Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 31

Iseabail paid no attention to Cannon’s clumsy translations, and ran her fingers around the seams between the bricks. “These two move—ye can see the marks where the stanes rubbed. An’ here’s another.” Waving the others out of the way, she switched to the other side of the door. “Three more. I think we push them, cap’n.”

“What if it’s a trap?” said Burr.

“There’s nae anyone dead here, an’ we’ve nae yet found van der Hoek.”

“He could have died outside.”

“What’s the cap’n think?”

Cannon weighed it. “Isea, you aren’t worried about a trap here?”

“I’m not, but I didna spot the last one, either. Bodies could ha’ been moved.”

“The ones at the first trap weren’t, and the ones outside could have been eaten.” Cannon looked the wall up and down. “We’ll try it. They’d expect us to stand in front of the moving bricks if they were building a trap. Stay out of the way. di Giacomo, Isea, get the ones over there. Mr. Masaracchia, give me a hand with these three. Burr, cover the door.” He flattened himself against the wall, made room for the monk, and nodded. The four of them pushed their bricks as one. The bricks slid in, and a grinding sounded from behind the wall. It terminated in a sharp click, and the door shifted. Burr lined up on it with the Thompson, and Masaracchia gave it a good shove. It swung open smoothly and silently.

As the others pointed their flashlights through the door, Cannon lit one of his torches. The firelight cast dancing shadows on the wall. Drawing his pistol, Cannon went inside.

The chamber’s size came as a surprise, swallowing the torch’s light. Cannon walked through its first part, a dais raised above the rest. The ceiling here was only a few inches above his head. Sarcophagi sat in neat rows, clay pots, weapons, and other unidentifiable objects surrounding each one.

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