Michael was able to count at least fifty tunnels intersecting one another on the map before him. The map also showed a majestic building resembling a church on top of the page above the maze and its intertwined tunnels.
“Looks like catacombs or tunnels beneath a city,” Michael said and continued, “this church here must be a clue.” His finger was pointing at the structure above the tunnels.
“Rome, perhaps?” Amanda said.
“No, there are no catacombs like this in Rome with a city and church above it. They’re outside the city. But these seem to be in the heart of the city.”
“Any major city has catacombs,” Amanda said. “Vienna, London, Paris. It could be any city.”
Michael frowned and said, “Didn’t you say my ancestor was a French priest?”
“Yes, that’s it,” Amanda exclaimed, excited. “These must be the catacombs below Paris.”
“Look, the church is connected to a tunnel that leads into catacombs. Perhaps this is the church of my ancestor,” Michael said, gliding his finger along the map.
“Yes, you’re right,” Amanda said, her eyes sparkling.
* * *
By bullet train, Paris was only about ninety minutes away from Frankfurt.
Michael loved the ease and convenience of traveling in Europe. Traveling for five hours in Europe would mean he could be passing through several countries, whereas in the U.S. he would have barely left the state he started his trip in.
The train was speeding through the German countryside. Michael was gazing out of the window, seeing the trees and landscapes flying by.
* * *
“It’s Harris. Things are getting out of hand here. They killed a shop keeper. I will have to inform the police,” he said to Nick Sanders on the other end of the phone.
“No, no police!” Sanders said, startled. “If you call the police, I will never see the money again,” he continued.
“Nick, we used to be cops, I can’t just ignore this.” Sander’s voice was firm.
“I know. Once I’ve got the money back, you can do whatever. Please, Joe,” his voice was soft.
“You’re killing me. Just because we used to be partners doesn’t mean you can ask me any favor.”
“Also Sandra’s godfather. Don’t forget that.”
“Okay, but only because of Sandra. If she wasn’t your daughter, I’d talk to them now,” Harris said, exhaling deeply. “I’ll go back to their hotel and stay on their tracks. I’ll get back to you once I know more,” he concluded the conversation.
Back at the hotel, Harris got the sensation that they might have checked out.
Never ignore a cop’s instinct.
“Excuse me. Has a gentleman by the name of Michael Adams checked out?” Harris said to the front desk manager.
“Adams? Let’s see,” the man mumbled, looking at the computer screen before him.
“Ah yes, he checked out a few hours ago.”
“Do you know if the woman who was with him also checked out?”
“Woman? Ah, the pretty one. Yes, they checked out together. Is there anything I might assist you with?” the front desk manager said, raising his eyebrows.
Yes, I was scheduled to meet them for a business dinner. Did they mention any way of contacting them?”
“But sir, if you really had a business dinner with them, then surely you have their phone number, no?”
“I forgot my phone.”
He gave Harris a sharp look, took a breath and said, “I see here that they indeed left a note. They wish for any correspondence to be forwarded to the Hotel Chateau Neuf in Paris,” the man said, looking closely at the computer screen.
“Paris?” Harris mumbled, his forehead frowning.