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The Missing Journal

“… and Dr. Foehammer disappeared with the boys. I never discovered what happened to them entirely, but I was able to make logical extrapolations,” Father Pizarro said, concluding his narrative. “I am an old man. I suppose someone needs to know what happened. Your careless curiosity with your starrett, Dominic, has doomed you into becoming my repository. If you do not wish this, our conversation has concluded.” At this Father Pizarro busied himself with serving himself another cup of tea. Brother Lapis stayed rooted to his chair, digesting all that he had just heard. When enough time had passed for Father Pizzaro to decide that Brother Lapis was not going to leave, he stood and selected a slim leather bound book from the his library. He opened it, showing the coarse handwriting as was suited to the medical profession.


“Their names are all here. Clerical, which can be cross referenced to their families, of course.” Father Pizzaro turned to the latter half of the volume, showing the neat, precise script of a second author. “I continued the work, in secret. First with those in the workhouses, then with our own. Physiological change can only happen in childhood. There are windows of opportunity in the development that can be exploited with the precise administration of medicinals.”


Brother Lapis’ eyes became wider, his eyes glued on the writing in the journal.


“History repeats itself in the cycle of the length of a human memory. Imagine, Dominic, if those in power had advisors with memories longer our eighty or so years. Imagine the suffering that could be prevented if we could be turned away from constantly repeating our own mistakes over and over again.”


Father Pizarro closed the journal and put it into Brother Lapis’ hands. “You will find the answers to your questions about the dosing protocol in here. You will also find the cocoa recipe that keeps Father Moonwall calm. See to it. He believes it is his occult disciplines that are the secret to his longevity, that is why he is interested in you, of course, but I believe it is something else in his nature. Always be on your guard with him, Dominic. The greatest lesson Father Moonwall inadvertently taught me was how to cover one’s past. He was not as careful as he imagined.”


Father Pizzaro smiled at that, a bit of a twinkle behind his fading blue eyes.


“I am sorry that this fell to you, Dominic. I am certain you bear enough of other people’s secrets in your memory. Bear it well, my son.”



Later, in his own cell, Brother Lapis lit tapers before the icon of his patron, the Blessed Basil of the Steppes. He put Dr. Foehammer’s journal on his desk, centering it carefully and deliberately. He steepled his hands, resting chin and forehead on the tips of his thumbs and index fingers, and said the litany that let him pass into a mnemonic state. In the palace of his memory, he searched for an appropriate place to prepare. Behind that bookcase, perhaps, across from the hidden hall, that would restore the symmetry of the floorplan. He looked opposite to the wall where the Great Decagram of Cairo was embedded in the smooth plaster. It was important that there were no cracks in that plaster. There was something behind that wall, but it was not necessary to be able to remember it unless he was on the other side. He pushed the bookcase to the center of the main hall and opened the wall behind it, willing it backwards to form a new wing. This would do. Shelves began to rise along the walls to accept the artefacts of what would come.


He opened his eyes and began to read.


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