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He stepped out of the window and immediately broke into a run having completed the easiest heist of his long criminal life. Within the black bag, the object slapped against his thigh as he crossed the well-manicured lawn of the estate. Shrouded by layers of darkness, he has no fear of k-9’s, guardsmen or alarms because he had been informed that the owner didn’t have any.

As the thief raced through the grove that lead to the brick wall, the conversation he had overheard replayed in his head. In a drunken ramble, the man at the bar said, “My f-ing friend is an idiot. He has this thing. (hic) it’s worth millions and he keeps it in his freaking (hic) house.”

The man’s companion sipped sloppily from his beer and responded, “Really? Where does he live?”

“Ha, ha. The big house at (hic) the top of the hill. You thinking of robbing him?”

“Nah, …well…not tonight anyway.”

“You should. (hic) He doesn’t believe in alarms. He says (hic) he doesn’t need’em. You believe that crap?”

“Why not?”

“He says the (hic) the thing is cursed and it’s all the protection he needs.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” his companion laughed. “Are you kidding me?”

“No shit. (hic) He’s very superstitious by nature and he (hic) believes in all that hooey I guess.”

“Hooey. That’s exactly what it is,” the thief laughed as he leapt onto the eight-foot wall, but as he swung his legs over it, the strap that was holding the black bag against his leg came untied and fell.

The thief immediately leaned forward and shot his arm out, grabbing for the falling sack, but as he lost his balance and fell forward he realized just how high eight feet was. The bag hit the ground with a heavy thud and a second later there was a sharp crack as the thief’s head connected with the brutally hard object inside. The impact forced the solid quartz skull from the bag and it skittered a foot or two away, coming to rest staring directly at the thief.

The man lay on his back, moaning in pain, trying to bring his hands to his head to see what damage had been done but his arms didn't want to work right, they only flopped and jerked uselessly on the ground. The overwhelming, nauseating pain that filled his head was quickly working its way down to his stomach and with a desperate effort he turned his head to the side and puked, the hamburger and beer spraying forth onto the wet grass. He didn’t notice, he had completely forgotten why he had turned his head in the first place, he was too busy staring into the blank eye sockets of the quartz skull he had stolen.

It stared back at him with an emotionless grin, “Gotta bitch of a headache, huh?”

The thief gazed at the skull, unsure of weather he had heard it speak or not, but for some reason he responded, “Yeah, it feels like my head is split open.”

“Oh, it is, but don’t worry, in a few minutes the brain damage will take effect and you won’t feel the pain anymore.” The skull said, an almost casual tone to his “voice”.

The man took a moment to process this information and remembered his friend saying something about a curse, “Curses aren’t real though.” He whispered in a tone too low for even him to hear.

“Aren’t they though? Why else would you be lying here?” The skull argued.

“I slipped and fell,” the man said, not even sure if he was actually talking anymore, “it was an accident.”

“Curses, accidents…is there even a difference?” the skull seemed to be closer now.

“Well, a curse makes bad things happen to you.” The man said, the skull had been right, he wasn’t in pain anymore.

The skull laughed, “What do you think an accident is?”

The man thought for a moment, “Well did you make me have this accident?”

“Oh, what does that matter? All that matters now is that you’re dead.”

“I’m not dead!” the thief argued, “If I was dead, wouldn’t I be in heaven or hell?”

“How do you know what happens after death?” the skull shot back, “For all you know this is what happens, you get to sit and stare and talk to the thing that killed you for all eternity.”

It was the man’s turn to laugh, “See? You just admitted that you killed me, you are cursed.”

“I may very well be,” the skull said, “I wouldn’t know, I’m just a voice in your head after all...” then, almost as an afterthought, “You died because you fell off of the wall, you had an accident, all a curse is is something to blame an accident on.”

The man was beginning to fall asleep, his eyelids slowly closing, but right before they shut completely he realized something morbidly funny about his death. He had split his skull open on a skull, and to him, that was hilarious. He then shut his eyes and died with a smile on his face.

The next morning the owner of the house found the dead thief lying just outside the perimeter wall next to a puddle of dried vomit, and a little ways from that was what had been stolen. A skull paperweight, worth little more than fifteen dollars.

“Poor bastard.” The man said, looking down at the deceased thief.

He then sighed and began to walk back to his house to call the police, the thief had probably been listening to that drunk up at the local bar who told people about a cursed object worth millions, and how easy it would be to steal due to the lace of security. Why people took advice from drunks, he would never understand…


The following comments are for "Write Off: A late night talk"
by Highly Flammable Man

Deadly Paperweight
I liked the idea of the object being nothing more than a paperweight. I thought you could have dropped the last paragraph. Maybe just leave in the last sentence as an ending. The ending seemed a little overexplained. The dialogue was very good. Using an inanimate object as your other character was also very creative. I thought this story was the better of the two.

( Posted by: Jeff [Member] On: January 28, 2002 )

Well, I must say that that was one of the few things I wasn't expecting, well done. I especially liked the closing line.

( Posted by: Phantom der Nacht [Member] On: January 28, 2002 )

two skulls are better than one.
I liked the twists in the story and the whole is it real or made up issue that keeps you guessing. I agree with Jeff that maybe you should have left us hanging with the thiefs death, and not told us exactly what happened in the end. That way people would still be wondering what exactly happened.

Good stuff.

( Posted by: kross [Member] On: January 31, 2002 )

Very good as well
For the record, I do not know the writer's identity until after I vote. Then, I beg Crowe to let me in on the secret.

On with the comments. I thought this was an excellent and creative story as well and I had a difficult time choosing between them. But ultimately, the other one moved me more. That's not to say that this was good, I thought it was very creative and interesting. The other one just touched me where I live.


( Posted by: Richard Dani [Member] On: February 1, 2002 )

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