A Last Request - The Key - The Search for the Shroud of Turin

A Last Request
Chapter 1: The Key
By Katherine Burlake

April 1990: Over the Atlantic Ocean

From the window of the jet, Amy Prowers watched as the sky in the east darkened. A Last Request by Katherine BurlakeFrom the window of the jet, Amy Prowers watched as the sky in the east darkened. She wondered if the setting sun looked the same for her father when he died. No, not just dead, but killed, she thought. Despite the findings of the Director General for Civil Aviation of Mexico who called it pilot error, she and her aunt Sonora were sure his plane crash was no accident.

On the seat beside her sat the icon book and the letter his lawyer gave her at the reading of his will. In this letter, her father said the Shroud of Turin was hidden in the church at the Gracanica monastery. He asked her to find it and take it to the cathedral in Turin, Italy, replacing the fake one. He ended his letter with a warning: be careful who you trust.

Amy felt the trip could be a wild goose chase. But if her father had indeed hidden the burial cloth of Christ in this monastery, she had to honor his last request.

The note made no sense, and I don’t know anyone at the monastery who could help me.

Leaning back against the seat, Amy sipped her vodka. If the real Shroud wasn’t in Turin, there could be a scandal – for Italy, Serbia, and the Catholic Church. There had to be more to his request.
For years, her father traveled every few months to the monastery. She thought he was visiting old buddies from World War II. Now she wasn’t sure. Why didn’t he just say where he hid the Shroud? Her father always had secrets, but hiding the Shroud of Turin … for what reason?

Amy hoped someone at the monastery would know. One thing she did know: the past had not died with her father, and he was reaching out to her from his grave. Her Aunt Sonora had said, “Someone wanted Benton dead. Amy, you have to follow through on his legacy or the past is lost forever.”

If the Shroud is at the monastery, I’ll find it and discover those responsible for his death. Amy smiled, remembering how her father loved puzzles. This one may have cost him his life.

If she was right, the letter was the first piece of the puzzle, the icon book the second, and going to the monastery the third.

The plane bounced in turbulence. Amy motioned to the stewardess for another vodka. Stretching her long legs she looked out the window as the moon disappeared in a cloud bank. The sky became as dark as the ground below.

Amy realized she faced a door in her life that needed to be unlocked. Hesitating, she opened the book, Icons of the Balkan Monasteries.

To her surprise, a small key, almost concealed, was taped inside the cover. An odd shape and size, it looked as if it would open a small box. Tearing it off and holding it in her hand, she wondered what it unfastened. One thing she knew – the key was the fourth piece of her father’s puzzle.

Being honest with herself, Amy resented being swept into her father’s past. Whatever the key opened, she knew it would change her life.

A thought from years ago flashed across her memory. Her first husband had called her a reluctant warrior. At the time, she thought he was nuts, but today he might be right. She had a feeling she was in for a fight. The thought occurred to her that her father wasn’t sure who would find his clues. Otherwise, his letter would simply tell her where the Shroud was hidden. She turned the pages in the book, looking at pictures of icons. On the last page was a Biblical quotation from the Book of Revelations.

Then I saw another angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, and a rainbow over his head: his face shone and he held open in his hand a small scroll.

Amy skipped down to the last paragraph of the quote, likely underlined by her father.

God’s veiled plan, mysterious through the ages, would be fulfilled.

She fingered the key, watching the stars in the darkened sky. Sleep came slowly. When it did, angels blowing trumpets filled her dreams.


If you have not already read book one of the Amy Prowers series, The Bystander, a preview of the Prologue, Chapter 1: The Key, and Chapter 2: The Gracanica Monastery is contained in the back of the book. It can be purchased on Amazon.

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