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Chapter 06

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“Beziers, wasn’t that the crusades?”

“The Albigensian crusade, it was the typical frame of mind then.  Rome had a policy, Nulla salus extra ecclesium, outside the church there is no salvation.  To this day, most everyone in Languedoc knows this saying.  It represents a tactic of indiscriminate massacre.”

“I understand that, it’s simple enough,” said Cameron.

“This monk, Cameron, he was the first of the inquisition.”

“So what does that mean?”

“Nothing I think, but someone carrying that dagger may be some type of follower.”

“The woman, Marie, said as much.”  Cameron twisted the blade in his hand, examining the metal more closely.  “Something else is odd.”

“What Cameron?”

“There seems to be blood on this blade.  I didn’t see him cut anyone.”

“Yes, I was waiting to tell you.”  Claude did not continue.  Cameron thought Claude had dropped the call.  Cameron was about to ask Claude if he was still on the line when Claude spoke again, “They found Gerard locked in a bathroom stall.  His throat was cut.”

Cameron hung his head.  He slipped the dagger back into his pocket, picked up the basket, and then turned toward the front of the market.  “I’ll get to the bottom of this Claude.”

“Be careful.  These people are into something very deep.”

“Yeah, listen,” Cameron sought the words and then changed his mind and said simply, “I’ll check in later.”

* Cameron paid for the groceries and walked out of the market holding a brown paper bag.  He stopped at the front of the car near Marie and Nicole and smiled.  Cameron offered Nicole the small grocery bag, “Apple, banana, or orange.  Your choice.”  Nicole reached into the bag and pulled out an apple.  “Merci,” said Nicole.  She then closed her eyes and held the apple in clasped hands above her chest.  Nicole prayed in a low whisper and though Cameron could barely distinguish the words, he recognized the unmistakable cadence of the prayer.  By the rhythm of the prayer alone Cameron knew that Nicole was reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  After reciting her prayer Nicole opened her eyes and bit into the apple.  Juice ran down her chin and she giggled. “So you do smile,” said Cameron.  Marie stepped close to him, put her hand into the bag, and pulled out the orange.  “Merci,” said Marie.  As Cameron could have predicted the corners of Marie’s mouth stayed taught.

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