by Hydrargentium

“Take whatever you want. Just leave me the bird.”

Triple stood by the window, pulling the curtain back just enough to watch the street. Across the room, Triple had his back to the wall, beside the door, his gun trained on the old lady. Over by the far wall, Triple had slid the small mirror to one side, and was punching the code into the keypad of the small safe he found behind it.

After the green light came on on the safe’s access panel, he turned the handle, and pulled open the steel door. As he did so, the words she’d said had finally sunk in, and he turned to look around the room.

Bookshelves, a comfy chair with a lamp on the side table, a small hutch with a tea set, various knick-knacks, a coat tree and an umbrella stand — it was all the stuff you’d expect to see in some old lady’s reading room. What he didn’t see was a bird.

Relaxing his mind, he let impressions from his other two selves flow in. They were both focused, one keeping watch outside, the other watching the old lady and listening by the door, but neither remembered anything about a bird, either in the room or on the way in.

He was about to ask, and then decided it didn’t matter. He was only there for one thing anyway.

Turning back to the safe, his penlight illuminated its contents. There was the folder he was after. Sitting on top of it, like a pointless paperweight, was a small bronze statue of a songbird. He was pretty sure the eyes were real emeralds.

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