CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY-SIX
“You’re talking in riddles,” Maresol said.
“I am?” Bernie asked.
“Slow it down,” Seth said.
“Oh, right,” Bernie said. He grinned. “Sorry Sandy, I’ve spent too much time alone.”
Bernie had spent the more than thirty years living on his own.
“Okay,” Bernie said. “Sandy is right. We made an assumption. Because the scientist and his detonator was not on the interior of the mine, we assumed that the Nazis had never been into the salt mine. But… I mean, it’s certainly possible.”
Bernie nodded like he’d completed a sentence. He looked at Maresol and she shook her head.
“What’s possible?” Maresol asked.
“Oh, sorry,” Bernie said. “What if the Nazis got a key to the front door of salt mine?”
“He has a point,” Seth said. “They could have gotten it from our author before she was killed.”
“Or after,” Bernie said. “Given how much art is in this mine, much given by Jewish people before they went to the camps…”
“Oh, I see,” Claire said. “You’re saying that the Nazis knew about the mine. They got a key to the front entrance. Stored their own stuff there.”
“Things they couldn’t control or felt needed protection,” Bernie said.
“Or things they felt like they needed protection from,” Seth said with a nod.
“Anything’s possible,” Sandy said with a shrug.
“Exactly,” Bernie said.
“The coroner said that the bodies in the tunnel — you know the Nazis. He estimated that they died at the same time as the scientist,” Sandy said. “He said that he thought it was near the end of the war.”
“The papers those boys had on them indicated that they were killed around the time that the Nazis were hiding their nuclear program. 1945,” Claire said. She looked at Sandy. “I’ve been trying to find their families so their families will know what happened to them. I have a copy of everything from their pockets.”
Seth nodded to indicate that he and Claire were doing this together.
“The resistance could have changed the locks,” Bernie looked away from the camera. He stared off into space. “They could have snuck in there and changed the lock so that the scientist had to go around.”
“The Nazis followed and died in those tunnels,” Sandy said.
“Do you know anyone in the Polish resistance?” Maresol asked Bernie.
“I think so,” Bernie said with a smile. “It’s always hard to know who’s still alive.”
He looked at Sandy and said, “I’ll make some calls.”
“I will too,” Seth said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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