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The Family of Thieves
Harsh winds and cold rain, that was what greeted Topaz Andrews as he got out of the passenger seat of a small black car. He slammed the door shut, never acknowledging the driver. He stood for a moment, staring ahead as the car behind him sped off in its previous direction, avoiding the main roads. Its windows had been tinted and its license plate removed.
Topaz adjusted the black backpack on his right shoulder and the long length of rope coiled around his left shoulder. He continued forward, the gravel on the driveway crunched beneath his feet as puddles always managed to stay in his way. The building in front of him was just as he remembered and nothing it should have been. When people described the building in front of him they would use the word ‘mansion’ and Topaz would automatically picture a large house, richly decorated, but what he saw as he walked up the driveway wasn’t really a house. Yes, people lived there and yes, it had been owned by families who spent much of their time there, but it lacked a certain amount of comfort.
The mansion’s outside walls were stone and its two story windows were made from thin glass. The door was wooden and painted a soft shade of maroon, as were the pillars that held up the balcony. Thin, green lines of ivy crept up the walls, making their way to the roof. Lanterns lit the driveway and porch, but they somehow made the house seem colder to Topaz. To his eyes the house lacked the only important thing. It lacked a family that actually cared about each other.
Topaz snorted at the idea. As if families this rich actually cared about one another. At least his hadn’t. He pushed the thought from his mind just as he reached the gate that surrounded the overly large yard. He carefully stepped from place to place avoiding the
angles of the one-hundred security cameras. He finally made his way to the callbox and he knelt down behind it in one of the cameras blind spots. He took his time as he reached down into his backpack and removed a small screwdriver kit. He carefully removed the back off of the callbox and dropped it to the ground.
Inside the box were wires as well as half a dozen brightly colored levers. These levers controlled everything in the house, the electricity, the gate and most importantly the security cameras. The levers had been cleverly placed in the back of the callbox hoping that thieves and criminals would never look there, but this was something that Topaz knew all to well. This was part of the reason he had been chosen for the job he was doing.
Topaz flipped one of the switches to off and knew instantly that the security cameras had been shut down. He flipped another switch, knowing that turning off this one would help him later.
He stood up, satisfied with his work so far. This was when the clock began though. He was going to quickly run out of time if he didn’t hurry. He knew the security crew here and he knew how lazy they were, but he had maybe one hour before they noticed the cameras were off. Topaz put the callbox back together, put his screwdriver kit in his backpack and his backpack over his shoulder. He then turned around to face the gate. He looked up at the tall, ten foot black metal bars that made the gate that surrounded the yard and he inwardly groaned. He had climbed this gate a million times when he was younger, but tonight it was slippery and harder to climb. Most people would have eventually decided against it, fearing they might slip and break and ankle, but not Topaz. He was going to climb the fence and follow through with what he was doing, even if he had to try a dozen times.
He walked up to the bottom of the fence and placed his hands on two of the metal bars, quickly and with what seemed to be inhuman grace, he began to climb. The speed that
Topaz reached the top without once falling was unbelievable. He had made it to the top in less then thirty seconds and he had quickly dropped down on the other side of the fence. He smirked, wishing just a little that the cameras had been on just to prove to the owners of the house could see the amount of grace and skill he possessed.
Topaz finished walking across the yard and he stopped before the right front corner of the house. He had chosen this side because of the thick ivy growing up the stonework. He had needed a way up to the roof and now he had found it. He jumped up grabbing on of the thick vines and once again, began to climb. The ivy was much easier to climb than the slippery metal fence. He was quickly on the slate roof, his footfalls making little noise.
He moved quickly finding what he was looking for almost as soon as he stepped onto the roof. A thin glass skylight looked down into a room. Topaz couldn’t see much from
the skylight, but he knew what was under it. He knew that the room was luxuriously decorated and held the most important valuables in the entire house. The rain was heavier on the roof and Topaz was now completely soaked though, but now there was no going back. He hadn’t come all this way just to turn around and leave.
The skylight had three padlocks on it, all of them easily picked with a thin lock pick, which he quickly did. The trapdoor also had a security alarm on it that would set of s loud siren if the door were to be opened. It would have made any normal thief’s presence known, but Topaz wasn’t an ordinary thief. He had previously turned off the alarm system with a flick of one of the switches in the callbox.
Now, with the padlocks off and the alarm disabled, he gripped the handle on the glass roof and pulled it open. He pushed the trap door all the way back so that it was now lying on the floor. He quickly uncoiled the rope around his shoulder and he lowered it down through the trapdoor. He leaned across the hole in the floor and tied one end of the rope around the hinges of the door itself. Topaz didn’t know if what he was about to do was insanity or bravery, but he decided to trust his weight on a thin rope and a trapdoor. He was thin and slender and he had experience doing such things before. He could do this.
Topaz shimmied down the rope and was at the bottom faster that the eye could see. He dropped softly to the ground, his shoes making little noise on the black and white marble floor. This room was just how he remembered it. The gold pillars lining the room, the glass cases holding precious things and the pictures hanging along the wall. Topaz involuntarily found himself staring at the pictures. One in particular caught his eyes. A
mother, a father and their child: a son. The mother’s hair was long and black, her eyes cold and dark green. Her clothes were expensive and the gems she wore had probably cost enough money to feed a country. The father had dark brown hair, cut short and sophisticated. His eyes were startlingly blue and his skin pale. His body was thin and slender and his smile nearly nonexistent. His suit was expensive and his tie was made from shiny silk. The son who was standing in between his parents looked bored and unsure. He looked to be around fifteen or sixteen. His hair was a soft brown and a flop of it fell into his eye. The
rest of his hair was cut into soft, casual spikes. His eyes were green like his mother’s and at the time of the photo, he had been about to roll them.
In fact, Topaz remembered the day this photo had been taking. His father had said something strange about facing the camera at a certain angle and Topaz and rolled his eyes as soon as the photo was snapped. It was a memory that made Topaz scoff and smile
at the same time.
He walked along the pictures looking for one of a particularly ugly, old man that Topaz remembered from when he was younger. He found it at the end of the wall and he swiftly removed it. Behind it was a small storage vault, silver and square. It had a small, round combination lock in the center of it and Topaz knew it would take him at least ten minutes to break into. He wished now that he had kept track of how much time he spent breaking into the actual house. He brushed a chunk of his wet, dark brown hair away from his eye and looked at the lock. He knew what numbers his parents had used when he had lived here, but had they changed them? Topaz tried the numbers, mumbling under his breath all the while.
“22…14….4…18….16.” He stopped and the lock didn’t click. This was going to be harder then he thought. He swore softly, slamming his hand against the metal door. The door opened, much to Topaz’s surprise. So he had been right, his parents hadn’t changed anything.
The vault was lined with velvet and in the middle sat a silver box. Topaz reached in and took out the box, feeling the cold metal in his hand. This was what he had come for. He closed the vault and set his backpack on the floor. Swiftly he reached in and took out a pair of pliers. He used them to break the metal lock in half. The box opened part way and Topaz pushed the top of it all the way back. Inside of the silk lined box was a necklace, made of gold and brilliant green emeralds. The tip of Topaz’s fingers gently touched the surface of the gems and a dozen unwelcome memories flooded into his mind.
This was the necklace he had picked out and bought for his mother six years ago on her birthday. This was the necklace that he had bought for her and he had regretted it as his family fought about how he had purchased the necklace. It had been a black-market necklace and it had been illegally purchased. At sixteen years old, Topaz hadn’t known any better. He had seen his father, uncle and cousins all shop black-market, but when he did it, it was wrong? This made little sense to Topaz and he wished for the briefest of moments that he had never purchased the necklace. After he secured the necklace, buying things from the black-market had become like an addiction. He found himself looking forward to visits there more and more and he even made friends with some of the regular traders. His parents found out about this and had kicked him out of their house at the young age of eighteen. He no longer had any money, real friends or, family. He had been sent out on his own.
These thoughts made Topaz finish what he had started. He took the necklace out of the box and he placed it in one of the pockets of his backpack. He didn’t regret doing this any longer. He knew his mother would never wear it and he knew that it would just sit there.
He zipped up his backpack and stood. Now, all he had to do was climb back up the rope, down the roof and leave out the front gate and it would be over. He had completed the job and he was going to be paid.
That would have happened if the door hadn’t opened and someone Topaz thought he would never see again hadn’t come through it.
The light behind him stretched his shadow across the room and onto Topaz’s face. The man’s brown hair was just as Topaz remembered, only with soft gray streaks added into it. His eyes were still the same electric blue and at the moment hidden behind a pair of
reading glasses. His figure, pale skin, and brown hair matched Topaz’s exactly. Their eyes met and for a moment Topaz was at a loss for words. Finally an unexpected smirk spread across his face and he spoke two words. “Hello, Father.”
Less than an hour later, Topaz began to regret everything. Somewhere he had made a mistake. Somewhere he had made it obvious that he had broken into the house. Had a guard noticed that the security cameras were off? Had someone heard a noise from the other room? Was there another alarm system he didn’t know about?
These questions circled Topaz’s mind as he was escorted out of the house by two policemen. Topaz’s hands had been bound by handcuffs and his perfect record ruined, but something else was wrong. The fact that his parents had called the police on him, made him feel like his world had just been shattered. They had shown no sympathy and they had said little to no words as they waited anxiously for the police to arrive.
Topaz looked up and he noticed his parents standing by the front porch watching as the door to the police car slammed shut. Nothing had hurt Topaz more than the fact that his parents no longer cared enough about him to try and talk to him out of the criminal life he led. They hadn’t even tried to tell what he did wrong. They saw it simply, that he was just a random criminal that had tried to rob them. He wasn’t there son anymore and they had allowed him to be arrested for something he couldn’t help. Did something ran through his veins that he couldn’t control? Was he destined to be a criminal? Could he help it or was it just another family trait?