Bad things always come in threes.
Three strikes. Those three bears that Goldilocks ran
The three guards with swords who were chasing me right
“Come back here, you thief!” one of the guards bellowed,
his voice booming across the dark rooftops.
I grinned and ran faster.
Thirty minutes ago, I had let myself into the lavishly
furnished, but poorly protected brownstone of a rich,
Family-affiliated accountant who had bought a ruby necklace
for his girlfriend—something his wife didn’t exactly
So I had been dispatched to swipe said necklace on the
angry wife’s orders and dime. It had been child’s play to
climb up the drainpipe to the second floor of the
brownstone, pick open a balcony door, and slip inside. I
hadn’t even had to break into the office safe, since the
necklace had been nestled in a black velvet box, the top
open, sitting on the accountant’s desk, the rubies sparkling
for my greedy eyes to see. So I’d closed the lid and tucked
the box with its necklace into my long, sapphire-blue trench
Then I had rifled through the rest of the desk to see
what else I could steal.
I’d been mildly surprised and rather pleased to come
across a pair of diamond cufflinks tucked away in another
box in one of the drawers. The diamonds weren’t as large and
impressive as the rubies, but into my pockets they’d gone
all the same, along with a gold fountain pen, a sterling
silver letter opener, and a crystal paperweight.
Nothing that I hadn’t swiped dozens of times before in my
seventeen years. In fact, this job had been easier than most
of the ones that Mo had sent me on recently.
You might say that I was a sort of modern-day Robin Hood,
merrily stealing from the rich. Only I never, ever
gave my loot away for free. There were only three people in
this world that I cared about—me, myself, and I. Well, maybe
four, if you caught me on a good day and I felt like
including Mo. Either way, Mo could fend for himself, and
mine was quite enough of a mouth to feed, as far as I was
Once I made sure that all of the loot was securely tucked
away in my coat pockets, I scanned the rest of the office.
But the vases and other knickknacks were too awkward and
oddly shaped for me to carry away, and the furniture was far
too large and heavy.
Satisfied with my haul, I decided to leave. Which, of
course, was the exact moment that one of the guards had
stepped into the room to fetch the necklace for his boss.
He had yelled for his two buddies, they’d come crashing
into the office, swords drawn, and I had beat a hasty
retreat through a side door, up some stairs, and out onto
the top of the brownstone before leaping onto the roof of
the next house over … and the one after that … and the one
Now, here I was, five minutes later, still racing across
the rooftops of some of the nicer brownstones in Cloudburst
Falls, West Virginia. The guards had been harder to shake
than I’d expected, but I had a plan to take care of that.
I always had a plan.