes with guns were swarming the place, making everyone hand over their purses and their wallets…and then I heard my daughter scream, and a gunshot…and when I looked over…half of her head was blown off. My little girl…they shot her in the face over a doll! What kind of monsters would do something like that?!”
Mr. Jones was in tears by the end of his tale. Just reliving that horror for the brief moment he so graciously granted me was more than enough to make this grown man cry. The saddest thing, however, is that there are families just like the Joneses all over the city. Families who have lost loved ones to these ruthless bandits simply for putting up even the most meager of resistance.
As for the average man on the street who has, for now, been spared the terror of having to live through a heist or the pain of losing a loved one to these madmen, even he is not unaffected by the recent crime spree. Jerren Flintwick is a humble office worker in our fair city, and when I spoke to him about the recent rash of robberies, he had his own worries on the matter.
“I’m looking over my shoulder every time I go out to the bank to cash a check or make a deposit or a withdrawal these days,” he said. “It’s crazy! I’m flinching every time a wagon passes too close or I hear a loud noise…I’m a nervous wreck, here! I’m honestly thinking of just taking out all my money and throwing it under my mattress. No lines, no waiting, no bandits…a buddy of mine at work’s already done that, actually! He seems a lot more relaxed since he did, as a matter of fact.”
With so many people like Jerren and his friend feeling that it’s safer to hoard their savings in their homes than to trust our city’s banks to hold onto them, what are bankers and business owners doing to put the minds of the public at ease?
Katirra Vingo is the proprietor of Superior Sparkle, a jewelry store on upscale Bleaker Avenue. The recent robberies have made her concerned for both her stock of high-end jewelry and the safety of her customers. So concerned, in fact, that she has hired ten mercenaries to guard her business—seven to stand guard in the shop itself, and three snipers stationed on the roof.
“I know that all of this heavy security is a bit extreme,” says Miss Vingo, “and it’s also quite expensive to maintain. I’ve had to cut my own salary and dip into my retirement savings to afford it all. However, I would much rather have my customers and staff feel safe in my establishment. Staff who feel safe at work give better service, and customers who feel safe feel better spending their hard-earned money at your shop. Besides, in the end, right is right.”
Miss Vingo is not the only business owner who has stepped up security in order to keep everything running smoothly. H.M. Huffinpuff, owner and C.E.O. of Enchanted Fife Savings and Loan, has hired expert combat mages from the Valley of the Vanished Magic Guild for protection.
“Aside from that one witch who keeps trying to rhyme the word ‘oranges,’” Mr. Huffinpuff said, “everything seems to be working out rather well. Our patrons feel a lot more at ease and the staff really appreciates the extra safety measures. The only real drawback is the shortage of nacho hats on Taco Tuesday…”
But, not every bank and jewelry store has beefed up security. Most have chosen to put their faith in the city’s own police force to get the job right, or are betting on their existing security staff to continue doing their jobs well and with honor. But, will that, in the end, be enough? Or, will even the Kinnley Police Department eventually have to turn to hired swords to keep our city safe?
Is there anyone out there who can relieve the city of Kinnley of their bandit problem? Will the police crack the case before our heroes get there, or will they be enlisted to help? Find out in Wolfie Star-Runner Plays with Hellfire! Also, join us next week when I post…A BUNCH CONCEPT ART (drawn by yours truly, of course)!! If you like behind the scenes features, then you’ll love this!
In the meantime, you can check me out on Twitter at @DanielleVFreman for production updates and randomness, learn a bit about me at a glance on Pintrest, or waste a bit of free time at my Fan Works Spot. This Tuesday, April 21, I’ll be posting Act 5 of Sonic Hyuminz (the last completed act…but Act 6 is in the works, so stay tuned). If you like my books or my blog (or know someone who would), don’t forget to tell your friends about them and drop a rating or review on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, or any fine site where good books are reviewed! Have a good week, everyone, and see you next time!