The Blue Beryl Bandits

by Megan Hay 


“You are such a bastard!” Iva snaps as she tries to move her arms. The cuffs around her wrists, with the short-chain between each, prevent her from doing this. “I told you to keep your hands off things, but you ignored me. Again.”

Cassian makes an ‘mhm’ sound as if he’s listening; he’s not, but as they’ve gotten into scrapes like this before, this isn’t the first time he’s heard this particular rant. Iva, despite her sweet appearance, has the sharpest tongue he’s ever encountered. He swears he’s learned more curses from her in the five years they’ve been friends than in the seventeen years before she waltzed into his life and never left.

Iva huffs, shifts slightly. The stone floor beneath her is cool and digs through the flimsy fabric of her dark blue dress. It had cost a whole three dollars, so Cassian has better pray it stays in good condition during this little endeavor of his. “So, any brilliant ideas?” she asks finally, wrinkling her nose as a strand of red hair, tickles her skin. Staticky conversation catches her attention and she looks between metal bars of their cell.

“-sident Roosevelt has appointed Joseph P. Kennedy to the newly formed commission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Thi-“

Realizing that it is simply political news, drifting down the hallway from the radio in the front room, Iva turns away, staring down at the cuffs around her wrists.

“No,” Cassian admits, glad he’s on the opposite side of their small cell. He knows just how fierce her kicks can be. “But I’m sure we can get free.” They always manage to escape, so he refuses to think that this time will be any different/

“I don’t have anything to pick the locks,” Iva bursts out, “I wasn’t thinking you were going to try and steal something—”

“I wasn’t going to steal anything,” Cassian cuts in, offended at the very thought that he would try anything so reckless even though in an odd twist, he had done exactly that. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her…or him for that matter. “I was just looking.”

“You weren’t just looking,” Iva snaps then sits back. “Don’t give me that shit, genius.”

Cassian instantly grimaces, pretending to one of the cuffs around his wrists. Her blue eyes always make him squirm. “Maybe,” he admits, then hurriedly goes on as he pushes away lingering thoughts of the jewel. “But I didn’t even know about the blue beryl until we got there. If you’re wondering, I didn’t get us invited to this party for anything other than to have a good time.”

Iva narrows her eyes, studying him. He is staring at her with wide green eyes, a picture of boyish innocence. For a moment, she falters, then she remembers that from the moment they met, when they both were attempting to pickpocket from the same official in a small town out east. He’s never been innocent a day in his life. Feeling the heat of anger wash over her, she grits her teeth. She turns her head away, keeping silent as she tries to figure out their best option.

She’s mad at him but Cassian doesn’t mind. He can count on both hands—at least ten separate times — how often he’s faced her wrath. She’ll get over it, just as she always does. Deciding it’s in his best interest to let her sulk, he wiggles his fingers, testing his restraints. Of course, nothing gives. He sighs. How annoying. He gives up after a minute, racking his brain for an idea. He has to get them out; this is on him, even though he will never admit it to anyone but himself. His fault, his solution; though that blue beryl... his fingers twitch at the thought of it. Something so rare has the ability to carry them well into the next few years, especially if this economic depression continues to sweep the country.

“You know,” he says finally as he stands, not sure how long the silence had gone on. “It could be worse.”

“How can it be worse?” Iva asks, wondering how he ever came to this kind of conclusion. He is brilliant, but he can be so undeniably stupid. “I don’t think we’ve ever been in a worse situation.” She’s sure of it now that she starts thinking about it. Usually at least one of them has something to pick locks with, but it had just been a party Cassian had managed to talk his way into and why would they need anything but the fancy dress? Narrowing her eyes, she opens her mouth as she finally turns her gaze back to him. However, his smirk, which is easily seen despite the dark hair flipped across his face, gives her pause, but only for a moment. “They’re going to send us to prison.” Her voice becomes increasingly higher with each syllable. “You never think anything through, never consider the consequences of any of the actions you take. Fuck it, I never should have— ”

“What’s going on here?” A man, dressed in the dark uniform of the jail’s guards, appears before their cell. Cassian takes one look at him, decides he is roughly his father’s age, and almost feels bad for what he’s going to do. Almost.

“Get me out of here,” Iva says, her gaze furious as she turns it to the guard. “Or at the very least gag him. Something.” She huffs a sigh as if she’s terribly annoyed, and that’s not an act. She is annoyed. “Please, just do something.” She adds desperation to her voice, which isn’t hard to do either.

The guard rubs his forehead. Cassian barely breathes as he watches. Is he going to get his keys? His hand never strays to them, which makes him fight back a sigh. Time for the next part of this flimsy plan.

“Why don’t you two just be quiet? It’s midnight. I’m not interested in any of your squabbling,” the man says as he turns.

Not about to let this chance slip away Cassian takes a deep breath, then squeezes his eyes shut. Not a moment later, he’s wheezing desperately. He’s always been good at convincing people with his words, so now it was time to see if he can do it with his actions too.

Iva gasps sharply, eyes widening. “What the hell?” She begins struggling uselessly. “Help him!”

The guard frowns, then sighs. “What’s wrong with him?” He opens the door with a quick twist of keys in the lock. “If this is some sort of stupid ploy...” he grumbles to himself, stepping inside. It’s clear from his expression, one of both annoyance and resigned acceptance, that he doesn’t want to deal with a corpse.

At this point, Cassian’s performance is turning into somewhat of a reality—the irony and karma don’t escape his notice—so as soon as the guard steps close enough, Cassian reacts. He kicks one of his legs up, catching the guard in the stomach then follows with a knee to the face. Bone crunches and blood spills. The man staggers, trying to get his bearings as he clutches his nose. This is his first mistake. Really, his second. He should have never trusted a conman.

As soon as he gets close, Iva jumps to her feet and then slams a foot into his back. The cuffs around her wrists prevent her arms from moving well, but not her legs, and she repeats this action until the man falls. As soon as he does, she kicks him in the temple. He goes limp and she sighs, relaxing for a moment, glad she always makes sure to wear loose-fitting dresses. He’ll wake with a killer headache and some bruises, but he’ll survive.

She kicks off her boot and begins reaching for the keys with her toes. It’s a small jail, for a small backwards town with even smaller crime rates, so they’re the only prisoners and he’s the only guard for the moment. But she knows there’s a shift change happening soon, and that knowledge makes her hurry.

“Wasn’t that brilliant?” Cassian asks brightly. She can make fun of him all the time for things—rightfully so— but she has to acknowledge just how good he is at thinking on his feet. “It was, wasn’t it?”

Iva sighs, pulling the keys along the floor with her toes. “It was brilliant,” she agrees; he is always looking for validation. “But do you know what else is brilliant? Me not wringing your neck when I get free.”

Cassian laughs, never worried. “You have way too much fun with me,” he counters, making her roll her eyes.

“You’re such an idiot,” Iva grumbles, working the keyring as high as she can, then tossing it up into the air. She manages to catch it with one of her hands and sets about freeing herself. “But you’re my idiot, so there’s that, I guess.”

His laugh turning into a cackle, Cassian waits patiently for her to get out of her cuffs and come to him. “Such an honor,” he says, his eyes sparkling with amusement as she takes a moment to tug her boot back on before setting to work on getting him free.

“Of course it is,” Iva mutters, her hands quick as she frees him. He might be quick with his words, but he has nothing her fingers, which, with her picks, can get through any lock. “Come on you utter twit. Let’s get out of here. I don’t want to be in this place any longer than I already have.”

As they step from the cell, Cassian glances back inside as he absently adjusts one of his spenders. “Maybe this will be a good learning experience for them. They really need more than one guard in a jail, even with crime so low and all that.”

Walking again, Iva nods, letting her hair down from its bun. “At least it was just us.” Really, that escape had been so easy, now that the stress of the situation has already begun to fade to memories. She sighs, brushing back her hair then running her fingers through it. This town isn’t bad, for being in the middle of nowhere, and when they had first come, she had thought that they might stay for a while. It seems not. In the morning, they would leave and go somewhere new, pick new names, new identities just as they have been doing for the last several years. She wonders who she’ll be when they leave this town- Iva, close to her real name of Ivana, will no longer be able to be used. She always liked Olivia.

Cassian nods as they make their way down the hallway, heading for the heavy wooden door. He doesn’t say anything, not until they step through and into the cool night air. “So,” he says conversationally as he slips a hand down into his boot. “Would this be a bad time to tell you that I have the beryl?”

Iva instantly stops, spinning to face him. “You what?” How had he gotten it? It had been back at the house when they had gotten arrested.

Grinning, Cassian pulls the small gem out from his boot. “When I went to have a snipe,” he says, “I made a fake. Wasn’t my best work, not by a long shot, but it’ll do for the time being.” He had used some of his materials to make a copy in the time he took his imagined smoke break. Despite everything, he thought this scheme of his went splendidly well, despite the fact that he had forgotten his lock picks at the house and they had ended up spending far too much time in jail because of that silly mistake.

Iva stares at him for several long moments, then she begins to laugh. “You bastard,” she says, this time fondly. “You utter bastard.”

Despite everything, he thought this scheme of his went splendidly well, despite the fact that he had forgotten his lock picks at the house and they had ended up spending far too much time in jail because of that silly mistake.

Iva stares at him for several long moments, then she begins to laugh. “You bastard,” she says, this time fondly. “You utter bastard.”

Artist Information:

Author: Megan Hay

Hometown: Dibble

Major: English

Year: Senior