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Theft

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The cold light of the full moon was cast upon two shady-looking youths near the vast iron gate of the well-known merchant Evan Pattingson’s mansion. With primitive glances all around them, Landon and Sherman scaled the massive gate and landed in the soft grass on the other side.
They wasted no time and, with swift and enigmatic movements, they soon reached the back door.
Sherman smirked in a self-satisfied way as he held up what appeared to be a forged key. A quick turn on the keyhole brought them into a room dimly lit by merely the moonlight reaching in.
It appeared to be what was modeled into a sort of biological laboratory. There were tables scattered around every side of the room, strewn with test tubes, microscopes, specimens, and lot of other stuff that the fugitives didn’t really care about. In the centre of the room was an enormous statue of a frog with its entails spilling out, and a weird assortment of plastic tubes with a mysterious green liquid flowing within them. Two large windows glared down from near the opposite corners, the only source of luminosity. But that didn’t matter.
What Landon and Sherman needed to do was to reach the oak-wood door that stood on the other end of the room. Considering this to be a four-storey mansion, there could be a lot of possibilities of the location of Mr. Pattingson’s personal bedroom, but a previously acquired map told them that the oak-wood door led to the bedroom.
The consisted of a massive king-sized bed crafted and sculpted with pure Bocote wood. Tucked under its fine silk sheets was the owner of the house himself. A vast tiger-skin rug covered the floor of the entire room. On the wall opposite the bed and right from where Landon and Sherman stood were humongous bookshelves containing at least a thousand volumes. Across the door were oil paintings that must have cost a fortune, all framed with gold plating and seated beside a couple of clear windows.
For a moment, both Landon and Sherman were awe-struck by this fascinating display of luxuries, but soon came out of their trance as they realized that they had a serious task on their hands.
Slowly and inaudibly, they stole their way across to the other side of the bed, careful not to leave so much as a trace of their presence in this room. With a grim look, Landon reached into the right pocket of his dark coat and pulled out a professional-looking pistol, complete with a silencer that would prevent the sound from reaching even a metre away. The eerie silence made the moment even creepier, as Landon took aim at the merchant’s neck. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, Sherman’s ice-cold hand gripped his shooting arm strongly and swerved him to one side of the room, in the shadows where they were unable to see much. Landon was just about to protest when he caught a glimpse at Sherman’s face, and his heart leapt with fear.
Never had he ever seen such a look on anybody’s face, much less on his own companion’s. The eyebrows were twisted with absolute dread, and the mouth was contorted, as if seeing the unexplainable but trying to explain it. The eyes were pleading and begging with horrification up to an extent that was petrifying. ‘Scared’ couldn’t sum it all up even for a mere fragment.
“What is it?” Landon questioned, his heart pulsing with suspense.
Sherman didn’t answer. He walked over to the bed where Pattingson was sleeping, and let out a huge gasp. Even from there, Landon knew what Sherman saw.
Pattingson was there no more.
Sherman was the first to recover from the shock. His face had had hardened by this time. “We are dealing with a master of illusionists, Landon, and we must be very careful. He is aware of our presence, and is hidden somewhere in this very room.”
“But, Sherman,” Landon began, “what was it that you saw that made you acquire such an expression as that?”
A scowl settled upon Sherman’s face. “I thought I saw Pattingson himself in the lab through the door that we very carelessly left open – a really smoky, misty form of his. But it turns out to be misdirection – a vital role in the plan of his very clear escape. How he came to activate it, I have no clue but he made his route out when we were blinded by the darkness in the shadows. Our job now is to find him, and an easy one, that is. He could only be in one of these two rooms, for we could have heard the door that leads outside if it was opened, and we were right next to the closed door that leads out of this room.”
A determined expression replaced the petrified look that was present on Landon’s face. He knew he wouldn’t let their victim escape.
Suddenly, a heavy gush of hot air caught them off their feet. As they scrambled back up, Sherman stifled a scream, and gripped tightly Landon’s arm. He looked terrified and, with a shaking finger, he pointed at the giant frog statue. Landon whipped his eyes around, and his blood curdled.
At the foot of the statue was Mr. Pattingson.
He had and evil grin printed on his face, and he held in his hand what looked like an oversized flamethrower. His eyes possessed a malevolent expression and looked directly at the two fugitives.
“Catch him!” Sherman yelled, and at once they were running towards him. Landon took aim with his pistol, but before he could fire, Pattingson sprouted a huge flame out of his flamethrower, which blinded the fugitives for a few seconds.
When the smoke cleared, and they could see properly once again, Mr. Pattingson was there no more.
Landon gripped Sherman’s arm tightly, petrified to the core of his heart. His face had turned white, and he felt a prickling sensation at the back of his spine. All of a sudden, Sherman’s theory didn’t seem to make sense anymore. Especially after what happened next.
A cold, evil laugh echoed through the caverns of the biology laboratory, followed by unexplainable incomprehensible movements of mysterious shadows. Slowly, Sherman inched his way towards the open door, closely followed by Landon. Fear coursed through both of them, in a dreadful mixture with anticipation. Both the fugitives never believed in any occurrence that didn’t go hand-in-hand with the perception of reality, and they always had a practical theory for even the most abnormal of phenomenon. But something had placed the thought in their minds that they were about to face a most fearsome experience in the next few minutes, and would have done better by earning money honestly rather than resorting to theft in the Pattingson household.
There was nothing out of the ordinary in the lab, though Mr. Pattingson wasn’t to be spotted anywhere. The only conclusion they could come to was that he had gotten out through the main door in the few seconds that they were blinded, though none of them had heard in being opened. Just as they were about to leave the room, something dangling from above hit the back of Landon’s head. He stopped dead in his tracks, slowly looked up, and let out a bloodcurdling scream that confirmed the worst of his suspicions.
Pattingson was hanging from his neck in a noose.
As the Landon and Sherman fainted on the spot, realization dawned upon them that it was not Landon who bumped into the body, setting it into motion; it was the body which swayed to and fro vigorously to hit the back of Landon’s head.






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