and i wonder, i wa wa wa wa wonder why a why why why why why she ran away and i wonder where she will stay
No one was born a thief.
It was this world that molded people into thieves, with all its throes and misery. This world plagued by wars and poverty, this world with its napalm skies and gunpowder. No one was born a thief—but some were forced to become one.
But, not Thea.
Not Dorothea Fields, the revered princess of the Fields jewelry heir who often spent her days behind the pristine, marbled walls of her home, jasmines entwined to her dark hair. Dorothea, courted by many, loved by all. Dorothea, who was taught to be a lady that many brushed upon canvases, many used as a muse for their portraitures. Dorothea, who was coddled by gloved hands and fed by silver spoons.
She became exhausted of this grandeur soon enough.
A golden cage was still a cage. One night, she clawed at the necklace of privilege she wore around her neck like a taut noose and fled. She ran away, and away.
The streets were unkind, filled to their dirty brims with crooks and swindlers alike, those who had been in this trade longer than her. But, over the past two years, she’d gotten wiser, learnt to read discreet gestures and eyes. No one was born a thief—but you could make yourself into one. It was akin to the lessons she was mandated to take at her mansion, but realer, more real than she’d wanted it to be. She worked her way up the chain, from a pickpocket that frequented bazaars to a hooded thief that broke into homes and scavenged them for treasures and now here she was, the most pretentious out of all, an art thief.
It’d arisen from the one moment she’d crackled at aristocrats and their crazed reverence for paintings. “You won’t believe how many dinner parties I’ve been to where the host just kept on talking about some dead artist’s work—oh, it’s the finest oil paint—no one fuckin’ cares.” She took a swig from the wooden tankard she held in her hands; red wine kissed the back of her throat. “There’s aristocrats, and then there’s the art aristocrats.” Thea laughed; the air around them smelled as a vineyard would. “Bad and worse.”
In the two years she’d spent on these streets, she’d become a part of a motley gang, all thieves but varying histories, varying legacies. She had yet to learn about the histories of some, because they refused to bond more than necessary, more than what this easy camaraderie called for. Thea understood.
The past can a wretched, unspeakable thing for some.
There were parts she hadn’t told them, too. For one, she was Thea Prance to them, the lowly daughter of a dead aristocrat that had fallen from grace and wealth. A once-golden thing, now caked with dirt and mud.
“We should all just steal those paintings and laugh at their tears,” she said, with a pleased chortle of sound. Heads nodded, gently. “Then, why don’t we?” The boy with a sharp gleam in his eyes chimed in. He was one of those who Thea knew only in fragments about, a street rat deft with all dirty trades and tricks in the book. A jack of all trades, she mused as her mouth curled to a vulpine smile.
Then, why don't we?
The aristocrat’s mansion smelled of her old one, a sickening sweetness of flowers and perfume that crawled down Thea’s nostrils to fester in her stomach. Everything gleamed in the silver moonlight, from the intricate tapestry to the large vases perched atop mahogany tables. In the hearth, embers glowed still, which meant they’d only gone to sleep a few moments ago. Shit, she hissed under her breath as she, crouched, carried herself behind the velvet-red sofa. The others trailed her, as quiet as cats. Everyone held their breath. “They could be awake,” someone whispered from behind her and she nodded.
“Could be,” Thea murmured.
This, was the danger poised to thieves—a dance with chance, a war between hope and pragmatism. She could hope for the best and let herself be careless or she could be sensible and rehearse the act. Gritting her teeth, Thea decided to do both and entered the darkened hallway, lit only by scarce candlelight.
Darkness pooled around her slender form, cold and heavy. Her breath remained lodged in her throat and so did her heart as Thea scrambled down the carpeted stretch of hallway, peering into rooms. There were some portraits hung upon the floral-patterned walls but not the special one that would break their hearts, the coveted masterpiece.
Thea knew she’d found it only when her eyes drank up a painting that was kept in a room of its own, a painting that she was bewildered by even in the moonlight.
It was, at first glance, all too simple but then, under closer scrutiny, there was a whimsical sense to the hazy lines that depicted district two at night, a delicateness. The brushstrokes, when felt by her fingertips, were hard ridges to touch but soft to the eyes. She grinned at the others they flooded in behind her.
“Here it is,” she whispered.
No one in the mansion stirred awake the moment they fled. They rushed down the streets, their heartbeats as loud and raucous as their thick boots upon the cobblestones, grins polished by the moonlight, and Thea felt alive—so, so alive.
She was not the girl in the portrait, with wisps of her hair drawn back; she was the girl that would steal the portrait and run down the streets with it, wild and howling with laughter.
and i wonder where she will stay my little runaway a run run run run my little runaway