The Voice, by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

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                           - 39 -

"And that is what makes it valuable." Gilbert replied,
raising a finger to accent the point. "If he is the
inheritor, then he must guard the knowledge like the Grail
itself, which means in the end he will lead us exactly to
what we're looking for."

"And what are we looking for?" Rick asked.

Lord Gilbert paused, his eyes lost deep in introspection.
"The truth Mr. Kendall. The light and the truth!"

Rick strained to remain calm. "Then do you want me to
have him followed?"

Gilbert laughed as he walked to his ornately carved
antique desk and sat down in his huge leather chair.

"Dearest Richard, when you've been in business as long as
me, you realize some things are simply not necessary."

Rick stood for a moment as if waiting for Gilbert to say
more, to instruct, to let him in on what was so important
about the book, but he remained silent. Only when Rick was
out the door and safely beyond earshot did he mumble
something. But it didn't sound very business-like.

Neither was what Gilbert did next, as he reached beneath
his desk for a large antique box. Cradling it in his arms
like a pet cat, he traced the ancient Celtic swirls of the
snake-like embroidery to its jewel encrusted eyes, then
caressed the lid of the box with his long bony hands.

"We need for Paul to remember," he said as he opened the
box, revealing a stream of white light that seemed to fill
the room. "We need for Paul to remember everything."

Gilbert was surrounded by the light now, causing the TV
screen and lights on the ceiling to blink violently as if
blasted by some spasm of energy. Then, burning white hot for
an instant they burst, leaving Gilbert alone in the
darkness, illuminated only by the intense white light of the