Read The Secret of the Stones Online

Authors: Ernest Dempsey

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The Secret of the Stones (10 page)

BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
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Chapter
15

Atlanta,
Georgia

 

Sean
and Allyson followed Mrs. Borringer up the carpeted stairs into a hallway with
walls that were cluttered with family photos and reminders of years past.
 
Though the Borringers did not have
children of their own, they certainly had no shortage of relatives.
 
There were pictures a plenty of boys
and girls with what must have been siblings or cousins.
 
A few black and white pictures that
appeared to be quite old dotted the wall space, one of which was a wedding
photo.
 
In the corner of it, a date
was written in with what looked to be faded black ink.
 
It stated June 20th,
19—something.
 
He couldn’t
make out the last two numbers.
 

“A
picture of my parents on their wedding day.”
 
She answered Sean’s questioning glance at the wall.
 
“That is my favorite one,” she smiled,
lost somewhere in the etches of time.

They
continued down the hall way to the last doorway on the right.
 
The door was open, leading to a small
office.
 
It was humbly decorated
with a few simple black and white nature photos in dark wooden frames.
 
The desk was colored a deep black, but
hardly posed as contemporary or trendy.
 
It could have almost passed for an antique.
 
A laptop computer sat quietly on the surface.
 
A few letters, probably bills, and a
lone candle accompanied the silent PC.
 

Next
to the desk was a bookshelf, also black.
 
There were only a few books filling its decks:
 
The Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and a few books on ancient
mysteries.
 
Amid the collection of
spiritual and historical reading was one book that seemed somewhat out of
place.
 
A collection of stories and
poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, while considered an American classic, was odd
sitting next to the works around it.
 

“Your
husband must have really enjoyed studying religion,” Sean broke the silence
again.
 
It must have been difficult
for the newly widowed woman to re-enter a room where her husband surely spent a
great deal of his time.

“Yes,”
she replied thoughtfully.
 
“He
loved to read by candlelight.
 
Sometimes, we would read together downstairs, but after I would go to
bed he would come in here and continue.
 
His search was tireless.”

“Search?”
 
Allyson queried.

“His
search for God, Dear.
 
My husband
did not accept the traditional views of God: an old man with white hair up in
the sky.
 
He wanted to know who God
truly was.
 
If he could find out
what God was, then perhaps, he could know his creator even better.”

“Sounds
like quite a heavy task,” Sean continued.

“Most
people spend their whole lives believing what they were taught since they were
children.
 
My husband did not
simply just accept what was given to him.
 
It was simple enough for him to believe in a higher power.
 
He could never wrap his mind around the
mathematical improbabilities that would produce a world full of species through
mere chance.
 
Believing in a
creator was easy.
 
The intricate
way in which organisms work and behave is a delicate design, one which Frank
had the utmost respect for.”

“So
he believed there is a God.
 
He
just wasn’t sure which one was the right one?”
 
Allyson’s comment was uncertain.

“Not
exactly, dear,” Mrs. Borringer looked fondly at the books on the shelf, her
gray-blue eyes weary.
 
“You see,
Frank believed that there was a small piece of truth inside each religion.
 
At one point, thousands of years ago,
we all came from one place.
 
Most
people know it as Eden.
 
From
there, the story of God mutated and changed as the population of the earth
migrated further and further from the epicenter and as the years passed.
 
The many different stories you read in
the Koran, Bible, and Torah came from what was at one point a single
truth.
 
Even all of the pagan
religions had bits of the truth within.”
 

“Like
one of those team building exercises,” Sean said.
 
Allyson and Mrs. Borringer gave him a similar look of confusion.
 
He explained, “It was something I did
once in college.
 
The professor
took the class of about twenty-five people and made us stand in a circle.
 
He then went to one person and told
them to repeat what he told them to the next person in line.
 
After whispering the secret in the
person’s ear, that person leaned over and whispered to the next student in
line.
 
This process was repeated
around the room until the last student had heard the professor’s message.
 
At that point, he asked the final student
what the phrase was.
 
Although it
was similar to what he had told the first person in line, what he had whispered
into the first ear had changed to something very different in mere minutes.”

“That’s
exactly what my husband thought happened with the original religion,” she
smiled at him.
 
“I am not sure what
it is you are looking for, but if there is something to find, it would be in
this room.”
 
Her hand waved carelessly
towards the desk and the rest of the contents of the room.

The
two guests exchanged a puzzled look.
 
Sean said what they were thinking, “Didn’t the police come look through
this stuff?”

“They
came up here and went through everything.
 
The first group of officers were very respectful of Frank’s things.
 
They were thorough but were careful to
leave everything the way they found it.”
 

Her
sweet face turned to a sort of scowl, “That Officer Jurgenson was quite the
opposite, though.
 
He tore through
everything, leaving books laying around all over the place.
 
The garage was an even bigger
mess.
 
He went through our trash,
leaving garbage all over the place.
 
The house was a total mess after that fellow left.”

Sean
was feeling more and more certain that this Jurgenson character was not who he
pretended to be.
 
Cops could be insensitive
at times, but not to an old lady who had just lost her husband to a brutal
murder.
 
No, even the biggest of
blue-clad jerks knew how to treat a situation like that.
 
He wasn’t a cop, but felt compelled to
apologize anyway.
 
Then, he thought
better of it.

She
continued, “It took several hours to put everything back in its place, but it
gave me a chance to look back on some fond memories.”

This
lady definitely seemed to be a “glass half-full” type.

Her
eyes returned from a distant gaze to the present.
 
“Mr. Wyatt, you and the young lady may look through any of
my husband’s things that you wish.
 
I trust you.
 
If you are
able to find what it is you seek, you may keep it.”

“If
we do find something…”  He began.

“You
may keep it,” she repeated for him.
 
“Whatever you find, I hope it helps you find Tommy and whoever killed
Frank.”
 
She smiled again and
disappeared around the door into the hallway.

“Can
she not just tell us what we are looking for and where it is?”
 
Allyson pondered out loud.
    

Sean
had to smile.
 
Sometimes historians
could be a little socially awkward.
 
He supposed this couple was no different.
 
Those kinds of people spent their whole lives researching
and analyzing the lives of other people from many different cultures and time
periods.
 
That was bound to have an
effect on one’s social skills.
 
He
couldn’t help but wonder if Mrs. Borringer knew more than she was letting on.
 
Sean considered the events of the last
24 hours.
 
He had to help his
friend.
 
Apparently, the woman
downstairs wasn’t going to help any more than telling him that the first step
to unraveling this mystery might be somewhere in this room.

“What
are we looking for?”
 
Allyson
asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“I’m
not sure.”
 
He answered and began
looking at the old religious texts, flipping through pages, scanning for some
kind of book mark that someone else might have missed.
 

Allyson,
too, began looking through some the professor’s things.
 
She joined Sean at the bookshelf,
picking up the copy of Poe’s works, she opened it and looked through the table
of contents.
 
“The Fall of the
House of Usher,” “The Raven,” “Black Cat,” “Goldbug,” and a plethora of other
stories and poems, some she’d heard of and some that were beyond her memory of
high school English.
 
Most were
probably never covered in class.
 
Leafing through a few of the pages, she didn’t recognize anything that
should lead them to any kind of clue.

“Maybe
it isn’t here.”
 
She brushed
against him slightly as she continued thumbing through the pages.
  

The
touch of her skin sent an electric chill up and down his spine.
 
He looked up and smiled at her.
 
“I’m sorry you’re involved in this.”
 
His gaze was sincere.

She
smiled back at him.
 
“I have to
say, I don’t enjoy being shot at,” she paused, “but this is going to be one
amazing story for the paper.”

He
snorted a laugh.
 
Shaking his head,
he continued his search.

Ten
minutes went by and still the pair had found nothing they believed to be what
Dr. Borringer had been working on.
 
It was starting to feel like a dead end.

Allyson
interrupted his beleaguered thoughts, “I don’t know much about Poe, but I don‘t
think that he knew anything about the Golden Chambers.”
 
Sean spun the chair at the desk around
and plopped down while she perused the pages as she paced the small room.
 

“It
doesn’t look like there is anything to help to us here,” he broke the silence a
few minutes later.
 
If there had
been anything there, the police or Jurgenson would have certainly found it.
 
He hoped it wasn’t the latter.
 
Nothing seemed to point to any sort of
clue and frustration had settled in.
 
Without a starting point, there was no way they were going to find
Tommy.
 

Allyson
had only begun to pace back from the window in the room when, suddenly, she
stopped.
 
Lifting her head, she smiled
at Sean.
 

“What?”
 
He asked and cocked his head curiously.

Her
smile was joined by a nod.
 
“I
think I know what we’re looking for.”

She
took a step over to the desk and set the book down on the shiny black
surface.
 
“Did you ever read The
Purloined Letter?”
 
She asked him
as her hand reached down for the envelopes on the table.

“Not
that I remember.
 
But high school
English class was a long time ago.”

“Well,
in that story, Poe’s main character is trying to hide a vital piece of
information from the police and some other villains.
 
The detectives and other investigators come to search his
house, but they can never find what they are looking for.
 
Essentially, they completely tear the
house apart, but to no avail.
 
Finally, the main character’s friend comes over and asks where the
letter is hidden.
 
He is directed
to a pile of letters that look like ordinary bills and correspondence.
 
In fact, if I remember correctly, the
protagonist of the story had gone to extra lengths to make the letter look old
and unimportant.”

“So,
basically, the guy left it sitting right there out in the open where everyone
could see it, but where no one would think something secret should be.
 
Pretty smart or really stupid.”

“Yeah,”
she replied, pulling a very ordinary looking letter from the small pile.
 
“Sean, what is your middle name?”
 

BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
3.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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