Discord In Harmony
A tale of love, duplicity, duty, deceit, and yes, discord and harmony
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The intruder stood quietly in the dark, carefully closing the leaded glass doors behind her, gently sliding their double latches into place so that no untoward sound might give away her presence in the sleeping house. She took a deep breath; all was still except for the faint but steady tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the upstairs hallway. For the next few seconds, she allowed her eyes to accustom themselves to the elongated shadows and darkened objects crowding the interior of the cluttered parlor.

She had never liked Maude Pinkerton's pretentious antique furniture in the daylight; she liked it even less now covered with the solemn hood of night. But she had been in this room on enough occasions to know its placement: the small round rosewood table that held Miss Pinkerton's silver tea service and lace doilies to the left, the two gaudy salmon colored rococo revival chairs to the right and, just in front of her, the ornately carved coffee table on its long spindly legs with the matching rococo settee just beyond.

With care, she stepped to the rosewood table and slid her fingers along the intricate curve of the silver teapot's handle. The silver felt cool and remote, distant, an icy reflection of the tiny bands of moonlight that had wedged in between the shuttered windows. The interloper's heart began to race inside the cage of her chest. This euphoric tension, this combustible melange of danger and power, made her heady, almost faint, with anticipation. She studied her surroundings, squinting into the shadows and darkened corners, looking for just the right object to quell this all-consuming desire of hers. And then she saw it - on the coffee table beside a large crystal vase of pallid roses and drooping chrysanthemums.

She moved silently to the table and closed her fingers around the diminutive enamel box. She had seen this box before. It was a hand painted snuffbox decorated like an ancient Chinese scroll with tiny flowers and birds. It had been in Miss Pinkerton's family for some time. The box felt weightless in her hand; its disappearance, she knew, would not be weightless upon Miss Pinkerton's heart.

The thief carefully walked back to the leaded glass doors, tiptoeing around the shadows of relic furniture, gently sliding her fingers along the silver teapot's handle once more as she passed by. Then with a last look at the dark and sleeping house, she lifted the door latch and stepped outside.

A misty fog encircled her as she stole down the porch steps, ducked under Miss Pinkerton's rose-covered trellis and then wedged her way out through the large hydrangea bushes on the far edge of the Pinkerton property. She stopped on the other side to look at the tiny treasure held tightly in her palm. The box was beaded with her perspiration and in the moon's faint shimmery light the little painted birds glistened like jewels. She closed her hand around her prize and smiled. And as she walked home, the fog opened up a thin silver slip that quickly closed about her, erasing her steps and presence in the ghostly night air.


Writing is pure pleasure in King's Canyon, CA.

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