The following playlist has been paired with an original narrative story. Each portion of the story is labeled with the corresponding song that should be listened to as you read along. I hope this story allows you, the reader, to visualize and connect with the music in a unique way.
“Anticipation” – Toby Fox
You’re almost there…
A tentative hand reaches forward, inching ever so slightly towards a particularly lustrous set of jewels displayed on a woman’s arm.
You got this…
A single drop of sweat falls down the thief’s forehead. They nervously fiddle with a piece of lint in their pocket, attempting to ignore the raucous chatter pouring out from the crowd around them.
Just a little… bit… closer…
“Botanic Panic” – Kristofer Maddigan
His hand jerks backwards as the surrounding conversations begin to dwindle, leaving soft murmurs. The focus of which are a bit too fixated on the thief for his liking. Heavy footsteps approaching from behind remind him of the precarious position he had suddenly found himself in. It had been a while since he had turned to thievery to make ends meet, but desperate times called for desperate measures, and it seemed he had unfortunately lost his touch.
The woman he had been trailing turns around and gives him a stunned look. She glances down at the gems adorning her forearm for a brief moment. Her gaze returns to him and he can see the realization suddenly click. Before she can do anything, he quickly turns on his heel and takes off through the crowd.
I’ve gotta get out of here.
A familiar sound of pursuing footsteps causes his heart to skip a few beats, but he wasn’t concerned. He knew the ins and outs of this part of the city like the back of his hand.
Try to keep up, old man!
He chuckles to himself as a wide grin slowly creeps onto his face. Oh, how he had missed moments like this. His mind ran through the various paths he could take back to Homebase, trying to determine which one would be the most amusing. The docks would present a fun terrain, but they were a bit out of the way from his current position. The shopping district was always a reliable place for a dense crowd to navigate, but there weren’t many places to hide if he became caught up. The alleyways had practically become home to him, but he knew them a bit too well.
In the midst of his thoughts, he fails to notice a carriage pulling out just in front of him. His eyes widen in panic as he drops down to slide underneath. The bottom of the carriage just barely passes over his head as he glances upwards to ensure he cleared it. As he finds his footing again on the other side, he can hear the passengers let out an alarmed yelp, clearly aware of just how close he had come to a collision with their transportation. He gives them a short wave of his hand in apology and continues onwards.
Suddenly, the thought dawns on him: the rooftops. With this new route in mind, he makes a beeline for the first alleyway he sees. He had scaled many buildings to access the rooftops before, and he was sure that he would have no problem finding climbable ridges to scale.
As he turns into the alley, he immediately begins to look around, searching for the familiar grooves he knew could be found on many of the run-down properties in this district.
Not there… not there… not there…
His heart begins to race as he is unable to find any suitable ridges for climbing. Fear slowly creeps into his gut as he realizes the buildings are much nicer than he had anticipated. He must’ve traveled closer to the wealthier part of the city without realizing it, which would explain the carriage’s sudden appearance. At this realization, he senses a certain presence behind him.
“Catch up! – Part 2 – ” – SonicPicnic
The guard slowly approaches him as he pulls out a large bat. Without a second thought, the thief dashes towards one of the building sides and frantically feels around for any sort of grip or foothold hoping that he had just missed one in his initial scan of the area. All he can hear is the pounding of his heart and his pursuer’s footsteps.
A brief moment of searching the building side reveals no climbable ridges. His heart drops, but he is not ready to admit defeat. His mind races through various ideas for escape, but none seem viable in this situation.
This is the end.
His body is suddenly pulled away from the building as the guard grabs him by the collar of his shirt. He attempts to free himself, but the guard’s grip is too strong, and besides, he wasn’t too keen on finding out what he intended to do with that bat. The thief’s body slumps; he had accepted his fate. He can feel the guard tighten his grip on his shirt as bits of his hair are caught in the guard’s hand along with it.
“No friends to help you this time.”
“Tank!” – SEATBELTS
Just as the guard is about to throw him in the back of a prison-bound carriage, a familiar whistle grabs his attention. He shows a small smirk for a brief moment before the guard smacks the back of his head.
“What’s that look all about? I wouldn’t be so pleased with myself if I were you. You may have evaded my efforts in the past, but you had the help of your little gang those times. You’re out of your element. I know your crew doesn’t like to venture into the wealthier districts. In fact, I- “
The guard is cut off as a small pouch is thrown at the pair’s feet. After a few seconds, it explodes in a cloud of smoke rendering the area around the carriage opaque. Taken aback, the guard forgets his grip on the thief for a moment, giving him the opportunity to spring away. His eyes begin to water from the smoke as he attempts to find a safe area, but the smoke seems never-ending. He directs his attention to his right as the whistle from before can be heard from that direction. In response, he calls out a different whistle and waits for a brief moment.
After a few second pass, two small figures emerge from the smoke in front of him. The thief immediately recognizes them as members of Homebase.
“Took you guys long enough!” He teases before letting out a cough. “I think you all went a bit overboard with the smoke bomb mixes this time.”
“Sorry, we were in a bit of a rush after one of our scouts spotted your predicament.” One of them responds. “What were you thinking anyway? Attempting a stunt like that without any backup…” The pair give each other an amused look. “You’re crazy, Max.”
Max laughs to himself briefly.
“Maybe… but I’m not crazy enough to bring the crew to this district.”
The guard is right.
“We’re in unknown territory here. Alex, Arya,” Max looks each of them in the eye, “we’ve gotta be on high alert until we get back to Homebase.” They all give a small nod to one another.
Their reunion is interrupted by the guard as he stumbles upon the group in an attempt to escape the smoke. He gives them a deadly look and grabs his bat. In response, the three of them all grab onto each other’s hands and begin running. Alex and Arya lead Max out of the smoke to meet up with another member of Homebase.
“There you are, Victor! Help us up!” Arya calls out. Confused, Max looks around searching for Victor. He turns his attention upwards and sees him on the rooftops with a piece of rope. Victor drops the rope down and Arya begins climbing upwards. Once she is at the top, Alex follows. Just as Max is about to start climbing, the guard staggers out of the smoke. His eyes widen as he sees the three of them scaling the building and he begins sprinting towards Max, his bat in hand. With adrenaline surging through his body, Max turns back to the rope and begins ascending the building, but the guard grabs onto his foot and yanks him back down to the ground.
“There is no way you’re escaping me this time.” The guard raises his bat. Max covers his head with his arms, bracing himself for the blow, but it never comes. Instead, he hears a loud thud as Victor drops down from the rooftop onto the guard’s body, knocking him out cold. Max watches as the bat rolls to the side and lets out a relieved sigh. Victor offers him his hand and as he helps Max stand, he clasps him on the shoulder and gives him a stern look.
“You owe me one.”