The late night air of early winter chilled and the fog of his breath hung around him. Through the bare branches of the trees the moon cast its soft light. With every footstep the surface crust of the snow crunched. Through his shoes the cold had penetrated and he could no longer feel his toes. Flexing his fingers a few times he made sure they would still bend, it wouldn’t do any good to try to pick the lock and not be able to accomplish the task.
He had cased this house for endless hours as he drove through the neighborhood. The rumors he had overhead of what was inside was irresistible to his larcenous nature. An old lady was supposedly very wealthy and never came outside. It was time to make the big haul that would set him up permanently. So many places he was able only to obtain enough to keep him going for a little while and then he had to have another fix.
Reaching the back fence he looked in at the place searching for any sign of life. Not seeing any lights he looked at the neighboring places to see if anyone might be looking out. It eased his mind somewhat that there was signs of life in either place also, dark windows that told no secrets.
Hoping that the sound of the snow wouldn’t wake anyone and give him away he hauled himself over the waist high chain link fence. Slowly he made his way to the back door carefully checking around him. Finally after what had seemed an eternity he made it to the stoop.
Standing there he pulled the special key out of his pocket. It had some special tiny thumb screws which he would turn and adjust the amount of depth it depressed the tumblers in the cylinder. Sometimes it would take several minutes as he kept adjusting it until he could turn the key and let himself in.