By Max Masen
The lights came on and the thief opened his eyes. The last thing he remembered was sitting in his cell, waiting, waiting for something. He could not remember what for. But now he sat in a chair, his hands bound to the cold table in front of him. A man in a white suit sat across from him, eyeing him, waiting for him to make a move. The man tilted his head precariously and raised his eyebrows. The thief looked around the room. There was an open door with a beam of light coming through it, illuminating the corner of the room more than the rest of the area.
“What is this?” the thief asked. “Where am I?”
The man ignored his concerns and said: “You’ve been in prison for the last twenty years.”
The thief looked at him in a bout of confusion. “I know that.”
“You’ve spent many years withering away, learning, fighting, and scavenging for survival. But tell me, what have you learned?” The man leaned in toward the thief. “What has this place taught you?”
“It has taught me to be careful who I talk to; it has taught me to know when to say what. And right now, right now I am getting the feeling I should not be telling you anything at all,” the thief replied slyly. He sat back in his chair as far his imprisoned hands would allow him to go. He scooted the chair up further to the table to allow himself more freedom.
The man laughed at what the thief thought was a victory. “How many friends have you made in this place?”
“My friends… my friends are gone,” the thief replied. His head tilted low.
“All of the people you concerned yourself with, the people you relied on, the people that were with you when you were arrested. Where are they now?” the man asked.
The thief was quiet. He refused to look the man in the eyes.
The man perked his voice up and continued: “But what if I told you that through your life you have acquired skills that I desire? What if I told you that there was a job that existed that, if you accepted, I would release you from not only what binds your hands to the table in front of you but also from any legal obligations to stay in this prison. In short, I am offering you your freedom.”
The thief raised an eyebrow and shot the man an amused smile. “I would tell you that I am listening.”
“Don’t you want to know more about the job?” the man asked, confused as to the thief’s lack of inquiries. “Don’t you want to know what you would be stealing?”
The man in the white suit stood up and fixed his tie. “That’s all I needed to hear.” He walked to the door and turned to face the thief.
“Wait. You’re not… you’re not a police officer,” the thief said. A sense of revelation came over him. “Yesterday…”
“Yesterday you died, thief.” The man in white finished the thief’s sentence. “And today you have proven that your time in prison, the time that was allotted to you to attone for your sins, has been wasted. Today you have proven that whatever morals you had have been compromised. And today you have allowed the title thief to define you. And today your gate is closed.” The man in white closed the door, cutting off the glowing light from outside. The lights inside of the room shut off one by one, leaving the thief alone.
Thank you for reading and for more short stories and full-length novels, visit the site here: