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“Get me out of here!” Spades hissed at his walkie-talkie.
“Relax,” Jack’s drawling voice crackled through the radio, and Spades nearly dropped it as the noise blared at him. He fumbled to turn it down, struggling to keep his hands from trembling. “I’m waiting for you outside, just go back the way you came.”
Spades resisted the urge to throw the little black radio. “I would,” He said through gritted teeth, “But there are guards that way… and let’s just say they won’t be pleased to see me with the thing they’re…well…guarding.” He risked a glance down at his belt, where a thick leather pouch held a prize worth more than both he and Jack combined.
A 1,000-carat diamond.
It wasn’t that the Clubs had wanted to steal one of the biggest diamonds in the world…ok, no, they had wanted to. But they also needed to, and they’d return it! Well, they’d return it eventually. Maybe. Probably not now that he was thinking about it, but still, this was a borrowing effort.
More than anything, this had been a chance for Jack and Spades to prove themselves as master criminals, not just petty thieves. To finally put the Clubs syndicate on the map. That… and maybe paying off a few of Jack’s debts that were starting to interfere with their work.
Not to mention they’d be spankin’ rich.
Some voices came from the hallway Spades had just entered from, and he cursed. The initial break in had actually been pretty easy, but they had expected it to be. After all, this museum was built for tourists to enter. Maybe not at night, but there were quite a few entrances people forgot to lock.
Exiting would be the hard part.
Spades’s eyes swept around the room. It wasn’t as extravagant as the diamond room had been, what with all of its crowns and velvets and plastic jewels lining the walls. This room was mostly built of plaques and panels celebrating the Royal Guards and the military. Spades felt the eyes of the soldiers painted on the walls staring down at him threateningly, guilt seeping through his bones.
Finally his eyes came to rest on a vent above the tallest panel–one of the first royal family. It was tiny, but as the voices of guards came closer, Spades decided a quick squeeze wouldn’t hurt too bad. He scurried forward, jumping off of the bench facing the wall and grabbing the top of the panel, using the rubber on his sneakers to prop himself up. His chest slammed against the plaster and he wheezed, doing his best to keep his grip.
With a deep breath he pulled himself up, reaching forward and grabbing the vent. It caught him before he could fall back to the ground, but wasn’t built to hold his weight. The metal groaned and bent, and suddenly Spades realized he had made a huge mistake.
With a final moan, the vent snapped free, spiraling towards the tile floor below. Spades managed to grab on to the history panel again to stop himself from falling, watching helplessly as the vent slammed against the floor, ringing like a loud church bell.
For a moment all was silent, the broken vent door mocking him. Then the silence came to a screeching halt, as voices started calling out, asking for flashlights and security. Damn it.
Spades scrambled to the now open vent, pulling himself up with a huff. If he was quick, the guards might think it was a rat? He was about to drag himself in when the leather bag holding the diamond caught on the entrance. He cursed every expletive he knew and pulled it loose, throwing himself into the airways with a final push.
And not a moment too soon. Just as his feet were pulled away from the entrance, he heard guards running into the room. He held his breath as they searched, squeezing as far away from the entrance to the vent as possible without moving his body. A flashlight lit up the vent from below.
“Looks like a weight was pulled on it,” A gruff voice said.
“Hm.” A woman’s voice. “But there’s no way anyone could actually fit up there, right? It’s tiny.”
Spades would normally roll his eyes whenever someone pointed out how small he was, but this time he felt grateful. His short height and tiny frame had finally come in handy.
The gruff voice coughed. “I don’t know. Best to check anyways. I’ll go grab a ladder, you two stay here and wait to see if the potential intruder comes down.” Heavy footsteps walked away.
So there are three of them. Spades thought grimly. Looks like I’ll have to take my chances crawling. He slowly raised himself up to hands and knees, and was about to make his first move when a loud beeping sound came from his belt.
“Yo Spades,” Jack’s voice said, ever so loudly, “A bunch of guards are coming your way, just want you to-” Spades ripped the batteries out of the radio, but it was too late. Voices came from below, shouting orders. Someone was yelling to get the police, and the woman was calling in her walkie-talkie about an intruder.
“No, no no no no no no no-” Spades crawled as fast as he could through the vent, wincing at the sharp pressure and cold metal against his knees. He saw hints of moonlight ahead of him, and quickened his pace. Maybe he’d be able to get out, maybe-
Something bent beneath him, and he realized too late that he had put his weight on a vent opening. He cried out as it gave way beneath him. This opening was big enough that his whole body was sent crashing to the floor, hitting hard as he failed to catch himself. His tailbone smacked against the tile, and he felt tears start to form. This, he decided, is the worst heist in history.
“There he is!” Spades looked up to see the three night guards come streaming towards him, flashlights all pointed directly at his crumpled figure. He stood up and turned, sprinting down the long hallway. The exhibits to his sides watched him run, and he debated trying to hide in there, but decided by the sound of footsteps behind him that hiding would be a useless idea.
His ski mask, which he had once mocked Jack for making him wear, now felt like a line of protection, and he subconsciously pulled it down tighter.
The corridor was coming to an end, and if he kept going down the pace he was he would slam into the oncoming wall. The hall wound to the right, so he reached his hand forward, grabbing onto the wall and skidding around. He heard some thumps behind him, signifying the guards not being able to make the tight turn.
A fire exit stood ahead of him and Spades grinned. Just a few more meters and he’d be out of the museum. After that it was just a hop skip and a jump to the front of the building where Jack would be waiting for him, and then they were home free.
He raced down the hallway, and was about to make his grand escape through the fireway when red lights filled the room, and a mind numbingly loud screech flooded the museum. Spades heard the metal gates start to fall down in front of the doors around him, crushing what was left of his optimism.
A loud voice pierced through the room on the loudspeaker. “Code Red: The Ace’s Diamond has been stolen, I repeat, the Ace’s Diamond has been stolen. This is not a drill.”
The only thing keeping Spades from screaming at the top of his lungs was hearing the oceans of guards behind him, growing larger with every passing second. The diamond weighed down on his hip and his mind raced, trying to find a solid reason to not drop the dumb thing.
I’m gonna be rich I’m gonna be rich I’m gonna be rich this is definitely worth it I’m gonna be rich- He gritted his teeth and pushed himself as hard as he could, practically sliding to the fire exit that was, luckily, not locking down. Thank god for safety measures.
He slammed his whole body against the door, stumbling into the dark, cold snow outside. An employee parking lot. He swiveled around and scanned the surroundings, finally laying his eyes on a fence locking him from the outside lots. Spades was debating trying to find a different way out when he heard the door open behind him, accompanied by the sound of distant police sirens.
Fine, he thought grimly. I can make a final climb. He ran forward, snow slushing in his shoes. With a deep breath he flew forward and shot up the fence, jumping down and out to the front of the museum. The guards behind were all bigger than he was, so hopefully it was taking them a bit longer to scale the mesh of the fence.
Spades ran to the road in front of the museum, trying to ignore the police sirens wailing in the distance that were creeping closer with every second. “Jack!” He screamed into his radio. “Jack where are-” His voice cut off as he realized the radio was lighter. Of course it was, he had ripped the batteries out.
“Right here.” Spades whirled around to see a familiar parked van. The driver’s side window was rolled down, revealing a red head man. He lounged lazily, feet propped against the steering wheel. “What took you so long?” Jack said with a grin.
Spades mentally ringed the man’s neck, but physically threw himself into the van’s passenger seat. “Go go go!” He yelled. The guards had made their way over the fence and were now rushing towards them, aiming what Spades hoped were tasers. At the same time, police cars swerved into the street, rushing towards them.
“Hell, Spades,” Jack whistled. “Coulda done it a bit more quietly, dontcha think?”
“Shut up and drive.”
“Roger that, Cap’n.” Jack pulled the car into gear, and with a quick stomp on the gas went flying backwards. It was a trick that Spades had only seen Jack do, driving perfectly in reverse. They sped backwards, followed loosely by stunned law enforcement.
As they reached the end of the street, Jack twisted the van into a 180, going forward as fast as the old car could handle. “Sooooo,” He said, nonchalant as ever. “Lemme see it!”
Spades rolled his eyes but brought forth the leather bag, opening it. The diamond shined up at both of them, and Jack whistled. “Consider my debts paid.”
“Yeah, if you can get us away.” Spades jabbed. But he had to admit, seeing the diamond in his hands felt good. This would not only pay off Jack’s debts, but Spades himself would be rich.
Spades stuffed the bag into a backpack by his feet. Jack shrugged, but kept driving quickly. They had reached a back alley of twists and turns that was normally hard to navigate, but Jack had down to a science.
Spades finally let himself relax. They were getting away, and soon they would have enough money to live like kings. Well…He glanced at Jack.
As long as it wasn’t all gambled away.