Just something I wrote because I couldn’t focus on any of my bigger projects. I don’t think it’s that great, but I’m not a good judge of my own work.
“Are you sure about this? Because I’m not.”
“Of course I’m sure, now shut up and stick to the plan.”
“Oh, you have a plan. See, I thought you were making this up as you went along, and—”
“I said shut UP!”
The two argumentative young men were crouched behind some low bushes, peering at the house they planned to infiltrate. The taller of the two, the one who had spoken first, was shifting uneasily, his grip unsteady on the rifle he carried. His companion, shorter and broader, was as solid as a rock, and was entirely fed up with the first man’s nervousness.
“Okay, here’s how it works. You go around to the other side of the house and wait. I’ll go up to the front door, like a salesman. Once I start talking, you start shooting, and I rush inside. Then you just need to avoid being killed or caught until I come back out with the girl. Got it?”
Without waiting for a response, he shuffled away and started brushing the leaves off his clothes. Once his partner was in position, he strode confidently down the footpath to the front door, where he was stopped by a guard. “Your name and business, sir?”
“My name is—” He was saved from the bother of making up a name by a burst from his associate. With a convincing shriek, he dove through the door as the guards returned fire. He stood with a smirk as the guards, completely ignoring him, rushed outside to defend the house.
Not a noise did he make as he crept through the house, making his way directly to the library. He found a place on the shelves full of books that did not belong, and cleared them away to reveal the safe behind them. With a chuckle, he easily cracked the lock and removed the precious contents: a ruby, flawless, the size of his fist.
Treasure in hand, he returned to the lower levels, where the guards were only just now coming inside. “Much too wild a neighborhood for my tastes,” he remarked with a laugh. “I’ll go peddle my wares elsewhere.” He slipped outside without a second glance. After reaching the rendezvous and not finding his partner, he settled down against a tree to wait. He didn’t wait long.
He heard the click of a revolver being cocked, and a gruff voice ordered, “Stand up slowly.” He obeyed, trembling.
The voice commanded, “Reach into your jacket and give me my ruby back.”
My ruby? How could the owner have found him? He hadn’t even seen the owner of the house. Nonetheless, a gun was a gun, so he reached into his jacket and pulled out the ruby, which was snatched away.
There was a moment’s silence, and then: “This isn’t my ruby.” A humorless laugh. “Someone much better than you got to it first. I suppose I should thank you for helping me find out.”
Footsteps led away, and the thief let out a sigh of relief, thinking he had been spared, that his crime had gone unpunished.
The gunshot a moment later proved he had been wrong.