Read Pyramid of the Gods Online

Authors: J. R. Rain,Aiden James

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thriller & Suspense, #Romance, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Suspense, #Thriller

Pyramid of the Gods (9 page)

BOOK: Pyramid of the Gods
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Nick Caine returns in:

Curse of the Druids

Coming soon!

 

~~~~~

 

Lost Eden

An Adventure Novel

by J.R. Rain

A kidnapped child.

The Dead Sea Scrolls.

The epic search for the Garden of Eden.

Available now!

Kindle
*
Kobo
*
Nook

 

 

Also available:

Destiny of Coins

The Judas Chronicles #3

by Aiden James

 

(please read on for a sample)

 

Chapter One

 

The heavy, gray mist hovering above D.C. had become an impenetrable blanket of gloom for the past four days.

Thanksgiving would be here in less than a week, and I daresay the upcoming holiday was the only thing keeping the city from falling into a serious funk. In the past, I would have welcomed such melancholy, since for centuries it had acted as a balm to ease the loneliness of my sentence to walk the earth largely alone. But the light that had entered my life years ago in Glasgow, Scotland after World War II had returned to me in this second decade of century twenty-one. Beatrice. Beatrice, whom I once deserted foolishly in fear of happiness, had given me a new lease on life. Or, perhaps more accurately, a new perspective on what it takes to be truly happy.

We are together again. And, although there are moments of awkwardness between us as we become fully acquainted once more, there is incredible joy. Joy fed by a profound love that has always mystified me by its strength and ability to consume all that is negative and change it into something truly positive.

Why do I wax so eloquently about my dear wife and what she means to me? Well, for starters, I am deeply in love with her. Not to mention, two and a half years ago I expected to lose her to old age, as she withered away in her nursing home bed. She is healing now, and seems to all who meet her to be a miracle at eighty-seven, when she doesn’t look a day over sixty. Such is the benefit of owning a handful of crystals once part of the Tree of Life, which is now forever reburied in the remote mountains of Iran.

Of course, as the man whom most people assume is her grandson, I’d surely raise many more disbelieving eyebrows to consider my next birthday will be number two thousand and sixteen. Especially, since I occasionally still get carded at the local liquor store, which sits just around the corner from our son Alistair’s penthouse condo the three of us share, along with his girlfriend, Amy Golden Eagle.

This brings us to the other reason I’ve been thinking about my dear wife and what she means to me. I was on my way to the aforementioned liquor store to meet a friend I hadn’t spoken to in nearly a year. He sounded worried on the phone, and in a predetermined code from long ago, he had directed me to meet him in the very back of Allegiance Wine and Spirits.

“You’re looking good, Judas,” said Roderick Cooley, as he surveyed the array of chilled lagers in the store’s refrigerated section. “Or, should I be addressing you still as ‘William’, the name you hated when I first gave it to you in 1908?”


Only people under the age of one hundred and ten years get to call me William,” I joked, extending my hand to take his. As expected, we gave each other a hug with hearty back slaps. I had missed him more than I realized. “I’ll always be ‘Judas’ to you, and you shall always be ‘the pale faced druid’ to me.”

He chuckled while casting a casual glance toward the front of the store.

“There is happiness in you that I don’t readily recall ever seeing before,” said Roderick. “Beatrice’s recovery must be coming along famously.”

He reached toward the bottom of the open case before him, pulling out a twelve-pack of Killian’s Red. I had assumed he would reach instead for the bottled ale from his Irish homeland instead of an Americanized version.

Roderick is almost as old as me, joining the immortal ranks when a druid ritual, designed to keep the Romans at bay, failed to take his life in a frigid black-water bog. He emerged at sunset that winter solstice very much alive from the ordeal supposed to drown him. Instead, his skin and hair had permanently turned white as snow, and his brilliant blue eyes forever after contained golden flecks floating within his irises. Very disturbing to witness for most people, I’m sure. It’s the reason he wears sunglasses when venturing out in public. As for his vampire-like complexion, he has resorted to a number of remedies down through the centuries to camouflage that aspect. Lately, the wonders of MAC products have given him the upper hand on his pale affliction.


You’ll love Beatrice, when you finally meet her in person,” I assured him. “If I had known you were coming earlier, you could join us tonight for dinner at The Inn at Little Washington. I’m sure it won’t be a problem getting your name added to the reservation.”

He nodded thoughtfully and looked away. For him to make the six-hour drive from his historic estate nestled in the western corner of Virginia to Washington, he had to have an urgent reason for doing so. Something was up. Something big.

“Perhaps, I shall,” he said. “But after hearing the news I’ve chosen to deliver in person, you may decide to spend this night with your dear wife, as well as your boy and his girlfriend, without my intrusion.”

I carefully scanned the entire store, making sure to be nonchalant. We had foregone our usual precautions, such as encrypted texts and emails, in exchange for a brief phone call. Now, it seemed to warrant extra scrutiny to make sure we were unnoticed by all who passed.

“What’s up?” I asked.

My mouth suddenly felt like sandpaper. My intuitions had been heightened for the past few days. Something nagged at me from the back of my mind, though until this moment I wasn’t quite sure what it meant.

“How closely have you been following the international news?”


Not too much…just mainly the events highlighted on MSNBC every night, and the Yahoo scroll on my laptop,” I said, fearful he might sense the ruse covering the hours I had spent trying to get details on one particular event.


Hmmm…doubtless you’re aware of the bomb blast that killed two cardinals at the Vatican,” he said. “It’s hard to notice every terrorist attack these days. But this one claimed the lives of nearly a dozen other clergy working in the archives when the bomb exploded, making it hard to ignore.”

Bingo!

“Yes, I remember reading the tagline on that one.” I turned my attention to the refrigerated Guinness Extra Stout. Might need a few of these fairly soon.

He laughed, drawing my gaze back to him. I hated the fact I couldn’t see his eyes’ expression behind protective lenses.

“What?” I asked.


Why do you play this game with me?”

Roderick’s voice had been muted, but suddenly surrounded me. Doubtless, I had spurred his ire by being coy.

“Meaning what?”

My turn to draw him out…. We should quit the charade, this dance around the pink elephant that had just emerged between us.

“All right,” he said, allowing a slight smile to tug at the corners of his thin lips. “I’ll spell it out, since you already know why I’m here. Plus, I’ll give you details your limited access to ‘need to know’ information has prevented you from finding in your searches. The archives wing that was destroyed once housed a precious collection of journals, diaries, and other ancient tomes from the Franciscan order. They spanned from the mid-thirteenth century to the early years of the twentieth century. Beyond priceless, it’s been assumed nearly all of them were destroyed in the blast. We would have been content to allow this conclusion if not for a certain image caught by three of the surviving security cameras.”


No, it can’t be…Viktor Kaslow?”

I didn’t want to believe it, and I shook my head in disbelief. I had watched an enormous whirlpool swallow my archenemy and carry the bastard somewhere deep inside the earth, far below an island cave just outside Hong Kong. That was seventeen months ago. Even as immortals go, surviving something so intense is unheard of.

“Yes,” Roderick confirmed. “Viktor waited to make sure the camera caught his face, and then he smiled. No doubt, he knew we’d eventually see it, and
you
would see it, as well.”


What do you think this means?” I asked quietly, drawing close to him as another patron, an elderly man, approached the beer and ale refrigerator. We wouldn’t have much longer to talk here.


In and of itself? Hard to say.” Roderick glanced casually away from the man, stopping to stare at the customer in the fedora, wearing sunglasses and his
Deep Throat
style trench coat. Roderick waited for the man to move past us before continuing. “I can’t give you all the details, but one of the diaries in the Vatican’s possession once belonged to Giuseppe de la Serna, a Franciscan missionary who visited Bolivia in 1573. Do you know of him?”


No,” I lied. I’d heard the name, and had a vague recollection he had sparked my interest several centuries ago. So, technically, I was telling the truth.


He witnessed one of your coins…and I believe you know which one.”


Ah, yes,” I said, hoping my sudden increased heart rate remained unknown to Roderick’s keen sensitivities. “I’m aware of it. The one that rings.”

He chuckled sadly, and I had no doubt he shared my apprehension about this particular coin. “They call it the ‘Singing Coin’. Only the most holy individuals can hear it,” he said. “But, other documents I surveyed long ago in La Paz say it can also be heard by the most wicked souls.”

“You think Viktor is going after the coin?”


Yes.”


But, he’ll never find it…only the Essenes know where it is.”


And you,” he said, his tone serious. “You and Giuseppe, who in 1574 found their remote castle nestled in the Andes.”

My chest constricted. The ramifications of Roderick’s revelation were many…too many for me to begin to sort out. He gently grasped my arm to keep me from collapsing. Roderick is aware of what this particular coin means to me, and my aversion to retrieving it. For numerous reasons I had been saving it for last, to be blood coin number thirty.

“My brother, let us pay for our liquor and finish our conversation outside,” he said, picking up the six-pack of Guinness I had my eye on earlier, along with his Killian’s. “I’ll tell you the rest of why I’m here, and what it is you and I must do.”

 

* * *

 

Once inside Roderick’s Z4, I thought the only distraction would be the steady rain, turning to sleet, as it pounded the ragtop. But, the swirling thoughts that had assaulted me inside the liquor store had yet to subside.


Don’t panic yet, Judas,” said Roderick, relaxing in the driver seat. “We have time to take care of this.”

I nodded in silence, wondering where Viktor was at that very moment. Would he go directly to Bolivia? Or, could he be on the way to America’s capitol with evil intent toward me, or those closest to me?

“He’s not coming here…yet,” said Roderick, obviously privy to my thoughts. The usual guards protecting the fortress of my mind were disabled. It would be an excellent opportunity for my long time friend to pillage the hidden reserves I’ve shared with no one. He smiled wanly and shook his head. “You should know me better, old friend. If you were naked, I’d hand you clothing rather than gaze upon you. So, why would I do that to your mind?”


Okay…you’re right.” I nodded my gratitude, as his words rang true. “Knowing you, you’ve already got a plan. Correct?”


Yes.”


Well…what is it?”


First, there’s more,” he said. “Bishop Ramon Espinoza from the Archdiocese in La Paz has been kidnapped. Surely, you realize these two events must be related. Viktor’s smug smile showed up in a camera image from a drugstore near the cathedral that was accessed by our CIA operatives who traveled to La Paz from Venezuela, following up on Espinoza’s disappearance.”

I was speechless. Viktor had gone from nowhere to everywhere in just a matter of days. He had a plan, as well, and I worried Roderick’s plan might be a dollar short and a day too late to make a difference in the end.

“Not if we leave tomorrow morning. If we leave early enough, we might reach the castle before Viktor does,” he said, pausing to scan the parking lot. Apparently satisfied our privacy remained un-breached, he continued. “Remember, Viktor must actually find the castle and then hunt for the coin. In addition to the priceless Torah and Talmud scrolls, and golden statues the Essenes keep in their castle, your coin is the most sacred relic they hold. It’s been safely hidden since Yael Mordecai learned of Giuseppe’s diary in 1686. I had a close relationship with this particular Essene, who served as Superior for the Bolivian tribe from 1662 until he was assassinated in La Paz in 1703.”

For a moment, Roderick’s voice sounded hollow from the grief he touched upon. It’s another unfortunate quality he shares with me. We always feel deeply about those whom we care the most. For our mental outlook, it’s vitally important to not reminisce long about those no longer with us.

“So, you are certain it’s safely hidden?”


Yes…and I’m just as certain I can find it,” he said. “I know how Yael thought, and I remember the secret vaults he favored in the castle’s spires.”


Hmmm…I see.”

BOOK: Pyramid of the Gods
6.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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