Books written by Ray Sullivan

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Da Dan Brown Code - Chapter Twenty Eight

Chapter Twenty Eight
Forty thousand feet over the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, whatever-they-flaming-well-want-to-call-it-today Sea, the privately hired executive jet moved through the sky at an impressive lick.  There isn’t actually much else it could do from forty thousand feet as even in freefall it would be moving bloody fast.  The Cardinal ignored the reporter from the Catholic Times and his stupid questions designed merely as a convenient way of introducing those too lazy to read the books properly to the various artificial constructs to support the yarn.  Reaching inside his cassock he pulled the mobile phone out and powered it up.  The reporter’s eyes widened.

‘You can’t do that, Monsignor, your holiness, most worthy person upon this plane,’ he said, crossing himself vigorously.

‘Why? Because of all that bullshit about using a cell phone on an aircraft can cause its navigation equipment to go haywire and make it crash?  In my professional opinion, as a senior member to the Roman Catholic faith, I think that’s a load of bollocks,’ he said, checking for dial tone.

‘But we’re over sea,’ replied the reporter, ‘there aren’t any cells for the phone to reach from here.’  The Cardinal snapped his phone shut angrily and determined to answer only one question, for the readers and the sake of narrative.  That was all.  The reporter flicked hastily through his twenty prepared questions and decided to ask the one he hadn’t dared write down – if he was only getting one question it might as well be controversial, perhaps racy enough to displace the Nun-of-the-Month pin-up.  He cleared his throat.

‘Tell me about your campaign to eradicate the secret sect “Hopeless Day” he asked, unaware that a cruel twist of editing was about to postpone the readers’ appreciation of this subject.

Forty thousand feet below and one hundred miles east found Lucas and Rebecca walking along Blackpool beach, kicking stones across the sand into the murky distance as dawn struggled over the Pennine hills in the distance.

‘It’ll be dawn over there, in the other half of the story,’ Lucas muttered.  Deep down he was confused.  He should have been ecstatic as he’d survived the night without a hint of being buried up to his neck in sand as predicted and he’d managed to get the last two appraisals carried out.  He’d spent the night in the company of a woman he thought he loved but hadn’t had an offer of a kiss, let alone his leg over.  And that was where the confusion came in because she’d stayed with him all night, had visited the local nick to let him report about being written out without complaint, had looked out for him as they walked, had talked incessantly about rubbish – admittedly that was her trade – yet she’d shown no inclination to move the relationship on at all.  In the distance the drone of a privately hired executive jet intruded into his thoughts, increasing as it approached the coastline.  Lucas barely registered the sound except to note that it was subtly different to the sound of a publicly hired jet.  While both Lucas and Rebecca were meandering along the deserted beach, hand near hand, they heard the jet take a hard left around the tower, the sound of the manoeuvre occurring later than the action in the sky.  Lucas thought he heard the sound of a door slamming in the distance as well but put it down to his imagination.

Then the reporter slammed into the sand in front of them, still grasping the notebook.


Cardinal Ringaringaroses, bless him, double checked the latch on the door and waited for the aircraft pressurisation to return.  Wading through the sea of oxygen masks dangling down around him he retrieved the cell phone.  His heart was heavy; killing a reporter from the Catholic Times was a serious incident and one he really had to remember when in confession some day.  Then his heart lifted suddenly, the private medical insurance treatment paying off.  More importantly he now had a signal.  He could call his man on the ground, Mister Bino.

‘Al,’ he said as the plane unexpectedly lurched sidewards, ‘how’s it going with his Lordship?’

‘Fantastic, teacher,’ replied Al, ‘he doesn’t suspect a thing,’ he said, wrapping an elastic band tightly around his thumb, making it turn really red.  Another twist and it would turn purple, he just knew it.

‘Neither do you,’ muttered the Cardinal as the aircraft lost twenty thousand feet in three seconds.  He snapped the mobile shut and was about to kick the cockpit door in to give the pilot a piece of his mind when the aircraft stabilised.

‘At least he’s got a grip now,’ he thought, eschewing italics as he pulled his seat belt back on.  He noticed the tattoos strung down his arm as his cassock sleeve had rolled up in the effort to eject the troublesome reporter.  He ran his finger over the various tats, obtained over the years: 'Christ', 'God', 'Mary', 'INRI', 'MUFC', 'ACAB'.  He felt regret about the religious tats, he’d got carried away in ecclesiastical college one night after a heavy session on the communion wine.

Then he ran a finger over the newest tattoo.



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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