Books written by Ray Sullivan

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Da Dan Brown Code Chapter Thirty One

Chapter Thirty One

Lucas and Rebecca looked up sharply at the sound of the door slamming suddenly in the previous chapter, then back down to the cleric wedged into the sand with just his head poking above the surface.

‘Do you think?’ asked Lucas, raising an eyebrow.  Rebecca made him lower it, the poor Priest was in enough pain as it was.

‘That I identified the wrong person in the palm reading?  Are you casting doubt on my skills?  My professionalism?’  Lucas looked into the angry eyes, tried to make sense of the situation.

‘To anticipate you’d witness anyone being buried up to their nicks in the sands at Blackpool by dawn from reading a palm is bloody good by any measure,’ he said in his Australian drawl.  ‘To have it happen right nixt to me, when it was my palm, that’s more than coincidence, it’s fantastic. I need to get you a bitter billing and a pay rise, you’re flaming fantastic,’ he raved, watching her eyes change from anger to greed.  Unfortunately for Lucas, they reverted to anger again.

‘Are you forgetting that I predicted that you would end up buried up to your neck and kind of dead?  That’s two errors, in my book.’  Lucas looked down at the Priest, who was gazing up earnestly.  Rammed deep onto the sand to above his shoulders, having entered at seventy degrees feet first at terminal velocity, up was about all he could gaze, earnestly or otherwise.

‘He’s not did?’ Lucas asked in a surprised voice, hoping that Rebecca didn’t count not sleeping with him yet as a third failure. He couldn’t afford for her to lose confidence in her abilities this far into the season, plus he wanted to get his leg over. In fact, he couldn’t give a stuff about her confidence.   The Priest spoke up.

‘Excuse me, but I don’t suppose you could help me here?’ he asked.  Lucas and Rebecca got on their knees to get closer to the head.

‘Who did this?’ asked Rebecca.  The Priest closed his eyes before answering.

‘Cardinal Ringaringaroses, bless him, on his way to Blackpool airport.  But don’t tell anyone, it would ruin him.  He’s on important secret Church work, to demolish the sect ‘Hopeless Day’.  It’s his life’s work,’ he said.  Lucas had to ask the next question, partly because it was his turn but mainly because it gave him a legitimate excuse to look down Rebecca’s top.

‘What’s ‘Hopeless Dii’?’ he asked.  The priest looked confused, so Rebecca translated.

‘He means “day”,’ she explained, 'he's Australian.'  The priest nodded as far as his situation allowed.

‘A secret Church society that believes Armageddon could happen pretty much any time, based on the premise that they’re generally a bit depressed and every day looks, well, hopeless.  They’re Catholics, so they can’t do what other rational depressives do and top themselves, so they just mope around feeling a bit down and praying for the Good Lord to end it all for them.  And unfortunately for all of us too,’ answered the Priest, wishing that the couple could do something more useful than ask questions.  Digging him out or calling for an ambulance seemed to be better alternatives. 

‘So they git down in the damps and priy for the end of the world.  Sounds like any Saturday morning to me when I wake up naked on a flower bed with a splitting hangover,’ suggested Lucas.  The Priest snapped back.

‘But these are Catholic prayers.  We believe God scores double points to our prayers, triple on a Sunday and Public Holidays, so if enough depressed left footers start praying, He may just have to listen.  The last thing we want is God listening,’ he answered.

‘So Cardinal Ringaringaroses is trying to stop God listening to Catholic prayers?’ repeated Lucas, deciding he understood.  His knees were now wet and, more importantly, Rebecca had moved so that he couldn’t see down her top anymore, so he decided he may as well stand.  He placed his right hand towards Rebecca to lean on her shoulder when she suddenly grabbed the arm and twisted his hand.  He looked on quizzically as Rebecca pulled the hand close to her face.

‘Let’s take another look at this, in better light,’ she said, studying the hand with a puzzled look on her face while hoping nobody would ask her to suggest where else a puzzled look could reside.  Licking a hanky she rubbed vigorously at Lucas’ palm, watching the ink smear, then virtually disappear.  ‘What are all these lines on here for?’ she asked.  Lucas blinked.  In fact he did that quite often, especially in the daylight, and was quite surprised it warranted mentioning yet again.  In fact, he was starting to feel a little bit victimised.  To prove a point, he blinked again before answering.

‘The lines?  They were the notes I made for myself to remind me to buy some tea on my way home.  Look, T-E-A,’ Lucas said, running his finger over the lines that Rebecca had made fainter with her hanky.  ‘Why?’ 

‘Because the extra lines threw the reading,’ Rebecca said.  The enormity of the situation overwhelmed Lucas as he faced Rebecca across the head of the Priest, who had followed the exchange as best as the limited movement of his head allowed.

‘The shag?’ asked Lucas.

‘No, unfortunately that’s still in the lines, no matter how hard I rubbed.  It’s still destiny, unfortunately.  It’s the bit about being buried up to your neck in sand and being left to die that was wrong.  It was nearly being clobbered by a bloke who ends up being buried up to his head in the sand that the lines were saying.’  They looked down at the head that was now calling to them.

‘Do the lines say whether I survive?’ pleaded the Priest.  Rebecca shook her head.

‘What sort of crank do you take me for?  This isn’t mumbo-jumbo, it doesn’t work that way, his palm only tells his future.’

‘But what about me?’ pleaded the Priest.  Lucas agreed.

‘We can’t leave him like this,’ he said, pleading at Rebecca, who looked back at the Priest and started to dig.

‘Come on, help me,’ she said as she freed the left shoulder of the Priest and started to dig down the length of his arm.  Lucas joined in by digging away behind the man’s neck but was stopped by Rebecca, who indicated the area adjacent to his right shoulder.  Within a few minutes she had cleared his left arm completely, so she pulled the arm out and started to inspect the man’s palm, ripping a reporter’s notebook out of his hand in the process.

‘Well it does mention the burying up to the neck situation,’ she said, peering closer.  Then she slapped him hard.  ‘And you’re supposed to be a man of the cloth!’ she said, standing suddenly and storming off.  Lucas looked at the man and his hand, and although he didn’t understand the complexities of palmistry, he instinctively knew what had upset Rebecca.  He picked up the reporters’ notebook.

‘You’re a traditionalist, aren’t you?’ he asked. 

‘Yes, how did you know?’ asked the Priest.  Lucas pulled his handkerchief out, shook it to clear the tiredness he’d rolled up in it the previous night and spat on it.

‘You were going to git some more ink for your fountain pen when you landed,’ he said, rubbing I-N-K off the Priest’s palm.  ‘Now excuse me while I try and stop her reporting you to the Vatican,’ he said, standing.


Missed the beginning? Click here to go to Chapter One

'Da Dan Brown Code' will be published in early January as 'The Last Simple'. Anyone who is registered as following either my blog or Twitter account will receive instructions on how to obtain a free e-copy of 'The Last Simple' shortly after it is published.

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