Posters of bands he did not recognize were taped to the walls of a room painted such a deep purple he heard “Hush” in his head when he entered. He hated this part of his job, seeing the lives he was about to disrupt so closely. He cared so little for the people he would ultimately steal from, but seeing them as anything other marks bothered him.
He stood in the doorway and watched a young man, completely oblivious to the sudden appearance of a new entrant to the room, read a book and wear headphones which were, presumably, playing one of the bands on the wall.
“Maybe I can get the thing and get out before he notices,” said the man in the doorway.
“I doubt it, Ty,” said his partner, Amari.
“Listen newbie, there’s always hope,” Ty said.
“What do you two want?” said the surprised reader, removing his head phones.
“Brendan,” Ty started, his voice dropping into the calm, controlled tone he had used a thousand times before in such situations, “I apologize for the intrusion. My friend, Amari, and I, my name is Ty, we wanted to talk to you about your rock collection.”
Ty pointed to a display case full of minerals and stones of all shapes and sizes.
“That’s pretty boring conversation. And I’m speaking as an enthusiast,” Brenden said.
“Oh not these rocks,” Amari said. He pushed his way by Ty and walked to the display case. Ty had tried time and time again to teach his protege some sort of patience, but the lessons were falling on deaf ears.
“Do you mind if I check out one particular rock?” Ty asked.
Brendan nodded approval.
“One of your rocks has a very peculiar pink stripe running through it, right? Mostly quartz, but it doesn’t exactly feel right?” Ty said looking the display case over.
“Yeah, how’d you know that?” Brendan asked. He put his book down and set his headphones aside. The conversation was becoming less boring.
“Well, I have this one,” Ty said, pulling a similar stone from the pocket of his long coat, ” it’s kind of a twin we’ll say, but there are actually three dozen or so twins in this family. If they get close, they glow. Amari?”
“Found it!” Amari said, pulling the stone from the case.
“Good. Good,” Ty motioned for the stone to be thrown his way.
“Whoa,” Brendan managed to say. The stones glowed a brilliant yellow in Ty’s hands.
“Looks like our suspicions were correct. Here you go, Amari,” Ty tossed the stone back to Amari. “Unfortunately, that means the rock has to come with us, Brendan. I apologize for intruding. Have a good day.” Ty tipped his hat and lead Amari out of the room without another word. Brendan was too confused to speak.
The walk to car was quick and quiet as well. Doors slammed and the ignition struggled.
Amari added the new stone to a bag with a yellow glow.
“That means five left,” Amari said, smiling.
“That’s still five missing stones. Should we fail, the whole of our world will collapse. All you know, all you love will perish. Never forget that we are working to save the world. This is no laughing matter, rookie,” Ty said, hoping his words took hold.
“I was just saying we’re getting really close to some well deserved vacation. Save the world from magic glowing rocks, then go to an island somewhere warm. That’s the plan,” Amari buckled his seat belt and the two went to find the next stone.