Most Likely a Church Pt. 1

Adam dropped noiselessly onto the balcony of the ancient building, jarring his ankle slightly, but otherwise unscathed. He pressed the palms of his hands against the balcony doors and pushed slightly, to test the weight. The hinges were on the outside—the doors opened into the building. Luck was in his favor that night.

Adam cut the hinges gingerly, careful not to unbalance the doors from their precarious perch atop the severed pistons. A klaxon wailed in the distance; Adam didn’t have the time to be careful. He kicked out the double doors, praying that the carpeted floor beyond would muffle the sound of their impact. They did but the shattering glass of the panels in the door was enough to create a cacophony of tinkles. He stepped through the clouds of dust and glass shards and warily surveyed the scene; if Adam was caught, he was sure to be hanged. At the absolute least.

It seemed fortune was in his favor that night, for no alarm sounded, and Adam succeeded in entering the library unmolested. He padded along the carpet silently, leaving only small puffs of dust motes in the air to mark his passage. He reached the balcony separating the first floor from the ground floor and peered down into the murky, dust-filled air of the library. There! Atop a pedestal about 20 yards from the foot of the stars rested a little display stand inside a glass box equipped with a device that breathed gently as it regulated the oxygen content and humidity inside the box.

Adam seized the railing of the balcony with both hands and vaulted over, somersaulting in midair, landing in a crouch on the carpet of the ground floor with a soft “whump” and a whirlwind of suffocating, glimmering particles that reflected the moon that shone through the stained glass images that adorned the windows.

He dashed quickly over to the case and smashed it open with a fist, snatching the book atop the display stand, wrapping it quickly in a waterproof oilskin to protect it from the rain outside, and ran out of the room before the last fragment of glass from the case had hit the ground.

Once outside the library, Adam ran a couple of blocks, and then slumped into an ornately carved doorway, most likely that of a church. He let his legs give out from under him, landing painfully on his tailbone with a bit of a jolt. His rear would most likely sport a marvelous bruise in the morning. Adam closed his eyes and permitted himself to relax, closing his eyes and allowing himself to run over the details of his successful mission.

Suddenly, something struck him as being very, very wrong. Horrendously, stupefyingly so. How could he be so stupid? There had been no alarms at the library. No bells sounding when Adam smashed the book’s glass case. Not even when he sprinted out the door, and he was sure, in retrospect, that he had hit a trip wire. That bad. Very, very bad. That meant that the library’s security system was already down before he got there. That meant someone had probably followed him into that alleyway, leaning against the door of what was most likely a church.

“Fuuuuuck,” moaned Adam.

“Please,” replied a frigidly self-assured voice, made more so by the placement of something cold, metallic, and probably sharp-edged at Adam’s throat. “Don’t tempt me; this is purely a business visit.”

Adam’s eyes flew open, and he stood up rapidly, nicking himself on the underside of his chin against the edge of the blade, which was—as he had guessed—incredibly sharp, releasing a steady stream of blood from the gash. He found himself face-to-face with luminescently bright blue eyes, and the slender, ornately crafted ivory stiletto blade was repositioned against his throat, gently enough for it not to cut, but hard enough to pose a legitimate threat.

“Vincent??” Adam was torn between surprise, unease and indignation, “Vincent, what the f***? What are you doing?”

“Shush-shush,” soothed Vincent mockingly, tracing his fingers through the mess of blood at Adam’s throat. He took his leisure, idly drawing lines in the blood along Adam’s neck, then trailing his bloodstained fingers along Adam’s right check, forming a lopsided crimson heart, the center of which he licked gently.

Adam’s shiver of discomfort seemed to jar Vincent back to reality. He trailed his fingers back down Adam’s jaw slowly, leaving a bloody trail along the way. Then he snapped upright primly and began to speak.

“Well, you see, Adam dearest, I have to relieve you of your precious cargo. Orders from the top.” He gesticulated upwards with a finger at this last sentence.

Adam fought desperately to stop his voice from shaking and cracking—whether from fury or fear he could not say, though his ego insisted on the former—as he responded.

“Wait, Vincent, you dumba**, we’re on the same side.”

“That, my dear boy, is what you think.” At this, Vincent left off making a bloody statement on abstract art along the bridge of Adam’s nose, dropping his voice by at least an octave as he lowered his knife to slightly below Adam’s navel, dangerously close to the waistband of Adam’s trousers.

“Now, Give. Me. The. Book.” Vincent accentuated this by jabbing Adam softly in his bottommost abdominal muscle with every word.

Adam fixed Vincent with the most indignant, contemptuous glare he could muster, but his feigned bravado was interrupted when Vincent inserted the knife into the neckband of Adam’s shirt, and began slowly to rip his way down the length of Adam’s shirt. The tatters of Adam’s shirt hung limply on his shoulders as the knife came to rest at the waistband of his jeans.

“Now then,“ began Vincent menacingly, “Give me the God damned book.”

Adam sighed laboriously and ran his hand through his hair, trying to stop himself from shaking.

“Alright. Fine. Have it, then, Vincent.”

Vincent took the book and ran.





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