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.
Dalila 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 Dalila. 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, Del. 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, it's not like it doesn't happen every month or so. And who are you calling Del, huh!? I have a name, use it."
"Ow, ow, ow, ow! I'm sorry Mrs. Watcher!
"That's what I thought."
She sighed than allowed herself a smirk. "Well I guess since my main dishwasher seemed to have flown the coop, You'll just have to fill in for him. Should do you some good. Maybe you'll even get a job out of it."
"Ok, ok, just let go of my ear, please!"
Karma dashed away from the tavern and toward the city. The tavern was situated on top of a hill with patches of rocks and trees dotting the land scape. A shadow covered the landscape as a small floating Island drifted in front of the sun. As he ran he spotted a creature-a jackalope probably given the antlers on its head- bound away into the surrounding forest.
He ducked behind a tree to catch his breath, breathing heavily. He listened for the sound of a pursuit but heard none. He waited a bit, then decide he had successfully thwarted Dalila's plans. Wanting to survey the festival before entering it, he began to climb the tree.
Like a squirrel, he shot up the tree, finding handholds in the bark and gripping the branches tightly. He always kept three points of contact on the tree, knowing that any less would result in a Karma-pancake. That was not a pleasant thought, so he pushed it away and continued upward.
At last, he reached the top. The branches were were thick and were dense with leaves, providing good cover but at the same time this obstructing his view. By maneuvering g around a bit, Karma managed to find a place were the leaves lessened, giving him a mostly clear view of the happenings in the village below.
Nubis usually looked dreary, however, today it was teeming with life and merriment. Shops, stands, and games lined the single street, giving it the impression of a prospering city. He could just barely see people bustling through making their way past the holler of the shop keepers as they advertised their goods. The smell of baked goods wafted thought the air, making Karma's mouth water. He wanted some, but he knew from past experience that if he ate them he wouldn't get any supper. At the far far end of the town was a col-de-sac. At the center was a temple to the villages patron god, Iris. Around the temple, people twirled and danced, the sounds of laughter competing with the melodies of country folk songs. Through the dancing adults, children frolicked to and fro, occasionally running into a dancing couple.
Karma mouth split into a grin. He loved market day, it was one of the best days of the year, one of the few that he was allowed to go anywhere he wanted. Dalila was always careful to monitor his movements, fearful that he would be carried-away by thieves or such. It seemed ironic to Karma that with so many people there was more of a chance to be kidnapped than any other day.
Suddenly, boisterous whooping could be heard. Given the volume of the racket, the culprits were in the general vicinity. Sure enough, Karma could just barely see the forms of humans as they staggered up the hill. From what he could see through the overhanging branches, there seemed to be at least four. They were in a line, with two flanking either side and two in the center. The one furtherest to the right had brown hair and fair skin. His companion adjacent to him had red hair, and also had fair skin. His brown and black cloak fluttered behind him and his leather boots caused indents in the path. He might as well had a sign that said "I'M THE LOCAL IMBECILE" The next two boys was different from the previous two. Karma couldn't recognize them, so he assumed they were from a neighboring village. Unsurprising, as many villagers traveled to Nubis, to take part in the trading of merchandise. They had darker skin and black hair. one was smaller than the others so Karma assumed they were brothers.
He gritted his teeth. Not wanting to deal with them, he shut his eyes and thought 'Don't bother looking up, don't bother looking up, don't-'
He looked down to see the one in the the brown and black cloak starting up at him from beneath the tree, his hands on his hips. As Karma glanced down at him, he broke into a smile. Even his smile was annoying, he hated it.
"Why do you always wear that scarf? You look like walking unicorn vomit."
His friends cackled.
"Well, Horace, why do you always wear that cloak? You might as well carry a sign that says 'I'M A BLOCKHEAD."
At this, his friends laughed even harder and Horace's smile widened. He beckoned Karma to come down, and he did so, reluctantly.
"What are you doing here?" Karma asked when he reached the bottom.
Horace gestured the tavern.
"We're heading up to get a drink. Wanna come with us?"
"Why? Don't they have drinks at the market?"
"They do, but we were hoping for something a bit more, ah, mature" One of the dark-skinned boys said. The rest chuckled. "Like what?" Karma asked.
The pause that followed was that of one when somebody says tells a joke and one person doesn't get it.
Finally one of the other boys spoke up.
"You're not supposed to do that. Isn't your mom really against Alcohol, Horace?"
"Hey what she doesn't know won't kill her. So are you coming or nah?"
Karma shook his head and backed away. "Dalila will get really angry if she catches me, and I'm already in hot water. If I take one step into the tavern, she'd chain me to a chair. Why don't we do something else instead? I bet old man Hooper passed drunk out 'bout now. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if we 'borrow' one of his wife's pies."
But the other boys seemed disinterested in something that only a few years ago they would have been happy to do. "We're too old for that now, man" Horace said. "We've got to watch our backs now. Adults can be persecuted for theft."
"Nobody's too old for blueberry pie."
"You know what I mean"
Karma felt rage bubbling up inside him. Here was a boy around his age, trying to order him around! Who did he think he was, a girl? Karma couldn't understand him.
"Stop acting all high and mighty. You think you're so cool, swaggering up here pretending to be an adult. That's why you want to drink ale isn't it? You want to show all you're buddies how cool you are! You're stupid, I HATE YOU!"
Then he ran down the hill, his rainbow scarf flapping in the wind behind him.
Constructive criticism will be appreciated, thank you.