Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 14, continued

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Aidan waited until he saw Kian talking to an officer at the front desk before punching in his boss’s private number. He needed serious FBI backing and if that meant telling Power about the Ark and the stolen wings, so be it.

“Agent Scott, I don’t like this one bit,” Power bellowed before Aidan even said hello. “You both are coming in. And bring that Ark with you.”

Aidan caught his breath. He had not told Power about the Ark or the package, he was sure of that. “The Ark, sir?”

“Look, you can’t handle this on your own. There are too many of them. You, that girl, and that Ark need to get to D.C., now. I can’t protect you if you don’t.”

Too many of them? As far as Aidan was concerned, three was not “too many.”

“OK. Understood,” Aidan replied, now stalling for time.

“And bring that lughead Jimbo with you. I need to talk to him.”

How did Power know about Jimbo?

“Jimbo’s next check in is tonight, I’ll tell him then.” Before Power could respond, Aidan lied a second time, “Kian’s coming out of the store. Call you after I speak to Jimbo.” He quickly hung up. Moments later his cell phone vibrated. Power again. Aidan ignored it and ran the possibilities through his head. Aside from the perps, three people knew about the Ark–himself, Jimbo, and Kian. For sure he had not mentioned the Ark to his boss. Kian had never spoken with his boss, and Jimbo detested and distrusted the man.

Aidan glanced out his window. Kian was still talking to the officer whose gaze was fixed, staring past her. She wasn’t getting much help either.

Confused, Aidan thought back to the morning he’d gotten the assignment. What had Power told him? First of all, that there had been a murder. But something still niggled at the back of his brain. Kian found the body on her way to work, but Power had said the murder was “last night.” A hospice nurse doesn’t work a night shift. Had she found the body as early as eight? And why hadn’t those perps been picked up, at least for trespassing? Suddenly, even law enforcement was suspect.

Aidan watched Kian pound her fists on the desk. The phlegmatic officer, arms crossed, shrugged his shoulders.

Aidan crawled over to the driver’s side, beeped the horn twice, and motioned for Kian to come out. She ignored him and shook her finger at the officer. Aidan almost felt sorry for the man. He beeped again and motioned her more urgently this time. Kian turned on her heels and stormed out of the station.

“Of all the imbeciles in the world…,” Kian declared as she climbed into the Jeep. “That guy is dumber than dirt.”

“What did he say?”

She turned in her seat and stared at him. “Only that your boss sent them a picture of that SUV at some toll booth in New Jersey and the time stamp is when I was shot at.”

“Power gave them an alibi?”

“He sure did and you know what else? When I told dumber-than-dirt the Webers were trespassing, he said it’s not my land, it’s public so they can camp there. I know where my land starts and stops,” Kian said, “I’m not crazy.”

“Great, just great.” Aidan tore out of the parking lot and turned onto the highway. He looked over his left shoulder. “Kian, anyone following us?”

“No.”

“Don’t want to be seen driving up your road. How close is the back way in?”

“Not far. I’ll tell you when to turn. Aidan, you are driving too fast. What’s wrong?”

“I talked to my boss.”

Just then Kian spotted the pasture leading to the back way in. “See that big bush? Cut in just before you get to it.”

“Where’s the road? All I see is overgrown pasture.”

“There is no road. Turn anyway.”

Aidan swung right into the pasture and stopped. “Where now?”

“See those tire tracks heading into the woods? Follow them.”

Aidan did. Once under the cover of the tall pines, he drove along a depression barely discernible under the pine needles that littered the forest floor. They crested a hill. Down on the other side was a shallow stream.

“When you get to the stream, stay right. Otherwise, we will tip over on the rocks,” Kian told him. He slowed a bit and pulled to the right. They bounced as they splashed through the water and then climbed the incline on the other side. “See that dirt track? Get onto it.”

“Is it wide enough?”

“Sure. Need me to drive?”

“No, I got it,” Aidan said.

The dirt track was full of muddy ruts, most filled with water. Suddenly, the Jeep dipped into a deep hole, sending them both into the air. “Good thing this baby rides high.”

“There’s one rut that’s too deep to ride through. I’ll tell you when.” They drove another couple of minutes. As they rounded the next bend, Kian pointed to the left. “See that puddle over there. It’s deeper than it looks. Skirt to the right. Get as close to that cedar as you can.”

With one tire half in the rut and the other a hair’s breadth from the trunk of the tree, they scooted past, branches whipping at the Jeep.

“Not bad, Aidan,” Kian said. “Another inch over and we’d be stuck! I really should get those holes filled.”

Seconds later they were on the dirt road to Kian’s house. “You own that land, too?”

“I do,” Kian said. “A few thousand acres all together. There are quite a few historical ruins around here. You know about the chambers, but there is evidence of smelting, too. And there’s a cave with ancient pots and stuff way in the back. Dad always said he protected the land, not owned it. But it’s been Buchanan property from way back.”

They pulled up in front of Kian’s house. Before he could open his door, Kian grabbed his arm. “Stop stalling. I want to know what your boss said.”

“First tell me one thing,” he replied. “What time did you find Jacob’s body.”

“About 9:30 that morning. I was just starting work. Why?”

“Power gave me my assignment at 9, not 9:30 or 10.”

He let that sink in before continuing. “While you were in the station, I talked to him. Kian, he ordered me to bring you and the Ark in. I never told him about the Ark or even about the package.”

“No way! I’m not going anywhere. I don’t trust him.”

“Problem is, if I don’t take you in, he’ll cut me off. I don’t have FBI back up without him.”

“Doesn’t sound like you have back-up now. Sounds to me like your boss is the one stonewalling this investigation.”

“I know. I just need you to know where we stand on all this.”

Kian trembled. No FBI back-up, no police support, and nowhere to go. Just two lone agents willing to help her.

“Think it’s safe to go inside the house?” she asked.

“I don’t feel anything. You?”

Kian took a moment to let her senses take hold. It was as if she could see with her skin. There was no other way to describe it. “It’s safe,” she said.

Once inside, Aidan wedged chairs under all the doorknobs, closed and locked all the windows. “Better hot than surprised,” he said. Kian turned on the overhead fans as Aidan pulled out his cell phone.

“Texting Jimbo,” he explained. He punched at the tiny keys repeating the message to Kian as he typed “Trouble. Need to meet.”

A minute later the phone pinged. Aidan read the message and looked at Kian. “Jimbo says there are now five perps out back.”

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 14

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

A different dread now cast a shadow over Kian. She had screwed up. The theft was her fault, she was sure of that. She should have paid attention to that creepy feeling that had come over her. She should have told Aidan the second and third time it happened. He would have believed her. He would have done something. She was sure Aidan would be angry with her when she told him, but she had to tell him anyway. Besides, he had every right to be angry.

Before Kian could open her mouth to speak, Aidan grabbed her by the hand. “Come on, we gotta search this place.”

Kian followed him as they covered every inch around the cabin before Aidan drew his weapon and went inside. Kian followed. The three packed boxes were still on the table, packing tape intact. With Kian close behind, Aidan searched first the living area, then the kitchen, and then the bedroom. Nobody.

“Wait here,” he said when got to the ladder up to the loft. Kian watched as he ascended the steps, gun pointed ahead. Then she heard his footsteps above. “Any hiding places up here?” Aidan called out to her.

“No, all open space,” Kian replied.

When Aidan finally came back down, he holstered his gun and went to her. He held her shoulders in his strong grip. “About that creepy feeling you got when we arrived. Rule number four, always listen to your gut.”

“I know, I know,” she said looking away from him. “But it gets worse. I felt it again, that creepy feeling. Starting right before we went out to the garden and then it got worse before we removed the box. This is all my fault, isn’t it? If I had told you….” The tears rolled down her cheeks and she wiped them away with the back of her hand. “I promise I won’t make that mistake again.”

Aidan lifted her chin and looked deeply into her eyes. “I should have been more careful. I could have listened the first time you told me, but I didn’t.” He wiped a tear from under her eye. “Lesson learned, okay?”

“Oh, Aidan, I feel awful. What are we going to do now?”

“I don’t know yet.” Aidan wrapped his arms around her. “But we’ll think of something,” he said softly, his breath close and warm. “We still have the Ark.”

For a long moment they stood with their faces inches apart, just staring at each other. Kian wanted him to kiss her, to reassure her everything was okay between them, and she tilted her head. Then she felt her body arch up as if reaching for him. Suddenly she knew she wanted more than just his reassurance. She wanted him.

Aidan’s brilliant turquoise eyes seem to lose focus as he gently brushed his lips against hers. The most intimate places in her body felt warm, tingly warm, and she reached further into his embrace. He pressed his lips to hers, more urgently this time, grabbing her, and pulling her closer.

Just when Kian started to wonder if her old mattress was still up in Jacob’s loft, Aidan’s cell phone vibrated.

“Oh my god! Jimbo.” Aidan pulled away. “I signaled we were in trouble. Should have called him back.” He put his index finger gently to her lips. “Hold that thought.”

Kian had no doubt she’d be holding that thought for a long time.

 

 

 

It took Aidan’s body a while to calm down. He’d blown it, he knew that. Kian was a “case,” not a lover. He pulled away to get some distance, both physically and emotionally before punching the screen of his smartphone. “Jimbo, sorry. We are both fine. I’m putting you on speaker.” He held the phone out between them.

“Jimbo, one of your perps had us at gunpoint. What happened? You lose surveillance?”

“Fuck, man, I’d a warned you if I did. I still got two perps. They are covering the area with a metal detector.”

“I think we got us a third perp.”

“Man or woman?”

“Not sure.”

“Hold a minute, Scotty, I’m going in closer.” Kian and Aidan waited and listened. Then Jimbo was back. “That’s Stephen alright, but that’s not his wife. Some other broad. Damn, I should have noticed.”

“Tell me about it. I let that creep sneak up on me. I mean I’m telling you I did not feel a thing.”

“Shit, man, that’s not like you.”

“Not making me happy, either.”

“That other bitch could be watching you now,” Jimbo said.

“Right. We’ve been in one place too long. Gotta move.”

“Been here too long myself. Later.”

With that, Aidan and Kian went back into the cabin and Aidan picked up two of the packed boxes while Kian picked up the third.

“You are driving,” he said as they loaded the Jeep and he jumped into the passenger seat.

Kian started the Jeep, threw it into reverse while making a quick turn back toward the road. “What now?” she asked.

“Find fake Stephen’s wife. If we find her, we find the wings.”

 

 

On the way back through town, Kian insisted the local police needed a push. A huge push. “It’s their job to pick up Mary Weber, not yours.”

Aidan doubted the local police would be able to find her, but Kian insisted, “Mary stole those wings from us. At gunpoint. It’s time they got off their lazy butts and brought her in.”

“Kian, we have no proof it was Mary who took the wings. We didn’t see her. Remember that.”

“Yes, well it was Mary and Stephen who shot at me, I’m sure of that, even if nobody else is. Besides,” she added, “they haven’t picked up those other creeps on my property. Trespassing is against the law.”

Kian pulled into the lot and parked the Jeep. “You coming with me or not?”

“Yes, as soon as I make a call.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Attribution:  https://img.haikudeck.com/mi/245c979e7dd1ff1dc687ba5238a79d80.jpg

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 13, continued again

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Once outside at the Jeep, Aidan stowed a small leather kit under the passenger seat before he climbed in. “Drive past the road where the perps parked, the one that goes to the chambers,” he told Kian. “But, don’t go down the road. I just want to see how secluded it is.”

“It’s not really a road, more a dirt track.” She drove to the county road, and then turned left pointing to the rutted dirt track as they passed it.

Aidan took a look and then studied the map on his tablet. “Not on the map, that’s for sure.”

“Nope, it’s not.” From there, Kian drove straight to Jacob’s cabin.

When they arrived and got out of the Jeep, Kian felt a creepy dread pass through her. She swayed and leaned back against the side of the Jeep.

Aidan looked at her, concern showing on his face. “Are you okay?”

Kian pushed the dread from her mind as she pushed herself away from the Jeep. “Just feeling creepy, I guess. Last time I was here, well…you know.”

At Jacob’s front door they found the crime scene tape broken and the door wide open. The lock had been smashed off. Inside was chaos. Everything had been turned over, dumped out, or flung away.

“Not very methodical, our perps.” Aidan let out a long hard sigh. “Better start in one corner and work our way through. This could take a while.”

They had barely begun when Aidan called to Kian. He showed her a faded old kachina that had been on Jacob’s sideboard. “Some of these artifacts are genuine. Too valuable to leave in an unlocked cabin. Hand me that box, will you? We should pack some of this stuff up and get it out of here.”

They worked for two hours and when they were finally finished, both of them were covered in dust. It clung to their damp clothes and streaked in the sweat pouring down their faces. Three boxes of packed artifacts sat on the dining room table. They had not found the wings.

Disappointed, Kian flopped down in Jacob’s easy chair. “The thieves must have taken them. They’re gone.”

“I’m not so sure. Something that valuable? Well I would never leave it in plain sight.” He perched himself on the stuffed arm of Kian’s chair. “Think back and tell me what else you remember about that night.”

“Like I said, we looked at the wings, then had dinner, then my parents left, and I was mad at them so I went to bed without saying good-bye. Do we have to keep going over this?”

“Humor me. What happened next?”

“I went to bed, I read a while then I went to sleep, I guess.”

“Let’s try something. Close your eyes and think back to that night. Think about the last time you saw the wings. Tell me where you are.”

Even though she felt this was useless, Kian closed her eyes. “It is just before we ate dinner. I’m in this living room. I’m sitting on the sofa next to my dad.”

“Where are the wings?”

“On the coffee table in front of me.”

“Did anyone take them to the dinner table?”

“No.”

“Okay, good. After dinner, did anyone pick them up or look at them again?”

“No, because mom and dad left right after dinner.”

“Uncle Jacob?”

“No, he went into the kitchen to clean up.”

“What did you do then?”

“Like I said, I was already up in the loft reading.”

“Okay, good. What happened before you turned off the lights and fell asleep?”

“Nothing.”

“Did Jacob go to bed right after he finished in the kitchen?”

Kian thought back, trying to remember. He’d finished in the kitchen and then she heard him moving around below her. “No, he cleaned up the living room and then went outside to work on his stone wall. I snuck over to the window when I heard him go out. He fixed one of the stones and then came inside.”

“Why was he fixing the wall?”

“Beats me,” Kian said opening her eyes.

“Tell me about the wall.”

“Well, Uncle Jacob and I built it. Well, actually he built it and I was his helper. He showed me how to shape the stones so that there were no cracks between them when we stacked them. Also how to make it so the rain would run off without going down into the wall and making ice.”

“That’s a strange thing to teach a child.”

“Yes, well Uncle Jacob liked to show me how to build all types of stone structures like the ones on my property. We made a miniature village, and he showed me how to align the structures to the stars just like in my visions. He seemed to think it was important. Weird, huh?”

“Maybe, maybe not. Let’s go have a look at that wall.”

Kian stood and felt herself sway. That creepy dread again. Would it never stop haunting her? She hated that feeling and pushed it away. No more craziness, she decided for the hundredth time since moving back here.

Aidan followed her to the garden.

At the stone wall, Kian still felt the dread but forced herself to focus as Aidan inspected the stones.

“Kian, look at these. There’s no mortar in this wall, and each stone is so perfectly shaped, you could not get paper between them, let alone my knife. How did Jacob do that?”

“It’s hard to explain, but it takes practice.”

“More than practice, I think.” Aidan studied the wall another minute. “So what part of the wall was Jacob working on that night?”

The creepy dread was growing now, but Kian was determined to ignore it. “Let me think. When I saw him that night, Uncle Jacob was kneeling here.” She pointed to the back and right hand side of the wall.

Aidan knelt. Using his fingers, he tried pulling the stones out but could not get a grip on any of them, let alone enough leverage to pull one out.

“Here, let me try,” Kian said. She knelt down. Using her two fingers, she pushed on first one side of a stone, then the other. She did this to each row of the first column of stones. Nothing happened, so she went to the second column. Still nothing.

Aidan crouched down beside her. “Show me what you’re doing.”

“It’s something Dad showed me once. It’s how he would open secret compartments in walls and things.”

“Secret compartments?”

“Strange, huh? When I was a kid, I thought every house had them.” Kian pushed on the right side of the second stone in the third row. It grated against the stone below as it moved. She pushed harder and the left side popped out.

Aidan looked at her, shook his head, and slid the stone out of the wall. He now peered into a deep dark hole.

Kian’s stomach tightened as suddenly the constant feeling of dread now threatened to overwhelm her. She almost doubled over, but determined to fight through it, Kian reached in and retrieved a smaller version of the ebony box containing the Ark. It was battered and water damaged. The clasp had broken off, and the lid was tied with string.

They both jumped when a deep commanding voice ordered, “Don’t turn around or you are both dead.” It was just feet behind them. “Now stand up.”

They did as they were told, arms raised in the air. Kian could feel her heart beating so fast she thought it would fly out of her chest. Her head swam. Focus, she told herself, focus.

“Put the box on the ground and kick it back to me.” The voice had a slight lisp. Or was it an accent? Kian realized she could not even tell if it was a man or a woman. She looked at Aidan, but she could see he, too, was helpless. He just shook his head and said, “Do as he says.” But Kian hesitated. “Please, just do as he says,” Aidan pleaded.

Kian bent down, placed the box on the ground, and pushed it back with her foot.

Kian saw Aidan reach under his shirt and thought he might be reaching for his gun. But then she saw his fingers on the cell phone tucked in the waist of his pants.

Kian fidgeted. “What’s happening?”

Aidan shoved Kian to the ground and spun around, grabbing his Sig-Sauer as he turned.

“DAMN!”

The thief and the box were gone.

 

 

 

Photo Attribution:

By Thamizhpparithi Maari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 13, continued

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Chapter 13 continued: Kian’s Vision

 

The woman came into the valley knowing what she would find–a home for herself and her adopted people.

As she stood surveying the valley, her brother Samus came and put his arm around her. “You have done well. The Sight has not abandoned us altogether, I see.”

They were the last two of their people to survive the journey from their sinking lands to the East. A dozen or so had made it to this wild shore. Now only Mageon and Samus were left. They would have to marry into the tribe that had taken them in. Otherwise their line, their heritage would not survive. Mageon could think of a couple of men she fancied. Samus had already taken a bride and had a son.

“We will put up stone shelters and cover them with earth. When the rock storms come from the sky, we will be safe there. The storms will not last forever, I think. One day the earth will find her balance again and there will be peace.”

The thunderbirds, taller than a man and with wingspans to match, had followed the people west, although they, too, had diminished in number. When the rock storms came, it was hard for a bird so big to escape.

Samus set about building shelters, showing the other men how it was done. Many of the stones were piled. They selected the most beautiful rocks they could find. In the firelight, they sparkled. When the stones were piled high, sometimes around dirt mounds to hold the corbeling in place, they used sails made of animal skins to lift the one large flat stone that would be the roof. This they learned by studying the aerodynamics of the thunderbirds. The winds of the shifting planet quickly caught the animal skins that were tied to the rock. It was not so much a matter of lifting the rock as it was of holding it down and guiding it in the strong winds.

Many shelters were made, one for each family. Then Samus’s medicine chamber was built into the side of an earthen mound. Samus fashioned a small window in the back so that the setting sun would form a light show as it sank down on the two equal days of the year, the Equinoxes. With this, generations to come would be able to track the seasons, knowing when it was time to plant the grains, to move out to hunt, but most of all when it was time for the festivals that would bring the earth back into balance.

Samus, now an old man, had one more task: to build a replica of his lost city so his sons and their sons would remember. Using fire and water, he shaped hard rock into semi-circles. Then he placed them in 3 rings. Each represented a ring on the isle that was once their home. There were 12 rocks in each ring, representing the 12 constellations. Spaces were left between each stone in each of the rings so that a straight channel was created from the center to the outside of the ring. In their homeland, these channels were waterways, used to travel.  

If he’d had the right metals at hand, Samus could have lined each ring with the proper ore, making a coil that would do… what? Samus’s memory was faltering. He could no longer remember.”

 

 

Kian recalled the vision perfectly. The details were so clear, she had seen it, not heard or imagined it. The people in the story had walked in front of her as she sat there, had talked and moved as if real. True, the different scenes faded in and out, but each had been tangible, as if she could reach out and touch the people. Even as she listened to Aidan reading, she could see and feel it all again. It was so real, it scared her.

“Kian, I want you to see something.” Aidan pointed to the bottom of the printout. “Whose writing is that, your dad’s or Jacob’s?”

“Dad’s, why?”

“Because it says, ‘Kian’s vision verified by translation #S516 (Samus history of Bucknun settlement) & N534 (Naesus ap Samus entry).’ You still think this is make believe?”

Kian, lost in a fog, picked at a loose thread on her recliner. She did not know what think.

“Do we need to find those entries, or shall we take your father’s word for it?” Aidan asked, a smug smile on his face.

“Okay, okay, stop gloating. If he said it, I believe it,” Kian replied.

“I am not gloating and I think we should go see those chambers.”

Kian’s heart seemed to stop. “Oh my god, the other side of the ridge where those thugs parked their van, there’s a dirt trail that goes to the chambers. You don’t suppose that’s where they are right now, do you?”

Aidan snatched his cell phone from the coffee table and punched the main button. “Text Jimbo,” he said.

When the screen came up, Aidan punched at the tiny letters. He hit send.

A minute later his phone pinged. Aidan read, “At stone ruins with perps.”

“Tell him not to let….”

“I got it,” replied Aidan. He punched in the text, “Do not let them destroy. 12,000 year old site. Going to Jacob’s.” He punched send.

When Jimbo’s message came back, he showed it to Kian. “Got it covered. Won’t let them move a pebble. Tell me more later.”

Aidan took Kian by the hand and led her to the door. “Come on, let’s go while Jimbo still has them under surveillance.”

 

 

Notes:

Kian’s vision is based on the structures at a site called Gungywamp. I have transplanted the structures found there to Kian’s property in Putnam County.

Willing Sacrifice: Chapter 13

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

This time Kian put on her running shoes. If she was going to be chased and shot at, she wanted to be prepared.

When Kian got downstairs, she found Aidan perched on the sofa, his blanket and pillow neatly folded beside him. He was staring at his computer. “We have a translation of the vellum.”

Excited, Kian hoped this would give them some answers. “What’s it say?” She removed his duffle and set it on the floor so she could sit in the dusty old recliner next to the sofa.

“It is a deed of some sort, to this property, I think. If this date is correct, it was drawn up about 1000 BCE.” He turned the laptop screen toward her.

She studied it before replying, “That’s crazy.” She turned his laptop back toward Aidan.

“Maybe not so crazy. Most likely the vellum is a copy of an inscription from a stone buried on the property. That’s the way they did it back then. It lists one Cyrme from Bucknun as the person claiming it.” He looked at Kian. “Mean anything to you?”

“Yes, Mr. FBI. That’s the same name that was on the stone Dad translated. The one about the lost wings.”

Aidan smiled. “So, how did your parents come by this property?”

“Dad inherited it.” Kian absently scratched at the frayed binding on the recliner. “According to the town records, it’s been in his family since the 1600s. Your friend must have translated the date wrong.”

“Very unlikely. When did your ancestors come to this country? Do you know?”

“I guess the 1600s, when the first white settlers arrived. That’s what we learned in history class.”

“Forget what you learned in classit is all wrong. People have been traveling across the Atlantic and settling here for millennia.”

“Now you sound like my father. He said someday he would explain it all to me.” Kian slumped down into her seat. “That was another ‘someday’ that never came.” She pointed to Aidan’s computer. “So what else do we think we know? Anything?”

“The deed mentions some stone structures. Are there any old chambers on the property?”

“Yes, out back. Some old stone walls, some cairns, a huge stone circle, too.”

“Kian, what do you know about those structures?”

“Nothing really, but Uncle Jacob and I used to go out there when I was little and I would have these dreamlike visions, so we’d make up stories about them. Then we would come back and type them up for my parents.”

“What kinds of things did you see?”

“Aidan, they were just make believe.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“Well these people who built the chambers escaped from somewhere and found this valley so they settled here. I mean I saw these people building the chambers and things. But like I said, it was make believe, stories my dad put in something he called The Book of Knowings.”

 

 

Intrigued by what Kian had told him, Aidan got up and went to Red’s library. There he picked up one of the stacks of Red’s notes that he had been sorting, a stack he had tentatively label The Book of Knowings. He handed it to Kian. “See if you can find the story about the chambers.”

“This is a waste of time,” Kian replied as she took the papers into her lap. “How is this going to help us anyway?”

“Just humor me, okay?”

Aidan watched as Kian divided the huge stack into two piles, one with yellow legal paper, the other with computer print-outs. The larger stack, the one with the legal paper, she handed back to Aidan first. “These are the translations Dad did of some old family records.”

From the little time Aidan had been able to spend with these documents, he knew them to be records of births and deaths, good times and bad for the Bucknun ancestors.

Aidan took a minute to glance through them again. Stapled to the top of each page was a photocopy of what he assumed to be the original. Under that was a translation.

Red had been meticulous in his translations, Aidan noted, often referring back to the original with musings on how differing authorities might suggest alternative meanings for the words. Unlike modern languages, archaic languages were more difficult to decipher. There were no common spellings and many words along with their meanings had been lost. But more than that, people thought differently. Trying to force modern words on old ideas could not truly convey the feelings or meanings behind the words. Many times Red had suggested several different translations before finally settling on the one he thought best.

Still, one common element underscored all the translations. The history of what Red translated as an “eron.” A more modern translation would be “ark.” This further convinced Aidan that there was more to Kian’s family than Kian realized.

“That’s just the beginning,” Kian informed him when finally he placed the stack on the coffee table. “The ones he was working on when he left. There are more in filing cabinets upstairs.”

She held up the second stack of papers. “These are my stories.”

Aidan wanted to ask about the rest of this Book of Knowings, but now was not the time. Maybe after this was over. He focused back on Kian’s visions and what that might mean. “Can you find the one about the chambers?”

“Easy.” Kian leafed through and found a printed document with hand-written notes and crayon drawings attached. “That’s it,” she said and handed it to Aidan. “But I am telling you, this is a waste of time.”

Ignoring her comment, Aidan began to read, “‘This is based on what Kian Radha saw in her vision. She described it to me as it happened. After the vision, I asked questions for clarity. The details are exactly as Kian described them to me.'”

Aidan looked up and smiled. “It’s signed by Jacob Steiner. Shall I go on?”

“Since I can’t stop you, go ahead. But I am telling you, it was just a made-up story.” She sat back and crossed her arms over her chest as he began to read again.

 

 

 

Notes:

There are, indeed, stone cairns, chambers, dolmans, and walls all up and down the Hudson River. Most seem to be located in what is now Putnam County.

The chamber pictured is on Route 301 and can be seen from the road. At both Beltane and Lammas, the sun shines directly into this chamber, perfectly illuminating the back wall. This makes it a calendar that marks Beltane, the time of planting and Lammas, the time of harvest. The picture was taken at sunrise on Lammas, August 1st.

I was interested to find that Burke and Halberg (2005) report seeds left overnight in this chamber (and others) had shown enhanced growth and production rates(pp 61-72) further tying these chambers to the cycle of planting and harvesting.

The question of who actually built these stone structures is open for debate. Many were probably built by the Native Americans. Similar stone chambers are still being built by native people in the north close to glaciers. It would not be a stretch to substitute rock for ice blocks in areas where the climate has warmed making the traditional igloo uninhabitable.

On the other hand, we have no evidence the native people followed the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarter days (half way between equinox and solstice) as did the people of northern Europe. Additionally we have found Ogham and Punic writing as well as other evidence of European presence in New England and elsewhere in the Americas.

For me it is a “chicken and egg” question. Perhaps there was more contact between northern Europe and North America than we currently believe and each shared equally in the development of stone as a building material, each using stone for their own purposes.

 

 

For more information and pictures of the stone structures in New England, including those in the Hudson Valley, see The New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA).

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Burke, John & Halberg, Kaj (2005). Seed of Knowledge Stone of Plenty: Understanding the Lost technology of the Ancient Megalith-Builders. San Francisco: Council Oak Books.

Used copies of this book go for $70, but it is now available as an ebook for a more reasonable price.