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“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64: 6
Chapter 1 – Doing Penance
We’ve might’ve made a mistake, Sylvia.
Yeah, it was not killing the kid before he could do this to us. He would’ve been with his parents right now if we did, and now we’re stuck with him and stuck with each other like this.
Who was that who put us like this? It seemed like it was God Himself.
Why would He have any beef with us? We don’t do anything that’s evil. In fact, if we did, then we’ve made it up with our heroics.
You got that right. This situation isn’t that bad in my opinion.
I know it isn’t, Simon. At least we know exactly what each other is thinking.
As if we didn’t know already.
“Is the coast clear yet?”
“Not yet, kid.”
“What did my parents ever do to you? Why did you kill them?”
“Nothing. They were just another target on our list. They did nothing but keep themselves happy and never tried to help others.”
“I’ve been trying to get them to do that. If you only gave them more time, then they would’ve helped more people than our family.”
“We didn’t mean to kill your parents. It was an accident. We don’t kill at all unless we need to. The bullets we use are non-lethal.”
“Then why did you try killing me?!”
“Because that’s one of our policies. If we accidentally kill a loved one, we have to kill everyone else who they love if they’re in the same house so they can die together. If they aren’t home, then we leave or send them a valuable gift as a way of saying sorry.”
“Your first way of making things right is horrible.”
“I think it’s a mercy. Do you know how hellish it is living without the people you love? We do. That’s why we do what we do. We lost people close to us by greedy people, so now we’re the Good Thieves.”
“The “Good” Thieves?”
“Yeah, don’t add quotations. We take from the greedy, whether they’re rich or poor, and give to those they hurt. You may have heard of us in the news. We’re pretty popular.”
“Is that why you’re being hunted down now?”
“Probably. We thought this would never happen, but I guess we stepped on too many toes. It’s safe to leave now. The one thing that your parents did do that was good was making a well-hidden closet in their room. It was a great hiding place. Whoever came after us really wanted us dead. Just look at how torn up this place is.”
“Can I bury my parents?”
“Sorry, kid, but we can’t now. We have to move if we want to stay alive.”
“My name is Alastair. Stop calling me kid.”
“Okay, kid. You’re with us now because you asked for God’s protection and he gave you to us. We’re your protectors from now on until we can get this curse off us.”
“I guess I have no choice. Let’s leave then.”
“You don’t order us. We do. Let’s go, kid.”
“Why do you always say we and us? Can’t you talk from one perspective? Your voices sound melded together.”
“This is what true love looks like. We trust each other to the point where we can finish each other’s sentences.”
“Wow. Your voices alternated when you said that.”
“Amazing, ain’t it? We still want to be back to normal since it’s better for us.”
“And I would be out of your life.”
“It’s not like that, kid.”
Yeah, it is.
“If we’re supposed to be connected together, can you feel the same pain I do?”
“That sounds stupid-ow!”
“Then maybe you can feel the pain I inflict on ourself. Feel that?”
“What? It’s only one way? That’s terrible.”
“For you it is. Remember that you’re the reason you’re like this.”
“Don’t smart talk us, kid. We’re your protectors now.”
“You’re more like my adoptive parents.”
“Don’t say that. We never wanted any kids especially since our line of work doesn’t allow it.”
“Are you ever going to stop thieving?”
“Not until every greedy man and woman pay for their sins.”
“That’s never going to happen through your efforts alone.”
“That’s fine as long as we get to see the hurt on them that we inflicted.”
“You don’t trust God too much, do you?”
“Can you blame us?”
“Yes, I can.”
“We’re adults. We have experience and wisdom. You should listen to us.”
“If I want to end up in a mess like you did, sure. Being older doesn’t mean you’re an adult.”
I guess he has a point, Sylvia.
Don’t admit that to him, Simon. He’ll just smart talk us more.
“And now we’re here at our little hideout. What do you think?”
“I expected more from such master thieves.”
“The best thieves travel light. Remember that we have to go from one place to another. The greedy don’t live in just one city and in this country.”
I swear we left our laptops somewhere. Let’s check this…oh no.
“Kid, we have to move.”
“What is it?”
“We’re compromised. Someone rigged our room with traps. I’m just taking the essentials with us.”
“Oh great. I thought you two were supposed to be experts.”
“Let’s hustle out of here before-”
“Damn. They triggered the explosives manually. We have to move before they see us leaving. At least we disarmed the simple ones, so the explosion wasn’t as bad.”
“But won’t the small amounts of destruction make them think we survived?”
“Not if it’s all destroyed when we leave. Get clear!”
“Woah! Okay. I think you used too many explosives.”
“That just everything else in our hideout exploding. At least no one else was around the explosion.”
“Where are we going now?”
“Nowhere right now. We want to see who pops up to check if we’re still alive. We have a secret spot above here so we can see who comes without them noticing us.”
“What are you putting together?”
“It’s our special gun. We can turn it into a shotgun, assault rifle, submachine gun, and we’re turning it into a sniper rifle.”
“How did you get that?”
“We made it ourselves. You can make the best things when you’re motivated and bored.”
“My parents used to make the best things for me. They knew how to build and make things, which is why they were so rich.”
“Congratulations. You got parents who knew how to take care of themselves and their own. That’s not an accomplishment of any kind. Even the worst thieves and murderers we know help the people they care about.”
“What do you have against my parents?”
“Didn’t we already tell you? They’re greedy people who only care about themselves and their own.”
“We’ll tell you after this. Do you see those people down there?”
“Yeah, what about them? They look like normal officers to me.”
“Do you see those three lines on their back? A normal person would just think they’re wearing a strange undershirt, but what it really means is that they’re a group of unknown thieves vaguely known only to the thieving underground network.”
“Are they dangerous?”
“What are we going to do?”
“Take them out.”
“What? Won’t the other members hunt us down after this?”
“No, there’s only those few down there and…they’re done. Hello, nine-one-one? Do you know about that explosion that just occurred? Yeah, I know you just sent people to investigate it, but you might want to send more. Come on, kid. Let’s find a place to settle down.”
“There were only those few?”
“Yup. We know more about these guys than most. Nothing is more effective than deception and making people anxious about something as simple as the wrinkles on the back of someone’s shirt. They make themselves look big to intimate bigger foes.”
“We hide our heads for a while before going back to stealing from the greedy.”
“You’re right. We don’t want to be responsible for any more children.”
“No, it’s not that. You can’t just take from people and think you’re justified in doing so because they’re evil. You can’t fight greater evil with lesser evil.”
“Both of us were orphaned by greedy people. It was fate that brought us together so that we could deliver justice to them. We aren’t any kind of evil.”
“Can you please stop being so self-righteous? I’m sorry about what happened to you two, but you can’t be like this. This isn’t going to help anyone. It’s more likely that you’ve created more greedy people. You don’t humble people this way.”
“And you’re more moral than us?”
“I was protected by God and you are forced to protect me. What do you think?”
“Don’t even try to take out your anger on me. I didn’t ask for this situation to occur. This is just the way things are going to be for now.”
“Fine. We might as well properly introduce ourselves then. My name is Simon and my name is Sylvia.”
“My name is Alastair. It’s nice to meet you.”
He didn’t mean that.
I hope he didn’t. The brat’s too good for his age.
“Here, into this house.”
“It looks dirty and abandoned.”
“That’s what makes it a good hiding place. Eat up. You must be hungry.”
“What kind of food is this?”
“The kind that gets you through situations like this.”
“Most of these are sugary snacks.”
“What did you expect, military rations? We don’t need healthy food to keep up our beautiful figures.”
“What were you going to do today? You’re awfully well dressed for a normal weekday.”
“I convinced my parents to go to a volunteer charity event. I was in the process of changing them into better people.”
“You convinced them to go? Huh.”
“When’s the last time you did something charitable for someone?”
“It was a few months ago when we accidentally screwed over the wrong person. We gave them everything we took from them, two hundred thousand dollars, and a note saying sorry.”
“Where did you get the two hundred thousand from?”
“The people we were supposed to screw over.”
“That doesn’t count. You’re supposed to use your own money.”
“Kid, all we do is steal.”
“Then get a normal job.”
“That’s never going to happen.”
“It will now that I’m with you.”
“We doubt it.”
“We’ll see. Where am I going to sleep?”
“There’s only one bed. You can take it. We’ll sleep on the floor.”
“You shouldn’t. It’s not good for you.”
“We were homeless for a time in our life. We can handle it.”
“No, it’s fine you can sleep beside me, but I want to sleep next to Sylvia.”
“I’d just be more comfortable next to her.”
Isn’t he sweet?
“You better not try anything to my wife, buddy because remember that you get me too.”
“I wouldn’t even imagine it.”
I don’t know why I feel insulted.
Even when you look like this, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world, Sylvia.
That’s a sweet compliment, but that also makes you the most beautiful woman in the world since we’re in the same body.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I’m going with good.
We should find a fast and effective way to get rid of him, Sylvia.
I don’t know. I’m growing attached to him for some reason.
Well if you actually care for him, then we should put him into safer hands. He’s in serious danger with us.
Maybe we can leave him with a better couple.
Right. We’ll have to see after this assassination attempt on us blows over. We’ll get out of this situation. Just you wait.
Right. Good night, honey.
“Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.” – Proverbs 1: 8-9
Chapter 2 – Becoming Parents
Hey, Simon. Look.
What is it? The kid is holding onto to you. He’s dead when we lose responsibility for him.
Are you jealous?
I know when you’re lying. When’s the last time you cuddled up to me like this?
He’s double dead then.
Doesn’t he look cute like this? His curly hair is fun to play with. I just have to hold him.
Hey, let go.
You can’t move unless I let you.
The same is true for you.
Yeah, but don’t act like you don’t feel what I do.
Sure, I do. Maybe even stronger than you do.
We should get him something to eat. There’s a breakfast shop not too far from here.
Sure, let’s go. Be careful not to wake him up.
Okay, let’s go.
Do you remember what I said yesterday? That we should give him to actual parents?
Yeah, but I feel like we should be his parents now.
Are you kidding me? Do you how much danger he’ll be in?
No one knows the Good Thieves’ faces.
Then how are we going to make a living? Are we really going to take Curly’s advice?
You never know what kind of jobs we’ll take a liking to. It’s not we haven’t worked low wage jobs before and lived in poor conditions before.
That’s right, but what about him? He’s used to living in comfort and luxury. What will he think?
I don’t know, but we’ll try to make him happy to the best of our ability. Remember to keep your head down while you order.
“We’ll-I’ll have a dozen glazed donuts and three sausage and egg sandwiches.”
I don’t think you realize either that we can’t get a job like this. What are we going to say to the employer?
We’ll cover it up with makeup.
Even the obvious black line separating our bodies? We have different facial and body features that’ll definitely draw attention to us.
We have to find a way to make it work.
Or we could just go with my plan. It’ll be easier for us and for him.
It being easy doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.
Like we know the right thing to do. Curly is making us rethink our lives.
“Here’s your order, sir.”
Let’s just take it one step at a time. I hope he didn’t wake up and think we left him.
Me too. I’m sort of surprised we made it passed that without drawing any attention to us.
Then maybe we can do it every day then.
Let’s take your advice and do this one step at a time.
“Hey, you’re awake, Curly.”
“You’re calling me Curly now?”
“Think of it as a loving nickname. We got you breakfast. We thought that you wouldn’t live on the scraps of food that we are used to.”
“You went out and didn’t get noticed for your appearance?”
“We were hiding it.”
“I’m glad you thought about me. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, but I wish we could do more. Hey, uh. After things blow over, we were thinking about sticking you with a better couple. Our life is too dangerous for you and who knows what will happen later. You must have friends or family that will take you.”
“I don’t. Besides, God stuck you with me, so I’m staying with you. I don’t care if you’re a bit self-righteous. People can change.”
“That’s true, but just look at us. Do you really want us to be your caretakers?”
“If God thinks you can do it, I do too.”
“Fine, Curly. Keep digging yourself an early grave. The good do die young.”
“I’m sure you’ll keep me safe. So, what are we going to do today?”
“Lay low like we said until things blow over. We have enough money and snacks to live on until they do. We also have cards, our laptop, comics, and two handhelds that you can play games on if you want.”
“That sounds boring.”
“What kind of kid doesn’t want to do nothing all day?”
“Me. I did nothing but read books and educate myself when I wasn’t in school.”
“School wasn’t enough for you?”
“School doesn’t teach you the most important things you need to know like knowing God and being morally responsible.”
“You got a point there.”
“I heard weird noises that sounded like screaming last night next door. Did you?”
“We know of a bunch of thieves that steal people. They might be using this area of the city because the police usually keep away from here. You don’t want to know about it.”
“I’m old enough to know the worst of it. I know about kidnappers that steal people’s organs while they’re sleeping.”
“…Yeah. That’s the worst.”
“You have to do something about it.”
“We’re not sure if they’ll still be there. They usually move people during the night.”
“It doesn’t matter. You still have to save who’s there and bring the others to justice.”
“What happened to getting a normal job?”
“What happened to punishing the guilty and all that?”
“Fine, but we can’t make any promises. Stay here and don’t move until we come back. We should have an extra pistol in our large case. It’s non-lethal like the rest of our weapons.”
“I’m coming with you.”
“We’re connected. You can’t leave without me.”
“We left you when we got breakfast. Trust us on this. We know what we’re doing.”
“Okay. Come back safe and sound.”
“Thanks, and stay put.”
Why don’t we do anything about the members of the thieves’ network that do things like kidnap people, Simon?
It’s a trust between thieves. I don’t mess with you and you don’t mess with me.
Should that really stop us from doing the right thing?
No, especially since we have other thieves after us.
This looks like a good building to do horrible things in secret.
I have the signal jammer on so they can’t call for help.
Let’s do this hard and fast.
Right. This doesn’t look like what we thought it would be.
Yeah. They do just sell organs.
At least we won’t have to lie to him.
There were only seven people in the building.
Well, it is the perfect number.
Wait, did you hear a gunshot?
Oh no. Let’s hurry!
They got Curly! Dumb kid.
“Put your gun down freak or the kid-”
“You don’t leave your head exposed during a hostage situation. Take it from the experts. Are you okay, Alastair?”
“Hey, you called me by my real name!”
“Ow! We forgot we couldn’t hit you. What did we tell you?”
“You thought stupid! You could’ve been killed! Are you sure you weren’t hurt? Let me take a look at you.”
“You would’ve felt it. I didn’t know you cared so much about me.”
“It’s uh-we’re in this weird situation together and we couldn’t imagine an innocent like you being hurt. Oh.”
Never thought he would hug us.
He’s a good kid, Simon.
“Thank you for rescuing me. I’ll be sure to listen to you from now on…on things you know.”
“You better. Now go back. We’ll take care of things from here.”
We didn’t check the thieves’ network yesterday. Let’s see if they’re saying anything about us.
Here’s a computer we can use. Hmmm. People are only talking about the thieves who attacked us getting arrested and our base being blown up. Most aren’t too worried about us.
Good. Let’s call this into the police then leave.
We’re acting like real heroes now.
Like we weren’t before.
We weren’t in the mind of Alastair. He seems to know about being good people better than we do.
He does have good points, but we shouldn’t make going after other thieves a habit. Don’t even think about saying yes to him if he asks us again, Sylvia.
I know you won’t say no to him.
He won’t suggest we do it again. I guarantee it.
“What are you guys going to do for the rest of the day?”
“Keep our heads down as planned. Maybe we’ll consider getting “real” jobs like you said.”
“That’s amazing, but do you know of any other thieves you could go after before you do that?”
Ha. You were wrong. You owe me something.
We didn’t even bet on it!
“Why? I thought you wanted us to leave that life behind. Now you’re making us doing vigilante work?”
“Okay, this is the last one. I want to see that you really want to change.”
“And the first one didn’t show it along with all of our other actions?”
“You always go the extra mile.”
“Fine. One more. You’re lucky that there’s one more group of thieves operating in this area. It’s a bit further away from here so you’ll have to stay a while by yourself.”
“I’m coming with you.”
“What did we say before?!”
“You don’t have to scream. Isn’t there anything I could do to help you with?”
“Maybe. The place these guys are held up just so happens to be throwing an early afternoon party for a charity event they’re holding.”
“Thieves can be charitable too, kid.”
“Here we go with the kid thing again.”
“Our looks should come in handy, but you could sneak into different places during the party to do things for us.”
“Then let’s go. We’re both already dressed up for the party.”
“Hold on. You can’t just go like that. Let me put makeup on your face so that you really look like you’re part of the party.”
“Don’t draw anything stupid.”
“I wouldn’t do that. Let’s see…Almost done…and…there we go. What do you think?”
“I look like a crazy killer. One half with a light blue eye and a purple frown, the other half with an orange eye and red smile.”
“I think you look cute.”
“You have weird taste in boys, so I believe it.”
“Watch it, kid. I could hold you down and draw something different on you.”
“I’m kidding, Simon. I think you’re a cool kind of weird.”
I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or half of one.
He likes you Simon.
I think he likes you more.
I won’t argue with that.
“Do you guys have a plan?”
“We do. You’ll have to sneak past the party and go to the power room to disable the power. We’ll be locking down the building and giving the authorities a nice present, even though some of the people are their own.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Distract everyone with our charming personality then make an escape route for us.”
“A very general plan, but I guess I should trust you on this.”
“We got this, Curly. Don’t you worry about it.”
“Are you sure you’re fine going out like this without covering your face? People are staring.”
“Hey, are you going to the costume party downtown?”
“I love your mask. How did you get it to be like…like you have it?”
“Mechanics and very fine cloth. It’s a delicate thing that you probably shouldn’t touch.”
“Don’t worry about it. It kind of freaks me out how realistic it looks to be honest. No offense.”
“None taken. So why are you going to the party?”
“To get more contacts within business and government. A bunch of medium to big names will be there today. Why are you going?”
“Same as you.”
“Then you heard about the rumors of some of the people there being thieves?”
“The greedy ones are always called thieves.”
“No, I mean literal thieves, as in, they steal for a living.”
“I always hear about businesses and governments doing that, but they don’t get what they deserve. At least not in this life.”
“I know. I’m just saying we should be careful about who you talk to.”
“We will. We know who’s going to be there.”
“You seem to know your stuff. What’s your name? Mine’s Walter.”
“Siylviaon. I mean, Simon.”
“Nice to meet you, Simon. I hope to do business with you in the future.”
“Same to you.”
Do you think that guy could be trouble, Simon?
Nah, but he may be obvious to what’s really happening at the party. We may have to get him out of it when the cops show up.
“Huh? What is it, Curly?”
“Do you know what I’m thinking?”
“Oh, is this your kid?”
“I like his makeup.”
“You seem like a good parent.”
We seem like a good parent?
We’ve only been with Curly for a day, but he’s attached to us and we’re growing close to him.
It’s the attachment that God put between us. He’s forcing us to take a liking us to each other.
It’s also because we’re trying to get along in this situation. He’s a good kid and we’re trying to be good caretakers.
I don’t know. He seems to have forgiven us already for accidentally killing his parents.
We have to ask him later.
Let’s take him out after this so we can do that.
“Wow! Look at all the colorful lights in the luxury apartment.”
“It’s great, ain’t it? The ugliest of people hide in the prettiest of lights. Let’s get this done and then we’ll treat you.”
“Okay, Curly. You ready for sneaking?”
“Remember, the power generator should be in the bottom floor. Put this device on it and the power should shut down completely. No one can remove it without permanently damaging the generator.”
“This won’t hurt me, will it?”
“You might feel a small shock, but that’s it. Come back upstairs when the power is off.”
And there he goes.
Our little troublemaker.
How are we going to distract everyone here? It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to talk to us.
We just distract them with our looks. People are already looking at us.
He just entered the basement. It shouldn’t be too long now. I wonder what they have to drink and eat here.
It doesn’t look like much.
Rich people food always look appealing but there’s never much to it. Remember that one time we got steaks on a menu that cost eighty dollars? It was just that and mashed potatoes.
That was a rip-off. We’ve had dinners that cost eighty dollars that filled us up more. Oh? Curly did it.
Everyone is confused. We should get moving.
Here he comes.
“You did great, Curly. We’re proud of you.”
“Thanks, but what about-”
“Almost forgot. Thanks for reminding us. Hey, Walter.”
“What’s going on Simon?”
“Nothing good. You should follow us.”
“Why-Hey, don’t pull on my suit too hard. It cost me a paycheck.”
“We know a way out of the building. Don’t bring anyone along.”
“You guys didn’t do this, did you?”
“Why should I trust you? Ugh!”
“Because we’re going to save your life.”
“You didn’t have to knock him out.”
“It was going to be difficult for him to do this next part.”
“What’s the next part?”
“Hold on. Yes, operator? There’s a luxury apartment with a dozen or so people that you have on your wanted list. There’s a bomb about to go off! Hurr-Close your ears, Curly.”
“What? Woah! Won’t the others be able to escape from here? Not if they want to climb down twelve stories with their bare hands.”
“So how are we going to get down?”
“You see this backpack we have?”
“Sit on Walter. We’ll hold you as we descend down.”
“Have you ever done this before?”
Yes, as in jumping out of a high building. Not like this though.
We still got this.
“Let’s go then. Woah!”
“Relax Curly or else you’ll fall. Just hold onto us. We’ll be on the nearby rooftop in no time.”
“Oh, stop it you big baby. Hahaha. We’re safe already.”
“Oh thank God. I’ll never take my life for granted again.”
“Let’s get out of here.”
Oh, hide our face.
“Did you guys escape that explosion? We saw it from our window and came up here to get a better view.”
“We didn’t, but get this guy, Walter, someplace to rest. He’s been skydiving a bit too much.”
“That was something else you guys.”
“Are we redeemed in your eyes now?”
“I think you are. Besides, I don’t want to do anything like that ever again.”
“We’re glad. Let’s reward ourselves then.”
“Where are we going?”
“We know of this great garden that you could eat lunch and dinner at. It’ll be a nice place to rest our minds at.”
“I’ll take anything good after this.”
This should perfectly make him comfortable for what we’re going to ask him.
I hope he won’t get mad at us.
He would’ve shown it by now.
But we’re still connected to each other like this.
Maybe it’s our punishment for what we did as thieves.
Do we really have to stay like this until we die?
You don’t like being with me like this?
It’s not that.
If you knew what we did, then I guess this seems justified.
Then we’ll stay like this.
It’ll be difficult.
As long as Curly and you are happy, it’ll be worth it.
Stole the words right from my mind.
“This place is amazing.”
“This is where I proposed to Sylvia. We haven’t been here in years.”
“I can see why. It looks like a great place to set the mood. So, what are we getting to eat?”
“We uh…want to ask you something first.”
“What is it?”
“Try to keep this down. Do you still hate us for accidentally killing your parents?”
Uh oh. I don’t like awkward silences.
Say something, Sylvia.
“We’re sorry for what we did. We’ll take of you to the best of our abilities and get whatever you want to make it up to you.”
“If you want us to bring you to a better family, then we’ll do that.”
“I don’t hate you.”
“You don’t? Why not?”
“It wasn’t your fault. I can’t blame you for it.”
“Don’t you want to still hate us from taking you away from your comfortable life? You were set in terms of wealth and possessions.”
“I know, but I have to let that go. Besides, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Oh, that’s right. Do you want us to leave you with a better family? You must have friends and other family members that will happily take you in. We’re just a poor couple with no job, no house, and a dwindling bank account.”
“Didn’t I answer this before? God put us together, so I’m staying with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor or stuck together like you are. This is the way things are meant to be now.”
He’s set on us.
I’m not sure if I should cry or not.
Don’t, Sylvia because you’re going to make me cry too.
“Hey, who else has parents like I do? My parents are so cool that they redeemed themselves after being one of the most infamous thieving couples. I think I have the coolest parents ever.”
“You’re right we’re the coolest. Now, let’s get something to eat.”
“I saw a breakfast store here. I want ice cream and pancakes.”
“We think that’s a great idea. We’ll have the same.”
“There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.”
-Pope John Paul II
Chapter 3 – A Family that Sacrifices Together, Stays Together
Simon, look at him smiling while he’s sleeping. I love it. I know you won’t say anything about it because it would make you sound weird.
What do you want me to say? The only thing I can pull from your mind is something positive, which is incredibly general.
You don’t understand at all, do you? Maybe it’s a motherly thing.
You’re not even his mother or one to begin with. What do you know about it?
I know that I’m feeling it. Do you think he’ll ever call us his parents?
I don’t know. It’s best not to get your hopes up.
He seemed to like what we got him yesterday. We should get it again for him.
I guess it’s better than nothing. Remember that we’re running out of money.
We’re good for a while. I pickpocketed some money at the party if you didn’t notice.
That’s great, but don’t let Curly know. We’re supposed to stop being thieves.
That’s right. We have to start becoming a real family.
If we really want to become his family, you’ll need to learn how to cook.
And you’ll have to learn how to be a real man and work.
You’ll have to come with me to work.
And you’ll have to learn how to cook with me.
What do you think we should make first?
He really liked those ice cream pancakes yesterday.
Breakfast sounds like a great idea. It’s the kind of meal that can be served at any time of day.
I’m full of great ideas, aren’t I?
You are. Hey, doesn’t that guy over there look familiar?
He does. I think we’ve seen him on the thieves’ network before.
The three thief groups being arrested should’ve been big news. Maybe they suspect us of double-crossing them because we are the only ones who haven’t been arrested yet or they might think we’re colluding with the authorities.
That’s true. We should get back to Alastair fast and get out of here.
They’ll think we’ve betrayed them if they catch us with him. We have to draw them away, get rid of them, and then haul out of this city.
Aren’t they experts in following people? Won’t they know if we’re leading them into a trap?
We’ll have to take a chance to protect Alastair. You ready?
Let’s go to that one alleyway that leads into the building with the kidnappers. That’s right. Keep following us. Okay, so it looks like there’s three of them. Almost there. Where should we hide-Oh!
There were already two of them looking through this building.
Thankfully our reactions are still sharp.
Their friends are outside calling them now. They won’t come in until they respond.
Maybe we should use their friend’s unconscious body like a puppet. Lure them in that way.
That’s not going to work.
I know you don’t have a better plan let alone a plan at all.
Okay, we’ll go with that.
This is so stupid.
But it just might work.
Peek out. What can you see?
They’re confused but the three are coming this way.
Okay, now let’s use this guy as a body shield once they come in. And…action! One, two, three! That’s all of them.
You owe me again.
We didn’t bet-Let’s just get back to Alastair.
Do you think there’s more of them?
Probably. We have minutes before they converge on this area.
Let’s hurry up then!
I can’t make our legs move faster! That only stalls us.
Just try to think positively then.
“Alastair! We need to go!”
“What’s going on?”
“There’s a thieving group that might be after us. We aren’t taking any chances so pack your things and let’s go-damn! Get down, Alastair! Ack! Get off us!”
“Wow. What happened to you two?”
“None of your business, just let go of our kid!”
“Did the kid’s parents have some kind of special weapon to use on you? Did they do a kind of special surgery?”
“We said it’s none of your business!”
“I love the “we” routine you got going on there. I’ll tell you what. Because I respect your work and you so much, I’ll take the kid off your hands, maybe sell him to a rich family in a foreign country. You’ll thank me later. In the meantime, we’ll try to get you fixed up. Let’s get’em back to base boys.”
…Where are we?
We’re strapped to some surgery table.
We have to get out of here fast!
Maybe we can combine our strength to break these binds.
These binds are too tough!
Are you going to make that stop us? Alastair is in trouble. I can feel it. He’s going to be sold off or worse if we don’t do anything now.
That’s right! We did it! Look how shocked they-oh boy.
Get down! We have to do something to stop them from firing at us.
What’s this stuff?
Medical stuff? Looks flammable. Let’s throw it at them. Woah!
They’re explosive too!
I think we broke something important in the building. We might need this fireproof jacket for later.
Let’s take the rest of these.
Yeah keep running from us and our explosive …whatever it is! Uh oh.
I think we accidentally hit the power room. The building might be catching fire now.
That’s good and bad. Let’s make the most of it and find our weapons.
Here we go. We’re going full auto shotgun mode. This’ll give them a real headache when they wake up after getting hit from these rounds.
Now we’re ready. Where do you think they’re holding Alastair?
I’m not betting on it. Plus, it doesn’t really matter. We’re clearing this place out until we get to him.
Move out the way! Two pissed off parents coming through!
That’s right! Two heads are better than one!
We have one head.
It’s a technicality.
Whatever. There’s the guy that took us here! He’s got Alastair.
“Let go of our kid and you might live.”
“You guys don’t kill unless you need to. I know your history. Agh!”
“We don’t kill but we do hurt. Are you okay Alastair?”
“I’m okay. How are we going to do this? How did the building catch fire?”
“It doesn’t matter. We’ll care you through this. Here, we’ll wrap you up in this fireproof jacket, so the fire doesn’t touch your skin. Keep your head down.”
“What about you?”
“We’re going to be fine. All that matters to us is your safety. Trust us.”
The flames are really tearing through this building, but we have to make it through this.
It’s so intense in here. I don’t know if we can make it.
We have to for our sake and Alastair’s. We have to give him the family he deserves. We put him in this situation and we’re taking him out of it.
I feel so strange.
Keep going! We’re going to make it!…Sylvia? Can you hear me? You see the exit? We’re going to make it! Just give it one final push and…we’re out! Smell that fresh air of victory and…woah.
“Simon, we’re back to normal.”
“You putting yourself at risk for me must’ve satisfied God. It was a literal trial of fire.”
“Thank you, God, for having mercy on us.”
“Oh, the firefighters are coming. Let’s get out of here. What are we going to do now? We’re flat broke with no home and nothing to our name.”
“That’s fine as long as we’re together.”
“Are you sure, Alastair?”
“We’re used to the homeless life, but you…”
“You’re my parents now. I don’t care as long as we love each other.”
“…I’m a father now…”
“Don’t cry or else you’re going to make me cry too.”
“You’re right. We’re going to be the best parents ever. We promise you that.”
“Are our minds still connected? Because you just took the words right out of my mouth.”
“I love you, mom and dad.”
“We love you too, son.”
“It is worthwhile to live as a family, that a society grows strong, grows in goodness, grows in beauty and truly grows if it is built on the foundation of the family.” – Pope Francis
A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.
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