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One Hundred Tours (And Still Counting)

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38. Sanctuary

 

It was a short and succinct message; it usually was when Adam texted. Their bantering was limited to personal contact, e-mails and the CZ forum.

Salvatorska, church, meet me there.

“Salvatorska” had to mean Salvátorská street, which a quick look at a map in the phone confirmed was just a short way away from the Old Town Square.

“I’ve got to go.”

“Adam?” Natasha asked, nibbling appreciatively at her trdelník and looking at him through black sunglasses, the very epitome of a young tourist on a European joyride. A quick nod from him was all she needed, though, unlike the usual behaviour of her chatty tourist persona.

He found the church easily; it’s impossible to overlook a large baroque structure in a small side street.

Adam was, surprisingly, not waiting in a pew or hiding behind a column, but helping another person with some books right at the entrance.

“Hi,” he said. “Kněžna, this is Frank. Frank, this is Ludmila.”

She smiled at him – she was a remarkably attractive woman, in a remarkably ordinary way – and said “Hello, nice to meet you finally.” The “finally” part was disconcerting.

“And here I thought you were hiding on Holy Ground,” Frank murmured to Adam after he returned her greetings politely.

“I am,” Adam replied. “It helps to be friends with the minister’s family, though. It gives you the perfect cover.”

After that explanation, Frank wondered why he should be so surprised. It would be perfectly Methos to simply materialise at their door and say something like “Hi, I could use sanctuary right now, any songbooks you need to sort through?”

“The ‘Holy Ground’ part is, of course, somewhat murky, but I’m not going to advertise that to them when they come looking,” Adam added not-really-helpfully, with an amused grin.

“Really,” Frank said sarcastically, and then took a proper look at the church. It was not as full of paintings and statues as the churches Natasha had dragged him through – it was, in fact, almost minimalist in comparison – but the not secular feeling to the space was still very obvious.

“Oh, you know, there used to be a yard, then they built a church here, then they turned the church into a mint... the usual lot.”

“What?”

“The concept of ‘Holy Ground’ has some severe shortcomings when you live long enough. But as I said, I’m not in the habit of advertising them.”