CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY-TWO
Monday early morning — 3:21 a.m.
Acting “Sergeant” Alex Hargreaves sat at the battered circa 1940s Formica table in the kitchen of the farmhouse they’d rented in Southern Poland. She had a yellow lead pencil in her hand and a white lined pad in front of her. She’d been sitting there, tapping the eraser end of her pencil on the pad, for nearly an hour. Her eyes were focused on the winter emptied farmland that lay beyond the window in front of her, but her mind was miles away.
Feeling movement, she looked up. Her partner, Arthur “Raz” Rasmussen, came toward her through the kitchen. She smiled at him.
“I was looking for you,” he said.
“Sorry,” Alex said. “Just had to think some things through.”
He took in the pad of paper, the tapping pencil, and the vague look on her face.
“I’ll make coffee,” he said.
She squinted at him as if she was trying to understand what he’d said. She nodded and went back to staring out the window. Some minutes later, a cup appeared near her right hand. Raz sat down on her left. He slid the pad over to him, and she took a drink of her coffee.
“Leena, Vince, Troy, Margaret, Matthew, Joseph, Zack, Cliff, Dusty, Royce,” he read. He raised his eyebrows and continued, “Old guy contingent — Seth, Bernie, Ben, Patrick, and Pierre.”
He set the pad down.
“Pierre?” Raz asked.
“You remember Nelson Weeks?” Alex said.
“I do,” Raz said.
“Seems his father is now the head of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Soloman,” Alex said.
“The Knights Templar,” Raz said. “How did he get that honor?”
“Born into it,” Alex said. “His family is or was the weapons master. Nelson’s mom is the heir apparent. Since she’s dead, it falls to Pierre.”
“Nelson’s mom was heir apparent to an ancient order who’s members are supposedly all killed in the 13th century,” Raz said, his voice laced with disbelief.
“And Pierre?” Raz asked. “Is this something he’s always been or did it just happen?”
“He got this ‘honor’ when most of the order was killed in Arizona,” Alex said. “He’s the last ranking member alive.”
“You think that was intentional?” Raz asked before taking a long drink of his coffee.
Alex waited for him to finish his drink before saying, “No.”
“Why is he coming?” Raz asked.
“Turns out he’s kind of an expert on historic art, swords, and that kind of thing,” Alex said.
“You think the Templars have a claim in the mine?” Raz ask.
“Who knows?” Alex said.
She glanced at him and downed her coffee. She got up from her seat. She filled two water glasses and set one down in front of him. He drank it down. He nodded to her, and she drank her water. The team had a new initiative to become better hydrated. He gave her a soft smiled, and she grinned.
“What’s bothering you?” he asked.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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