Joseph walked into his office on East Ninth St. with a worried expression and knitted brows. He did not know how these four people were so entangled with a government society that no one knew about. Joseph wouldn't even believe what they were saying except for the fact there was seven CIA agents dead, two CIA agents guarding Malia's hospital room, and the two Israelis were the Prime Minister's children. He decided that he would start his research with the Costello family. What he learned intrigued him, but did not give him any information that would help the case.
"Father was a Governor, was killed in April of 1999, mother took over his position as Governor when the Lt. Governor resigned a month later…" Joseph read out loud. "Now, that is suspicious." He raised an eyebrow at that tid bit of information. He went on to research secret societies and the Masons. Joseph printed out a lot of information dating back to the Knights Templar. It wasn't anything he hadn't heard before, but it was good to have it on hand. Joseph took out his cell phone and called Hannah. He needed detailed information and occurrences of the society.
"Hey, I think I'm going to need to bring you down to my office." Joseph told Hannah who was on the other line.
"Why, what's wrong? Did you see Isaiah?" She asked with a worried tone.
"Yes, he is fine. I need to know details about what you know, there will be a cab waiting in fifteen minutes." He stated and hung of the phone. He called her a cab and got back to his research. The next half hour he looked up laws and checked his office for bugs. When the buzzard wrung he jumped up from the floor and let Hannah in.
"Ok. I need to know what exactly what this society is about! Did you bring her journals?" Joseph asked seeing the duffel bag she was carrying.
"Yes, I thought that would the best idea. Esther was sleeping when I left, but I don't want to leave her their by herself all night." Hannah stated observing his office. Joseph Couch's office was dark mahogany wood with antique lighting. The design was that of any normal office, but held some rare treasures. There were paintings from the 18th century and books that dated back to the 15th century. Some of his most valuable possessions were stored in this office and the main reason was he spent more time there than at home.
"Alright. I will tell you all of what I know." Hannah sat down in one of his plush leather chairs.
"Hold on." Joseph rummaged through his briefcase to find the voice recorder and got out his legal pad. "Ok. Please state your name, address, and employment." He instantly became professional and Hannah raised an eyebrow.
"Hannah Mary Altman, 59 Kaplan St. Hakirya, Jerusalem 91950, I am a forensics pathologist for the Jerusalem crime lab." She answered without blinking.
"Can you verify the time and date of arrival into the States and into Cincinnati, Ohio." Joseph asked her the same questions as Isaiah to establish background. Hannah verified the exact information that Isaiah had stated. Hannah reached into her briefcase and took out their plane tickets and gasoline receipt.
"I will want to get access to the rental car you drove to check mileage." Joseph replied taking the tickets and receipt from her to copy. "Please, tell me your relationship with Ms. Costello."
Hannah explained that they were roommates in college; how Esther was pregnant, and told her that the society would kill her baby. "So we did a closed adoption and I stayed in Israel while she went back to Stanford." She explained what Joseph had already been told.
"Tell me what you know of the 'society'?" Joseph said writing down everything Hannah was saying.
"Esther told me that her mother was part of a secret society that controlled the government. The society indirectly controls how our government is run by placing people in office. They'll eliminate people by assassinations or murder." Hannah began to explain what she knew. "Esther said that she watched them murder her father when she was 15. Supposedly his reign had ended and it was time to put a more powerful leader in place."
"Why have they not killed her?" Joseph asked and Hannah sighed.
"She has documented evidence of what goes on in their 'meetings'. They initiated her at an early age for reasons unknown. Maybe they thought she would follow in her parent's footsteps and become a great leader. However, they don't want to kill her because it wouldn't do any good. The society, from what I can tell, is all about power. Their power comes from a supernatural realm that allows them to be powerful in politics." Hannah further explained and he pushed pause on the recorder.
"What happens in their meetings?" Joseph leaned back in his chair.
"I have no idea!" Hannah stated and reached into the duffel bag she brought. "But these, these are what they want. They will tell us everything we need to know!" She held out a journal to him and he ran his hand over the spine. She pulled out the first journal that Esther had ever written in. Joseph opened up the journal and read the date December 30th, 1994.
"I think this is the first journal." Joseph said out loud to Hannah.
"It's written in a child's penmanship. Do you want to read the first entry aloud?" She asked not wanting to read it herself.
"December 30th, 1994.
Today is my birthday, I am ten years old, and mother says I am old enough to join her in the dungeons. She doesn't call it the dungeons, but that's what I call it. Mother goes down to the basement at least once a week and comes back in a very weird mood. I have learned to stay up in my room after she comes back from the 'dungeons'. I have listened at the door of the basement and have heard very weird things. The first time I was too scared to stay and listen, but the next time I stayed until I heard footsteps. Mother and a whole bunch of other politicians sing low slow songs. I have never heard these types of songs before and when I ask the music teacher she called it chanting. I dare not ask mother what it is for she will send me to the root the cellar! So, they chant and read scriptures, I think, although it does not sound like the Bible. Then the weirdest thing of all is when there is silence. That scares me, because my mind can only imagine what they are doing. These are first encounters with the basement door and when I got braver I opened the door. When I opened the door I was couldn't believe that it was just a stairway that led to another door. But this door was very fancy and had a Latin phrase engraved above it. Then I could hear everything that they were doing in clear tones. I would not stay for the whole meeting because I would be afraid that they would open the door. Ok, so mom made me take a bath five times today and is making me where this hideous black robe. She said that if I wanted to be apart of the 'society' and go into the dungeons then I would have to where it. Oh, they are call the Veritas Society, Latin for Truth, what truth they seek I do not know, but I will find out tonight. I am really excited and nervous! Mother has never allowed me to know exactly what goes on and now I will be able to write about it. Shoot, these will have to be kept secret from everyone I know. Oh well, it can be my own way of keeping track of things. Well, I will have to write later tonight or tomorrow and tell you everything that happens in the dungeons.
"Wow, what an intense ten year old!" Joseph chuckled just a little and Hannah had tears slipping down her cheeks.
"She had no idea what she was getting into! The poor thing and what was the root cellar? Esther has never mentioned anything to me about a root cellar for punishment." Hannah exasperated and wiped away her tears.
"I can't begin to imagine what else is in these journals, but we will have to read them. Well, I will need to read them at least." Joseph shut the journal, laid it in front of him, and rubbed his eyes.
"We have to do something! I don't know what, but we are going to have to do something. And to think they still have Malia." Hannah's voice was barely above a whisper when she ended her sentence.
"Yes, please tell me about Malia." Joseph took his recorder and put it back on.
"Malia is six years old and has been my adopted child since birth. Esther would not keep her in fear that if her mother found out, she would have Malia killed." Hannah started, trying to regain her composure. "Malia went missing seven days ago yesterday. We waited for a ransom note, but none came. We had every personal my father could muster up to look for and they came up empty handed. That is why we came to America, because we knew something awful had happened. Isaiah had a feeling that the society had taken her as a way lure Esther back to them." She explained.
"Alright." Joseph turned off his recorder and they talked off the record.
"I don't what they plan on doing to either one of them, but it won't be pretty." Hannah stated feeling exhausted.
"So, did Esther say anything about what happened at the safe house?" Joseph asked her after getting her a cup of coffee.
"Thanks. Yes, now that you mention it. Before you came back with the food this morning, she said she found a note. A riddle of sorts, and that she had figured out where Malia was." She replied taking a sip of the coffee.
"Did she tell you the riddle?" He leaned up on the desk.
"Yes, but it sounded backwards. She said, "Where children ring around a rosy, with pockets full of posies", I believe that's a nursery rhyme." Hannah squinted her eyes trying to remember exactly what Esther had said.
"It is, but you're right she said it backwards. Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. Hmm…that is interesting. Did Esther ever live in England or go to England?" Joseph questioned writing down the poem.
"Yes, she attended Oxford University for Law. Why?" Hannah answered with a puzzled look.
"There is a story behind the nursery rhyme. It was first written in 1790 and has been said to be associated with the Great Plague of England in 1665. Rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and 'all fall down' was exactly what happened. The line Ashes, Ashes in alternative versions of the rhyme is claimed to refer variously to cremation of the bodies, the burning of victims' houses, or blackening of their skin, and the theory has been adapted to be applied to other versions of the rhyme." Joseph explained the folklore to her and she sat there with eyes wide.
"Wow! I had never heard of that before." She let out in one breath.
"If this is the case then they may have Malia in England and they may infect her with a version of the Great Plague." Joseph hypothesized.
"What are we going to do? With Isaiah in jail and Malia in the hospital!" Hannah stood and began to pace the room.
"Hopefully, both of them will be released by tomorrow or Tuesday." He said going to one of his bookshelves.
"We are running out of time. It has been 48 hours since the note and they have not called." She folded arms and stared at him.
"From what I can gather they aren't going to call. We are going to have to find her, but what we may find may not be what we are looking for." He reasoned and smiled grabbing an old book.
"What do you mean? She may already be dead?" She asked wondering what he was doing with a medicine book.
"She may have Bubonic Plague. Now, we are going to have to get a vaccine for it someway." Joseph stated taking the book back to his desk.
"What." Hannah blinked once and just froze.
"Well, this society is very big on supernatural rituals, correct?" Joseph asked and she just nodded. "It would seem that they would follow the meaning of the rhyme. In my experience of researching satanic cults, that's usually how it's done." He explained searching through the medicine book.
"So you are going to try to find a vaccination for the Bubonic Plague?" She said in disbelief.
"More like a strong antibiotic, but we'll have to make it. There is no way I'm going to be able to get an antibiotic like that for my looks." Joseph smirked and she looked at him like he was crazy.
"Who are you, Sherlock Holmes? What you are suggesting is impossible! You do not have the equipment or the medicine to make an antibiotic." Hannah looked at him bewildered and pointed out the obvious.
"Although, I cannot waltz into a hospital and demand it. I can get it and I could make it!" Joseph answered flatly.
"You're going to illegally buy the ingredients to make an antibiotic?" She still couldn't believe what she was hearing form this man.
"Do you have any other suggestions?" He said looking up at her from his book and took out his cell phone.
"I think it would probably be best if we went back to the hospital." Hannah replied looking at her watch, it was 8 pm.
"You're right and I have a friend in the lab department there. He owes me a favor and then you and I will have our antibiotic!" He winked at her and grabbed his stuff.
I was not sure where Hannah and the detective had gone, but something felt strangely wrong with me. I notice small bumps on the upper part of my arm that weren't there before. The room was hot and stuffy, and I was sweating a lot.
"Hey, baby. How are you?" Mark walked into the room and sat down by my bed.
"Awful." I say recoiling from him, I looked up at the clock and it was eight o' clock. Hannah said that they would be back by nine.
"Aren't they giving you pain medication?" He asked looking at my IV.
"Yeah, that's probably why I feel like I'm going to pass out." I replied and he chuckled.
"I think I'm going to stay with you tonight. The whole situation at the safe house is being taken care of." Mark took my hand and squeezed it hard.
"Why did you accuse Isaiah?" I questioned him.
"Because that puke has ruined what you and I had." He answered still squeezing my hand.
"You and were over the day I got home from being kidnapped." I sneered back at him and he grabbed my throat.
"Now, listen here worm. You have caused this society enough trouble as it is and from here on out you will be cooperative." Mark's eyes were wild with lust and revenge.
"You can kill me first!" I yelled through my teeth and Hannah walked in.
"What is going on?" She demanded with the detective at her heels.
"I was just checking her pulse and her temperature. She seems to be running a bit of a fever." He remarked without hesitation.
"I think you should leave." The detective commanded and Mark rolled his eyes.
"I am under orders to keep an eye on her." Mark stood with his arms folded.
"I don't care who orders you are under, but you will stay away from her." Joseph came and twisted Mark's arm behind his back. "Do I make myself clear?" He kneed Mark and the man buckled.
"Crystal." He seethed and gave me a death glare while walking out of the hospital room.
"Thanks." I said sheepishly.
"Don't thank me yet. We still have a way to go and I can't even explain everything to you yet." Joseph ran a hand through his hair and walked out of the room.
"Where's he going?" I looked at Hannah who had a cutesy grin on her face. "And why are you grinning?"
"Oh, we have a lot to talk about when you get out of here." She sighed and sat down next to me.
"I can see that." I took hold of her hand for comfort, glad she was back.
"Why was Mark here and how long was he here?" Hannah questioned her, picking up on Joseph's interrogation techniques.
"He wasn't here ten minutes before you walked in." I explained to her what he said and did.
"Mark has definitely been a part of the society for a while now." She concluded.
"I would say since I was kidnapped at age seventeen." I agreed with her.
"Joe figured out your riddle and a lot of other things while we were gone." Hannah smiled and I beamed back at her.
"Finally, some good news!" I gave a dramatic sigh.
"Yes, and this quite a bit of bad news though." Hannah's smile disappeared and she saw the bumps on my arm. "Esther…that doesn't look good." She said in a staggered breath.
"I know. I noticed them right before Mark came and Hannah I feel really weird." I told her how I felt and she got white. "What?"
"Joe will not believe this, but his theory was right!" Hannah stated about to faint.
"WHAT?" I about screamed at her and shushed me.
"You have been infected with the Bubonic plague." She answered barely above a whisper.
"What?" I replied not believing what she had said.
"You have been…" I cut her off before she could finish her sentence.
"I heard you Hannah, but how is it possible?" I lay back on my pillow and looked at my arm. This was not happening to me, I had already been thru torture, and now I had the Bubonic Plague.
"I'm not hundred percent sure, but I think Joseph has a good idea." Hannah remarked and took out a book that was in her bag.
"What's that?" I asked looked at the old book.
"This is an old book on medicine that he has. I am going to read it while you get more sleep!" Hannah replied sternly and I laughed. I needed rest, especially after all what she had said.
Well, there is a lot of adventure going on in this story and I feel like we have really just begun our ride! I hope you enjoy this chapter and hopefully there will be a new one tomorrow! ~Keila