Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 37

“Why d’ye think?” Iseabail paused. “I dinna think it was tae tarry, so if ye could maybe ta’ it a wee bit faster—”

“One roar is worrying,” Masaracchia said, “but not dangerous in itself. If the captain thinks it valuable, the diary is here, and so are we.”

“It’s nae just him who thinks it’ll pay,” said Iseabail. “Hidden secrets an’ lost treasures—tha’ was van der Hoek’s currency.”

“I can’t find it,” Masaracchia said, slipping the diary out from under van der Hoek’s arm and into a side pocket on his pack. “We should go.”

“I’m nae disagreein’ in principle, but I cannae see a thing.”

Masaracchia stood and let the cross dangle from its chain. It swung gently, a little further in one direction than the other. “God is faithful,” he said. “Take my hand.”


“—and move out!” Cannon shouted. Once he was satisfied that there was no further guff forthcoming, he felt for his pack. “Well try the other torch,” he said. “Do you have another match?”

“Four more,” Burr said. A nervous edge colored her voice. “How far away are the others? A few hundred feet? How come you had to shout?”

Cannon pulled the other torch from its loop on his pack. The scent of oil descended around them. “That’s not the strangest thing we’ve seen today. Strike a match.”

It rasped, and for a moment, Cannon saw Burr’s face, drawn and lined with worry, before the guttering light flickered to nothing. “I told you, it isn’t the torch,” she said. “I can’t even get a match going.”

“Give me the matches, and I’ll try.”

“Skipper, I know how—”

The sound of grinding stone cut her off, and a rising cacophany of moans and wails echoed from wall to wall.

“Give me your gun!” Cannon shouted.

Burr knew an order when she heard one. She held the Thompson out in Cannon’s direction. He groped for it, then snatched it, rested it against the crook of his arm, pointed it upward, and squeezed the trigger.

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