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Windmills of the Gods

Sidney Sheldon



  Perho, Finland. The meeting took place in a comfortable weatherproofed cabin in a remote wooded area two hundred miles from Helsinki. The members of the Western branch of the Committee had arrived discreetly at irregular intervals. They came from eight different countries, but their visit had been quietly arranged by a senior minister in the Valtioneuvosto, the Finnish Council of State, and there was no record of entry in their passports. Upon their arrival, armed guards escorted them into the cabin, and'when the last visitor appeared, the cabin door was locked and the guards took up positions in the full-throated January winds, alert for any sign of intruders.

  The members, seated around the large rectangular table, were men in powerful positions, high in the councils of their respective governments. They had all met before in their official capacities, and they trusted one another because they had no choice. For added security, each had been assigned a code name.

  The meeting lasted almost five hours, and the discussion was heated. Finally the chairman decided the time had come to call for a vote. He rose, standing tall, and turned to the man seated at his right.


  "Yes. "


  "Yes. "


  "We're moving too hastily. The danger-"

  "Yes or no, please. "

  "No. "

  " Freyr?"

  "Yes. "


  "Nein. If this should be exposed, our lives would be-"


  "Yes. "


  "Yes. "

  "I vote yes. The resolution is passed. I will so inform the Controller. We will observe the usual precautions and leave at twenty-minute intervals. Thank you, gentlemen. "

  Two hours and forty-five minutes later the cabin was deserted. A crew of experts carrying kerosene moved in and set the cabin on fire, the red flames licked by the hungry winds.

  When the fire brigade from Perho finally reached the scene, there was nothing left to see but the smoldering embers that outlined the cabin against the hissing snow.

  The assistant to the fire chief approached the ashes, bent down, and sniffed. "Kerosene," he said. "Arson. "

  The fire chief was staring at the ruins, a puzzled expression on his face. "That's strange," he muttered.


  "I was hunting in these woods last week. There was no cabin. "