Unmarked, p.11

Unmarked, page 11

 part  #2 of  The Legion Series

 

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  Jared knelt in front of the mound. “Unless your aunt left you something in one of these bears, we’re out of luck.”

  “Think she buried it?” Priest slipped off his headphones, Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” still blaring.

  Alara looked disgusted. “Go ahead and find out, but I’m not digging in a cemetery. That’s the definition of bad luck.”

  “Maybe we should check Hancock and Revere’s graves, too,” Elle offered. “Just in case.”

  I stared down at the soggy stuffed bears. This was a dead end. I’d known my aunt for all of twenty-four hours. I had no idea what we were looking for, or why she wanted me to have it.

  Lukas looked at the map again. “Adams has a family tomb.” He pointed at a row of tombs, obscured by evergreens, along a wrought iron fence, hidden. “Back there.”

  Everyone followed Lukas across the graveyard, but Alara lagged behind. Bear stood next to her, waiting.

  Priest elbowed me and nodded in her direction. “She’s on the phone again.”

  “Who do you think she’s talking to? Her brother?” I asked.

  “No one calls their brother every other day,” Elle said. “I told you, it’s a guy.”

  When we reached the tomb, Jared cleared the fresh snow off the stone with his sleeve. ADAMS was etched across the top. “This is it.”

  The corners were chipped and weathered, and a tangle of tree roots had wrapped themselves around the tomb. Only a few tiny cracks cut across stone.

  Lukas bent down and checked the base. “There’s nowhere to hide anything.”

  Priest opened his mouth to say something, but I held up my hand to stop him. “Forget it. We’re not looking inside.”

  “It would be pointless anyway,” Elle said. “Based on the width of these roots, they’ve been wrapped around this thing for decades. So unless your aunt hid this mystery item over twenty years ago, it’s not in there.”

  “Where did that come from?” Jared asked.

  Elle stared at him from beneath the furry hood of her faux leopard jacket. “Botany, which I took after AP Bio and Geology. Not all pretty girls are stupid.”

  “She’s right on both counts.” Priest turned on his EMF and circled the tomb.

  “You’re testing for spirits in a graveyard?” I wasn’t even sure how that worked.

  “Just this tomb,” he said, turning off the device. “The needle barely moved.”

  Alara made her way toward us, navigating between the snow-covered grave markers. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how many bodies were actually buried here. She’d probably stepped on more than a few of them already.

  “Talking to your boyfriend again?” Lukas teased, once she was in earshot.

  Her expression was somber. “Another girl disappeared this morning.”

  My stomach twisted, and I pictured the row of photos in my dorm room. “What was her name?”

  Alara gave me a strange look. “Lucy Klein. Why?”

  “Just wondering.” I added her name to my mental list. I’d look up her photo later and sketch her portrait to my notebook.

  “Maybe they’re alive somewhere,” Elle offered.

  I waited for someone to agree, but there was only silence.

  Old South Meeting House, where the Sons of Liberty planned the Boston Tea Party, was the only place left to look. By the time we reached the brick building, with its towering steeple and a door painted the color of a Redcoat’s uniform, the snow had turned to cold rain.

  A group of tourists stood out front huddled under their umbrellas. A tour guide dressed like Paul Revere, complete with a brown tricorn hat, gestured at the red door.

  Alara rolled her eyes. “Seriously? Another one? Who goes on a tour in this weather?”

  “I wonder if they get a discount on those hats,” Priest whispered as we walked by.

  “The cornerstone was an important symbol to Freemasons like Paul Revere and Sam Adams,” the tour guide’s voice carried over the rain.

  Priest stopped on the front steps. “Wait.”

  The guide pointed at a gray, weathered stone that stood out from the surrounding red brick, and the tourists craned their necks. “For early masons, the cornerstone was the first stone set into the foundation, and it was inscribed with the date and initials of the builder,” he continued. “Freemasons considered the stone more of a symbolic element and usually added it to the outside of their buildings. Unless you were patriot and Freemason Benjamin Franklin.”

  Alara stood in the doorway. “Maybe you can take the tour later, Priest. I’d rather watch paint dry.”

  “Now this is for all you Jeopardy! fans,” the guide rambled on. “Benjamin Franklin cared more about with what was inside the cornerstone than what was inscribed on the outside. In his diaries, Franklin revealed that he hid important documents related to the Sons of Liberty behind the cornerstone of his house.”

  A pudgy guy wearing a plastic poncho raised his hand like he was in elementary school. “If the documents were so important, why would he write down where he hid them?”

  “An excellent question, sir.” The guide jumped at the opportunity to elaborate. “Freemasons were known for their flawless and seamless workmanship and often hid valuables inside the things they built. Those items could only be accessed by leveraging a specific angle—just like the cornerstone of Franklin’s house.”

  Lukas turned to me. “Let me see the note again.”

  Priest scanned the scrap of paper in my hand and looked at Lukas. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

  Lukas flashed him a crooked smile. “Maybe.”

  Elle squeezed between them, trying to avoid the rain. “Can we think about whatever it is inside?”

  Priest flipped up his hood. “We need to go back to the cemetery.”

  Alara groaned. “It was a dead end.”

  “That’s because we were looking in the wrong place,” Lukas said.

  “So what do the numbers mean?” Jared asked, falling into step next to Lukas.

  “I think they’re angles,” his brother said.

  I pictured Faith’s handwriting on the note she’d left in my coat pocket.

  And let the angle guide you.

  It said angle all along, not angel.

  Priest looked around. “We need to find a drugstore.”

  Alara stopped walking and stood in the middle of the sidewalk with her arms crossed. Bear sat down next to her.

  “What are you doing?” Priest asked.

  “Waiting for someone to tell me what’s going on,” she said.

  Priest pointed at the drugstore at the end of the street. “How about we explain inside, where it’s dry?”

  Alara stalked past him and headed in the direction of the store.

  That was a yes.

  The five of us stood in the school supply aisle, scanning the shelves and dripping all over the cheap carpet, while Jared waited out front with Bear.

  Priest found a compass and a ruler and opened them, while Lukas unfolded the note. “If I’m right—”

  “If we’re right,” Priest said.

  Lukas pointed at the bottom of the page. “If we’re right these two numbers are angles.”

  “And you know that how?” I asked.

  “The tour guide said Ben Franklin’s cornerstone could only be moved if someone leveraged a specific angle.” Lukas tapped on the numbers on the note. “But there are two numbers here. I think the intersection of these two angles is the spot that opens Faith’s cornerstone.”

  Elle opened a roll of paper towels she’d nabbed on our way down the aisle and wiped her face. “Back up. How do you know Faith didn’t hide this mystery item behind the cornerstone at the Meeting House?”

  Lukas shrugged. “I don’t. But the Meeting House is in the middle of a busy street. I can’t see Faith climbing over the fence and prying stones out of a historic building without anyone noticing. The burying ground seems like an easier place to hide something.”

 
If he’s wrong, we’ll have to wait until it gets dark to go back to the meeting house anyway,” Priest said.

  Elle wiped off the smudged black eyeliner under her eyes. “You guys really know how to show a girl a good time.”

  Lukas slung his arm around Elle’s neck. “How do you feel about breaking into a tomb?”

  15. PHANTOM DREAMS

  The three, soggy bears stood in formation as we passed Samuel Adams’ grave. When we reached his family tomb, Priest bent down next to the Northeast corner. “It should be over here.”

  In the Northeastern corner, at the base of the tomb, the initials S.A. were carved into the stone.

  I ran my fingers around them. “There are no indentations. How do we figure out where the cornerstone begins?”

  “I’m not sure.” Priest pointed a few inches above the initials. “There’s a crack, but it’s pretty thin.”

  “Which means it’s probably a crack,” Jared said.

  Lukas positioned the compass at the ninety-degree angle formed by the cornerstone. “This is zero.” He drew an arc. “What’s the other number?”

  I double-checked the note. “One hundred thirty-three.”

  He measured the second angle and drew an arc, which bisected the first one.

  “What now?” Alara asked, holding her umbrella over Lukas while he worked.

  Jared scrolled down the display on his cell phone. “According to everything I’ve found online, if we hit the exact spot where the lines intersect, the cornerstone should open.”

  Priest pulled a screwdriver out of his back pocket and elbowed Lukas. “Scoot over. Mathematical genius required.”

  “You know you’re about to steal from someone’s grave.” Alara looked disgusted and freaked out.

  “Wanna know what’s in here or not?” Priest positioned the screwdriver and picked up a broken brick. He held the brick at the end of the screwdriver like a hammer.

  Alara stepped back. She probably wanted to be sure the spirits of Samuel Adams’ relatives knew she disapproved.

  Lukas pointed at the stone. “Make sure you hit it right where the lines intersect.”

  “I know.” Priest tapped the end of the screwdriver with the brick.

  Elle squatted down next to him. “Nothing’s happening.”

  “Give it a minute. It’s not a magic trick.” Priest tapped it again. This time, the cornerstone shifted, and the edge opposite the screwdriver pivoted toward us. Priest worked the rectangular stone free, revealing a dark space behind it. “Who’s sticking their hand in there?”

  Alara held up her hands and stepped back. “Don’t look at me. I don’t do grave robbing.”

  “We’re not stealing anything from the dead people,” Jared said. “Whatever’s in there belonged to Faith, and she wanted Kennedy to have it.”

  “I’ll do it.” I pushed up my sleeve and slid my hand into the hole, trying not to think about all of the disgusting and dead things that were probably inside. I walked my fingers forward one at time until they hit a smooth, rectangular surface. “I found something.”

  “What is it?” Priest asked.

  “It feels like a box.” My knuckles scraped against the stone as I eased it out.

  A book emerged, the pages protected by silver-plated covers. Dirt had settled into the symbols and scrollwork engraved on the front. Alara held the umbrella above me, shielding the book. I opened it carefully and scanned the first yellowed page. Despite the tears and water damage, it only took me a moment to recognize the story and realize what I was holding.

  My aunt’s journal.

  Alara smiled. “Unbelievable.”

  Priest nudged her. “How do you feel about grave robbing now?”

  “You know what this means, right?” Lukas watched me expectantly. “Your aunt’s passing the torch.”

  Jared touched the small of my back. “She wants you to take her place in Legion.”

  I wanted to believe it, but I had been disappointed so many times. “I don’t know. Faith wouldn’t even discuss letting me replace her. You were all there.”

  “Maybe it was some kind of test to see if you really wanted in,” Alara offered.

  “I’m not sure.” I had spent less than twenty-four hours with my aunt. I didn’t know her any better than my friends did.

  Elle wedged herself between Alara and me. “If Faith didn’t pick you to replace her why would she give you that crazy math equation and leave you her journal? Aren’t you supposed to pass it down to the next person in line?”

  She’s right.

  “Seriously?” Alara stared at Elle like she’d just proven the earth was round. “You’re gonna throw that out there like it’s no big deal? Have you been paying attention this whole time?”

  Elle flashed her a self-satisfied smile. “Remembering the name of your Electromagnet Ghost Finding gadget isn’t an actual measure of intelligence.”

  Alara shook her head and smiled. “You were so close.”

  “Close only counts when it comes to horse shoes and hand grenades,” Priest said. “Which means the next paranormal entity that messes with us belongs to Kennedy.” He turned to me. “We’ll stand back while you draw a symbol and use your specialty destroy it. Then you’ll get your mark.”

  I touched my wrist.

  Is there still a chance?

  Jared brought his lips to my ear. “I knew you were part of the Legion,” he whispered.

  Hope had let me down so many times. Could I trust it now? I wasn’t sure. But I had Faith’s journal, which made me feel like one of them.

  “Open it,” Elle said. “Maybe she left you a note.”

  I stood under the umbrella and scanned the first entry, which chronicled the plan to summon Andras. It matched the one Faith’s father had copied, word for word. But there was something different about seeing the writing on the aged parchment.

  One line stopped me cold.

  There are no innocents among you.

  The angel had spoken those words to Konstantin—an angel who couldn’t stand humans. I flipped to the next entry, which consisted of two lines centered on the page.

  May the black dove always carry you.

  And the white dove set you free.

  “You guys never mentioned a white dove,” I said.

  “I’ve never heard of one before.” Lukas looked at Priest and Alara. “You?”

  Alara shook her head.

  “Negative,” Priest said.

  “Everything means something.” The last few months had taught me that.

  Lukas lined up the cornerstone and slid it back in place. After he brushed away the bits of loose rock, it blended seamlessly into the tomb.

  I skimmed a few more entries, my eidetic memory creating a snapshot of each page and filing them away in my mind. Another line caught my attention. “Faith was telling the truth about the protective barrier.”

  Raising the Barrier

  Only when all five members of the

  Legion join hands, and speak these

  words as if their voices are one, can

  they raise the barrier and hold it fast.

  May the bonds of blood and the marks we bear protect us.

  As the wings of the black dove carry us.

  “I was right.” Priest shook his head, sounding disappointed. “We can make a force field.”

  Alara glanced down the path, where another Paul Revere look-a-like was headed our way, with a fresh flock of tourists. “We can figure it all out in the car.”

  I slid the journal under my jacket and thought about my mom. Even though she wasn’t a member of the Legion, the journal made me feel closer to her—and closer to destroying the demon responsible for her death.

  I tried not the think about the other person the pages connected me to, or where he had been all this time. As we walked along the slushy streets, I squeezed the journal against my chest and tried to pretend I didn’t care. But my father’s shadow still lurked in the back of mind, like a different kind of ghos
t.

  After trekking ten-blocks back to the Jeep in the rain, everyone was wrecked.

  Jared held out his hand. “I’ll drive.”

  Lukas tossed him the keys, and I climbed into the passenger seat next to Jared. Alara and Bear had permanently claimed the third row, so Priest got stuck in the middle with Lukas and Elle.

  Elle pulled off her boots and rubbed her wet socks. “I think the bottom of my foot is one huge blister.”

  Alara peeled off her coat. “If you had real boots instead of those fashion statements you’re wearing, you wouldn’t be so miserable.”

  Elle unearthed a brush from her gigantic bag and dragged it through her hair. “Not everyone shops at the Army surplus store.”

  “Not everyone can pull it off.” Alara smiled.

  “Let’s save the cat fight for Pay Per View.” Priest sounded a little too excited about the idea.

  “We’re all just tired,” Lukas said, trying to make peace between Elle and Alara. “I vote we find a hotel. I need to get more info on the girl who disappeared—”

  “Lucy Klein,” I blurted out. She deserved for someone to remember her name.

  Lukas gave me a strange look. “And I want to get online and see if I can figure out where the hell Andras is now.”

  Priest dried off his headphones and Mp3 player. “I should probably check out the weapons and make sure we’re good on ammo.”

  “You don’t have to convince me,” Jared said. “I’m freezing and starving.”

  “Me, too.” Elle coughed, and phlegm rattled in her chest. “I think I’m getting sick.”

  “Why are you still here?” Alara asked.

  “Excuse me?” Elle looked offended.

  “Lay off, Alara,” Lukas snapped, before I had a chance to bite her head off.

  “Calm down, Romeo,” Alara said. “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”

  Lukas blushed.

  “What I meant was you don’t have to be here,” Alara said to Elle. “If I could leave, I’d be gone.”

  Priest turned around in his seat. “You’d walk away from the Legion?”

 
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