INFERNO 07 - Welcome to My Woven Words


“L’INFERNO DI DANTE”, Sienna whispered, her expression rapt as she inched closer to the stark image of the underworld now projected on her kitchen wall.
Dante’s vision of hell, Langdon thought, rendered here in living color.
Exalted as one of the preeminent works of world literature, the Inferno was the first of three books that made up Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy—a 14,233-line epic poem describing Dante’s brutal descent into the underworld, journey through purgatory, and eventual arrival in paradise. Of the Comedy’s three sections—Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso—Inferno was by far the most widely read and memorable.
Composed by Dante Alighieri in the early 1300s, Inferno had quite literally redefined medieval perceptions of damnation. Never before had the concept of hell captivated the masses in such an entertaining way. Overnight, Dante’s work solidified the abstract concept of hell into a clear and terrifying vision—visceral, palpable, and unforgettable. Not surprisingly, following the poem’s release, the Catholic Church enjoyed an enormous uptick in attendance from terrified sinners looking to avoid Dante’s updated version of the underworld.
Depicted here by Botticelli, Dante’s horrific vision of hell was constructed as a subterranean funnel of suffering —a wretched underground landscape of fire, brimstone, sewage, monsters, and Satan himself waiting at its core. The pit was constructed in nine distinct levels, the Nine Rings of Hell, into which sinners were cast in accordance with the depth of their sin. Near the top, the lustful or “carnal malefactors” were blown about by an eternal windstorm, a symbol of their inability to control their desire. Beneath them the
gluttons were forced to lie facedown in a vile slush of sewage, their mouths filled with the product of their excess. Deeper still, the heretics were trapped in flaming coffins, damned to eternal fire. And so it went … getting worse and worse the deeper one descended.
In the seven centuries since its publication, Dante’s enduring vision o f hell had inspired tributes, translations, and variations by some of history’s greatest creative minds. Longfellow, Chaucer, Marx, Milton, Balzac, Borges, and even several popes had all written pieces based on Dante’s Inferno. Monteverdi, Liszt, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Puccini composed pieces based on Dante’s work, as had one of Langdon’s favorite living recording artists— Loreena McKennitt. Even the modern world of video games and iPad apps had no shortage of Dante-related offerings.
Langdon, eager to share with his students the vibrant symbolic
richness of Dante’s vision, sometimes taught a course on the recurring imagery found in both Dante and the works he had inspired over the centuries.
“Robert,” Sienna said, shifting closer to the image on the wall. “Look at that!” She pointed to an area near the bottom of the funnelshaped hell.
The area she was pointing to was known as the Malebolge—meaning “evil ditches.” It was the eighth and penultimate ring of hell and was divided into ten separate ditches, each for a specific type of fraud.
Sienna pointed more excitedly now. “Look! Didn’t you say, in your vision, you saw this?!”
Langdon squinted at where Sienna was pointing, but he saw nothing. The tiny projector was losing power, and the image had begun to fade. He quickly shook the device again until it was glowing brightly. Then he carefully set it farther back from the wall, on the edge of the counter across the small kitchen, letting it cast an even larger image from there. Langdon approached Sienna, stepping to the side to study the glowing map.
Again Sienna pointed down toward the eighth ring of hell. “Look. Didn’t you say your hallucinations included a pair of legs sticking out of the earth upside down with the letter R?” She touched a precise spot on the wall. “There they are!”
As Langdon had seen many times in this painting, the tenth ditch of the Malebolge was packed with sinners half buried upside down, their legs sticking out of the earth. But strangely, in this version, one pair of legs bore the letter R, written in mud, exactly as Langdon had seen in his vision.
My God! Langdon peered more intently at the tiny detail. “That letter
R    …     that    is        definitely not in
Botticelli’s original!”
“There’s another letter,” Sienna said, pointing.
Langdon followed her outstretched finger to another of the ten ditches in the Malebolge, where the letter E was scrawled on a false prophet whose head had been put on backward.
What in the world? This painting has been modified.
Other letters now appeared to him, scrawled on sinners throughout all ten ditches of the Malebolge. He saw a C on a seducer being whipped by demons … another R on a thief perpetually bitten by snakes … an A on a corrupt politician submerged in a boiling lake of tar.
“These letters,” Langdon said with certainty, “are definitely not part of Botticelli’s original. This image has been digitally edited.”
He returned his gaze to the uppermost ditch of the Malebolge and began reading the letters downward, through each of the ten ditches, from top to bottom.
C … A … T … R … O … V … A … C …
E … R
“Catrovacer?” Langdon said. “Is this Italian?”
Sienna shook her head. “Not Latin either. I don’t recognize it.”
“A … signature, maybe?”
“Catrovacer?” She looked doubtful. “Doesn’t sound like a name to me. But look over there.” She pointed to one of the many characters in the third ditch of the Malebolge.
When Langdon’s eyes found the figure, he instantly felt a chill. Among the crowd of sinners in the third ditch was an iconic image from the Middle Ages—a cloaked man in a mask with a long, birdlike beak and dead eyes.
The plague mask.
“Is there a plague doctor in
Botticelli’s original?” Sienna asked.
“Absolutely not. That figure has been added.”
“And did Botticelli sign his original?”
Langdon couldn’t recall, but as his eyes moved to the lower right-hand corner where a signature normally would be, he realized why she had asked. There was no signature, and yet barely visible along La Mappa’s dark brown border was a line of text in tiny block letters: la verità è visibile solo attraverso gli occhi della morte.
Langdon knew enough Italian to understand the gist. “ ‘The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death.’ ”
Sienna nodded. “Bizarre.”
The two of them stood in silence as the morbid image before them
slowly began to fade. Dante’s Inferno, Langdon thought. Inspiring foreboding pieces of art since 1330.
Langdon’s course on Dante always included an entire section on the illustrious artwork inspired by the Inferno. In addition to Botticelli’s celebrated Map of Hell, there was Rodin’s timeless sculpture of The
Three Shades from The Gates of Hell … Stradanus’s illustration of Phlegyas paddling through submerged bodies on the river Styx … William Blake’s lustful sinners swirling through an eternal tempest … Bouguereau’s strangely erotic vision of Dante and Virgil watching two nude men locked in battle … Bayros’s tortured souls huddling beneath a hail-like torrent of scalding pellets and droplets of fire … Salvador Dalí’s eccentric series of watercolors and woodcuts … and Doré’s huge collection of black-andwhite etchings depicting everything from the tunneled entrance to Hades … to winged Satan himself.
Now it seemed that Dante’s poetic vision of hell had not only influenced the most revered artists throughout history. It had also, apparently, inspired yet another individual—a twisted soul who had digitally altered Botticelli’s famous painting, adding ten letters, a plague doctor, and then signing it with an ominous phrase about seeing the truth through the eyes of death. This artist had then stored the image on a high-tech projector sheathed in a freakishly carved bone.
Langdon couldn’t imagine who would have created such an artifact, and yet, at the moment, this issue seemed secondary to a far more unnerving question.
Why the hell am I carrying it?
As Sienna stood with Langdon in the kitchen and pondered her next move, the unexpected roar of a highhorsepower engine echoed up from the street below. It was followed by a staccato burst of screeching tires and car doors slamming.
Puzzled, Sienna hurried to the window and peered outside.
A black, unmarked van had skidded to a stop in the street below. Out of the van flowed a team of men, all dressed in black uniforms with circular green medallions on their left shoulders. They gripped automatic rifles and moved with fierce, military efficiency. Without hesitation, four soldiers dashed toward the entrance of the apartment building.
Sienna felt her blood go cold. “Robert!” she shouted. “I don’t know who they are, but they found us!”
Down in the street, Agent Christoph Brüder shouted orders to his men as they rushed into the building. He was a powerfully built man whose military background had imbued him with an emotionless sense of duty and respect for the command chain. He knew his mission, and he knew the stakes.
The organization for whom he worked contained many divisions, but Brüder’s division—Surveillance and Response Support—was summoned only when a situation reached “crisis” status.
As his men disappeared into the apartment building, Brüder stood watch at the front door, pulling out his comm device and contacting the person in charge.
“It’s Brüder,” he said. “We’ve successfully tracked Langdon through his computer IP address. My team is moving in. I’ll alert you when we have him.”
High above Brüder, on the rooftop terrace of Pensione la Fiorentina, Vayentha stared down in horrified disbelief at the agents dashing into the apartment building.
What the hell are THEY doing here?!
She ran a hand through her spiked hair, suddenly grasping the dire consequences of her botched assignment last night. With the single coo of a dove, everything had spiraled wildly out of control. What had begun as a simple mission … had now turned into a living nightmare.
If the SRS team is here, then it’s all over for me.
Vayentha desperately grabbed her Sectra Tiger XS communications device and called the provost.
“Sir,” she stammered. “The SRS team is here! Brüder’s men are
swarming the apartment building across the street!”
She awaited a response, but when it came, she heard only sharp clicks on the line, then an electronic voice, which calmly stated, “Disavowal protocol commencing.”
Vayentha lowered the phone and looked at the screen just in time to see the comm device go dead.
As the blood drained from her face, Vayentha forced herself to accept what was happening. The Consortium had just severed all ties with her.
No links. No association.
I’ve been disavowed.
The shock lasted only an instant. Then the fear set in.

“HURRY, ROBERT!” SIENNA urged. “Follow me!”
Langdon’s thoughts were still consumed by grim images of Dante’s underworld as he charged out the door into the hall of the apartment building. Until this instant, Sienna Brooks had managed the morning’s substantial stress with a kind of detached poise, but now her calm demeanor had grown taut with an emotion Langdon had yet to see in her—true fear.
In the hallway, Sienna ran ahead, rushing past the elevator, which was already descending, no doubt summoned by the men now entering the lobby. She sprinted to the end of the hall and, without looking back, disappeared into the stairwell.
Langdon followed close behind, skidding on the smooth soles of his borrowed loafers. The tiny projector in the breast pocket of his Brioni suit bounced against his chest as he ran. His mind flashed on the strange letters adorning the eighth ring of hell: CATROVACER. He pictured the plague mask and the strange
signature: The truth can be glimpsed
only through the eyes of death.
Langdon strained to connect these disparate elements, but at the moment nothing was making sense. When he finally came to a stop on the staircase landing, Sienna was there, listening intently. Langdon could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs from below.
“Is there another exit?” Langdon whispered.
“Follow me,” she said tersely.
Sienna had kept Langdon alive once already today, and so, with little choice but to trust the woman, Langdon took a deep breath and bounded down the stairs after her.
They descended one floor, and the sounds of approaching boots grew very close now, echoing only a floor or two below them.
Why is she running directly into them?
Before Langdon could protest, Sienna grabbed his hand and yanked him out of the stairwell along a deserted hallway of apartments—a long corridor of locked doors.
There’s nowhere to hide!
Sienna flipped a light switch and a few bulbs went out, but the dim hallway did little to hide them. Sienna and Langdon were clearly visible here. The thundering footsteps were nearly upon them now, and Langdon knew their assailants would appear on the staircase at any moment, with a direct view down this hall.
“I need your jacket,” Sienna whispered as she yanked Langdon’s suit jacket off him. She then forced Langdon to crouch on his haunches behind her in a recessed doorframe.
“Don’t move.”
What is she doing? She’s in plain sight!
The soldiers appeared on the staircase, rushing upward but stopping short when they saw Sienna in the darkened hallway.
“Per l’amore di Dio!” Sienna shouted at them, her tone scathing. “Cos’è questa confusione?”
The two men squinted, clearly uncertain what they were looking at.
Sienna kept yelling at them. “Tanto chiasso a quest’ora!” So much noise at this hour!
Langdon now saw that Sienna had draped his black jacket over her head and shoulders like an old woman’s shawl. She had hunched over,
positioning herself to obstruct their view of Langdon crouched in the shadows, and now, utterly transformed, she hobbled one step toward them and screamed like a senile old woman.
One of the soldiers held up his hand, motioning for her to return to her apartment. “Signora! Rientri
subito in casa!”
Sienna took another rickety step, shaking       her    fist    angrily. “Avete
svegliato mio marito, che è malato!”
Langdon listened in bewilderment. They woke up your ailing husband?
The other soldier now raised his machine gun and aimed directly at her. “Ferma o sparo!”
Sienna stopped short, cursing them mercilessly as she hobbled backward, away from them.
The men hurried on, disappearing up the stairs.
Not quite Shakespearean acting, Langdon thought, but impressive. Apparently a background in drama could be a versatile weapon.
Sienna removed the jacket from her head and tossed it back to Langdon. “Okay, follow me.”
This time Langdon followed without hesitation.
They descended to the landing above the lobby, where two more soldiers were just entering the elevator to go upstairs. On the street outside, another soldier stood watch beside the van, his black uniform stretched taut across his muscular body. In silence, Sienna and Langdon hurried downstairs toward the basement.
The underground carport was dark and smelled of urine. Sienna jogged over to a corner packed with scooters and motorcycles. She stopped at a silver Trike—a three-wheeled moped contraption that looked like the ungainly offspring of an Italian Vespa and an adult tricycle. She ran her slender hand beneath the Trike’s front fender and removed a small magnetized case. Inside was a key, which she inserted, and revved the engine.
Seconds later, Langdon was seated behind her on the bike. Precariously perched on the small seat, Langdon groped at his sides, looking for handgrips or something to steady himself.
“Not the moment for modesty,” Sienna said, grabbing his hands and wrapping them around her slender waist. “You’ll want to hold on.” Langdon did exactly that as Sienna gunned the Trike up the exit ramp. The vehicle had more power than he would have imagined, and they nearly left the ground as they launched out of the garage, emerging into the early-morning light about fifty yards from the main entrance. The brawny soldier in front of the building turned at once to see Langdon and Sienna tearing away, their Trike letting out a high-pitched whine as she opened the throttle.
Perched on the back, Langdon peered back over his shoulder toward the soldier, who now raised his weapon and took careful aim. Langdon braced himself. A single shot rang out, ricocheting off the Trike’s back fender, barely missing the base of Langdon’s spine.
Sienna made a hard left at an intersection, and Langdon felt himself sliding, fighting to keep his balance.
“Lean toward me!” she shouted.
Langdon leaned forward, centering himself again as Sienna raced the Trike down a larger thoroughfare. They had driven a full block before Langdon began breathing again.
Who the hell were those men?!
Sienna’s focus remained locked on the road ahead as she raced down the avenue, weaving in and out of the light morning traffic. Several pedestrians did double takes as they passed, apparently puzzled to see a six-foot man in a Brioni suit riding
behind a slender woman.
Langdon and Sienna had traveled three blocks and were approaching a major intersection when horns blared up ahead. A sleek black van rounded the corner on two wheels, fishtailing into the intersection, and then accelerating up the road directly toward them. The van was identical to the soldiers’ van back at the apartment building.
Sienna immediately swerved hard to her right and slammed on the brakes. Langdon’s chest pressed hard into her back as she skidded to a stop out of sight behind a parked delivery truck. She nestled the Trike up to the rear bumper of the truck and killed the engine.
Did they see us!?
She and Langdon huddled low and waited … breathless.
The van roared past without hesitation, apparently never having seen them. As the vehicle sped by, however, Langdon caught a fleeting glimpse of someone inside.
In the backseat, an attractive older woman was wedged between two soldiers like a captive. Her eyes sagged and her head bobbed as if she were delirious or maybe drugged. She wore an amulet and had long silver hair that fell in ringlets.
For a moment Langdon’s throat clenched, and he thought he’d seen a ghost.
It was the woman from his visions.

THE PROVOST STORMED out of the control room and marched along the long starboard deck of The Mendacium, trying to gather his thoughts. What had just transpired at the Florence apartment building was unthinkable.
He circled the entire ship twice before stalking into his office and taking out a bottle of fifty-year-old Highland Park single malt. Without pouring a glass, he set down the bottle and turned his back on it—a personal reminder that he was still very much in control.
His eyes moved instinctively to a heavy, weathered tome on his bookshelf—a gift from a client … the client whom he now wished he’d never met.
A year ago … how could I have known?
The provost did not normally interview prospective clients personally, but this one had come to him through a trusted source, and so he had made an exception.
It had been a dead calm day at sea when the client arrived aboard The Mendacium via his own private helicopter. The visitor, a notable figure in his field, was forty-six, clean-cut, and exceptionally tall, with piercing green eyes.
“As you know,” the man had begun, “your services were recommended to me by a mutual
friend.” The visitor stretched out his long legs and made himself at home in the provost’s lushly appointed office. “So, let me tell you what I need.”
“Actually, no,” the provost interrupted, showing the man who was in charge. “My protocol requires that you tell me nothing. I will explain the services I provide, and you will decide which, if any, are of interest to you.”
The visitor looked taken aback but acquiesced and listened intently. In the end, what the lanky newcomer desired had turned out to be very standard fare for the Consortium— essentially a chance to become “invisible” for a while so he could pursue an endeavor far from prying eyes.
Child’s play.
The Consortium would accomplish this by providing him a fake identity and a secure location, entirely off the grid, where he could do his work in total secrecy—whatever his work might be. The Consortium never inquired for what purpose a client required a service, preferring to know as little as possible about those for whom they worked.
For a full year, at a staggering profit, the provost had provided safe haven to the green-eyed man, who had turned out to be an ideal client. The provost had no contact with him, and all of his bills were paid on time.
Then, two weeks ago, everything changed.
Unexpectedly, the client had made contact, demanding a personal meeting with the provost. Considering the sum of money the client had paid, the provost obliged.
The disheveled man who arrived on the yacht was barely recognizable as the steady, clean-cut person with whom the provost had done business the year before. He had a wild look in his once-sharp green eyes. He looked almost … ill.
What happened to him? What has he been doing?
The provost had ushered the jittery man into his office.
“The silver-haired devil,” his client stammered. “She’s getting closer every day.”
The provost glanced down at his client’s file, eyeing the photo of the attractive silver-haired woman. “Yes,” the provost said, “your silverhaired devil. We are well aware of your enemies. And as powerful as she may be, for a full year we’ve kept her from you, and we will continue to do so.”
The green-eyed man anxiously twisted strands of greasy hair around his fingertips. “Don’t let her beauty fool you, she is a dangerous foe.”
True, the provost thought, still displeased that his client had drawn the attention of someone so influential. The silver-haired woman had tremendous access and resources—not the kind of adversary the provost appreciated having to deflect.
“If she or her demons locate me …” the client began.
“They won’t,” the provost had assured him. “Have we not thus far hidden you and provided you
everything you’ve requested?”
“Yes,” the man said. “And yet, I will sleep easier if …” He paused, regrouping. “I need to know that if
anything happens to me, you will
carry out my final wishes.”
“Those wishes being?”
The man reached into a bag and pulled out a small, sealed envelope. “The contents of this envelope provide access to a safe-deposit box in Florence. Inside the box, you will find a small object. If anything happens to me, I need you to deliver the object for me. It is a gift of sorts.”
“Very well.” The provost lifted his pen to make notes. “And to whom
shall I deliver it?”
“To the silver-haired devil.”
The provost glanced up. “A gift for your tormentor?”
“More of a thorn in her side.” His eyes flashed wildly. “A clever little barb fashioned from a bone. She will discover it is a map … her own personal Virgil … an escort to the center of her own private hell.”
The provost studied him for a long moment. “As you wish. Consider it done.”
“The timing will be critical,” the man urged. “The gift should not be delivered too soon. You must keep it hidden until …” He paused, suddenly lost in thought.
“Until when?” the provost prodded.
The man stood abruptly and walked over behind the provost’s desk, grabbing a red marker and frantically circling a date on the provost’s personal desk calendar.
“Until this day.”
The provost set his jaw and exhaled, swallowing his displeasure at the man’s brazenness.
“Understood,” the provost said. “I will do nothing until the circled day, at which time the object in the safedeposit box, whatever it may be, will be delivered to the silver-haired woman. You have my word.” He counted the days on his calendar until the awkwardly circled date. “I will carry out your wishes in precisely fourteen days from now.”
“And not one day before!” the client admonished feverishly.
     “I     understand,”     the       provost
assured. “Not a day before.”
The provost took the envelope, slid it into the man’s file, and made the necessary notations to ensure that his client’s wishes were followed precisely. While his client had not described the exact nature of the object in the safe-deposit box, the provost preferred it this way. Detachment was a cornerstone of the Consortium’s philosophy. Provide the service. Ask no questions. Pass no judgment.
The client’s shoulders softened and
he exhaled heavily. “Thank you.”
“Anything else?” the provost had asked, eager to rid himself of his transformed client.
“Yes, actually, there is.” He reached into his pocket and produced a small, crimson memory stick. “This is a video file.” He laid the memory stick in front of the provost. “I would like it uploaded to the world media.”
The provost studied the man curiously. The Consortium often mass-distributed information for clients, and yet something about this man’s request felt disconcerting. “On the same date?” the provost asked, motioning at the scrawled circle on his calendar.
“Same exact date,” the client replied. “Not one moment before.”
“Understood.” The provost tagged the red memory stick with the proper information. “So that’s it, then?” He stood up, attempting to end the meeting.
His client remained seated. “No.
There is one final thing.” The provost sat back down.
The client’s green eyes were looking almost feral now. “Shortly after you deliver this video, I will become a very famous man.”
You are already a famous man, the provost had thought, considering his client’s impressive accomplishments.
“And you will deserve some of the credit,” the man said. “The service you have provided has enabled me to create my masterpiece … an opus that is going to change the world.
You should be proud of your role.”
“Whatever your masterpiece is,” the provost said with growing impatience, “I’m pleased you have had the privacy required to create it.”
“As a show of thanks, I’ve brought you a parting gift.” The unkempt man reached into his bag. “A book.”
The provost wondered if perhaps this book was the secret opus the client had been working on for all this time. “And did you write this book?”
“No.” The man heaved a massive tome up onto the table. “Quite to the contrary … this book was written for me.”
Puzzled, the provost eyed the edition his client had produced. He
thinks this was written for him? The volume was a literary classic … written in the fourteenth century.
“Read it,” the client urged with an eerie smile. “It will help you understand all I have done.”
With that, the unkempt visitor had stood up, said good-bye, and abruptly departed. The provost watched through his office window as the man’s helicopter lifted off the deck and headed back toward the coast of Italy.
Then the provost returned his attention to the large book before him. With uncertain fingers, he lifted the leather cover and thumbed to the beginning. The opening stanza of the work was written in large calligraphy, taking up the entire first page.
Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.
On the opposing page, his client had signed the book with a handwritten message:
My dear friend, thank you for helping me find the path.
The world thanks you, too.
The provost had no idea what this meant, but he’d read enough. He closed the book and placed it on his
bookshelf.          Thankfully,            his
professional relationship with this strange individual would be over soon. Fourteen more days, the provost thought, turning his gaze to the wildly scrawled red circle on his personal calendar.
In the days that followed, the provost felt uncharacteristically on edge about this client. The man seemed to have come unhinged. Nonetheless, despite the provost’s intuition, the time passed without incident.
Then, just before the circled date, there occurred a rapid series of calamitous events in Florence. The provost tried to handle the crisis, but it quickly accelerated out of control. The crisis climaxed with his client’s breathless ascent up the Badia tower.
He jumped off … to his death.
Despite his horror at losing a client, especially in this manner, the provost remained a man of his word. He quickly began preparing to make good on his final promise to the deceased—the delivery to the silverhaired woman of the contents of a safe-deposit box in Florence—the timing of which, he had been admonished, was critical.
Not before the date circled in your calendar.
The provost gave the envelope containing the safe-deposit-box codes to Vayentha, who had traveled to Florence to recover the object inside—this “clever little barb.” When Vayentha called in, however, her news was both startling and deeply alarming. The contents of the safedeposit box had already been removed, and Vayentha had barely escaped being detained. Somehow, the silver-haired woman had learned of the account and had used her influence to gain access to the safedeposit box and also to place an arrest warrant on anyone else who showed up looking to open it.
That was three days ago.
The client had clearly intended the purloined object to be his final insult to the silver-haired woman—a taunting voice from the grave.
And yet now it speaks too soon.
The Consortium had been in a desperate scramble ever since—using all its resources to protect its client’s final wishes, as well as itself. In the process, the Consortium had crossed a series of lines from which the provost knew it would be hard to return. Now, with everything unraveling in Florence, the provost stared down at his desk and wondered what the future held.
On his calendar, the client’s wildly scrawled circle stared up at him—a crazed ring of red ink around an apparently special day.
Reluctantly, the provost eyed the bottle of Scotch on the table before him. Then, for the first time in fourteen years, he poured a glass and drained it in a single gulp.
Belowdecks, facilitator Laurence Knowlton pulled the little red memory stick from his computer and set it on the desk in front of him. The video was one of the strangest things he had ever seen.
And it was precisely nine minutes long … to the second.
Feeling   uncharacteristically alarmed, he stood and paced his tiny cubicle, wondering again whether he should share the bizarre video with the provost.
Just do your job, Knowlton told himself. No questions. No judgment.
Forcing the video from his mind, he marked his planner with a confirmed task. Tomorrow, as requested by the client, he would upload the video file to the media.

Dan Brown

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