Hunter let go of the tree limb and dropped soundlessly onto the well-manicured lawn. She had watched the property for days now and she’d never seen a sign of a single guard dog, which should make this part of the trip fast and easy.
She kept low on her way to the balcony, hiding behind the decorative shrubs when possible to protect herself from being seen. She didn’t expect cameras out here, not until she got closer to the house, but it never hurt to be careful. There were too many oversized windows to keep them all in check.
She disabled the first camera hanging over the patio and stopped next to one of the white columns supporting the terrace above her. She pulled out a thin rope from one of her inner pocket and weighed it in her hands. She found the heavier end and ran her fingers over the surface a couple times to make sure it was ready. She rested her back on the column for a short break, using the moment to listen to the night before she swung the rope over her head and let it wrap around the railing above her. First try, she nodded appreciatively at her own work. Well done.
She secured the rope, then swung up. She paused a few inches short of the overhang, the mini harpoon in her hand. She pulled up just enough to get the camera in her field of vision and fired, the red light on the camera blinking out of existence.
She finished the climb and landed in the corner of the balcony, the harpoon already back in its hiding place and replaced by an infra-red detector. She held it in front of her and moved toward the door carefully, ready to freeze at a moment’s notice. She exhaled with relief when she touched the cool glass in front of her without the little bulb going off.
She waited for her heart rate to slow down before tracing the outline of the door with a little black knob in her hand. It engaged in the upper left corner and she smiled. So far it seemed almost too easy for a house of this size. Or maybe the owners felt secure enough behind the concrete fence and iron gate.
The infra-red detector was back in her hand when she stood in the long corridor, illuminated only by the sparse light from the outside. Anyone would have a hard time seeing her in her dark gray outfit even if she missed a camera or two on her way.
She recalled the blueprint of the mansion. She was looking for a room on the second floor in the east wing of the estate, far enough to make her uncomfortable with the distance she had to cover in the sleeping house, but the price would make it all worth it.
Luck on her side, the corridors and rooms on her way were quiet and empty, the details hidden in the darkness of the night. She moved slowly, concentrating on staying soundless and scanning the space for cameras. The owners seemed delightfully complacent, especially given the article that came out only two weeks ago; the one where she saw the bracelet for the first time.
The room itself was exactly where it was supposed to be, its doors closed. She checked with her pocket magnet again before carefully easing the infrared device in. It surprised her when it showed the room was clear, her heart rate rising the more she thought about it. Something was wrong with this picture.
She shifted weight from foot to foot, considered her options. She’d have about seven minutes until the cops arrived if she missed an alarm, plenty of time to grab her mark and go. Or there was nothing to worry about and she was driving herself crazy for no reason at all. She should be fine either way, as long as she didn’t take too long.
The sudden rush of adrenaline made her jittery. She never took risks, especially not with her second career. This trip was different from the start, though. It was going to put her ahead financially for months if it went well, her biggest job yet. It was high time she trusted the skills she so carefully honed these past few year.
She slunk into the room and turned her sleeve light on. It cast a dim glow throughout the room, just enough for her to be able to locate the item without compromising her eyes, already adjusted to the dark.
It wasn’t difficult to spot it in the mostly empty room. The owner left it at a top of a thick glass shelf on the opposite side of the room, the diamonds shining even in the limited light. It was a truly stunning piece, crafted by a master from the finest materials available. The article estimated it around one and half mil and she believed the estimate.
She checked the infrared again for good measure before crossing the space to the jewel. She stopped in front of it and studied it for a moment, wondering if there was additional security built into the wall itself. It was highly unlikely that someone this rich would rely on a couple of cameras, especially since they didn’t bother with a safe box. There had to be something she was missing. She reached for the bracelet slowly, then hesitated just before touching it. The adrenaline pulsing through her veins turned into something else entirely. Her stomach clenched and she lowered her hand again. It was wrong, all wrong.
Hunter whipped around, all intentions set on getting out as fast as she managed, then shrunk back at the sight of a dark figure stood just visible against the door. She crouched lower as if that helped her hide from the other person. Her frantic mind wondered why she didn’t hear foot steps in the complete silence of the mansion. It only added to her dread.
A decidedly male voice with a hint of amusement in it broke the silence. “Going somewhere?”