Inspired by: Visions of Johanna
Ein parked the ambulance, that he “borrowed” from Elizabeth Hopkins, outside a brownstone in downtown Beacon.
“Ready?” Ein asked.
“Would you shut up? You’re blowing this already. I knew we shouldn’t have trusted a nobody we met online.” Duke said.
“The house is abandoned. We’ve watched it for a week. He brought us good intel, chill out. Don’t take it personally, he’s always jittery.”
Duke took a deep breath. Veronica pulled her mask down over her face, Duke did the same. They jumped out the back of the ambulance. Ein acted as a lookout.
Duke jimmied the lock of the brownstone. Across the street, a light turned on in a loft. Duke froze, but they were still in the shadows. A second later, they made their way inside.
“You need to relax, Duke, no one is here.”
Duke and Veronica turned on their flashlights and searched for the safe.
“It’s probably behind a picture frame or some cliche,” Duke said.
As the couple worked their way deeper into the brownstone, a man came down the stairs sure that he heard something. He walked to the front door and found it unlocked. He could have sworn he locked it before bed. He turned the latch, satisfied he mended the problem nagging at him he went back to bed.
Veronica shone her light on a portrait of the presumed owner of the home. He looked posh and in his mid to late fifties. Garden variety billionaire if you asked either of them.
“Bingo,” Veronica said.
Duke and Veronica carefully lifted the portrait off the wall to reveal… nothing, just a bare wall.
“I guess he’s not that much of a cliche,” Veronica said.
Duke just grumbled under his breath.
“Maybe in the master bedroom. We better put this back.”
“I’ve got it, let go.”
“Duke, it’s ten feet tall and four feet wide. You’ll drop it.”
“No, I won’t. Do you know how much I can lift?”
“It’s not about the weight, it’s the…”
Duke ripped the portrait out of Veronica’s hands and tried to hang it back up by himself. Sure enough, the painting wobbled, and he kept missing the hook. Veronica tried to reach out and help him, but he yanked the portrait away, which caused it to topple out of his hands.
The frame cracked against the floor, and the painting ripped.
“You’re such an idiot. Now someone will know we were here.”
“Come on, let’s check the bedroom. This night better be worth it.”
They climbed up the stairs and tried to figure out which one is the master bedroom.
“All of these rooms are gigantic,” Veronica whispered, but even whispers managed to echo in the enormity of this house.
Duke shushed her and pointed to a room at the end of the hall. They slowly walked toward it and look around. They saw the unmistakable outline of a bed, and the room next door was entirely full of clothing.
“This whole guest bedroom is a closet!” Veronica can’t believe the extravagance.
“I bet it’s in the closet.”
They entered the closest and looked through the clothing.
Duke kicked a pile of clothing and almost broke his foot. He stifled a scream while Veronica moved the clothing to reveal a safe hidden beneath.
Veronica rested an ear against the safe and carefully turned the dial. A few minutes later, she had it open. Inside they found hundreds of thousands in cash, gold watches, rings, diamonds, and other assorted valuables.
“Where’s the bag?” Veronica asked.
“I thought you were carrying it. Aren’t women always carrying bags? Why don’t you have a bag?”
“Ugh! Give me that!” Veronica said, pointing to a large cowboy hat.
Duke handed it to her, and she filled it to the brim with as much treasure as she could.
“Now, let’s get out of here!”
They ran down the stairs and to the front door.
“It’s locked,” Duke said, “Did you lock it?”
“No, I didn’t lock it.”
“Well, someone locked it!”
“Who cares? We’re inside just un-fucking-lock it, and let’s go.”
Duke unlocked the door, and they ran into the ambulance waiting inside. As they ran down the steps, Ein saw a man looking out the window of the master bedroom for a moment. Ein even felt he looked directly at him.
The back of the ambulance opened, Duke and Veronica jumped in.
“Did you guys see anyone inside?”
“No, it was dead just like you said it would be.”
“Okay. Let’s get out of here.”
Ein turned on the ambulance and floored it down the street. No one chased him, but he took an erratic, reckless path anyway. The entire time back to the bar, though, he couldn’t help but think he saw Reggie Seward staring at him from the window.