Vitamins, Supplements, Sport Nutrition

CHAPTER 73

Sanctuary. Answers.

The words echoed in Langdon’s mind as he and Katherine burst through a side door of the Adams Building and out into the cold winter night. The mysterious caller had conveyed his location cryptically, but Langdon had understood. Katherine’s reaction to their destination had been surprisingly sanguine: Where better to find One True God?

Now the question was how to get there.

Langdon spun in place, trying to get his bearings. It was dark, but thankfully the weather had cleared. They were standing in a small courtyard. In the distance, the Capitol Dome looked startlingly far away, and Langdon realized this was the first moment he had stepped outside since arriving at the Capitol several hours ago.

So much for my lecture.

“Robert, look.” Katherine pointed toward the silhouette of the Jefferson Building.

Langdon’s first reaction on seeing the building was astonishment that they had traveled so far underground on a conveyor belt. His second reaction, however, was alarm. The Jefferson Building was now abuzz with activity—trucks and cars pulling in, men shouting. Is that a searchlight?

Langdon grabbed Katherine’s hand. “Come on.”

They ran northeast across the courtyard, quickly disappearing from view behind an elegant U-shaped building, which Langdon realized was the Folger Shakespeare Library. This particular building seemed appropriate camouflage for them tonight, as it housed the original Latin manuscript of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, the utopian vision on which the American forefathers had allegedly modeled a new world based on ancient knowledge. Even so, Langdon would not be stopping.

We need a cab.

They arrived at the corner of Third Street and East Capitol. The traffic was sparse, and Langdon

felt fading hope as he scanned for taxis. He and Katherine hurried northward on Third Street, putting distance between themselves and the Library of Congress. It was not until they had gone an entire block that Langdon finally spotted a cab rounding the corner. He flagged it down, and the cab pulled over.

Middle Eastern music played on his radio, and the young Arab driver gave them a friendly smile. “Where to?” the driver asked as they jumped into the car.

“We need to go to—”

“Northwest!” Katherine interjected, pointing up Third Street away from the Jefferson Building. “Drive toward Union Station, then left on Massachusetts Avenue. We’ll tell you when to stop.”

The driver shrugged, closed the Plexiglas divider, and turned his music back on.

Katherine shot Langdon an admonishing look as if to say: “Leave no trail.” She pointed out the window, directing Langdon’s attention to a black helicopter that was skimming in low, approaching the area. Shit. Sato was apparently dead serious about recovering Solomon’s pyramid.

As they watched the helicopter land between the Jefferson and Adams buildings, Katherine turned to him, looking increasingly worried. “Can I see your cell phone for a second?”

Langdon handed her his phone.

“Peter told me you have an eidetic memory?” she said, rolling down her window. “And that you remember every phone number you’ve ever dialed?”

“That’s true, but—”

Katherine hurled his phone out into the night. Langdon spun in his seat and watched as his cell phone cartwheeled and splintered into pieces on the pavement behind them. “Why did you do that!”

“Off the grid,” Katherine said, her eyes grave. “This pyramid is our only hope of finding my brother, and I have no intention of letting the CIA steal it from us.”

In the front seat, Omar Amirana bobbed his head and hummed along with his music. Tonight had been slow, and he felt blessed to finally have a fare. His cab was just passing Stanton Park, when the familiar voice of his company dispatcher crackled over the radio.

“This is Dispatch. All vehicles in the area of the National Mall. We have just received a bulletin from government authorities regarding two fugitives in the area of the Adams Building . . .”

Omar listened in amazement as Dispatch described the precise couple

in his cab. He stole an uneasy glance in his rearview mirror. Omar had to admit, the tall guy did

look familiar somehow. Did I see him on America’s Most Wanted?

Gingerly, Omar reached for his radio handset. “Dispatch?” he said, speaking quietly into the transceiver. “This is cab one-three-four. The two people you asked about—they are in my cab . . . right now.”

Dispatch immediately advised Omar what to do. Omar’s hands were trembling as he called the phone number Dispatch had given him. The voice that answered was tight and efficient, like that of a soldier.

“This is Agent Turner Simkins, CIA field ops. Who is this?”

“Um . . . I’m the taxi driver?” Omar said. “I was told to call about the two—”

“Are the fugitives currently in your vehicle? Answer only yes or no.”

“Yes.”

“Can they hear this conversation? Yes or no?”

“No. The slider is—”

“Where are you taking them?”

“Northwest on Massachusetts.”

“Specific destination?”

“They didn’t say.”

The agent hesitated. “Is the male passenger carrying a leather bag?”

Omar glanced in the rearview mirror, and his eyes went wide. “Yes! That bag doesn’t have explosives or anything in—”

“Listen carefully,” the agent said. “You are in no danger so long as you follow my directions exactly. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What is your name?”

“Omar,” he said, breaking a sweat.

“Listen, Omar,” the man said calmly. “You’re doing great. I want you to drive as slowly as possible while I get my team out in front of you. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Also, is your cab equipped with an intercom system so you can communicate with them in the backseat?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Here’s what I want you to do.”