The Mistaken Identity: Part One
A thief’s life was never simply silent. Silence meant problems to any in the thieving business, and that was something that Edward, the blue Lupe, would never have tolerated. That is, in any other situation.
When one wakes up to find bruises on one's back, one might start suspecting foul play. When one wakes up to find that one is in fact being held prisoner in a familiar cell, one might just begin to jump to conclusions. These were the conditions that our dear Edward found himself tangled up in.
Edward lay impeccably still for one moment while he surveyed the situation. He could not feel any broken bones, or dislocated paws. He could not hear any footsteps, or feel any vibrations that would alert him of movement. Feeling little ease, he rose to his haunches.
He noted his whereabouts much like a reporter would inspect a secretive story that would make front page headlines.
“Ace.” He spat out the words as if they burned his tongue. “How could you have done this to me?”
A cough sounded in a muffled form behind him. He jumped and swiftly turned one hundred and eighty degrees to the left; standing in a crouched “Fight or Flight” position.
“Child, I do suggest you stay still in ‘ere. They have ways of keepin’ you quiet.” The voice that spoke was raspy and spoke with a Krawk Islander’s twang. The face that accompanied was that of a faded yellow Eyrie who positioned himself in the back end of an opposing cell.
“I am sure they do,” Edward mumbled to himself.
“Don’t you want to know where you are, youngin’?” The Eyrie uncrossed one of his front legs and rested his head atop a crippled paw.
“Now that you mention it,” he said with an angered tone, “I would like to know where I am.”
“The Pound.” The Eyrie closed his eyes and said no more.
The two words struck Edward like a blow from the Space Faerie's ominous, glowing hands. He had many past encounters with the Pound, though he had never been caught. Only once had he willingly turned himself in.
As a young Lupe, Edward had a family for no more than a month. He had a horrible habit of chewing anything his teeth came in contact with, including shoes, newspapers, and bed linens. Due to his unsatisfactory habits, families did not like to allow him into their households. He traveled the streets by night and stayed in the shadows during the day, fearing what could happen if he was seen by the legendary Faerie Queen.
He slowly began to gain hunger; his stomach grumbled with the slightest touch. Then finally, out of fear of becoming a Grey and depressed pet, he turned himself in to the rancid Pound, in hopes of starting anew.
He spent many days there. He paced the cell so many times that he was sure that a trail would have been made from his fallen tail. To mark his minutes, hours, days spent in that horrid place, he used his already dull claws to scratch marks in the cobblestone floor.
Cell mates, those across the space from him, changed as rapidly as the hands of a clock. Then one day, a Shadow Lupe was harshly forced into the heavy duty cell that sat adjacent to Edward’s own.
As soon as the owner, the horrid yellow Techo named Dr. Death, left the barren hallway, the fiend turned to Edward. He spoke in a rushed whisper.
“Kid, can you do me a mighty favor?” The voice had more kick than an angry Tonu.
Edward sat frozen in fear. Never before had anyone spoken to him; it was forbidden of those held in cells to exchange words.
“Yes, you! Can you help me?” The look in the Lupe’s face was pleading.
Edward simply nodded.
“Alright then, what you need to do now is... uh... see that key, on the hook? It is to the left of your cell.” The Lupe carefully enunciated each of his words with ease, and directed Edward’s eyes in the process.
“Mmhmm.” The young Edward muffled his acknowledgement so that it sounded more like a gargled snore, just in case anyone happened to have keen ears and were to hear their conversation.
“Now listen closely, slip your tail through that loop, the larger one two notches below the key.” Edward did as the Lupe said. “Now push the key up. It will make some sound, so slip it under the fence and sit on it. Quickly!”
Edward’s tail barely reached the key so he jumped about an inch to bump it down. The sound that was emitted from the falling key felt like a volcanic eruption to the young Edward. His tiny paws fumbled for the keys and he quickly tossed them into the corner of the cell and smacked his paw over them. He slowly slumped to the ground and began to breathe at an even rate.
Two slow breaths later, the angry yellow Techo walked over to Edward’s cage. Edward opened his eyes a sliver so that he could see the satisfaction on the Shadow Lupe’s face.
The grin on the Lupe’s face was like nothing Edward had ever seen before. It was malevolent and mischievous, and it hid a hint of resentment.
What have I gotten myself into? Edward thought.
Slowly, the Techo slid away from Edward’s cage and slithered in the direction of the Shadow Lupe, who was twisting tendrils of his fur around his paw. The Lupe’s eyes danced when Dr. Death looked over and grimaced at him. His eyes flaunted power and looked ready and willing to disagree with anything that the yellow Techo was thinking or was foolish enough to say.
Once the Techo was out of hearing range, the Lupe devised and shared another plan with Edward. The Lupe introduced himself and wanted to be called by the name Ace. He schemed with Edward and told him how to get out of his enclosure. After Edward was out, he was to do the same for Ace.
“Now run!” Ace whispered into the young Edward’s ear, while he galloped by.
“OK,” Edward whispered, speeding along.
He dodged in and out of corridors and past the reception desk and lobby. Without glancing out at the Techo, he ran through the doors and out into the night. Angry yells and snarls were left behind at the dusty Pound.
“I did it!” yelped Edward as he darted behind a large tree and grinned with glee.
“We did it,” corrected Ace. “We completed the task together.”
Edward shook his head, attempting to obscure the thoughts of his past life. That night had changed everything for him. Ace began to teach Edward everything he needed to know about becoming a thief. He told him when he needed, to hunt, to sneak, and to bribe so he could obtain anything that he need. He was not just any thief. He was a Class A thief.
Edward spent his time ransacking shops and bombarding birthday parties. He stole from the rich and took from the poor. He had lived a life of pure pleasure and no pain. But that beautiful time had come to an end on this very day. It was a day that flickered on a light in the mind of Edward.
“What day is it?” Edward asked the Eyrie.
“It’s the eve of the Day of Giving.” The Eyrie spoke with untold sadness.
I will get out of here, Edward promised himself. Tonight.
Edward never was a fan of such holidays. They were merely times to conduct business. Such business included sneaking under Christmas trees and stealing all the gifts.
“I am not going to sit here and act like I did not see that flicker in your wee eyes! What are you planning, youngin’?” The old Eyrie stood and walked over to the front of his enclosure.
“I am going to get myself out of here! That is what I am going to do.” Edward looked about, searching for any means of escape. He had learned many ways to escape such situations. What would make this place any different from all the others?
He kicked the gate that was looking out towards the corridor several times to loosen the hinges. It was a failed attempt. He pressed his body as close to the floor as he could manage. He was still too large to fit underneath the gate.
He tried and tried, but to no avail. By no means could he escape.
He slumped down and sighed heavily.
“Did you ever think that a thief’s life was not a good thing for a young Lupe?” the Eyrie asked with a jolly chuckle.
“How did you know that?” Edward was astonished that anyone could have known about his past habits. Did he say too much while he was sleeping in the cell?
“I know because I am. I am because I care. You will only be able to get out of here when you decide that your life is worth living. I mean living the decent way.”
“What do you know about the decent way?” Edward said with an unneeded bitterness to his tone. “You are in here just like the rest of us!”
“Am I?” The Eyrie pointed just behind Edward’s shoulder. Edward turned to look but nothing was there, nothing but the same old cobblestone walls and a small window.
“Look,” the Eyrie instructed.
With the careful eyes of a thief, Edward scanned the scene. There were families walking with gifts, garlands hanging from light fixtures, and children holding mugs filled with Hot Borovan.
Edward turned to the Eyrie to protest, but the cage in front of his nose was empty. The gate remained locked.
“How?” Edward asked aloud. “What?”
Edward turned around in his enclosure, astounded at the unusual happening. Resting in the Spyder webbed corner of his own cell, was a single sheet of paper. Upon the paper was a single verse, printed in an elegant cursive script:
“You will learn with time; being good is not a crime.”
To be continued...