Henry had been going at this for over twenty years. Stealing, cheating, and lying to get what strangers want, not that he was complaining, he got paid well for it. Henry was almost 41 years old now, and he hadn't even thought about kids, how was he going to keep up the business.
A1l of these thoughts ran through Henry's head as he walked down the narrow streets of Fairveiw. The street was empty besides a few people spread around, walking about, sitting and talking. Henry dearly noticed any of them, and the cold was starting to get to him, begging him to go inside. He stepped into a small convince store, rubbing his arms to warm them, and glancing around.
It was only eight in the morning, and Henry had yet to drink any of his morning coffee. He walked over to the machine, and pulled out a large cup. He was halfway through pouring coffee in when he quickly spun around. There, standing less than five feet behind him, was a small boy, he only looked about seven years old. Henry couldn't believe that he had missed him, he was still young and should have had more of a presence. Henry couldn't figure out why he had gone unnoticed.
Although all of this was a frightening fact it wasn't the thing that caught Henry's eye, that happened right after. Henry watched him out of the corner of his eye, keeping tags on the boy, but he just walked out of the store without buying anything. Henry thought that it was strange, and wondered if maybe the boy only came in to get out of the bridged air. Figuring that must have been the reason, he just paid for his coble and left himself.
That really hit the spot, Henry thought, disposing of his empty coffee cup as he walked back down the street, heading back to his home. He stopped as he once again caught sight of the small boy he had seen in the gas station. Henry stood behind a wall, listening carefully and watching to see what the boy was doing.
Henry wasn't sure why he was so interested in the boy, but he also couldn't stop himself He watched the child carnally as he checked about, as if worried someone would see him, and then knocked on a warped door, the door opened a moment later, and out stepped an even smaller, younger child, that resembled the first very much. He was tiny, his hair greasy, and his eyes sunken in. It broke his heart to see a child in that condition.
''Jackson, I brought you something.'' Henry heard the older of the two say, reaching into his tattered coat. When he pulled his hand out, in it he held an apple and small jug of milk that he must have stolen from the store.
How he did it, though, without Henry realizing is what amazed him. It worried Henry that the older boy was so small, but now that he finally had food in his hands, he was giving it to someone else. What was he eating?
Where were their parents, or family? Did they live alone? Where?
''Aren't you going to eat anything, Ashton?'' The smaller boy asked.
The older, Ashton, shook his head.
''That's fine, I ate earlier.'' He said, and even from as far away as he was, Henry could tell it was a lie. He probably wouldn't need his training to hear lies to know that.
That was when Henry decided that this boy, Ashton, would be his apprentice, his successor.
“Hey kid, I have a propensities from you-”
“We don't do that's Ashton shouted, cutting him off. Henry was confused by the outburst until he saw the look of horror on his face, then he just felt ill.
''That wasn't what I meant at a1l.'' The boy just gave him a cold stare in return. ''May I continue?'' Ashton nodded hesitantly. "I saw what you did there." Henry said, he saw the boy's face pale, and how he squeezed his hands into fists.
''Don't worry, I won't tell anyone, if...''
"If you become my apprentice "I can't do that, I need to look after my brother, he won't survive on his own.”
“Don't worry, I actually have a good idea of what to do with him" Henry tried to explain.
''No, you are not touching my brother." Ashton warned in a deep voice that left no room for argument.
"I will keep your brother safe, I will give him a home and family. Yes, my boy, you may be strong, but you are still too young to deal with this all on your own."
"I-I don't know.''
''Give me a chance." Henry locked eye contact with the boy, not breaking. ''You have natural talent, I can polish it. I can make you the best their of all time." Ashton looked as though he was deep in thought, before looking back up, and slowly nodding.
That was how everything started, with a small meeting on a dirty street. Ashton spent years training, teaching himself skills, and doing missions.
Henry wasn't exactly sure when it happened, but one day, out of nowhere, the public came up with a name for Ashton. Henry remembered that it was right after a mission that involved sneaking in, and stealing back a large diamond ring that belonged to the client. Shadow, or The Shadow Thief to be correct, and Ashton didn't seem to have any problems with it. In fact, it seemed as though he quite liked the name, not that he would ever say that.
It took four years for Ashton to become the best in the business, to catch on to everything.
Four years of training, four years without his loved brother. Henry wouldn't tell him anything about him, or where he had gone, just that he was safe. Ashton hoped that he was with a family that loved him, that would take care of him. That would love him enough for both his dead parents and himself.
''Ashton, focus, your on a job." Ashton heard Henry demand through his earpiece.
Ashton rolled his eyes and coughed, clearing his throat.
''Don't roll your eyes at me." Henry reprimanded. Ashton looked around for where he was hiding, ''No, I'm not there."
''Then how did you-''
"I've lived and trained with you for 4 years now, I know how you act."
Ashton let it drop after that, getting back to the task at hand. "Remember, you can't let anyone see you, this job requires utter stealth.'' Ashton nodded, forgetting that Henry couldn't see him. ''Get inside, find the tape, and get out. I'll take over from there."
Ashton looked around the well lit street for anyone suspicious, and then up at the building that he was supposed to break into. It was a tall office building with many windows, making it harder to go unnoticed.
But he could do it.
Ashton quietly snuck in through a back door, and quickly up the stairs. He was always good at job that involved him going unnoticed, it was a trait he had picked up when looking after his brother all those years.
The air inside the stairway was a nice contrast to the hot, humid weather outside. Ashton figured that, like most of the problems he deft with, this man kept his treasures on the top floor, either in his office or bedroom.
It wasn't long before Ashton had made it there, and out into the open
air of the top floor. From what he could see, it was empty. He began his search on the rooms, looking through every drawer and crevice.
It wasn't until Ashton made it to the man's study that he saw anything out of the ordinary. It looked like the place had already been ransacked, there were papers scattered everywhere, and chairs tipped over. It looked to Ashton like someone else had been looking for this tape, but it was still Ashton's job to find it. He only hoped that he could in the mess.
It was actually pretty easy to find it after he started looking. Ashton just looked for anything that was out of place, but didn't have to do with the ransacking. It didn't take him long to notice the chipped paint behind one of the many bookcases that lined the wails.
It took him even less time to find a button hiding behind it. When he pressed the button though, an alarm sounded, and Ashton swore under his breath. Now he was on the clock.
But he still hadn't found the tape.
Thankfully, despite the alarm going off, the botton was still one that triggered a trapdoor, Ashton reached in and felt around, his slim hand landing on a decorated box, about eight inches in diameter.
He quickly pulled out the box, inspecting it, and seeing that it too was locked.
It was too late to try and pick it there, as Ashton could hear the clatter of boots making their way up the stairs. He quickly searched for an escape route, and saw, much to his dismay, that the only way out that would leave him unnoticed would be through the window.
The only problem? Ashton was on the 14th floor. Seeing no other way, Ashton tucked the box naturally in his black bag, and opened the window.
He swung around the side of the building, resting himself right in between two windows. The humid air hit him again, and made his grip on the building slightly slippery.
The ledge was small, and, for once in his life, Ashton was greatful of his lithe form. He heard the door crash open just as he closed the window tightly, and let out a sigh of relief knowing that he now had some time.
Now the question was how to get down from here? Ashton could see a small apartment complex just ten feet away from him, if he could get the traction to jump, it should have been easy enough for him to make it there and find a fire escape.
''Ashton, I can hear the alarm, where are you?" Henry's worried voice flowed into Ashton's ear.
''Umm, outside a window on the 14th floor, also, it is really high up here." Ashton said, taking a deep breath and trying to calm himself. You would think that after four years of this that he would get used to it, but Ashton started out being afraid of heights, and he still was.
''Do you see an out?" ''Yeah, there's an apartment building just next door, if I can get to it, I can take the fire escape down." Ashton explained, his foot perching for a good ledge so that he could make the jump.
''Then what are you waiting for?" Henry asked, he was starting to sound more worried than irritated.
''It is really high up here. And I don't have a good grip."
''Yeah, yeah, just make the jump and get out unseen.''
''Roger that, sir." Ashton finally found a good place to keep his foot, and was ready to jump, he took a deep breath and leaped over to the other building, the slight fall before hooking his arms was terrifying.
His arms scrambled for a post, which he quickly found, and he pulled himself up, taking a moment to breath before beginning to run down the fire escape. Its old metal creaking under Ashton's light weight. When he made it to the bottom, he called for a ride.
''Get to the meeting place, I'll pick you up there."
''Got it." Ashton pulled his backpack tighter to himself, and began to jog to the meeting place, taking the alleys and disappearing into the shadows.
Although that mission didn't go exactly how he thought it would, this one was considered a success due to the fact that Ashton had not been seen, he had what he hoped was the tape, and, most importantly, he was still alive.
It's been eight years since Michael started training. Eight years since his Uncle Sol decided his fate. Not that Michael was complaining, he loved the spotlight, and the fans. He loved the way that no matter how many people chased him, none could catch him.
He loved his job more than anything else. He was willy considered the best in the briskness for a long time, there wasn't a single person who could even hold a candle to what he could do.
But that recently changed. There was a new their that had been introduced, he was exactly the opposite of Michael in every way.
Michael figured that the other their had to be much older than him to be able to do things the way he did. The way that he earned his name as The Shadow Thief the way he went undetected by anyone.
Michael had been training since the time he was ten, but he truly began much before that. Thinking back, it probably all started when he was three years old. The day he saw his uncle from across the street, the day that he just wanted someone to play with. Little did Michael know that the game he started with his uncle would last well into adulthood.
Now, at 18, Michael could do nearly any job asked for alone. He figured that he could probably rob a bank alone, but he had never been asked so he never tried.
“Michael, focus on the mission." Sol reprimanded.
''Mission my ass," Michael muttered under his breath. "I might as well be stealing porn for you. Why do I have to steal you another pocket watch, you have like 90."
''But I don't have this one, and it's worth a lot of money."
''So steal it yourself, you used to be good at this."
"It's good training for you, you've never stole from a museum before.''
"I have to steal it from a museum?! Why?" ''Because I want it."
''My god, whatever. What does it look like?" ''A pocket watch."
''God, I hate you."
''You can't hate me, I'm your uncle."
''Since when is that a rule, old man?"
''Just get the watch."
Michael made his way confidently to the museum, not even bothering to look around him before stepping right inside. There was only a half an hour until the place closed, so Michael just waited it out.
Although not his strong suit, Michael mangled to hide well enough to not be caught while waiting for it to close.
''God, I thought this place was creepy in the daylight." Michael muttered under his breath. ''Pocket watch, pocket watch." Michael said to himself as he perched through each glass case. ''Ah, you look like a pocket watch."
Michael said, standing in front of one glass case. Inside was an ornate silver pocket watch with golden designs on it. They were swirls of what looked like constitutions on one side all surrounding a moon shape, and on the other was a depiction of a sun.
Michael pulled out his cell phone, going straight to the camera, he quickly snapped a photo of the watch and sent it to Sol. Then called him up.
''I just sent you a picture, is this the right pocket watch?" He asked into his phone.
''Yeah, that's it, but be careful it might have an ala-''
''Yeah, yeah, I know the drill." Michael told him, rolling his eyes. He was already looking over the case for something that would trigger an alarm, and, not seeing any, he began cutting into it.
Michael slowly reached into the glass, and genially grabbed the watch.
"Got it ''
''Good, meet me back at home."
''Yes sir!" Michael was almost upset that the job went that well. He was being so sneaky he wasn't sure anyone would even know that it was him that did it.
Michael sighed, walking out of the museum nonchalantly.
''Hey! Kid! How did you get in here." Michael felt a smile touch his lips. He spun around, coming face to face with a guard.
''Oops, I forgot that there were still guards, it was so easy to sneak into here, it was like no one was guarding it."
''Why you...What are you here for?"
''I was just borrowing this! '' Michael held up the watch, spinning it around his finger. "I have someone I know who wants it, hope you don't mind."
Michael dearly had time to finish before the guard was diving at him, grabbing for the antique. Michael side stepped at the last moment, just in time to dodge, and let the guard fall to the ground. He then kicked him in the head. Michael made sure that he did just enough damage to knock him out but not cause any lasting effects.
''Sorry man, I got to go." Michael said, leaving the museum, much quicker this time. He began to jog to the spot he had parked his car, where he jumped inside and drove back home.
''Next time you want one, get it yourself." Michael said, dropping the watch into Sol's hands.
''Yeah, yeah, ungrateful brat."
"I'm tired, so I'm going to bed. Good night."
''Hey, Michael...'' Michael turned to look at Sol, ''Good job today." Michael smiled.
''Good night, Uncle Sol.''