Draft56

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CHAPTER 56

Looking somewhat distraught, Paul Bergin came to the temple office of Klaus Hansen and said, "Ruth just called. She said the sheriff and an FBI agent visited our home."

"What did Ruth say to get rid of them?"

"Get rid of them? She invited them to come inside!"

"Jesus, Paul, what did she tell them?"

"She didn't tell me that. But she did ask me why the knife block she used this morning was gone."

"How did you handle that?"

"I said I didn't know anything about it. The knife block is at the landfill and no one will ever find it, but Ruth said she let them take her fingerprints, and that makes me wish the knife was done away with like the clothes and other stuff."

"What's done is done," Klaus said. "That was the murder weapon and I didn't know how soon I could get rid of it. But don't worry, Paul. Even if they found the knife and trace it to Ruth, so what? She had no motive to kill the girl. She probably doesn't even know her."

But Paul wasn't so easily soothed. "What if the sheriff and this FBI fellow come here next?"

"That is a very good question, Paul. So now, I think, is a good time for both of us to be out in Headwater tending to the flock as offi- cers of the Church ever must."

Outside of the temple they looked down at the parking lot and saw three marked law enforcement vehicles and a rental. They tried to go back inside but Sheriff Walker and Special Agent Mark Felt were al- ready waiting for them on either side of the front door.

"Sheriff, would you do the honors?"

Roddy said, "Paul Bergin, you are under arrest for the murder of Kim- berly Zinter. Hold out your right arm."

Paul was too shocked to move, so Roddy grabbed his jacket sleeve, cuffed his bare wrist, then made Paul face one of the doors. After both arms were cuffed behind Paul's back Roddy patted him down, re- moved his wallet, and unlatched the carabiner key chain looped to his belt. He handed both of these to Felt, then handed Paul himself off to his deputies who were coming up the flight of stairs leading to the temple.

"Fingerprints, new home, not a word, boys."

The deputies took Bergin away just as Special Agent-in-Charge Tolson arrived on the with Agent Sullivan in tow. They said nothing about the arrest. Sheriff Walker introduced Hansen to Felt as the Apostle of the Church.

"Prophet of the Church, if you please."

"I need to talk to you," said Felt, "but first, we have a court order to search the Temple for evidence pertaining to the murder of Kimberly Zinter."

Klaus demanded to see the order and Tolson let him read it.

"I will hold you fellows to the absolute letter of this search war- rant," he said. "You may search only in the rooms which are locked with those keys."

Gabriel Shybear was waiting for them just inside. Agent Bill Sullivan blurted his name. Tolson knew him only from Sullivan's reports.

"Aren't you supposed to be on some island shooting Japs right now?"

Gabriel shook hez head and dug out hez draft card. "The Army didn't think I was man enough, Special Agent Sullivan. Navy too."

"Gabriel, what are you doing here today of all days?" Roddy asked.

"I'm here every day now, Sheriff. There's been some changes. I hold a very important office in the Church: Deacon."

"I thought Bergin was the Deacon," the sheriff said.

"There's been a reshuffling. Mr. Hansen is the Prophet and Bergin is the Apostle."

Walker turned to Hansen. "What happened to Peter Twofeathers?"

"I've been given to understand he is dead."

"Not dead," said Gabriel. "He lives in Heaven now."

"Gabriel, are you talking about a homicide?" asked Roddy.

"No, Peter and his wife volunteered to go. So did the Prophet who came after him, if you think about it."

"Hold your tongue, boy!" blurted Hansen. "No one cares to listen to your addled nonsense!"

With a sudden, awkward silence, Sheriff Roddy Walker caught up on all the required introductions. "Mr. Peter Hansen, Mr. Gabriel Shybear, this is Special Agent in Charge Clyde Tolson, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and with him are Special Agents Mark Felt and Bill Sul- livan."

Mark Felt said, "Gabriel, would you be so kind as to take the Sheriff through your temple so he can make a note of all the doors that are locked before we get started."

All of the doors except one along the wide carpeted foyer of A Wing were locked. While Gabriel and the Sheriff ranged through the rest of the temple, the Bureau agents went through Paul's office like a torna- do but yielded nothing. The door to Gabriel's office was wide open, so the agents could not enter there.

Roddy and Gabriel returned to find the agents going through a large room in A Wing filled with material that appeared to be from an earli- er age. After a quick glance at the contents the sheriff offered Felt an explanation. "B Wing is set up like a museum of Church history. Or at least it was when I was a member. This looks like the exhibits that were on display there."

"This is only the history of the Kuwapi side of the Church," Gabriel said, "now sitting here gathering dust. We're in the New Reich."

"That's a damned shame," Felt said, holding up a broken arrow. "Some of the relics were damaged."

They moved to the hallway that ran around the circumference of the Sanctuary and did a third of a turn to the right, checking some of the doors in Roddy's notes, before entering C Wing.

The rooms that Gabriel and Dory had cleaned were not locked.

"What's behind that door?"

"That's a dry hole, Agent Sullivan," said Gabriel. "It's just my broom closet." Che locked eyes with Klaus.

Nevertheless, Special Agent Felt found the appropriate key. Like Ga- briel said, there was nothing inside but cleaning supplies. Felt shook the red cookie tin sitting on a shelf but heard nothing, and opened it to make sure it was empty. Klaus seemed both puzzled and relieved.

After that the sheriff and the three Bureau agents headed down the wide carpeted stairs to the basement cafeteria. The Prophet, lagging behind, asked Gabriel, "You moved the Relic. How did you know they would search?"

"I didn't know, Mr. Hansen, but my newlywed wife, the one you didn't kill, she did. Robyn truly is a prophet. She knows all and she sees all."

There wasn't much of interest to the FBI downstairs, which was open and airy, even in the kitchen, but the supply room on the north wall was locked and everyone gravitated to there.

"Is this the room from your report?" asked Tolson.

"Mecca," Sullivan said.

Tolson gestured for Felt to pop it open.

Mecca turned out to have the same broken piano, hymnals, mason jars, and stacks of Green Dome coloring books that Gabriel had seen before when he took Robyn and Dory in the supply room. Bill Sullivan pointed at the plywood board at the back wall. "Flashlights, gentlemen."

The board was moved aside, and presently the three G-men were standing around the rock cairn that formed the uttermost summit of Green Dome.

Tolson said to Sullivan, "If the kids were in such a hurry to clear out when Paul caught them why are all the stones back in place?"

"Special Agent Tolson, that is a very perceptive question," Sullivan said. He began looking for the easiest stone to move.

Felt didn't like how the murder investigation had suddenly veered into an area where he hadn't been briefed. Tolson's agenda was intruding now. A stone fell and Tolson went inside the cair.

Felt heard Tolson utter an oath that was most unbecoming of an FBI agent, followed by, "There's nothing here!"

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