The door was locked.
Of course it was. The boy eyed pretended not to look at it as dutifully bent over his work. His hands were already aching and if he did not pull it off, they would be raw by sundown. He turned his head to glanced over at the door to formulate a plan, but suddenly footsteps sounded nearby and he forced himself to remain attentive, or at least act like it, to his task. The footsteps stopped. The hair on his neck prickled and the boy knew they were watching him. That made it easier to identify the suspect, most would have simply ignored him. Judging by the sound of the footsteps, it could only be one person. He didn’t move, save for the task at hand. A bead of sweat worked its way down his brow. Had she noticed the slightly movement that he had made? The silence seemed to stretch on for what seemed an eternity.
Finally, something happened that distracted the Observer. To his left there was a clamor of voices, mostly men, probably drunk. The Observer let out a sharp sigh and marched out of the room. He heard the sound of the door slam shut behind him. He winced and pitied the poor fools that made such a mistake. It was not easy to get away with such behavior around her, and the punishments were horrendous. In the years that he had labored for her he managed to mostly stay on her good side but today was different. Today he would risk her wrath if it meant freedom for a good several hours.
He was certain that nobody was around so he took the chance and turned away from his work to study the door. It was your basic plain oak wood door with cheap brass hinges and handle knob. He knew from experience that the hinges would squeak but he was prepared for that and had taken the necessary precautions earlier that morning when no one was up, and had oiled the hinges. But that was irrelevant and paled in comparison to the daunting challenged he now faced: Unlocking the door, and furthermore doing so quietly and getting away before the Observer came back.
He scanned his surroundings for any sign of her and, when he didn’t see any, began to search for a small, stiff piece of wire. He managed to find two hair pins in drawer, a stroke of miraculous luck, but it had taken him several precious seconds to find it. He scraped of the spherical shaped ends of the hair pins with his teeth and set to work.
The boy pulled open one of the pins until it was straight. Next, he bended one of its ends into a 20-degree angle. He opened the other pin and bent it into a L shape. Then, he inserted the L-shaped pin into the bottom of the lock and placed the other one above it, gradually wiggling upward. As he did so, a number of clicks could be heard as the various pins were raised. After some time, the tension wrench rotated freely and the door began to open. The boy rose from his crouched position and put his hand on the door to push it open.
However, as this happened a number of things occurred. The first being that when the door unlocked, the boy took the liberty to let his guard down. The second was that as soon as he did, the-oh-so-familiar footsteps returned, accompanied by the wails of the unfortunate victim. So, when the he looked up to see the Observer turn around the corner, dragging a man by the ear, you would not be surprised at all.
Tina Watcher was a kindly woman but who was also brass and stern. She never let things get to her and could be relied upon to keep a secret. Although, since she ran the local tavern, it was probably old news to her. To most of the villagers, she was a motherly figure. She let a number of underpaid tabs and debts slid, so long as she could still use them to call in favors. She was the voice of reason, and had seen and survived many bar fights, often being the one to break them up. At one time, she had married, but her husband had died of an unknown illness many years ago. They had no kids, but the village children looked up to her as a teacher, though, it should be noted, they were quick to escape when it was their own faults that was being taught. She was tough, but fair.
At first glance, she appeared to be the ordinary house wife, taking care of the tavern for her husband while he was away. Her red-brown hair was tied into a pony tail and she has green eyes. Her face was creased with smile lines and she wore a simple dress and a apron. If one were to look at her hands they would see that they were hard and tough, and her arms were muscular from carrying tankards of ale to costumers.
But when she turned the corner dragging George Martin by the ear, (the former having not paid his underpaid tab one-to-many times) and saw him pushing the door open to escape from his, as he called it, “Slave labor”, all those motherly and nurturing characteristics disappeared.
“WHAT IN THE NAME OF IRIS DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?”
At these words, the boy turned to face Tina. Their eyes met. She glowered at him and he stuck out his tongue at her and burst out the door, to freedom. As he ran along the path leading from the back of the tavern to the village, he heard The Observer shriek: KARMA, YOU GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT! YOU ARE NOT PLAYING THESE STUPID GAMES TODAY!!!”
Tina glowered at the empty space where he had been standing. George Martin emitted a chuckle. “You can’t keep him cooped up forever, Tiny. Its market day, the rest of the kids his age will be out an about. It’ll do him good if he can make some friends.”
The grip on his ear tightened, causing him to release a cry of agony. “Its only market day, its not like it doesn’t happen every month or so. And who are you calling tiny!?”
“Ow, ow, ow, ow!”
“That’s what I thought”
She sighed than allowed herself a smirk. “Well I guess since our dishwasher seemed to have escaped, You’ll just have to fill in for him.”
“Ok, ok, just let go of my ear, please!”