The League of Unusual Guys
Our chapter posted the previous week before the last.
The whooshing sound of the jet packs fizzled out, and the invaders began moving across the ground. Ryan could hear the muffled sound of voices in the night, but he could not tell where they were coming from or what they were saying. He peeked around the bushes, hoping to get a better sense of what's going on. The dimly lit streets were too remote to aid Ryan in his quest for knowledge. So, he slowly stepped forward to come out of the bushes.
Finally, he could make out two dark forms heading through the flower garden toward the back windows of the house. As he reached the edge of the landscaping, he scanned the yard for any other robbers approaching the house. At first he couldn't see anyone, but a buzz of a drill and then a pop caught him by surprise. There were at least three other people by the windows. Two were carefully removing the glass pieces so as not to set off alarm system. Another man was inspecting the house for motion detectors and cameras. Ryan couldn't tell how many people may have actually been around the house, and he knew he had to maintain a low profile.
Ryan crept forward, staying low to the ground. He watched as the other two men approached the window slowly. There was more muffled voices and the sound of the drill again. Then, with a pop, two of the men lifted a sheet of glass out from the window and set it on the ground against the wall. It was a very clean cut from what Ryan could see, and it could easily be returned back into place, hiding their escape route.
Finally, the burglars began to enter the house. One by one, they each took careful steps to avoid setting off any motion detectors. Several kept a careful watch, and Ryan made sure to stay behind the bushes until they had cleared away. Once the last person got his turn to go through, he scanned the area one last time. Then, he lifted himself up and the others pulled him inside the house.
His heart racing, Ryan quickly glanced at his phone to check the time. It was about fifteen minutes after already. He knew Tracy was not suppose to reply, but instinct made him check anyway. Naturally, there was nothing. He could only hope for the best as he quickly made his way over to the open window.
Silence swept over the room as the French man, Cartier, slowly dropped down his cards. He had three of a kind. Howard Brown wrinkled his face in disgust, leaning back in his chair. With only two pair, he knew he'd been defeated. Alex Croft and Laurence Ackerman had both folded this round, waiting for better luck.
Finally, it came to Kevin. A bead of sweat trickled down his face and he adjusted his coat, trying to get more comfortable. Wiping his brow, he silently laid his cards down on the table. It was a straight, easily topping Cartier's play. Cartier slowly leaned back, hiding well his disappointment as Jared Thomson's turn came around.
The Texan sipped at his Root Beer and then dropped his cards on the table for everyone to see. He had only two pair, leaving Kevin as the winner for that round. From his seat at the bar, Gary silently cheered his friend on.
Not bad! Alex Croft smiled, glancing toward Kevin. Looks like the flop really worked out to your benefit this round.
It's all part of the system. Kevin said cryptically, trying to put on a good front. Still, he remained noticeably uncomfortable. I've been working at it a while. He said simply, eager to move on.
You've made quite a turnaround Mr. Morgenstern. Cartier added with his distinct French accent. Have you played much before this?
I used to play, Kevin replied, a long time ago. I was quite good at it.
A long time ago. Jared laughed. Nothing compares with experience. You know I've been playing this for years, and I can always tell a rookie from a pro. You, I can tell have been playing this for a while.
Indeed, I suspect that this man is much more than he seems. Ackerman pointed out, eying Kevin curiously. Ackerman signaled to one of the waiters for another drink as the dealer quietly began passing out cards. The question is how he'd fair against our leader right now, Alex Croft.
Kevin adjusted his tie again and reached for his coat. He took it off and strung it around the back of his chair. He glanced about at the various players. He noticed Ackerman whispering something to the bartender as the man brought up Ackerman's drink. Cartier seemed very reserved, waiting for the others to make the first move. Jared was downing another drink, and then he saw Alex Croft at the other end of the table. Alex glanced down at his hand and then back at the deck again. Kevin couldn't help but get a chill. Something was up.
Ryan crouched down on the floor inside the mansion. Dark green curtains were arranged around the windows and made a nice hiding place for Ryan as he made his way in. He peeked around them to get a sense of his environment. The large room was packed with furniture tables, lamps, bookshelves, potted plants, and even a full suit of armor neatly arranged on a stand. Ryan's eyes darted over to a small camera mounted on the wall in the corner. He noticed that it had been blocked on its pivot, forcing it to point toward an empty wall.
The room appeared devoid of activity. Ryan could only see the pendulum swings of a large clock ticking away on the fireplace mantle. It was nearly twenty minutes to two. Being overly cautious, he had lost sight of the robbers when he had stealthily slipped inside the window.
Immediately, his eyes darted toward the glass box on the front wall. Behind a protective layer of glass, the diamond was still safely resting within its case. The suit of armor stood next to it like a guard, and a potted plant was on the other side. Beside the camera, everything in the room seemed in perfect order, and the robbers were nowhere to be seen.
This worried Ryan, and he was beginning to be concerned that he may have been spotted. He couldn't help but wonder what Vince and the others may be looking to find. Perhaps they were making a diligent effort to break the code on the security system control box, or maybe they were making an effort to cut the right wires.
He just hoped that no one was nearby keeping guard and watching the room where he was. Ryan crept out on the smooth tile floor and headed toward a nearby table. As he moved he noticed a shadow moving across the hall in the nearby kitchen. Instinctively, he crouched down and hid behind the table. Then, he noticed a light in the kitchen glisten with life. Ryan strained his eyes, adjusting to the bright lighting. He soon realized that someone was stirring in the house and it wasn't the robbers.
As his eyes adjusted, Ryan finally began to make out the figure of Eleanor Bennett. He quickly recognized her distinctive mannerisms and her lady-like demeanor. Ryan concluded that Vince and his gang must have seen her coming and gone into hiding. Eleanor walked over to the sink and poured a glass of water to drink. She drank it and set it aside. For a moment she stopped, and she scanned the room with her eyes. Ryan's heart nearly skipped a beat when she looked in his direction. There was an awkward pause. Then, she walked out of the room again and switched off the light.
There was a long silence as Ryan steadied his breathing. However, he soon could detect the thieves heading into the room again. He frowned and quickly searched for a better hiding place. He silently moved behind a nearby couch and peeked around the side to see the robbers. They were gathering near the glass case that held the diamond. Ryan's mind raced as he looked for a way to take action. Then, he looked up at the overhead chandelier and quietly scratched his head.
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