Draft58

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CHAPTER 58

After the search under the altar fell through SAiC Tolson left the temple and took Sullivan with him. Special Agent Mark Felt was fine with that. Conflicting agendas were never productive.

That left only the B Wing of the temple to search. It was set up as a historical museum, although under the new management of Prophet Hansen the Kuwapi contribution to the Church of Green Dome had been stripped out. Some of the more valuable pieces were missing entirely. But some- thing about B Wing stayed with Mark Felt for the rest of his life. Perhaps it was the variety of genuine articles dating back to the Civil War. Perhaps it was the way Sheriff Walker explained what he was looking at. Agent Felt found the experience profoundly immersive.

Deputy Bill came back from the station, after helping Bob book Paul into his new home. He shoedw Felt and the sheriff pencil tracings of the tire tread from the two civilian trucks in the temple parking lot, together with the photos of the tread in the snow they took the day before at the murder scene. One of the photos was already labeled "Paul Bergin" from his licence plate.

"Other than our own rigs, sir," Bill said, "there are no other vehi- cles in the lot."

Mark Felt turned to Gabriel hovering nearby and asked him, "Son, do you drive a truck."

"No sir. But my cousin Dory drives Peter Twofeather's station wagon and she takes us wherever we need to be."

"Interesting." Felt found Klaus Hansen's office, which was also in B Wing, and walked right in.

This prompted an angry objection from Hansen. "You're in violation of the judge's orders, Felt. You know you can only search those rooms which are locked."

Sheriff Walker held up his notebook and said, "Ah yes, but this room was locked at the time we served the warrant. If anything, your mere presence here amounts to interfering with a murder investigation."

Walker and Felt searched every corner of the office and found nothing of interest. Then Felt upended the waste basket on the floor. A large book with a green cover fell out. "What have we here?"

Sheriff Walker thumbed through the pages and saw that it was the text of the Green Book, holy writ for the Church of Green Dome, entirely written by hand. He said, "Agent Felt, this is called the Printer's Manuscript. It's the sacred scriptures of the Church, penned by the hand of the First Prophet."

Felt said, "Gosh, you would think something irreplacable like this would be considered priceless. Yet somehow it ended up in the trash. I wonder why."

Then it was Felt's turn to pour through the pages of the manuscript. When he saw the pages in the very front of the document he said, "Now that's cute. This is like a kind of baby book for the Church. All the important decisions and events are recorded here, like this entry from 1931 marking when Klaus Hansen became the Apostle. Mr. Hansen, would you please write your signature in the sheriff's notebook so I can see if they're the same?"

"Special Agent Felt, I assert my Constituional right against self- incrimination."

"I see. Oh, it says here, on the same day, October 9, Prophet Two- feathers created the office of Deacon, and Paul Bergin is recorded as the first one to hold that office. He's not here, but Sheriff, I sup- pose we can ask for his signature later."

"What if he doesn't want to cooperate either, Special Agent Felt?"

"I'm thinking one of the two perpetrators is going to the electric chair, and the other one is probably only going to get life in prison. I'm also thinking that assisting our investigation will go a long way toward determining which one will be which."

Hansen didn't budge.

Felt continued reading. "So the next day, Twofeathers wrote a decree that only the death or resignation of a Church officeholder can vacate that office. I suppose that would prevent the Prophet, whoever he was, from just firing an Apostle or Deacon, which would be important be- cause earlier it says if the Prophet is Red, he has to choose a White Apostle, and vice-versa. And also the office of Deacon alternates races. And that takes us to the very next entry, eleven days ago now, which says Klaus Hansen resigned as Apostle."

"That's a lie, I never tendered my resignation."

Gabriel, who had been listening quietly, now chimed in. "Prophet Peter said if you become an officer in another church you can't be an offi- cer in this one."

"Were you there when he said that, Gabriel?"

"Yes sir, in my role as Extraordinary Lay Minister of the Last Rites."

"Is that another office of the Church?"

"Not officially, sir. At least, it wasn't at the time. But the duties have been rolled up into those of the Deacon, as you'll soon see."

Felt read on. "Oh, now this is interesting, Sheriff Walker. On the same day, a Miss Kimberly Shybear was made the Apostle of the Church. You share the same last name, Gabriel. Can you tell me who that is?"

"She was my wife, sir, formerly Kimberly Zinter."

Roddy Walker was astonished. "The deceased was your wife?"

Gabriel nodded in the affirmative.

This actually annoyed the sheriff. He said, "Why isn't anyone actual- ly sad this girl was killed?"

Gabriel said, "When this mortal shall have put on immortality, then she be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory, O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy vic- tory?'"

Walker threw up his hands in disgust but Felt didn't want to get side- tracked. He said, "The next line claims that Deacon Paul Bergin re- signed on January 10 of this year."

"We used the same line of reasoning as Hansen's resignation," Gabriel said, while Klaus Hansen merely glared at him.

Felt continued to read. "Oh, Gabriel, here it says you replaced Paul as Deacon. Is that your signature?"

"Yes sir, and I'm willing to prove it." Sheriff Walker offered his notebook and Gabriel entered his chop. "And Special Agent Felt, you'll see that Two Feathers quit right after that, but when he quit it real- ly was a plain vanilla resignation, with his own signature in the Green Book."

Felt saw that everything was just as Gabriel claimed. He said, "I guess what happened next is obvious. It says Kimberly Shybear became the Prophet, which of course vacated the office of Apostle, so someone named Doriel filled in. No last name."

"That's my cousin Dory. And the entry is correct, sha has no last name."

Felt said, "What follows, about a week later, is two decrees that seem to pertain to the administration of the Church, something about a sa- cred relic, and something about who can get married. But what follows is most interesting, Gabriel. It has your cousin Dory resigning as Apostle, yesterday, on the very day your wife was murdered. Were you present when this entry was made?"

"Yes sir, Special Agent Felt."

"Do you remember about what time of day it was?"

"It was about eight o'clock in the AM, sir."

Sheriff Walker wrote that in his notebook. Felt said, "Gabriel, I may need you to testify in court to the same effect."

So let's see who replaced Doriel as the Apostle. Why look, it's Klaus Hansen again! And he signed it. Gabriel, did you witness Klaus Han- sen making this signature?"

"Yes sir."

"So let's back up a bit to an entry made in 1866. It says if the Prophet dies or resigns, the Apostle becomes the new Prophet. So here's Klaus Hansen as the new Apostle, with the Prophet having only an hour or two left to live. Please Gabriel, tell me, what happened immediately after Klaus Hansen became, once again, the Apostle of the Church."

"He had his own breakaway Church down at the bottom of the hill, with only white folk there. He said we should go meet with them and an- nounce the division in the mother Church was healed. So Paul left with Kim, but Klaus took me separately in his own truck."

"Did he say why?"

"He wanted me to bring the sacred relic, which we call the Golden Gift, and I told him I didn't want Paul to know where I had hidden it because he wasn't an officer of the Church. But on the way down we got into a heated argument over racism or something like that, and he just pulled over and made me get out before driving off. So I walked back up to the temple where Dory was waiting."

Felt said, "The reason I'm asking, Gabriel, is there's three final en- tries here, one declaring Kim to be dead, one making Klaus Hansen the Prophet, and one making Paul Bergin the Apostle. Did you, as the Dea- con, witness any of those entries being made?"

"No sir."

"I'm trying to ascertain the time."

"Dory said no one returned to the Temple before I did, and that was about nine thirty in the morning. It was about ten when they re- turned, and they told me Kim was dead."

"Sheriff, what time did old Tashunka arrive at your station and report the murder?"

"It was just about noon."

"I'm going to need to corroborate this with Dory, and I want to speak with Tashunka, but what we have now is Klaus Hansen affirming, in writing, that Kimberly Zinter, or Kimberly Zinter-Shybear if you will, was dead approximately two hours before Tashunka discovered her corpse. Mr. Hansen, do you have anything to say before you are placed under arrest for murder?"

He said, "I will say this exactly once, Special Agent Felt. From here only out I will speak only to your boss, Special Agent in Charge Clyde Tolson."

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