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CHAPTER 20. CARCASSONNE
January 20, 2013. 6:15 Paris time, 12:15 p.m. EST. Carcassonne, France.
Doug and Ray were relieved when they heard the Chief Justice had not been killed.
They had been following the gay marriage case, Daltry v. Schwartzenegger, which was
pending before the Supreme Court. If gay marriage was going to be upheld by the Court,
they would definitely need Chief Justice Perkins‘ vote. Ray actually knew someone who
knew the Justice‘s brother Seamus, who was gay. Ray and Doug could not fathom that a
judge would vote against gay marriage when his own brother was gay. Morse, his two
children, and their new friends returned to their seats for the last few minutes of the bus
The bus bounced its way through the cobblestone streets and dropped them off in the
middle of a busy marketplace. Doug and Ray got off the bus first. Ray looked around for
a cab, but saw none. He turned back to make sure Morse and his children got off the bus
safely. When Morse got off the bus, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat, and a gray and black
striped shirt walked up to him with a fold-out map. His olive complexion gave Morse the
impression that he was either Arabian or Italian, which for some reason, seemed out of
place with the cowboy hat.
―Excuse me, sir, do you speak English?‖
Morse replied, ―Yes, I do.‖
―I am trying to read this map here, and it‘s all in French…‖
As the man brought the map closer to Morse, he stealthily pulled out a revolver with
a silencer and pointed it at Morse under the map.
In a low voice the man said to Morse, ―Easy now, Professor. I have a gun pointed
right at you. I need you to bring your children and come with me.‖
Morse looked over the gunman‘s shoulder at Ray, who had seen the whole scene go
down. Ray‘s football instincts kicked in when he saw the gunman. He powered his body
directly at the man in the cowboy hat, pummeling him from behind into the side of the
tour bus like an angry nose tackle. The man did not drop the gun as he fell, however.
Ray grabbed the man‘s wrist before he could use the gun. The gun went off, shooting a
bullet into the side of the bus. Concerned tourists started yelling and fled from the bus
stop. Ray and the gunman were locked in a battle over the gun.
―RUN!‖ yelled Ray.
John, Zach, and Zoey Morse bolted away from the bus stop, down the street,
weaving in and out of tourists and patio umbrellas. Zach, the cross-country star, quickly
took the lead. Zoey, using her skills from soccer, had no problem keeping up. Morse, on
the other hand, was slow and trailed behind as the three dodged around parked cars, in
and out of market stalls, and down the ancient streets of Carcassonne. They never turned
back, afraid of what lay behind them. After about eight blocks, Morse was cramping up
and breathing heavily. The teenagers were frustrated with their father, who was clearly
out of shape. They worried that he was going to get them killed.
―Come on, Dad! They‘re coming!‖ pleaded Zach.
―You run ahead and stay with Zoey. Leave me behind,‖ he gasped. ―I will be fine, I
just need to rest for a minute,‖ Morse panted.