“Hey be careful," he whispered to her, when she missed a step and almost fell down.
"I know what I’m doing. Just catch me if I fall, okay?" she hissed back, eyes glinting with exasperation.
"Of course I will. Now go up there and make it quick. They might be here any moment, we never know."
She turned away and focused on the task at hand, determination writ clear on her face. The darkness of the night had engulfed the two of them completely. They knew that this was their only chance to find what they were looking for; making mistakes was not an option. It had taken several hours of plotting and planning to finally get their hands on the key; failing now would put all that effort to waste.
Not to mention the trouble they’d be in if they were caught.
Hidden from view, the man who had followed their voices lay still in the shadows, biding his time. He could make out their silhouettes in the dark, scrambling over each other in their haste to find what they were looking for. The task he had to accomplish was clear in his head; timing and precision were all that was needed for him to thwart them on this mission.
There were other eyes trained on the treasure, but he meant to be the first one to get there. Holding his breath, he waited for the right time to make his move.
"It's up there. I can see it." she whispered in excitement, almost slipping again.
"Be careful, won't you?" he warned.
“It wouldn’t have taken this long had you not distracted me time and again with your incessant warnings. I told you to keep quiet and trust that I’ll get us there,” she retorted.
“But I did keep shut all this while,” he protested, mentally kicking himself for worrying too much about the consequences should they fail.
"You are an idiot.” Her tone changed to triumphant when she said, “I have found it. Yes!”
“Are you sure it is the right box?”
“Of course it is. Do you take me for a fool? I have seen it as many times as you have.” she replied, irritated.
"Wow that is great." he whispered back, barely able to conceal his happiness.
“Shut up, or they will hear us,” she warned him from the top.
“Do you realize that you are practically shouting yourself?" he scolded. “Now grab hold of it, and I will pull you down."
The man hiding in the shadows couldn't make out their shapes, but he could feel the excitement in the air. He sensed triumph in their exultation, and readied himself for what was to come next. If the box had indeed been found, he would never let them get away with it.
It was time to do what he had been preparing himself all night for…
She was on the floor again, cheeks flushed with happiness, cupping their treasure in her hands. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the man emerging from the shadows, approaching them with slow, deliberate steps.
“Look out,” she whispered hoarsely, frantically pointing in the direction of the lurking shadow.
Terrified, both of them ran.
The man knew he had been spotted. But he had to stop them before they ran away and created a ruckus so loud that all three of them would be discovered. He ran towards them, and grabbed the girl by the waist to lift her up. He tried to shut her partner up, but it was too late.
The boy was trying to get away, but in the darkness, he ran full force into the man, knocking the air out of his lungs. He fell to the floor, with the girl screaming in confusion, the box flying out of her hands.
Suddenly, to their terror, the lights were switched on.
That was how the lady of the house found the three of them – the two kids in a tangled mess on the floor, with their father trying to mask his guilt with a sheepish grin.
The box of chocolates she had so carefully hidden away was strewn all over the floor.
I come from a country where Medium hasn’t introduced the Partner Program yet. So if you liked my work, you might consider buying me a beer.
Also, don’t hesitate to hit that clap button so that this story can reach more people. Please do follow me for more.