Alternate Universe "For the Larabees"
Sixth story in the Beginnings Collection
Nine-year-old Ezra Percival Standish listened fearfully at the door of his room, which wasnt really a room at all, but a closet, for the comforting sounds of his Uncle Seymour snoring. A low rumbling sound filled his ears and Ezras heart gave a hopeful lurch. If he played this just right, then he would escape his tormentor and be free to live on his wits and the skills that his mother, Maude, had been training him since he was able to walk and talk. He slid the piece of wire out of the sleeve of his tattered suit coat and inserted it into the lock of the door and began to jiggle it around, hoping to connect it just right with the locking mechanism of the door so that it would unlock and he could escape.
As he worked at the lock, he continued to listen attentively at the door, hoping that he wasnt making too much noise to awaken the man that his mother had insisted he call uncle and with whom she had left him with for the past four months. He would never think of the mean, ill-tempered man as his uncle. The last four months had been a living hell for Ezra at the hands of Seymour. He had only been given scraps of food off of the mans plate, taken out of the closet twice a day to use the facilities; or when the terrible man thought that he could make a fast buck off of the boy, he would have Ezra help him with his cons or win over a rich matrons trust that he could exploit.
Those days Ezra had always looked forward to, since it meant that he would be able to wash up, wear clean clothing, and practically eat and drink anything that he wanted. He had taken to storing away morsels of food in his pockets to stave off hunger pains later on or divesting some coins or bills from the wealthy personages that Seymour dragged him along to.
Finally, after about a half hour or so his work paid off. Ezra slipped the piece of wire back into his sleeve, not knowing whether or not he would need it again at some later date, and slowly turned the knob on the closet door and opened it. He slipped cautiously out into the room, wincing as Seymours snoring became even more ominous than it had sounded from inside his tiny prison.
Ezra slowly made his way across the large bedroom toward the door that would lead out into the hallway and his freedom, making sure to avoid the boards that made a creaking sound when weight was placed on them. He reached the door at last and reached out a trembling hand to turn the knob. If he was successful in freeing himself from Seymours bedroom suite, he knew he could escape from the house so that none of the servants would see him.
As the door swung open inward, his heart practically stopped beating as Seymour suddenly shifted into a sitting position on the bed. He didnt move, he didnt breathe, fearful that if he made any sound or movement that he was going to be discovered and there was going to be hell to pay. After what seemed liked a lifetime, Seymour flopped backwards onto the bed and settled into snoring once again and Ezra could breathe again.
He didnt hesitate in pulling the door open wide enough for him to slip out into the main part of the suite. Ezra closed the door quietly behind him and moved hurriedly across the room over to Seymours office and up to the picture on the wall that held the mans safe.
A devilish smile creased his lips as he worked the combination, and opened the safe. He had a gift for numbers. Once he saw a set of them, regardless of their correlation to each other, he memorized them. It was one of the reasons why his Mother had used him in so many of her cons. There was a click as the lock mechanism worked and then the heavy iron door opened. Ezra didnt hesitate in grabbing one of the bundles of money, and a bag of various coins and stuffed them into the pockets of his jacket.
Ezra closed the safe door, replaced the picture and hightailed it toward the double doors of the suite. A few moments later found him running away from the house and into the dark night toward freedom. He didnt know where he was going to go, just so long as it was as far away from Seymour as he could get.
6. JD's Story