Saturday, May 28, 2005


He leaped over the low wall and onto the wet grass stealthily, landing with the agility of a jungle cat. Without getting up, he looked around. He grinned at the uninterrupted snoring emanating from the guards' cabin. 'Suckers,' he whispered.
Slinging the strap of his satchel over his shoulder, he strode across the sweeping lawn, unchallenged, towards the main building. The night was cold, biting into the skin under his sweater, his urgent breath condensing in front of him. He removed his leather gloves, blew into his numb palms, and then rubbed them together vigorously -- there was no point in catching a chill. He put his gloves back on and started to whistle softly. Tonight was going to be good, he felt it in his bones.
The building was ahead, intimidating in its majesty, ivy draped across its grey, towering pillars, giving an impression of a domineering matron scowling at errant boys. More so in the darkness of night. He marched up the steps at the entrance insolently, in his rubber shoes, secure in the knowledge that there was nobody between him and the goodies. He had done this before, and every time he was amazed at the folly of the authorities and the slackness of the security around the place.
He bounded up the broad flight of stairs, three steps at a time, eager in his pursuit -- he didn't have time to waste. He was heading for the first floor, more specifically, a small window that he had left open earlier in the day, when he had done his 'preparation'. He found it open, and muttered a silent thanks. Sliding the glass shutter up, he eased himself into the hallway, and pulled the window shut.
It was dark and quiet, just the way he liked. He felt some of the tension leaving him, now that he was inside. Taking his torch out of the satchel, he flicked it on, scattering the darkness. He was amazed at the quality -- and the quantity -- of the stuff that lay before him, stacked in shelves that ran for -- what seemed to him -- miles. Nobody could assess the value of all of this, he thought. But he was only interested in the one thing that had made him risk this operation, and it lay in its place further down the hall.
He broke into an easy run -- the soles of his shoes making only the slightest of noises -- scanning the shelves as he ran. He turned into the rack where he knew his treasure lay, and caught his breath. He slowed to a walk, looking eagerly. And there it was, gleaming in the light from his torch. He stopped and laughed contentedly.
Taking it out of its resting place, he felt its weight as it lay in his gloved hands. Flipping the torch beam to 'high', he sat down on the floor, and commenced his work. He never quite understood why they didn't let him borrow more books from the library.


. : A : . said...


Nice twist.

Brood Mode said...

cool one. I wouldn't mind doing this

consumerdemon said...

I used to hide under the bed and read when I was 10 :D
Sadly, there wasn't a good enuf library in Ranipet where I spent the first 17 years of my life. There was a library where my mother had memebership, butI went there when I was in 6th standard and I had already read all the books that they had. I felt cheated.

consumerdemon said...

have you read Raffles?

Kripa Shankar said...

good one..
aptly titled..."madness".
you are making this a habit aren't you? Defining yourself a style huh.
(btw is the treasure = Archie.)

The Man Who Wasnt There said...

ha ha! ya guess ur getting "unpredictably" predictable! :D How abt a thought provoking post? something that would make us go "damn it was right there still we didnt think of it..'?

musafir said...

@ .:a:. : Thanks! ;)

@ brood mode: :) You bet!

@ consumer demon: Ah, but then so have I - madness indeed! And no, haven't read/heard of 'Raffles'; why do you have to give me a complex every time we talk about books?

@ kripa shankar: Yeah, I liked the title. And no, am most certainly not developing a style; I just felt that this piece was better if written this way. The style is just a means and not an end. (No, it wasn't Archie; why do you need to put a picture to everything?)

@ girish...! : I knew someone would make that comment! But then I'm just practising :-)

Ravi said...

Superb! Nice twist, too! :)

musafir said...

@ ravi: Thanks - appreciate your comments! :-)