Louvre Art gallery, Paris 15: 46 L. M.
Distinguished curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the high archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery.
This individual lunged intended for the nearest portrait he could see, a Caravaggio. Catching the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore through the wall and Sauniere collapsed backward in a heap underneath the canvas.
As he had anticipated, a thundering iron gateway fell nearby, barricading the entrance to the suite. The parquet ground shook. Far off, an alarm began to diamond ring.
The curator lay a short while, gasping for breath, currently taking stock. My spouse and i am even now alive. This individual crawled away from within the canvas and scanned the cavernous space for anywhere to hide.
A voice spoke, chillingly close. “Do not really move. “
On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his brain slowly.
Only fifteen ft away, beyond the sealed door, the mountainous silhouette of his opponent stared through the iron pubs. He was extensive and high, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white colored hair. His irises were pink with dark red students. The canescence drew a pistol from his coat and focused the barrel through the bars, directly at the curator. “You should not have run. inches His highlight was not easy to place. “Now tell me wherever it is. inch
“I told you already, ” the curator stammered, kneeling defenseless on the floor of the gallery. “I do not know what you happen to be talking about! inches
“You will be lying. ” The man stared at him, perfectly figé except for the glint in the ghostly eye. “You plus your brethren possess something that is definitely not yours. “
The curator felt a surge of adrenaline. How can he possibly know this kind of?
“Tonight the rightful adults will be renewed. Tell me wherever it is invisible, and you will live. ” The person leveled his gun with the curator’s brain. “Is it a key you will perish for? inches
Sauniere cannot breathe.
The man tilted his head, peering down the clip or barrel of his gun.
Sauniere held up his hands in defense. “Wait, ” this individual said gradually. “I can confirm what you need to know. ” The curator spoke his next phrases carefully. The lie he told was one he had rehearsed many times, whenever praying he would never have to work with it.
If the curator experienced finished speaking, his enemy smiled smugly. “Yes. This is exactly what the others informed me. “
Sauniere recoiled. The others?
“I identified them, also, ” the large man teased and taunted. “All 3 of them. That they confirmed what you have just explained. “
That cannot be! The curator’s the case identity, combined with the identities of his 3 senechaux, was almost since sacred as the ancient secret they will protected. Sauniere now realized his senechaux, following tight procedure, had told similar lie just before their own fatalities. It was part of the protocol.
The attacker targeted his gun again. “When you have passed away, I will be the only person who understands the truth. inches
The truth. In an instant, the curator grasped the true horror with the situation. If I die, the truth will be shed forever. Intuitively, he tried to scramble pertaining to cover.
The gun roared, and the curator felt a searing heat as the bullet filed in his stomach. He fell forward, struggling against the discomfort. Slowly, Sauniere rolled over and stared again through the pubs at his attacker.
The person was today taking dead aim at Sauniere’s head.
Sauniere closed his eyes, his thoughts a swirling tempest of dread and feel dissapointed about. The click of an empty chamber echoed through the corridor. The curator’s eyes travelled open.
The person glanced straight down at his weapon, searching almost busy. He come to for a second clip, then again seemed to reevaluate, smirking smoothly at Sauniere’s gut. “My work here is done. “
The curator looked down and observed the topic hole in the white sheets and pillowcases shirt. It was framed by a small group of bloodstream a few in . below his breastbone. My stomach. Practically cruelly, the bullet acquired missed his heart. As being a veteran of la Guerre d’Algerie, the curator had seen this unbelievably drawn-out death before. Pertaining to fifteen minutes, he would survive since his abdomen acids seeped into his chest tooth cavity, slowly poisoning him from the inside.
“Pain excellent, monsieur, inch the man said. Then having been gone. Alone now, Jacques Sauniere switched his gaze again towards the iron door. He was trapped, and the doors could not be reopened for at least twenty moments. By the time any individual got to him, he would end up being dead. Nevertheless, the fear this description now gripped him was a fear far greater than that of his own loss of life.
I must pass on the secret.
Incredible to his feet, he pictured his three murdered brethren. He thought of the generations who come prior to them, from the mission which they had most been entrusted.
An unbroken chain of knowledge.
Suddenly, at this point, despite all the precautions, despite all the fail-safes, Jacques Sauniere was the just remaining hyperlink, the sole protector of one of the most powerful secrets ever retained.
Shivering, this individual pulled him self to his feet.
I have to find a lot of way,.
Having been trapped within the Grand Photo gallery, and right now there existed just one person that is known to whom this individual could move the flashlight. Sauniere gazed up at the walls of his opulent prison. An accumulation of the world’s most famous paintings seemed to smile down on him like older friends.
Wincing in discomfort, he summoned all of his faculties and strength. The desperate process before him, he understood, would require every outstanding second of his your life.