This started out with the italicized part being handed to me as a writing prompt. I used it as an opening line instead and just went with where the story took me. Just a short little piece, but if people have interest in it I could probably be prompted into continuing.
"By a stroke of luck you have happened upon a rather lucrative opportunity. As you've been on your way through the city, a peculiar happenstance caught your attention. A shouting shopkeeper, a figure fleeing the scene... Could it be the thief who's had shop owners and policemen stomping their feet for the past month? If so, this could mean quite a prize in your pocket, should you be the one to bring them in.-"
"What are you doing now?" The man asked looking dumbfounded at the young woman he interrupted. He had come out from the small convenience store only to find his companion who had been waiting outside talking to empty air. Really, this job was difficult enough but he had to get the crazy one? As he stepped closer, it was hard to see anything now that he was outside the bright lights of the store, the woman looked at him with disgust and annoyance written all over her face.
"Ugh, just when I was getting into the flow. I was narrating obviously!" She huffed and then turned her back on him, short and spiky mud brown hair floating around her head with the swift movement. The man ran a hand through his own black hair, realizing only after the reflexive motion that it would pull his hair from the loose ponytail that help the shoulder length hair back. Instead he pushed his glasses further up his nose as he tried to comprehend what she'd just said then gave up on it completely. Why try to make sense out of crazy talk, keep that up and he'd go crazy himself with this job.
"Obviously." He sighed, resigned and rubbing his temple with his free hand. "And what in the world was all that stuff you were talking, excuse me, ‘narrating’ about?" He tried to get onto a point which would make sense to the both of them, or at least to normal people. This girl was a lost cause, yet here he was as a correctional member of the district law department acting as her parole point partner, PPP.
"Just before your slow butt returned P3 the 'master thief' you bozo police have been chasing ran by." The woman said flatly to him, her eyes deadpan, which was quite an accomplishment of expression since with her extremely light blue eyes it seemed like she was always filled with some energy or light that made them glow. Really it was just the color but that shade was unusual and had taken him awhile to get used to.
"I've told you my name is Joshua Kingsley, not P3 and- Wait, you saw the thief?! And you didn't do anything?!" The parole point system was simple, those accused of crimes would be able to earn points by doing community services, from cleaning parks to catching crooks. The more difficult the task, the more points you received. When the criminal was sentenced they were told how many points they had to earn. It had been started a few years ago as the public protested costs of maintaining prisons and harsh punishment. Now depending on what crime you committed you might be sent somewhere. White collar criminals tended to do more of the traditional community services, thieves might assist the police with catching fellow crooks, murders were sent out of the city to work had labor under careful supervision. You kept working until all the points were earned and they you were a free person once again. Till then you had a parole officer like himself tag along everywhere you went. So for the girl to just let a golden opportunity to get points slip away. "You really are crazy aren't you?"
"I was about to set off in a great chase of epic proportions the likes of which shall be sung forever after, speaking to my greatness and earning me money for a feast of great gluttony when you interrupted me." The girl said in a mocking manner, raising her hands palms up and shaking her head.
"This way! The shout came from a little farther away, obviously the search was still going on and not too far from the sounds of it though the girl had let the target slip from her fingers. Kingsley looked back to the girl to see if she would react, maybe start 'narrating' again, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"The chase is afoot! The reward is miiiiiine!" Kingsley whipped his head back around to just make out her fleeing figure, distinctive even in the dark by the long white duster coat she wore which was flapping out like a flag behind her as she moved faster than Kingsley could possibly hope to catch up to. Cursing he put down his bag, his sandwich dinner would have to wait, and pulled up his dark navy blue sweater to reveal a small fanny pack. Digging through it he pulled out one item, the locator. It would tell him where the girl was as long as she continued to wear the anklet with the tracking device. If necessary he or any other PPP could disable a criminal with it as well, sending a shock which would knock them out instantly. He didn't reach for that now though, that would be counterproductive and leave him with having to carry her back. No as long as she stayed within the city while she chased it should be fine. In the mean time he'd just try to catch up.
She moved swiftly, lightly jumping onto a dumpster and from there into a fire escape which she climbed up to give her a better advantage. The maze of buildings, alleys, and streets meant tracking by sound alone would be utterly impossible, especially in a noisy city like this one. No she would need her eyes to track down the meal ticket.
She glanced behind her, no sign of P3 but she knew he'd find her eventually. It was better like this, he'd just slow her down and maybe get himself into trouble. For someone who was supposed to deal with criminals he was rather normal in all sense of the word. Normal looks, normal abilities, normal tastes. Probably why she wanted to pick on him so much, his normalness reminded her of how 'other' she was. Well no time for this, time to earn her dinner.
With a savage smile she spotted a peck of chaos that announced her target. She slid down the stairs, not even bothering to climb down and when she was at the second flood she just jumped down to the street to land silently, her soft boots absorbing the impact effortlessly. In under s second she was running, long strides but with good control as she made the sharp turns into small alleys, leaping over obstacles and surprising strays as she dashed by, a flash of white and then nothing. It didn't take her long to catch up to the scene, though it told her little of her target. Seems he'd given them the slip, the police officers and busybody- excuse me, concerned citizens milling about like a herd of bewildered cattle. Her smile went wider.
She could almost taste the steak she'd have when she got this little bugger. Oh yes, delicious steak on the rare side with a lot of juice still in them. Maybe even with some potatoes on the side. She wiped away a little drool, very lady like, and began to work on the real part of the chase. "Now then if I was a meal ticket where would I be..." she murmured to herself smiling and the closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. Opening those electric eyes suddenly she took off. The map she memorized of the area told her of several places which would make great spots to sit and lie low. She thought back to the case descriptions of all the crimes that had happened in the area in the past ten years and focused down on this one thinking of the habits and traits the crimes had in common. Combining those she formed a list of likely routes and immediately went down the one of highest probability. As she ran she kept imagining her beautiful steak, sizzling and juicy, the smell of cooked meat...
Her fantasies of dinner were dashed as she came to a dead end. Biting back a swear word she looked at the obviously rather new wall breaking up the alley she'd been heading down. Now that she saw it she sneered and couldn't believe she'd left her steak fantasies for this thing. With a jump she pushed herself from one of the alley walls and up to the top of the wall, putting herself level with the second floor windows of the buildings on either side. Glancing down her smirk turned savage once again. The predator had found the prey.
The silhouette of the figure crouched by the dumpster was digging through a bag, obviously looking to see what he'd managed to score this time. the meal ticket was a fool to think he was safe at only this far away, had they really not managed to catch him before? Her fairly low opinion of law enforcement sunk lower. Well, their incompetence was her steak.
She let herself drop right in front of the thief, one arm instantly reaching out to put a hand on the wall as she leaned over him, cutting off that escape route. The dumpster which was his shield now completed the trap. She looked down at her target, curious to see the great thief.
It was some snot nosed brat.
He looked starved and pathetic, his clothes were ratty but his hair was even worse and looked like he'd cut it himself, all jagged and uneven. He looked up at her with terror in her eyes, snatching the bag and holding it close to him with one hand the other reached for a knife which the scrawny brat flashed at her.
"Soooo disappoint." She said unimpressed at his threat of violence.
"There you are!" They both looked up to see Kingsley approaching, breathing heavily and sweating. He glanced over at the situation as he got around the dumpster and jumped when he saw the knife but then leaned in a little closer to get a better look. "God, he's just a kid." He said quietly.
"Am not, you two better run off. Don't you know who I am? Just look at the mark on my face!" The child said to them tilting his head so his left side became clearly visible. There was a tattoo spreading from his jaw up to hair line. The design was a little rough but obvious in what it portrayed, an image of a crane, the long neck reaching up toward the center of the forehead as it bent around the eye, the wings almost brushing the ears as the long legs trailing down to the chin and the long tail features dipped just past the jaw. "I'm Sagi, so you two better back off while I'm still being merciful." The boy said full of confidence. His imposing stance though was shaken when the girl burst out laughing.
"You? Sagi? Ooooooh this is too rich!" She said, her arm coming down from it's blocking position as she wrapped her arms around her waist, bending over with laughter. "Oh god, there's a camera somewhere right? Sagi, snnnnerk. Ha ha ha!"
"You b*****! The kid raged against the mocking, slashing out at her face and he felt the satisfaction of a cut, shallow though, as he struck. He then darted to move for the opening her dropping her arms had created. He'd only gotten two steps though before he was jerked back. He looked back to see a hand on the back of his shirt, the woman was bent over but as he watched she straightened up slowly and he felt himself go cold at the look on her face, those too light eyes and the insane smile. He noticed also that no blood was running down her face, he knew though he'd cut something. Watching horrified though she reached her free hand up to her face and sunk her nails into the cut and started to pull the skin off.
"It took me quite a lot of time to make this one brat. Well I suppose as reward for amusing me I'll give you a hint. The real Sagi's mark wasn't some pretty little tattoo." The boy's eyes widened as the skin pulled away easily, realizing in a small part of his mind it must be a special makeup, and revealed what was underneath. "It was a brand."
The crane on the woman's face was much more raw than his, making it seem less like it was elegantly taking flight and more like an attacker going for it's prey. The angry lines of the brand were not faint as the contours of it caused especially in this light for each line to stand out clearly, it almost seemed alive on her face and when he looked back in those pale eyes he thought he was looking at death.
"I-I'm sorry, I-I-I didn't know. I ju-I just needed something to scare people off, I was desperate. Please, please don't." The boy started babbling, his legs giving way under him but she help him up by his shirt, it wasn't difficult, he hardly weighed anything.
"Are you really going to turn him in?" Kingsley said stepping forward. "He's just a kid Sagi." His eyes behind his square rimmed glasses were soft with compassion as he looked at the wisp of a boy before them terrified and weeping. There were visible bruises and other scraps all over him and his joints all stuck out in obvious malnutrition.
"Hmph." Sagi said turning her eyes away from the man back to the boy her face showing at first disdain, and then she grinned widely. "That's right." Suddenly she dropped the boy and turned fully around, legs spread wide and arms on her hips. "The great and mighty Sagi shows no one mercy, not women, children, or those little foam things you receive in packages! No mercy! The great Sagi is a fearsome being and all shall know it! You!" She suddenly whipped around back to the stunned child picking him up by his collar and holding him in the air before her. "You are a witness! You will tell people of me! Tell them all to fear my coming for none shall be spared! I will bring darkness to their lives pain as great as when a shard of potato chip gets stuck under your tongue which hurts a lot by the way I know since it happened to me earlier! Yes, just like a potato chip my evil shall rain down upon you and you will be in awe before my stu-stup ... awesome awesomeness!"
"Nice save." Kingsley said unable to believe what he was hearing.
"Thank you! I am a woman of great verbal abilities!"
"Now then, where was I?"
"Awe of your awesome awesomeness I believe."
"Right! So go, go you wretched waif and tell them all! Let them shake in fear of my potato shaped wrath and know that I am coming for their souls!" She dropped the kid who looked stunned and extremely confused. "I said go pathetic mortal!" He needed no further prompting from the crazy lady, a crazy lady who had been feared as the greatest of any thief alive whose abilities were as rumor went, beyond human and her feats were legend. Kingsley watched him run off past him and made no move to stop him.
"You really are a softie, despite all that talk you let the 'reward' go." He said smiling softly as the kid slipped away and as he started to continue he turned to Sagi only to have the words frozen in his throat by the expression on her face.
... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ...
"MY MEAL TICKEEEEEEEEEEET!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Sagi threw both of her hand to her cheeks, nails digging in a little. "There's still time right? We'll catch that little steak, right?" She said to Kingsley who was frozen with a look of disgust on his face. "You're right, considering how small he was the reward might not cover steak, we should set our sites lower. How about chicken? A step down from the noble steer but can be just as filling and able to be cooked in so many ways. Right, let's go get some chicken!" Sagi, the 'greatest thief alive' ran past the man and down the alley and turned onto the street but she poked her head back a moment later. "Aren't you coming P3?"
"It's, Kingsley you idiotic MORON!" Kingsley said losing it. "Really, did they remove half your brain when you were taken in? Experience a blow to the head? How could the great Sagi be, be, be You?!" He said turning to her.
"Hunh? You say something?" Sagi asked, picking her nose looking bored.
This was going to be a looooooong assignment.
"I can't believe we're still looking for him, it took you less than half an hour to find him the first time." Kingsley complained from behind Sagi as she lead them through what seemed to be the hundredth identical shady alley. He was fairly sure that was even the same alley cat.
"Then he'd caused a fuss and so was easy to track down. Since things have died down now it is much harder." Sagi said calmly sniffing something Kingsley felt sick from just looking at. Watching her poke it made him gag. "We're getting close though."
"How did... that tell you we are getting close?!" Kingsley exclaimed feeling ill.
"Not this, them." Sagi said inclining her head toward him. Kingsley turned and his disgust turned to fear. Behind them were at least five men holding knives or guns. A scrapping down made him turn again and even more men were in at the other side of the alley, trapping them. They were surrounded. "Knew it, no way some brat like that was able to pull of all the crimes which were recorded. And the witness accounts are never very similar in appearance. They were too organized and well planned with lots of really 'lucky coincidences. It screamed a gang not a single thief." Sagi said grinning wildly and Kingsley took a second look and realize among their attackers were children much like the one they had just seen.
"What a smart girly." One of the men said stepping forward. "Pity your too stupid to use those smarts and know to stay away. We don't appreciate you interrupting our business earlier. sorry but you two wont' get to go home tonight. Or ever." The man was huge, his tank top revealing a huge scar on one shoulder. His hair in tight cornrows and a scruffy start of a beard on his chin made him look like he would fit right in for a mug shot, in fact Kingsley got the feeling he might have seen this man before...
"Weston Bridged, two accounts of murder, five charges of assault, and 8 charges of theft, two being grand theft auto. These are the crimes you are actually been proved guilty of, suspected in many other and lately rumored to be involved with cases of gang violence. Avoided being put into parole by escaping on your way from the courtroom to the police station. What a big fish I caught." Sagi said stepping in front of Kingsley to face the man, her grin every bit as eager and savage as his as she started up at the behemoth.
"And you're the 'great' Sagi huh? I expected something more than some tart with a parole man strapped to her ankle. What happened? Break a nail at the crime scene and they finally catch up to you? Can't say I'm complainin' tho'. With your pretty little head my rep will sky rocket and even the big time gangs will take me seriously. I'm getting tired of playing kid games down here in the small time. You're just the stepping stone I need, much obliged." The man said mocking tipping a hat he didn't wear toward her.
"Heh, you want to enter the big leagues huh? Well then let me give you some advice." And suddenly it was like Sagi was gone, one minute Kingsley's eyes were glued to her fearing for both their lives, the next there was nothing where she'd been. "One, you talk too much." The voice made everyone look up and Sagi landed a solid kick to the back of one man's neck dropping him like a stone before he could think about the gun he held. Then she was gone again. "Two, your taste in clothes suck." Now she was on the ground elsewhere and sweeping kick knocked another assailant over and his head hit the ground hard. Then gone again. "And three, you called me girlie." She was in front of Weston now, her legs spread apart as she pulled her arm back then punched him in the gut hard. He went flying back already unconscious the second his feet left the ground so didn't notice falling on top of two of his men. With this the paralysis that had held the men broke and they rushed forward. Kingsley felt himself shoved down and away by Sagi and watched stunned as the slight women took care of all nine remaining men. Since he'd met her this was the first time he really understood why people called her a legend of a thief. She took all of them down, dodging knives and bullets as easily as fists and feet. In the end the encounter took only a few minutes and Kingsley got up shakily staring at the girl sitting on top of one guy taking a cigarette and lighter out of his pocket. As she lit it she looked up at Kingsley and there was nothing of the silly girl from earlier. It was cold savagery which didn't seem sated yet. Kingsley found himself pulling up at his shirt and grabbing for his fanny pack, unable to take his eyes off the sight before him as he searched for the locator, wanting a weapons to protect himself from what he'd found.
"Looking for this?" Sagi pulled the locator from her own pocket and Kingsley froze.
"How did- it was under my shirt, you'd have to have..." He tried to talk but failed. Sagi took the cigarette out of her mouth and blew smoke rings into the air above her. She then put out the cigarette, using the man she was sitting on's back as her ash tray as she crushed it. She then got up and tossed the locator to Kingsley who tried clumsily to catch it and failed. As he bent down to hurriedly pick up the item she stood up and brush her hands against each other.
"Come on, call the cops so they can collect the trash." She said stretching her arms above her head. "Ah, I haven't had a good work out in a while, that was fun."
Kingsley did as she directed, calling the police and giving them the location the locator put them at on the map. As they waited for them to come Kingsley looked at the woman, who was sniffing something disgusting again, with new respect, fear, and curiosity. How did they ever manage to catch a monster like that? If she could so easily get the key to her freedom why didn't she run? Another locator would be made, but still by the time it was probably she could have found a way to break off the anklet and disappear. He just couldn't understand it.
"Here you go sir, the parole point form." An officer speaking to him broke through his thoughts and made him jump. He took the form numbly and then walked over to Sagi who was playing with a veeery reluctant tomcat. She looked like before, playful, idiotic, weird and ridiculous.
"Here, fill this out." He offered her the form which she took rolling her eyes. "No reward since you didn't catch the thief they were looking for. Sorry." He stared up at what little could be see of the starless sky and then back down at the officers getting handcuffed men into cars for a trip to the station, half of them still unconscious including Weston. "You knew, didn't you? You knew that kid was only stealing because these guys were forcing him, and then took what he made. You knew capturing that kid wouldn't stop the problem at all so you let him go and then wandered around until they came for revenge." He looked at her with something akin to awe. "You figured that all out and then took out the entire gang, all by yourself."
Sagi turned toward him, one hand holding the form for him to take back, the other... was picking her nose. "Huh? You say something?"
"You do that just to piss me off don't you?" Kingsley said, feeling the old anger and annoyance coming back. Sagi stood up yawning.
"Sure, whatever. Proud of you." She said as she walked past him, patting him on the head as she went.
"That was the hand you were picking your nose with wasn't it?! You used me to wipe the boogers off didn't you?!" Kingsley exclaimed, jumping up from his seat and frantically wiping at his head with his sleeve. "You disgusting woman!"
"Eh, what's a little more snot on a snot like you going to matter? Now come on meal ticket I hunger for steak!" Sagi said one fist pumping into the air.
"Meal ticket? Wait, you don't mean me?! Why would I buy you dinner, steak dinner at that, when you just used me to wipe your boogers off?!" He shouted after her but she just waved one hand without even looking back as she walked out of the alley. Kingsley fumed as he looked down at the form to put his signature. Force of habit made him look over the checked boxes of activities to see which she had checked off. He was taken back to see that the box for 'Suppressing gang activity' was unchecked though. Confused he looked back over the form and then he saw it, a precise little check at a point much higher up on the list and thus worth much less points. 'Caught a thief.' He looked at that check and then glanced at the white duster coat at the end of the alley, the girl looked like she was pissing off one of the officers and enjoying it. His expression softened and he felt the furrow between his eyes smooth. Smiling now he put his signature on the paper and then ran forward to turn in the form then join her calling. "I'm still not buying you dinner!"