The Unspoken

Page 42

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Kat set the book down. "That's it," she said quietly. "I believe that whoever is doing this is after the scepter, and that's why the center was broken into, why Amanda is dead and why the guard was shot. But the scepter wasn't in the sarcophagus."

"Well, of course not," Dirk said, frowning. "You just read from the journal. Austin's grandfather was there when it was discovered in the tomb. It must have been packaged and crated separately."

"So," Kat said. "It's still down in Lake Michigan."

"And Captain Ely went down to the bottom of Lake Michigan, too," Dirk said, shaking his head.

"He did die because of the curse," she said, and when both men looked at her, she said, "It was in his head. He let himself believe in the evil of it, and he brought it to life. Curses are only real when we allow them to be."

* * *

As Will and Tyler watched from their vantage point behind the glass, Landry and Simonton met each other in the hallway leading to the interrogation rooms.

Both men came to a sudden halt. Landry spoke first. "Simonton. What are you doing here?"

"Same as you, I imagine." Landry shrugged. "Trying to help them figure out what's going on with the salvage on the Jerry McGuen."

"Yeah," Simonton said. "They asked me down."

"Think we were really invited?" Landry drawled.

"What difference does it make? We're here, right?"

Will remained behind the one-way glass of the interrogation room. As arranged, Tyler came up to the two men. "Mr. Landry, if you will? The room right here. Mr. Simonton, can you accompany me down the hall, please?"

Landry sat at the table in the small interrogation room, and Will decided to let him wait there for a few minutes.

Landry drummed his fingers on the scarred wooden table, leaned back in his chair, then sat forward again.

He looked impatiently at his watch and fidgeted some more.

Finally, Will went in to join him, dropping his file on the desk between them.

Landry frowned. "You? I thought the cops wanted to talk to me."

"Despite what you might see on TV, the FBI and the police are after the same outcome, Mr. Landry."

"I'm at a total loss as to what you want from me. An idiot diver drowns, and an old man has a heart attack. Then that crazy Egyptologist at the center tries to kill a guard or whatever and offs herself-and you think I might be involved?"

Will smiled. "Mr. Landry, you were very upset last night when you believed Ms. Bertelli was being attacked by a mummy."

"By some fake mummy, yes. Not by me!"

Will didn't reply.

"Hey, you could see me almost every second-and I sure as hell wasn't dressed up as a mummy."

Will pushed the folder forward. "Mr. Landry, you own an Aquasport Explorer and an Osprey, along with two Sea Ray boats. You also own a UPD-an underwater propulsion device. And you attended a lecture given by Dr. Alex McFarland on ways to kill."

"What? That lecture was on Egyptian embalming!"

Will shrugged. "According to Dr. McFarland, he also talked about poisons that weren't easily detected-or that might be accidentally ingested."

Landry waved a hand in the air. "I attended that lecture for the lunch!" he said. "And what the hell-I like the Sand Diggers. You people are so busy looking for evil, you don't look at the good that group does for the community."

"I like the Sand Diggers, too," Will said pleasantly. "But here's the thing. Let me show you one more document."

Landry stared down at the paper. "What the hell is this?"

"Amanda Channel's phone log. You'll see the number for your company multiple times over the past few months."

"She wasn't calling me."

"Who runs your company, Mr. Landry?" Will asked.

"I do!"

"Yes, that's what Mr. Simonton said," Will threw in.

"Simonton! He's probably guilty!"

Will ignored that. "Would you know if any of your possessions-personal or corporate-were being used?"

Landry leaned forward. "I've had my UPD under cover at the boat dock on my private property. It hasn't been used this year. I haven't been out on the water at all."

"Getting old? That's tough, when you're in love with a sweet young thing like your receptionist."

He straightened in his chair. "I'm married, Agent Chan," he said indignantly. "I care about Ms. Bertelli and she attends many business functions with me. I'm not getting old-I'm a CEO and I have staff to do the day-to-day work. But guess what? None of them have used my UPD. It's in the boat hangar, along with my private pleasure boats. You want to go see?"

Will rose. "I think that would be a great idea, Mr. Landry. I'd very much like to see the inside of your hangar and your boats."

* * *

It was late afternoon when Logan called Kat. He told her quickly that Jane had slept for a while and had awakened and was back at the library, researching the icebreaker Egyptian and her captain.

"But I'm really calling you about our shooting victim-Abel Leary. Kelsey just phoned me. The doctors say he's taking a turn for the better. They believe he'll wake up soon."

"I'll go over there," she said.

"Have Sean drop you at the hospital and then bring Manning to me. He'll be safe. Kelsey can keep an eye on him, and I'm sure they'll entertain each other."

"We'll head out right now."

Manning didn't want to leave the house; he wanted to believe that eventually he'd see Austin Miller.

But even more than that, he didn't want to be alone where a mummy had stalked his friend, so he was willing to go with Kat and Sean. He clearly felt relieved that Sean would stay with him until he could deliver him to the safety of more agents.

Kat liked Dirk Manning, and she liked the ghost of Austin Miller. She assured Manning she'd be with him as much as possible and would see him later. He watched her as she got out of the car at the hospital.

"You be careful!" he told her anxiously.

She found her way to the floor where Kelsey had been sitting outside Abel Leary's room, reading a book on Egyptology.

"Decided I should do some research," she said. "I always thought of Ramses II as the Yul Brynner character in the old movie. And I hated him, of course, because he was enslaving people. But this is a fascinating book. We're looking at millennia. Most people believe that Ramses II was king at the time of Moses, but it's not really certain, and it's not specifically stated in the Bible. And all the evidence says that Ramses II was truly a great ruler. Egypt prospered under him. So, if Amun Mopat was one of his priests, maybe he wasn't as evil as he's been portrayed."

"Maybe not," Kat agreed, but she told Kelsey about the icebreaker, the Egyptian, and how it had carried a figurehead of Amun Mopat. "Which sounds crazy. Apparently, Captain Ely, who had Amun Mopat for a figurehead, believed in the curse. Why have the man as a figurehead if you thought he was capable of such evil?"

"Maybe he felt evil warded off evil?" Kelsey suggested. "Or maybe he was avenging what was done to Amun Mopat's tomb?"

"Yes, I suppose."

"Do you really think the man would have been crazy enough-or obsessed enough-to ram the Jerry McGuen?"

Kat nodded. "Yes. I believe he had his icebreaker ram the ship and that's why she went down, not because of the storm. There was a storm, of course, but the Jerry McGuen was an impressive ship. It would have taken an impact like that of an icebreaker to tear out her hull."

The door to Abel Leary's room opened and his doctor stepped out. Kelsey introduced the young man as Dr. Gilliam, and she introduced Kat as Dr. Sokolov instead of Agent. Kat grinned; when the title worked, they used it.

"He's conscious and he's stable, but…five minutes," Dr. Gilliam said. "He's still floating in and out, and on top of his injuries, we're pumping him full of medication, several of them for pain."

"Has he said anything to you?" Kat asked.

"He's tried, but I honestly have no idea what he's babbling on about. Perhaps he'll make more sense to you. Five minutes," he repeated emphatically.

"Of course," Kat said.

She slipped into the room, aware that Kelsey had followed and stood just behind her.

Abel Leary was probably in his late twenties. There was an IV in his arm, heart monitor attached, the instrument panel at his side humming its watchful rhythm. His eyes were closed when they entered, and Kat said his name very softly. His lids flickered for a moment, then his eyes opened and he stared at her.

"Hello." His eyes closed and he winced. He slowly opened them again. "Are you an angel?" he asked in a raw, husky voice.

"Mr. Leary, I'm Kat Sokolov and I'm with the FBI. This is my colleague, Kelsey O'Brien. We're trying to catch whoever did this to you. We're desperate for any help you can give us."

His eyes closed once more.

"I shot myself," he said. "Didn't you see? I shot myself."

"Why would you shoot yourself, Mr. Leary? Did you see Amanda Channel when she came in?"

He winced again, obviously in pain.

His eyes met hers. "No," he said. "I didn't see Amanda Channel."

"What did you see, Mr. Leary? What did you see that caused you to shoot yourself?"

He was silent again for a minute. "No one will believe me," he said.

"We'll believe you, Mr. Leary. We're trying to get to the bottom of this."

"They said it was cursed," he murmured.

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