Evert Van de Beekstraat 202,
Dan Churrito (52) was a janitor at the Amsterdam airport; He was just halfway through his shift that evening when he saw the pregnant lady walk out the ladies room, with her luggage. Her fuller belly made it even more difficult for her to walk and the limp in her stride made her a picture for sore eyes.
She had no luggage at all which only meant that she had been there to see someone off, probably a husband or another family member. She walked with a limp in her right leg and the protruding belly didn’t help the cause either. With a glimpse of her beneath her fedora, Churrito could see that she had pretty features and streaks of blonde hair aching to break free.
He stood there, watching her walk out of the Airport and stand for a taxi that had miraculously appeared without a summon. Funny thing was, he almost thought he saw her exchange something with the other blonde haired beauty, who was dropped off at the Airport from the same cab.
48 hours ago
A violent knock on the door had broken Agent Weaver’s debriefing, or as Isabel would have put it, Weaver’s interrogation.
A year or so ago, Agent Tom Weaver had sketched a very delicate water tight trap for his most notorious rival, a noted and renowned art thief whose name was still a mystery. Hence, he was nicknamed Maclean after the Super thief Jack Maclean himself.
Weaver’s plan was put in motion and the ravishing Isabel Chavez, a rising young talent in the bureau, was planted as Khole Andrews, the director of the Van Gogh museum where Maclean or Kevin Ellis as he later introduced himself, was to strike next.
What Weaver could not foresee, was the unexpected event where the bait would fall for the predator.
After signing some urgent sought after documents sent from the Head office, that a nervous looking desk sergeant had brought in, he looked up at Isabel with grim expressions. She knew he was disappointed and he left no stone unturned in letting her know about the same.
“I want you to prepare a detailed report of everything that has happened in the last year with that thief around you. Even if he cooked a meal and threw away in a bin which you later discovered, I need it to be in the report. Do you understand Agent Chavez?”
“Yes sir” Isabel replied.
“Head back to the house now, go through everything he has left behind and make me a list of them. I want to personally inspect everything on the list. Mention the list at the end of your report and you will be relieved at the submission from the case.”
“I hope you can do this right Agent Chavez, don’t disappoint me again”
She nodded and walked out.
An hour later, she was back at the cozy mirage of a life she thought she could share with a thief. Even though it made her sound stupid, she somehow believed every word that he has said, she somehow still believed what he felt for her was true.
But then reality was singing a different tune. He was on the run and she would probably be back to some desk job after failing her assignment. Her life was headed down the drain.
The first few days after Kevin disappeared into the night were tough on Isabel and it wasn’t getting any easier for her, knowing these would be her final 48 hours in the same house that she had shared with Kevin.
She has been asked stay in the same house and make a detailed report of every single incident that she could think of, which would help Weavers cause and put Kevin behind bars.
What the officials didn’t understand is that, not only they have asked her to walk on a path that goes against the man she loves but also to go through all of the memories of their surreal time together. Only to find a way to put him behind bars, taking him away from her once and for all. That too without getting any answers to her questions.
For the first couple of hours Isabel was lost, she didn’t know if she was supposed to hold her head high and with all her dedication help weaver to catch Kevin or was she supposed to cry her heart out in the pin drop silence of her apartment, mourning the loss of a life, a lie that she desperately wanted to be true.
So she did what she could, she sat down with moist eyes and started going through all the details that she had to pen down. As she wrote and re-read notes of every single moment and Incident the way it had occurred, unbridled emotions flooded every single spore of her being.
She listed every single item that he had brought in the house and the reason behind it, even thought memories flooded her thoughts, rendering her numb, she continued until she had to list his favorite piece, a framed quote that hung above their bed.
Isabel looked at it with sheer curiosity, wondering, why was this war quote his favorite.
“And you want to hang a war quote above our bed?” She had asked him
“Yes, cause it’s the right place” He had replied.
The right place! Suddenly it all started to fall together.
The only real piece of direct evidence retrieved from the night that Kevin Ellis had disappeared was a letter he had left in the gallery. The post script in the letter was a taunt for Tom weaver she had thought, or so had everyone thought. But now, only she knew that it was indirectly directed at Isabel, without putting her in the spotlight.
He was leaving her bread crumbs. A trail to follow. He had been planning this all along, giving Isabel ample proof that her heart had longed to believe. He did love her.
She looked around and thought of everything she could to find the next piece of bread crumb and came up with nothing. Time was running out, she had nothing other than the copy of the original letter that Kevin left for Tom weaver and the framed quote that she now knew to be her first piece of evidence.
So she went back to the drawing board and wrote down every line of the quote. When she couldn’t come up with anything she turned to the only modern day magician that every commoner believed in. Google.
As soon as she entered the quote, numerous hits for a certain George Herbert came up. Apparently, the lines were from a poem Herbert had written in the 17th century. The title of the poem was Anagram.
Anagram, her eyes lit up at that word. She had found the next piece of breadcrumb but she didn’t know where to apply it. She tried rearranging the letters of the same poem herself and through a series of various cryptography software’s that she was equipped with and yet came up empty.
Nothing seemed right to her. As a last throw of the dice, she entered the first line of his letter to Tom Weaver and the computer screen came to life with a positive reply. Excited to find an answer, she entered the rest of the lines of the letter.
To her surprise, every alternate line screamed the same answer at her. Even the start of his post script message, was actually a code. The code revealing his actual location.
The solved anagram read: I am at Edo.
Edo was the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo.
In the Meanwhile:
Somewhere in the Amsterdam office of the FBI, Tom Weaver sat smiling in his chair, watching Isabel run around the house, looking for things to pack through the small camera that he had installed at the apartment while Isabel was being held by himself under the pretense of a debriefing.
He knew the thief she called Kevin. He had chased him far too long to know that he would have never left empty handed after planning for so long.
Once a thief, always a thief, the thought as she watched Isabel emerge from the study room with a book in hands as she collected the small bag she had packed and walk out of the house.
She was going to lead him straight to the thief.
To be continued…