Six thousand miles away, the fat little wizard sat hunched over a telephone.
“What do you mean, he’s still alive?” the Kabbalist barked. “You imbeciles . . .”
He was on the old, long-distance trunk line, which had lain across the floor of the Atlantic for over a century. Although it was antiquated “brown wire,” not fiber-optic, it was now the most reliable means of long-distance communication on earth, thanks to the solar storms.
“He is gravely injured,” came the American voice, with its broad, flat delivery. Probably from Kansas or Oklahoma, the Kabbalist thought; a hayseed; a hick.
“And the detective?” he demanded.
“In pieces,” came the reply.
“Good,” the Kabbalist said. “Then you’ve not been a complete waste.”
The M-12 colonel, Stansfield, didn’t rise to the bait, instead waiting for the old bastard to finish. Which he did, but in a way Col. Stansfield did not care for. Not one bit.
“You will kill Connors within the week,” said the old wizard. “Before the Israelis take him. Otherwise . . . your flesh will run like water.”
The M-12 agent waited for more, but heard only a click as the Kabbalist hung up on the other end, 6,200 miles away. It was nowhere near far enough. But the muscular, crew-cut military man had his marching orders, and he would obey.
He would kill David Connors within the week. Everything depended on it. He certainly didn’t want to test the Kabbalist’s resolve, especially when it came to Those others. They—those Things—could, and would, make his flesh to run like water; he’d seen it happen. In the desert, near Groom Lake, NV. Col. Stansfield had no wish to join in such festivities.
He and his driver, along with their nameless, shadowy go-between, would have another nondescript, black sports car within the hour.
And the hunt for Connors would resume.
Just then, Dr. Ross Galilei was resuming his comparison of David’s Commandments photo with his own sketch of the Roswell symbols. His dark, beady eyes darted back and forth like a hawk’s, as he inspected them one last time.
“Thirty-five hundred years apart, and yet they’re nearly identical,” Dr. Galilei said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in all my years of study,” he added. “You do realize you’re sitting on a time bomb, don’t you?”
“How so?” David asked.
“This link you’ve found will upset a lot of very powerful people. People you’ve never heard of—or even dreamed existed—in the government, the Church, the media . . . among other entities.”
“That’s some time bomb.”
“And when it goes off, there’s no telling what may happen to you. Your life could be in danger. You do realize that, of course?”
“I dunno, Doc. I mean, there’ve only been a few million UFO sightings since Roswell. And all kinds of people have written books claiming God was an alien or an aardvark, or whatever. What makes me so special?”
“None of those other authors ever supplied such tangible proof.” Dr. Galilei said. “Not even von Däniken.” He nodded at David’s Commandments photo. “This shows a real, physical link between the God of the Old Testament and an extraterrestrial origin.”
Dave smiled. The good doctor might be right, after all: he couldn’t recall ever hearing about such physical evidence before. A shame that only one of the two pieces of evidence was an actual photograph. True, any photo could be altered; only he knew for certain it was real.
“So, what should I do?” he asked. “Hide it? Destroy it? Drop the story altogether?”
Dr. Galilei peered at him from beneath his beetling brows before replying.
“In a word, yes. I would hide your photograph in the cellar, take it out at night and gloat over it under the full moon. And never tell another soul.”
Dave frowned. “In that case, would you mind if I took a photo of your sketch?”
“Well, I don’t know . . .” the doctor began. “I’m not sure I––”
“I won’t publish it,” Dave said. “After all, it’s not the actual debris, just a sketch. Still, I’d sure like to have a print. You know, for when I gloat over it at night.”
“Well . . .” said Dr. Galilei, “I suppose so. If it’s for your own viewing.”
Dave took his cell phone and snapped three photos of the sketch from three different angles. The only expression on his face was one of relief, not triumph.
“Thanks, Doctor,” he said. “I’ll stand by my word; I won’t publish this—even though it goes against everything I’ve ever believed as a journalist.”
“And what is that, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“To report the story—the truth—and let the chips fall . . . wherever.”
“And what if they fall on your head?” Doctor Galilei asked.
“My editor says I have a thick skull.” He nodded at his drawing. “Seriously, though, it would be one helluva story. If I could replace my Roswell photos, I’d have a slam dunk. No evidence like it on earth, as you said.”
“Well . . . I wouldn’t go that far.”
Now it was Dave’s turn to look confused. “But, you just said . . .”
“I said I’ve never seen anything like it before, in terms of physical trace evidence. However, I believe there may be more substantiation like this—proof of ancient aliens, gods and monsters in the remote past. And what they did here with humans.”
“Where?” Dave asked. “Area 51? Roswell? Wright-Patterson?”
One more time, the professor peered at Dave from beneath his dark, ledge-like brows, as if uncertain whether to continue at all. At last he shook his head and said: “In the bible, David. The Word of God . . .
“. . . It’s full of UFOs.”
At first, Dave wasn’t sure he’d heard right. He almost did the Swimmer’s Shake, except that tilting his head caused a tidal wave of dizziness.
Dr. Galilei held out both hands to steady him. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, sure,” David replied. “For a second there, I thought you said ‘The bible.’”
“The bible contains accounts of UFOs.”
“Absolutely. It’s full of UFO encounters, alien beings—even alien abductions, like Enoch and Elijah, for instance. The Scriptures are loaded with them.”
“And you’re saying the evidence is still there? In the Holy Land?”
“I’m sure of it,” said Galilei. “But UFOs and ancient aliens are only the surface story. The full tale—the forgotten saga—is what’s so devastating. Because it’s all true.”
“What’s all true?” Dave asked. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the origin of human life on earth. I’m talking about who and what really created us, and when. And about what’s coming back for us, at the end.”
“So, this isn’t just about UFOs in the bible. Or Roswell and the Commandments.”
“Oh, it’s much more. But most of us—and I mean scientists, now—haven’t a clue. The records are lost to time and the ages. You see, Mankind is a race with amnesia. We’ve forgotten more about our origins, past civilizations, wars, glories and gods than you can possibly imagine.”
“Such as our, shall we say, intimate relation to the beings that have been visiting earth since Man was a monkey. And the skills, science, art and technology they gave us. We once knew who and what these beings were, but we’ve long since forgotten. All that remains are legends . . . myths . . . religions.”
“Yet, they were here,” Dave said.
“And they’re due to return. En masse. The evidence is irrefutable. The God of the ancient Hebrews is no myth. Neither is Quetzalcoatl, the Mayan serpent god. Same for the pantheon of deities, devils, angels and demons who’ve been visiting this planet over the millennia. The Sumerians called them ‘Anunnaki;’ the Hebrews, ‘Elohim;’ the Greeks, ‘Titans’ and ‘Olympians.’ Whatever the names, whatever the culture, the stories are always the same: superior beings came down from the heavens, created man, taught him everything—mining, mineralogy, astronomy, agriculture—for man to work for them. Indeed, the Hebrew word for ‘worship’ comes from an older word meaning ‘to work for.’ Man worshipped the gods—he worked for them. Then they left, promising to return.”
“OK. So, they came here, played ‘God,’ left us this mess and just . . . flew away?”
“Oh, no, they remained for thousands of years,” Galilei said. “Perhaps too long.”
“Many world myths claim that, soon after creating Man, the gods grew bored and began performing certain . . . other experiments.”
“What does that mean, ‘other experiments?’”
Galilei rolled the word in his mouth as if it were especially tasty: “Transgenics.”
“You mean, humans and—”
“Quite,” Galilei said. “H.G. Wells’ ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ is a delicious allegory, you know. Far more science than fiction.”
“You’re saying the gods bred ‘manimals?’ For what . . . fun? Sport?”
“Of course. What do you suppose the Manticore was? Or the Sphinx? Or Pan? What price Anubis? Why would so many ancient cultures create statues, reliefs and paintings of such creatures alongside their human kings, unless they’d actually seen them at some point? And . . . who knows? Perhaps some remain? After all, what better explanation for Bigfoot? Or the Yeti? Werewolves? Mothman?”
“If any of this is true, how the hell could we have forgotten it all?”
Dr. Galilei shrugged. “Wars, natural disasters, religions, time. All potent erasers. Yet, all the while, just beneath the surface of the slate, the faintest traces of the olden truths lay like a palimpsest—traces we today call ‘out of place artifacts.’” Galilei paused to stroke his massive eyebrows, as if that was where he kept his secrets. “And now this.”
“This link you’ve uncovered, between the Ten Commandments and the Roswell symbols. Marvelous, true, but it’s only the popcorn. Care to see the whole movie?”
Dave thought about it for a moment. He thought about Cyndi and their tour of the museum Monday night. He thought about the hit-and-run later that night, and the dead Detective Lacy. And the three corpses in Israel . . . and who, or what, was hunting them.
“I’m not sure I do,” Dave admitted.
“And I’m not sure I blame you,” said Galilei. “But if you’re serious about getting to the bottom of this, then you should be warned.”
“‘Warned?’ A bit melodramatic, don’t you think?”
“Then let’s say ‘briefed.’ Either way, you should know as much as you can before you go back there. To the Holy Land.”
David rolled his eyes. “Why does everyone seem to think I have to go back to Israel?”
“Because that’s where all the puzzle pieces are. This isn’t something you can solve in an armchair, with a book and some maps, young man. This is something you’ll have to see with your own eyes, dig with your own hands, and that right soon. You’ll have to be an archaeologist and a sleuth at the same time—along with a dose of the exorcist . . .”
Dr. Galilei smiled and walked around the side of his desk to a blackboard hung on the back wall. He reached up, grabbed a string and pulled down a silver projection screen. As he reached toward the light switch, he glanced at David.
“May I?” he asked.
Dave sighed. How could he say no? The doc was obviously dying to show him his home movies or slides or whatever. Again, probably Death-By-PowerPoint . . .
“Sure, go ahead,” Dave said.
Dr. G. killed the overheads. Dave helped him lower the blinds on all three of the huge windows. And, like that, the sun-drenched office was dark as twilight.
“This won’t take long.” The good doctor was already in the zone, fiddling with the projector, clicking the mouse and talking simultaneously. “Little display I’ve prepared for you,” he added, glancing over one shoulder at the door.
“Well, thanks, Doc . . . I’m honored,” Dave said.
“You might not think so later.”
Dr. G. took another glance at the door, then at one of the windows.
“What I’m about to show you cannot leave this room, agreed?”
“Agreed, but . . . what’s the big mystery, Doc? You about to divulge national defense secrets or something?”
“If only. No, this is . . . this is much worse than national defense, my God in . . . ” his voice trailed off into unintelligible mumbling.
Dave decided not to ask any more questions. Galilei obviously had an agenda, including a program prepared just for him. Best to just let him get on with it. If nothing else, he’d be getting a PhD-level presentation gratis, so . . . what the hell.
As Dave took a seat in Galilei’s office, lights off and projector on, the three men in the black sedan outside grew restless. Moshe and Aaron, the Mossad agents, wanted to go in, find the American and Taser him into submission. Then pop him into the car, race to the airport and—zip—back to Jerusalem.
But Sgt. Heim knew better, which secretly pleased him: that he was more informed, and thus more circumspect, than even the vaunted Mossad? He smiled to himself, gloating.
“We can’t go in and make a scene. You know why.”
“No, why,” Moshe, the tougher-looking one, demanded. It was not a question.
“Because we cannot risk notice by American authorities—of any level. Not even campus security,” Heim added. “So, we will wait.”
“I’m sick of waiting. It’s time to—”
“It’s time to remember who is in charge of this unit,” Heim interrupted him. “And that is not you, is it, Captain?”
“Is it?” Heim repeated.
“No, it is not me,” Moshe growled. “But a time is coming, Sergeant, when we will all be called to account—and not by Chief Inspectors or politicians. But by the Fallen. By Those who were here before.”
“Keep your lunatic beliefs to yourself,” Heim growled. “Angels and demons and all that Kabbalah rubbish. Save it for temple, Moshe, I’ve no time for it here.”
“More’s the pity,” Moshe muttered.
“And save your pity for Mr. Connors,” Heim said.
The two Mossad agents gazed at each other, then glanced out their respective windows. Although the other one, Aaron, did not hold with the ancient mysteries of the Kabbalah, he sympathized with his Mossad brother. Moshe was a full captain in the service. Yet, for this mission, the police Sergeant outranked them both. And for what? All this sitting and waiting like a clutch of hens. Galling as it was, they had no choice: they would wait.
And, waiting thus, they failed to notice the other black sports car creeping up the street behind them. The one with the crumpled front fender.
The word “wait,” however, was not in the Kabbalist’s lexicon.
The time for action—wet, dripping, gushing action—was near. Soon, it would be time to raise his deformed friend once more and go forth to do the Brotherhood’s business. The holy Brotherhood, whose worship of, and sacrifice for, the bene ha-Elohim stretched back over 2,700 years, to the shores of mystery Babylon, the Tower, to Nimrod and his blood-drunk, reptilian mother, sister and queen, Semiramus, called Ashtarte (from which the word “Easter” derived). Now, it was time.
Time as counted by the Brotherhood . . . the Fallen . . . the Betrayed. Not only the Maya, but also the Babylonians, Egyptians, Celts and the Aztecs—all looked to this time, prophesied its coming and the end of the old world. The end, above all, of the interloper, HWHY, “God” of Israel. He too would pay, and dearly. The thought of so much history, so much time, blood, suffering and toil in secret—all for the sake of Their return, was humbling. Now, at last, it was nigh.
Even as these long-familiar thoughts and musings ran like holy, golden rivulets through his mind, the Chief Rabbi of the Order, the Kabbalist, was already preparing for the final assassinations—including that of David Connors, last of the eyewitnesses.
He, like all the others, would be dead before long, and the assassin’s usefulness at an end. A shame about that, the Kabbalist thought. He had grown attached to this assassin, this servant of the Fallen. But there would be others, and this one must return to his rest, eventually.
But not, the Kabbalist knew, before Dave Connors had been sent to his.
He glanced at his Israeli wristwatch, a Cabala he’d received fifty years ago from a grateful Prime Minster Ben-Gurion, for similar services rendered. It read 11:20 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. Less than 24 hours now, until it was done—one final victim, one last meal for his friend, yes.
And the American would know no more.