The Thief- Gryff's POV

Submitted into Contest #91 in response to: Set your story in a library, after hours.... view prompt

86 comments

Fiction Suspense Drama

Raphael’s POV written by Nova Artino:

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/91/submissions/64609/

The sky was darkening when I left my apartment. I adjusted my badge, pinning it so it was clearly visible on my dark shirt and so it flashed gold in the last traces of the sun that lingered on the horizon. It was fake but finely crafted. Anyone who might be in the library when I completed my mission wouldn’t see a difference. It was the shiny things that would catch their attention in the dark, and not my scarred face. Either way, they wouldn’t live for long. My mission was to kill my target, grab the book, and eliminate any witnesses. 

I was almost to the library when I heard rushing footsteps behind me. I threw myself to the side, but not fast enough. A stinging pain erupted across the side of my neck. I clasped a hand to it and drew my gun. With a bang, my attacker fell to the ground. Another hired assassin. Any common criminal couldn’t have snuck up on me like that. This guy got lucky since I was so preoccupied I didn’t hear him approaching. I peeled my hand away from my neck, wincing. He had nicked me. I pressed my lips together, frustrated. This was going to complicate my mission if I didn’t take care of it. I tore a piece of my attacker’s shirt off and pressed it to my neck, grumbling as I found my way to the library.

The Epitome Bibliotheca was a privately owned library for the wealthy Upper Pines community. Most rich people didn’t actually go to the library outside of school projects or book clubs, so the giant black stone and glass building served mainly as a reminder to everyone else that wealthy people had more than them and could afford this monstrosity of a library. 

It was surrounded by a tall black fence, with a gate that could only be opened with a key card that all Upper Pines residents carried with them. Or a laser. I pulled the latter out of my bag, having tried and failed to obtain a key card. Some of the residents wore it as a necklace, showing off their membership to such an elite community. Some weren’t as extreme, but everyone I could find kept it closely guarded. I would have preferred to leave as little evidence of my mission today as possible, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. 

The laser disabled the key card machine, and I opened the gate. I shut it behind me, locking it tightly with a padlock. If things went south and the police showed up, I sure wasn’t going to leave the gate open so they could stroll right into the library and arrest me.

There were a couple ways into the library. One was a creaky, rotted ladder leading up to an open window. I dismissed that immediately. The only reason they’d leave a ladder by the window as if that ladder wasn’t suitable for climbing. I spotted the large doors, but I wasn’t about to disable their key card machine again. They’d probably notice if two went out ten minutes apart. That left the window sills. I hoisted myself up to one, grimacing as my wound throbbed. I swung myself up until I reached the open window, and let myself in. 

The library was pristine. I honestly doubted most of these books had been touched since they first were put on the shelves. What was the point of a multi-level library if all you use are a couple books for book reports? I shook my head and concentrated on the task at hand, heading towards the part of the library where the rare books were kept. I shone my flashlight around the shelves, looking for anything unusual. The classics section glowed faintly in the moonlight, and that is where I found the case. On a pedestal sits a brown-leather bound book, inscribed with the gold title. It’s in Latin, but I know this is the book I’m looking for. I reach for it but then remember my mission. This book will serve well as bait, and I can always get it later. I take a deep breath and start wandering the stacks. 

I hear a thud from outside, and I glance out a window to see a boy, all dressed in black, land on the ground. He probably climbed over.

I don’t need some teenage prankster bothering me tonight, of all nights. I rolled my eyes, but then a thought occurred to me. I brushed it away, but the possibility that Raphael was a teenager instead of a grown man lingers in the back of my mind. The age doesn’t matter, I tell myself. I will get this mission completed no matter what. 

I hear the boy trying to go up the ladder, and I’m glad I didn’t take that way when I hear it snap. To my surprise, he grabs a hold of the ledge and swings himself in. He’s determined. Too determined for a prankster. I continue prowling around the shelves, playing my part as a guard even though my heart sinks. It’s getting clear to me now that the teenager is Raphael. 

I hear a floorboard creak softly, and I pinpoint his location. He’s heading for the book. I watch him sneak over to the case, and then I walk over and put my hand on his shoulder. He jumps.

“What are you doing here?” I ask him, praying that this isn’t the person I think it is. I prefer not to kill kids, but my assignment was very clear. Once I know for a fact, I’ll complete my mission.

“Uh- thought I would check out a book. Midnight studying, am I right?” He spins around- away from the case- and grabs Moby Dick. “Here it is!” He said weakly.

“Uh-huh.” I nodded skeptically. “Sure. And you didn’t question why the gate and front doors were closed?” 

“Look-” He paused. “You want the truth?”

“Yes.”

He took a deep breath, steadying himself. “I’m here to take back what has always been mine.”

I tense up. So this kid is Raphael. 

“I almost forgot to ask,” I said. “What’s your name?”

“Uh- what?” He’s confused. This is taking too long. I need confirmation so I can get this over with.  His eyes look at my nametag, bewildered at my unusual name. Gryff. I get angrier that he’s not answering me.

“What. Is. Your. Name.” I hissed.

“Raphael. It’s...er… nice to meet you? Um, sir?” He stuttered.

That’s it. I reached for my gun, but he sprinted for the case, grabbed the book, and dashed out of the classics section. I ran after him, cursing my luck for not securing him when I had the chance. 

I finally cornered him against the wall, and I pointed my gun at him. I really wish I could spare this kid, but my job always comes first. 

“Tell me who you are before I shoot you right here and now,” I growled. 

Raphael’s eyes traced my scars. I realized there was a window behind him, and moonlight shone in to illuminate my face. 

“You aren’t a guard here, are you?” He asked, hesitantly.

“No,” I say. “I am not.”

Raphael shifted in place, still grasping the book and eyeing the door a couple feet away that I was blocking. I continued.

“I was sent here to retrieve a book of spells which was only passed down from generation to generation. When I found out that it was in this library, I knew I could get my hands on it. But I wasn’t just sent here to retrieve the book.” I looked at him, my mind set. A flash of fear crossed his face as he processed my words.

“What do you mean?” He asked shakily.

“I was sent here to kill you.” 

I raise my gun and shoot as he bolts for the door. The bullet catches him right in the side, a definitely fatal shot, and he falls to the floor, book in hand.

I walk over to him, ready to grab the book and finish the mission, but something stops me in my tracks.

The rise and fall of his chest.

How is he alive?

April 29, 2021 18:23

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86 comments

19:45 May 08, 2021

I’m gonna move our thread here, lol. I’ll leave some critique too :) Okay, how is there only one comment? Like... wow. It’s not your best work, but this is actually amazing. Like, that suspense climbing? lol, can’t English rn bc of my test and play and STRESS I do have a college picked out, lol. Oberlin, Saic, Rwu, Pratt... okay more than one, lol

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Corbin Sage
20:00 May 08, 2021

nice I do get that it's not my best work. I personally think the quality of my writing has been going down rn because of my school and extracurriculars and WRITER'S BLOCK lol. I also wrote this in an hour or two and didn't really look over it. My friend, Nova, wrote her part and I followed the storyline she set. What are you planning to study in college? Do you have a career picked out?

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20:02 May 08, 2021

It's not bad work! It's just not the absolute best one. But it does deserve more views, lol. Creative writing, maybe psych

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Corbin Sage
20:05 May 08, 2021

Thank you! My current career plan is to be an art therapist- someone who works with clients through art. If I can start writing better though, I might be an author as a hobby.

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20:21 May 08, 2021

That sounds interesting... I've seen a lot of art therapy things... it's actually pretty interesting

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Corbin Sage
20:23 May 08, 2021

Yeah! I'm taking courses on that career path right now.

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Corbin Sage
16:41 May 09, 2021

I'll move the thread up here. You're right, I bet that does feel frustrating. I can definitely see how you feel that your identities will always be linked. Are you all planing to go to the same college? And stay near each other? Also, body dysphoria is real 🥲

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17:20 May 09, 2021

Oh, we are def not going to the same colleges. And I’m like the only cis boy I know that has body dysphoria which is... uncomfortable

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Corbin Sage
18:16 May 09, 2021

So you'll be able to separate yourself from your siblings there, right? Oh, that sounds like SO much fun. I made the terrible decision to wear a dress today, even though I'm decidedly NOT female today, and I'm just suffering lol

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21:43 May 09, 2021

Yeah, exactly. Like, I don’t want people to know I’m just like them... mostly because I’m not. Guys can wear dresses... I did... once. It was for my cousin and we’re the same size so I had to try it on... coincidentally, they’re a guy now... lol.

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Corbin Sage
22:40 May 09, 2021

Yeah! That does make sense. Lol, that's fun. I do wear dresses when I'm not female, like sometimes as a male or neither I wear them and I don't feel like I'm dressing feminine, but sometimes, like today, I feel "invalidated" and dsyphoric.

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Corbin Sage
16:13 May 14, 2021

How's your day going so far?

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17:35 May 14, 2021

Not entirely eventful... I mean, it's not bad; the only bad thing was that I had a headache. Yesterday was bad for me, but I'm feeling good today and wrote a good amount. I also was sorta jokingly planning dying my hair with my friend for the first time, but I might actually

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Corbin Sage
19:25 May 14, 2021

Sorry about your headache, those suck. Imagine actually writing... You should! My parents won't allow me too, but I've wanted to for a while.

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11:26 May 15, 2021

Lol... it’d be fun. I feel like I’ve been successful with writing; I try to get 2000-4000 words a day (especially weekdays, bc I have writing classes) and for the past week, it’s worked! I didn’t write at all the week before, so I’m catching up, little by little. I promised myself that I’d post my story when it got to an hour reading time... but i have to hold out! There’s just so much more I could do!

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Corbin Sage
18:23 May 15, 2021

Yeah! I don't have a ton of time, being in-person and with extracurriculars. It's good to try to push yourself to be better. For me, Reedsy was all about actually finishing something. I never did before I got on to Reedsy lol.

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Nova Artino
22:51 Apr 29, 2021

Bewildering! Phenomenal! Absolutely spectacular! Bravo!!!! *insert clapping here*

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Corbin Sage
00:34 Apr 30, 2021

Tyyyy

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