102 - Rome
PRESENT DAY I drove. And while I drove, I filled Father Antonio and Amira in on at least so much as I knew about the entire situation. They were adequately surprised and disbelieving–at first–when I told them that the lady who had threatened us was actually a giant dog; neither had actually heard of any such thing before.
What impressed me more was that neither of them seemed to have known that Lazarus was still at large in the world. Given that both of them seemed to know so much about powerful artifacts and particular about this cup that was his namesake, one would have thought that he might have shown up in their reading. But no, apparently until just recently he’d managed to keep an impressively low profile.
As I drove, I realized just how tired I was. The jet lag had already done a number on my system, but sheer adrenaline had managed to keep me awake until now. But without a threat more than the vague knowing that Lazarus was out there, that energy was starting to ebb. It was only a matter of time until one of the other two had to drive.
Father Antonio was navigating somewhat, although from time to time Amira suggested a modification to our route. If either of them actually knew where we were going for sure, they didn’t let me in on the plan. All I knew was that we had gotten out of the older twisty parts of the city into some larger more modern roads. That at least helped not hit anything, but it certainly wasn’t beneficial so far as my exhaustion was concerned.
In fact, I was just about to nod off when suddenly the smart phone attached to the dashboard began to beep at us. I had almost forgotten about it ever since the purple dot representing Lazarus had fallen behind. Occasionally, I would look at it just to marvel at how every person we passed seemed to have their own dot on the screen and that each and every single one of them had a name attached to it. But other than that, i kept my eyes on the road.
Now, the screen had gone dark though, with only a strange sequence of symbols along the center that I didn’t recognize and two colored buttons beneath it, one in green and one in blue. All the while, the phone continued to beep insistently.
“What’s it doing?” I asked, trying to keep my eyes on the road and watch the phone at the same time.
“I think it’s ringing,” Amira replied, her voice dry.
“Ringing?” I said. “Then what’s that text? Some sort of foreign language?”
Neither Amira nor Father Antonio seemed to have an answer for that though. At least I saw Father Antonio shrug over in the passenger seat.
“Well?” he asked after a moment, “are you going to answer it?”
“Me?” But neither of them seemed to be taking up the challenge. So I carefully shifted the wheel to my left hand and pried the phone free with my right–at least Italy drove on the same side of the road as I was used too. Taking an educated guess, I hit the green button.