It was a cool evening with a sense of foreboding tension in the air that you could cut with a butter knife. Nothing moved, no birds were chirping, and the wind had calmed. It was deafeningly quiet, like the world had calmed down just before some big storm that would tear the it apart. That was the night the old museum on 12th street got broken into. All that was missing was the countess’ ruby, a rather small gem, but clearer than any other ruby known to man. The only trace left from the break in was a calling card discovered the next morning. It read, “Mr. Biggby, you have strayed from the path of the good man, and as such you’ve fallen into our sights. It is suggested that you not struggle, and that you simply accept your fate. Mr. Biggby, please get all of your things in order, and be prepared to be convicted for your injustice. We know about your extortion, and bribery. Mr. Biggby within a week’s time you will turn yourself over to the police, and you will confess to your crimes. -Nox”
The calling card would never be discovered by the media, but the break in was a big headline for a while. The museum was an impenetrable fortress the idea that someone was actually able to break in, and get out completely undetected was unheard of. The police couldn’t make heads or tails of the incident and as for Mr. Biggby… well he only increased the security of his precious museum. Most people believed that would be the last break in, and to their knowledge it was, but unfortunately for Mr. Biggby that was not the case.
As night fell over the city, and the museum shut down, Mr. Biggby was in his office cleaning out drawers and filing cabinets. He knew no one could possibly get inside his precious museum now that he had added new security measures, but he had to be sure about himself. He threw paper after paper in his metal wastebin, sweat dripping of his forehead, his fat was slowing him down, but even still subconsciously he was hungrily dreaming of his favorite jelly filled doughnuts. He stood over the wastebin staring down into its inhabitants. “Damn!” He said to himself. “All that hard work gone in an instant. How could they have possibly found out about my side ventures.”
Looking around his office once more to make sure he hadn’t missed anything he produced a book of matches from his breast pocket. “Well if I don’t protect myself it will all have been for nothing anyways.” He reasoned. “Right, but if you’d layed of the sweets maybe you’d have gotten around to destroying that evidence before I got here.” Said a smooth and dark voice that Mr. Biggby couldn’t recognize. In an instant he felt the force of the man upon him as he was thrust into the wall dropping his matches on the way. He stared into the eyes of the masked thief who smiled like the devil and saw nothing, but excitement.
“Hello Mr. Biggby, I see you’ve done almost nothing I’ve asked of you. You didn’t arrange for any life threatening incident, and you certainly haven’t accepted your fate. But you do get points for getting all of your evidence together for me.” The man said like a teacher scolding their pupil. “Who are you? What do you want from me?” Biggby asked in a fury. The man looked deeper into Mr. Biggby and laughed like a hyena cornering its prey. “I want you to pay for your crimes Mr. Biggby, as for who I am… You can just call me Raven. That’s what they call me at work, and I love my work Mr. Biggby.” The thief spoke a hint of excitement in his voice. “You’re probably wondering about the ruby huh? Well the truth is Mr. Biggby that was just my payment, after all as a gentleman thief I have to make a little money, I can’t just go around stopping crime for free can I? This is my favorite part of the job though, this is my bonus if you will. Every time it comes around I can’t help, but enjoy every single moment. The fear of my catch, the smell of urine suddenly filling the room, and the sight of blood dripping to the floor. It’s so satisfying.”
Mr. Biggby was not a particularly clever man, but he was about as strong as they come. Unfortunately for all of Mr. Biggby’s efforts he couldn’t break the hold of the man who barely had to use one arm to hold him back. “Now Mr. Biggby listen very closely, I am not your average man which I’m sure at this point you’ve already gathered, and you need to understand that I won’t hesitate to kill you.” The thief spoke with the sincerity of a man on his deathbed. “Just kill me now you bastard!” Biggby shouted thrashing about under the pressure of the thief’s resting arm. “No Mr. Biggby, that’s not the way Nox works, killing you would be the same as setting you free. No you, Mr. Biggby, are going to rot in a prison cell, and you yourself are going to ensure that. Hell I won’t even have to lift a finger.” A new smile slid across the thief’s face his eyes seemed to flash red with excitement as Mr. Biggby struggled. “Go to hell you freak!” Mr. Biggby, due to the struggling, had managed to move slightly, but to his disadvantage was now being choked by the thief who was simply holding him in place with his forearm at the throat. “You’re not a smart man Biggby.” The thief took in a long draw of air and released. He looked up staring emotionlessly into the eyes of Mr. Biggby. “Now Mr. Biggby,” The thief spoke maintaining eye contact. “Stop moving.” Biggby stopped suddenly dropping his arms to his sides. “Good. Now Mr. Biggby I want you to walk over to you desk and sit down.” The thief released Biggby from his weight, and Biggby walked obediently to his desk chair and sat. “Wonderful Biggby. Finally Biggby you will call the authorities with that phone on your desk and turn yourself in. Go on Biggby.” Biggby lifted the receiver and dialed 9...1...1… He placed the phone to his ear. The thief now sat on Biggby’s desk comfortably and watched. “Hi my name is Killian Biggby I own the museum on 12th street. Yes ma’am the one from the news. Yes ma’am I’d like to turn myself in. For extortion of minors and bribery. I have all the receipts and notes to prove my involvement. Thank you.” Biggby placed down the receiver. “Thank you Biggby. That wasn’t so hard now was it? Now Biggby listen very closely, when I leave this room and you are left alone you will go back to normal, except you will be a changed man given up his life of crime. You will not remember my existence, only that you made the call to the police and are waiting for them to come get you. Now Mr. Biggby have a wonderful life.” With that the Thief pulled his hood over his head and exited through the door. Biggby was arrested no more than twenty minutes later.
An alarm was going off somewhere. It was loud and obnoxious. He knew when he’d gone to sleep it had been next to his bedside table, but now when he reached over to stop it’s hellish ringing it was nowhere to be found. Aaron Kar lifted himself up in bed, he felt very heavy as he always did in the mornings. He looked around his room searching half asleep for his clock. He didn’t see it, and it sounded like it was in the a different room. “Maybe I can sleep through it.” He sighed to himself and flopped back down throwing a pillow over his head. As he was beginning to drift off again his phone rang. He reached over for it and pulled it off it’s charger. He looked at the contact name. “Marv is calling? It’s my day off though.” Aaron considered tossing the phone to the side and letting it ring, but the thought was quickly pushed from his head when he accidently accepted the call. “Oops oh shi- Hey Marv what’s up? Need something?” He groaned silently at his mistake, and got out of bed. “Aaron? What the hell is that sound I hear?” Marv of course was referring to the alarm clock going off in some other part of Aaron’s home. “It’s nothing Marv don’t worry about it. What do you need?” Marvin Johnson was Aaron’s partner at the precinct they were the cops at the New York Police Department. “Have you seen the news? Killian Biggby, the guy who owned that museum that got robbed the other day, he turned himself in last night.” Aaron sighed heavily. “Another one? What was it this time?” Marv chuckled, “Guy was extorting minors and bribing cops to stay off him. That’s why I’m calling you, you gotta come in for an evaluation.” Aaron cursed under his breathe and kicked the sheets off his bed. “Damn it Marv it’s my day off.” Marv laughed and said something to someone on the other side of the line. “Captain says tough Kar. Now get over here; sooner you get it done the sooner you get your day back. See ya Kar.” Aaron hung up and sat with his legs over the side of the bed. “F***.”
Aaron lived fairly close to the precinct, but that didn’t make the walk down to work on his day off any easier. It was around eleven in the morning, and the city was energetic and bustling something Aaron detested in his current state. He yawned as he walked, dressed casually intending to not be at the precinct any longer than he needed. He knew of course that he’d be there for a couple hours, it wasn’t so much the fact that he had to get up, at least this way he didn’t have to stay inside listening to his still missing clock. When he got to the precinct he greeted Angela like he did every day, she was a nice girl and a great receptionist. Aaron also suspected she was dealing with some sort of abusive boyfriend, but he had yet to prove it, and decided it would be inappropriate to straight out ask her. “Captain called you in for the eval. right?” She asked him sweetly. “Yeah. Marv didn’t tell me how they caught him, do you know?” Angela shook her head, “No they didn’t say anything about it to me. Sorry.” Aaron let out a sigh, “Ok thanks anyways Ann. I’ll see ya ‘round.” With a small wave Aaron left the reception desk and walked to the captain’s office.
“There you are Kar!” Said a deep and unsettling voice. “You’re wasting both our time just sitting out there, come in.” It was the chief, who had poked his head out the door just as Aaron had sat in a chair outside the office. “Sorry sir, I was just waiting in case you were with someone else.” The two went inside the Captain’s office, it wasn’t a big room, but it had character that’s for sure. The walls were covered in medals and pictures telling the Captain’s life story. The captain’s desk however had only one picture on it. The picture was only a few years old, it was of his wife and daughter who was still a baby in the picture. “Alright Aaron, we need to evaluate you. I don’t think you’d ever accept a bribe, but the higher ups don’t know you. Are you ready?” Aaron thought for a moment, “How did we catch this guy, we didn’t even know he existed?” The captain sat in his chair thumbing through his evaluation booklet. “It’s pretty weird, he actually turned himself in. He confessed to everything he did and provided us with lots of solid evidence.” The Captain looked up at Aaron, “Are you ready?”
Aaron left work about thirty minutes later, going in had only taken around an hour to Aaron’s surprise, and by the time he left he was wide awake. It was around noon now, and Aaron decided it might be a good idea to go over to the gym, he wasn’t dressed for the gym, but he could stop at home to grab some clothes first. Maybe he’d even find that stupid clock. Aaron almost never locked his door when he left, namely because he hadn’t seen his apartment key in about a year, but it didn’t bother him much, it wasn’t like he had anything to steal. Money was something that Aaron didn’t need to worry about; his uncle, who had died a few years back, had a fortune, and Aaron got small portions of money every now and then from the inheritance. He used the money for things like video games and comics, Aaron was a nerd, but the way he lived was very cheap. He had very little furniture and what he did have wasn’t particularly costly. His bad habit of wasting money would surely leave him in a bad way at some point, but that hardly concerned him right now. The only thing he was concerned with was enjoying himself, that was how he had always lived, and so far he’d been lucky enough for it not to bite him back.
Aaron arrived home to find his land lord Ivan eating his jar of peanut butter. “Oh hey Aaron! Good morning! I thought you were at work!” He shouted through a mouth full of peanut butter and russian accent. “Morning Ivan, it is noon though. Why are you eating my peanut butter. You’re not even putting it on anything? I have bread you know.” His alarm was still ringing somewhere, but neither seemed to mind. “Bleh bread! That crap is not bread it is dog s***! Not even that! A dog wouldn’t eat that crap you call bread!” Aaron rolled his eyes closing the fridge which Ivan had left open for who knows how long. Aaron was used to Ivan dropping by, but that didn’t change how annoying he found their interactions. “Whatever Ivan I gotta find my alarm clock and get changed.” Aaron began his search with his bedroom, to no avail did he find it however, and set off elsewhere. Checking next in his living room, nothing, then in his bathroom. It was certainly louder in his bathroom than anywhere he’d previously been, so he started his search. “How does one misplace an alarm clock Aaron?” Ivan said the scent of peanut butter wafting in with him. “I don’t know Ivan probably the same way people lose their phone when it’s in their hand.” Ivan was quiet for a moment. “People don’t actually do that right?” Aaron didn’t answer opting to search his dirty clothes hamper again. “It’s loudest right here! Where the f*** is it?” Ivan pushed Aaron out of the way knocking his hamper down too, behind it was a clock with two small bells on top being hammered by a tiny metal rod. “You get drunk last night?” Ivan asked. “I don’t drink. Can you go please? You can keep the f***ing peanut butter too.”
The gym that Aaron frequented was small and somewhat shabby looking, but it was in the neighborhood he grew up in, and it had a quaint charm to it. It was nothing like BronzeGym with fancy new s*** that everyone sweats on, but never cleaned. It was a community with the old equipment that worked fine in the ‘70s and works fine now, and people kept it clean out of respect for the man that ran the place. Lenny Morgan the owner of Tough Palooka boxing gym was a retired boxer and coach who prided himself on not only his well kept gym, but also on his fantastic chili that he made for his patrons. Most people came to box and then when they were finished and hungry Len would whip up some chili for them. Even Aaron who wasn’t a fan of chili had a bowl every now and then. Today was one of those days. After he’d finished up working in the ring he got out to find a hot bowl waiting for him and a seat right next to old Lenny. “You’re looking pretty good up there kid. You ever thought of being a pro?” Aaron chuckled, admiring the bowl in front of him. “No thanks Len, it’s just a hobby. You ever thought of opening a restaurant?” Lenny coughed a laugh, “Touche kid. How’s work treatin’ you? You hear about that guy from the museum?” Aaron nodded mid bite swallowing quickly to answer.
“Yeah, Bigby or something, turned himself in for extorting minors and bribery.”
“What a scum bag.” Lenny got up and sighed. “What happened to this city, used to be crooks stealing from the hard hitters. Now they’re taking from the little guy just to make an easy buck? F***in’ cowards.” Aaron hadn’t seen Lenny worked up like this in a while. Lenny walked, taking a storm of emotions with him, to a sand bag and let loose a flurry of emotions and punches. Lenny got dealt a bad hand growing up, crooked dad, lost his mom to leukemia, and grew up in the city’s underarm. He’d told Aaron once about how his dad would come home drunk after a night out making trouble, that was what Lenny called it, and just beat the s*** out of him. That was why Lenny started boxing. He wanted to get stronger, and feel safe. “You’re a good man Aaron, I’m glad there’re cops like you out there sticking up for us little guys. Ahh look at the time, four o’clock already. Martha’ll be on my ass if I get home late, I’m gonna close early and head home, you have a good night.” Lenny returned to his normal stature and took Aaron’s finished bowl into the back. “Night Lenny, have a good one. Tell Martha I said hi.”
Aaron came home around eleven after being called to go hang out with Marv who’d gotten off early. No ringing and no Ivan. “Oh and no peanut butter.” Aaron said to himself grabbing the remote for his TV from the counter. Aaron turned on the news not realizing he already knew what was gonna be on. “Bigby, the owner of the Natural Art and History Museum, which only the day before had been impossibly broken into. Arthur let me ask you, do you believe these incidents are connected?” “Are you kidding me? Of course, you ask me he got blackmailed by whoever broke in. Some kinda Robin Hood, stealing a big gem, and catching crooks it’s big news.” Aaron turned off the TV, “What a bunch of garbage. Robin Hood? What’ll they come up with next.” Aaron made a bowl of ramen, opting to just die a bit faster than deal with cooking. Aaron finished up the night with some video games and thoroughly taped his clock to his bedside table. “If you’re not there when I wake up I don’t even know what I’m gonna do to you.”