Legal Theft Project: Wake

Dawn called, and he wasn’t going to answer. The night had stained him, and he didn’t want to see what the mottled shades turned into with the light of the sun. But still he lingered, looking at the first rays of light. Birds called and his feet remained rooted to the spot. The faint light picked out the burnt orange of his disguise, but still he ignored it.

This first unrolling of the day promised so much and he felt that promise roll into his bones and wash out a little of the grit and despair he breathed. But he was still weighed down and with every dawn he was running out of time. When the first curve of the sun crested the hills, he turned his back and headed deeper into the shadows, heading into the cool concealment promised by the cave. He would have to face the day, but he could gather himself to pretend that it didn’t ache.

Overwhelmed by the melodrama, the thieved piece is short. I stole this first line from The Gate in the Wood. A few other thieves abound as well…..


Legal Theft Project: The Tipping Point

She shut the computer with a furious snap. Then, unsatisfied, picked up a throw pillow and hurled it across the room with a scream. One deep breath later and she felt better. In the scheme of things, it didn’t matter who got the credit. The press can laud the jock as often as they want to and cast her as the socialite girlfriend if they felt so inclined. She’d come away with something much more valuable than a headline. “Local Teen Rescues Friends from Homicidal Lunatic” trivialized what they’d been through. What they’d done. What she’d done.

A slow smile crossed her face and the reflection in her Victorian era mirror shivered. She tucked her laptop carefully away in its cubby on her rosewood desk and picked up a small dark iron key ring from a glass bowl. The keys dangled from her fingers as she stepped quickly past the elegant four poster and into her closet. Ignoring racks of shoes and dresses as she clicked open the secret door in the back wall. She listened to make sure her parents were still entertaining friends in the downstairs parlor before placing a key in the hidden lock and sliding the panel door to the side to look at her collection.

Her breath caught for a moment. The shelves held an assortment of beautiful, wicked things. A dark black bottle that seemed to writhe in the light on the top shelf next to an ancient silver amulet. Gems were inlaid around the edges of the amulet, surrounding an inscription in some unknown ancient language. The shelf below held a rabbit’s foot charm and a dagger. The dagger was made of crystal and steel with needles and tubes in a dangerous array both toward the blade and a few curving back toward the hilt. She ran a finger down the blade. It served her well in that place. Even if it made her feel cold inside. Even if her wrist still had faint scars from needles and blades. The third shelf held a battered ring, the inscription incomprehensible, and a crystal ball with hazy images spinning indistinctly through the glass. This was true wealth. This was real. Let the world say what they wanted about the past events. A slow smile crept over her face, and she passed her hand over the crystal ball. It would probably help her in the future. There had to be more. Such beautiful complicated things did not spring up in defiance of all known practices alone. They were wrought, forged, imbued, or cursed.

Maybe she should plan another group trip. Somewhere foreign. Somewhere…. Her eyes drifted back up to the dagger. Somewhere dangerous. Maybe she’d invite her friends.

She closed and locked her cabinet. Sliding the panel back into place, she couldn’t shake the smile. She’d give it a few weeks. This time she wanted to know what she was getting into.

I stole this first line from that diplomatic machete wielder’s “Small Gifts.” Shhhh. Don’t tell, I don’t think the theft has been noticed yet.

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.