Stolen Artifact

“Gimme the gadget, geek,” said the thug, rhythmically slapping a crowbar against his palm.

Stopping with some effort, Gary huffed under the weight of the cylindrical thing he cradled across both his arms. It thrummed ominously, a deep bass note suffusing through the air around them both.

“Man, just let me go,” said Gary, once he’d managed a breath. “Trust me, this thing isn’t valuable to you.”

“It looks pricey to me. How about you let me worry about it and hand it over?” The mugger seemed barely old enough to drink, but looked like he’d done this sort of thing before. Predatory gaze never leaving Gary, he rolled his head on his neck in a crackling orbit.

“Damn it, Professor Stevens will kill me. Hell. Here, take it, it’s yours.” Gary lifted his arms and all but lobbed the heavy cylinder at the kid’s chest. He caught it, surprised, letting the crowbar clatter to the sidewalk as he staggered back a little.

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