Chapter 22

After the distressing and, perhaps, calamitous examination of the jar, and given the lateness of the hour and the dejected attitude of the group, they elected to call it a day. Cloe and her team retired to the hotel, but all agreed to meet for drinks at the bar of a nearby eatery at seven o’clock. If anybody needed a break and some downtime, it was she and her colleagues. Dr. Harrell said he had one more thing to do to wrap up, but he would meet them later.

J.E. had showered and changed and then joined Cloe in the small living area of her suite. They had a few minutes to kill before taking a cab to the restaurant. As always, the discussed the events of the day.

Cloe had ground her teeth so often during the ill-fated afternoon that her jaw ached. But her faith that she would somehow keep her promise to Thib and find the answers to the jar was unabated.

“You know, Mom, I think we need to reassess our situation,” suggested J.E. “We have an ancient jar… we don’t yet know exactly how old. It’s the center of everything- Thib’s death and the attack on us. Someone wants to kill us and take the jar.”

“Agreed, J.E.”

“Yes, but why? Also, we don’t really know whether the objective is to stop us or to get the jar. There is a difference, but it’s hard to see why the goal would be just to stop us. Maybe an ultra-religious sect would want to stop us. They may be afraid of what we might find.”

“True. As the monsignor has said, the contents of the jar may prove or disprove some doctrine of various religions or even factions within some religions,” said Cloe thoughtfully. “On the other hand, it may be nothing. But such people may not want to take the risk of what we might discover, opting to move preemptively to destroy our work.”

“What if the jar hold information that would totally throw Catholicism out the window?” speculated J.E.

Cloe shivered at the though. “Are you saying we might be in jeopardy from the Church itself? That would put the monsignor on the other side from us. I certainly doubted him at first, but now I’m not so sure. But there could be individuals or groups, inside and outside the Church, which might be threatened by even the idea of such information. These people might act irrationally.”

“Maybe that’s what we’re seeing. But I think a group like that would want to try for getting the jar. Wouldn’t they want to know what’s in it? I mean, it may help them,” said J.E. “So, probably, such an enemy would be okay with destroying the jar and our work in case it might be against them, but if they can do it, they’ll want possession of the jar. That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.”

J.E. paused for a moment, deep in thought, and then continued. “I have to tell you, I still don’t completely trust the monsignor. I think he knows more than he’s saying. We need a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ with him. He’s just a little too strange and a little too quick with answers to his weird behavior.

“There’s something more than meets the eye happening her. We know there’s a bad actor at work, but there’s something else too,” concluded J.E. “Could it have anything to do with what you said you might have seen on the bottom of the jar?”

“I don’t know, J.E. I’m pretty sure there was something there. Mike also noticed something, but hasn’t yet been able to identify it. It was there for just a flash. Maybe I was wrong. It was very faint, almost a shadow. Still, I thought it was something.”

“You know, Mom, I would trust your instincts,” said J.E. “We know we are players on this board game. Is the Vatican? Who else… and why?”

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About vrmayhalljr

Van R. Mayhall Jr. is the senior partner in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana law firm where he practices corporate and business law and handles selected litigation. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, he was educated at Louisiana State University and Georgetown University. He and his wife, Lorri, have three grown children and enjoy boating on Lake Pontchartrain.
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