Read The Secret of the Stones Online

Authors: Ernest Dempsey

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #International Mystery & Crime, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Financial, #Military, #Spies & Politics, #Political, #Thrillers, #Pulp

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BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
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Chapter
7
 

Atlanta,
Georgia

 

Trent
Morris was less than happy.
 
The
warrant had come through quickly since Will had phoned in for it before Trent
had even arrived at the coffee shop.
 
Units got to the scene at the suspect’s house soon after.
 
It had taken only minutes to get access
to the property and yet all they found was an empty house and a garage full of
motorcycles.
 
Of course, the car
they were looking for was there, also empty, the hood still faintly warm.
 
They must have just missed them.

Investigators
were busy checking out the car, removing panels and checking the undercarriage
while, inside the house, another group was performing a similar search of the
residence.
 
He already knew they
wouldn’t find anything there.
 
He
believed the suspects hadn’t even gone inside the house.
 
They had come here, gotten out of the
car, probably to get into another, and left just as quickly as they had
arrived.
 

Will
stepped into the garage from the door that led into the house.
 
He looked equally annoyed at the
situation.
 
“Find anything?”

A
frustrated glance was the only answer he needed.
 
“They must have left a few minutes before we got here.
 
Came in, changed cars, and left.”

Will
filled in the other details, “Everything in the house is in order. I don’t
think they even went inside.”

“I
was thinking that too.”
 
He looked
around at the scene, “What kind of car are we looking for now?”

“No
idea.”
 

A
latex-gloved officer was busily examining the trunk while another was face down
in the front seat checking under the dash of the Camaro.

“What
do you mean, no idea?
 
If they
switched cars, the other car has to be registered to Wyatt.
 
This is his house, isn’t it?”
 
Something didn’t seem right.
 
What Morris had thought would be a
simple operation was starting to look anything but.
 

“Yeah,”
Will answered.
 
“That would make
sense.
 
But the only car Wyatt has
on record is this Camaro.
 
All of
the bikes checked out,” he said with a slight hand gesture toward the
collection of motorcycles.
 
“All of
them are here and accounted for?”

“As
far as we know.”
 
His tone was
determined.
 
“They left in a car,
but we don’t have any idea what kind of car, the color, the tags, nothing.”
 
Morris scanned the room, perhaps hoping
there would be some sort of clue.
 
“Let’s get back to the station.
 
I want to know more about this guy.”

The
two detectives started to walk out the garage door to their car when suddenly,
the young officer who’s face was down under the dash popped up.
 
“Detective Morris?”
 
His voice was mixed curiosity and
excitement.
 
“I found something.”

Will
and Trent stopped and turned back.
 
“What you got?”
 
Morris
walked back over to the car where the cop was now kneeling in the driver’s seat
holding something in a white gloved hand.
 

“Looks
like a homing device, sir.”

“That’s
not one of ours,” Trent said, inspecting the device.
 
It was tiny, about the size of a nickel and looked much like
a small battery one might find in a watch.
 

Will
had come over to look at the find as well.
 
“I don’t think it’s the Feds’ either.”
 

“No.
 
And why would they have put it
there?”
 
If Morris was confused
before, he was completely baffled now.
 
An archaeologist from the IAA along with a journalist from a local
newspaper murder two nameless guys in a parking lot, run back to the house, get
into a car that doesn’t exist, and leave behind a car with a homing beacon on
it.
 
The whole thing was weird.
 

Gears
were turning in his mind.
 
Finally,
Trent broke the silence as the discovering officer and Will looked at him as if
waiting for directions, “You guys finish up here.
 
I am going to head back to the office.”

“What
are you going to do?”  Will asked.

“Find
out exactly who this Sean Wyatt is.”

Chapter
8

Nevada

 

The
old man was sitting quietly in the courtyard of his lavish estate.
 
A servant brought a pot of fresh coffee
to him, along with a slice of tiramisu.
 
He thanked the young man who returned through the large oak double doors
from whence he came.
 
After pouring
the brown liquid into a gray tea cup and mixing a dash of sugar and cream, he
leaned back and savored the aroma.
 

It
had been several hours since he had heard from Jens Ulrich, and that was
disconcerting.
 
Since the beginning
of this operation, his operative had been in contact with him every day to
provide progress updates.
 
Perhaps
he had chosen the wrong man for the job.
 

A
light breeze moved across the courtyard.
 
Two butterflies fluttered from a small bush and settled down on
another.
 
The sound of a bee
buzzing around a flower nearby signaled the full onset of spring.
 

Setting
the small cup down on the bistro table, he took a look at his Bulgari watch,
annoyed.
 
He wondered what was
taking Ulrich so long?

Right
on cue, the cell phone in his jacket pocket rang to life.
 
Sitting up a little straighter, though
no one was looking at him, he answered the phone.
 
“I do not like being kept waiting.”

“Sorry
for the inconvenience sir.
 
I have
been…,” he paused, “busy.”

“It’s
quite alright…it’s just that,” he wasn’t sure if the younger man on the other
end of the line could tell his boss was not nearly as composed as other
employers he’d had in the past.
 
“It’s just that this is something that we need done quickly and quietly,
and it makes me a little nervous when you don’t check in.”

“With
all due respect, sir, I am paid very well for what I do.
 
There are a great number of people all
over the world that would gladly pay for my services and they would have the
common decency to expect that job get done without my having to check in every
day.”
 
His tone had become somewhat
irritated.
 
“You hired me to take
care of this, and I will.
 
Do I
make myself clear?”

The
bluntness of the younger man’s voice struck him as both cold and somewhat
threatening.
 
Indeed, he was of a
reputation as one to not be angered.
 
Still, some respect must be paid.
  
“Why is Wyatt still alive?”

There
was a pause on the other line.
 
“How do you know he is?”

“Because
I have not heard otherwise.
 
The
police are looking for him, though.
 
Are you trying to use that to your advantage?”

Maybe
this old guy wasn’t so dumb after all.
 
“I have changed plans, sir.
 
He could prove useful to us after all.”

“I’m
glad you consulted me about this,” the old man fought his anger, then thinking
for a moment, he then said, “No, this is why I hired you.
 
You think on your feet from your
reputation, you have always been successful.
 
Better that I not know what you are going to do with
Wyatt.
 
Just let me know when you
have the map.”

“Thank
you, sir.
 
That is all I ask.
 
The map will be in your possession
soon, I assure you.”

The
line went dead and the old man slid the phone back into his pocket.
 
He paused momentarily, looking up in at
the mountain that shadowed the mansion, deep in thought.
 
“It better be,” he said finally and
took a bite of his dessert.

Back
in Atlanta, Ulrich set his phone down in the center console of the Black Lexus
IS 250.
 
Its motor hummed quietly
as he maneuvered through the back streets of Buckhead.

He
turned to the man that had tried to ambush Wyatt at his house.
 
The hired gun still clenched his jaw
from the heavy blow of the shovel.
 

“It
wasn’t my fault.
 
I had no idea
Wyatt would react so fast,” he could feel his boss’s eyes glaring at him and
his reply to the gaze sounded like an elementary school child after being
caught throwing food in the cafeteria.
 

“I
warned you to be cautious, but you didn’t listen.”

“I
said I was sorry.
 
It won’t happen
again.”

Glancing
over, the driver replied coldly, “Well, that’s true.”
 
Before the man even realized what was happening, there was a
puff of smoke accompanied by the cough of a silencer. At first the hole
in the man’s head just looked like a black dot.
 
Moments later dark red liquid began
oozing from the wound as the head toppled over against the window, lifeless.
Vacant eyes stared at the ceiling.
 
Ulrich pulled the car over next to a church on Vine Street.
 
He moved quickly to slip the body out
of the car and onto the pavement.
 
Only a minute passed before he was cruising down the street again.
 
Glancing over at a small splotch of
blood on the passenger’s seat, his only thought was that he was glad he’d
gotten the leather package.
 
It
would be easier to clean than fabric.

Ulrich
wiped off the stain with a handkerchief; satisfied it was gone, he simply
tossed the cloth out the window and continued down the street headed to where
the beeping dot on the LCD screen indicated the direction of his quarry.

      

Chapter 9

Atlanta,
Georgia

 

Detective
Morris sat, staring at his computer with a look of indignation.
 
He had been there for hours pouring
over paperwork and searching international databases for anything about Sean
Wyatt.
 
Nothing he had found
indicated anything unusual.
 
The
man had been everywhere on missions for the IAA, but he was apparently a ghost
the few years before he worked there. 

Born
and raised just a few hours north near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sean had
attended a small private high school.
 
His parents still lived in the area, experiencing the joys of retirement
on the many beautiful golf courses the region had to offer.
 
This luxury was certainly helped in no
small part by contributions from Sean’s six figure IAA salary.
 

After
high school, Wyatt earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from The University
of Tennessee in Knoxville, a Master’s Degree in Archaeology four years
later.
 
Usually, a Masters program
only took two to three years but students had up to six to complete their
coursework.
 
During that time,
Wyatt’s file claimed that he had been employed by a local businessman as his
personal gardener/landscaper.
 
Again, nothing out of the ordinary.
 
No wife.
 
No
kids.
 
Not even a girlfriend.
 
A loner.
 
That explained the motorcycles at least.

Trent
leaned back in his black standard issue fake leather chair and scratched his
head.
 
The blue and white striped
tie he’d been wearing earlier had long since been discarded on top of mounds of
paper.
 
Leaning forward again, he
took a deep breath and gazed at the file on Tommy Schultz.
 

Schultz
had met Wyatt in high school.
 
Their love of sports, history, and a similar sense of humor caused them
to be nearly inseparable, with the exception of when teachers had to actually
separate them into different parts of the classrooms.
 

As
it turned out, Schultz’s parents had quite a large sum of money they had kept
secret.
 
From the lifestyle they
lived, no one would have guessed that they had possessed such wealth.
 
The Schultz home was moderately sized
and neither of Tommy’s parents drove fancy cars.
 
Luxuries were few and far between to the outside
observer.
 
Yet, when his parents
died unexpectedly, he inherited a sum just over $18 million.
 
With some keen financial guidance and
shrewd investment maneuvers, that money had grown into just over $40 million in
a little over a decade.
 

Thomas
Schultz set up several charitable organizations, the primary non-profit being
the International Archaeological Agency.
 
With seemingly unlimited funding, the IAA, established in 2001, had
recovered an inestimable amount of artifacts in its first seven years of
existence.
 
The discovery of the
Sahara Temple was one of the most fascinating.
 
In a seemingly endless array of sand dunes, the IAA was able
to uncover what was believed to be an ancient Egyptian colony for priestly
training.
 
In South America, an
ancient Incan City was discovered in a part of rain forest thought to be
completely vacant of any ancient civilization.
 

Perhaps
their greatest achievement, though, came from last year’s amazing find.
 
A ship, dating back to the early 12th
century, was located off the coast of Alabama.
 
This was something that rocked the history world.
 
Of course, most historians claimed it
had been misdated or perhaps was simply the result of one European country
being unable to keep up with evolving technology in sea faring.
 
However, after intense study and
analysis, it was confirmed that the ancient ship was indeed over 800 years
old.
 

That
was always the case.
 
Whenever some
kind of evidence came around that might shake up what everyone was taught in
the history books, a throng of people were waiting to hide it, discredit it, or
simply bash it into the ground.
 
Heaven forbid the world had been taught an incorrect history up until
this point.
 
To some, it seemed
ignorance was indeed bliss.

The
more that Detective Morris read into the IAA, the more fascinated he
became.
 
This was not a group that
searched the world for known archaeological locations or artifacts.
 
It seemed that they specialized in
finding things that were both lost to the eye and to history.

None
of this was making sense.
 
These
two guys weren’t murderers.
 
And
Trent was fairly sure that Allyson wasn’t either.
 
She was a reputable columnist.
 
Young, with a devoted following of readers, yet not so
well-known that she could just up and leave her current job.
 
From the looks of her file, it didn’t
add up.
 

He
plopped the stack of paper down onto his desk and stood up, stretching his arms
out and twisting his back a little.
 
There was no one else in the building except a couple of beat cops
talking in the break room.
 
Morris
didn’t envy those guys.
 
He had
done that job a long time ago.
 
There were some parts of Atlanta he was glad to avoid on the routes they
had to cover.
 
As a detective, he
had the luxury of showing up after the crime was committed and a safe perimeter
had been established.
 
Too many
times, he had been shot at, once successfully.
 
Fortunately, the bullet only grazed his side but a few
inches to the right and…
 

Shaking
the thought from his brain, he walked toward the break room to get a cup of
what passed for coffee at the station.
 
The officers who had been talking casually gave a polite, “Evening,
Detective.”

To
which Trent replied, “How’s the joe, boys?”

One
of them snickered, “How’s it always taste?
 
Like crap.”

“Yeah,
well, one of these days I am going to spring for some good stuff.”
 
He poured a cup of the steamy, black
sludge into a paper cup.
 
After
placing the hot coffee pot back in its place, he stepped over to the
fridge.
 
As he opened the door, the
other officer who hadn’t spoken said, “We’re out of creamer too, sir”.

Crap.
 
A forlorn look down at the hot liquid
in his cup signaled he was actually considering dumping it down the drain.
 
“I heard you guys talkin’ about a
murder when I walked in?
 
The KSU
thing?”
 
He changed the subject
from the topic of bad coffee hoping the medicine might go down a little better.
 
Taking a sip, he realized it hadn’t
helped.
 
“Any word on that?”

“The
professor that got killed?
 
Nothing
new yet, sir,” this time the taller one spoke up.

“Murder
weapon been found yet?”
 
Trent took
another pull from the coffee and grimaced as he swallowed.

“No
sign of it.
 
Heard it was a large
blade, though.”
 
The short cop
reached over and confirmed a stereotype by grabbing a chocolate glazed doughnut
from a box on the counter.
 

This
was nothing new to Morris.
 
“What
was this guy a professor of?”
 
He
asked casually, trying to free his mind from the case that had been numbing him
for the last eight hours.

“Ancient
languages and cultures.
 
He taught
unconventional history courses there.
 
Did a lot of work with the IAA.
 
Apparently he was an expert in…”

Trent
immediately interrupted, the light bulb going on in his head, “Did you say he
worked with the IAA?”

“Yeah,
I think so.
 
That’s what the bio
said.”

“Who’s
on the case?”

“Thompson,
I think.
 
Why?”
 
The tall cop said as he, too, grabbed a
doughnut.
 

“Just
curious,” Trent replied as he tossed the nearly full cup into the trash and
walked quickly out the door.
 
“Thanks, fellas.”

“No
problem.”
 
The two replied,
finishing their sugary pastries.

BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
12.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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