The Jinx: Sample Page 11

As he had listened to the tale and felt the passion of his father, seven generations removed from the grievous event, it had slowly dawned on him how this conspiracy had survived. The hate had been emblazoned in the hearts of each generation, each father to one son. Fathers share so few passionate moments with their sons. Until that night, Adams had experienced none. He could understand how such a moment at a tender age could shape a lifetime.

Even at his advanced age, he had caught some of the spirit of his infuriated clansmen from his own father that night. His yearning for George Thompson’s love had been so great that it had overcome reason. With the eloquence only a pint of fine Scotch can muster, he had sworn his eternal allegiance to The Royal Order of the Millennium Knight, a moment he had come to regret.

As Adams replayed that night in his mind’s eye, he did not observe the young man who had so eagerly engaged him in conversation emerge from Sausolito’s. The man stopped and turned to light a cigarette with his back to the wind. He waited until Adams reached the corner of West Third Street, then followed, a half block behind.

The street lamps near the southwest entrance to Washington Square, at West Fourth Street, were broken. Adams shook his head. In the heart of New York University, the Square was once the soul of Greenwich Village. It had been alive at all hours. Now, at night, the Square had become a macabre haven for drug dealers and the homeless. Barren oaks danced in the dim light like monstrous skeletons in a graveyard.

His heart pounding, he continued north, around the perimeter of the Square, rather than risk the shorter walk through it.

He had fallen into the role of The Publisher almost by happenstance. His father had never encouraged him to choose a career in journalism. George Thompson had always assumed he would be alive when the millennium turned, and he had not seen the need to involve his son. But Adams’s contemporaries had been brought into the fold at an early age. Miraculously, they had positioned themselves even better than their ancestors could have imagined in their wildest, drunken dreams.

The group had never actually met, but they had assembled under the direction of The Caretaker via the Internet. For the past four years The Royal Order refined their clandestine plot in weekly on-line chat sessions. All but The Assassin.

The Assassin had proven to be a weak link in the conspiracy. It had never been intended he join the others; his task was to be completed in grim isolation. But as the details of the conspiracy were engineered, the role of The Assassin changed, and his participation had been required. Unfortunately, he was a reluctant accomplice. He had joined their Internet meetings only under duress. Eventually, after three years, he renounced The Royal Order.

Copyright © 2000, 2011 by Larry Kahn

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