by Evan James
A modern day Knights Templar exacts revenge for crimes against the order.
8:30 A.M. March 2
Detective Zuniga and other police officers had asked Owen why he was in Paris many times, each time he responded the same, he was hired to do some research and marketing for a video game under development.
“What type of game is it?” asked Zuniga.
“It’s a fighting and strategy game. It features the Knights Templar on their journey from Jerusalem to France. They fight various opponents they encounter in the Holy Land and throughout Europe. I am in Paris to add historical context to the fight scenes and player tasks.”
Zuniga wrote down some notes and then asked his next question, “How long have you been in Paris?”
“I’ve been here for less than two weeks…this job came up quickly…I had little time to prepare.”
“What were you doing in front of Notre Dame last night?”
“I was returning to the Hotel Madison where I am staying. I was on the Right Bank at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France doing research all day. I had dinner, and was walking past the cathedral when I heard yelling and saw the flames,” said Owen.
The detective wrote for a couple of minutes before asking, “Where were you on January 1?”
I was in Chicago watching football games.”
“So you weren’t in France at that time?”
“No, I was at my apartment in Chicago, I had just returned from visiting my family in Cleveland.” Why does everyone ask about New Year’s Day, did something happened then as well?
“And how long will you be staying in Paris?”
“At least a couple more weeks, I have lots of research to do.”
It was nearly 8:30 A.M. and everyone was tired. Zuniga rubbed his eyes, wrote more in his black, leather bound pad, and then reviewed the notes from the other officers that had interviewed Owen Thorne. “We have your phone number if we need to ask you anything else. Here is my card, if you think of more call me.”
The Paris police had a very difficult job on an extraordinarily high profile case. They had already questioned dozens of witnesses; several like Andrea had sustained burns in their futile attempt to extinguish the flames. All the interviews so far were consistent in that no one had any details on the assailant, and although he left the van on Seine Island, not one witness saw where he went after he released the flaming arrow.
The van had been dusted for prints, searched, photographed, and gone over by the National Police of France and Interpol thoroughly. They found nothing. Whoever committed this crime was likely a pro looking to draw attention to this act. He got it…video from security cameras in Place du Parvis, the square in front of the cathedral, of the murders was running continuously around the world on every news outlet.
It had been a long night for everyone, especially Owen, who had trouble understanding the French Police through their thick accents. The constant barrage of questions was tiring. However, Owen understood why the French Police needed to talk with him; after all, he was an eyewitness to one of the most ghastly murders in recent French history. At this point, Owen just wanted to have some breakfast, go to bed for a couple of hours, and then get back to working on his project.
As he walked out of the police station, the soft 48 degree wind felt good across his face as he saw the woman that had tried to help the burning priests the night before. Her hands were wrapped in bandages, and she looked confused.
Owen walked over to her and asked, “Did they tell you what happened to the two men?”
“No, all they told me was that they were taken to the hospital.”
“They didn’t tell me anything either.” Owen paused for a minute as the two stood there awkwardly before he added, “I was going to get some breakfast, would you like to join me?”
“Sure, I’m tired but I don’t think I could sleep right now anyway.”
The two walked a block to a small café. There they had tea, pastries, and eggs. Owen was taken by this woman’s courage in trying to help the poor men as they were engulfed in flames. Risking personal injury, she did all she could to try and get them down as Owen and others watched from a safe distance. Owen was captivated by her sweet French accent as he looked into her deep green eyes and they discussed things to do in Paris, as well as Owen’s current project. He wondered why he couldn’t find someone in the States that was this lovely, spirited, and interested in his work. He realized it didn’t matter since she was clearly out of his league.
After talking for two hours, Owen realized it was late morning, and he needed to get some work done. “I’m in town by myself for at least a couple of weeks, would you mind if I give you a call?”
“I would like that, maybe we could have dinner,” said Andrea.
Owen was grinning as he hailed a taxi. He was hoping the cabbie spoke English, although he was prepared to use the Google Translate app if necessary. He had regretted the fact that he was monolingual and although he had purchased the French version of Rosetta Stone the day before his trip, he had spent less than 20 minutes with it. “Can you take me to 143 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Merci,” Owen said not knowing if mixing English with the few words he knew of French would help.
In perfect English, the cabbie replied, “Sure, the Hotel Madison?”
Owen deciding to stop the pretense that he knew any French, “That’s right.”
THANKS FOR READING--STORY CONTINUES ON WITH CHAPTER 4