Illusions begin, p.6
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       Illusions Begin, p.6

           N.L. Greene

  Chapter Four

  Becky took a deep breath, feeling the restrictions of work fall away and relishing in the freedom of the New York City streets. Having been raised just outside of the city in the Hamptons and her parents firm being located where it was, Becky was never a stranger to the city growing up. Her parents tried to shelter her from most of it though, never taking public transportation like the masses did and never taking side stops when they did venture into the city. When she would get to visit the city with them as a child, they were in and out quickly, only stopping at the destinations that were on the prescheduled list. But that didn’t mean her eyes weren’t glued to the window, taking in as much as she could as they drove down the streets. Despite her parent’s attempts at sheltering her, Becky did not hold the same feeling for the city as her parents did.

  As soon as she was old enough to venture out on her own, she was running all over the place. She loved being in the heart of the city with all the hustle and bustle that went with it. She relished in the fast-paced atmosphere and the impatience of the people around her. She delighted in the mass amount of people and the ability to be completely swallowed up by them. In a city of millions of people it was so easy to get lost and forgotten. One could walk all day and not be noticed or remembered by a soul. While some people may dislike that, Becky craved it. She could be herself without the constant worry of being discovered.

  Taking another deep breath, pulling on her sunglasses, and placing her ear buds in her ears, she began walking the two blocks to the subway stop that would eventually take her to her Upper Westside apartment. She smiled remembering when she informed her parents that not only was she moving out, but that she was moving into the city. They were angry but more scared than anything else. They reminded her of what they did for a living and of the people they had met over the course of their careers. Muggers and murders were not a myth; they were very real and running wild in Manhattan. Becky had almost failed at holding in her laughter when they were telling her these things. Becky may have been physically sheltered from the city life, but she was very intelligent and informed. She watched the news, read the paper and kept up on current events. She knew the crime rate of the city and felt more than comfortable living there. In fact, she had been beyond excited about the idea.

  When her parents realized that she would not concede, they insisted on helping her decide where she would live. She was fine with that. She knew they would pick a high priced area but she could afford it with the salary she was earning and with her trust fund left by her grandparents which was released to her when she graduated college. She had already chosen a place that she knew her parents would be fine with. The building she picked was right off Columbus Circle on Broadway. The location gave her quick access to the subway as well as a busy street to hail a taxi and prime shopping and dining without having to travel more than a few blocks. She purchased an apartment on the top floor that offered an amazing view of Central Park, one that she already spent plenty of early mornings and late nights enjoying. She loved it for the location and view, but more importantly, her parents loved it for the security and other high profile occupants which further ensured her safety as far as they were concerned. They were all happy.

  Feeling that contentment, she returned her attention to weaving in and out of people and lightly hummed to her music, as she walked steadily and with confidence to her stop. Swiping her metro card like a pro, she walked through the turnstile and waited patiently for her train to come. There were hundreds of other people on the platform, as was usual for the time of day, so she headed down to the far end of the platform where she would have a better chance of slipping onto the train without much of a fight. Just as she took her final steps, the train came screeching in and stopped in front of her. The doors whooshed opened and she quickly stepped on while others stepped off. She was jostled and shoved, but no more so than usual. Ignoring this, she found a spot to stand, wrapped her hand around the metal pole and continued to listen to her music. There were a few stops before she had to get off so she got as comfortable as she could, standing in a crammed subway car with thousands of strangers.

  The next stop came and went, she was jostled a bit more but held firm to her spot. The next stop was a bit more crowded and the car became impossibly full. Her front was flush with the pole she had been holding onto and now her back with flush against a stranger. This was normal and she thought nothing of it until she felt a hand on her hip. She tried to move from the hand but it gripped her tighter just as a mouth was whispering at her ear. “Don’t move or speak and everything will be okay. Nod once if you understand.”

  Becky immediately nodded her head once while thoughts began to race through her head. How was this man expecting to hurt her on a train full of people? He must be aware of the fact that they were surrounded and someone was sure to see. But then her earlier thoughts of why she loved this city so much came back to her. The fact that one could be completely surrounded by thousands of people and still be totally invisible. There was a possibility this man could hurt her and not a soul would notice.

  “Good girl. Now reach into your purse and get your wallet. Then you are going to hand it to me, nice and slow. Then this will all be over. Understand?”

  She nodded once again. As she reached into her purse she realized just how calm she was. She wasn’t sure why but this man didn’t scare her. Once she came to that realization she also realized that she wasn’t okay with him robbing her either. She wasn’t helpless. A plan formed in her mind quicker than she ever thought it could.

  She took her time reaching into her purse, digging around as if she couldn’t find her wallet, but made sure not to make it obvious. When she felt the train slowing, she knew her assailant would be getting off at this stop. She pulled her wallet out and reached back to give it to him as the doors opened. She then turned quickly to look at his face. When they locked eyes she could see his surprise at her willingness to face him, but then he quickly got over it and snatched what was in her outstretched hand. He jumped from the car just as the doors were closing. She watched him as he looked down then whirled around, his face filled with confusion. She smiled and held up not only her wallet, but his as well. His face turned from confusion to anger as the train picked up speed and he disappeared from sight.

  She had no training as a pick-pocket but knowing sleight of hand and how to take advantage of a diversion were two things she was damn good at. She couldn’t help her inner praise at having bested a would-be thief with magic. She could still envision his look of surprise when he glanced down into his hand, expecting to see her wallet but finding a few folded up napkins that she always kept in her purse for emergencies instead. She rode that high all the way to her final stop and up the elevator to her apartment. Once there, she called the police and gave them the details of her experience. At first they laughed but once she informed them of her name and occupation, the discussion became much more serious. They wanted to send over an officer right away to get an official statement and the evidence she now had, but that would have to wait. She had somewhere to be. Making an appointment for them to meet her at her office first thing in the morning, she hung up, placed the thieves wallet on the counter where she wouldn’t forget it in the morning, and went to get ready for her evening.

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