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Home > Sands of Time(29)

Sands of Time(29)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

Felix asked, "Where in Logrono shall we meet?"

Ricardo said, "The Cirque Japon will be playing in Logrono next week."

"Good. We'll meet there. The matinee performance."

Felix Carpio spoke up. "Who are the nuns going to travel with?"

"We'll split them up."

It was time to put a stop to this, Lucia decided. "If the soldiers are searching for you, senor, then we'd be safer traveling on our own."

"But we wouldn't be, Sister," Jaime said. "You know too much about our plans now."

"Besides," the man called Rubio added, "you wouldn't have a chance. We know the country. We're Basques, and the people up north are our friends. They'll help us and hide us from the Nationalist soldiers. You'd never get to Mendavia by yourselves."

I don't want to get to Mendavia, you idiot.

Jaime Miro was saying, grudgingly, "All right, then, let's get moving. I want us far away from here by dawn."

Sister Megan stood quietly listening to the man who was giving orders. He was rude and arrogant, but somehow he seemed to radiate a reassuring sense of power.

Jaime looked over at Teresa and pointed to Tomas Sanjuro and Rubio Arzano. "They will be responsible for you."

Sister Teresa said, "God is responsible for me."

"Sure," Jaime replied drily. "I suppose that's how you got here in the first place."

Rubio walked over to Teresa. "Rubio Arzano at your service, Sister. How are you called?"

"I am Sister Teresa."

Lucia spoke up quickly. "I will travel with Sister Teresa." There was no way she was going to let them separate her from the gold cross.

Jaime nodded. "All right." He pointed to Graciela. "Ricardo, you'll take this one."

Ricardo Mellado nodded. "Bueno."

The woman whom Jaime had sent to reconnoiter had returned to the group. "It's all clear," she said.

"Good." Jaime looked at Megan. "You come with us, Sister."

Megan nodded. Jaime Miro fascinated her. And there was something intriguing about the woman. She was dark and fierce-looking, with the hawklike features of a predator. Her mouth was a red wound. There was something intensely sexual about her.

The woman walked up to Megan. "I'm Amparo Jiron. Keep your mouth shut, Sister, and there will be no trouble."

Jaime said to the others, "Let's get moving. Logrono in seven days. Don't let the sisters out of your sight."

Sister Teresa and the man called Rubio Arzano had already started to move down the path. Lucia hurried after them. She had seen the map that Rubio Arzano had put in his backpack. I'll take it, Lucia decided, when he's asleep.

Their flight across Spain began.

CHAPTER TEN

Miguel Carrillo was nervous. In fact, Miguel Carrillo was very nervous. It had not been a wonderful day for him. What had started so well in the morning, when he had encountered the four nuns and convinced them that he was a friar, had ended up with him being knocked unconscious, tied hand and foot, and left on the floor of the dress shop.

It was the owner's wife who had discovered him. She was a heavyset, elderly woman with a moustache and a foul temper. She had looked down at him, trussed up on the floor, and said, "¡Madre de Dios! Who are you? What are you doing here?"

Carrillo had turned on all his charm. "Thank heavens you've come, senorita." He had never met anyone who was more obviously a senora. "I've been trying to get out of these straps so I could use your phone to call the police."

"You haven't answered my question."

He tried to struggle into a more comfortable position. "The explanation is simple, senorita. I am Friar Gonzales. I come from a monastery near Madrid. I was passing by your beautiful store when I saw two young men breaking into it. I felt it was my duty as a man of God to stop them. I followed them inside hoping to persuade them of the errors of their ways, but they overpowered me and tied me up. Now, if you would be good enough to untie me - "

"¡Mierda!"

He stared at her. "I beg your pardon?"

"Who are you?"

"I told you, I'm - "

"What you are is the worst liar I've ever heard."

She walked over to the robes that the nuns had discarded.

"What are these?"

"Ah. Those, yes. The two young men were wearing them as disguises, you see, and - "

"There are four outfits here. You said there were two men."

"Right. The other two joined them later, and - "

She walked over to the phone.

"What are you doing?"

"Calling the police."

"That's not necessary, I assure you. As soon as you release me, I'm going right to the police station to make a full report."

The woman looked down at him.

"Your robe is open, Friar."

The police were even less sympathetic than the woman had been. Carrillo was being questioned by four members of the Guardia Civil. Their green uniforms and eighteenth-century black patent-leather hats were enough to inspire fear throughout Spain, and they certainly worked their magic on Carrillo.

"Are you aware that you answer to the exact description of a man who murdered a priest up north?"

Carrillo sighed. "I am not surprised. I have a twin brother, may heaven punish him. It is because of him that I joined the monastery. Our poor mother - "

"Spare us."

A giant with a scarred face walked into the room.

"Good afternoon, Colonel Acoca."

"Is this the man?"

"Yes, Colonel. Because of the nuns' robes that we found with him in the store, we thought you might be interested in questioning him yourself."

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