Rapina al Louvre
♛ Third-Person POV ♛
“IT’S ALMOST TIME. Once Gabriel and Édouard confirm their positions by the entrance, you can get out.”
“Grazie a Dio, non sento più le gambe,” Marcella sighed, resisting the urge to uncurl her legs–kicking the others in her way. Desperate to relieve the serious cramping in her muscles after being squashed into such a tight space for so long.
– Thank God, I can’t feel my legs.
“There could be guards loitering in any blind spots, so be careful. We don’t need the entire thing being blown up before you’re even out of the room.” The heavy English accent forewarned through the mic, her words critical–leaving no room for messing around.
“Yes, yes. Comprediamo.”
– We understand.
There was a profound silence for the next minute or two, although it felt like longer. The four sat focused, awaiting their next instructions. Every one having been fabricated and thought out thoroughly over the prior weeks.
Marcella averted her gaze from a random spot on the slaty grey wall by her cousin’s head. Whose usual unruly curls had been tamed back into a bun, showing off her natural olive toned face and the cluster of light freckles dotted over her bare skin. Feeling eyes on her, Liona looked up towards Marcella with a peculiar expression. Being around each other pretty much their entire lives, the pair had learned to read one another so well that in situations such as this one, no words were necessary. So when Marcella quirked a brow in an unspoken communication, her icy grey eyes briefly flashing with uncertainty, Liona easily interpreted the look on her face, acknowledging the gesture with a reassuring nod of her head.
A faint intake of air returns all of their attention back to their ear pieces. All of them unintentionally holding their breath as they await their friend’s next command.
And with those two words Akilah spun around, immediately working on cracking open the small square vent. All the while, Liona, Marcella and Fia shuffled their awkwardly positioned bodies in the opposite direction, giving their friend enough space to turn around and slip out through the small outlet - dropping to the floor beneath with a barely audible thud. The others followed her out shortly after. In the meantime, Akilah picked the lock from the inside of the individual fancy looking restroom.
“Are you out?”
“Sì,” Liona confirmed for them as they filed out into the main area.
Walking up to the counters, they each took their place behind a sink basin. Concurrently wrapping the identical black cloth tightly over the bottom half of their faces, throwing up their matching hoods up in the process - hands already clad in thick black gloves. It was a routine they had done many times before.
“I’ve overridden most of the security in the Denon Wing. Video surveillance will display pre-recorded footage for anyone watching through the CCTV. Motion detectors and vibration sensors have been disabled on and around the exhibits, still, avoid straying from the nuclear areas as much as possible. Stay in your wing, otherwise you’ll be setting off alarms like it’s World War three.”
“The staircase is right next door, so you should be good until you get to the top and onto the first floor.” Lanna finished briefing them. Every detail of their mission had been virtually embedded into their brains already, but they knew their friend had to confirm everything she could for her own peace of mind, and theirs.
“Siamo pronti?” Marcella uttered low enough once they confirmed everything to be in place, giving them the go-ahead to leave the communal bathroom they were hiding in. The three of them nodded adamantly, Marcella unconsciously doing the same before leading them straight towards the exit.
– Are we ready?
From the moment the four bandits slipped out of the bathroom, heading for the staircase only feet away, their senses had shifted to high alert. Despite what they’d rather think, this was not like their usual jobs–which seemed minor in comparison. Before, they could afford to cause a little mischief for their own entertainment or have several backup plans in case things didn’t go their way. This, however, was a lot bigger and therefore a lot less room for mistakes.
“Stop there,” Lanna spoke in their ears as they gingerly crept up the steps, leading them closer to the next floor. The four of them hunching down; Marcella and Fia on one side, Liona and Akilah on the other.
The clattering of computer keys sounded through their earpieces; Lanna’s gaze narrowed closely towards the monitor perched in the center, the screen displaying live footage from several angles all across the Denon Wing. As they’d suspected prior to their break in, there was in fact a guard station not too far from the entrance to the first floor. Lanna couldn’t help but let out a small scoff, rolling her eyes simultaneously as she zoomed in on the large figure slouched back in a chair, almost too comfortably–arms folded and chin tucked into his chest.
So much for high-class security. She thought to herself.
One guard was almost nothing to them, even more so when it was four to one, it wouldn’t even be considered as a difficult task. But they also weren’t stupid enough to assume that simply taking out the lonesome guard was their only issue, especially not when standing in one of the world’s most infamous buildings encasing billions worth of famous artifacts—one that they were planning on stealing from. That fact alone meant that if their presence were to be noticed even a second too soon, an automatic alert would be sent out to any of the other security rooms in the museum before they could lay a finger on the guard. Then they would truly be done for.
Still, they hadn’t trained for nothing and they had practice in being stealth yet quick.
“On your left, just as you pass through the Spanish paintings,” Lanna informed them of the guards’ whereabouts.
The rooms were in total darkness aside from the smaller lights which hovered on and around each artefact; it was enough for them to manoeuvre their way around while being able to keep themselves somewhat hidden.
Minding their friends’ earlier advice, they stuck to the medial areas as they continued the rest of the way up the staircase, leading them directly into a narrow room displaying paintings originating all the way from England. The room was small compared to the other halls they had taken the liberty of exploring earlier on that day, so it was only a matter of seconds before they reached the short passage that connected the two rooms together. Just before turning the corner to where the guard sat unconscious they halted their steps, Liona and Akilah keeping their eyes peeled in the direction they had just came, while Marcella maintained scouring the room they were about to enter–motioning one finger forward, giving Fia the go-ahead to take care of the guard.
A muffled cry of struggle is all that was heard as she held a cloth up to the guard’s mouth, startling him awake. Though his consciousness lasted all but a few seconds as his eyes drooped shut and his body fell back into the chair. Once sure that the guard was entirely dormant, Fia slipped the piece of material back into her jacket and began positioning his body as it was before.
“This place seriously needs to invest in better security.” Marcella snorted at her friend’s remark. Yet she wholly agreed.
While they themselves had plenty of expertise compared to the average person, so far this had been embarrassingly easy. Which was down to the fact that in this day and age most people relied way too much on technology to do their job for them, forgetting the simple fact that while it could be seen as an upgrade it wasn’t any less impenetrable.
Their hands hovered over the weapons they had tucked away beneath the material of their clothing the further they journeyed through the halls of the illustrious building, passing works from notable artists such as Caravaggio and Veronese. They were all fortunate enough to have had a well-educated upbringing, enough to be able to recognise and appreciate such works, and any other time they would have. But right now their attention was fixed solely on getting what they came here for while drawing as little as they could towards themselves.
Nevertheless, breaking into a place as big as this one wasn’t exactly going to become an annual occurrence for them. Meaning that if this job was going to be a one time thing, the objective would have to be at least worth their while.
After all, what is it that people like to say? Go big or go home.
And who better to target than the legendary Leonardo da Vinci himself?
“Next up on your left.”
While some of his works were more well known than others, anything by the remarkable figure of Italian High Renaissance was historic enough that anyone would kill to get their hands on an original piece... figuratively speaking of course.
And hung before them was what they believed to be Da Vinci’s final known painting before his untimely death.
“I thought it would have looked bigger in person,” Akilah commented; the four of them now stood circled around the frame, silently regarding the oil painting depicting the figure of Saint John the Baptist. One of Da Vinci’s lesser known works, yet nonetheless valuable.
It wasn’t until Lanna suddenly spoke in their ear did they snap from their momentary trance.
Having planned ahead, Liona and Marcella left the other two to work on actually removing the piece from its case. Meanwhile, the two cousins continued on, walking side by side as they sought to take care of their other problem. Neither of them had to ask where it was that they were headed; after all, there was only one painting in the entire place eminent enough to require its own set of security — and its own room at that.
Tension hung thick in the air as they slowed in their steps, cautiously edging forward while backing themselves against the wall to their left. Marcella stopped herself just before they could turn the corner into the short passage which would lead them directly to their intended destination.
Liona waited for Lanna to confirm it was clear for her to move before she swept past the first entryway and sidled up to the other. A twenty-foot wall standing between the two.
Lanna already knew that the two guards wouldn’t go down so easily compared to the last while eyeing their positions on opposing sides of the room, all the while giving Marcella and Liona a clearer description of their whereabouts. They were clever, sticking to the sides where their bodies were shrouded in darkness and the lighting from the paintings didn’t shine. They were alert and conscious this time, their pieces comfortably tucked by their sides in case of any trouble.
What was unfortunate for them was that the two women standing just outside happened to be all the above.
They moved in sync, pushing themselves from the wall as they prepared to turn the corner into the short passage that led into the main room. A cloth identical to the one Fia had used earlier was conveniently tucked inside their outer pockets, infused with a chemical that would knock a person out instantaneously.
While they and their family were known to settle things a lot more mercilessly, that didn’t mean they had to kill every Tom, Dick, or Harry that got in their way during a job like this one. They were here for the painting, not a ruthless killing spree. The less mess that was left, the better — on both ends.
Finally, the two of them stepped out into the open; Marcella emerging from the left, Liona on the right. Their bodies still conveniently cloaked in darkness and their steps light enough to give them a momentary advantage as they prowled forward.
The guard on Liona’s side was the first to notice their company–a tall yet sinewy figure with short spiked dirty blonde hair. His surprise quickly alerted the other, who was a lot broader, yet still incredibly tall brunette. His first move was all too predictable, making it easier for Marcella to strike the weapon from his hand before he even had the chance to place his finger over the trigger, the force behind the action sending the gun flying across the room–dropping to the floor with a resounding clatter.
The six foot rugged male may have had his added height and an excessive amount of muscle on his side, but that didn’t naturally mean that would give him all the upper hand he would need. His moves lacked any sort of technique or calculation as he brashly set forward to grab the hooded figure that stood before him, instantly relying on brute force and strength.
Instead of cowering away, Marcella took the opportunity to grasp both of his outstretched arms–painfully twisting them in opposing directions while simultaneously driving the sole of her boot into his hard chest, sending the guard stumbling backwards. Releasing a string of French curses, his face contorts into a look of rage as he leapt forward, sending punches left, right and center. Marcella successfully deflecting most while getting in a few quick hits herself.
Distant sounds of scuffling and struggle were heard as Marcella prepared to move against the guard in front of her, whose movements had begun to slacken. But was rather momentarily distracted by the shriek of her cousin when the guard whose neck Liona had her arm wrapped around in a tight headlock, suddenly yanked her forward, throwing her smaller frame over his shoulder–slamming her back into the ground.
Unfortunately, the sound distracted Marcella for a second too long. Enough time for the guard in front of her to pummel his fist into her abdomen, suddenly leaving her winded as she bent forward attempting to gasp for air–which proved to be a lot more difficult with the material that was still wrapped tightly around her face. Unfortunately, the fleeting mistake left her wide open and vulnerable enough for the guard’s other fist to connect with the side of her head.
There was no doubt this fight was definitely going to leave them with at least a few bruises, but what was new?
The voice in Marcella’s earpiece alerting them they would need to hurry things along, forced her to recover quickly as she mentally began devising a plan. Raising her fists, she began taunting the guard with her moves–aiming to exhaust his energy as much as possible. Taking him off guard, Marcella sent a solid right hand to the side of his face–blood smearing the corners of his mouth and teeth as he clenched them, attempting to hold in a pained groan, then turning into what sounded like an inhumane growl.
He was more than pissed.
Her next move was more calculated as she prepared to raise her right leg appearing as though she were about to deliver a kick to his stomach, but what was actually her intentionally slowing down giving the perfect opportunity for him to grab her foot before it make an impact, allowing him to forcibly twist her leg in the other direction with enough strength that it sent her body crashing to the ground.
Feigning being injured, Marcella kept her gaze downcast, appearing as though she were cowering away by shuffling her body backwards, but in fact was keeping an eye on the pair of black laced boots entering her peripheral vision and promptly growing closer by the second.
It was all about timing and accuracy as she anticipated the precise moment to strike. Waiting until he was within reach before swinging her legs out from underneath–extending her right dominant leg out, putting all her energy into sweeping it into the backend of his legs, causing his body to come buckling down to the ground. Having to act fast, Marcella sprung up from her position from the floor, circling around his fallen frame–hooking her right leg over his shoulder and around the guard’s neck as she swiftly flipped them into a rear triangle chokehold. Ignoring the dull pain which pounded into her back when he collapsed backwards, her grip remained firm, adding a little more pressure to his neck.
Choking sounds sputtered past his lips as the guard grabbed and scratched at her legs–any feeble attempt to loosen her hold. Marcella rolled her eyes at his useless effort, slipping her hand into her coat pocket obtaining the white cloth, using her other hand to yank his head back by his hair, finally smothering the material over his face.
His body continued to flail everywhere for a moment or two, refusing to back down–nipping and grabbing anywhere he could on her clothed skin. But unfortunately couldn’t escape his inevitable and eventually fell into absolute unconsciousness.
Exhaling all previous tension in her body, Marcella fell backwards, absentmindedly staring up at the intricate ceiling for only a second before she was back up and searching for her cousin. Finding she too had successfully knocked out the other guard, dragging his motionless body towards the darkened corner of the room.
Brushing her palms together after dumping the lean figure up against the cornered wall, Liona straightened her jacket as she turned to signal her cousin, but found herself unconsciously gravitating towards the center of the farthest side of the room. The one place they hadn’t had the liberty of exploring earlier that day.
Liona heard Marcella whisper words of amazement coming by side; the two of them now staring upon one of the world’s most famous paintings–displayed in all its glory on its very own wall encased in a thick bulletproof glass.
La Mona Lisa.
Their moment of admiration was fleeting, as Lanna urged them to clear out. Backing away, their gazes lingered on the painting a final time before turning, vanishing from the room entirely. By the time the two got back, Fia and Akilah had been successful in getting the Da Vinci painting out of its heavy golden frame. Attentively handling the wooden surface, the four journeyed back through the museum for the Porte Des Lions entrance, where their friends Gabriel and Édouard stood watch, awaiting their arrival.
Lanna sat back as she watched her friends advance down the staircase, seconds from their getaway. Despite the fact that they were committing more than a good number of crimes, the British blonde couldn’t help but feel smug that they had actually got away with it all.
Of course, the feeling was ill-timed. The proud look on her face faltered, before dropping entirely when noticing the quick movement coming from one of the other screens.
“Shit!” she panicked, throwing herself upright.
According to their intel, there wasn’t supposed to be a guard rotation for at least another fifteen minutes, yet Lanna didn’t have time to dwell on the fact. She immediately signaled for the others to pull the van up to the gate, simultaneously watching as the male figure entered the room to the Mona Lisa, quickly discovering the two recently battered and unconscious guards concealed in either corner of the room.
It seemed that they wouldn’t be getting out so covertly.
“They’ve found the guards. You need to get out of there now!” Just as Lanna had finished speaking, alarms instantly began blaring all throughout the place.
Their pace hastened, steps less deliberate and more brisk as they rushed past the bathroom entrance they had snuck out from just less than an hour ago.
By the time they had turned the corner out into the Porte Des Lions entrance, police sirens echoed in the distance, becoming increasingly louder by the second combing with the ones coming from inside. It didn’t surprise them at all how fast the authorities had been alerted, not after they noticed the state of their security and realising their ‘secure’ online systems had been breached.
Handing the painting over first, the girls urgently piled into the back of the large MPV, Marcella being the last taking one last glance over her shoulder, barely having time to slide the door shut before the vehicle was skidding away. Road safety was the least of their issues right now–holding onto anywhere they could grasp with their backs against the sides of the van, below the tinted windows. Judging by the speed at which Gabriel was driving, they hadn’t been so quick enough to escape undetected by the men (or women) in blue. Fluorescent colours of red and blue flashed through the dark glass, revealing they were closer than they’d thought and quickly catching up.
Lanna rapidly fired orders through their earpieces, her British accent thicker and more intense. A sudden sharp turn to the left sent Liona lurching forward, groaning in pain as she landed on her back.
“Quel bastardo.” Liona rubbed her back, yanking down her mask, her hood already pulled back–a few fallen curls framing the sides of her bruised face.
Marcella chuckled at her cousin, recalling the body slam move the guard had pulled out on her earlier, which would definitely be sore for the next couple of days. She too yanked the black material from her face. Fia and Akilah falling suit.
In that time they had gained a considerable advantage and speed; Gabriel and Édouard up front swerved them in a few twists and turns with the assistance of Lanna. It wasn’t until they had squeezed through a narrowing concealed alleyway–leading them into a darker and desolate area did they lose all the flashing lights, the deafening sirens now falling further and further away.
Amongst them everything fell quiet and still, the rumbling of the car engine being the loudest thing you could hear, which was a massive contrast to all the shrieking sirens that had just been chasing them through the streets of Paris.
“Are we clear?” Marcella eventually asked. Another unsettling silence followed before Lanna finally uttered the two words that allowed them all to collectively release a massive sigh of relief.
As if she couldn’t really believe it, Fia looked at each of them in a sudden disbelief. “Did we really just...“
All at once, it’s as though it finally dawned on them what had actually just happened...
“We just heisted the Louvre.”
To be continued…