Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 27

She didn’t look up when she answered. “Nae, cap’n, yon electric torch is fine.”

Burr glanced over her shoulder before returning to her vigil, watching the far end of the passage and the temple entrance by turns. “What’re you looking for, anyway?”

“Wha’ever it is, I’m nae finding it.” Iseabail stood abruptly. “Some grea’ mechanism turned wi’ the door, but I cannae tell even where it is.”

“How do you know it turned something?”

“Made a sound like God’s own ratchet.” Iseabail took her flashlight back from di Giacomo.

“That would explain why it stuck when it started to open,” said Cannon. “What could it have been doing, though? It’s been more than a thousand years since this place was important. What lasts that long?”

“Dinnae underestimate the dry. Wi’out anything tae rust it, a spring or a chain could ha’ weathered the centuries.” Iseabail smiled. “Tha’ was a bonny turn of phrase. Wha’ever way, though, it was nae broke when yon Dutchman came through.”

“You’ll have to run that by me again.”

“Use your heid, cap’n. Ye dinna think they closed the door behind them, aye?”

“Probably not,” Cannon conceded.

“An’ if the door’s past me ken, I’d nae pu’ grea’ stock in me for the traps,” said Iseabail. “Keep your eyes open, and dinnae break any trip-wires or pu’ your feet on any stane wha’ looks like it might move.”

Cannon nodded and pointed his flashlight toward the far end of the passage. “You heard the lady—be careful. I don’t want anyone taking a pine box home.”

“Pine’s all we rate, skipper?” said Burr.

Cannon shrugged. “I’m not made of money.”

They came to the natural stone and followed the carved hall to a square left turn. Cannon rounded it first, and immediately held up his hand for a halt. The others stopped, then edged around the corner to join him.

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