Tag Archives: The Sacred Stream

The Defiant One.

When waiting for buses I often like to observe people. I like to be aware of my surroundings even if I am ready to fish out my electronic book at the drop of a hat if I sense that boredom is not far away, and often it is.

Looking over the horizon in the direction that my bus was to arrive I saw something else; a young woman slowly advancing in her wheelchair with the sun shining on her gleaming chariot. As she approached I decided to position myself closer to the curb as I wanted to see her face. I wanted to see what she looked like, whether she was young or old, wrinkled or not. I know, it is very superficial on my part. I will assume my humanity, warts and all.

The seconds flew quickly and the wheelchair was closing in. I felt the anticipation of the moment rising in me, as if something stupendous was to arrive. I was now faintly able to see her face but not quite. A few more seconds had to elapse before she suddenly appeared in front of me. As I looked at her face I took a mental snapshot of her as she passed speedily before me. What I saw shook me; she was young, no more than 20 or 25 years old and on her face was etched a defiant look that she offered to the world. It was a look that said that her handicap was no match for her determination to live her life in the way that she wanted. I admired her. I thought to myself that she was very brave, brave to face the cars on the road and brave to face the stares that inevitably must accompany her wherever she went in her wheelchair. She displayed courage, like a soldier going to war or a politician voting against his own party. And she was, in her own way, soldiering in her own life and fighting against prejudices and stereotypes. A giant of a woman she was.

I looked at my life and imagined myself in a wheelchair; could I do what she had done? Could I have looked at people in the eye with the kind of defiance that she had exhibited? Could I have soldiered on like her? I would like to think so, and yet the doubt remains. Hopefully this doubt will never be removed. It makes me more human.


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Chapter 47.

Before putting the last chapter of the book, I want to remind you can you can pick up the book in epub here at dropbox.  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/50953892/Sacred%20Stream%2C%20The%20-%20L.P%20Pastor.epub

Just copy and paste. I tried it and it works without a problem. And now, the final chapter. Don’t forget, comments are welcome, good or bad! Next week I will start posting my new book called “The Secret Entity”. More on this next week.



The ruins of Sacsayhuamari.

The ruins of Sacsayhuamari were not far from Cusco and one could walk from the center of the town uphill to the ruins. It was there that a great war occurred between the last emperor of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadores and in that battle the Incas were finally vanquished. Another private battle more obscure was about to happen now with fewer participants but where emotions would still be strong. There too, there would be winners and losers with death as a reward for those who were on the losing end of this battle. The winners would be gloriously rewarded.

These ruins were impressive and had a strategic importance for the Incas. A walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city, it is made of large polished dry stonewalls with each bolder cut to fit tightly without mortar. Located high on a hill, it held a strategic importance for them. It s military importance cannot be underestimated as someone holding this hill could control the city of Cusco.

The best-known features of Sacsayhuamna are its great plaza and its adjacent three massive terrace walls, with the longest of these walls being 400 meters and 6 meters tall. When the Spanish conquered Cusco and defeated the Incas at Sacsayhuamna they destroyed much of the ruins by taking the blocks to build their houses. The only blocks left at are those that were too heavy to bring down to Cusco and so within a short span of time the complex was destroyed. The ruins are about 30 to 45 minutes from the center of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas and it is a strenuous climb. Above the walls are the circular foundations of three towers that once stood there with a flat grassy esplanade separating the dry walls from a small hill where the “Incas throne” is located.

Gwen and the others drove rapidly on the other side of town opposite to where the center of Cusco was. They quickly left the car and began the ascent towards the ruins knowing full well that if they reached the top of the hill first they would enjoy a tactical advantage over Stevens and the others.

The others quickly exited the car a mere minutes behind Gwen, but they all knew that Stevens age would be a problem; at 70 years old he was not fit enough. Running or walking at altitude was tough at best for younger people as Pierce or Maria. As they began the slow climb they could see Gwen ahead of them along with Drake and Stewart. Gwen was carrying the gold bags with her in plain sight and she was lumbering mightily. She did not trust Drake or Acton with the bags. They were younger and were acclimatized to the altitude of the area and soon they were out of sight to Stevens and the rest.

“I am not sure I can do this,” said Stevens, sweating profusely and trying to catch his breath. “Maybe you should go ahead and I’ll catch up.”

“No way,” replied Pierce. “We know where they are going, so whether they will wait for us for 10 minutes at the top of the hill or double that is of no concern.” Pierce himself was somewhat out of breath. Only Maria seemed fine. What troubled Pierce was that he had a gun and he did not know if Stevens was armed.

“Tell me, do you have a weapon?” he asked Stevens while they were resting.

“Yes I do.” Stevens smiled as he exhibited a gun similar to what Pierce had.

“Good, as I am sure that the others are armed. It will probably two against two.” Stevens nodded at Pierce at that idea. He knew that the friends of Gwen were surely armed but probably not her. And since Maria was unarmed it was equal. Except that the others would have the advantage of the high ground, shooting at them from above. Stevens and Pierce finally decided to continue moving up, with Maria going slowly ahead.

Gwen knew that she had a substantial lead over Stevens, Pierce and Maria. “Make sure you are ready to shoot because I want to finish them off one once and for all.” said Gwen to the others, looking back at them. They were sprinting up the hill as fast as they could.

They finally reached the grassy plain in front of the large stones in about 40 minutes. With the massive walls facing them, they had to decide what to do next. Gwen decided that one of the men should be behind on top of the walls that went about zig-zaging while the other one would be on top of the other terrace. She would be at the far back, ready to exit if the battle went against them but that, the two others did not know. Drake did as he was told, going behind the first walls and climbing on the grassy ground on top of them, waiting for someone to appear to shoot him down. Acton did not like the plan of Gwen but did as he was told, going further back. They then had to practice the waiting game as they were ahead Stevens and the others by at least 15 minutes.

Pierce was slowly climbing with Stevens. He believed that it was best if they appeared together at the top at the same time. Maria had fallen back, taking her time.

“Look, we can see the massive walls from here,” Pierce said as he spied the walls of the fortress. As he said that a small glint appeared on top of one of them. Stevens immediately saw the glint as well.

“There is someone with a gun on top of the walls. Did you see that?”

“Yes, I did. Lucky for us that the sun is shining and that it reflected off the gun. Maybe we should split up and go around the fortress?”

“I agree,” said Stevens. “As I get closer to them I will shoot to keep them occupied while Maria and you go on the other side.” Stevens continued his slow climb towards the area where he saw the glint. As soon as he stood up to get a clear view a spray of bullets wizzed past him, some of them hitting the rocks in front of him. By that time Pierce was going around where the shooter was accompanied by Maria.

Pierce was climbing around the base of the fortress when he spotted Gwen. She was surveying the area and looking where her shooters were placed. Pierce had a clear shot of her but if he missed his surprise appearance on the other side of the fortress would be squandered. He decided to continue moving upwards slowly with Maria by his side. The climb was slow but unfortunately for Pierce he stumbled on some loose rocks and that alerted Gwen, who turned around and saw them. She sounded the alert to Stewart Acton.

“Stewart, they are climbing the other side. Shoot at them and keep them occupied.” As she said those words she decided that perhaps it was best to leave, leaving Drake and Acton to create a diversion for her. She slowly tried to walk on the other side but Maria saw her, still carrying the gold bags with her.

“Look, she’s leaving!” Maria said to Pierce. She had no gun but she did have a knife. Without telling Pierce who was occupied with Stewart she decided to go after Gwen.

Pierce was about to reach the wall of the fortress when a hail of bullets assaulted him. He quickly ducked in the grass behind some rocks and waited for the barrage to stop. He looked up and saw Acton shooting at him. He made a dash to the base of the first walls and began shooting back at Stewart. As Stewart was aiming again at Pierce one bullet hit him cleanly in the middle of the chest. Stewart put his hand on his chest and then slumped forward, falling over the the second wall and down on the grass on top of the first wall. Stevens was still shooting at Drake when he saw Pierce approach Drake behind him.

“Hands up slowly,” Pierce said to Drake. But as Drake spun around he was still aiming his gun. Pierce had no choice but to shoot at him, hitting him in the throat and in the head. He fell over the first wall and down to the grassy plaza. By that time Stevens was making his way up to the base of the first wall as Pierce was running towards him.

“That was a good shot,” Stevens said.

“He left me no choice. He was still aiming at me.” Pierce had never killed a man before and Stevens understood that. He put a friendly hand on the shoulder of Pierce.

“You did the right thing, it was him or you. Plainly it was self-defense. Don’t fret over this.” Stevens knew that Pierce was rattled. And then suddenly he remembered that Maria was supposed to be with him.

“Where’s Maria? I thought she was still with you? Pierce suddenly awoke from his shock and looked astonished at the question.

“Maria? She was pursuing Gwen when I left her!” At these words Stevens turned white. He grabbed Pierce by his shirt.

“You left her to go after Gwen? She won’t hesitate to kill her! Quick, we must find them.” They both began running as fast as they could across the first walls but soon Stevens was slowing down, out of breath. Pierce decided to run to the top of the wall towards the second wall that zigzagged across the plain but to no avail as he could not see where Maria was.

Maria had seen Gwen walking slowly across the ruins towards the city below, trying to escape in the middle of the firefight. She had the gold bags with her and this slowed her down tremendously. She stealthily began to stalk Gwen, getting closer and closer to her when finally as Gwen was beginning her descent she jumped like a cat at Gwen and grabbed her by the waist, tumbling down with her in her grasp. Both women went down until they stopped near some rocks. Gwen got up first, knife in hand and facing squarely her opponent. Maria rose slowly at first and then fished out a knife from behind her back. They were now face to face with the city of Cusco at their feet.

“I did warn you Maria not to mess with me. I gave you a chance and you didn’t take it. Too bad.” Gwen was smiling at her in a devilish way. “I will enjoy cutting you up so badly that Pierce and the others won’t recognize you!”

“You’re a beast, not a human being. You have no conscience. Today is the day it stops for you.” Maria was dead serious in uttering those words but they elicited only laughter from Gwen.

Both women were a mere few feet apart, slowly turning in a circle, as if caught in a maelstrom. And then it began. Gwen lunged with her knife at the stomach of Maria who stumbled back awkwardly not being accustomed to such battles. Gwen then decided to yield the knife from above in the hope of landing it on Maria’s head but Maria ducked, putting Gwen in a weak position. Just as the knife went down slicing the air Maria grabbed Gwen by the hair to hold her and plunged the knife under Gwen, deep in her stomach. Gwen put her hand to her stomach and saw the blood oozing slowly from the wound. Looking at Maria with an air of disbelief she became more enraged and became a wounded animal.

“You rotten little slut, I’ll get you for this and when I’m finished with you no one will recognize you!” Maria just froze and looked at Gwen who was doubling over and hurting from the stomach wound. She then suddenly threw herself at Maria but missed completely, except that she wrapped her arm around one of the legs of Maria and in doing so made her fall. Maria fell hard on the rocky ground and was slightly woozy from the blow to her head. She was still on the ground when she vaguely saw Gwen sitting by her side and lifting her knife with her two hands, ready to bury it into the heart of Maria. Then Maria heard a shot. Gwen wide-eyed looked at Maria and her mouth trembled and opened slightly. She looked stunned. The knife fell from her hand and she slowly crumpled by the side of Maria. As Gwen fell to the ground, Maria saw Pierce holding the gun that killed their nemesis. It was all over. She began sobbing and let out her hand to Pierce who was running towards her.

“It’s okay. It’s finished and she’s dead. It’s over.” Pierce was holding Maria in his arms now, thinking how close she was of losing her life. Maria was sobbing gently but smiling at Pierce at the same time. Stevens arrived moments later still out of breath and panting.

“Everyone is okay?” he asked, looking over the situation. But no one answered. He went over to where Gwen was and knelt by her. Her eyes were open and blood was on her shirt and all around her. It had been a clean hit, right throught the heart. He promptly closed her eyes. Near her were the gold bags. Stevens eyes widened and he promptly picked it up the three bags and began to examine its content; indeed, there were gold masks and gold chains with ceremonial daggers, all gold incrusted with precious jewels. Stevens was elated at the sight of the gold. Pierce now looked around and saw Stevens and the gold bags.

“This is incredible! I can’t believe how much gold there is!” Pierce made a move to pick up one of the bags but Stevens took out his revolver and aimed it squarely at Pierce.

“Don’t move Mr. Pierce. I thank you for all the assistance that you gave me, but I’ll take care of business now. This gold belongs to me! Now get out your gun slowly and throw it at my feet.”

Pierce looked at him, dumbfounded. He did as he was told, throwing the gun at Steven’s feet. Stevens did not pick up the gun but simply kicked it with his feet further away behind him. Maria was up and by his side, amazed at the turn of events. She had a look of disbelief on her face.

“You mean to tell me that all along you intended to keep the gold for yourself, right? You were just playing a game with us!” Maria said.

“Of course,” replied Stevens. “I was using Pierce as well as you to do the dirty work. There never was a fortune left by the uncle of Pierce. It was my money that I was using, my money!” Stevens was angry and agitated. He was still holding the gun and pointing it at Pierce. “Now you and Pierce each will carry a bag to your car, slowly. And please, throw me the keys. One stupid move and I won’t hesitate to take you out, understood?”

Maria threw the keys of her car to Stevens. She and Pierce looked at each other and then each took a bag and slowly began descending the hill in a single file. But it was going to be a 40-minute walk down to the city and Pierce knew that anything could happen during those 40 minutes and he fully intended to do something.

“You won’t get away with this.” Maria said. “The police will catch you and we will testify against you.’

“My dear, by the time the police comes to me I will be out of the country and enjoying the easy life elsewhere and you as well as Pierce will be accused of murder.”

“What? You are joking really!” Pierce said. They were still walking slowly, bags in hand.

“Not at all Mr. Pierce. I never joke with murder. Continue walking please.” Stevens was smiling, still holding the gun and pointing it at Pierce’s back. Pierce decided that the moment that he was waiting for was now. He decided to provoke an incident that could distract Stevens. He was not that far from Maria and when he saw that he could touch her he pushed her slightly and that was enough. Suddenly Maria slid and fell and in doing so distracted Stevens. He advanced slightly ahead of Pierce to look where Maria was but in doing so he was now closer to Pierce than he thought, with the gun still pointing in the area of Maria but not at Pierce. Using the gold bag, Pierce swung it and struck Steven’s hand who immediately released his hold on the gun which flew in the air and landed on the ground further away. Stevens did not have the time to react that the gold bag wielded by Pierce struck him a second time squarely on his jaw. Stevens fell backwards awkwardly and stumbled, tumbling down the hill rapidly and picking up speed the further he went down. Pierce and Maria looked on as he fell until he landed somewhere at the bottom of the hill.

“Do you think he’s dead?” Maria asked.

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out once we get at the bottom. But that kind of fall will surely injure him seriously if he‘s not dead.” Pierce had one of the gold bags while Maria had the other. “At least the gold is ours, most of it anyways. He still had one bag with him when he tumbled down.”

After twenty minutes of rapid descent they finally arrived where the cars where but there was no sign of Stevens and the gold bag. Incredibly, he had survived the fall and had taken Maria’s car to escape.

“I guess we’ll have to continue walking.” said Maria. She put her hand in his hand and smiled. He looked at her and said, “We finally got our reward and now we’re rich!”

They both began walking towards the city as the sun was beginning to set. Suddenly they heard the sirens of police cars approaching and within a few minutes officers surrounded them. Gunshots were heard and they had been dispatched in earnest. At the sight of Pierce and Maria walking away with the bags they drew their weapons.

“Don’t move, hands up in the air.”

Immediately Pierce looked at Maria and knew that they were in a mess. They let the bags fall from their hands and raised them quickly.

“Now turn around, put your hands behind your back and don’t move.” one officer bellowed. “You two, go up the hill and investigate. See if you find anything.” said the officer.

Two officers began the slow climb to the ruins and found the bodies of Acton and Drake on the grassy plains. They located the body of Gwen on the other side. It was plain to them that they all had suffered a gunshot wound that had been fatal. The problem was with which gun they had been killed with as the officers found Steven’s gun as well as the one belonging to Pierce. They radioed back their findings.

“We have found three bodies, all dead. Two males and one female. In addition, we found two guns. Looks like murder to me chief.” said one of the officers. By that time Pierce and Maria had been handcuffed, searched and put into one of the police cars. The officer who acted as the chief went back to see the prisoners to inform them of the findings, as if they didn’t already know.

“Well you two are in deep trouble. I am formally booking you on three counts of murder as well as robbery. We’ll see if one of the guns can be matched with the bullets that are sure to be still inside those bodies. The gold bags seem to be from some archaeological dig so other counts relating to plundering of graves will be added surely. Anything to say?”

Pierce and Maria looked in horror at each other. They knew that they could be looking at life in prison. Of course, Pierce had killed Drake and Acton in self-defense as well as Gwen. It would be his word against the evidence of three dead bodies, and the dead do not speak. The bullets in those three bodies would be matched to one of the guns, the one with his fingerprints on them. Pierce decided that perhaps it was best to offer an explanation to the chief in the hope that he would understand that there was more to this situation than it appeared at first glance.

“Look, one of the guns belongs to me, but it was all in self-defense. It was them or me.”

“So you admit it, you did kill them!” The chief was ecstatic. He had his confession and that would greatly help his case.

“But chief, we were the ones in danger and we were the ones that you might have found dead if things had not turned to our advantage.” Maria said, trying to sway the opinion of the chief. The chief simply smiled at them and turned his back.

After his fall Stevens had taken a few minutes to regain his senses. He was unhurt except for a sore shoulder and a slight bruise to the head. He promptly took the bag that lay at his feet and was able to start Maria’s car without a problem. He knew that his only chance of escape was to be quicker than Pierce and Maria in leaving the scene of the crime. With all the gunshots he fully expected the police to arrive soon. He didn’t have all the three bags but only one was necessary for him to be rich. He looked at his mirror and smiled as no one was following him. The old fox had outsmarted the young cubs. They would pay for the dead bodies even if it was really self-defense, but he would not be there to bail them out. He smiled again at the thought of Pierce and Maria in jail and stepped on the gas.

The end.



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Chapter 46.

The Cusco affair.


Stevens knew that the key was Gwen and he knew that she had contacts in Cusco so the odds that she was there were strong. After a few phone calls, his sources told him that indeed she was in Cusco and this included his main source, Eliza. He decided that crunch time was now and he had to corner her there.

Stevens, Maria and Pierce took the car and travelled to a hotel called the Picoago hotel. Eliza had confirmed to him that Gwen had a room there that she occasionally used as her base of operations in the area. He decided to stake out the hotel in the hope of cornering her there. Soon enough she appeared in the car driven by Drake and Stewart. They were three against three, and both parties had guns and knives.

Gwen was about to get out of the car with her precious parcels when she spotted Maria and Pierce advancing towards them.

“Quick, get back in the car and let’s get out now!” she shouted excitedly to Drake. “Let’s go to the ruins!” He knew quite well what she meant; it was the ruins of Sacsayhuamari. Gwen violently tugged at his arm to make him go back in the car, speeding towards Cusco. Drake immediately pressed on the gas leaving a cloud of dust in their wake. Maria and Pierce looked at them speeding off when a car honked; it was Stevens driving Maria’s car. They jumped in and began the pursuit of Gwen, driving to the ruins of Sacsayhuamari.

“Who told them we would be in Cusco and at that hotel?” asked Drake.

“Oh shut up and drive!” exclaimed Gwen. She was asking herself the same questions, and the possible answers to these questions troubled her. It could mean that she had an informer inside the group. Perhaps it was Drake or Acton. She looked at Drake from the corner of her eye. No, he was decidedly too stupid for that and Acton was even worse. It had to be a woman. She knew now that she could trust no one.

“What will we do once we reach the ruins? I mean, we cannot really hide there, can’t we?

“No idiot, we won’t hide there. We’ll climb quickly up the hill to the ruins and wait for them at the top, and then we’ll kill them all!” Gwen felt joyous at the idea of killing Stevens and the two others. Finally she would be rid of them all. This was her gold and she would never part with it.





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Chapter 45.

The greedy police officer.



Gwen had made a few phone calls to her sources inside the police and now she knew the police officer’s name, where he lived and his financial situation. She had given orders for the officer to be followed at all times. And yes, it was presumed that he did have the gold stashed inside his house.

He had a wife and children and he accepted kickbacks to supplement his meager income from his job as many officers did in this poor country. She could afford to wait and see what he would do instead of pouncing on him. She certainly had the people to do it. She could kidnap one of the children and ask a ransom, but the risk was that he would simply go to the police. She wanted to be discreet and so she decided it was best to go in the house when he was not there nor the family and then search the place. They knew that he went to church on Sunday’s very regularly so the search had to be on a Sunday morning.

Sunday arrived and as soon as the family left for church in went Gwen along with Drake, Stewart and three of the Nine. More hands and eyes meant a quicker an easier search. Unfortunately they did not find what they wanted, so Gwen ordered the other three to leave while she stayed with Drake and Stewart. She had no choice but to put a gun to the police officer’s head or to his children and force him to fork over the gold. The gold bags must have been hidden outside the home, but where?

Soon enough the family arrived with the police officer in the lead. Gwen was behind the door while Drake and Stewart were in the house ready to jump on them. The key went in and the door slowly opened. The officer went in never looking behind the door where Gwen was. The children then entered followed by the mother and at that point Gwen closed the door behind them, revealing herself and the gun that she held. The surprise on the faces of the family was complete.

“Alright listen up! Everyone on the floor, now.” screamed Gwen. After a moment of surprise all went to the floor. The children were screaming but rapidly Drake put a gag on their mouths and they were tied up with the mother. The police officer was brought into the kitchen and put on a chair. Gwen went straight to him.

“Now, where are the gold bags that you took from the car?” She was looking at him and while he looked at her intently at first, his eyes then drifted away.

“You see, as I see it we have two choices you and me; either you cooperate and no one gets hurt or your family will suffer the consequences of you actions.” The police officer had not uttered a word and defiantly again looked away from her.

“Fine. You, bring me the girl and bring me a knife.” said Gwen to Drake. The police officer looked at her, curious and afraid of what could happen. Drake went to the other room and brought in the young girl. She was about ten, with long brown hair and a shy face. She was made to sit opposite the father. Her arms were tied up behind her back but her gag was removed. Immediately she started to cry, exactly what Gwen hoped would happen. She then took the knife and put it around one of the ears, folding it gently around the knife without applying the skin to it. The girl began to sob uncontrollably.

“Now it’s up to you, tell me where the gold is hidden or I start to cut her up in little pieces, starting with the ears.” she said. “I can assure you that she will look a lot less beautiful when I am finished with her.”

“Stop, stop it. Don’t hurt her. I will show you where the gold bags are. I really never meant to keep it for myself you know.”

“Of course I know. They were meant for me,” Gwen smiled and glowed with anticipation. They released the officer and as they followed him in the house he went straight to the bathroom. Under the bathroom sink was a rather large hole were the gold bags were hidden. The officer put his arm in and out came the bags. Gwen quickly scooped them up and began opening them one by one. The gold was there and seemed intact.

“Well thank-you very much officer. Now let’s tie them up loosely and let’s leave.” She then took a hard look at the man and told him point-blank.

“If I were you I would not speak of this little incident to anyone. And make sure that the children do not say a word, understood? If not, I will be forced to come back here and teach you all a lesson.” She looked at the police officer and as he nodded strongly she assumed that he understood the consequences of him speaking up. In any case, he would have to explain his involvement with the gold bags and how he came into it. Gwen took the gold and along with the others left quickly, taking the direction of Cusco in their car.



Chapter 46

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Chapter 44.

Stevens in Cusco.
Stevens decided to take the road and meet up again with Jake Pierce and Maria. It was high time that they discussed a plan of action so he arrived early in the morning at the hotel that Pierce and Maria were residing. He went in and directly marched to room 98 and knocked.

“Who is it?” a female voice uttered plaintively.

“It’s me, Stevens.” He was impatient. Maria opened the door and let him in. Pierce was in the kitchen eating his breakfast.

“Glad to see that you still have an appetite Mr. Pierce,” exclaimed Stevens smiling.

“Glad to see you here finally,” Pierce said extending his hand to Stevens. “Maybe things will be moving in our direction now.”

Stevens smiled but under that smile he was livid. Opportunities were missed and the gold was still missing. And now he had to get involved to save the day.

“Now, I want to know exactly where the gold is.” Stevens was impatient to get the gold and get out as quickly as possible from such a sticky situation.

“Well as I said, we were duped by that woman named Gwen. We had a wrong map that sent us chasing in the wrong direction. She had the right map and once we had it, she snatched it away from us at gunpoint. She even killed for that map. We were framed for that, as I told you.” Pierce looked imploringly at Stevens, as if saying there was nothing he could have done without risking his life. He was confessing and wanted an absolution but he only received the cold shoulder from Stevens. Stevens looked at him closely. He was not happy about what he heard. “So this Gwen has the map, and probably the gold as well by now, wouldn’t you say?”

“That is correct in my view. We should go after Gwen but Maria has told me that she is not alone, that she has friends in high places and thugs as well.”

“Well yes, she is powerful that is sure. We must be careful. But being careful does not mean that we should be inactive. First, let me see if I have any messages. “ Stevens called his office to retrieve his messages and one got his attention, from the chief of police; all charges were being dropped against Pierce and Maria.

“Good news for you both, the police will not trouble you again. This matter has been sorted out to my satisfaction.”

“Oh, that’s great,” exclaimed Maria. “I was so worried about being thrown into a jail cell again.”

“Yes, I have to say that I’m relieved. That jail cell was brutal. Glad I won’t see these jailors again.” Pierce was happy about the intervention of Stevens and he was hoping that his magic could continue.

“Now that this matter is settled, we must find this woman. She must have people below her that do her evil deeds. But why did she involve herself so visibly now? You told me that she killed a woman in cold blood in front of you?

“Absolutely,” said Maria. “In cold blood she knifed that woman in the back and mortally wounded her and then took the map. We were unarmed at that point.” Maria was still scared at the events that she was remembering.

“But tell me, did any of you see the details of the map?” Stevens hoped that one of them had seen the details and could perhaps draw them.

“I am afraid that no, we didn’t see the details. It was in her hands when she was knifed in the back just as she was about to give me the map.” Pierce was angry at the thought that this gold that was rightly his was in the possession of a woman who had killed. His plan of action was clear; find the woman and the map will be with her or the gold.


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Chapter 43.

Gwen and the others in pursuit.



Gwen was livid when Pedro turned on them as Drake and Stewart did not have a chance to counter him. But she reacted promptly when she saw that he had gone down the hill. She began running after him along with her two accomplices. They commandeered a car, got the occupant out and embarked in it speeding off in hot pursuit of Pedro.

“Let’s go to the first police station we see and declare that we were robbed. I want them to stop Pedro before he leaves the country.” Gwen said.

“What about the car we just took, won’t the police be on the look-out for us too?” asked Drake.

“Don’t be silly, there is a lag time working in our favor. Before the police is notified of what we did we will have left the car.” Gwen did not say it but she knew that if it came to the worse she would simply say that she had been kidnapped by her two henchmen. She would put on a show for the police.

“Maybe Pedro won’t leave the country. Maybe he will just stay put in some city and wait it out.” Drake was trying to put the best possible spin on a bad situation.

“Pipe down Drake. You are worse than useless. You had a gun over there and still Pedro managed to get to the gold. You will pay for this.” Gwen was looking sideways at Drake, who noticeably hunkered down in his seat and pressed on the gas. As they were rolling along a police cruiser approached them on the opposite road. Drake slowed down and flagged the car as Gwen did the talking when the police parked their car near theirs.

“Officer please, we have been robbed of our belongings, including our car.” Gwen looked at the officer in an imploring way. Her Spanish was not excellent, but good enough to have a conversation.

“Tell me what the car looks like,” said the officer. After having given a good description of the car, the police officer turned towards his small computer and saw that a man with the same car had been killed not far from here on the road to Lima.

“Well you’re in luck lady, your car has been found. Follow me, it is on the road to Lima.”

Gwen looked at Drake and smiled with relief. But then a frown appeared on her face. What of the gold bags? What if the police had opened the trunk or worse, what if Pedro had let the gold on the front seats. It could have been taken by the officers who were notoriously corrupt. With the amount of gold in the bags any police officer could retire immediately.

The police cruiser led the way towards Pedro with Gwen and Drake following and thinking about the gold bags. Pedro’s car was on the far right in a ditch by the road. A white canvas sheet was covering the area where Pedro lay, still slumped over the wheel. The blood from Pedro’s head had leaked to the ground and congealed in a small puddle at his feet. Gwen stepped out to inspect visually the car. Her worse fears were confirmed; no sign of the gold bags. The officer approached her.

“So is this your car?” asked the officer as he turned towards her. Gwen looked at him and thought that perhaps if they had the gold they might be implicated in this.

“Well, it looks like my car but in fact I think that I was mistaken officer. Were there any belongings found in the car, because I had some bags inside.” Gwen eyed the officer suspiciously. She did not want to be too specific about the number of bags and their contents.

“No, we just found the guy in the car with no bags.” As the officer said that he looked at the surrounding countryside and avoided Gwen’s eyes while she was closely looking at him. He was obviously lying to her and she knew it.

“Well officer it is not my car, but thank-you very much for your help, officer…what is your name again?” asked very innocently Gwen. The officer had not revealed his name, but with a name and her contacts she could investigate him.

“Officer Perez. It was my pleasure helping you even if it was not your car, as you say.” The officer looked at her and smiled. He knew that the bags of gold probably belonged to her.

She walked back to the car and told Drake to step on it and to get out on the road. She had to think her next move, as now it seemed that this officer was implicated. Throught her contacts she knew that she could get some information on him. Once she knew where he resided she would keep a watch on his whereabouts.

The officer looked at them speeding off and wondered what was the connection between the woman with the dead man and the gold bags. But frankly he did not care; he had the gold and not her.


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Chapter 42.

Pedro and the gold.

Pedro sped off quickly with the gold bags happy and feeling rich. He wanted to lose himself in the city, but not with his wife as she was not part of the equation. He would not return to his house in Barranca and had no intention of taking her with him. He would stop at Lima and quickly turn in some of the gold to people who would give him cold hard cash. He probably had a few million with him and that was enough to start a new life in another country or maybe go in the Caribbeans or a country with a culture similar to Peru.

He was thinking about all these things when up front the cars began to slow down. He wondered what was happening. Suddenly as he was advancing at a snail’s pace he saw far ahead a police car that was parked on the side of the road with the officer intercepting drivers and checking their papers. He slowed down but not too noticeably. A few cars were ahead of him. He could decide to go straight through or risk attracting attention and turn back. He elected finally to advance slowly towards the police car in the hope that they were not searching for him. Beads of sweat started to appear on his forehead and his hands were now so moist that he had to wipe them off his shirt. He slowed down to a crawl as the police had deployed a bed of nails on the road to prevent anyone from passing them illegally. They appeared to have a description of someone in their hands, looking closely at the driver’s faces. And then it was his turn. The officer took one look at him, looked down at the picture and then looked up at him again.

“Sir, put your hands on the wheels where we can see them and do not move.”

As soon as the officer said those words Pedro knew he was lost if he obeyed. He stepped on the gas passing by the officer who promptly took out his gun and began shooting at him. In his desire to escape Pedro had forgotten about the carpet of nails that had been put there for him and he punctured a tire as he sped away while the other officers fired at his car. Bullets sped by him until one shattered the back window and connected with his head, entered the skull and exited through his left eye and making a mess of his windshield. Immediately Pedro slumped on the wheel, twitched slightly and expired. The car continued its course until it swerved and stopped in a ditch by the side of the road. The police arrived with guns drawn but it was obvious to them that the driver was dead. They began searching the car and found the gold bags on the front seat and at the sight of them the officers looked at each other and smiled, it was Christmas in June.


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