Mike bolted through the Museum of Geology, the weight of the darkness that surrounded him pressing down upon his back. The massive rocks and minerals loomed out over him, teetering on their stands and pedestals, as if about to topple over and land on him.
Mike’s feet pounded on the gleaming marble floor, sending countless echoes around the empty-sounding building. His wheezing breath came out in puffs of mist, hanging for mere moments in the air behind him. He was frightened, eyes bulging, pupils wide, and he had a good reason to be.
For along with the sound of Mike’s heavily placed footsteps came the unbearable blaring of the sirens, and the shouts of the two museum night security guards.
Panting hard now, Mike skidded to a stop and bent over, hands on his knees. He looked around for a place to hide, just a temporary one so the guards ran past him. Swinging his head around, white blonde hair flopping, he saw just the place – the jaws of a massive open crystal with purple stalagmites and stalactites. Mike sprinted to the crystal, sweat pouring off his face, and leapt in, landing on a knee, a foot and a hand, facing down. Unfortunately, it didn't feel as cool as he had intended, with the spikes of purple minerals stabbing into his hand.
He rolled over and bunched up in a corner of his humongous, cavernous hidey-hole, trying to ignore the stabs of pain in his back and stomach as he did so, and kept silent.
A pair of heavy running footsteps was coming closer. Mike’s heart began to pound. But what really chilled his blood were the deep barks of two dogs that sounded throughout the entire museum. They had hunting dogs. And they were sure to find him.
Breathing harder than ever now, Mike reflected back on his life, for if he was to die, he wanted to remember what he had …
Mike was from a poor family – there was no other way to say it. His father had left the family when he was just a kid. His mother had had to begin work at a charity foundation, just to feel the texture of the money, because she had none. Occasionally she would steal a few notes, enough to last Mike, her and Mike’s little sister, Jasmine, for the week.
They lived in a wreck of a house, with one bedroom and a kitchen. They had no car, no push bikes, no means of transport other than their own legs.
And their poor lifestyle was what had led Mike here to this museum. He felt in his pocket for the gold, jewels, gems and precious minerals he had taken after smashing the glass – and he sure was a jewel-encrusted thief – which set off the alarms, which signalled the guards, who brought the hunting dogs with them …
Which brought Mike bumping painfully back to where he was now. The snuffling of dog’s noses was coming closer and closer, the noise was almost directly outside the cavern –
‘What’s that, boy?’ came one of the security guards’ deep, African-American voice. ‘Smell something?’
The dog growled. Mike took that as a hint.
He stood up slowly, without a sound, and started to creep forward. Then, when the snuffling was practically directly in front of him, he jumped out of his hiding spot and hoped for the best.
Mike ran, the startled, furious cries of the men chasing him pushing him to run faster than ever.
That was when the gunshot ricocheted around the vicinity, and Mike screamed in pain as a bullet tore through the skin, muscle and bone of his left calf. He fell to the ground, and passed out.
Ten minutes later, Mike opened his eyes groggily, and groaned as a wave of pain flushed through his body from his lower leg.
He was in the back of a van, with his hands cuffed behind his back, and two men holding guns standing outside. The doors were open, so Mike could still see what was happening.
Five police cars had turned up, and they were all talking and searching the premises for stolen goods other than what had been found in Mike’s pockets.
The crystals, gold, gems and other precious geological objects that Mike had been carrying had been placed on a table – and weren’t very well guarded, by the looks of things.
Just then, a dark figure, a girl, in black clothes with long, white-blonde hair darted out from the shadows, grabbed the items that had been confiscated from Mike, and winked at him.
Mike’s eyes widened, and he realised who it was, and winked back.
And as Mike was taken away, he rested easy, knowing that jail time was a small price to pay if his family was going to live comfortably for the next three years. His sister had saved them.