Agents of the Vault – Part 18

Part 18 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Grissom reveals the secrets of the writing desk as he attempts a last ditch play to even the numbers agains Jane.

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Agents of the Vault
Part 18
By Grant Baciocco

“I guess you weren’t kidding.  There wasn’t nothing in that trunk but an old writing desk?” Leland scoffed as he, Charlie and Doris entered the hotel room.  They had found Grisom seated at a chair, the writing desk from the trunk, on the moth eaten and threadbare bed in the middle of the room.  Grisom sat hunched over it writing quickly on a piece of paper.  “You writing out your last will and testament, Grisom?”

“This desk belonged to Thomas Jefferson.” Grisom answered, ignoring Leland’s barb.  “You know who that is?”

“I’ve heard of him.” Leland replied, crossing his arms.

Grisom continued, “He wrote the Declaration of Independence.  Funny thing is though, he didn’t want to write it, he thought John Adams should write it, so did a lot of folks at that time.  Problem was, Jefferson didn’t have much time to write a draft and then take it around to all the other committee members.  You know the Committee of Five?”

Leland stared blankly at Grisom as he wrote.

“The Committee of Five,” Charlie piped up, “Adams, Sherman, Livingston, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.  They drafted the Declaration of Independence and brought it to the Continental Congress.”

“Smart kid.” Leland said with a sideways glance towards Charlie.  “So what about this desk?”

“This desk was built from wood from a forest deep inside Virginia, a forest some say was enchanted.”

“Bull crap.” Leland said.

“Some say that as well.  Anyway, five of these desks were made.  One for each of the Committee of Five. Anything anyone wrote on any of the five desks would appear on paper kept on top of the other four desks.” Grisom explained, finishing up the letter he was writing.  “So as Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, it appeared on paper on the other four men’s desks.”

“I don’t believe that for a minute,” Leland scoffed.

“I could care less if you did.” Grisom went on.  “Jefferson wrote, ‘We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable.’  Seconds later, those words were scratched out as Franklin edited, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident.’  They were miles from each other.”

“I see,” said Leland, still not believing, “What are you doing, writing a letter to the rest of the Committee of Five?  Hoping they read it and Ben Franklin will come rinding in and and save your hide?”

“No.” Said Grisom, standing from his chair.  “There’s only two desks left, this one and one at The Vault in Yankton.  I’m hoping someone there reads the message and they send in the calvary.  Other Agents of the Vault to help even up the fight.  The Vault in Yankton is only 30 miles or so away, so they could come help us even the odds.”

“If I was in your shoes,” Leland said, poking a finger at Grisom, “I’d spend less time writing a letter to your pen pals and more time figuring out how you’re gonna defeat the Pinkertons headed this way to kill us.”

Grisom reached down onto the bed next to the desk and handed Leland a revolver.  “Here.  You guard the bottom floor of the hotel.  Charlie will stay up here with the trunk.”

“And if I don’t.” Leland said, checking to make sure the gun was loaded.

“Then I’ll shoot you.” Grisom said, matter of factly.

Leland had no comeback, he dropped his arms, the pistol at his side.

Grisom began placing the writing desk into the trunk.  He made sure the desk was secured to the inside, then he closed the lid and began running his finger across the padlock, which began to glow and it locked itself.  After he was sure it was secure, he stood and crossed to Leland.

“You can’t let them up the stairs.” Grisom said, looking Leland in the eye.

“I reckon now’s the time to ask, what do I get out of all this?” Leland said with a smirk.  “For saving you, your trunk and the kid too?”

Grisom sighed.  “We make it out of this alive, you go free and you get the gold.”

Leland was quiet for a second, but then a smile crept over his face, “You got yourself a deal, Grisom.”  He twirled the gun in his hand and then shoved it into the waistband of his pants.

Charlie crossed to the window and looked out.  He saw four black marks moving across the prairie that were rapidly becoming the recognizable shapes of Jane and her men on horseback.  “Here they come.  About a mile out.”

Grisom sighed, “Well, I reckon we get set.  Charlie, you stay here.  Leland, you’re downstairs.  I’ll go meet them in the street.”

Doris let out a low, ominous whistle.  Grisom turned and looked at her.  “And you, remember what I told you.”

Doris nodded and skittered back across to the saddle bag.  There was a moment of silence and Grisom turned out the door, with Leland behind him.  Charlie and Doris listened as they thumped back down the stairs.

Charlie set a hand on Doris’ head and scratched behind her left ear.

“Here we go girl.” He said softly and then crossed to the window.

Below him he saw Grisom exit the hotel and stand in what there was of Main Street, Trinity.  Grisom’s hands were on his hips as he watched Jane and the Pinkertons approach.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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