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

The Secret of the Stones (9 page)

BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Allyson
and Sean gave each other an interested, momentary glance before graciously
accepting their overly large cups of coffee with a polite “thank you.”
 
Sean looked back at the lady, who now
sat staring thoughtfully at her folded hands upon her lap.
 
“Did this man happen to have any scars
or an odd accent, just something that would set him apart?”

Her
head cocked a few inches to the right.
 
“You know, now that you mention it, I thought I picked up something odd
in his voice.
 
I didn’t think much
of it at first, but some of his words seemed to sound almost too controlled,
like he was trying to cover up his accent.”
 
She paused for a moment, visibly realizing something was
certainly out of place in this whole scenario.
 
“But why would he…?”

“Mrs.
Borringer,” Sean answered before she could finish.
 
“I don’t believe that guy was a cop.”

The
statement struck her even though now it was becoming obvious.
 
“I don’t understand.”

“Earlier
this week, my friend Tommy Schultz was kidnapped.
 
He had been working on a project with your husband.”

Her
face was dazed.
 
“Tommy was here a
few weeks ago.”
 
She looked down
thoughtfully.
 
The poor woman had
been through too much in the last week.
 
“And you think that this Jurgenson may have had something to do with my
husband’s murder and Tommy’s disappearance?”

“I
don’t know, Mrs. Borringer,” he leaned closer to her, setting his mug down on
the wooden table in between. “Is there anything you can tell us about what
Frank was working on?
 
What Tommy
and he discussed?
 
If we can figure
out what he was doing, maybe we can find Tommy.
 
And if we find him, we find the guy that killed your
husband.”

Her
face changed from confused to resolute.
 
The look was a little scary to both of the visitors.
 
“I cannot say for certain what it was
Frank had found, but I do know what he was looking for.”
 
The older woman stood and started walking
towards the stairs on the other side of the room.
 
“I may know where we can find what you are looking for,
though.”
 
She smiled and motioned
for them to follow.

Sean
shared a skeptical glance with Allyson. 

Chapter
14

Georgia
Mountains

 

“Now,
Thomas, this is how it is going to work.”
 
Ulrich circled the large desk like a big cat sizing up his prey.
 
“You are telling me that you do not
know where the chamber is.”
 
He
stopped directly in front of Tommy, looking down at him with an almost pitying
look.
 
“You will figure it out.”

“Why
can’t you figure it out yourself?”

Ulrich
leaned back and smiled, wickedly.
 
He brought the side of his hand down hard across Tommy’s face.
 
Tommy grimaced for a moment from the
quick strike.
 
“Do not insult me
Thomas.”

Pain
and anger mingled in his brain.
 
“That was unnecessary,” Tommy managed through clenched teeth.

“Come
now, Thomas,” the voice had somehow gotten even more sinister, “I know what you
found.
 
And I know that you have been
working with Dr. Borringer on translating the code.”

A
horrific realization crossed Tommy’s mind.
 
“How did you…what have you done to Frank?”
 
He struggled against the ropes in the
chair but he could barely breathe, much less escape.
 
Thunder rolled outside following a flash of brilliant
lightning not too far in the distance.

“You
do not need to concern yourself with Dr. Borringer.
 
I know what you and he were working on.”
 
Ulrich repeated the statement.

“If
you did anything to Frank, I’ll…”

“You
will find the chamber for me or you and the Wyatts will both die by this time
tomorrow!”
 
This was the first time
he had heard Ulrich sound really angry.
 
The tall man’s face had turned red, his jaw tightening while he
spoke.
 
“You found the stone of
Akhanan!
 
But you could not
interpret the code.
 
So, you took
it to Borringer, the foremost authority on ancient languages in the
Southeast.”
 

Ulrich calmed
momentarily and wiped a small bead of sweat from his forehead.
 
“Now, I know that Borringer interpreted
the code on the back of the stone.
 
Unfortunately, I was unable to find the results of his work or even the
stone itself.
 
You can make this a
lot easier if you just tell me what the code means.”
 

“You’re
going to kill me either way,” Tommy’s face became twisted in rage.
 
“You killed Frank, didn’t you?”
 
The question was direct, full of
anger.
 

“I
do what is necessary.”
 
Resolution
now manifested itself in the man’s voice.
 
Ulrich stood erect and stepped to the window.
 
“Sacrifices must sometimes be made for the greater good.”

“Spare
me your righteous speeches.
 
Frank
had a wife, you son of a …”

“Mr.
Schultz!”
 
Ulrich’s voice
thundered, “There is nothing you can do to help Dr. Borringer now.”
 
He thought for a moment, almost
savoring it, before he continued.
 
“It
may comfort you to know that he died, unfortunately for me, rather
quickly.
 
The blade must have gone
too deep into his back.”

The
chair strained against Tommy’s adrenaline.
 
Still, neither the rope nor the wood gave way.
 
Moments later, his body relaxed, spent
from the futile effort.
 
His face
blushed a bright red.
 
Staring down
at the ground, a sick looking smile appeared on his face.
 
In a quiet, matter of fact tone he
said, “I will kill you”.

“Now,
Thomas, I seriously doubt that.
 
The current situation would lead me to think otherwise.”
 
Ulrich had come back from the window to
stand in front of his now insane-looking captive.
 
He walked around behind him, pulling a gun out from inside a
holster concealed within his jacket.
 
A second later, he produced a large blade in his other hand.
 
“What you are going to do is exactly
what I tell you.”

“I
don‘t know what the code means, you freak!
 
Frank had everything.
 
I gave him the stone and all the other stuff that I had been working on.
 
He was going to return it to me when he
finished.
 
I’m not sure he even
started working on it.”
 
The
desperate sincerity was convincing.
 
Of course, the man holding him prisoner had no way of knowing it was
true.
 
He might just as easily
believe him to be lying.

“Don’t
toy with me,” Ulrich stepped closer, holding up the blade, running the gun
barrel down the side of it.
 

“Listen,
why would I tell you I didn’t have anything?
 
If that’s true, then I am useless to you.
 
Unless…”

“Unless
what?”
 
He finished Tommy’s
sentence for him.

“There
is one possibility...”
 
His mind
was running frantically.
 
Truly, he
had indeed given most of his work to Borringer, including the stone itself.
 
If Sean could somehow get the stone and
put together the clues, perhaps Tommy could leave a trail of the proverbial
bread crumbs to where they were headed.
 
That was a pretty big “if” considering Sean didn’t know much about what
he’d been working on.
 
And it was
doubtful that he would be able to find what Borringer had been working on, if
Frank had indeed begun his task.
 
All of this ran through Tommy’s mind as the blonde man stared down at
him, waiting.
 
It was a long shot,
but it was his only play.

“Well?”
the accent was nearly gone with the question.

“The
stone is only the first clue to the trail.
 
It was dumb luck that I found it.”
 
He cleared his throat as Ulrich gave him a warning look to
quit stalling.
 
“However, I did
make a copy of the stone.
 
If we
can get the copy, I may be able to decipher some of it.
 
Even then, I don’t know if I will be
able to interpret enough to get us to the next clue.
 
That’s why I took it to Borringer in the first place.”

“Next
clue?”
 
He leaned back a little,
relaxing his menacing gaze into a questioning look.

“Yes.
 
The legend claims that there is a path
that must be traveled.
 
Only those
who are worthy can interpret the code and find the path to the four
chambers.”

“How
do you know about this?”

“Because
of a riddle I came across a few years ago.
 
It was written on an animal skin.  It was dated to be
from the early 1800s.
 
I’m pretty
sure the stone confirmed the riddle and the location of the next clue, but I
had to take it to Borringer for him to figure out the rest.
 
Only God knows if he did or not.”

Ulrich
turned his gaze out the window in thought.
 
He placed the blade down on the desk as he moved slowly
toward one of the chairs facing his bound captive.
 
Rain pattered on the glass as the storm reached the
mansion.
 
Thunder again pierced the
moment of thoughtful silence.
  

Tommy
could see the gears turning in the man’s mind.
 
His thoughts were interrupted by, “Why could you not
decipher entire code?”

He
knew the question was coming.
 
Fortunately, he had not had to lie so far and he wouldn’t have to start
now.
 
That would come later.
 
“The text on the back of the stone is a
mixture of languages.
 
A great deal
of it is hieratic, which I can figure about fifty percent of.
 
The other parts are an ancient Hebrew
and some kind of Cuneiform, neither of which I can interpret.
 
That left me with only about a third to
maybe forty percent of the riddle .”

Crossing
his leg over his knee, Ulrich asked, “Where is this copy of the stone?”

“It’s
at my house.”

Ulrich
was no fool.
 
He looked skeptically
at Tommy.
 
“I’m sure that you would
like for me to go to your house so the police can arrest me on sight at the
very least as a suspicious person.”

“The
thought crossed my mind,” at least he hadn’t lost his sense of humor.
 
“But it’s the truth.
 
I left a copy there in my office.
 
If there wasn’t one and you went there and
couldn’t find it, you would kill me as soon as you realized it was a lie or a
setup.”

“True,”
Ulrich agreed too easily.

“Look,
I don’t know who you work for or with and truly, I don’t care.”
 
Tommy was maintaining a surprisingly
calm, matter of fact tone considering the circumstances.
 
“All I care about at this point is the
Wyatts not dying, hopefully myself as well, and never seeing you again.
 
So if helping you find the golden
chambers helps get us to that point, count me in.”

Ulrich
sat quietly for a minute, considering his options.
 
His gaze pierced Tommy’s eyes.
 
He turned his head left, redirecting his stare to a stack of
leather bound books a few feet away near the desk.
 
Some of them were typical of a wealthy person’s study.
 
A few first editions with rough
bindings dotted the shelves in between some newer ones that seemed hardly ever
touched.
 
In fact, Tommy doubted
many of them had been read.
 
He
wondered if this place even belonged to Ulrich.
 
It certainly seemed like someone much older probably lived
here.
 
From his experience, décor
like this came from years of trying contemporary things or chasing the
mainstream, but inevitably settling on something a little more classic.
 
Ulrich had picked up the knife from the
desk and had begun stroking it unconsciously with the palm of his hand.

“You
certainly make a lot of sense for a man tied to a chair.
 
And you understand that if you were
lying to me, I would certainly kill you.
 
But what makes you think that I am not going to do that once I find the
golden chambers?”

Tommy
swallowed hard.
 
That thought had
occurred to him.
 
“Why would you do
something like that?
 
Once you have
found the chambers, you will be able to disappear to anywhere in the
world.
 
Even if I did tell the
police, not even Interpol would be able to find you.
 
With the wealth the chambers would provide, you could live
worry free forever.”

Apparently,
Ulrich had heard enough for now.
 
“Fine then.”
 
He set the
blade back down on top of the desk.
 
“But if you try to cross me at any point, you and the Wyatts die.
 
Understand?”

He
nodded his acknowledgement.
 

“There
will be police.”

“I
doubt there will be more than one guy watching the place.
 
And I am guessing he will be at the
front.
 
You can park at the back
and slip in through the neighbor’s yard.”

Inside,
Tommy was hoping there would be more than one cop on the scene, but the reality
was there might not be any at all.
 
Still, he had to at least appear to be helping this guy for now to keep
suspicion at bay.
 
Ulrich seemed
ruthless enough to kill him at the slightest provocation.
 
And the last thing he wanted was to
endanger the Wyatts.
 
All he could
do at this point was play along and hope that Sean was trying to figure out the
clues.

The
calm and logical way in which Tommy spoke seemed to convince Ulrich.
 
“I will go to your house, but this
better not be a trap.
 
If it is, I
assure you, the Wyatts will not receive a quick death from a fiery explosion.”
 
He laid the blade down on the desk
again.
 
“They will take a very long
time to die.”

BOOK: The Secret of the Stones
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Forbidden Lady by Kerrelyn Sparks
The Legacy of Gird by Elizabeth Moon
Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen
Deadly Lies by Cynthia Eden
Dangerously Big by Cleo Peitsche
B009YBU18W EBOK by Zamoyski, Adam
Cat and Mouse by William Campbell Gault