I breathe in the pine fresh air of Requiem City, looking over the metal, brick and concrete landscape to gaze at a forest of dew green. The distant horizon is what holds my eye in the end. There was something so calming about the sky, the endless, untouched depths of space – no human hands could ever mold every bit of its beauty.
The sky and the air had always called to me – while meditating about selfish thoughts of a better future.
Okay, maybe I was a tad hypocritical. I judged harshly of others yet I myself wasn’t exactly the perfect role-model. Maybe I was deluded for being so proud of this, but I am a downright, undefeatable, funny, short-tempered badass!
The thing is, when my mind is set upon a new and genius plan, I transform into a stubborn little shit. Good luck changing my mind. No one can sway my opinion, no one can stop me and no one can convince me of the dangers that may befall me for choosing and pursuing my secret profession; pick-pocketing.
It was a great pass time to show how much I disrespected and hated most adults.
Even I admitted that I was an angry teen, angry at the world, but at least I knew how to have fun.
I might take risks, but I had never placed a single miscalculated step… before today… I had never failed.
As I breathe out a sigh of forced enthusiasm, I ignore the one stupid decision I made this morning to instead focus on my latest plan to gain a generous profit.
So many options were no longer on the list such as; stealing wallets, jewelry, or bags under the neighboring toilet blocks, where I warm the seat of my own dunny while waiting for my prey to befall the slimy tiles adjacent.
None of that petty stuff even slightly appealed to me anymore.
Because I had a far better plan, now. A much bigger plan.
The ultimate theft.
But first, was step one; landing a respectable job as an assistant for the biggest billionaires in this city.
How old am I, you ask? I’m 16. But don’t laugh – because I’m dead set on getting this right.
The opening I had been informed about, was an opportunity of a life time. Not because the billionaire twins, Hael and Loch Dobryzcka, were both the most intimidatingly sexy bosses you’d ever see on a magazine front page. Rather, it was a life time opportunity because of their stash of gold – they had a shit ton of the stuff in their sky scraper and I was going to take my share.
I’m smiling as I sit above the ratchet, old community center for rascal teens like me, looking at the sunset, descending slowly over the distant Requiem Mountains; famously haunted. Imagine dilapidated cave corridors, leading to darkness, stale air and strange ghosts.
It weirded me out that people loved to tour the Mountain range. Who’d want to visit such a creepy and boring place? I remember numerous school trips we had inside the mountain catacombs. Don’t even get me started about the Dragon or Mage stories that surrounded that place! Yep, some lunatics still believed in the existence of Dragons and Mages!
I sigh as I let my legs kick the concrete of the dangerous cracked ledge I’m sitting upon, with a row of teenagers my age next to me eating their complimentary community sandwiches for afternoon tea.
“For the love of this city, Madeline,” my blind friend grips my knee, pinching a nerve, making me stick my two fingers into his rib-cage in return, “Ow! Hey, I was going to suggest – why not fall to your death, end your recent suffering – before you bring your curse upon the rest of us!”
“Seriously, if you don’t shut up about this damn ‘curse’ that doesn’t exist...!” I snarl back at Darshan, grabbing his ham and cheese sandwich from him.
“What the hell, Maddie? Don’t steal from a blind dude!” the teenager on my other side, Harry, scolds me with raised brows. They’re so high - they’re touching his hairline.
“He’s my blind friend, so I can bully him all I want,” I smirk, reaching for Harry’s sandwich too. I quickly snatch it with my lightning fast reflexes and I drop it off the ledge, “Bye-bye sandwich!”
Darshan laughs and Harry gawks. Harry and I lean over to watch the sandwich land... not on the side-walk or some stranger’s head but a very particular dark green tinted head of hair. Emerald brilliance, striking and unique, belonging to a very tall man in a very expensive suit.
Maybe the curse was real.
“Oh, shit!” Harry exclaims first, purposefully flopping backwards off the side of the concrete barrier, same time as I do, to hit the safety of the dirty community roof top. I’ve also pulled Darshan with us.
“I didn’t just do that...” I whisper to myself, “My sandwich didn’t just fall on his head. What is he doing here?”
“Who are you referring to, exactly?” Darshan inquires as we all stare up at the orange sky.
“Req Enterprize Corp is here to fund the building,” Harry explains for Darshan, while I’m trying to calm my racing heart, “And Maddie just freaking dropped my sandwich on Hael Dobrzycka’s head!”
“I told you!” Darshan hits my arm while I pretend to breathe normal even though I feel like hyperventilating, “First you go ‘accidentally’ pick-pocketing from his sister - Adara Dobrzycka. She is the first person to ever catch you out on a steal. I bet she saw you return here. Now Hael isn’t just investigating, he’s looking for you! You’re so busted, Madeline!”
“She didn’t follow me, for fucks sake, Darshan, and Hael is not here for me either -” I retort but I get cut off by Harry.
“You told me,” Harry gulps, deciding to question my previous plans I had provided in detail to my two best buddies, “That you were going to apply for a job at Req Enterprise next week. You have to be at least 18 for a job like that; you’re only 17.”
“She’s 16,” Darshan murmurs.
“17,” I lie.
“You lied to me, Maddie? You told me 17!” Harry accuses me.
“The real question is why do you believe Darshan over me?” I punch Harry in the arm now and still, we lie back.
A long pause soon descends but the silence is not everlasting.
“I want a real job... okay?” I mutter, sheepishly. Darshan and Harry both burst out laughing and then I can’t help but giggle, “Or… I may have heard that Hael Dobrzycka has a hidden level in his skyscraper - full of cold, hard, gold. My tip-off suggested Hael’s new security system is being installed within the next week due to unforeseen structural and tech issues. It’s all easy access for seven days! Not to mention the very timely opening for an assistant.”
“This isn’t good news, Maddie. It’s like the devil is tempting you. You’re cursed when it comes to Req Enterprise. First a mysterious opening to their stack of gold, then your misfortune with Adara and the ham currently in Hael’s hair,” Darshan murmurs, “Still, you get an idea to apply for a job at Req freaking Enterprize... after all that’s happened, you’re cursed! If you take that job - something else bad is going to happen to you! You need to stop your path from crossing over with the Dobryzcka family; haven’t you heard how shifty that family is? They’ll destroy you if they find out you’re going to steal from them, or worse, if they catch you in the act! Can’t you see how risky and stupid your plan is?”
“Oh, shut it... you actually said, ‘can’t you see?’ How ironic, coming from a blind kid,” I roll my eyes and at least he manages to chuckle with my diversion while Harry just glares at me like that shouldn’t be funny. Luckily though, Darshan and I shared a common joy for dark humor. We weren’t best friends for nothing, “If I get the job, I’ll roll in and roll out with 1 gold bar. That’s all I need. Well, maybe 2 or 3. Then I’ll simply quit and I’ll give you guys some money too. Let’s be real. We don’t have a home and adult after adult hasn’t given two shits about taking care of us long term. So...” I trail off, feeling a bit sad by it all. However, Darshan and Harry both turn to me.
“What?” they both prompt me to continue, also solemn about our everyday reality.
“I get that gold and we can make our own way.”
It sounded so simple in that moment, as I said it.
As I’d soon find out, I probably should have taken Darshan’s mention of a curse more seriously.
Because when it came to the Dobrzyckas?
My luck wasn’t going to improve.
In fact, my entire life, was soon to change – permanently. All because I couldn’t keep my greedy hands away from the billionaire twin brothers and their fortune.