In one of my narrative examples last week, I used a character named "Charlie" who was breaking into a professor's office. :) I decided to expand on it, developing it a little more.
I'm considering... Harry Potter (magic school) meets Golden Compass (magic world) with a healthy dose of Hunger Games (YA dystopia) and Lord of the Rings (racial tensions). It's all very conceptual at this point, but I thought to myself that if this is the sort of story folk are interested in reading... perhaps I'll write it.
Charlie wasn't sure whether she'd felt or heard the click of the lock opening, the snick of metal against metal sliding into place, but it seemed very loud to her in the silence of the hall. She froze, muscles taut, senses alert for the approach of suspicious feet.
She waited for several long heartbeats, but nothing continued to happen, and at length she began to relax.
"So jumpy," she whispered to herself, pushing the door open just a hair to peer into the office beyond. "A blind man would know you were guilty."
"Good evening, Professor. It's good to see you again."
The redhead almost leapt out of her skin as the door spoke to her, and though she didn't slam the door shut it was a very near thing. Of course the door talked. Professor Tenga specialized in the animation and transformation of inanimate objects. Of course, since the door had no eyes or ears or anything, it wouldn't know that she wasn't the Professor.
Swiftly now, she moved inside and closed the door, heart still pounding. Get in, get the box, get out. It was simple. Or it would have been, if she'd known where to look.
The table in the middle of the room was large and covered in a spread of papers in many colors. Some had text on them, others had images. A typewriter near the far left corner was clicking softly to itself, running its carriage slowly to and fro and chiming whenever it returned to the start position. The effect was rather like a very inconsistent clock - a sound she could easily tune out.
Since there was no proper desk, obviously there were no desk drawers, but there was a bureau against the wall. Each of the drawers had labels, but none of them were in English so far as she could tell. Quickly, she approached the chest and started to open one drawer at a time, looking for the small brown box Rob had wanted her to get for him.
"Can I help you find something, dear?" asked the bureau in a kind, motherly voice.
Charlie nearly told it to be quiet, then thought better of it. "I'm looking for a small brown box," she explained as quietly as she could. "Rectangular, about the size of my hand, only a little deeper, and it says 'secrets' on the lid."
There was a slight pause, as though the bureau were thinking about it. Then she said, just as kindly as before, "I'm afraid I can't help you with that. But I will call the Professor. She might be able to help you with that."
She was locked in. The typewriter clicked out "ha ha ha" on its paper and marked the time and date, as well as the occasion for the door being locked and the intruder's explanation of why she'd come.
Charlie ran a hand through her hair and resisted the urge to pull it out. After all that, she was going to get caught, just like Rob said she would. He was never going to let her live this down.
To be continued...
The next piece of this story will show up on my Patreon before it's posted here. If you're interested, you can head on over there for extra content!