Legal Theft Project: Security Blanket-Part 1

She woke up deliciously warm. There was a faint crackling of a fire and a richly scented promise of chocolate nearby. For three whole heartbeats she forgot about cold and fear. She let out a silent breath and fully opened her eyes. She was in a sparsely decorated living room. Two windows, sealed, no latches. Three doors and an archway. Light and sound came through the arch. Clinking and clanking of a kitchen and the subtle rustling of cloth from a single person moving. The other doors, two interior and one exterior. Exterior door locked. Interior unlocked.

The coffee table in front of her held a tray with a small mug of hot cocoa and a plate of gingerbread.

“You’re awake.” A man was standing in the archway, leaning against the frame. She froze, looking for warning signs, but he didn’t come any closer. “I found you on the roof. You were too cold. I thought you might die. I brought you in. Made sure you were warm. The cocoa and gingerbread are yours.” He stopped briefly, but she did not reach for the treats. He didn’t nod but she got the sense of one anyway. “I am going to go back into the kitchen to make some soup and a sandwich. Then I will bring them out on a tray, and you may have them as well. After I leave the tray, I am going to go through that door,” he nodded at the interior door closest to him, “and not come out until tomorrow morning. You can sleep here. The other door is the bathroom. Use what you need.” And he turned back into the kitchen like he said he would. Adults said a lot of things. Some times they did what they said, but most times they didn’t. She made sure she had a clear view to the kitchen before taking the mug and slowly sipping the cocoa. It warmed her insides just as delightfully as the blanket and fire had warmed her outsides. The whole environment soothed the familiar ragged edge to a strange ache. She set the empty cocoa mug down and clutched the blanket around her shoulders.

“I’m coming in now,” the man said from the kitchen.

She slipped off the couch and moved to the end farther from him, keeping the arm between them. The man walked to the coffee table and set down the tray. “Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Leave the dishes on the tray when you’re done. I’m going to my room now. I hope I’ll see you tomorrow.” He nodded to her and left through the other door.

The grilled cheese was crackly brown with butter and the tempting cheese melted slightly out of the sides where it got all crispy. The bowl was small and the sandwich was a half. She sat down and took a small bite of the sandwich. Her eyes closed. Cheese and bread had never tasted so good. In small bites, she ate the entire sandwich and the soup. For the first time in weeks she really felt full.

She left the dishes on the tray and went to explore the bathroom. She washed her face, re-braided her hair, and perused the linen closet. Among the linens, she chose a sturdy grey pillow case and carried it to the kitchen. There was a distinct lack of Ziploc bags. All the food was kept in glass or ceramic containers. Half had labels she didn’t understand. She did find aluminum foil, parchment paper, and plastic wrap, so she made small packets of essentials as she raided the pantry. Dried fruit and nuts, packets of uncooked rice or dried beans, or any other non-perishable, she made well thought out packets of supplies, wrapped them carefully, and packed them in the pillowcase. In case she had to run, at least she wouldn’t be hungry. Her eyes were getting heavy as she made sure everything was meticulously back in its proper place in the pantry. Clutching her running bag, she dragged her feet back over to the couch. Clambering onto it, she tucked the bag between her body and the back of the couch so it wouldn’t be seen and pulled the blanket up over herself. The fire was mellow and low and she was warm from food and the soft hug of the blanket. Her eyes closed and she hoped that this dream, maybe, could last a little longer.

Thieves abound! See who stole this first line over at the new Legal Theft site.

Legal Theft Project: Ripples in Time

The ashen clouds began to clear, letting sunlight stream into the twisted wrecks. The siren avoided the slashes of light, slipping herself between broken boards and crushed hulls. Countless ships had crashed and sunk on the surrounding rocks. Whether from sea, storm, or siren the end result was the same, wreckage, bones, and the detritus of human endeavor. Swimming through the shadows in the broken galleon she ran her webbed hand against the splintered wood, tugging more of it into disarray. There a chest buried in silt, there a rusted cannon, and here, the clean bones of a man. She grasped the skull and lifted it to her eyes, turning it this way and that.

And it looked like bone. Incredibly clean bone. She smirked, hiding her teeth. It elicited nothing in her. Not even when it had held the mind of a man and the muscles to move and a fair and pleasing shape did they ever mean more than a challenge or a diversion. A hunt, then satisfaction, of either or both kinds.

She thought of her sister, the rituals, the oaths, the promises spun fragile as still water and twice as deep, now binding her to the world of flesh and death. Of the mortals who danced and cheered as their prince wed. Of herself walking into the sea queen’s halls and telling her sisters what Liira had done. Of the bafflement and rage so counter to the fire and welcome of the mortal rite. And she wondered at the transmutation of it all.

Her liege would call it true love. He flattered the couple with gifts, with rewards for a state that he believed they’d earned. The fool would call it folly, if he thought of it at all. In all aspects it was as foreign to her as touching the surface of a star. Singular. Untenable. She leaned back against the hull of the ship and held the skull in both hands. It revealed no new mysteries.

Yet it could bind her. One day it could be a nephew, a grandniece, or… she shuddered and released the skull. She would handle that duty when it descended on her. If it did. For all she knew the mortal customs would demand her sister remain landlocked with her lover for eternity. She bared her teeth at the skull now settled on the seafloor. How dare it mock her with the folly of time. She swam through the wrecks to the dark open water and dove deep. Away from the slashing beams of light and into the unsettling depths that would crush a mortal man. Drawing her blade, she held it close to her arm to minimize drag and looked for trouble. But as she swam, she could not escape the trickling sense of mortal time passing far above, the niggling thought that a ship with one of her blood could be sailing by without her blessing, in danger from those in the deep who frown on those who cross the lines the wrong way. The deep did not give up its takings without a fight.

She soared through the water, challenging the menaces of the deep to dance with her. To take up a fight that was as much a part of her as teeth and song and scale. None answered her. She swam back up. Past the wrecks. Up to the rocks, where she sheathed her blade and pulled herself out of the water. It wasn’t a song that burst from her lips, but a scream. It did not in the least resemble something human. It pierced the air and seemed to make the sun waver as she sustained it. The water seemed to slow its swell, and gulls froze, gliding or standing. Then she let it die and waves rushed away from her. Empty of… something. And yet… she felt no better. She stood upon the rock and shed her scales, shaking back her hair, and donning her armor. It was enough.

I stole this first line from that machete wielding rogue. She wrote about “Illusions of Home.”

Legal Theft Project: The Proper Lighting

Outside the open apartment gate, a small pack of children threw rocks at passing cars. Fen ignored them and got a closer look at the shattered window and colorful graffiti that circled it. He got a few decent shots, playing with the afternoon light and saturation. He’d gained a small audience by the time he lowered the lens. Apparently he was more interesting than automobiles. He didn’t blame them. If he’d been out on the trail he would have had something for them. Something to light up the day and let them remember him. But … he simply lived here. So he stowed his camera and walked off, long legged strides leaving the curiosity and palpable pressure of boredom at his heels. A block later and he broke into a run. Tightened his camera bag strap so it wouldn’t fly off, and raced down the streets. Stares, whispers, and swears followed him. When he nearly tripped over a man leaving a shop and was treated to an improbable account of his ancestry, he finally slowed. He checked the sun and grudgingly turned his feet toward home, he still had homework to do.

His father was busy with the evening rush and his sister was off with her friends preparing for some school event. He understood glitter and poster board were involved. He managed not to shudder. Slogged through about a quarter of his assigned homework. Took a break by writing his required sentences for Spanish as a villanelle and then gave up entirely. Formulaic, cohesive, unimaginative crap. He put on the CD of traditional guitar he’d gotten when he last visited Spain and pulled up his pictures from the day. He studied the broken window, played with light levels and sharpness. Flipped back to earlier in the day, a blurred shot of a crosswalk, an electrical box so covered in tattered paper you could barely tell what its intended purpose was, the stark contrast of the new bakery next to the abandoned lot with the rusting car. He played with mood, making some stark, some bright, more false… but nothing worked. Frustrated he went downstairs and dug into the cookie jar. His sister must have been experimenting as his cookie contained both chocolate chips and butterscotch and the texture was delightfully crispy. He left her a note and headed back up the stairs.

It was the music that was wrong. Nothing about the pictures he’d taken felt like Spanish guitars. He flipped through his collection and made a list of modern, mostly eerie music and settled down in front of his computer screen. This time through, the broken glass was opportunity wasted, the electrical box showed time and carelessness, and the bakery seemed illogical in its place on that corner. Here, with the ability to manipulate moods, light, and blur, the world he was trapped in took on other properties. Transforming from desperate to mysterious, from abandoned to ancient. From mundane to magical. They became places he was willing to spend time. They just needed proper shading.

I stole this first line from a machete wielding diplomat. Well, at least it gave us something to do.

Legal Theft Project: Take that Bet

“You won’t be leaving this town alive.” He leaned over her car door, beer and menace on his breath. Lore smiled softly at him and brought up the mace in her right hand. Right in his eyes. Point blank. She turned the key, the engine revved and he was left, swearing, in her tail lights. His cronies were piling in cars and speeding after her. Two wild spurts of gun fires whistled up the street behind her. One dinged the paint. She shifted into a higher gear and made a beeline for the highway. Three quarter tank of gas and everything she owned in the world heaped in the trunk next to five and a half thousand dollars. Some men couldn’t take losing. She sped through a red light and cursed the fact that bullets were cheap as three more skidded over the back end of her red convertible.

Shifting again, she dodged three civilians in pokey sedans. Thankfully none of them swerved into her or her pursuers. The irritated gamblers weren’t driving terribly well. Her smile took on a razor edge as she flew up the freeway on-ramp. If she could avoid getting shot  for the next five miles she would lose them for good on the coastal highway. No way they would take those curves at her speeds.

She dropped into fifth gear and said a brief prayer of encouragement to her car. A few more shots trailed after her, but she barely heard them. The world became wind, road, and reflexes. Spirit soaring, she raced over the pavement. One of her pursuers dropped behind and fell out of the chase. Car repairs and surgery cost far more than what she had in the trunk. She wasn’t surprised the other car continued. Pride had a high value, for all you couldn’t sell it.

A white sedan swerved erratically and she swore. Managing not to get nicked, she made it by, but she lost ground. The curves of the highway were coming up fast and she started to hear the distant sound of sirens. She had to lose them, now. Curve after curve, she spun her complaining car down the curving coastal highway.

The squeal of tires and she risked a glance in the rear view. Her pursuer had finally messed up. She let out a long breath, glad he had spun out into the hillside instead of tumbling off the cliffs.

She let herself gradually decelerate and cruised along. She’d need to get gas, and then keep going. Change highways. Dip into small towns. She had enough to go on for a while. She turned on the radio, flipped to a pop station and sang along to whatever top hit came up. Alive, a couple thousand richer, a good chase behind her. Some days, it was all she wanted out of life.

Robbed that machete wielding rogue again. Click the link to see who else may not be leaving a town alive.

Legal Theft Project: Underworld

Every woman in Evanston over the age of twelve owned a red dress. Every man over thirteen owned a blue suit. Every cat was white. Every dog was black. Houses came in white, tan, and grey in blocks of three or alternating. The landscaping was impeccable and orderly. Everyone crossed at the crosswalks and cars never sped. To fly over Evanston was to fly over a dollhouse of a town. Immediately visible for its manufactured identity and immediately dismissed for its dullness. Which was just how the inhabitants liked it.

Underground, away from the prying eyes that drifted through the chem-soaked skies, the inhabitants of Evanston lived a different life. Entrance was granted to all in red dress or blue suit. The uniforms stored at the entrances in the basements of common areas, the library, city hall, the police station. Once shed of the uniform a closet opened, and a world of possibilities unfolded. Clad however they wished, the inhabitants of Evanston entered the other world. Where order, conformity, and fear were unknown. Quiet nooks for extended study, loud dance floors with flashing lights, computer terminals, restaurants, sporting rinks, and theaters all cheek by jowl and jumbled together in the echoing twisting caves. People joked about the facade, but the strict division between what others saw and what you did was a wonderful joke. Occasionally you got a tourist who suspected something, but once they’d had a taste of the world below, someone offered them a piece of pie that tasted like comfort, or they slipped on a red dress and followed some locals below ground, they didn’t come back. The sheriff’s department shook its head at the folly of tourists and posted more generic warnings. But if you looked in their eyes, you could see the smug glint. What Evanston took, Evanston did not give back.

I stole this first line from Kathryn awhile ago. See what she’d written For the Worst Days.

Legal Theft Project: Self Image and Ski Chalets

Somehow he managed not to throw his hands in the air. Admitting defeat was accomplished by a gritting of the teeth and the flutter of panic in his chest. “I’ll look at the brochures, okay?” Carefully, he collected the glossy destination brochures from the table. Snow covered mountains, impossibly green grounds, and weathered brick and wood buildings all glowed upon the expensive custom print paper.

“We truly think it would be best for you, Aaron. There have been enough disruptions this year, we want to ensure you have the best foundation possible.” His mother leaned back and sipped on her vodka stinger and attempted a sympathetic smile.

He nodded and returned the polite fiction of upturned corners of the mouth. “Of course mother.” It has nothing to do with a lingering sense of guilt and a terror of all things new and sharp. He made it to his door and a tiny bolt of lightning arced from his hand to the metal handle. His temper, visible, and lively. He wrenched the door open and sent the brochures flying onto his desk. Before they could skid off, he swept out his hand and commanded the air to keep them in place. The brochures fluttered, but remained on the desk. One of them fell open to a picture of a charming ski lodge that was actually a dormitory. He had a sudden image of himself in a suit, holding yet another mixed drink and slowly calcifying into his parents.

His keys leapt to his hand and he raced down the stairs, out the side door, and slid into his convertible. Revving the engine, he tore into town and skidded into a parking spot. Got out, closed the door, locked his car and began hunting down the streets for some kind of answer, some form of additional immunity to turning into some pickled alcoholic specimen of his parents. He stopped in front of a tattoo parlor. It would be perfect, but he doubted they’d overlook his age. But a piercing…. He grinned.

It took him two hours. He went to every piercing shop in town, laid down fifty dollars and said that he paid for however many people it covered. Two thirds of the way through, he sat down in a chair, told them his parents had approved it, tipped the person in question an extra hundred dollars, and got a ring wrapped around the very top of his right ear. A stainless steel band etched with a wave pattern, it hurt like hell, and he grinned right through it. They told him how to keep  the piercing clean, warned him it might be sore. He waved them off and sauntered out. Oh sure, he’d have problems with it, short as his hair was, but right now. Well. It just felt right.

I challenged some thieves to run away with a dormitory and an earring. They did. Clever thieves.

Legal Theft Project: One Hell of a First

Balae lit the tip of the incense from the thick candle at the heart of her summoning circle and placed it precisely in the bowl of offerings. The incense joined five glistening rubies and the body of the largest illreth spider she could locate. Standing outside the twisting rings of white and red runes surrounding the bowl, she began the invocation. As she intoned, the smell of brimstone and boneflowers swirled up along with the temperature. The bowl of offerings ignited in a roaring blaze. Balae didn’t falter, though sweat was starting to run down her back and neck. Finally, she spoke the name and the center of the circle vanished in a blaze of fire and clouds of sweet smelling smoke. When the air cleared, she let out a long quiet breath.

Sitting on a throne of ossified boneflowers, the demon queen set her coldly furious gaze on the diminutive dark elf in front of her. Balae knelt and then slowly sank back to sit on her feet, gaze not leaving the demon queen’s own. After a moment, the demon queen tilted her head. “Well, this is unusual. Hubris is usually a fault of your people.”

“It is, but I intend to spend mine on a better bargain.” Balae twisted her hands a few times and triggered the waiting spell in the runes. A small table, set with fine wine, and rare delicacies from the sunless lands appeared at the demon queen’s right hand.

“I admit myself intrigued.” The demon queen raised a bit of smoked fish to her lips and savored the aroma before popping it in her mouth. “More by what I don’t see than I do.”

“I could hardly offer to be at your service if I tried to bind you-” Balae swallowed her words as the demon queen laughed. And laughed, the sound like bones and bells all rolled together. She leaned forward, “I take no second seat to that eight legged frill-”

“I would not dare,” Balae said quietly.

The demon queen sat back and considered the calm, unfazed way the drow in front of her was sitting. The refreshments at the table and finally, the utter and complete lack of spiders in the room. “Then what, exactly, are you daring?”

Balae continued to exude outward calm. “Casting off the spider queen. Everyone here fights for her favor. She splits her attention between them and no one makes any gains. Her whims are unpredictable. This entire structure is nothing but one of her dreams that can fall apart at any moment and to falter means death… or worse.” She looked up and met the demon queen’s gaze. “I am looking for a less fickle patron. I want power. You are a far surer bet than the spider.”

“You betray her so easily?”

“She is made of betrayal. Your kind are known for keeping their bargains. Hers are not.” Balae smiled. “I highly doubt I can outthink one who has been bargaining since time immemorial.”

The compliment had the intended effect and the demon queen knew it. “What do you want.”

“Power, commensurate with my service to you. The greater I achieve, the more power I have, the more power I have the more power you offer.” She was leaning forward herself, hands on her knees as she named what she so dearly wanted.

“Power for power,” the demon queen said after a beat. “ I will agree to the request as long as I also have the freedom to walk in the material plane. I have missed some of its finer pleasures.”

Balae bowed her head. “I am not intending to leave the city of spiders, I am concerned that your presence would reveal our bargain and at this time I am not able to stand against the combined might of the entire city. The spider queen would say jump and my service to you would be severely shortened.”

“Then give me your mortal experiences. I think you should quite entertain me, little drow.” She held out her hand and a tattered grey book appeared in her hand, unfurling like a new leaf. The book floated over to Balae and opened, revealing a contract on the inside of the cover. It was written in the tongue of fiends and seemed to shift as she looked at it. Balae read it carefully. Then, taking a small obsidian knife, she cut her palm and paused. “And what would you like to name your house, my queen?”

The demon queen chuckled. “Call yourself Kazaeth, the spider will be flattered and I will enjoy the joke.”

“As it please you.” And Balae, new matron of house Kazaeth signed the contract in her blood. It glowed for a moment then faded into shadowy runes hidden in the design of the cover.

“Do keep the book. You’ll find it useful.” The demon queen finished her wine. “I’ll be in touch, don’t disappoint me.” And then she and her throne disappeared leaving only the empty offering bowl behind.

Balae clutched the book to her chest and leaned over to lay down on her side, laughing silently. She took several deep breaths to get herself back under control. For her very first fiendish summoning, she thought, it went rather well.

Well, I was challenged to steal a first experience by Bek. I did so. I am also borrowing bits of lore from various roleplaying games for setting for the fun of it.

Legal Theft Project: Luck, Damn Luck, and Felix

“You are the only person who goes hunting dangerous caverns, during the full moon, with a map written in a language you don’t know.” First Mate Kate adjusted the setting of her bulls-eye lantern, but at Captain Felix’s waving hand, she sighed and shuttered the beam. The moon was bright enough that all four of the people currently on the shore could see each other and the map without aid. Which just figured.

“It isn’t a language, Kate,” Felix said. “It is a code. And I do know it. Well, most of it.”

Kate snorted and Val laughed. Mel shook her head at the lot of them.

“I still don’t see why I had to come on this hunt,” Mel said, sitting down on one of the large and less pointy rocks that littered the beach. “I cannot cook our wonderful catch of fresh fish if I am sitting on an albeit gorgeous beach in the full moon light.” She pursed her lips. “Any chance I could meet a mermaid?”

Valiantly, Val kept a straight face, “They don’t like Kate.”

Kate looked at Val. Val had lost his shirt at the gambling table and was doing a bad impression of a stoic barbarian. Kate dropped her voice, “They were trying to drown us.”

“You beat them at a singing contest,” Val pointed out. Aside to a wide eyed Mel he explained, “Our Kate has a gorgeous voice that put the sirens to shame. They avoid us like the plague just to make sure it never happens again.”

Mel’s small oh of a mouth didn’t know which questions to ask first and so she didn’t get to as Felix cried aloud in delight. The other three all exchanged looks and then ran after him.


The cave system was surprisingly open, though the crash of waves was amplified and distorted by the twisting passages and Felix’s loyal crew were not at all certain they would find their way out with ease. Felix himself was absorbed with the map and kept running his fingers along the walls, presumably looking for something. The caves flickered with the moonlight glancing through from crumbled walls or open roofing. Kate occasionally opened the beam of her lantern, sending the buttery yellow beam slicing through the blue caverns like a revealing curtain. When they found it, they all saw it. Chiseled onto the wall was a detailed blazon of an owl in flight. The eyes gleamed dully with tarnished gold, the only embellished detail and when they were hit by lantern light they fairly glowed.

The four adventurers set to, Felix sprang over the doorway and looked around as if scenting the wind, Kate looked for traps, Val drew a machete in case of angry cave inhabitants, and Mel waited while snacking on a lemon cookie. Felix was disappointed in the lack of ghosts, Kate disarmed the trap, Val advanced into the room to watch Felix’s back, and Mel asked, “So what now?”

“Now,” Felix said, motioning her into the room, “I demonstrate why I invested so much time into this adventure.”

Mel humored her captain and entered the room. Kate came in and stood at her shoulder. With a showman’s flair, Felix approached the wall of the cave, and deftly twisted an unassuming knob of rock. The wall swung silently open, letting out the smell of dusty metal. The engineering of the door was exquisite, but they didn’t stop to marvel at the sliding mechanics when a dozen years worth of gold and gemstones glittered in the light of Kate’s lantern.

“Demon’s breath, Felix,” Val breathed. “We’re… we’re filthy rich. Kingly rich.”

“What the hell is this…” Kate took a step into the other chamber, Val and Mel followed her. Felix hung back at the door and his crew didn’t see the way the vivid light went out of his green eyes. “It’s mine,” he said lightly. “Shares from adventures, other than taking care of the ship and finding more maps, I didn’t have much to do with it.”

Val laughed delightedly and picked up an emerald as big as his fist. Val had very large fists.

Kate turned and looked at her Captain. They met eyes for just a moment and she knew and lunged for the door. She wasn’t fast enough. Damn Felix’s luck. The door swung shut as easily and quietly as it opened. Mel and Val blinked in shock.

“Curse it Felix! What’s going on?” Kate slammed her fist into the door.

“Sorry Kate. Sorry Val. Sorry Mel.” Felix’s voice was muffled by the door but still heard in the sudden silence of the sealed cave. “You’ll either escape or the door will open in a few hours. I … I did set a timer.”

“FELIX, there is never a time to pull the one man army gambit, and you know it! Let us out right now!” Kate kept her hand against the door, willing her captain and best friend to see sense.

“Sorry Kate, you can’t keep me out of trouble this time. You’ll all be safer out of it. I promise.” Felix’s footsteps were audible for a few steps. Val motioned Kate and Mel to the side and attempted ramming the door. The door won. The door won the next two matches as well. Val declared the door a nemesis and went to look for something to assist in his next attempt as he didn’t want to ruin his machetes.

Mel gave Kate a cookie and the two women sat down among the gold and jewels.

“Well, that explains why he wanted me to come, we have provisions,” Mel said.

“No chance you can summon your sea serpent to get us out of here?” Kate asked and bit into her cookie.

“About as much as you do with your monkey kicking boots and siren shaming voice. Or Val and his impressive musculature and aversion to shirts.” Mel made sure to save some cookies for Val and amused herself by attempting to juggle some of the gems.

Val sat down and consumed two cookies. “So…” he said. “We’re going to have to rescue his ass big time aren’t we?”

Mel and Kate nodded. “Oh yeah.” “Big time.”

Val nodded back. “S’what I thought. Bout time his damn luck ran out.”

Some enterprising thieves stole a map, an owl, and betrayal from this piece of fiction. I hope they had better luck. 

Legal Theft Project: Solitary Hunters

His sister did not look worried, which meant absolutely nothing. He’d learned the art of composure from her and she still managed to best him at it often. Their own personal game of chess. She was searching him for clues just as sincerely, he was sure. And he was just as sure she wasn’t going to mention what bothered her unless prompted. He opened his hand  and brushed it aside, inviting her thoughts and recognizing that they may not be as well constructed as was their usual want.

“You’ve made a lot of changes,” she said, placing her teacup back on the saucer. Only a half step, a knight jumping two over and one forward.

“I got attached,” he said simply. Tilting his head slightly as he attempted to read exactly what it was that had his sister… subliminally twitchy.

A faint bit of surprise crossed her face, followed swiftly by an automatic calculation. “Attached?”

He bit his tongue in order to not roll his eyes. “You don’t trust me to keep tabs on a teenager?”

She caught the wry tone. “It’s not you I don’t trust.”

He raised his eyebrow at her continued dismissal of his abilities. She rolled her eyes.

He poured himself another cup of tea and she took a sip of hers. Letting it cool slightly, he quoted one of their mutual favorite war philosophers, “There are no foxes in the bathhouse.”

She looked at him expectantly.

“I am assuming he isn’t the only one you’re concerned about.” Brandon picked up his cup and cradled it.

“You have a pattern of late,” she said.

“A rather deliberate one,” he returned.

She accepted that. Not that she understood what he was after, but the idea that he was pursuing something and going where the target was bound to be, at least appealed to her professional nature. It was as close as he could come. They were similar, almost too similar, and he wasn’t quite ready to admit to his sister that he was lonely and had been lonely and not known it for some time. He was quite concerned that if he did she would quickly have to deal with the fact that she was as well. And she did not have a protege, a ward, or a team to fall back on. Content, he sipped his tea and changed the subject.

I stole the truth “There are no foxes in the bathhouse” from that other thief with a machete. It took awhile to find out where those dang foxes were.

Legal Theft Project: The Little Things

He was allowed to ask for things; asking meant he was getting better. When he requested some herbs in order to improve the scent of his soap, his wardens positively beamed. So he asked for small constructive things for months. Requesting a different shade of curtain, a different dinner partner, a few more walks in the garden. More plants. A light mobile for the window. He took a full six before he began peppering his requests with little useful additions. Could he have some cedar shavings for a sachet to go with the lilac? Would they allow him a small amount of cleaning chemical to take care of the stains on his desk? No, he’d rather do it himself. He caused the mess, he should clean it up. When his caseworker informed him that he had made great progress, he created a bomb. A very small bomb. And two weeks later, he took his small bomb and placed it very carefully, and made a small hole in a beam. And that beam cracked and made an enormous mess of the entire west facade. He took his packed bag with a few of the extraneous ingredients and a set of clothes, and walked calmly through the chaos to the storage lockers. The terrified staff and confused patients paid him no mind. He retrieved his personal effects, glad to see that they had not been tampered with. Items secured, he meandered over to a port to the system mainframe. It was usually manned, but what with the threat of the entire building collapsing… well, he understood the lapse. They were only human.

He made his way through the files erasing everything he could find. His files, other files. Creating as much chaos as possible from the single port. Satisfied, he jammed a magnet from the back of a fridge magnet into the casing and hoped that would cover his tracks well enough. Nasty things computers.  He didn’t want another visit from well meaning citizens for a long time. It was a good thing he’d finished. The floor was starting to shake in a menacing manner. He navigated his way to the exit and across the street. He walked steadily away, looking back for a moment when the tremendous crunch of the collapsing building slammed over the street.

He allowed himself a small satisfied smile. An irritating but altogether not worthless half a year. Now if he could just get back to his tower, the mortals should leave him alone for about a decade or so.

I stole this first line from TheGateintheWood. It took awhile before anyone claimed it.