When Annie meets Beau, something seems different about him- like he's a pirate, perhaps.
Annie Fleming trudged down the streets of New York City, pushing against the cold, late fall wind. She wore a too small blue raincoat pulled over a grey sweatshirt in the 30-degree weather. As she walked she swiped a plastic bottle of water out of a child’s backpack.
The first time she had stolen was ten years ago, she had barely been seven years old. It had only been a map then, one from the drugstore down the street from her house. But, as simple as it had been, it took her exactly where she had wanted to go, New York City. She had been tall for age, so it was less awkward when people saw her walking alone along the highway, or when she boarded buses, or when she hitchhiked. It took some time and a lot of effort, but more than 570 miles and 5 months later, she arrived.
Annie stopped reminiscing and focused. She was going to her favorite museum which had recently acquired a new exhibit about Pirates. But Annie was not interested in the display, no, she was interested in something much more exciting- in her opinion anyway. And that was stealing.
Annie slipped into the museum, pretending to be part of a school group. She followed them until they entered the exhibit. Then, she started searching. She spotted a couple of dollars sticking out of a man’s pocket and swiftly plucked it out; this was too easy. An hour later, she had stolen nearly 50 dollars, she grinned, she was going to be able to contribute to the monthly rent that she and the other runaways shared.
She had known most of the runaways since she had gotten to New York. They were probably the only things that had kept her alive; they each had to contribute 10 dollars or more to the rent at least every other week lest they are kicked out. The runaways were her best friends and each was different: Harley, was the oldest, he was 20 and an adult now but still looked out for the kids, Pixie was the youngest, hardly five years old, Harley had found her two years before, all beat up in a corner of an alleyway. None of us knew what had happened to her or where she was from. Then there was Ryden who was 14, Ward and Tyler who were 12 and 13, Scout who was 7, Haley who was 9, and Kyla and Maia who were 15.
Then, Annie saw something green out of the corner of her eye. She sauntered over to it and quickly looked down at the number in the corner and tried to contain her gasp. She looked back down at the corner, the number was as she first saw- a 100. She pretended to look interested in an old cutlass from the late 1600s as her hand slowly covered the bill, a few moments later she withdrew it, pulling the bill along with her. She put in her pocket, waited a couple more moments, and then walked away.
“Hey!” she heard a voice call, Keep walking Annie, there’s no way he saw you take the money, keep walking,
She felt a hand on her shoulder and it turned it around, she closed her eyes and sighed, “What do you want-”
She came face to face with a pair of sharp grey eyes grinning down at her. The hand was firm and pushed her into an empty hallway and against the wall.
“You stole that money,” he said, his eyes peering into her’s.
“What money?” she responded, You never say ‘no I didn’t’, you’ll just give yourself away.
“I saw what I saw,” he said, “Don’t worry, it’s not my money, but I need you.”
Annie raised an eyebrow.
“I need you to steal something,” he said
“See that cart over there?” Annie nodded, “I need you to grab one of those gold coins with this handkerchief,”
“What do I get out of this?”
“I won’t tell the security guard that you just stole 100 dollars,”
“So now you’re trying to blackmail me?”
“Come on, please?”
Annie walked over to the cart and chatted with the security guard who was standing by it.
“Hey, those look cool, what are they?” Annie pointed at the coins,
“Gold coins, isn’t that obvious?” the guard snapped her gum
“But where uh… are they from?” Annie fiddled with her lockpicks on the glass box
“The ocean, where else?”
“Do you know what era?”
“Kid, just leave me alone!” the guard said again before starting to chew her gum again, much more forcefully.
Annie turned away and grinned, she had gotten them. She walked out of the museum quickly, before anyone could realize the coins were gone- and before the security guard could blame her.
Annie looked around the busy streets for the boy, but she didn’t see him. She touched the handkerchief in her pocket where the coin was held and felt a scrap of paper that hadn’t had been there before- at least that she hadn’t noticed. She pulled it out, it read, "Meet me at 40091 Newepin Street, bring the coin. Do not touch it."
When Annie got to 40091, a hand pulled her into an alleyway. It was the boy, Annie realized that she didn’t know his name.
“Did you get it?”
“Here,” she handed it over, still wrapped in the cloth, “Where’s my money?”
“Thirty dollars, as promised,” he said, as he fished the cash from his back pocket.
“Thanks,” she paused, “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Beau, Beau Watkins, you?”
“Annie Graywits, are you all by you by yourself?”
“Single, you mean? Why yes, I am,” he winked and Annie blushed, shaking her head so quickly Beau thought it might fly off her neck, “I am by myself though, just got here,”
“Do you have a place to go? I stay in an apartment with some friends; I’m sure they’d love to meet you,” said Annie and Beau nodded,
She led him up the stairs to the apartment and opened the door. It was almost 5 now- it had taken her a long time to get to Newepin Street and back to the apartment- and most of the other runaways were back. Pixie was perched on a dresser that had been there when the group moved in, Ryden and Maia were on the floor helping Scout and Haley split the money they had gotten in half, and Ward and Tyler were counting all the money in the glass jug they kept under the floorboards.
“Hey guys, where’s Kyla and Harley?” she asked Ryden and Maia
“They went out to restock the food shelf,” said Maia
Ryden spotted Beau who was standing behind Annie and stood up and introduced himself. They ate ham and cheese sandwiches, oranges, and bags of chips with Harley, Maia, and the others. When they finished, Beau stood and asked Annie if she would go on a walk with me.
Annie looked over to Harley, “It’s getting dark, be back before the Starbucks street light comes on,” He gave her a ‘be careful’ look and she gave him an ‘I know’ back.
She nodded and they left. Beau led her around the block to a bench.
“I wanted to talk to you about the coins,” he started
“I didn’t get the wrong ones, did I?” she asked, worried
“No” Beau chuckled, “No, you got the right ones. I was wondering if you had any idea why I didn’t want you to touch them, do you?”
“Not really I guess, I mean they’re old but...” She shook her head,
“Would you like me to tell you?”
“Sure? Are they special or something?”
“They’re magic,” he seemed hesitant to say that and didn’t meet Annie’s eyes
“You are crazy,” she stood and started to walk away, but he grabbed her arm and Annie was pulled back, face to face, eye to eye with those calm grey eyes.
“Hear me out, Annie,” Beau said, “They’re more of a time-traveling device, I suppose,” Annie tried to pull away again but his grasp was firm.
“So, this coin could take me back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence,”
“The signing of what?”
“You really are insane,” she slapped him in the face, hard, causing Beau to loosen his grip on her for a moment, which gave her enough time to pull away and sprint down the sidewalk. Beau was fast and the streets were dark. Annie knew that Harley was probably standing outside the apartment building, so she called out, “Harley! Get the kids in, Beau’s coming! Hel-!”
She was cut off as an arm wrapped around her stomach and she tumbled to the ground, Beau pinned her down, knocking the wind out of her. As she struggled, Beau took the handkerchief with the coin, seized her hand and pressed the coin between their palms. There was a blinding flash of white light before everything went dark.