Friday, April 10, 2015

A Midnight Adventure

Khurram closed his book with a satisfied sigh and put it down softly on the bedside table. His twin brother Talha was sleeping soundly and snoring a little. It was well after midnight. Khurram got up from the bed and stretched his arms above his head. He went to the table for a drink of water and looked out of his bedroom window. It was full moon and the whole neighborhood was bathed in a silvery light. It was very quiet and not a soul stirred anywhere.



Khurram was about to close the curtains but a furtive movement caught his eye. A shadow crept stealthily across the garden of Mr. Shahid's house. Mr. Shahid was an eccentric, wealthy middle aged bachelor who lived alone in a big house across the street. He had traveled all over the world and collected relics of ancient civilizations. It was rumored that he had a wonderful collection of souvenirs, coins, urns, statues and tools from exotic places like Egypt, South America and China.

Khurram and Talha had always been interested in archaeology and were very curious about his collection. Unfortunately, Mr. Shahid was not too fond of children and never let anyone put a foot in his house.


Khurram rubbed his eyes and stared. Yes. There was somebody there.

"Oy, Talha. Get up." Khurram shook his brother awake.

"What? What's happened? What's wrong?" Talha asked groggily.

"Ssh! Lower your voice. I think a burglar is trying to enter Mr. Shahid's house. Come and look."

"So? Who cares about that mean old man?" Talha tried to burrow deeper in the bed. "Let me sleep," he mumbled.

"Get up," Khurram shook his brother violently and getting no response poured the jug of water over him.

Spluttering and wide awake, Talha emerged from his blanket, glaring at his twin.

"Just think, Talha. If we catch the thief, maybe we'll get a reward. Our photos will be in the newspapers. Maybe Mr. Shahid will show us his antiques collection." Khurram said dreamily.

Talha's interest was also piqued. He quickly scrambled to the window as Khurram switched off the bedside lamp. They both peered out and saw the solitary shadow dragging a big ladder across the garden. It seemed as if he was trying to climb up to reach the roof.



"Shall we call the police? Talha whispered.
,
"Don't be an idiot. It's our chance to be heroes. He is alone and there are two of us.. Come on. Let's gather our supplies."

The two brothers had played enough mock gun battles to know what ‘supplies' meant. Khurram ripped the pillow case off his bed and quickly stuffed a torch, adhesive tape, and two water guns into it. Talha got hold of his scout knife. They quickly donned their black trousers and jackets and silently moved downstairs. They were outside their house and near Mr. Shahid's home in a flash.

The long ladder rested against the wall and the thief was perched on the railing of Mr. Shahid's rooftop. He seemed to be pondering his next move.

"He doesn't look like a pro," Talha whispered disdainfully. "What is taking him so long?"

"Ssh! He is coming down. Get ready." Khurram whispered excitedly.

With thumping hearts, the two teenagers took positions in a nearby bush. As soon as the thief came down, they both pounced on him. He was taken completely by surprise. Khurram threw the pillow case over his head and Talha wound the adhesive tape around his legs. The thief flailed his arms and tried to kick the two boys but they were very determined. He then tried to run away, but Talha had done a good job and the thief fell flat on his face. The two brothers then took hold of his arms and wound some more tape around him.

The thief's muffled shouts attracted the attention of the next door neighbor. Mrs. Nighat peered out of the window and screamed loudly enough to rouse half the neighborhood. Doors opened and people tumbled out with sticks and brooms. They quickly found the cause of commotion and came over to the place where the two boys stood triumphantly over their catch.




The local policeman was called and the people waited for his arrival. They all marveled at the boys' courage and nerve. Talha's father was extremely proud and thumped his boys on the back. In the excited babble, nobody paid any attention to the thief's muffled moans and groans. Resigned to his fate, he uttered one more groan then laid there silent and still. As soon as the policeman came, he hauled the burglar up on his feet and removed the pillow case from his face.

To everyone's shock and horror, it was Mr. Shahid!

Purple with rage and clutching his broken pair of glasses, he glared at the two brothers.

"You mischievous boys. How dare you? I'll have you arrested for this."

"But Sir, we thought you were a thief." stammered Khurram.

"Thief? Thief? Do I look like a thief? I came home from an exhibition and found that I had locked myself out of my house. I was trying to find a way in till you goons jumped on me. I'll ask this officer to... "

"But Sir, just consider how it must have seemed to these young men? They thought they were protecting your property," the policeman interceded.

At these words, Mr. Shahid calmed down a bit. "Hmmm. But they'll still have to pay for assaulting me like this." He said ominously.

The two boys exchanged apprehensive glances while their father looked on worriedly.

"Every weekend, you'll have to help me polish my collection and catalog them. If you agree, I won't press charges. Now will you please get this tape off me?" Mr. Shahid smiled and suddenly looked much nicer.

The two boys whooped with delight. It seemed they were going to be rewarded for their midnight adventure after all.




Image credit: Pixabay.com

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