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The watch

Quickly but cautiously Jason made his way through the back-alley. He didn't want to be seen, so he slipped from shadow to shadow, until he reached his goal, a sturdy wooden garden door in a well maintained whitewashed fence. Carefully he tried the handle. Damn, it was locked!

He swallowed. He had to get in there, he simply had to. Tonight was his one and only chance. They were out, which hardly ever happened. If he wanted to get his hands on that priceless antique watch, he knew to be in there, he had to do it now. And he had to do it quickly, because they probably wouldn't make it very late.

Jumping up, he grabbed the upper edge of the fence and drew himself up, kicking down at the wood, trying to push himself higher. Finally he managed to get on top of the fence and there he rested for a moment, scanning his surroundings to make sure he still was undetected. Satisfied that he was, he pivoted on his belly, swinging his legs to the inside of the fence and then he carefully lowered himself to the ground, making sure he landed on the paved path. He didn't want footprints to betray him. Again he checked if he was seen... Nothing stirred, still safe.

He couldn't help thinking about the mysterious young man, who had called himself Daniel, that had approached him a few nights ago. He had talked about things Jason had kept secret from everyone. Yet this Daniel knew about his past as a burglar, he knew about the debt with that loan shark and he knew about the threats these gangsters had made against his wife and his little daughter.

He had promised to show him where to find enough money to pay his debt, enough to sustain his family for a while and enough to make himself presentable, so his next job interview wouldn't end the moment the potential employer saw him walk in. He only had to promise to steal an antique watch and deliver it to a certain jeweller. Jason had promised without hesitation and Daniel had come through. He had described the location, where the loot from a long forgotten bank robbery was hidden. None involved still lived, nobody remembered. And it was enough, more than enough.

So now Jason was on his way to get the watch. Even though he already had the money, for some reason, he couldn't back out. It felt as if this Daniel was watching him all the time, ready to take it al back if he faltered.

He quietly moved down the gardenpath to the backdoor, knowing they never locked it, hoping they hadn't now. Silently he tried the door and inwardly thanked heaven when he found it unlocked. Following Daniel's instructions he quickly moved through the house, up the stairs and into the main bedroom. In the closet he found the wheathered wooden box. He opened it, took out the old watch, admiring the intricate engravings in the silver, before carefully wrapping it in a soft cloth and putting it into a pocket of his jacket. The box he replaced, so no-one would notice anything out of the ordinary.

As he descended down the stairs, he heared a car pulling up to the house. Hurried, he went to the backdoor to leave the same way he came in. Just before he closed it behind him, he heared the keys turning in the front door. He ran to the fence, jumped up and scrambled over it in a hurry. Panting, he hid in the shadows and watched the lights in the house go on, first downstairs, then upstairs. He watched, until the last light was extinguished, without any alarm raised. Good, they hadn't noticed.

The next morning Jason delivered the watch as promised and went home. He found a job within a week and never had money problems again.


Two weeks later a small package was delivered. The wife took the package to the living room and curiously opened it. Her husband, seeing her turning white, seeing the tears forming in her eyes rushed to her side to support her when he noticed the content of the package. It was the watch his grandfather had left him, the watch that had stopped running two years ago, on the day their 22-year old son Daniel had died in a car crash, the day, their life had stopped as well. With it was a note, that read:

Dear mom and dad,
I had this watch repaired for you. It was time for it to start moving again. And as this old watch moves again, so should you. I'm in a good place now. Go on with your life, please.

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