Three months later...
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. The rythmatic pattern of her breath kept her body focused on her goal ahead. Keera has learned in the time she was living on the streets a couple tricks that helped her survive as long as she had. One, was to keep your body calm, even if your mind was going crazy. People couldn't see what it going on in her mind, and she hoped that by keeping her body calm, they wouldn't see her body moving either. Stealing was a major offence, punishable by a lifetime in prison or even death, depending on what the owner of the stolen goods decided upon. She would steal only what she needed to survive, a rule she had made for herself when she had first been thrown out of her own house and home. Yet even if she slipped up, just once, there would be no one to care for her small child sleeping in the wagon, innocent of everything going on around her.
Pushing the thoughts of her daughter alone and hungry, from her mind, Keera glanced around her to make sure no one was about, before starting for the store across the street. 'Mr.& Mrs. Leary's Grocery Store' was of medium size, probably supplying the town with the nessesities that they couldn't grow or make themselves. Keera kept her periferal vision on the neighboring buildings - a saftey precossion- as she slipped into the narrow alleyway between the grocery store and the blacksmiths. Enveloped in the black shadows cast into the alleyway, Keera felt confident no one was watching her, so she kept her eyes on the path ahead, scanning for any sign of life. A few stray cats skittered away as she approached but none made enough sound to attract attention. She refused to let the grin of victory spread across her face for she was only half done the job. When the alleyway ended, Keera came to the back of the store. Behind it was a couple buildings probably used for storage of some kind.
Acting on instinct, Keera sent her eyes over everything in search of a late night walker or homeless person hiding out until light. Though she doubted the last one, considering the town's small size there most likely wouldn't be "street people", -as people were so fond of calling them- like there was in the big cities. In the cities she had visited, as a pregnant young girl scared for her life, there were homeless people everywhere you turned. The thing that made Keera angrier than a bull moose was how the upper class folk treated the homeless - like they were a piece of horse manure to be stepped on.
Angrily, Keera once again turned her focus back to the heist at hand. Loosing focus for even once second could result in someone seeing her. She glanced back at the door. More than likely used for deliveries, she thought, considering the shape its in. The medium sized door was in a sorry shape, the metal used to forge it was rusted and old, breaking in some parts. Keera wouldnt have doubted if the door was as old as the town itself. The hinges holding it in place would no doubt squeak when she opened it, but that was a chance Keera had been willing to take. Even if the door squeaked, it was still better than using the front door and attracting unwanted attention. Looking at the lock placed on the door, Keera shook her head. It was flimsy, probably put on to keep the local kids out, if that. Keera had been picklocking long enough that, picking the lock on the door would be just as easy as opening the door itself.
Taking the pouch tied to the belt around her waiste, she opened it and shook the couple instruments she might need out onto the palm of her hand. Both instruments were odd shaped in size and look, to any amatur person they would look useless but to Keera they were the key to what she needed. She shifted the bandana on on her face down a centimeter, so she might see better, then began picking at the lock. Within a few minutes she heard the familiar 'click' of the lock coming undone. Swiftly but with the agility of a true thief, Keera shifted the door. As forseen, the door squeaked when she opened it and Keera cringed, then looked around to see if anyone had was about to hear the noise. Seeing no one, Keera slid in the narrow space in between the door and the outside wall. She breathed in the cold damp air in the building, then started her blind search for food and blankets.
Finding what she needed was a hard thing to do with no light but Keera dared not to stike up a match in case someone was outside and would see it. Instead, she used her sense of touch and felt around for what she was looking for. Running her fingers across the countertop she came across a soft fabric. She set down the sack she was caring and began to sort, with both hands, through the blankets. She didn't see the colors but went by which felt heavier and would give more warmth on cold nights.
With one hand she opened the sack and with the other she began stuffing the three blankets she had picked out, into it. Once she had the blankets safely packed in her bag, she stuck her hand out once more, and ran it across the countertop in search for food. Her fingers bumped into many odds and ends, and the occasional chest or box.
When it had seemed she had been searching along the countertops for an eternity, her fingers brushed across something bumpy but soft at the same time. Picking it up and placing it in the small light coming from the window, Keera soon identified it as a silver Claddagh ring. A sense of sadness overcame Keera as she looked at the beautiful and simple crowned heart, enfolded by two hands. Keera was familiar with the Claddagh ring she had one once upon time, before she sold it to get food for her starving child. The ring had been her mother's and Keera's only memory left of the woman who died when she was just a girl.
A nagging voice in the back of her mind told her to take the ring. It would mean more to me than it would to the shopkeeper, she thought. Quickly and with a little more force than needed, Keera put the ring back when she found it and continued on. It wasn't something needed, therefore she wasn't going to take it.
A tear escaped her eye and she wiped it away, "Don't ya go in star' cryin' on me now," she whispered to herself, "Ya hav' made it tis' far without sheddin' a drop. What 'ould lil' wee Amanda be thinkin' of her Mama cryin'?"
If she had known before she had come, of the painful memories the ring would have brung upon her, she would never have come at all.
Neil stopped dead in his tracks as he heard the door open. His hand had been laying over the Celtic knotted necklace he had been about to swipe. Heart pounding, Neil looked around for a more out-of-the-way corner to hide in. Had Kane forgotten something inside when he had locked up this afternoon? he thought to himself, Or had someone seen him use the spare key to get in the store? Did they bring the police? A chilling shiver went up Neil's spine as he thought of the idea of the police. He knew he could take Kane on by himself and win without much of struggle, but Kane and the police? That would be ny impossible.
Getting sent to jail would be less of a hardship than it would be to see Jack's face when he found out what Neil had been up to. After all, Jack had done for Neil; getting him a job at the grocery store and giving him free meals until he had enough to save. From day one, Jack had extended his hand to Neil. Offering a complete stranger his trust and possesions. Even when Jack had caught Neil stealing, he hadn't thought any less of him. He had told Neil firmly that he didn't need to resort to stealing, but had never spoken another word about it. How could he let Jack down, after all he had given Neil to start a new way of life?
Torn between his hunger to steal and his feeling of betrayal to Jack as well as everyone who had accepted him in the town, Neil crouched low in behind some boxes by the jewlery, and waited. To his suprise, the person who rounded the corner was female. Even though the dark hid her facial features, Neil could tell by the physique and slow and steady movements that the body did not belong to any man. Who is it? he wondered. It couldn't have been Mrs. Leary for the shape was far more slim than the plump little shopkeeper's wife. Neil waited, not wanting to give his position away.
As the woman came closer to where Neil was hiding, he heard her talking to herself. Craning an ear in her direction he listened. Was she crying? Curious as to what would make the thief cry, Neil peeked his head around one of the boxes. Her back was turned to him and she seemed to be looking through the jewlery. The little light that came from the window glistened off of the object in her hand and Neil watched as she began to reach for her sack then retreated. A sniffle followed and before she flung the piece of jewlery on the countertop and it made a "clank, clank" sound as it bounced off the end of the counter and landed on the ground beside it.
Quickly Neil brought his head back around the boxes so she wouldn't see him. He wasn't quite sure of his plan yet, considering that if he was caught it would be the end for him. Racking his brain for a plan was the only thing he could do while he waited for Keera to be done, he could just let her take what she wanted then tomorrow show Kane what was missing and get a good name for himself. Or better yet, why not catch the thief and bring her to the jail? The people of ____ would more than likely accept him if he caught a thief and saved the stolen goods...
His mind swirled faster than the running river, as he decided on what he was to happen in the next couple minutes. He waited, his plan replaying in his head, for Keera to come closer to him. Once she was close enough to touch Neil reached out and grabbed her ankle...