There was an unnatural cadence to the man's walk. Maybe it was the uneven stone lane. But he'd walked this path ten thousand times, though not so soon before first light. Still, he knew it well enough. He paused, as if to listen, then moved five paces and paused again. In the shadows outside the monastery's wall, his black monk's rasso was long enough to conceal his body and the short, flat-topped kalimafki his hair, but neither hid his snow-white beard. Perhaps he should have been looking as carefully as he listened, but it wouldn't have mattered. The men stood quietly at the bottom of the path, just beyond where it opened into the town square. He could not see them.
Andreas had told Lila he'd be home early. Forget about it. Here he was yelling over the noise of a military helicopter commandeered by his boss, the minister of public order, to get Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, head of the Greek Police's Special Crimes Division, and his assistant, detective Yianni Kouros, out of Athens and over to a northern Dodecanese island close to Turkey "before all hell breaks loose."
"There's no reason for him tossing this mess in our laps. No damn reason at all."
Kouros shrugged. "I don't know, Chief, maybe the minister thought a monk turning up murdered the Sunday before Easter in the middle of the town square on the Holy Island of Patmos qualified as a special crime?"
Andreas ignored him. They'd worked together long enough for him to let the younger man tease him, at least when they were alone. Besides, Kouros was right. Throat cut, everything but the monk's crosses taken. Hard to imagine anyone who'd kill a monk being considerate enough to leave them behind.
© Jeffrey Siger