The Thieving House: Chapter 1.5

(By: Livi)

Nora was not in the greatest mood right now. Well, for this particular dark hair, green eyed little girl, being in a good mood was a miracle. You would think that for such a great thief, she’d probably should be living in riches and a perfectly well guarded house, but that was the problem.

She wasn’t.

Apparently the people next door had gotten into a bad habit of snatching items from her house, which, mind you, she really couldn’t care less about. Her true stash of stuff was somewhere else, hidden quite safely. But it was still quite annoying. She didn’t like how her neighbors thought they were getting away with it even though they had made a mess in her apartment. They’ve even stopped bothering to clean up after them. Nora overheard their conversation once and it went something like this:

“She doesn’t even know.”

Snickers.

“And she acts like she’s the best thief ever.”

“I know right? And we’ve even left a mess in there.”

More snickers.

“We’ve got to make a bigger mess next time.”

Every time Nora listened to this, she was get even more angry, but the time wasn’t quite ripe yet. She had to find a perfect chance to kick their asses and she would make sure that they would never come back to this town.

They were such a disgrace to the thieving community.

Nora sighed. Tonight, she would stop by the House again. She had saw something last time right before closing that she had really wanted. It was really cleverly hidden and she was sure not many other people knew about it yet. It was a lovely vase made of some sort of sparkly material. Nora was sure it would be worth a fortune.

After she had packed her stuff, Nora walked out of her apartment, making a point of slamming her door so that her neighbors would come over again.

The Thieving House: Chapter 1.4

(by: CyanideBliss)

Carl was still making his way around the house trying to find waffle mix when he spied Lilia coming back already. He wasn’t really hungry, just nervous.

“What did he say?”

Lilia sighed.

“I told him we’re going.”

“What?!” Carl looked bewildered for a moment. “Oh no, oh no no no no, I am not going risk-taking with you crazy people.”

“Don’t lump me with him,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“You- I-” Carl didn’t know what to say for a moment. “Oh, just don’t drag me in. Please… I- ”

Lilia cut him off short with a wave. “It’s prime time you get out into the world.”

Carl’s eyes widened and he stiffened up.

“You sound just like Adam.”

Crap, he was trying to stand his ground. “Hey, he’s got a point. The world is getting more dangerous and the only way to adjust is getting used to what’s around us.”

“Why would you let him convince you?”

Lilia crossed her arms. “Haven’t you considered for one moment that maybe you’re the only one who isn’t curious about the world? That maybe, your fear limits me sometimes? That just maybe, there’s a tiny chance that I could use an adventure or two? Have you ever thought about that?”

“No,” he said blankly.

“The only reason I was concerned about this is you.” She jabbed a finger at him and he jumped. She glared at him for a few moments. “But now that I think about it, you could afford to make a sacrifice for me sometime.” She walked upstairs to her room and shut him out.

The Thieving House: Chapter 1.3

(By: Livi)

They both heard his father before they saw him. He was a big man, who carried heavy bounty home, and when he smiled, his white teeth contrasted with his dark skin.

“I think I’ve hit the jackpot today, Ai.”  He boomed as he stepped into the kitchen

“Oh?” she said, leaning forward to kiss his cheek.

Adam sometimes wondered why his small, frail looking mother had married someone who looked like he could split her in half. His father was so big and she so small. It was like a couple where one was 6’ 7 and the other 4’ 2. Whenever he asked, they’d always just look at each other and laugh. And then his dad would reach over and ruffle his hair which Adam hated. He wasn’t a child anymore. He was a teenager now.

Adam looked just like both of them. The same goofy grin from Zafir, Ai’s straight hair and almond eyes, and golden brown skin, the perfect intersection of two loving parents. Some parents had children who looked nothing like them. But maybe Adam was lucky. He couldn’t tell really if he was lucky or not, but he looked just like his parents.

Of course, then they’d always pull him in for a family hug and Adam would squirm his way out, complaining about how he wasn’t a little kid anymore and that family hugs were for little kids. But of course, he knew his limits and Adam never tried to step over the line. He hated aggravating his parents. Maybe there was some good in him.

Adam watched as his dad set down his sack.

“I found a television set in perfect condition at the dump today.”

“You did?”  His mother’s eyes lit up. “Is it that set that I was talking about?”

Zafir shook his head with a frown.

“Unfortunately, no. It seems like you can only find them deeper in the House.”

“Can you get there?”

“It’s not getting there that’s hard. It’s getting back with the set.”

Adam watched as his mom sat there thinking.

“What is it like over there? I haven’t gone to that branch of the House very often.”

“Lots of lasers. The worst thing to have when you’ve got a 30 pound TV set to carry.”

“The Termons got a set.”

“Yes, but they have friends. Who knows how many people they sacrificed to get that TV. It’s only $10 per round of admission anyways.”

Ai nodded.

“We’ll see.” She glanced over at Adam. “Eat, honey.”

Adam rolled his eyes and began eating. His parents were such skilled thieves. They went to the Thieving House every night and Adam always wanted to go. His parents never said no, but somehow, he never went. Maybe it was because of Carl. And the look of worry he got every time Adam mentioned it. Damn that boy could be persuasive sometimes…

“Mom?”

“Yes honey?”

“Can I go to the House tonight?”

“Of course! You were always welcome!”

Adam nodded silently. Yup. That was all that he needed.

Carl was going to the House tonight whether he liked it or not.

The Thieving House: Chapter 1.2

(By: Livi)

Lilia sprinted five blocks to Adam’s house and slammed her fist on his doorbell. She waited impatiently for him to open the door. When the door finally clicked open, she automatically began to hound him.

“What were you thinki-”

He yanked her into his house and locked the door behind them. She opened her mouth to speak again and he shushed her, looking out of a window. After a few moments he sighed, relieved, and looked back down at her.

“Yes?”  He asked rather nonchalantly.

“Yes yourself!” She shouted. “Carl told me-”

Adam frowned.

“Are you seriously going to believe what Carl told you?”

She rolled her eyes and plopped down on the living room couch.

“He’s my brother. Now tell me. Why do you want to go there? And don’t give me crap about your heritage.”

“It’s about Carl.” Adam finally said with a sigh. “Don’t you worry about your younger brother sometimes? How socially inept he is? His unhealthy obsession with those gadgets? He’s too much of a… for lack of betters words, a coward. So, you know, very naturally I thought maybe I could take him to the Thieving House. Y’know? Since it’ll be safe there.”

He gave her a wink.

Lilia was just a little suspicious, but she was sure she could handle the situation.

“Then when are we going to this… Thieving House?”

“We?” he asked, grinning brightly. “You’re coming with us?”

“Of course.” She rolled her eyes. “If one of us dies, the others can say goodbye.”

“Lilia! C’mon! Don’t be so morbid!” He laughed nervously, trying to hide the fact that .

Lilia flipped her light brown curls in annoyance.

“Say that to Carl. He probably sees dead people already.”

Adam realized that he was losing her already, but it was too late to try to explain. Lilia jumped up.

“I have to go check on Carl.”

Adam scratched the back of his head, wondering what he could say.

“Alright.”

She rushed out of the door, but right before she slammed it, she said, “Come by our house when you’re ready to go.”

He hadn’t realized she was actually serious about it, but he did a little victory dance until his mother called him into the kitchen. She was making samosas, his favorite.

“Why didn’t Lilia stay?”

“She had to go, Mother. You know, Carl.”

“Ah. So when are you going to sweep this girl off her feet?”

He shrugged and started mumbling about it, but she sighed and said, “Honey, just eat.”

The Thieving House: Chapter 1.1

(By: Livi)

It was a pretty decent day outside, good enough that a walk to the library seemed like a good idea. And that was exactly what Carl and Adam had gone to do. Of course, it was usually always Carl dragging Adam to the library, him being the nerd and Adam the risk taker. But this time, Adam didn’t seem to protest as much, which could be a good sign. But knowing Adam, Carl knew that nothing good was going on in his friend’s mind.

Carl was one of your stereotypical tech nerds – short, skinny, freckles on the face, tousled brown hair, glasses, striped shirt and even the suspenders. You couldn’t exactly call him a walking encyclopedia though, because for example, he had no knowledge of how American Indians celebrated their birthdays, or of who invented the underwear, but you could call him a walking gadget master, since he did know how to put together a working cell phone using nothing more than pennies, a rubber eraser and plastic bingo chips or a lawnmower with just a couple knives, an old car engine and some cardboard. He loved reading books, but only books about gadgets that is, and he hated taking risks. If there was one thing Carl wanted the most, it was complete and absolute safety.

Now Adam, who was 2 years older and 16, was probably the complete opposite. He was a thief, a hothead, one who liked to get into fights. He looked tough with his dark eyes and black hair, and the fact that he prefered muscles shirts and that he looked really good in them only added to that fact. Maybe the only abnormal (if you would call it that) thing about Adam, were the goggles that rested on his head, and sometimes he got laughed at for that. But a dream was a dream, and Adam was sure that he would be able to fly a jet one day. A real jet.

So as they walked down the street from the library, books in hand already, Adam patted Carl’s back, knocking his glasses slightly out of place.

“Listen up, my friend. I’ve got a proposal for you.”

Carl, who was trying to adjust his glasses without dropping his books, looked up at his goggled friend.

“Proposal?” He asked suspiciously. “Is this going to be another one of your crazy plans?”

Adam grinned.

“It’s crazy, alright, and it might not be possible to plan, but hear me out.” He looked around to see if anyone might be listening. Thankfully, the street was empty. “Have you read the town bulletin lately?”

Carl squinted at Adam.

“Possibly…” He tried to remember the last time he took a glance at that old worn thing.

“Not.” He added.

“Ah,” said Adam. “Now I know you haven’t. ‘Cause if you had, you would have seen this big-ass poster with bright letters that said ‘Thieving House’. It looks like an advertisement for a circus. But guess what?” His eyes shined with inspiration.

“What?” Carl muttered, getting a bad feeling in his gut already.

“It’s an advertisement for an adventure.” Adam couldn’t help himself as he became one of those old-time salesmen, arms wide open, grinning goofily, and tipping an imaginary hat. “A once in a lifetime chance to explore something never seen before.”

“Oh great.” Carl growled, wishing that he hadn’t asked Adam to come with him to the library. Confrontation. That was another one of his biggest hates. “Are you sure it’s safe? Lilia might kill me…”

Adam burst out laughing.

“That should be the least of your concerns!” He paused and composed himself, wiping the smile off his face. “But really, you should get out of your comfort zone sometimes. It’ll be just like old times.” He cringed mentally, regretting that he’d said that almost immediately.

“Yeah. Because flying an unauthorized airplane didn’t almost kill us. Or blow up the town. The old times were not okay. That’s why they’re the old times. I am NOT reliving them.” Carl rolled his eyes. Yeah, in an attempt to achieve Adam’s dream, they tried to fly a plane. A stolen plane. Of course Adam had to have grabbed the wrong manual and so after liftoff, everything went wrong.

Let’s just say that being still alive was their biggest stroke of luck.

Adam shrugged.

“Fine, fine. Be that way. But send Lilia the news.” He gave Carl a wink and started walking off with his hands in his pockets and whistling.

“Hey!” Carl shouted, surprised at his friend’s sudden departure. But then he shrugged. He was sure that his overprotective sister would definitely not let him go. “I guess I’ll ask Lilia then…”

Carl sighed as he walked home, his back hunched over as usual, shivering from the wind as usual, wanting to sneeze as usual. He pushed open the door of his house and walked in.

“Lilia!” He shouted. “You home?”

Seconds later, Carl heard the familiar footsteps skipping down the steps. Carl looked up and saw his sister. And she looked worried.

“For some reason, I feel like something happened today. Did something happen to you Carl? Just now?” She stared at him with her intense blue eyes. Eyes that made Carl jealous sometimes. They were twins. Why couldn’t he also have those blue eyes? Why did he have to be born with eyes colored in such a lifeless blue instead?

“No.” Carl said with a straight face. “I was just wondering…”

He trailed off, not knowing what to say.

“What?” She looked over at him with concern.

“Well, uh, well…” Carl squirmed around for a moment. That maybe was another thing on his things to hate list. Being stared down by his sister. Especially since many would describe them as “doe eyes”. Carl hated the idea of being related to a… deer. “Well, Adam asked if I wanted to go to the Thieving House and I didn’t know if it was safe.” Carl blurted the whole thing out, forcing him to lean against the wall afterwards as he tried to catch his breath.

“Adam said what about the Thieving House?” She stepped towards Carl with a look of worry.

“Uhh, that he wanted to go to it…” Carl took a nervous step back. He didn’t like it when his sister got too close to him. It was something about the perfume. He must be allergic to the smell or something…

“And what was your response? Carl?” Lilia squinted at him.

“I… I said I didn’t know if it was safe.” Carl muttered. “He said it was like that airplane thing that we did.”

She paused for a moment thinking. “Well… if it’s like that, we have to make sure he’s okay…” She scrunched up her face and looked at the door.

“But- but is it safe?”

Carl watched as his sister opened the door and took a step out.

“Knowing him, it’s not. I’m going to go talk to him about it.” And so she left the house, closing the door behind her before Carl could respond.

“Well- I- okay then. I’ll, uh, just be here waiting for you…” He trailed off sighing with a shake of his head. He set down his books and looked around the house. He was in too terrible of a mood to do any reading. Maybe he could make a waffle.

The Thieving House: Prologue

The house appears on the empty lot on the corner of Grant and 32nd st two years ago. One day the lot was empty and the next day it wasn’t. It was as if the house had appeared out of nowhere.

It is a tall extravagant house that grows in size each year, consuming more and more buildings on the block as it expands.

The house is made of glittering golds and flashing silvers. Light gray stones line the wall of the house, stopped only by the deep mahogany frames that outline each dimly lit window. There is one tall door made of wood that smells deeply of pine resin.

There is only one small sign by the front door of the house. Across it is written in fancy script writing:

The Thieving House

Open 8pm – 6am

Admission: $10 for all big and small

Enter at your own discretion

The sign is is set out the day before and tonight will be opening night.

Crowds of people swarm to the house, some brought by curiosity, some by coincidence. There is a tentative buzz in the air as people wait for the grand clock to strike 8, but the general air is pleasant. Adults stand around in shorts and T-shirts, chattering away as they watch their children play. Some chose to be around others, while some sit still and stare at the crinkled bill in their hands, never having handled something of such great worth before.

At 8 o’clock, a great bell rings and attention is drawn to the front door of the House. The lights of the house flicker on and a great light show is presented to the crowd. Breaths are held as a small ticket booth cranks itself slowly out of the ground. A cheery man dressed extravagantly in deep red dances out of the booth to a silent song and booms across the mass in a grand voice,

“Welcome to the Thieving House!” A smile grows across his face as he looks around. “Tonight, admission is free!”

Cheers ring throughout the crowd as parents struggle to find their children and take back their precious bills. The doors of the house open and people begin swarming in.

The inside of the house is as magnificent as the outside, being furnished in pure gold and bright silvers. Red rugs scattered throughout the house. In the center of the lobby there is a sign:

Rules:

1. All things stolen may be kept

2. Do not touch the traps

3. The Thieving House cannot be held responsible for any injuries