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Home  ›  Suspense/Thriller  ›  Operation Bethany
Operation Bethany
by Charles Mgbolu   (Author)
Read First Three Chapters


Tuesday, March 9, 6:00 am
Down Town Estate, Sonoma County

The cursed cell phone won’t stop ringing. Luke Colby reached from beneath his bed covers with the intention of ending the call. But when he glanced at the screen, he realised it was Fernando; his friend and camera man.
“Where are you?” Fernando asked like some detective.
“Home,” Luke answered sleepily “What’s up?”
"Stay there. I'm coming up"
Luke frowned
“I didn’t intend to go-” he started but the line was dead.
He called Fernando names as he reached back to replace the phone. It was six in the morning and Luke was just finally going to sleep. He wished he had switched off the cell but then, reporters never do that. He has been suffering acute insomnia for years and he hadn’t fallen asleep until a few minutes to six. He refused to use sleeping pills because he wanted to fight the disorder alone, with a sane, clear mind. But this was the fifth year, he was beginning to feel this was a lost battle. Luke shut his eyes and mentally tried to re-invoke his subconscious back to dream land.
Damn Fernando and whatever he had to say. After five minutes, he knew he had lost his sleep for good.
Luke worked in a newspaper house as a business correspondent while also trying to get into television reporting. He had already shot several stories good enough to make a show reel. This reel held his best works before the camera. This was where Fernando came in; a brilliant, self-trained camera man although he always insisted the title was videographer instead of camera man, it gave him some stupid professional air. For Luke, It had always been his dream to land television reporter job someday. For now anyway, he was stuck with Sonoma Business weekly; a weekly newspaper that sold a few hundred copies per month. It was barely enough to keep the paper floating but Luke was good and so his editor and publisher Ed Zuckerman always had to bend double every month to pay and retain his services.
Luke lived in old Miss Pickles’ apartment in down town Sonoma. As he lay in bed mentally wailing his lost sleep, he contemplated rushing down to borrow Miss Pickle’s old, rusty shotgun. Maybe a few holes in Fernando’s legs will remind the fool just how precious his sleep was. He didn’t decide quickly enough as his front door suddenly erupted with knocks. Luke ignored it. It was Fernando. He probably made that stupid call right down the street. But the banging grew louder and Luke feared they might both end up being the target of Miss Pickle’s gun. She had complained several times of Fernando’s near-deafening knocks. She lived down the hall way, six doors from Luke’s apartment, so she may not have been exaggerating things. Recently, her complaints had begun to come more like threats. Luke could envision a trigger happy old lady taking pot shots at them; laughing or screaming obscenities. He tumbled out of bed and raced into the living room; straight for the door. He yanked it open and before Fernando could say a word, grabbed him by the arm and flung his lean frame into the apartment. He took a quick look down the hall towards Miss Pickles’ door and hearing nothing, quietly shut the door.

“Christ!” Fernando swore as he picked himself up. “What did you do that for?”
Luke ignored him; raced back into his room and dived under his bed covers. Fernando followed him and threw back the beddings. Luke’s apartment was a small one with just a living area and a bedroom. It had no kitchen but it boasted a huge toilet and bathroom. Luke had to convert a part of the living room into a make-shift kitchen but then rarely cooked there, except for dinner dates held in the apartment which usually ended in the bedroom.
Luke could feel his head hammering hard, he desperately needed to sleep or he’d go crazy. Fernando wasn’t sympathetic.
“I have something to show you” said Fernando and began fumbling with the locks of a brown leather bag he was carrying. Luke counted about eight buckle clasps that had to be undone. He had no patience for this and threw the covers back over his head. Fernando was a tall dude; twenty six years old and a good 6'2 but skinny enough to be blown off in a light storm. He wore a pair of baggy blue jean that sagged treacherously low down his waist, perhaps due to this morning’s dive into the apartment. The big yellow t-shirt didn’t do justice to his lean frame. He was Spanish with a shock of black hair and very deep dark eyes. His hair, neatly trimmed in the front to keep them from growing over his eyes. Luke on the other hand was thirty two and built like an average body builder with muscular chests and ripped belly. His hair was pale grey with streaks of white sprinkled in. He had a hard face etched with a strong jaw line but soft green eyes. He was what his ex-girlfriends called a smash and the real Malboro man. Shockingly, Luke was an atheist. This part about him never ceased to amaze anyone who had come to know him. He had such a large and beautiful heart, always ready to stick his neck out for others. Only human saints bound for heaven did that in today’s world. It was unbelievable such a heart could still be filled with disregard for God.
Fernando finished unclasping the bag and removed several Digital Video tapes from it and threw them on the bed beside Luke who popped his head out from beneath the covers. The tapes were about twelve or thirteen, Luke was not sure. Fernando picked two and waved them in the air
“There are breaking stories all over the place which we ought to be covering live. Why are you never around when we ought to be going live?” he asked in feigned anger.
Luke was tired of explaining this. “Fernando we don’t cover stories live because we’re not yet reporters who transmit live and that’s because no network has hired us to report live. Can you ever understand that?” He made to throw back the covers and tunnel deeper but Fernando jumped on the bed and held the sheets down.
“Are you at least going to hear what I have to say?”
“What’s the story?”
“Some professor murdered in the woods.”
“That’s interesting." Luke pushed Fernando back and sat up. The slight shiver began racing up and down his right arm; Reporters itch, Luke called it. A hot tale always did that to him. He channeled all the nervous energy towards staring hard at Fernando. “Where did this happen and what’s his name?” He asked.
“Professor Fulton Llewellyn was a physicist. He was shot in his lab or shed or shack or whatever it was, deep in the woods east of his school and please stop staring at me like that”
Luke gazed away in thought. “Rockcleft University”
“How did you know?"
"Because Rockcleft is the only college in Sonoma with woods to her east, fool. Who found him?"
"A colleague at the university, a man called Professor Larry Han. They worked close together. He said Fulton had called him late last night informing him of some mysterious call. He said he didn’t understand what Fulton was saying. Anyway, Fulton had said he needed to go into the woods to this shelter where he was found dead. Han claims he doesn’t know why he went there in the first place but then Fulton had promised to call back as soon as he returned from his midnight excursion. He didn't and Han said he had not picked or returned his calls either. He wasn't also at home this morning when he was checked on. Han had then gone into woods to find out what’s wrong"
Fernando brought out scribbled notes from his back pocket and gave them to Luke. He also dropped the two DV tapes on his legs "There are two theories here. One is that this lab or shed or shack-"
"Will you please decide on what it is?" Luke interjected impatiently
"I can't. Because I don't know what it is"
Luke shook his head “Continue”
"This place was his. Our Police sources are not sure but they suspect the place was robbed after the Professor was shot. He punched in security codes, opened the door and bamm!!” Fernando rolled back his eyeballs and stuck out his tongue for dramatic effect.
“Whatever that was inside was immediately removed" he concluded.
"Something was removed?" Luke asked. He was also thinking.
"It’s a theory but yes something may have been removed"
“You seem quite certain of this?”
“This place was found empty. Fulton wouldn’t have dashed into the night for nothing”
“Weren’t there prints on the floor or something?”
“Crime scene detectives have sealed off the entire area and searched. They found no print inside the shelter or boot marks in the soil outside. It seems like whoever it was that shot Fulton had done so perched in a tree. Then had flown in on eagle’s wings and without touching down, made away with whatever that was inside”
"Any other reason for thinking he was robbed?" Luke asked.
"Police say the lock system found is one like they’ve never seen before not even in the White House" He laughed "That’s a joke."
“Be serious" Luke said firmly.
"The lock uses a highly sophisticated code system. It means that Fulton must have kept something of extreme value here; something that was threatened on this night. He must have been pretty spooked to have quickly dashed down there"
“To destroy it?” Luke asked.
“Or to remove it” Fernando added.
Luke tried to link the dots “That meant someone had been waiting for him in the woods; someone who knew about the codes but didn't have the combinations; a very tricky and highly intelligent person. He couldn’t access whatever it was that was inside this place with the door sealed and so had done something to force Fulton to panic and come bounding out last night. Just what the killer or thief or both wanted. He didn't have the codes so had lain in wait for him in the woods. Fulton had appeared, entered the codes, opened the door and then was shot”
Fernando didn’t want to appear impressed “If you had run that line on camera, microphone clasped in your right hand and the body just being moved behind you, maybe I would have been more impressed.”
Luke laughed “Do we have visuals of the body?” he asked ignoring the jab.
Fernando pointed to the two DV tapes.
Luke picked them up “This will do, we’ll use Chroma key”
It was a TV video trick. A blue or green plain cloth is raised behind Luke and using the Chroma key, visuals of the woods would be fitted behind him so that when Luke spoke on camera, it would look like he did so with the woods in the background.
“That shortcut bites on my ethics as a professional.” Fernando complained.
“We are not breaking any professional rules here, besides you’re not the professional, I am. I didn’t sneak out on you. I was trying to get some sleep in my own apartment.”
“Is this what you’d have told a news editor?”
Luke clenched a fist and shook it... then gave up. “Okay I’m sorry. Now can we cut the crap and move on.”
"What's the second theory?"
"Still like the first; killed after opening the door but then was never approached which means the place had simply been empty. Fulton was sighted by a killer waiting for him and was shot"
“For no reason?”
"Do I look like a murderer? I don't know. People that kill claim they have a reason; they were duped. I vote for shot then robbed"
Luke decided not to take any theory for now. “Who else was working with him?”
“You mean like a partner?”
“I just told you that”
Luke had clearly forgotten “Sorry, could you remind me?”
“You are on cheap cocaine! Professor Larry Han, and he found the body in case you’ve forgotten that too”
“Good. We need to speak with him. He should be able to tell us more than he’s making out. This story will be good for the show reel”
“Fulton’s partner is dead.” Fernando announced.
“What do you mean dead?”
“Do you think that wasn’t the first thing that crossed the mind of the police? He was supposed to return to the station and make a statement”
“What happened?” Luke asked
“Car bomb at his home garage shortly after leaving the scene. Police had initially quizzed but had allowed him to go home and rest briefly as he had been in shock. He was an old man and Fulton’s very close friend. The bomb went off after he used a remote control to open the garage door. It was a terrible blast. It took the house, Han and the car”
“The remote triggered the bomb?” Luke asked
“Not likely. The Bomb squad believes the remote had nothing to do with the blast. The killer had just probably timed it that way” Fernando opened a side pocket in his bag and brought out two chocolate bars. He threw one to Luke.
Luke glanced at the shiny packet but didn’t touch it. He asked instead: “Why is this killer always waiting for them to unlock doors before striking?”
Fernando bit into the chocolate and shut his eyes dreamily before answering “Maybe it’s his mark.” His mouth was full, so he hurriedly swallowed before continuing “He trails his victim slowly from behind, giving them the false illusion of escape behind the door. It's just like a cat that allows a racing mouse to make it to the mouth of its hole before pouncing and bringing death.” Luke wasn’t eating his chocolate so Fernando lunged for it. “I have all the establishment shots of the two locations: car, home, garage, and jungle. No gory details. Probably because I couldn’t be everywhere at the same-”
“Thank you, Fernando” Luke cut in ignoring the disgruntled look from his friend then paused briefly in thought before saying “But someone should have heard or seen something. The garage bomber should have been seen by someone as he left the scene. What about gun shots in the night, didn't anybody hear something?”
“You are the one with insomnia and didn’t sleep last night. Maybe you should be answering that question for the police. It was a cold night and most people had gone to bed early and unlike you, had likely fallen fast asleep”
“I’ll pretend you never rattled that rubbish, any more details?” Luke began to slowly lower himself in the bed. It was still early; barely six thirty and he wasn’t expected in the office until eleven. He still had enough time to catch up on some sleep.
“Professor Fulton’s daughter; her name we don’t have for now will be told the shattering news in church today. His son who I learn is a medical doctor is also expected in town anytime soon. We ought to follow these strings to see if we could get some reaction shots for the show reel and new leads to investigate”
Luke froze half way into the bed “Why the hell are they telling her in church? This should already be in the news”
They were now on delicate terrain. Luke’s atheist side had just been irritated. Fernando anticipated this swift change of mood and threaded carefully. “Yes, it’s in the news. But, I don’t think cloistered nuns, who never go out, watch a lot of TV”
“She’s a Nun?” Luke’s bright green eyes flashed briefly.
Fernando let out a resigned breath “Yes”
“I’m not doing it”. It was with finality
“Why?” Fernando asked
“I’m not doing this!” This one was loud.
“And I ask why?” Fernando raised his voice also by a notch but didn’t shout although a steel edginess had entered it. “We’re a team here, remember? I’m asking you, why?”
Luke was silent. If it wasn’t Fernando, this person would have been falling down the stairs by now.
“Because you do not believe in God, because you hate him?” Fernando continued.
“I am not going to discuss this” Luke snuggled into the bed but couldn’t throw the covers over his head with Fernando’s weight on it.
“No! We are discussing this!” Fernando was angry now. “Do we always have to go through this every time God is involved? Because you do not want to have anything to do with him? That’s not my problem, Luke. I don’t even care if you worship the devil to spite Him. But we’re talking about being professionals here. Look, it may sound lame but I feel in my guts this just might be our big story, Luke. Something to finally get us noticed. Why should we lose this because you have issues with God?”
It worked, Luke’s initial anger begun to melt away. True, he was allowing personal sentiments to blind him. He couldn’t function as a reporter this way. “Look man, I didn’t mean…” he began
“Just say you’ll meet me at the church by five” Fernando said
Luke paused then said. “Okay, where?”
“The seat of wisdom priory. It’s over by-”
“I know the place”
Fernando looked at Luke’s hard chiseled face “You’ll do fine, I assure you. You don’t have to pray or do anything when we get there; we’ll just do our story.”
“I’ll be fine. Why five?”
“There’ll be mass or something but the priory chapel will be opened to the public. Detectives want to break the news to her in person and hopefully ask some questions”
Luke’s strong jaws ticked with thought “What do they expect a cloistered nun to know?”
Fernando was surprised. A few seconds ago, Luke had looked like he was about to rip his head off for mentioning this woman now he’s almost jumping to her defence. “Don’t know. Maybe they want to know if she has any clue on what her father was probably working on recently”
“It’s a stupid question. She’s cloistered. She’ll never know”
“She’s allowed to have visitors once in a while and the detectives know this. He might have visited. He might have told her something”
“You’re good at this kind of thing”
“Creating bloody options”
“I thought you were the reporter?”
“You are the better one, I must confess”
Fernando beamed “If you say so”
Suddenly, Luke yelled “Now go!” He yanked the bed covers forcefully and Fernando tumbled from the bed. Luke dove under it. “I desperately need to sleep. My head hurts like hell. I’m going to go crazy! Damn! I need to sleep. I’m going to kill myself”
Fernando left the room. In the living room, he wrote on a paper pad he found:
Take a look at those tapes and call me.
He shut the door quietly behind him.

Tuesday March 9, 4:00 pm
Luke walked into the cool reception office of the TV2 news studios in San Francisco about thirty three miles from Sonoma. Luke had driven down in his small Sedan at seventy miles per hour. He waved to the beautiful blond receptionist behind the glass oval desk on the far right and headed straight for one of the coffee black plush leather seats that lined the green and white striped walls. Luke was wearing a chocolate brown business suit and a white shirt. He had left out the tie. As he sank in, Luke relished how the seat’s leather puffed up around his body. It had been a long day and he was glad to be finally lowering into something other than a car seat or swivel office chair. He pulled out his cell phone and called Eartha Dwight. The woman who picked up on the other end wasn’t her but he was informed that Eartha was in a production meeting which would be wrapping up in an hour or so. Luke did not work here but was well known; having visited Eartha several times. He put back his cell phone and decided to sit it out.
After Fernando had left that morning, Luke had slept for two hours. It was unbelievable. He had stared in disbelief for minutes after he woke. He couldn’t remember when last he’d slept so soundly. Shockingly enough, he had dreamt of this murdered professor’s daughter. A young nun tucked away in her abbey. Her features had not been clear as Luke had never met her before; his subconscious had not been able to construct a distinct body identity. But Luke had seen the silhouette image of a slim yet heavily cloaked woman. The intense calm and tranquility of this place had percolated through his soul and filled him with such peace. It was strange. Why should these people have this kind of effect on him?
Then his heart burned with anger, this was God trying to manipulate him again; bringing him to false succor; only to be battered again. God has done it before. He has done it countless times. Luke shut out every thought of the woman and this dream. To keep his mind busy, he switched to his life and career.
Luke was a print journalist but his heart was in broadcasting. It was a childhood dream that he’d refused to give up on. After the terrible October morning fire that gutted the orphanage home where he and his twin sister Angela had been raised in Illinois, scores of television reporters had swarmed in. Even though there had been no deaths, the reporters fought to speak to rescued nuns and children. Luke had watched with intrigue as camera men and reporters fell over each other to get proper angles and shove their microphones into their faces. Their orphanage was run by the congregation of Sisters to the Virgin Mother. Luke and Angela had been brought there when they were only eight months old. After their baptism which had been the very next day, they were given their names; Angela and Luke Colby after Father Theodore Colby, the only Priest at the orphanage.
The orphanage was a poor one; barely able to feed and cloth the children and relying heavily on donations that trickled in from surrounding parishes. Luke and Angela had grown up with lots of unanswered questions; Luke especially. Every night the nuns would read to them passages from the scriptures and speak of the love of God. But with the hunger rumbling in Luke’s stomach, he never really was convinced. The fire that gutted the place had attracted the media and the malnourished children had been exposed. Luke had watched with intrigue as one smartly dressed male reporter that could pass as a fitness model from the city stood in front of his camera man; his right hand clasping a furry looking thing which he now knew was his microphone. He spoke fiercely and occasionally jerked a thumb back in the direction of the fire behind him. Luke had been captivated by his actions and had decided to be like him someday.
Two years after that incident, Luke had moved with Father Colby to a parish in Bee County, Texas. It was a flight distance of about eight hundred miles. Angela had been training as a nurse in the reconstructed orphanage and had stayed behind but they’d kept writing to each other. Father Colby had not been able to afford the fees for schools that offered broadcast journalism. And so, Luke had gone for a diploma course at Lakeford, in print journalism but his heart never gave up on the dream to be on television. Three years ago, he’d met Eartha Dwight at a press conference on the Leone’s hall school shooting here in Sonoma County; a man had walked into a kindergarten school and gunned down nine children. Eartha was the anchor woman for the show ‘Unforgivable’ and Luke was doing a story for the county’s Business Pages which he had joined a year earlier on school entrepreneurship and strategy. Parents of the victims were collectively suing the school for millions of dollars for security recklessness. The judge would rule soon and the odds were on the school going down. Eartha had been at the briefing, hoping to meet with mothers of the victims and inviting them to her show. They had struck off quickly as platonic friends. Luke had always been thrilled by anyone who worked in front of the camera, especially one who did the job very well. He would always tell them he wished he was in their shoes. He told Eartha so.
But Eartha had wasted no time in letting him know some bitter truths about her work. Although a highly competitive one with a pressure that was almost unimaginable, there were still more people who wanted to get on TV than there were available positions making competition for little job openings very stiff. Luke was warned that if he was trying to become a TV reporter because of the money then he was a big joker. There was also the huge strain on social ties. Eartha told him that many big time reporters have kissed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Labour Days goodbye but Luke had not been bothered and Eartha had not been surprised. She too had once shrugged off these minor setbacks as she prepared to launch into career. Luke’s qualifications were good. He had graduated with an upper class in Journalism from the Lakeford University, Texas. Although he had not majored in broadcast communication; which usually is a must for first timers, Eartha had been optimistic he’d get a chance if he did a good resume. She had asked him to get a good camera man and do a news story. If it blew her away, then they would start putting together a show reel showing his best works on camera. She had good contacts too and Luke knew he wouldn’t stay long as an applicant before landing his first TV reporter job.
Luke had previously met Fernando Trent at a colleague’s wedding. Fernando had been the event’s camera man. Like Eartha, Luke and Fernando had also struck out as friends may be it was the camera too. When this need of a camera man came up, Fernando had been more than willing to jump in. They quickly put a news story on tape and Eartha had seen it but had destroyed it. Together, they had gone slowly back over the work. Eartha had stopped the tape intermittently and pointed out errors. Luke realised with dismay that he had immense challenges that could forever sabotage his chances of ever becoming a TV reporter. He was cursed with a very deep voice. Although, Eartha had insisted a deep voice wasn’t bad for the profession, she wasn’t happy Luke held no form of control over his voice. He had just cascaded down the narrative on a deep and flat tone. She had frowned all through the six minutes video play, barely picking a word he said. It got even worse when they both realised he was also crippled with a little southern drawl that left him dragging some words lazily behind. This was a NO in broadcasting. There was still a lot of work to be done and Luke wasted no time. He followed Eartha’s advice and began to work on his projections, enunciations and inflections. She said it would help him deliver his script in a much more compelling manner.
For weeks, Luke had read newspapers and magazines aloud. He had also listened attentively to reporters coming live from locations; emulating their mannerisms and gesticulations as they spoke. It had been difficult especially with that evil southern drawl. But after eight months of intensive practice, he had broken through. Eartha had yelped with joy after listening to his last voicing. He was now a professional.
But it wasn’t over yet.
Luke then had been as thin as a reed just like Fernando. Eartha had always joked it was difficult to tell them apart from each other. For him to have a fighting chance, Eartha had said he had to come on as attractive and dashing like the male news anchors he’d seen on TV. Luke always remembered that man he’d seen that day of the fire so many years ago and how well built he looked.
Luke had hit the gym!
After another eight grueling months he'd packed on an impressive amount of solid rippling muscle. Now his cloths now looked good on him. Luke knew he was handsome save for a high and heavily bridged nose bone with a slight hook that almost ruined everything.
In his print professional career, Luke had slowly climbed up the rungs to where he was. He remembered it had been hard work rocked with pain. He had been working as an assistant copy editor in a newspaper daily in Texas when he heard the news that Angela was dying of black fever. She was still in Illinois working as a nurse but no more in the orphanage. He couldn’t believe it. She had moved to a Leprosarium and she didn’t even tell him. Luke had rushed down but met Angela dying. He cried and asked God to save her. She had been good. She did not deserve this. He should be the one dying and not her. Angela in her final moments had made a strange request; she had made him promise her he would never stop bearing his name ‘Luke’. Luke was confused at that moment but had promised nonetheless. It was strange but he was to later understand. Angela died that night of their twenty seventh birthday and Luke had gone mad. With Angela’s body still warm against his side, he’d renounced God and everything that had to do with Him; all he had grown up believing in life, even his own name… then he’d paused. Now he knew why Angela had made him make that vow. How could she have known? It was painful; an atheist that will bear a Christian name.
Luke denounced God but it did not push him to the devil either. He just existed, believing in nothing.
When Fernando met him two years back and discovered where he stood with God, this had been one of the questions he’d asked. Why he still chose to be called Luke, a Christian name. Luke never gave a response and Fernando never stopped asking until one day, Luke had said ‘so he wouldn’t forget’. It was the first time he’d given a response to this question and he was determined it would be the closest anyone will ever get.
This told Fernando absolutely nothing and perhaps had made him stick even closer. He was naturally a nut cracker; always getting to the bottom of things. But then, Luke had been a different kind of challenge. Somehow, he knew Luke was hurting and needed help but Luke had shut him and everyone else out.
Suddenly, the beautiful receptionist called out his name, snapping Luke out of his thoughts.
Eartha was ready to see him.
Inside Eartha’s office, a make-up invasion had just concluded. Eartha was fifty and beautiful, her eyes held up an apology as Luke shut the door behind him.
“I’m so sorry the production meeting was long and ruined most of this” she swirled her fingers to indicate her make up and face. Luke sat opposite her desk and waited for her to put away the kit.
“I’ve gone through the video, it’s beautiful.” She said
Luke acknowledged that with a nod but didn’t say anything. She usually starts like this before tearing the story to pieces. She turned her laptop around so he could see the screen. Eartha hit play. The montage was brief and sharp. Eartha nodded her head once. The news material was good; a museum fire. Luke had run good visuals to back up his story. Fire men ran about in a frenzy shouting orders to each other. Luke had camera running behind them; catching their boots kick up water and dirt and mud as they struggled to save the building. He had then stepped in front of the camera with the museum burning over his left shoulder and delivered a twenty seconds stand-upper. By the time it ended, Eartha was applauding.
“It’s good. I’m really impressed. But then a couple of things” Eartha dragged the mouse backwards and the story jumped to the beginning “Your narration was perfect; punchy. You wrote to video filled with action. Remember that’s the crust of TV reporting. Your visuals must match your script”
“There,” she paused and pointed to the screen. “The museum was beginning to crumble…fall apart. This should have been the kicker to your script. You were still busy with what the fire men were doing”
Luke had missed that. He didn’t like it at all. He couldn’t even remember seeing it. Fernando had missed it too. He didn’t look at Eartha. He felt disappointed but she was only beginning.
Eartha hit play again and the news video jumped forward. When it got to where Luke appeared on camera, Eartha hit pause again
“This shot is perfect and what you said made a lot of sense but I don’t like it that you had to steal several glances at the script you’re holding. It was only twenty seconds you could have had that coming straight from your head”
Luke knew there was no hard and fast rule to this but TV news reporters try to have the bulk of the details in their head. They are trained to be battle-ready and go live on locations even with only a few sketchy details. They are able to co-ordinate their thoughts in seconds and give a detailed and well scripted delivery.
She said: “You would have been more compelling in this story if you had moved and pointed to the disaster behind you. It all serves in the theatrics of on-camera reporting and when you sign off; leave the appropriate facial expression behind depending on the story. In this particular case that smile wasn’t the right one- four people died.”
Luke couldn’t believe his carefully packaged report had just been destroyed but Eartha consoled “You must know there is never the perfect news presentation that is why it’s an art. The best paintings in the world wouldn’t have scored a hundred percent” But Luke’s plunging mood didn’t halt. He had thought so much that he’d gotten this one right.
Eartha said she was recording soon and wanted him to come and watch her live; possibly learn more about on-camera presenting but he had promised to meet Fernando at the church and it was now already past five and he still had to drive for another half an hour. Fernando would think he had been tricked. Luke apologised and said he had to rush off. But before he left, Eartha gave him cheering news; he was ready. He only needed to come out with that explosive story; something not in the regular news bulletin, a deep undercover or something. Somehow, Luke’s thoughts went again to this Nun and her murdered father and he knew this may just be the story he needs.


Tuesday, March 9, 4:50pm
Seat of Wisdom Priory, Sonoma

Fernando Trent packed his red 1980 model sedan car in front of the gates of the Priory and stepped out. He was still wearing the same cloths he wore in the morning but was now dangling a massive silver chain that Luke called a fake.
Twenty six years ago, his father; a Spanish man aged thirty had spent a night in bed with an American college student. Seven months six weeks later, Fernando had been born. Although Abelardo never married Lucy, he still found ways to become involved in his son’s life. He had been the one who called him Fernando but Lucy had registered him with her last name Trent. She had eventually married an African American and had three other boys. Fernando and his brothers had grown up in the black neighbourhoods of New Jersey. Two years ago, Fernando had met for the first time in his life an unbeliever. Luke had serious issues with God and whatever it was, Luke had not recovered. He had sealed this decision with his soul.
The mass was scheduled to start at five and it was now almost five thirty. Luke wasn’t here yet. Had he changed his mind? Luke has been late on previous engagements and so Fernando didn’t want to give up just yet. He looked down the dirt hill road and saw nothing. He’ll just have to wait it out and hope they don’t miss anything important inside for this story. The detectives surely would wait until mass was said before spilling the beans. Something quickly caught his eye down the road. A vehicle was coming. It took Fernando a few more minutes to realise it was a taxi cab. If that was Luke what had happened to his car?
It was Luke alright. He jumped out and paid the cabbie. The old man did a quick U turn and tore back down the road. Luke and Fernando disappeared briefly into a cloud of dust “What the hell!” Fernando yelled then coughed raucously.
Luke emerged from the dust coughing but laughing instead.
“You’re a sick old man!” Fernando shouted after the fast disappearing cab.
Luke dusted down his jacket which he had been slung over an arm before putting it on.
“Where is your car?” Fernando asked
“Engine fault. I was lucky it got back Sonoma. I left it at the office”
Fernando opened the trunk and began putting battery and tape in a small cam coder.
“Is that going to be allowed inside the Priory?”
“This is a Christian place. I don’t think there will be armed security personnel at the door.”
“You may be surprised”
Fernando ignored the blasphemy “Besides I’m the professional here. I know how to sneak into places with stuffs like this”.
Luke felt like doing a counter but decided to move on. “Eartha took her time in tearing up the report”
“What!” Fernando paused briefly in what he was doing.
“Yeah” Luke said resignedly.
“All of it?” Fernando asked; genuinely surprised.
“No. Not really”
“What part wasn’t right?”
Luke hated to admit this “My part”
“I said ‘good’ At least I’m getting my part right”
“And what would you mean by that?” Luke didn’t like this joke if it was a joke.
“You’re not getting yours right atleast that’s what she said”
“So you’re gonna make fun of me, then?” a slight irritation had crept into his tone
Fernando backed off “No one is making fun of you Luke, and why the temper? Where is your damn sense of humour?
Luke wasn’t fooled “You weren’t kicking up any humour back there”
“Ok sorry she tore up the report, we’ll do a better one next time, does that make you feel better?”
Fernando began walking up into the compound
“Aren’t we driving up to the chapel?” Luke asked
“I’m not sure we can”
“We are already late, Fernando. If they made today open to the public then cars should be allowed up”
“Oh, Luke let’s just walk.” Fernando pleaded. “I like to see the gardens”
The priory was home to Carmelite nuns. The monastery sat on the shoulder of a massive hill east of the county. It was an eerily quiet place, shut away from the bustle of the main county. Luke stared down at low cut immaculate lawn that stretched like an endless sea of green, dipping over the curved landscape and disappearing from sight. The walls of the monastery were made of beautifully cut brown stones with high tile roofs that had windows in them. The brown monotony of the wall was broken with white washed window sills that stretched in a persistent line. There were also the creamy white doors. It was a very large compound with high imposing walls made of the same brown cut stone materials held together by concrete. Luke stared about him with sudden trepidation as images came flashing back hard; the years in the orphanage; the flames that gutted it; the dark rain drenched night that Angela had died; the thunderstorm; Angela’s wasted face. She had been burning under the fever and was so weak she could barely say a word, shivering weakly as death closed in. She had lost so much weight, her body wasted on the bed. Her skin was pale grey with lips bloodied with dark cracks. Her neck was swollen following her enlarged lymph nodes. The doctor said her liver and spleen too were enlarged. Her hair had thinned. Her lips were all that moved inaudibly in prayer.
The visions flooded Luke’s senses; overwhelming him...
Fernando paused in mid stride. Luke didn’t seem to be following. He turned and what he saw flung fear into him. Luke had collapsed on his hands and knees in the field and seemed to be struggling to breathe; his mouth was open and gasping, his face contorted in pain. He raised a hand and felt about blindly for support. Fernando raced back to him all the while shouting his name. They were still a long way off from the chapel. Luke felt Fernando’s hand and gripped it tight.
“Luke!” Fernando yelled “Luke, what’s wrong?”
Luke took in huge gulps of air while Fernando helped him out of his coat and sat him on the lawn. There was still no one in sight. Luke looked like he may need to be carried back to the car. It was this place, Fernando could tell. Luke had tried to warn him but he didn’t know it was this serious. This has gone beyond just hating; Luke was being affected psychologically.
Luke sat panting weakly on the lawn. The images had begun to recede. Like a bitter irony, he found himself drawing strength from the tranquility of this place; the very place that had triggered this attack. It calmed the tortuous roar in his head. After a few minutes, the terrible waves stirred within began to abate. Fernando let Luke take his time then he retrieved a handkerchief and wiped the perspiration from his friend’s face. Luke lifted himself unsteadily to his feet with the help of Fernando.
“We should go home” Fernando said.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Luke shook his head again “No”
But for the first time, Luke had seemed like he would crack. Fernando could see genuine fear in his friend’s eyes; Luke was scared. What was it? He kept staring away and Fernando knew that for a fraction of a second back there, he had wanted to tell. But like the dark shadow of a rain cloud that blotted away sunlight, a cold look of renewed determination settled over his features and erased the fear and pain. Luke turned back to Fernando suddenly looking like nothing had happened.
Fernando was not fooled “Luke, you have to let this out. You can’t go on hiding this... whatever it is. It’s killing you, Luke. Talk to somebody, anybody. Talk to me.”
Luke moved away
“Luke please-”
He was searching for something. Fernando realised it was his jacket which was lying on the grass. Luke had removed it as he struggled. He reached down and picked it up for him. Luke stared hard at the Priory buildings in the distance with narrowed eyes then began walking briskly towards it. Fernando raced ahead and blocked his path.
“Luke, I get your point, we don’t have to do this. We could skip this part of the story and move on to other angles. You obviously don’t like this place. It’s having some sort of psychological backfire on you”
Luke ignored him; sidestepped and continued up the slope.
Fernando caught up with him again. “Can we at least talk about this?”
“No, we don’t”
“Luke, you’re not fine and you know it. You were under some attack back there. You almost gave me a fucking heart attack.”
Luke smiled “I’m fine Fernando and please stop fretting like a nanny”
“You’ve buried it. It would resurface again”
“You’re talking nonsense, Fernando”
“Someday, you’ll have to let it out Luke. Someday you will”
“Oh, shut up Fernando”
The Priory was founded by Cardinal Josse Lorengo in the late eighteenth century. Several major constructions have been carried over the years to keep the ancient walls standing. It was surrounded by an Oakwood forest. Luke could envision what an Ariel shot would look like: civilisation in the middle of nowhere; the Priory’s deep brown coloured roof striking weakly against the setting sun. As Luke and Fernando approached, they could see oval shaped pillars running the entire length of the front of the monastery painted soft brown and a small disc shaped fountain; decked with blue and white tiles sprouted water from what looked like a large communion cup. Right now they were walking on baked clay interlocking stones that covered the immediate grounds around the priory buildings. It stretched out for about two metres; the floor clean and smooth and bare.
Luke fought persistently to keep his mind under control. He knew he had to be able to detach his pain and other feelings from his work. He had work to do here. He would not leave until he’d done just that.
The two of them knew that to do any filming here, they would need to get express permission first; one that would most defiantly not be given. This was a cloister and wielding a camera here was like invasion of privacy. Fernando planned to secretly use the camcorder but Luke would not be able to interview anyone with it.
At the chapel door, Fernando observed that Luke hesitated momentarily before walking in cautiously. As expected, they were late; the homily had just been rounded up. They both took back seats and watched quietly as the mass steadily progressed. Luke couldn’t see the Nuns but guessed they were the ones singing from somewhere behind the large grills that marked the west walls of the Alter. The alter area was squeaky clean and made of deep brown mahogany wood. The oil polishes on it shone under the soft alter lights. Luke also noticed something was wrong with the singing from the choir; like several notes striking off in discord. Back then at the orphanage, Luke had been in the choir; a solid soprano before it broke with puberty. Luke’s voice never remained the same. He croaked for months before emerging with the deep baritone. But like the rest of his other childhood memories, Luke had wiped clean that plate in his life. Without Angela, it was too painful to remember.
A nun is a woman who has taken special vows committing her to a religious life. She may be an ascetic; one who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent or become a Reverend Sister who lives an active vocation of prayer and service, often to needy, sick, poor, and uneducated people. There is the confusion from ordinary people when it comes to differentiating nuns and sisters. It is rather a very simple rule. All nuns are religious sisters, but not all religious sisters are, properly speaking, nuns. Religious sisters do not live a life of purely contemplative prayer that takes them away from mainstream society; rather they perform their duties by providing needful services in the society.
When a woman enters a convent she first undergoes an initial period of testing the life for a period of six months to a year. If she, and the order, determines that she may have a vocation to the life, she receives the habit of the order usually with some modification to distinguish her from professed nuns and undertakes the novitiate, a period that lasts one to two years of living the life of a nun without yet taking vows. Upon completion of this period, she may take her initial, temporary vows. These last for one to three years, typically, and will be professed for not less than three years and not more than six. Finally, she will petition to make her perpetual profession, taking a permanent, solemn vow that binds her to God for life.
In the various branches of the Benedictine tradition; Benedictines, Cistercians, Camaldolese, and Trappists among others take vows of stability. That is, to remain a member of a single monastic community, obedience to an abbess or prioress, and conversion of life; which includes the ideas of poverty and chastity. The Poor Clairs which are a Franciscan order and those Dominican nuns who lived a cloistered life take the three-fold vows of poverty, chastity and obedience Most orders of nuns follow one of these two patterns, with some orders taking an additional vow related to the specific work or character of their order for example, to undertake a certain style of devotion, praying for a specific intention or purpose.
Cloistered nuns; Carmelites for example observe papal enclosure rules and their monasteries typically have walls and grilles separating the nuns from the outside world. The nuns rarely leave except for medical necessity, or occasionally for purposes related to their contemplative life though they may have visitors in specially built parlors that allow them to meet with outsiders. These visits are however very rare. Carmelites nuns are allowed to see relations and female friends just twice or thrice in a year. The nuns are usually self-sufficient, earning money by selling jams or candies or baked goods by mail order, or by making liturgical items; vestments, candles, bread for Holy Communion. A nun who is elected to head her monastery is termed an abbess if the monastery is an abbey, a prioress if it is a priory, or more generically may be referred to as the Mother Superior and styled "Reverend Mother". The distinction between abbey and priory has to do with the terms used by a particular order or by the level of independence of the monastery.
Visitors no matter who they are or how they may be related to the nuns are not allowed into the monastery to freely associate. In essence, the work of a nun is within the confines of her monastery, while the work of a religious sister is in the greater world.
In the late evening mass at the Priory, Sister Mary Fiona Llewellyn a professed novitiate in her heavy habit sat dejectedly quiet on a side chair beside the choir. They had just ended a song shamefully in off key. She had expected an even worse performance going by yesterday’s rehearsals. But then, it was inexcusable. This choir was the worst choral group on the face of the earth. They followed the mass through black iron grills that separated them from the celebrants and members of the congregation. Cardinal Bishop Gregory Zimmerman and two other Bishops were cleaning communion cups that had just been used. These Bishops with the cardinal did not look familiar. Fiona was good with faces. This was her sixth year in the priory. She has taken temporary vows and renewed them thrice. She now prepares to take final vows in ten days. Fiona wanted to give her life totally to Jesus Christ and desired to follow Him and belong to Him completely.
She is also the Priory’s choir mistress. At first, it had been argued and strongly kicked at by the old Nuns. She is just a novice as far as they were concerned; she knows nothing about their way of life here. She didn’t even know all their songs yet. How could she hold such position? But their disquiet had not lasted long. Fiona learnt very fast and soon became a very popular novice. She was just the right person to hold that role as only she in the entire congregation could start and finish a song on key. She had a powerful soprano that easily shifted gear from soft to strong. On Good Fridays, after singing my people she would have the entire Priory in tears. She was also a passionate composer and splendid organist. Fiona remembered entering this way of life because she felt called to seek God, to spend her life trying to live in His presence by being attentive to Him, loving and adoring Him, and bringing the needs of all people before Him in continual prayer. In ten days, she would be consecrated to God by Solemn Vows. There she would promise to live, in the company of the other sisters, a life that is poor and chaste and obedient; wholly dedicated to prayer in the service of the Church and her fellow men and women. To Fiona, God makes Himself known through prayer which develops in silence and solitude. True, they rarely leave the boundaries of the monastery but then this is a symbol of a place set apart for God. Still, Fiona and the other Nuns remain keenly interested in, and concerned for the world's needs. That is why they each have small, simply-furnished rooms of their own, known as a cell in order to help them seek God further in silence and prayer and solitude. For more intense meditations, the Priory has small prayer rooms which are called Hermitages on the grounds. It is devoid of furniture, just a single kneeler and a crucifix hung before it on the wall.
A Carmelite’s life is twofold. One is lived in a hermit spirit, alone with God in silence and prayer. On the other hand, there is the companionship of community and the loving sharing of life in a family under the guidance of a Prioress. In here, although it is expected that a uniform measure of relationship be extended to every nun, Fiona is closest to her two best friends: Helen Trent; the British born emotionally fragile postulant, four months old and yet to take any vows aged twenty two and fifty year old Sister Marguerite Bergmann a German who incidentally is the Mistress of Novices. Marguerite is a fully professed Carmelite and ten years in the order. Usually, a novice is appointed to a mistress but the Priory had just one Mistress of novices taking charge of all the novices. Marguerite’s duties were to teach, correct, guide, and encourage them. Occasionally though, she is forced to maintain law and order through stern disciplinary actions. Fiona has committed offences that should have thrown her out of the Priory but then, nothing is as good as being friends with the Mistress of novices. Fiona was not only a musician but also a Christian history student and was almost through with her course in learning the Aramaic language.
The priory had sixteen Sisters in the Novice’s call. Six of them would make final vows in ten days.
Fiona’s habit as a professed novice was the typical of nun clothes which consists of undergarments made mainly of wool, and a tunic which is tied around the waist with either a cloth or leather belt. Fiona wore a belt. Over the tunic is a scapula which is a woolen garment worn over the shoulders with an opening for the head, to which a hood is also attached. A chain with a crucifix, or a set of rosary beads, is worn around the neck.
The congregation rose and the nuns on the other side of the grill rose too. The cardinal and the bishops were approaching the alter table to say final blessings. Fiona raced around the choir to perch on the choirmaster’s stool. The recessional song was Fight the good fight. It was twelve days to Easter, the faithful need to keep the vigil of lent till its very end, hence the song. She shut her eyes and prayed they got this one right
Luke stood beside Fernando clenching his stomach as he shook with laughter. Tears were streaming down his eyes. This was the craziest singing he’d ever heard. The nuns were practically screaming on top of their lungs and made absolutely no sense. Fernando cautioned him to control himself. People around him were beginning to stare. But it wasn’t entirely true. Everyone was staring unbelievably in the direction of the choir.
“This must be a congregation for deranged Nuns” Luke roared into Fernando’s ears.
“Oh don’t be ridiculous,” Fernando pushed him back; hissing quietly. “Will you behave?”
The procession of cardinal, bishops, priest and altar boys left the main alter and processed down the centre aisle to the door at the entrance and head for the sacristy; a room behind the main chapel building where they would change out of their vestments and robes.
From Luke’s position far right at the back, he could see glimpses of swaying brown robes through the grill. He looked hard through the bars and thought he saw a Nun perched on a high point and waving her arms wildly. As soon as the procession of the clergy left the church, Luke and Fernando made for the door.
Luke bent over as the last ripples of laughter rocked through his body “This place should be renamed a comedy house you know that” He managed to say.
“Very funny. Now gulp back the rest of your stupid laughter and let’s see if we can get back to why we’re here.” Fernando said.
“Have you seen anyone who could be a police officer?” Luke asked wiping the tears from his eyes
“No. That’s why you should be looking around and not laughing silly like a hyena”
Luke’s burst again into laughter but this time much more restrained while his eyes quietly swept the grounds. Visitors were beginning to leave the Priory and Luke was already concluding that coming here had been a waste of time. Then he’d caught a man in dark shades starring hard and directly at him. He was a tall man with an obvious thin neck. The remainder of his body disappeared inside a long, heavy coat. He had on a brown bowler hat that hid the shape of his head and colour of his hair. He moved immediately he saw Luke had noticed him; walking with a certain gait to his right knee. It made placing his age pretty difficult. Luke then remembered he had noticed a man look cautiously their way as they’d made their entrance in the church. He sat at the end of the pew to Luke’s right and was about the only one not listening to the terrible singing coming from the choir. He was moving to some corner on the grounds. Luke had a distinct feeling this man wanted him to follow him. Maybe he had a message for him. As Luke made to move, Fernando suddenly grabbed him by the arm.
“Game over” Fernando shouted as he raced past. Luke turned in confusion and saw two men standing in front of a livid priest who was pointing wildly in their direction. Fernando had been caught filming. The men turned and broke into a run, headed in their general direction. Luke took off after Fernando. They both ran like rabid dogs on the loose. In only moments, they were speeding down the hill road in Fernando’s car.
At the choir stand, the sisters had dispersed, moving back to their cells; Fiona had only just stopped crying. Her two friends stood helplessly beside her. They couldn’t see why she was so upset about their singing. They had been at their best today. Sister Helen Trent wore a simple white blouse and a brown skirt with a white head veil and had joined Fiona in her crying. She simply couldn’t stand it when anyone cried. Marguerite in her traditional brown Carmelite habit simply stood by, waiting for the senseless stream of tears to subside. Then all three heard footsteps approach. It was the Prioress. Fiona wiped her tears and quickly stood up.
“Please, Prioress I want to explain-” she began
Mother Gomez raised her hand for silence. Like Marguerite, the prioress was in the order’s traditional brown habit. She was sixty four years old and had spent twenty two years in the order. She said: “You do not have to give an explanation for this…” she paused, searching for the words “evil performance put up today by your choir.”
This drew startled gasps from Helen and Marguerite; Fiona shut her eyes “We’ve heard worse,” the prioress continued “However, I will like to see you right away in my office”
She left immediately; turning smartly on her heels; her habit swaying about her. Fiona hesitated for just a few moments before hurrying after the old nun.
“How could she have called our singing evil, we were at our best today?” Marguerite snarled to Helen when the other two were out of ear shot.
“Maybe we mentioned the devil’s name without knowing it,” replied the postulant.
“Oh don’t be ridiculous. We didn’t”
“I can see no other reason”
“I intend to find out”
“We eavesdrop” finished Marguerite.
A thoroughly frightened Helen put up a good fight “No Marguerite. That’s such a awful thing to do. What if someone walks up on us?”
“No one will because you’ll be watching” Marguerite said.
“No Marguerite. I won’t be a party to this. Please lets be patient. Fiona would eventually emerge and tell us everything.”
“I doubt if my curiosity will keep me alive that long. Come on”
Helen knew she would be dragged along if she resisted so she obliged very unwillingly. They left the choir stands and walked through the large hall used for choir rehearsals before stepping on to the narrow corridor that led down to the prioress’ office. From this point however, they no longer needed to eavesdrop to know something was wrong.
Fiona could be heard weeping painfully from the prioress’ office. Helen halted in fear but Marguerite raced on. She was the Mistress of novices and one of her charge was hurt. Without even knocking, she stormed into the Prioress’ office.
Fiona saw her come in and rushed into her arms.
“Papa!” she cried.
“What has happened?” asked Marguerite. But even without any answer, she knew something terrible had gone wrong.


Tuesday, March 9, 9:00 pm
It was during the night’s Great Silence; a period of deep mental meditation in Prioresses that Fiona chose to sneak out of the Priory.
It was an hour of soothing tranquility. Every nun retires to her cell and into her head for deep mental prayer just before light out. Fiona wanted to see her home again and remember the memories she’d had with her father. She told Marguerite and Helen her plans after supper in Helen’s cell. The poor postulant’s first reaction was to scream but Marguerite was faster with her reflexes. She expertly clamped her massive palms over the about to opened mouth and smothered the squeal until Helen calmed down enough to begin murmuring prayers.
Marguerite too was shocked but much more composed. “Are you out of your mind?” She asked “How could you even think of that? If you are caught, you are finished. You will be expelled immediately and I will be neck deep in the Cardinal’s trouble.”
Fiona was determined nonetheless. For the first time in her six years here, these walls suddenly seemed to be choking her. Fiona knew if she didn’t get out tonight; she’d never be able to live with herself. She would be out for only a few hours. She had to see her home again. It was her only way of being close to her father for the last time. She assured Marguerite and Helen that she was not leaving the way of life of the order but only wanted to be with father again in her own kind of way. He had just been brutally murdered and she wanted to be at the place where he had always been when he was alive. To hold the things he had held; to feel him. Above all, she wanted answers. Had he left a clue behind? What had he done to prick this killer? Those were the questions the police officers had asked. Every time she thought about it, she realised she couldn’t just sit idle. She wanted to do something.
A cloister means enclosure. That means she was shut out from the world. If she wanted to get out, it wasn’t going to be one easy feat. Cloister houses are a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of the buildings and forming a quadrangle. The nuns were forbidden to leave the Priory except for medical necessity, or occasionally for purposes related to their contemplative life. The strict papal enclosure enforced in the Carmelite monastery is meant only to preserve the solitude, quiet, which is essential to the lives of religious contemplatives. If Fiona must leave tonight, she must be able to get herself to the top of the wall. But that is almost impossible. The smooth walls were thirty feet high. How on earth could she do it?
That night, alone in her cell, just after Compline, a soft knock rapped on her door. When she opened, Marguerite pulled in a very reluctant Helen in after her.
Fiona’s cell was small; ten feet in length and breath. The walls were painted off white and on the east side was an arc shaped window that poured in sunlight in the afternoons and just beside this window hung a small wooden crucifix. Brown was the colour of Carmelite and they maintained that wherever possible. The brown wooden floor glinted with oil paint. The room was sparsely furnished with just a single bed and a small reading table.
After the door had been bolted, Marguerite unfolded what looked like a map on the table. Fiona gasped in shock. It was the blue print of the Priory. “Marguerite!”
“Listen!” Marguerite said “You have only the cover of darkness to do all the investigations you need to do. You must return to the priory before Morning Lauds” She threw open Fiona’s small closet, and brought out her habit and veil and threw it on the bed “Get dressed. You don’t have much time”. But Fiona just stood there, mouth agape and staring at the open map on the table. Helen couldn’t say a word. She could only plead with her eyes that Fiona reconsider. But Fiona’s fears were not on her own safety, but that of her friends. She was beginning to pull them into this, they were now fully at risk. Especially Marguerite who had dire consequences to pay. Marguerite has made solemn vows. Aiding and abetting this kind of crime could lead to the nullification of her vows and outright excommunication from the chu

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Product Details
Author: Charles Mgbolu
Publication date: 7/17/2014
Pages: 245
Product dimensions: 340 x 480
More About This eBook
A Jewish woman who lived in the time of Christ is in grave danger! A day in Christian history is about to be wiped forever! To complete an experiment, Sergio, a mordern day scientist in California plans to time travel to 33 AD Bethany, with an assassin. He wants the oil poured at feet of Jesus, one week before the crucifixion by a woman everyone has come to call Mary Magdalene. And he will kill for it. Only a journalist and atheist , Luke Colby and an escaped catholic nun Mary-Fiona attempt to avert the unthinkable eventuality. Because, Sergio's assasin has his own secret mission. Who lives and who dies?
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About Author
Charles Mgbolu is a journalist, singer, blogger and author. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria where he's currently working on his next novel.
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Monday, November 3rd 2014

By An excellent read!

A well told story that catapults readers deep into it's plot. The suspense doesn't stop until the very last page. It's just, Amazing!

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