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The Ezekiel Code


The Ezekiel Code, Gary Val Tenuta

Gary Val Tenuta



THE EZEKIEL CODE

Gary Val Tenuta
Outskirts Press, Inc., August 2007
Genre: Mystery

Zeke Banyon, a Catholic seminary dropout, runs a homeless shelter in the old waterfront district of Seattle. He and his assistant, Angela, happen to stumble upon a puzzling alphanumeric code and soon find themselves thrust into a world of secret societies, metaphysics, mystery, and murder. In the process of trying to understand the code Banyon discovers a disturbing truth about himself and the extraordinary fate that awaits him… and us. No amount of seminary schooling could ever have prepared him for this.

Excerpt

Excerpt From THE EZEKIEL CODE


Prologue
December 15, 1999

Frank McClintock paced the floor and watched the clock as he waited for Professor Alan Kline to arrive. He’s late, McClintock thought to himself. He’s never late for anything. Maybe I better call him. As he reached for the phone the doorbell rang. He moved quickly across the room and opened the door. “Alan! Glad you could make it.

Come on in.”

“Gees!” the professor complained, trying to shake off the chill. “You know I hate driving in the snow. Why couldn’t you just tell me about whatever it is over the phone? And when the hell did you get back? I thought you were planning to stay in France for another week.”

McClintock took Kline’s coat and laid it over the back of the couch. “I got back yesterday. I could have told you on the phone but there’s something I wanted you to see. Sit down here by the fire and make yourself comfortable. I’ll get us some coffee.”

“Great,” Kline said. “I’ll take a drop of whiskey in mine if you’ve got it.”

McClintock laughed. “Of course. How could I forget?”

“What’d you want me to see?” Kline asked, seating himself in one of the pair of antique wingback chairs in front of the fireplace. “It’s on the coffee table there in front of you!” McClintock answered from the kitchen.

The professor looked down. A document folder was lying on the small coffee table in front of him. He put on his reading glasses, opened the folder and took out the fragile sheet of parchment. It was yellowed with age and the writing was faded but legible. He was studying it when McClintock returned from the kitchen with two cups of hot coffee, each spiked with a touch of whiskey. McClintock settled into the other wingback chair facing the professor. He sipped his coffee quietly, letting the professor absorb the content of the parchment.

After a few moments Kline removed his glasses and leaned back. He looked at McClintock. “Is this what I think it is?” he asked, completely astonished.

“Yup,” McClintock replied with a slight grin.

“So the story is true?”

McClintock nodded. “I believe it is”.

“Where the hell did you get this? I know you told me you thought it existed but I was beginning to think the whole strange story was a crock.”

“Well,” McClintock started, “you remember the reason I went to France was to meet with that other researcher that I’d been corresponding with by email?”

“Yes. Jacques somebody.”

“Yes! Jacques de Pereille. He claimed to be related to Raimon de Pereille but hardly anyone believed him.”

“I’m sorry,” Kline said, shaking his head. “You’ll have to refresh my memory.”

McClintock set his coffee down and leaned forward in the chair. “Raimon de Pereille,” he explained, “was the lord of Montségur!”

“Montségur?” Kline asked, not yet remembering this part of the long, complex story.

For the past several months McClintock had been pursuing what he suspected to be the facts behind an old myth. It was a story so unlikely that Professor Kline doubted any of it could be true. Whenever McClintock would discover some tidbit of information about the story he would call Kline and tell him what he’d learned. But now Kline’s skepticism was being seriously challenged by the evidence he was holding in his own hands.

“Montségur was a huge castle,” McClintock explained. “The last refuge for the Cathars back in the Middle Ages during the so-called Holy Inquisition. They were being hunted down and slaughtered like animals.”

“Oh, right. Yes,” Kline said. “I remember now.”

McClintock sat back in his chair. “Anyway, like I said, this guy, Jacques, claimed to be related to the Lord of Montségur.”

“And you believe he is?”

McClintock shrugged. “Well, I can’t say for certain but I’m damn sure about one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“He’s the one who gave me what you’re holding in your hands right now.”

Kline looked surprised. “He gave you this? He just handed it over to you? Why? Why would he do that?”

“Well, it wasn’t quite like that. Not exactly, anyway.”

Kline looked concerned. “What do you mean?”

“Well, here’s what happened. I had a conversation with Jacques at a little cafe the previous day. He confided in me that he had what he believed to be the real thing in his possession. He said he’d show it to me if I wanted to come to his home the next day. Well, I wasn’t sure if I believed him or not but I wasn’t going to pass it up, just in case. And then he told me he thought some kind of an agent from the Vatican had been following him around for the past week or so. Well, that struck me as a bit of a stretch and I just sort of brushed it off. I figured maybe Jacques was just getting paranoid. You know, having a little flight of fancy that was maybe getting out of hand.”

“The Vatican!” Kline scoffed. “Does seem a bit extreme.”

“Exactly my reaction. It was just a little too extreme. Like I said, I just brushed it off at the time. But when I got to his home the next day I found the door wide open and the place had obviously been ransacked. Furniture turned over, drawers pulled out, stuff all over the place. A real mess. I called out for Jacques but there was no answer.”

“My god. So what’d you do?”

“The first thing that went through my mind was what he’d told me about someone following him around. I figured if that was true - I mean if that’s what this was all about - then they were probably looking for that parchment. Fortunately Jacques told me where he’d hidden it.”

“I’m amazed he would tell anyone something like that,” Kline said. “Why would he do that?”

McClintock nodded. “Yes, well, I think the reason he told me was because he trusted me and figured if anything should happen to him at least maybe I could get to it before anyone else did. He’d simply hidden it inside the backing of a cheap painting that hung on the wall in his bedroom. So I rushed into the bedroom and sure enough the painting was hanging there, apparently untouched. I grabbed it from the wall and tore off the backing and there was the document just like he said. I shoved it under my coat and turned to get the hell out of there. That’s when I saw Jacques on the floor. He was on the other side of the bed, laying in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in his head.”

Kline sat straight up. “Dead?”

“As a doornail.”

“Jesus! Could it have been a suicide?”

McClintock shook his head. “I doubt it. There was no gun anywhere to be seen.”

“He was murdered?”

“That’s the way it looked to me.”

“Good Lord,” Kline mumbled under his breath.

“Yeah.”

“Did you go to the police?”

McClintock shook his head. “No, man. I was scared. I just got the hell out of there.”

Kline looked seriously concerned now. “If this is all true, you could be in real danger.”

McClintock nodded. “I know.”

“Who else knows you have this?” Kline asked, laying the old parchment back on the table.

“Nobody. Just you.”

“You’re sure?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Good,” Kline replied, somewhat relieved. “If I were you I’d get rid of the damn thing and just forget about it.”

McClintock swirled the coffee around in his cup a few times and looked up at his friend. “I can’t,” he said. “I’ve come so far. I’m this close. I can’t let it go now. You know what I mean?”

Kline shook his head. “I figured as much,” he said, getting up and walking over to the couch to get his coat. “Look, I gotta go. Got an early morning class and I promised the students an energetic lecture they’d be crazy to miss. But please, call me later tomorrow, will you? We need to talk about this. Seriously.”

“Alright,” McClintock agreed, seeing his friend to the door. A light snow was still falling as Kline made his way across the yard toward the street. Suddenly a black van pulled out from the curb in front of the house. The driver seemed to be in a hurry as the van fishtailed down the icy street.

Kline turned to look back toward the house. McClintock was still standing in the open doorway. Kline hollered, “Who was that?” McClintock shrugged it off. “I don’t know. Vatican spooks?” he joked.

Kline didn’t laugh. “You call me tomorrow!”

“Don’t worry!” McClintock assured him with a wave as he closed the door against the cold night.

But the professor was indeed worried. He shivered. A bullet hole in the head – even if it’s someone else’s head - should make a person worry. The next day he waited for McClintock’s call but it never came. Ever.

About
Gary Val Tenuta

Gary Val Tenuta Bio


Gary Val TenutaGary Val Tenuta is a freelance writer/illustrator whose articles and illustrations have appeared in Fate Magazine, Beyond Magazine, newspapers and the TV show, Strange Universe. He has been a guest on a number of radio programs including Dreamland, hosted by Whitley Streiber, the best-selling author of Wolfen and Communion.

View our OnceWritten.com Gary Val Tenuta Profile now.

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The Ezekiel Code, Gary Val Tenuta
Outskirts Press, Inc., August 2007

The preceding excerpt was taken from the book The Ezekiel Code with complete approval by the author Gary Val Tenuta and/or the publisher Outskirts Press, Inc.. This information may not be re-used or redistributed in any manner.

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