CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY-ONE
“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.”
“He has the sword?” Dom asked, softly.
“He has the sword of Jacques Molay, if that’s what you’re asking. This is a gift of good faith.” Sissy thought for a moment before remembering what she was supposed to say. “We feel like it’s a rare enough gift to show our sincerity and the genuine nature of our request.”
“Good,” Dom said with a smile. “This is very good. Pack it up!”
Sissy did as requested. A moment later, she and Dom swept out of the house. Claire followed them out with a mask for Dom, which he graciously put it on. They would have taken a metro but Dom was in the “dying from the pandemic” age range. Sissy hailed a taxi, and they took a wild ride to the Louvre.
Sissy was glad to have her feet on the ground. Dom gave her a crazy look, and she laughed.
“Taxi’s in Paris are crazy,” Sissy said in French.
Dom nodded. She could see by the crinkled wrinkles around his eyes that he was smiling. He held out his arm and she let him guide her through the Louvre complex. They were let into the building with his pass. They went down in the elevator until they reached the end of the elevators. Dom found the stairs. They went down, down, down until the air was crowded with the smell of history.
“This way,” Dom said, gesturing to their left.
They went down a cramped hallway. There were stacks of boxes and crates. At one point, they had to move sideways around a white stone sarcophagus carved in the shape of a man.
“Allo?” Dom called.
A man of indeterminate age (50? 100? Likely somewhere in between? Maybe?) came out from the back. He gave Sissy a cautious look but greeted Dom warmly. They went through the litany of concerns — the health of their parents (long dead), their wives (beautiful), their adult children (annoying lack of grandchildren) — before the man turned to Sissy.
Dom introduced her by name, but gave no details about her. The man’s eyes swept over her. He wore smudged glasses held off his intelligent eyes by ridiculously long eyebrows. His clothing was rumpled but of good quality. He looked like he might smell. Sissy’s martial arts teacher in Denver used to tell her that smell was the best indicator of who a person actually was. Dirty clothing has a distinctive smell. Dirty bodies have another smell. This man did not smell. It meant that this rumpled “old man” look was cultivated in order to make him seem uninteresting.
“Ballerina?” the man asked Dom.
“How did you. . .?” Sissy started.
“I have heard of a young woman, an American, who stayed for an extra year at the Opera de Paris,” the man said. “And now this pandemic.”
In near unison, Dom and the man gave a characteristic French-old-man shake of their heads.
“I know Ivan from. . .” the man waved his hand as if it was a long time ago.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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