The job seemed easy for the money offered; almost too easy.
The moon hid behind the clouds, darkening the night, blotting out the shadows that approached the rusty gate. Only sound seemed to exist in the vacuum of light. The jingle of keys, almost musical, seemed to float on the night air like an apparition.
"No one's home. Or, at least, no one's supposed to be home." The darkness parted momentarily as the clouds tumbled by, allowing the glowing orb of the moon to share its brilliance. Zach took advantage of the revelation, finding the key he had been given.
"Nothing ventured," he muttered, sliding the key into the lock and turning it.
Click. Nothing else happened. Gingerly, his partner pushed on the wrought iron bars. The gate mocked him, standing fast and resisting his touch. He pushed harder. Nothing. "I thought you said this job was all set up," Alan whispered.
Zach's head shook in the darkness. "Try pulling it, you dolt," he hissed.
Alan pulled and the gate silently glided open. "Oh, yeah ..." he said, a note of embarrassment tinging his voice.
Zach sighed. "If you weren't my brother ..." He let the sentence trail off.
They crossed the expansive yard toward the large, imposing house.
"Wow, this guy must be loaded," Alan said. "Look at all the statues he has."
"We're not here to sightsee. Pay attention to the job at hand."
Zach had gotten a call, offering him a hundred thousand dollars to steal an artifact. The mysterious buyer had provided him with detailed information to include plans of the house and even a key to enter the estate. Upon acceptance, twenty-five thousand dollars had been couriered to Zach.
Zach had found out that the score's name was Percy Argos. "Percy!" he snorted. "What a wimpy name. This will be a piece of cake."
"Okay, Alan. Boost me up to that window. According to the instructions, there's an alarm system. I need to clip the wires."
After a bit of fumbling, Zach said, "Here we go. Hold steady now. Three, two, one ..."
Click At the sound of the wire cutters, the two men froze. No movement or sounds of alarm came to them.
"That should do it."
"It can't be that simple. Are you sure?"
Taking a deep breath, Zach said, "There's one way to find out," as he gingerly pushed the window open.
No warning signs were apparent. "Pass me the goggles, Alan," Zach whispered as he hoisted himself through the opening. "No more talking until we're clear. You wait here. I shouldn't be more than two minutes. In case of trouble, signal me and then get the heck out of here."
"Sure, Zach. Just like we discussed."
Slipping on the night-vision goggles, he peered around the room. "The box is behind a secret panel, just below a large painting," he recited to himself. Spotting the gilded frame, he moved across the room. He found the small release. The panel opened soundlessly.
Reaching in, he felt hard edges and pulled. The box slid out easily. His fingers slid over its surface, noting its rough exterior. I wonder what's in it that's so valuable? It shimmered in the greenish light.
Closing the panel, he retraced his steps, carefully shutting the window behind him.
In the car, he handed the box to Alan. "I can't believe we got away with it," he said. "This is the easiest money we've ever made."
The box gleamed in the light. It was ornate, covered in scenes intricately wrought in gold and studded with precious stones. "This is probably worth millions," Alan's awe filled voice broke the silence. "Maybe we should ask for more?"
"What's inside?" asked Zach.
Alan opened the box.
Perseus, House of Argos, watched the scene unfold from his bedroom window. "Ahh, greed, thy boundaries never seem to be crossed," he chuckled. Picking up his mirrored sunglasses, he went out to retrieve Medusa's head. He took his time. There was no need to rush. His new statuary wasn't going anywhere.
An entry for "Night & Day Poetic Prose Contest"
Word Count: 668
Medusa ~ In Greek mythology Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly into her eyes would turn onlookers to stone.