When Matthias Kohler said pick out black clothes for the job they were doing, Tino kind of panicked. For one, he had never robbed someone before. At least, not professionally like this. And another thing was that he wasn't entirely sure he had black clothes. Going to his closet, he picked out a black fuzzy sweater, and a pair of black generic sweatpants that his best friend Eduard had left one night. There, that was probably good enough.
Tino arrived at Matthias' car at the aforementioned street. Lukas, Matthias' boyfriend, was sitting shotgun, head propped up in his hands. And Matthias himself was leaning against the side of the car, checking his phone. He looked up, and his lean face split into a large grin.
"Tino! You're here!" He actually hugged him when he got close enough. "Wait...man, what the hell are you wearing?"
Tino looked down at his clothes, and then at his friend's. Matthias was in a plain black hoodie, the hood pulled up and covering his spiky hair. Dirty dark jeans, and when he lifted his foot, boots without any pattern on the bottom. He was definitely more prepared.
"Oh." Tino said flatly, looking sheepish. Matthias laughed more and clapped him on the shoulder.
"It's cool. We're just checking out the house tonight." He said, opening the back door for him to get in. "Besides, Lukie's wearing skinny jeans and Emil's black beanie."
"Matthias!" Lukas snapped from the front seat, twisting to look at him. Then he paused. "Hello, Tino."
Tino smiled at him. He and Lukas had been friends for a long time now, and they were both close. This would make the three of them even closer, if everything went according to plan...
"Seat belts." Matthias ordered from the drivers seat. Both of them obeyed. Without another word, he pulled out of the parking spot and started to drive down the road. Lukas turned on the radio, but none of them spoke.
Tino leaned back in the seat, feeling anxious. They were really doing this, huh? The car ride wasn't even long enough to give him time to collect his thoughts. His thoughts wandered though, and he wondered if Lukas or Matthias were as nervous as he was...
But they couldn't back out now. They all needed the money.
Matthias turned off the radio and cut the engine suddenly. There were only a few street lamps, and the three of them had to strain to see their target. The car was across the street from a very large, if rather plain house. Hard to imagine whoever lived there had nearly a million dollars hidden inside...
"Looks pretty average to me." Tino admitted out loud. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Lukas nod.
The back door of the house opened then, and the three of them sat up more. A single man walked out. He was maybe a few years older than Tino, give or take some years: hard jaw, lined face, scruffy blonde hair. He wore glasses. Even beneath a worn t-shirt and jeans, he looked pretty ripped.
Then Tino noticed the cane gripped in his hands.
"Wait... Is he blind?" Lukas spoke Tino's thoughts, voice sharp. "Matthias! We can't rob a blind man!"
"Why not, babe?"
"Are you serious?!" Matthias couldn't be. Could he? He liked to tease Lukas, but this was kind of taking it to far.
"It's wrong, Matthias." Tino added. "He-he's blind." His friend twisted around in the front seat to look at him, smiling but eyes cold.
"Just cuz he's blind doesn't mean he's a saint, man."
Technically true, Tino thought, but still...
Two days -- well nights, really -- later, the three of them met up in Matthias' car again. The air was cold (it was late summer, edging into fall, and a Friday). Tino noted that all three of them were wearing the same clothes as before. And all three of them were tense.
Tino's nerves crawled when he saw that Matthias had a gun.
"Hey, buddy," the taller guy said when he saw him looking, and he placed a hand on his shoulder. "No one's gonna get hurt. It's just for show, okay? Blank bullets. You can relax."
And Tino did, a little, at his words. He took some deep breaths. Of course Matthias was right. And even if he and Lukas had some hesitations about actually robbing someone, well...let's just say they all had their reasons.
Lukas had been saving up money for years to move him and his little brother Emil out. They lived in a pretty bad place, and he loved him more than anyone. Except Matthias. With his share of a million dollars, both Lukas and Emil could continue their schooling. And Matthias wasn't ashamed to tell people he wasn't going to college, even with his money. No, he was going to spend it on Lukas and Emil too: get a job and provide for them, and they'd be a proper family.
And Lukas acted like Matthias was stupid, but Tino thought it was was sweet how much he really did care.
Tino? He just wanted to be to finish school, pay off debt. And eventually move out too. Nothing too extravagant.
Anyway by now they were at the house. Matthias squeezed Lukas' hand and kissed his cheek, before pulling his hood up and holding the car door open for Tino. (Sort of stupid they wore black; the guy was, after all, blind). Matthias was grinning a huge manic grin, but it fell and he got serious again as they crossed the street. He put a finger to his lips before climbing clumsily onto the ledge of the roof.
It was almost funny. Tino let himself smile, and Lukas, true to his nature, hissed, "Be careful, idiot!"
Matthias grabbed his boyfriend then, hauling him onto the roof next to him. Lukas' response was punching his shoulder. Of course. A moment later, Matthias was hauling Tino up next to them too. He was calm. Numb. All was done in almost complete silence.
Matthias broke the glass of the window next to them. Tino winced at the sudden noise. Lukas climbed inside the house, feet dropping, silent. Matthias nudged Tino when he didn't move.
"Go, Tino," he breathed, and Tino went in after Lukas. Lukas grabbed his arm before he could stumble, and their eyes met in the dim light. Be quiet, Lukas' eyes said harshly. Tino nodded and grabbed Matthias' arm to help him down when it was his turn.
He wouldn't let his friends down. He wanted to do this. Besides, he actually could do this. He was already doing this.
Matthias opened the door of the bathroom they turned out to be in. Everything was really dark. Tino let the tips of his fingers brush against his friends' shirts so he wouldn't get lost or left behind. Suddenly Matthias stopped; the other two almost ran into him, and Lukas whisper-swore.
Matthias grabbed the handle of the door, and yanked it hard. It wouldn't budge. That could only mean one thing.
"The money." Lukas' voice sounded weird in the otherwise silence. "Guys, it has to be in there."
Matthias took the gun and shot the lock right off.
Tino leaned forward and shined the flashlight on his phone. It was still dark and distorted, but they had to have found their prize. He just had time to see his friends' excited looks, to see Matthias reach for their hands, when Tino felt his heart freeze.
The top stair next to the door they had just opened creaked.
Matthias took a step forward and raised the gun, hands shaking. "Don't move!" He said. "Man, I don't want to shoot, but I will!"
The man looked more intimidating up close. He was scowling, blonde hair scruffy and colorless in the weird light. His eyes were fixed on a spot next to Matthias' head.
It happened so fast that the other two didn't have time to react. The man reached out and grabbed Matthias, getting him in a headlock and forcing him to drop the gun. Matthias' face contorted in pain and fear and surprise.
"How many o' y' are there?" He asked, his voice deep and sort of hard to understand.
"Man, it's just me--c'mon, lemme go, man, I'm sorry--just lemme go--"
The man seemed to relax his grip a little. Tino, terrified, looked at Lukas, but he was staring at Matthias.
"Oh thank god, man, thank--"
Oh god. Oh no, oh god please no please this was a nightmare and they were all okay at home oh please no--
Tino couldn't breathe. He couldn't look at Matthias' body. He couldn't look at Lukas for fear one of them would start screaming.
The man picked Matthias up by his legs and started to drag him away. He had killed him. Snapped his neck. Right there, right... Right in front of them, in front of Lukas...
Utter, suffocating silence, when--
Tell me everything that happened
Tell me everything you saw,
They had lights inside their eyes
They had l--
The man froze. Lukas stared in horror at his phone, which had been in Mattias' bag on the ground. There were tears running down Lukas' face.
That was Emil's ring tone.
The man pointed Matthias' gun and shot it. The phone shattered. Tino couldn't tell before, but Matthias had lied.
Those weren't blank bullets he had loaded that gun with.
"S'there?" The man called out. When neither of them answered, he raised his gun and pointed it. Tino closed his eyes.