Owin #5 — The Warehouse

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Photo ©Depositphotos.com / Oleksandr Minyaylo
Photo ©Depositphotos.com / Oleksandr Minyaylo

Owin remained true to his word and avoided stealing for the next two days. That commitment came more from the fact that he felt too sore to engage in any risky activities than his desire to change his behavior. He hoped Elsin understood. She did not bring home enough money to take care of Gwen and her mother; therefore, it fell to him to supplement them.

Dressed in dark clothing, he moved casually down the narrow street. It was after dark and while the people he might pass would be aware of his presence, history had taught him that someone behaving as though they belonged was almost immediately forgotten, while someone out-of-place would be remembered.

When he reached the wide streets around the warehouses, he continued past the buildings owned by the Mulin family. That family paid large sums of money to the underworld in the city so their possessions would not be targeted. Owin did not care about that, he was not officially part of any network—which held its own problems—but it did mean watchers protected the buildings. If he was caught breaking that code of conduct, his death would be quite unpleasant.

Three buildings further down the dimly lit street, Owin ducked behind an empty wagon that appeared to have a broken axle and sat down to wait. The building behind him belonged to a wealthy family living high up the hills that overlooked Rhyl. He did not know anything specific about the family, but based on the size of their holdings, they had more than enough money to spare a few goods from their warehouse.

Owin waited until his legs grew uncomfortable from squatting and then slowly moved to the corner of the building. Peeking down the alley beside the warehouse, he confirmed no one was present before entering the narrow area between the buildings. He stopped about halfway down the alley.  Above him were a series of windows high up in the wall; all of them opened to let out the heat that had accumulated during the day.

Opening the bag he carried, he removed a grappling hook made from a twisted antler. Swinging the grapple in a circle, he launched it into the air. He grinned. The antler had gone in through the open window with the first toss. He would have smiled at his luck, but the grin already caused the wound in his mouth to hurt.

Carefully, he pulled the rope taut and was relieved when the antler caught on the windowsill. I’ll have to tell Gwen about this one, he thought. Her father had always been better at hitting a target than him, but snagging the open window twenty feet overhead in the dark would have even been hard for Gavin.

Taking another coiled rope from the bag, he quietly forced the attached piece of angled antler into a gap at the base of the wall. The coil he draped over his shoulder.

After taking one last glance for anyone who might notice him, he started the climb, playing out the second rope as he ascended. With knots in both ropes, the climb up to the window was easy enough.

Pausing with his hands on the windowsill, he listened for indications someone inside the warehouse might have noticed his activity. The delay gave Owin time to consider the risk of this theft. At least I hope it would be a quick death, he mused. The people running this business would not call for the city guards; he knew they would handle the problem themselves.

Pulling himself up, he slipped one leg over the window and straddled the sill. From his high vantage point, he surveyed the large building as warm air blew across his face. Below him, there were many crates and barrels stacked on the packed clay floor. The far, front corner had a small room sectioned off. The light of one or more lamps inside the room highlighted the edges of the closed-door leading into the room. The rest of the building was obscured in darkness, as the angle of the moons only provided limited light through the windows.

Slowly, he played out the second rope, lowering the end quietly to the floor. Pulling up the loose end of the rope attached to the grapple, he lowered the grapple to the floor inside the warehouse. He did not want to try to store it in the bag in his current position. When all he held was the loose end, he looped it through his belt twice to hold it in place.

Slipping further into the warehouse, he adjusted his long dagger to keep it from catching. His sword he had left with Gwen, hoping it would be more trouble than it was worth to bring it. If I need it, I’m already in way too much trouble.

Feeling the pain of the narrow sill pressing into his chest, Owin grabbed the rope secured to the outside and started his descent. Using his feet against the wall, he easily walked his way to the floor. Being a bit paranoid, he crouched low and waited, listening for the sounds of anyone who might have noticed his entrance. After a count of one hundred, he gathered up the rope for the grappling hook and coiled it neatly before placing it in his bag. The time he waited had allowed his eyes to further adjust to the dark building.

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