Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty: Wisdom from the past (part six)
Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-one: Lives inside of you (two)

Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-one: Lives inside of you (one)


(part one)

Sunday morning — 7:35 a.m.

Paris, France

“You have everything you need?” Benjamin, her host, asked.

Sissy nodded. Her host mother, Claire Martins, gave her a mask to cover her face. Claire was a very exclusive dress designer. When the pandemic threatened, she’d made a line of face masks for their off-the-rack line and pushed it through to stores around the world. Here in Paris, Claire had made beautiful masks for everyday use.

Sissy put on one of these masks.

“My brother is. . .” Benjamin said.

“Late, as usual,” Benjamin’s brother, Dominic Doucet, came into the room.

Surprised, Sissy took a step back. Unaware of Sissy’s discomfort, Dom kissed Claire on the cheek and said hello to his nieces and nephews. He turned to take in Sissy.

“What is it?” Dom asked.

“You look so much like. . .” Sissy whispered.

“Max,” Dom said with a grin. “I look like my mother and so do Max and Alex.”

Sissy gave a nervous nod.

“Are you a. . .” Sissy leaned in to him, “. . . a spy too?”

“A spy?” Dom laughed. “Absolutely. But I have retired. Now, I am a retired civil servant.”

“Really?” Sissy whispered.

Rather than respond, Dom just laughed. Behind him, Claire shook her head. Sissy smiled at Dom’s laugh.

“Do you have it?” Dom asked.

Sissy nodded.

“May I see it?” Dom asked.

Sissy gave him a worried look. Her eyes flicked to Benjamin and then to Claire. It was Claire who understood the nature of Sissy’s concern. Claire nodded. Sissy set her backpack onto the dining table that took up much of this floor of the house. She opened a compartment and took out a package.

While the adults leaned in, Sissy unrolled yards of bubble wrap and then an ancient cotton cloth to reveal a long-knife. Each of the adults made a noise of surprise — a gasp, a suck in of breath, or Claire’s distinctive “Mon dieu.” Used for generations, the grip of the knife was worn by the hands that held it. There was a red square cross made from rubies and highlighted by other precious gems sat on the top of the blade. The edges of the blade where honed to a gleaming edge.

The long-knife was beautiful, and deadly.

Dom put his finger where the blade and hilt met. There was a slight, nearly unnoticeable crust of deep red.

“Blood,” Benjamin said in soft reverence.

“Cool,” Claire’s son, Eugene, said. He lifted his eyebrows in excitement. “Can I use it?”

Claire said a fast flurry of words in French. Sissy was too anxious to follow it. Telling them to get ready for church, Claire shooed the children from the dining table and sitting area.

“Where did you get this?” Dom asked.

Sissy looked at Benjamin.

“You may tell him the truth,” Benjamin said.

“It was sent to me by my sister, Sandy,” Sissy said. “She was given it by the current Grandmaster of the Templars. He said that he discovered it in the Castle Ponferrada.”

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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