[Latest Post][777]

Motivational
Poem
Funny
ShortStory
Love
AfricanFolktale
How To...
Biography
Fact
Health
Inferno
Birthday
Campus Parrot
The Unknown Prince
Relationship
Mythology
Recipe
Fashion
History
Culture
The Preacher's Love
Suggested Post

Search This Blog

Translate

INFERNO 15


VAYENTHA HAD ABANDONED her motorcycle just north of the Palazzo Vecchio and was approaching on foot along the perimeter of the Piazza della Signoria. As she wound her way through the Loggia dei Lanzi’s outdoor statuary, she could not help but notice that all the figures seemed to be enacting a variation on a single theme: violent displays of male dominance over women.
The Rape of the Sabines.
The Rape of Polyxena.
Perseus Holding the Severed Head of Medusa.
Lovely, Vayentha thought, pulling her cap low over her eyes and edging her way through the morning crowd toward the entrance of the palace, which was just admitting the first tourists of the day. From all appearances, it was business as usual here at the Palazzo Vecchio.
No police, Vayentha thought. At least not yet.
She zipped her jacket high around her neck, making certain that her weapon was concealed, and headed through the entrance. Following signs for Il Museo di Palazzo, she passed through two ornate atriums and then up a massive staircase toward the second floor.
As she climbed, she replayed the police dispatch in her head.
Il Museo di Palazzo Vecchio … Dante Alighieri.
Langdon has to be here.
The signs for the museum led Vayentha into a massive, spectacularly adorned gallery—the Hall of the Five Hundred—where a scattering of tourists mingled, admiring the colossal murals on the walls. Vayentha had no interest in observing the art here and quickly located another museum sign in the far right-hand corner of the room, pointing up a staircase.
As she made her way across the hall, she noticed a group of university kids all gathered around a single sculpture, laughing and taking pictures.
The plaque read: Hercules and Diomedes.
Vayentha eyed the statues and groaned.
The sculpture depicted the two heroes of Greek mythology—both stark naked—locked in a wrestling match. Hercules was holding
Diomedes upside down, preparing to throw him, while Diomedes was tightly gripping Hercules’ penis, as if to say, “Are you sure you want to throw me?”
     Vayentha            winced. Talk about
having someone by the balls.
She removed her eyes from the peculiar statue and quickly climbed the stairs toward the museum.
She arrived on a high balcony that overlooked the hall. A dozen or so tourists were waiting outside the museum entrance.
“Delayed opening,” one cheerful tourist offered, peeking out from behind his camcorder.
“Any idea why?” she asked.
“Nope, but what a great view while we wait!” The man swung his arm out over the expanse of the Hall of the Five Hundred below.
Vayentha walked to the edge and peered at the expansive room beneath them. Downstairs, a lone police officer was just arriving, drawing very little attention as he moved, without any sense of
urgency, across the room toward the staircase.
He’s coming up to take a
statement, Vayentha imagined. The man’s lugubrious trudge up the stairs indicated this was a routine response call—nothing like the chaotic search for Langdon at the Porta Romana.
If Langdon is here, why aren’t they swarming the building?
Either Vayentha had assumed incorrectly that Langdon was here, or the local police and Brüder had not yet put two and two together.
As the officer reached the top of the stairs and ambled toward the museum entrance, Vayentha casually turned away and pretended to gaze out a window. Considering her disavowal and the long reach of the provost, she was not taking any chances of being recognized.
“Aspetta!”       a      voice shouted somewhere.
Vayentha’s heart skipped a beat as the officer stopped directly behind her. The voice, she realized, was coming from his walkie-talkie.
“Attendi i rinforzi!” the voice repeated.
Wait for support? Vayentha sensed that something had just changed.
Just then, outside the window, Vayentha noticed a black object growing larger in the distant sky. It was flying toward the Palazzo Vecchio from the direction of the Boboli Gardens.
The drone, Vayentha realized. Brüder knows. And he’s headed this way.
Consortium facilitator Laurence Knowlton was still kicking himself for phoning the provost. He knew better than to suggest that the provost preview the client’s video before it was uploaded to the media tomorrow.
The content was irrelevant.
Protocol is king.
Knowlton still recalled the mantra taught to young facilitators when they started handling tasks for the organization. Don’t ask. Just task.
Reluctantly, he placed the little red memory stick in the queue for tomorrow morning, wondering what the media would make of the bizarre message. Would they even play it?
Of course they will. It’s from Bertrand Zobrist.
Not only was Zobrist a staggeringly successful figure in the biomedical world, but he was already in the news as a result of his suicide last week. This nine-minute video would play like a message from the grave, and its ominously macabre quality would make it nearly impossible for people to turn it off.
This video will go viral within minutes of its release.

MARTA ALVAREZ WAS seething as she stepped out of the cramped video room, having left Langdon and his rude little sister at gunpoint with the guards. She marched over to a window and peered down at the Piazza della Signoria, relieved to see a police car parked out front.
It’s about time.
Marta still could not fathom why a man as respected in his profession as Robert Langdon would so blatantly deceive her, take advantage of the professional courtesy she had offered, and steal a priceless artifact.
And Ignazio Busoni assisted him!?
Unthinkable!
Intent on giving Ignazio a piece of her mind, Marta pulled out her cell phone and dialed il Duomino’s office, which was several blocks away at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
The line rang only once.
“Ufficio di Ignazio Busoni,” a familiar woman’s voice answered.
Marta was friendly with Ignazio’s secretary but was in no mood for small talk. “Eugenia, sono Marta.
Devo parlare con Ignazio.”
There was an odd pause on the line and then suddenly the secretary burst into hysterical sobbing.
“Cosa succede?” Marta demanded. What’s wrong!?
Eugenia tearfully told Marta that she had just arrived at the office to learn that Ignazio had suffered a massive heart attack last night in an alleyway near the Duomo. It was around midnight when he had called for an ambulance, but the medics hadn’t arrived in time. Busoni was dead.
Marta’s legs nearly buckled beneath her. This morning she’d heard on the news that an unnamed city official had died the previous night, but she never imagined it was Ignazio.
“Eugenia, ascoltami,” Marta urged,
trying to remain calm as she quickly explained what she had just witnessed on the palazzo video cameras—the Dante death mask stolen by Ignazio and Robert Langdon, who was now being held at gunpoint.
Marta had no idea what response she expected Eugenia to make, but it most certainly was not what she heard.
“Roberto Langdon!?” Eugenia demanded. “Sei con Langdon ora?!” You’re with Langdon now?!
Eugenia seemed to be missing the point. Yes, but the mask—
“Devo parlare con lui!” Eugenia all but shouted. I need to speak to him!
Inside the security room, Langdon’s head continued to throb as the guards aimed their weapons directly at him. Abruptly, the door opened, and Marta Alvarez appeared.
Through the open door Langdon heard the distant whine of the drone somewhere outside, its ominous buzz accompanied by the wail of
approaching sirens. They found out
where we are.
“È arrivata la polizia,” Marta told the guards, sending one of them out to usher the authorities into the museum. The other remained behind, gun barrel still aimed at Langdon.
To Langdon’s surprise, Marta held out a cell phone to him. “Someone wants to speak to you,” she said, sounding mystified. “You’ll need to take it out here to have a
connection.”
The group migrated from the stuffy control room into the gallery space just outside, where sunlight poured through large windows offering a spectacular view of Piazza della Signoria below. Although he was still at gunpoint, Langdon felt relieved to be out of the enclosed space.
Marta motioned him over near the window and handed him the phone.
Langdon took it, uncertain, and raised it to his ear. “Yes? This is Robert Langdon.”
“Signore,” the woman said in tentative, accented English. “I am Eugenia Antonucci, the secretary of Ignazio Busoni. You and I, we meet
yesterday night when you arrive his office.”
Langdon recalled nothing. “Yes?”
“I’m very sorry to say you this, but Ignazio, he die of heart attack yesterday night.”
Langdon’s grip tightened on the phone. Ignazio Busoni is dead?!
The woman was weeping now, her voice full of sadness. “Ignazio call me before he die. He leave me a message and tell me to be sure you
hear it. I will play it for you.”
Langdon heard some rustling, and moments later, a faint breathless recording of the voice of Ignazio Busoni reached his ears.
“Eugenia,” the man panted, clearly in pain. “Please be sure Robert Langdon hears this message. I’m in trouble. I don’t think I’ll make it back to the office.” Ignazio groaned and there was a long silence. When he began speaking again, his voice was weaker. “Robert, I hope you escaped. They’re still after me … and I’m … I’m not well. I’m trying to reach a doctor, but …” There was another long pause, as if il Duomino were
mustering his last bit of energy, and then … “Robert, listen carefully. What you seek is safely hidden. The gates are open to you, but you must hurry. Paradise Twenty-five.” He paused a long moment and then whispered,
“Godspeed.”
Then the message ended.
Langdon’s heart raced, and he knew he had just witnessed the final words of a dying man. That these words had been directed at him did nothing to relieve his anxiety. Paradise 25? The gates are open to me? Langdon considered it. What gates does he mean?! The only thing that made any sense at all was that Ignazio had said that the mask was safely hidden.
Eugenia came back on the line. “Professor, do you understand this?”
“Some of it, yes.”
“Is there something I can do?”
Langdon considered this question a long moment. “Make sure nobody else hears this message.”
“Even the police? A detective arrives soon to take my statement.” Langdon stiffened. He looked at the guard who was aiming a gun at him. Quickly, Langdon turned toward the window and lowered his voice, hurriedly whispering, “Eugenia … this will sound strange, but for Ignazio’s sake, I need you to delete that message and do not mention to the police that you spoke to me. Is that clear? The situation is very complicated and—”
Langdon felt a gun barrel press into his side and turned to see the armed guard, inches away, holding out his free hand and demanding Marta’s phone.
On the line, there was a long pause, and Eugenia finally said, “Mr. Langdon, my boss trusted you … so I will, too.”
Then she was gone.
Langdon handed the phone back to the guard. “Ignazio Busoni is dead,” he said to Sienna. “He died of a heart attack last night after leaving this museum.” Langdon paused. “The mask is safe. Ignazio hid it before he died. And I think he left me a clue about where to find it.” Paradise 25.
Hope flashed in Sienna’s eyes, but when Langdon turned back to Marta, she looked skeptical.
“Marta,” Langdon said. “I can retrieve Dante’s mask for you, but you’ll need to let us go.
Immediately.”
Marta laughed out loud. “I will do no such thing! You’re the one who
stole the mask! The police are arriving—”
“Signora Alvarez,”                     Sienna
interrupted loudly. “Mi dispiace, ma
non le abbiamo detto la verità.”
Langdon did a double take. What is Sienna doing?! He had understood her words. Mrs. Alvarez, I’m sorry,
but we have not been honest with you.
Marta looked equally startled by Sienna’s words, although much of her shock seemed to be over the fact that Sienna was suddenly speaking fluent, unaccented Italian.
“Innanzitutto, non sono la sorella di Robert Langdon,” Sienna declared in an apologetic tone. First off, I am not Robert Langdon’s sister.

MARTA ALVAREZ TOOK an unsteady step backward and folded her arms, studying the young blond woman before her.
“Mi dispiace,” Sienna continued, still speaking fluent Italian. “Le
abbiamo mentito su molte cose.” We have lied to you about many things.
The guard looked as perplexed as Marta, although he held his position.
Sienna spoke rapidly now, still in Italian, telling Marta that she worked at a Florence hospital where Langdon had arrived the previous night with a bullet wound to the head. She explained that Langdon recalled nothing of the events that had brought him there, and that he was as surprised by the security video as Marta had been.
“Show her your wound,” Sienna ordered Langdon.
When Marta saw the stitches beneath Langdon’s matted hair, she sat down on the windowsill and held her face in her hands for several seconds.
In the past ten minutes, Marta had learned not only that the Dante death mask had been stolen during her watch, but that the two thieves had been a respected American professor and her trusted Florentine colleague, who was now dead. Furthermore, the young Sienna Brooks, whom Marta had imagined to be the wide-eyed American sister of Robert Langdon, turned out to be a doctor, admitting to a lie … and doing so in fluent Italian.
“Marta,” Langdon said, his voice deep and understanding. “I know it must be hard to believe, but I truly don’t remember last night at all. I have no idea why Ignazio and I took the mask.”
Marta sensed from his eyes that he was telling the truth.
“I’ll return the mask to you,”
Langdon said. “You have my word.
But I can’t retrieve it unless you let us go. The situation is complicated. You need to let us go, right away.”
Despite wanting the priceless mask returned, Marta had no intention of letting anyone go. Where are the
police?! She looked down at the lone police car in the Piazza della Signoria. It seemed strange that the officers had not yet reached the museum. Marta also heard a strange buzzing noise in the distance—it sounded like someone was using a power saw. And it was getting louder.
What is that?
Langdon’s tone was beseeching now. “Marta, you know Ignazio. He would never have removed the mask without a good reason. There’s a bigger picture here. The owner of the mask, Bertrand Zobrist, was a very confused man. We think he may be involved in something terrible. I don’t have time to explain it all, but I’m begging you to trust us.”
Marta could only stare. None of this seemed to make any sense at all.
“Mrs. Alvarez,” Sienna said, fixing Marta with a stony look. “If you care about your future, and that of your baby, then you need to let us leave, right now.”
Marta folded her hands protectively across her abdomen, not at all pleased by the veiled threat to her unborn child.
The high-pitched buzz outside was definitely getting louder, and when Marta peered out the window, she couldn’t see the source of the noise, but she did see something else.
The guard saw it, too, his eyes widening.
Down in the Piazza della Signoria, the crowds had parted to make way for a long line of police cars that were arriving without sirens, led by two black vans, which now skidded to a stop outside the palace doors. Soldiers in black uniforms jumped out, carrying large guns, and ran into the palace.
Marta felt a surge of fear. Who the hell is that?!
The security guard looked equally alarmed.
The high-pitched buzzing sound grew suddenly piercing, and Marta withdrew in distress as she glimpsed a small helicopter rising into view just outside the window.
The machine hovered no more than ten yards away, almost as if it were staring in at the people in the room. It was a small craft, maybe a yard long, with a long black cylinder mounted on the front. The cylinder was pointed directly at them.
“It’s going to shoot!” Sienna shouted. “Sta per sparare! Everybody down! Tutti a terra!” She dropped to her knees beneath the windowsill, and Marta went cold with terror as she instinctively followed suit. The guard dropped down, too, reflexively aiming his gun at the little machine.
From Marta’s awkward crouch below the windowsill, she could see that Langdon was still standing, staring at Sienna with an odd look, clearly not believing there was any danger. Sienna was on the ground for only an instant before she bounded back up, grabbed Langdon by the wrist, and began pulling him in the direction of the hallway. An instant later, they were fleeing together toward the main entrance of the building.
The guard spun on his knees and crouched like a sniper—raising his weapon down the hallway in the direction of the departing duo.
“Non spari!” Marta ordered him. “Non possono scappare.” Don’t shoot! They can’t possibly escape!
Langdon and Sienna disappeared around a corner, and Marta knew it would be only a matter of seconds before the duo collided with the authorities coming in the other way.
“Faster!” Sienna urged, rushing with Langdon back the way they’d come in. She was hoping they could make it to the main entrance before running into the police head-on, but she now realized the chances of this were close to zero.
Langdon apparently had similar doubts. Without warning, he skidded to a full stop in a wide intersection of hallways. “We’ll never make it out this way.”
“Come on!” Sienna motioned urgently for him to follow. “Robert, we can’t just stand here!”
Langdon seemed distracted, gazing to his left, down a short corridor that appeared to dead-end in a small, dimly lit chamber. The walls of the room were covered with antique maps, and at the center of the room stood a massive iron globe. Langdon eyed the huge metal sphere and began nodding slowly, and then more vigorously.
“This way,” Langdon declared, dashing off toward the iron globe.
Robert! Sienna followed against her better judgment. The corridor clearly led deeper into the museum, away from the exit.
“Robert?” she gasped, finally catching up to him. “Where are you taking us?!”
“Through Armenia,” he replied.
“What?!”
“Armenia,” Langdon repeated, his eyes dead ahead. “Trust me.”
One story below, hidden among frightened tourists on the balcony of the Hall of the Five Hundred, Vayentha kept her head down as Brüder’s SRS team thundered past her into the museum. Downstairs, the sound of slamming doors resonated through the hall as police sealed the area.
If Langdon were indeed here, he was trapped.
Unfortunately, Vayentha was, too.
WITH ITS WARM oak wainscoting and coffered wooden ceilings, the Hall of Geographical Maps feels a world away from the stark stone and plaster interior of the Palazzo Vecchio. Originally the building’s cloakroom, this grand space contains dozens of closets and cabinets once used to store the portable assets of the grand duke. On this day, the walls were adorned with maps—fiftythree illuminations hand-painted on leather—depicting the world as it was known in the 1550s.
The hall’s dramatic collection of cartography is dominated by the presence of a massive globe that stands in the center of the room. Known as the Mappa Mundi, the sixfoot-tall sphere had been the largest rotating globe of its era and was said to spin almost effortlessly with just the touch of a finger. Today the globe serves as more of a final stop for tourists who have threaded their way through the long succession of gallery rooms and reached a dead end, where they circle the globe and depart the way they came.
Langdon and Sienna arrived breathless in the Hall of Maps. Before them, the Mappa Mundi rose majestically, but Langdon didn’t even glance at it, his eyes moving instead to the outer walls of the room.
“We need to find Armenia!”
Langdon said. “The map of Armenia!”
Clearly nonplussed by his request, Sienna hurried off to the room’s righthand wall in search of a map of Armenia.
Langdon immediately began a similar search along the left-hand wall, tracing his way around the perimeter of the room.
Arabia, Spain, Greece …
Each country was portrayed in remarkable detail, considering that the drawings had been made more than five hundred years ago, at a time when much of the world had yet to be mapped or explored.
Where is Armenia?
Compared to his usually vivid eidetic memories, Langdon’s recollections of his “secret passages tour” here several years ago felt cloudy, due in no small part to the second glass of Gaja Nebbiolo he’d enjoyed with lunch prior to the tour. Fittingly, the word nebbiolo meant “little fog.” Even so, Langdon now distinctly recalled being shown a single map in this room—Armenia—a map that possessed a unique property.
I know it’s in here, Langdon thought, continuing to scan the seemingly endless line of maps.
     “Armenia!”     Sienna      announced.
“Over here!”
Langdon spun toward where she was standing in the deep right-hand corner of the room. He rushed over, and Sienna pointed to the map of Armenia with an expression that seemed to say, “We found Armenia— so what?”
Langdon knew they didn’t have time for explanations. Instead, he simply reached out, grabbed the map’s massive wooden frame, and heaved it toward him. The entire map swung into the room, along with a large section of the wall and wainscoting, revealing a hidden passageway.
“All right, then,” Sienna said, sounding impressed. “Armenia it is.”
Without hesitation, Sienna hurried through the opening, moving fearlessly into the dim space beyond. Langdon followed her and quickly pulled the wall closed behind them.
Despite his foggy recollections of the secret passages tour, Langdon recalled this passageway clearly. He and Sienna had just passed, as it were, through the looking glass into
the          Palazzo           Invisibile—the
clandestine world that existed behind the walls of the Palazzo Vecchio—a secret domain that had been accessible solely to the then-reigning duke and those closest to him.
Langdon paused a moment inside the doorway and took in their new surroundings—a pale stone hallway lit only by faint natural light that filtered through a series of leaded windows. The   passageway descended fifty yards or so to a wooden door.
He turned now to his left, where a narrow ascending staircase was blocked by a chain swag. A sign above the stairs warned: USCITA
VIETATA.
Langdon headed for the stairs.
“No!” Sienna warned. “It says ‘No
Exit.’ ”
“Thanks,” Langdon said with a wry smile. “I can read the Italian.”
He unhooked the chain swag, carried it back to the secret door, and quickly used it to immobilize the rotating wall—threading the chain through the door handle and around a nearby fixture so the door could not be pulled open from the other side.
          “Oh,” Sienna said         sheepishly.
“Good thinking.”
“It won’t keep them out for long,” Langdon said. “But we won’t need much time. Follow me.”
When the map of Armenia finally crashed open, Agent Brüder and his men streamed down the narrow


corridor in pursuit, heading for wooden door at the far end. When they burst through, Brüder felt a blast of cold air hit him head-on, and was momentarily blinded by bright sunlight.
He had arrived on an exterior walkway, which threaded along the rooftop of the palazzo. His eye traced the path, which led directly to another door, some fifty yards away, and reentered the building.
Brüder glanced to the left of the walkway, where the high, vaulted roof of the Hall of the Five Hundred rose like a mountain. Impossible to
traverse. Brüder turned now to his right, where the walkway was bordered by a sheer cliff that plummeted down into a deep light well. Instant death.
His eyes refocused straight ahead. “This way!”
Brüder and his men dashed along the walkway toward the second door while the surveillance drone circled like a vulture overhead.
When Brüder and his men burst through the doorway, they all slid to an abrupt stop, nearly piling up on one another.
They were standing in a tiny stone chamber that had no exit other than the door through which they had just come. A lone wooden desk stood against the wall. Overhead, the grotesque figures depicted in chamber’s ceiling frescoes seemed to stare down at them mockingly.
It was a dead end.
One of Brüder’s men hurried over and scanned the informational placard on the wall. “Hold on,” he said. “This says there’s a finestra in here—some kind of secret window?”
Brüder looked around but saw no secret window. He marched over and read the placard himself.
Apparently this space had once been the private study of Duchess Bianca Cappello and included a secret window—una finestra
segrata—through which Bianca could covertly watch her husband deliver speeches down below in the Hall of the Five Hundred.
Brüder’s eyes searched the room again, now locating a small latticecovered opening discreetly hidden in the sidewall. Did they escape
through there?
He stalked over and examined the opening, which appeared to be too small for someone of Langdon’s size to get through. Brüder pressed his face to the grid and peered through, confirming for certain that nobody had escaped this way; on the other side of the lattice was a sheer drop, straight down several stories, to the floor of the Hall of the Five Hundred.
So where the hell did they go?!
As Brüder turned back in to tiny stone chamber, he felt all of the day’s frustration mounting within him. In a rare moment of unrestrained emotion, Agent Brüder threw back his head and let out a bellow of rage.
The noise was deafening in the tiny space.
Far below, in the Hall of the Five Hundred, tourists and police officers all spun and stared up at the latticed opening high on the wall. From the sounds of things, the duchess’s secret study was now being used to cage a wild animal.
Sienna Brooks and Robert Langdon stood in total darkness.
Minutes earlier, Sienna had watched Langdon cleverly use the chain to seal the rotating map of Armenia, then turn and flee.
To her surprise, however, instead of heading down the corridor, Langdon had gone up the steep staircase that had been marked
USCITA VIETATA.
“Robert!” she whispered in confusion. “The sign said ‘No Exit’! And besides, I thought we wanted to go down!”
“We do,” Langdon said, glancing over his shoulder. “But sometimes you need to go up … to go down.” He


gave her an encouraging wink.
“Remember Satan’s navel?”
What is he talking about? Sienna bounded after him, feeling lost.
“Did you ever read Inferno?” Langdon asked.
Yes … but I think I was seven.
An instant later, it dawned on her. “Oh, Satan’s navel!” she said. “Now I remember.”
It had taken a moment, but Sienna now realized that Langdon was referring to the finale of Dante’s Inferno. In these cantos, in order to escape hell, Dante has to climb down the hairy stomach of the massive Satan, and when he reaches Satan’s navel—the alleged center of the earth—the earth’s gravity suddenly switches directions, and Dante, in order to continue climbing down to purgatory … suddenly has to start climbing up.
Sienna remembered little of the
Inferno other than her disappointment in witnessing the absurd actions of gravity at the center of the earth; apparently Dante’s genius did not include a grasp of the physics of vector forces.
They reached the top of the stairs, and Langdon opened the lone door they found there; on it was written:
SALA DEI MODELLI DI ARCHITETTURA.
Langdon ushered her inside, closing and bolting the door behind them.
The room was small and plain, containing a series of cases that displayed wooden models of Vasari’s architectural designs for the interior of the palazzo. Sienna barely noticed the models. She did, however, notice that the room had no doors, no windows, and, as advertised … no
exit.
“In the mid-1300s,” Langdon whispered, “the Duke of Athens assumed power in the palace and built this secret escape route in case he was attacked. It’s called the Duke of Athens Stairway, and it descends to a tiny escape hatch on a side street. If we can get there, nobody will see us exit.” He pointed to one of the models. “Look. See it there on the side?”
He brought me up here to show me models?
Sienna shot an anxious glance at the miniature and saw the secret staircase descending all the way from the top of the palace down to street level, stealthily hidden between the inner and outer walls of the building.
“I can see the stairs, Robert,” Sienna said testily, “but they are on the complete opposite side of the palace. We’ll never get over there!”
“A little faith,” he said with a lopsided grin.
A sudden crash emanating from downstairs told them that the map of Armenia had just been breached. They stood stone-still as they listened to the footfalls of soldiers departing down the corridor, none of them ever thinking that their quarry would climb higher still … especially up a tiny staircase marked NO EXIT.
When the sounds below had subsided, Langdon strode with confidence across the exhibit room, snaking through the displays,
heading directly for what looked like a large cupboard in the far wall. The cupboard was about one yard square and positioned three feet off the floor. Without hesitation, Langdon grabbed the handle and heaved open the door.
Sienna recoiled with surprise.
The space within appeared to be a cavernous void … as if the cupboard door were a portal into another world. Beyond was only blackness.
“Follow me,” Langdon said.
He grabbed a lone flashlight that was hanging on the wall beside the opening. Then, with surprising agility and strength, the professor hoisted himself up through the opening and disappeared into the rabbit hole.




By Dan Brown

Share This Post

Join This Conversation

Start typing and press Enter to search