The Thief

By James Walker


Keep moving, move on - up the stairs, towards the jewel. The mansion was well defended, but no door could stop him...

But I came in through the window!

"A window is just a sort of door, the window sill a sort of doorway. Besides, we got through, so it must be so."

... he easily avoided the guards and alarms. He stood before the jewel. Pressure sensitive display case? Oh yes, that's why he was here. He removed a small electronic device from his cat suit and attached it to the base of the display case, above the wiring. A small green light appeared on the device. Good. He pressed on the display case - no alarm. Replacing the jewel with a fake did not trip the alarm, nor did poking or prodding the case. Good. The police would find the device, and spread the word of its existence, warning each other and security firms of its threat. Corrupt officers would sell the plans of the device to criminals and Vapula's latest toy would become standard equipment for thieves. But only if he was detected. He removed a mobile phone from his belt and dialled in an anonymous tip-off to the police, and waited patiently in the shadows.

But how will this get me back my name?

"Later, little one, later."

But he stole my NAME! He stole me! I was as nothing!

Without the excitement of the theft to distract him, his mind wandered. His fingers wandered, searching his neck for the bloody stump, remembering the pain of beheading. But the skin was smooth, his fingers traced their way up to his ears. He saw his reflection in the windows - so strange he looked, with his unique head sitting on his shoulders. Unique? The one and only, but the same as everyone else's. He sighed. Where were the police?

Lights came on; the guards were conducting a room by room search - warned by the police perhaps. Finally they entered the display room. Tired and bored, they could not react in time to the Thief, who sped past them. He dodged up the stairs, around a corner - ah! A security camera! And an antique vase - why did humans put those in corridors, so easily broken, still not my loss. He removed a long, thin torch from his belt, making sure sure that it would be obvious to the camera. A security guard came around the corner, and saw the Thief, a long barrelled item in his hand - the Thief dived through a door as the guard fired, the bullet destroying the vase.

How will that get me my name? Destruction isn't theft. Ruining the guards career isn't theft. Besides, we ate Rapine; why bother with him now?

"We have a Soldier applying to become a security guard here. Ruining this guards reputation lets us steal his job for our Soldier."

The Thief continued to run; the room he had entered had no other exits besides the window. Dropping the torch (it would help ruin the guards' reputation) he ducked out through the window, and standing on the sill, leapt up to the window above - a jump only the finest athletes could have achieved. He could have dropped to the ground and slipped away, but this was more impressive.

What are you doing? I don't understand. *sigh* I've understood so little since Uriel hacked off my head.

The Thief wrenched open the window and rolled into the room. As he crossed the room, the door opened and a guard entered. A quick punch knocked the guard out cold; a few minutes work later the Thief left the room, dressed as a guard. The guard was tied up in a corner in his underwear. It was important to leave guards looking foolish - he couldn't allow someone who worked for a living to have any self-respect, after all.

"Now do you understand?" asked the second presence. He was worried about the first presence, it hadn't ever recovered from the beheading. Still...

Yes, I think so. What shall we steal now? This mansion would make a good temple. Can we steal it? I need a temple. But Wind stole them all, he stole my worshippers, he stole my name, he stole, he stole....

The Thief rushed through the halls, searching for himself, pretending to be a good guard, easily avoiding showing his face in the security cameras. He worked his way towards the front entrance, and stepped outside, looking as self-important and embarrassed as he could. There was no one outside. Time to leave. And Valefor asked himself: what was the most appropriate way for the Prince of Theft, to leave?

Hardly stylish, but appropriate enough, he supposed. He hotwired a security van. And Janus, the Roman god of Doorways, drove off into the night.


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