Slinking up to the back patio, she crouched behind a high stone fireplace and just using her eyes, scouted around, getting her bearings.
The patios’ floor was set with alternating black and white stones, looking for all the world like a giant’s chessboard waiting for the pieces to be set.
Her minister Father and enigmatic Uncle (whose dagger she was carrying) were both avid players of the game and had taught her, starting at a young age, the perplexities of the strategy.
She could hold her own against the two, at least for a while.
Her mind wandered as she thought about those long-gone happy days, and another reoccurring memory crept in as she thought about this…
It was a scene from the movie ‘The Hunt for Red October’ where Sean Connery (whom her uncle slightly resembled) states in his gravely voice how “Once more, we play our dangerous game. A game of chess.... against our old adversary.”
She often thought of this quote, for she had always thought that being a cat burglar just wasn’t only about the pleasure of nicking their pretty jewels, as much as it was for the challenge of the game, not unlike one playing a round of Chess!
Shaking her head clear of thought, she refocused on the business at hand, for something did not feel quite right as she had looked around!
She studied the back door, seeing the blinking alarm panel located just right of the double patio doors.
That was it!
The panel light was blinking red?
Had the servants not turned it on when they had left?
If so, it was a stroke of luck for her, and a stroke of misfortune for the gold digger wife’s jewels!
Savoring the thought, she licked her lips and proceeded in on her course.
For the expected prize was much too close, far too valuable, to risk losing by backing away now.
She proceeded, slinking along with upmost caution as she crept across the patio to reach the back doors.
Pulling out the long Fairbairn Sykes stiletto knife, its wickedly sharp commando blade blackened to prevent reflection, studied its menacing outline.
The knife had belonged to her uncle, whom she adored.
According to him, it had been directly responsible for three deaths during the war, only one of those in self-defense!
The unsettling thing was, that as her uncle was telling her he had used the knife to kill, he was neither apologizing or showing regret.
Simply a statement of fact!
As he handed the dagger to her, giving it to her, his only other words were that…
“This has been a tool with many uses!”
She always wondered what he would have to say if he knew how she was now making use of his wicked “tool”?
She now skillfully slipped open the patio doors’ lock with a click.
No alarms or warning beeps sounded, all was still and silent inside the room!
Opening one of the doors, she cautiously slipped inside, standing still until her eyes adjusted to the inky blackness within.
Sheathing the knife, she pulled out her short sleek led torch and turned it on.
With a cautionary sweep of the torches’ thin beam, she used it to look around the room.
The furniture was all old, red silk lined and looked as if they should be in a museum.
An old baby grand sat in a corner with a miniature, gold (possibly not gilded), candelabra!
She also caught in her light, several small marble statues, bits of glistening crystal on shelves along the wall, along with several rather impressive paintings hung on the same walls.
She would save a closer examination of the possibly valuable items on her way out, once she had the jewels that she had desired!
Jewels that had been on her mind tirelessly since first getting a taste of them as the gold-digging mistress of this manor had worn some of them to the ball two months prior!
Crossing the room, her feet silent on the thicke carpeting, she reached a closed oak door.
Just before she extinguished the torch, she closed her eyes and reopened after she had turned it off.
An old trick her ex-commando uncle had taught her, to help one’s eyes to adjust quickly to the darkness. It also worked if one did so just before turning lights on in a room, were seconds would count if an adversary was waiting inside the shadows!
It was one of many tricks of his that she had remembered and was making use of in her line of work!
Her eyes adjusted, she opened the door and found herself looking down a corridor.
At one end, just visible in the windowless corridor, was a side staircase leading upstairs.
From the blueprints of the house, she had in her possession, knew this led directly up to a master bedroom
There were two master bedrooms, with a dressing chambre that lay connected in between.
She did not know for sure which of the pair belonged to the mistress, but she was sure that she and the master of the house slept in separate rooms, as many wealthy couples did!
But it was no trick to tell from a quick sweep with one’s torch over the objects in a bedroom if the occupant residing there was male or female!
She stepped out into the corridor.
Noticing a thin, flickering, light under a door that was set in the wall just before the foot of the staircase.
This would be the master of the house’s private study or den, she knew from the maps.
And she was betting that if his study was at the bottom of the stairs, it made a reasonable assumption it was his room at the very top of the stairs!
She had already thought this out, and so was planning on entering the second master bedroom that lay on the other side of the dressing chamber first on her search for the safe containing the jewellery she was after!
But she stood her ground, why was light on?
Too many coincidences were popping up, and her scalp prickled with warning bells...
Yet, curious as a cat, she had to know what riches may lay behind the door?
For in her experience, a man’s den usually held a safe!
With this in mind, she moved, treading softly up to the door!
Kneeling, she put her eye to the keyhole!
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