Mrs. DiMassi cocked her arm again and spoke as fast as Arabella. "Questi Americani ci trattano come cani. Non ti permettero'di umiliarmi dinanzi ad uno di loro. Apri il cappotto, o te lo strappo di dosso!"

Whatever she said--Danny caught "American dogs" and "don't disgrace me"--it worked. Arabella opened her coat and removed a white paper bag. She handed it to Mrs. DiMassi who handed it to Danny.

Danny looked inside and saw a stack of paper. He pulled out the top sheet:

While you rest and kneel, we worked. We executed. This is the beginning, not the end. Never the end. Your childish god and childish blood run to the sea. Your childish world is next.

Danny showed the note to Steve and said to Mrs. DiMassi, "When was she supposed to distribute these?"

Mrs. DiMassi spoke to her niece. Arabella started to shake her head, then stopped. She whispered a word to Mrs. DiMassi who turned back to Danny. "Sundown."

He turned back to Steve. "How many churches have a late mass?" "In the North End? Two, maybe three. Why?"

Danny pointed at the note. " 'While you rest and kneel.' Yeah?" Steve shook his head. "No."

"You rest on the Sabbath," Danny said. "You kneel in church. And at the end--your blood runs to the sea. Gotta be a church near the waterfront."

Steve went to Mrs. DiMassi's phone. "I'm calling it in. What's your guess?"

"There's only two churches that fit. Saint Teresa's and Saint Thomas' s."

"Saint Thomas doesn't have an evening mass."

Danny headed for the door. "You'll catch up?"

Steve smiled, phone to his ear. "Me and my cane, sure." He waved Danny off. "Go, go. And, Dan?"

Danny paused at the door. "Yeah?"

"Shoot first," he said. "And shoot often."

St. Teresa's stood at the corner of Fleet and Atlantic across from Lewis Wharf. One of the oldest churches in the North End, it was small and starting to crumble. Danny bent to catch his breath, his shirt drenched in sweat from his run. He pulled his watch from his pocket: fi ve- forty-eight. Mass would end soon. If, like Salutation, the bomb was in the basement, about the only thing to do would be to rush into the church and order everyone out. Steve had made the call, so the bomb squad couldn't be far off. But if the bomb was in the basement, why hadn't it detonated? Parishioners had been in there for over forty-fi ve minutes. Ample time to blow out the floor beneath them. . . .

Danny heard it then, off in the distance, the first siren, the first patrol car leaving the Oh-One, surely followed by others.

The intersection was quiet, empty--a few jalopies parked in front of the church, none of them more than a step removed from a horse- drawn cart, though a couple had been maintained with pride. He scanned the rooftops across the street, thinking: Why a church? Even for anarchists, it seemed political suicide, especially in the North End. Then he remembered that the only reason any churches in the neighborhood offered early-evening mass had been to cater to workers deemed so "essential" during the war they couldn't be afforded a day off on the Sabbath. "Essential" meant some connection, however broad, to the military--men and women who worked with arms, steel, rubber, or industrial alcohol. So this church wasn't just a church, it was a military target.

Inside the church, dozens of voices rose in hymn. He had no choice--get the people out. Why the bomb hadn't gone off yet, he couldn't say. Maybe he was a week early. Maybe the bomber was having trouble with the detonation--anarchists often did. There were dozens of plausible reasons for the lack of an explosion, but none of them would mean shit if he let the worshippers die. Get them to safety, then worry about questions or possible egg on his face. For now, just get them the fuck out.

He started across the street and noticed that one of the jalopies was double-parked.

There was no need for it. There were plenty of spaces on both sides of the street. The only stretch of curb that wasn't free was directly in front of the church. And that's where the car was double-parked. It was an old Rambler 63 coupe, probably 1911 or '12. Danny paused in the middle of the street, just froze as the skin along his throat and under his arms grew clammy. He expelled a breath and moved again, quicker now. As he drew closer to the car, he could see the driver slouched low behind the wheel, a dark hat pulled down his forehead. The sound of the siren grew sharper and was joined by several more. The driver sat up. His left hand was on the wheel. Danny couldn't see his right.

Inside the church, the hymn ended.

The driver cocked his head and turned his face toward the street. Federico. No gray in his hair anymore, and he'd shaved his mustache, his features somehow leaner because of the changes, hungrier. He saw Danny but his eyes didn't display recognition, just a vague curiosity at this large Bolshevik with the beastly beard crossing a street in the North End.

The doors to the church opened.

The lead siren sounded like it was a block away. A boy came out of a shop four doors down, a tweed scally cap on his head, something under his arm.

Danny reached into his coat. Federico's eyes locked on Danny's. Danny pulled his gun from his coat as Federico reached for something on the car seat.

The first parishioners reached the church steps.

Danny waved his gun. He shouted, "Get back inside!"

No one seemed to realize he was talking to them. Danny stepped to his left, swung his arm, and fired a round into Federico's windshield. On the church steps, several people screamed.

Danny fired a second time and the windshield shattered. "Back inside!"

Something hot hissed just beneath his earlobe. He saw a white muzzle flash off to his left--the boy, firing a pistol at him. Federico's door popped open; he held up a stick of dynamite, the wick sparking. Danny cupped his elbow in his hand and shot Federico in the left kneecap. Federico yelped and fell against the car. The stick of dynamite dropped onto the front seat.

Danny was close enough now to see the other sticks piled in the backseat, two or three bundles of them.

A chunk of cobblestone spit off the street. He ducked and fi red back at the boy. The boy hit the ground and his cap fell off and long caramel hair cascaded out from under it as the boy rolled under a car. No boy. Tessa. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement from the Rambler and he fired again. The bullet hit the running board, an embarrassing shot, and then his revolver clicked on empty. He found bullets in his pocket and emptied his shells onto the street. He ran in a crouch over to a streetlamp pole and placed his shoulder to it and tried to reload his revolver with shaking hands as bullets thunked off the cars nearest to him and hit the lamp pole.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com