Today was definitely an exercise in patience and persistence if nothing else. I hit major writer’s block with today’s piece and ended up going past my two-hour limit. It was one of those days where every word felt like a slog, but somehow I ended up churning out a piece over a thousand words and needing to edit it down. Anyway here’s Day 8:
Prompt: “We were going to have to find a locksmith.”
I kicked the chest hard. We were going to have to find a locksmith. And a good one to boot. One that could work on both planes—and at the same time. Irritated, I pulled out the small mirror from my pocket and tapped it twice.
“Wyatt? You there?”
“Yup. Any updates?” Wyatt’s overly chiseled face faded into view on the small mirror.
“None of them good.” I sighed, “we need a locksmith.”
“You’re a locksmith.” Wyatt sounded annoyed. And rightfully so. Wyatt and I had reputations to uphold and even after two hours with the chest offsite I was stuck.
“I’m a lockpick,” I corrected. “I can get it open, but there’s no way I’ll be able to close it.” It was a small but significant difference. Lockpicks were specialized. I could crack most locks—even if they existed in both planes simultaneously. I could not, however, put said lock back together. A locksmith could do both. Open the chest, then reconstruct the lock when we were done.
The problem was finding one we could trust.
I sighed. Get in, plant the dagger, get out. That was the gist of the plan. Simple when you broke it down to bullet points. Much more complex when you fleshed those out.
“You know a locksmith?” Wyatt’s voice chirped through the mirror.
“I…might.” I did know someone that could get the job done, but working with her wasn’t on my todo list. “But I feel like it would be a bad idea…”
“We don’t have time for your feelings. Get the chest set and bring it back.”
“I’m telling you, Wyatt, I don’t think it’d be a good idea. Buy me some more time—“
“They’re rotating the guard in an hour and I won’t be able to let you back onto the estate. Get it done.” The mirror faded black.
“Hmm…” Ada held her monocle close to the lock. “You should be able to open this.”
“I already said I can open it,” I snapped. I’d been with Ada for less than a quarter hour and my temper was already white hot. It was the way she said everything. The intonation. Just enough smugness in her words to sand down your patience with every syllable.
“Hmm…” Ada tapped on the lock gingerly.
“Will you stop ‘hmm-ing’ and tell me if you can do it?” I hated working with my sister.
“Is that any way to talk to someone when you ask them for a favor, little brother?”
I’d been taller than my younger sister at one point in my life, but somewhere along the way, I’d stopped growing, and she’d kept on going. Something she liked to harp on whenever she got the chance to. I did a mental ten count before speaking again, “Can you do it, Ada?“
“I can do it.” Ada pocketed the monocle.
“Alright, how mu—“
“Not money,” Ada raised a hand to stop me from speaking, “something else.”
Her response surprised me, “What do you want?”
“Hush,” Wyatt put a hand on my shoulder to stop my grumbling. I scowled up at him but kept my mouth shut. I’d already put him in a foul mood when I’d shown up at the estate with Ada in tow and I didn’t want to make it worse.
Watching Ada work, I begrudgingly had to admit that she was very good at what she did. Both of her hands worked independently, but in perfect harmony. Her right hand worked the physical lock, the one on the first plane, deftly maneuvering the lock picks one handed. Meanwhile, her left hung in the air above the chest, working through the nuances of the magical one on the second. Wisps of threadlike blue light passing through her fingers. A jumbled mess one moment, and then untangled the next. The impressive part, however, was her eyes. Two small emeralds shining with serene focus—memorizing the lock’s construction on both planes as she pulled it apart.
The chest popped open a moment later. Scooping the dagger from my bag, I leaned over Ada and placed it just under a large coin pouch—visible, but not overtly so—before pulling the chest shut.
“Alright, we’re good to go.” I gestured for Ada to continue.
“Yeah…about that.” She sat on the chest to face both me and Wyatt. “I don’t think so.”
“Excuse me?” I stuck an arm out to stop Wyatt’s advance.
“I’m not gonna close it.” Ada smiled smugly. “Not for free anyway.”
“I already paid you your favor by bringing you here!” I spat the words at Ada.
“Rookie mistake little brother.” Ada crossed her legs.
It was a rookie mistake. I should’ve known the only thing that could motivate Ada was cash. “How much?” I spoke through clenched teeth.
“A one hundred percent cut.”
“That’s crazy!” Wyatt and I spoke in unison.
“I think it’s quite reasonable,” every word out of Ada’s mouth grated on me. “You’ve got a job half done, and I’m the only one here that can finish it.
“You could call it quits and walk away,” she continued, “but what would that do to your reputations? Abandoning a job midway, and leaving evidence behind?” She patted the chest.
I cut Wyatt off. “Fine.”
“What?” He rounded on me.
“The more we bargain, the worse it’ll get. Trust me.”
“You’re learning little brother.” Ada smiled.
I scowled. “We’ll pay, so lock it up.”
Still smiling, Ada worked both of her hands in perfect unison a second time, re-tangling the wisps of blue light, and clicking the physical lock closed.
Standing, Ada gave both me and Wyatt a two fingered salute. “Pleasure doing business with you both.” Then she was out the door leaving both of us to follow behind her.
“So,” I looked up at Wyatt as we hustled behind. “I hate to say I told you so, but…”
“Shut up,” he grumbled back at me.