48 comments

Contemporary

“Next time you want to play with me, learn the game.”

Cassie levels me with a predatory smirk. I glare at her attempting to look mildly annoyed instead of utterly defeated. It’s unconvincing, probably because I’m sprawled out on the floor and she’s perched on top of the desk holding Marie Antoinette’s priceless, diamond necklace teasingly out of reach. 

I kick out, catching her leg with mine, and pull her off the desk. She stumbles, but doesn’t fall. As her eyes darken, I regain my footing. We both know it all depends on who gets to the window with the diamonds in hand first. Only two minutes before the police get here. 

I tackle her to the ground, and the impact sends the necklace flying across the room. I make a break for it, but before I take two steps she grasps my foot. I lose my balance, my momentum slamming me into the floor. Breathless, I roll over. She presses her knee into my abdomen as she reaches for the necklace. Bracing my legs and hips, I roll us over. She rolls us back. I’m already holding the diamonds. 

Flashing a smile, I slip out from under her and make my way to the window. There’s a tugging on my waist and a pleasant pressure against my neck. Leaning into the embrace, I let my guard down for one second too long. She pulls the necklace from my grip, then spins me away from her. It takes me a moment to recover. When I do, she’s already halfway out the window. She smiles at me. It carries none of the bite it had. It’s sweet, genuine, and devastatingly sad. Then she’s gone, and I’m banging my hands on the windowsill. She’s halfway across the street when I hear the sirens blaring. As I slip into the night, I consider our previous run in.

* * *

Staring at the computer screen I try to learn everything I can about Casanova’s biography. The more I know the smoother the heist will go. It’s all I can think about, and all I have thought about ever since I heard they’re after it too. I close my computer and draw a blueprint of the museum entirely from memory. I’ve already scoped the area, and calculated the police response time. I can only hope they planned their heist for tonight. After all, they need to see that I’m the one who bested them. She needs to see that I bested her. Pulling on my soft and flexible, comfortable but fitted black clothes I rerun through my plan. I release the breath I’m holding. It’s time. And I’m ready.

Slinking through the museum, I stick close to the walls and avoid the cameras. As soon as I reach the security office I kneel with my face low and work the lock until I hear the satisfying click. Once inside I pull out my tiny, unassuming device and plug it into the system. It immediately goes dark. I let out a small victorious laugh, then I remember. Finn taught me how to do that. Melancholy hits me as if a bomb had just been dropped in the room. I shake it off, and continue to my real destination. 

Casanova’s Biography is in a climate controlled room all by itself in a glass case. Feeling haughtily confident I take a step in, and immediately step back out as sensors light up the room. I hear a soft chuckle behind me, and a shiver runs down my spine. My head tilts as I turn towards her. I stop before I can see her. Instead, I crawl, twist, extend, and maneuver my way to the prize. When I reach it I pause until she joins me, ensuring she can’t see me unlocking the case. 

“What now?” She sneers at me in self-satisfaction. “The second you open that case they’ll know you’re here.”

“No,” I smile back at her as I slip my fingers under the glass. “They’ll know you’re here.”

I throw the lid towards her. As she stumbles back, using her arms to cover her face, I grab the book the start running for the exit. After three steps the glass shatters and Cassie screams in agony. She uses her comm to ask Tabby for help. My lips curl into a wicked grin.

Tabby passes me on her way to help Cassie. She doesn’t know that, as I’m hidden in the shadows. I slip a hand into her pocket and pull out her keys as she rushes past me. I toss them in the air and catch them again, just to prove I can, then I hear the sirens ring out. 

I throw open the door of the sports car like I own it. In the rearview mirror I see Abby, and Finn chasing after me. Making eye contact with Nico as he kneels over Cassie I find myself laughing. 

* * *

“Haven’t you always wanted more?” 

I’m in a penthouse suite with four people I’ve never seen before. My art replicas have, apparently, caught their attention. They’re thieves. I’m supposed to be making a copy of the Mona Lisa, and up until this point I’ve refused.

“Yeah, I have.”

“This world is cruel.” Nico says while staring apathetically out the window. “If you don’t take what you want you’ll get left behind.”

I start to protest, but he cuts me off.

“You have real potential. Don’t waste it.”

I’m nodding along before I can stop myself.

“I knew it,” Cassie puts her arm around my shoulder, “you’re just what we need.”

Over the next month I find myself coming into my own like never before. We banter and joke while also discussing and contemplating. I work endlessly every day to make the perfect copy of one of the most famous paintings in history. I’ve learned to never be satisfied until Nico gives his nod of approval. 

Cassie and I break into the museum together. She holds my hand as she walks me through the steps of the heist. I hold onto her as if she were a lifeline, but I can’t deny the thrill of excitement coursing through me.

“You ready?” She glances at me from the corner of her eye.

“Yes.”

She smiles and we take down the painting. She pulls out a small knife and hands it to me. I’m shaking and sweating, but I take it and start to remove the frame. She places both hands on my shoulders and presses into my back. It’s comforting, and calms me enough to finish the work quickly. We roll up the real painting, then attach the fake to the frame and put the picture back on the wall. We run to the waiting car, and before we even get the door closed we’re zooming away. I start laughing and cheering from the high of my first heist and the beginning of a new life.

We join the others at the suite, and I’m greeted with a clap on the back from Finn, and hugs from Tabby and Cassie. Nico holds out his hands for the painting. I give it to him without a second thought.

“A word of advice,” He takes the painting from me, “don’t ever let another thief have your winnings.”

I let out an amused, exasperated laugh. “Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind. So, where are we going next?”

“It would be foolish of us to tell you that.” Cassie mutters mysteriously as she moves to stand next to Nico.

“Why? Is it a surprise?” I take on a teasing tone as I quirk an eyebrow at them.

“Not exactly.” Says Cassie, looking me in the eye for the first time since we got back. “We’re leaving now.”

“Right now?” I ask in surprise.

“We’re leaving. You’re not.”

“You’re not really cut out for this life. Go back home.” Nico smiles at me, not unkind but not friendly either. 

Tears sting my eyes and my vision blurs. I don’t see them leave, but I hear the door close and I know they’re not coming back. I steel myself and furiously wipe my eyes. I’m not done yet. They’ll regret this day, I promise myself as I sit down at the table to plan my next heist. Tears stain the paper I’m reading, but I don’t care. Italy, here I come.

April 17, 2021 03:38

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48 comments

Monica June
03:31 Apr 18, 2021

This is great! It leaves me wonder just enough to want more. tiny edit: “I knew it,” Cassies puts her arm around my shoulder, “you’re just what we need.” You wrote "Cassies" instead of Cassie. The plotline was interesting, and it started with a good hook, which pulled me in from the beginning. I also wrote for this prompt, and I took a different approach than most of the submissions. I saw that people were actually writing stories that could be read backwards, and that's so impressive! I can't even begin to think how you managed that, h...

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Anna Elizabeth
03:52 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you so much! I fixed it. I don't know how people are able to write backwards, I had to do it in sections that still move forward in time.

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Monica June
03:59 Apr 18, 2021

oooh I see. That makes sense. Still, though, it made sense both ways. That would confuse me xD

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Anna Elizabeth
04:01 Apr 18, 2021

Yours was really good though, I liked that it took us through all the steps of what happened and what got us to that point.

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Monica June
17:39 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you! I didn't even think about doing it the other way, so I was surprised to see that I did things different haha

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Cole Lane
13:45 Apr 23, 2021

I love how we drop right into the action, but you still left enough of a question for me to want to read the next section (or technically the previous section chronologically :)). I liked watching the evolution of your MC, seeing the naivety and trust (in the wrong people, unfortunately) to confidence.

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Anna Elizabeth
23:04 Apr 23, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Michael Boquet
23:27 Apr 21, 2021

This is a really cool story. I could see everything clearly in my head, especially the scuffle at the very beginning. This story reads like a summary of an action movie and I loved it.

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Anna Elizabeth
00:27 Apr 22, 2021

Thank you! I just tried to write what I was seeing in my head and I wasn’t sure it was very clear, so I’m glad to know that it was easy to read and understand.

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Ruth Smith
03:50 Apr 19, 2021

This was a real complicated prompt and you did it well. I'm confused if one of your characters is named Abby or Tabby. You use them both. She calls Tabby for help but you get keys off of Abby. Are they one and the same?

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Anna Elizabeth
05:44 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you! No, it was a typo, I fixed it now.

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"Italy, here I come."

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Anna Elizabeth
23:47 Apr 26, 2021

:)

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Evelin Smith
03:24 Apr 23, 2021

This kind of story is hard to pull off, but this is amazing. Great job! :)

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Anna Elizabeth
03:27 Apr 23, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Lyn Carstone
00:05 Apr 22, 2021

Loved your story. :) I like that we learn more about their history as we progress backwards.

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Anna Elizabeth
00:24 Apr 22, 2021

Thank you!

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Hugo Millaire
23:45 Apr 21, 2021

Wow!! Fantastic story and it's really well written. This looks like quite the challenging prompt and you nailed it. Great characters too!

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Anna Elizabeth
00:25 Apr 22, 2021

Thank you so much! I wish I had a little more time to really get the relationships down, but I think it stills comes across well.

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Hugo Millaire
00:35 Apr 22, 2021

Well you nailed it nevertheless!!

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Hugo Millaire
00:35 Apr 22, 2021

Well you nailed it nevertheless!!

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Chelsea Iversen
23:36 Apr 21, 2021

This was really fun and exciting throughout. I think it reads well, especially considering the challenging prompt. Well done!

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Anna Elizabeth
00:26 Apr 22, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Cookie Carla🍪
18:58 Apr 20, 2021

Heyo!! Can you read my story "Sign of a Haunt"? It was the first story last week that I threw out because I had HORRIBLE Writer's Block😭. I think it turned out pretty great and I'd love to get feedback :DD

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Anna Elizabeth
20:44 Apr 21, 2021

I get that, I’ll check it out as soon as I get the chance.

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Cookie Carla🍪
20:55 Apr 21, 2021

Thank you!!

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Rose Of Venus
12:47 Apr 19, 2021

Different from your previous works, but still thoroughly enjoyable! I was originally going to do this prompt, but I couldn't figure out how to write a story backward to save my life!

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Anna Elizabeth
18:52 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you, I had to take it in small sections that still move forward in time, because I have no idea how to write a story that can actually be read backwards!

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Gip Roberts
18:46 Apr 18, 2021

I like the three-act structure you used with the clear breaks between each section. It made it easy to understand what was going on despite the nature of the prompt. I don't think I could handle writing a story that goes backwards, it's hard enough writing one that goes forwards. A prequel to this that continues backwards all the way to the main character's childhood to explain what led her to become fascinated with a life of crime would be interesting to read.

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Anna Elizabeth
00:34 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you so much! I wasn't able to write it completely backwards but I think it still worked well with the prompt. I haven't thought about a prequel, but that would be pretty fun!

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Victoria Bogatz
20:57 Jun 16, 2021

Great story! Only comment is that I wish it was a little clearer. I think especially with mystery-type stories, it's hard to balance keeping some things mysterious while making sure the reader understands what's going on. I would have liked some more description and detail-- I feel like there's more to be explored in the plot. Overall I really liked it though! The first line totally hooked me, and I loved reaching the end and seeing that was actually the last thing that happened in the plot. It fit so well with what I learned by the end. Gre...

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Anna Elizabeth
22:37 Jun 17, 2021

Thank you so much! I can definitely see where it can get confusing and unclear, but can I ask, if you have any specifics, what exactly you wanted to have more clear? Like a specific scene, or something particular with the plot?

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Victoria Bogatz
18:00 Jun 18, 2021

Like, what convinced the main character to make the forgery? How did they swap out the Mona Lisa without being caught? Where is the first scene (first scene we read, last scene in the plot) taking place? Are the four thrives the MC works for part of a larger group? Just little things like that.

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Anna Elizabeth
21:21 Jun 18, 2021

Thank you for this! I'll admit that some of these points didn't really cross my mind as something that needed to be explicit, but now that you've mentioned them I'll remember how important all the details are in creating a story.

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Victoria Bogatz
13:36 Jun 19, 2021

I agree that some things didn't need to be detailed, but those are some questions I had when reading. I still think this story is awesome though!

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Farwa Hassan
23:16 May 12, 2021

Wow, got hooked from the start! I really like your writing style. Short and simple, yet every detail is there. Wouldn't mind reading a novel on this, haha!

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Anna Elizabeth
00:23 May 13, 2021

Thank you! I wouldn’t mind writing a novel on this, haha!

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Echo Sundar
19:50 May 11, 2021

Wow. This story is amazing. I read the beginning and it hooked me. I just wanted to read more and see where the story went.

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Anna Elizabeth
00:50 May 12, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Rohit Mukundan
09:22 May 04, 2021

That was a lot of fun. I think with a few adjustments it can be read both backwards and forwards.

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Anna Elizabeth
17:50 May 04, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Kees Chan
20:28 Apr 21, 2021

THE HEAT OF REVANGE --Megamind I liked this! Had me at the edge of my seat heehee

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Anna Elizabeth
20:43 Apr 21, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Wendo Kenyanito
07:53 Apr 21, 2021

Heartbreakingly beautiful!

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Anna Elizabeth
18:37 Apr 21, 2021

Thank you!

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Ryan Lm Colli
17:23 May 10, 2021

Join this: https://www.guilded.gg/i/0k80xDmk Oh no... ouch. I definitely teared up by the end. I really can’t say enough good things about this story. I’m a Chinese-American young woman - who has a fondness for Mandarin scattered throughout English - so it especially hit hard for me. You captured so many bits of the culture incredibly well: 哥哥, 妈妈, offering food as a comfort tactic. All of it feels so loyal and true to real life. I absolutely love the tie-ins to other Chinese characters too. It’s a funny language. (I created...

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Anna Elizabeth
19:07 May 10, 2021

I think this comment might be meant for someone else’s story.

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Izzie P.
14:27 Apr 26, 2021

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