The old man and young lady
lazily strolled past the entrance to the International Museum of Life
and Nature. The man waved to a guard as they passed by. The guard
waved back, a funny little smile on his face.
The young lady brushed
a lock of blonde hair out of her eyes. “You’re just loving this,
aren’t you?” She gave the old man a derisive look.
“Just trying to
be nice. Those young men work hard to protect this place, you know.”
He winked, grinning.
The odd couple rounded
the corner of the building. They picked up their pace as they headed
for the back. “Do we really need to do this now?
Why can’t we wait until nightfall?”
will be expecting someone to break in right after closing. Getting
cold feet, Alice?”
She punched the old
man in the shoulder. “What’s with the real names, William?”
“Nobody calls me William. Well my mom did, but…”
The woman shushed him
as she peeked around the back of the museum. “It’s clear,
animosity.” He tip-toed theatrically to a nondescript gray door
at the back of the building.
“If we don’t get
caught, it will be a miracle.”
“Then just call
me the Miracle Man.” Will smiled as he whipped out a small
plastic card. A small black electronic device extended off one end of
He slid the card into
a slot beside the door. A light on the attached device began to flash
red. A click came from the door a moment later. The light turned
Will pulled the card
back out and pocketed it. He pulled the door open and gestured
towards the opening. “Ladies first.”
of you.” Alice took one last nervous look around before dashing
through the doorway.
The old man quietly
closed the door behind him. He gave her a wink and pressed his index
and middle fingers against the side of his neck. The wrinkles on his
face smoothed, the marks of old age fading off his skin. His thinning
hair filled back in, turning from gray to a reddish-brown.
Alice copied his
actions. The crook in her nose smoothed away. Her eyes turned from
blue to brown. Her long blonde hair shrank up into a black bob weave.
“There’s the face I’ve come to… tolerate.”
“You love me and
you know it.” He turned and walked into the next room over.
forgetting about security cameras? Motion sensors?”
“Chill out. I got
this.” Will reached into the leather satchel on his hip. Out
came a small, rounded metal device. A short, slender antenna extended
from the top of it.
He placed it on a dull
gray metal security box affixed to the wall. A minute light flashed
on the end of the antenna. The lights in the museum glowed brightly
before suddenly falling dark. Dull yellow emergency lighting flooded
the museum in its place.
Will leaned in,
inspecting the device. He tapped at it with his finger. “We
should have five minutes maybe.”
He shrugged. “Maybe…
definitely. Probably.” He strode out into the museum.
Alice crept along
behind him. “Shouldn’t we be a little more discreet, or
Will snorted. “The
security system is off. Nobody knows we’re in here. What’s the big
deal?” He turned his head towards the entrance at the sound of
someone knocking on the glass. His guard-friend pointed menacingly at
swiftly walked over to one display case in particular. Under the
glass stood a six inch tall, rounded metal case on a black velvet
pedestal. A blue light pulsed at the top of the casing.
“You ever wonder
why everything has blinking lights on it?” Will asked.
“No. What is
“A metal case.”
Alice punched him in
the shoulder. “Duh! What’s inside
The sound of the rear door clicking open floated to them from the
back of the building. “Eventually!” He backed away from the
case, dragging Alice along with him.
He pulled out a laser
gun and fired a shot at the glass. The thin red bullet of light
whined through the air and was absorbed into the glass. He shot
again. This time the glass shattered.
Will dashed forward
and grabbed the metal case and shoved it into his leather satchel. He
froze as the alarm system began to blare. “That was about five
minutes, wasn’t it? Fivish… Maybe four.”
genius!” It was Alice’s turn to grab Will. They raced for the
back of the museum. A gaggle of guards were pouring in.
“At least I’m not
the one running towards the guys with the guns!” He held out a
small device as they veered away from the nearest guard. A red beam
fanned first across, then up and down the man.
Open fire!” Red laser fire erupted all around the two thieves,
streaks of light spreading out as they struck the floor and displays
The barrage faded away
as the guards lost sight of Will and Alice. The lead guard scanned
across the dimly-lit museum. His radio crackled noisily in the quiet.
A pair of guards
suddenly ran up to him, pointing in the direction they had come.
“That way!” The first one said. “They’re headed for
The lead guard nodded
and waved the others towards him. He ran towards the front of the
museum. The two other guards looked at each other, smiling. They ran
towards the back of the building, instead.
They stood by the rear
entrance. “Idiots.” The guard held his fingers to his neck.
His body rippled and morphed into that of Will.
“Did you have to
make me so fat?” The other guard’s massive gut faded away as
Alice made her transition.
didn’t it?” He banged the metal door open and ran into the open
air. Alice followed close behind him. He smiled, pointing. “Right
He was pointing to a
US Mail levi-carrier. The vehicle’s boosters glowed pale blue,
levitating the vehicle a few inches off of the ground. The cockpit
door was open.
“Wait. You knew
this would be here? How?”
“That’s why I’m
in charge, isn’t it?” He winked before sprinting for the
Alice ran after him.
“You can’t be serious!”
Will climbed into the
levi-carrier and waved her towards him. “I’m always
serious!” He pulled her inside and slammed the door down.
He waved to the
yelling mail carrier running towards him and smiled. He flipped a
series of switches above and below him and pulled back on the
joystick in front of him. The levi-carrier lurched upwards into the
A piercing alarm
sounded. The levi-carrier halted its ascent and hovered in mid air
three stories off the ground. “Well that
was unexpected.” He pressed at a number of buttons. All
responded with rapid beeping and no moving. “A little help,
Alice sighed. “On
it.” She sidled over to a control panel on the passenger side of
the vehicle. She pulled a corded plug out of a small box clipped to
her belt and jacked it into the panel.
A holographic keyboard
and screen phased into existence before her, casting an eerie blue
light in the cockpit. She hovered her hands over the keyboard and
began pecking away. The alarm cut out a moment later with a series of
The sound of sirens
drifted to them from somewhere in the distance. “Gladly!”
Will continued his ascent and nosed the levi-carrier forward.
More beeping. The
screen in the middle of the instrument cluster illuminated.
“PROXIMITY WARNING” flashed on the screen, followed by a
video feed of the rear of the airship. The screen was filled by a
police air-pursuit interceptor.
“Hold on tight!”
Will braced himself. Alice squeaked as he banked the levi-carrier
sharply to the left. The belly of the vehicle shot sparks as it
scraped the side of an apartment building.
“You know these
things aren’t designed for this kind of flying, right?”
“Sure they are!
It’s just not recommended.” Will slammed the vehicle to a stop
and ascended rapidly. One of the pursuing police interceptors
rocketed by underneath them.
boosters sputtered and cut out. The vehicle began to drop. “There’s
it’s not recommended!” Alice screamed and slapped at him.
The vehicle bounced
off another police interceptor hovering beneath them. The impact
jolted the boosters back to life. Will yanked back on the the
joystick, roasting the interceptor in blue fire.
ascended rapidly as the police interceptor slowly descended, smoking
and trembling. Will rocketed the the levi-carrier forward. A third
police interceptor rose into sight behind them. “You gotta be
matched the mail vehicle turn for turn as Will weaved around a number
of skyscrapers. Alice clucked. “We’re never going to
out-maneuver him. We’re a mail-van trying to outrace a military-spec
A grin slid across
Will’s face. “You know the Willis building?”
“Yeah. What about
“Are they still
remodeling the skyview floors?”
Alice’s brow furrowed.
“Yeah, I think, but…” Will’s grin broadened. “What
are you thinking, William?”
The Willis building
came into view. “This will work.”
Alice’s mouth turned
into an “O” as she realized what was going on. “Oh
Will no I don’t think that…”
“This will work.“
“Oh god Will no
it won’t oh my god!”
The levi-carrier crashed through the glass facade of the skyview
level of the Willis building. The vehicle tore at the ceiling of the
level as the computer systems scrambled to compensate for the ground
suddenly being inches below the boosters.
The police interceptor
didn’t handle the transition as well and nosedived into the floor
before bursting into flames. The levi-carrier burst through the
windows on the far side of the building a heartbeat later. It dipped
dangerously before the boosters corrected, rocketing the vehicle
Will set the battered
levi-carrier down in a wooded area a short while later. He shut down
the vehicle and sighed in relief. The silence pressed in on his ear
Alice shattered it.
“If you ever
pull something like that again…”
You’ll stick with me just like you always have.” Will kicked the
cockpit door open. He stumbled out and stretched. He sat down on a
tree stump with a satisfied sigh.
Alice climbed out
after him. “Alright. No more stalling. What did we risk our
Will pulled the round metal case out of his satchel. He took a small
cylindrical tool from his coat pocket and held the tip of it to the
case. The case beeped and split down the middle.
Will pulled the two
ends apart revealing… a red apple. “Ta-da!”
“An apple? I
could’ve died for an apple?“
Will shook his head,
disappointment on his face. “Tsk-tsk, Alice.” He pulled the
fruit out of its containment device. “There’s only a handful of
these badboys left in existence.”
He held it up to his
face, examining it. “Scientists have had some luck cloning them,
but they can never get them to grow for some reason.” He held
the apple to his mouth and took a large bite out of it.
Alice gasped. “What
are you doing!”
“I was hungry.”
He took another bite. He shrugged his shoulders, chewing. “I
always wanted to try one. Check it off the list.”
“Yeah… but now
it’s kind of worthless?”
Will smiled and
winked. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not
supposed to eat the seeds.”