Matrix. “My full name is in the same matrix with the other clues.” A section of it is folded, hiding some of the page. He hands it to Natan. Natan takes the page, glancing at the professor’s name, “Okay, I’ll admit, that is really strange.” Josh then picks up the photograph of the two of them. “I’m not as concerned about me in this picture as I am about you.” “I’m a N.S.A. agent, remember? Your concern is unwarranted, Professor.” “That’s not what I mean. Agent Natan…” Natan smiles at him. “Are you going to tell me or do I have to decipher it from the Code itself?” “Is your middle name Elizabeth , first name Katherine? Date of birth, December 21, 1973 ?” Josh asks. The smile fades from Natan’s face. “Did you get my personal information from the Internet or something? No one calls me Katherine.” “Agent Natan, your full name and date of birth are in the code in one unbroken line. That’s why I sought you out.” Josh unfolds the section of matrix in Natan’s hand. Natan’s name and birth date are listed on the page. Her hands begin to shake as she holds the page. “Why didn’t you mention that your birthday was December 21 st when I was explaining the date significance earlier?” Josh questions. Natan’s voice shakes. “It’s just a coincidence. This is…all just a coincidence.” Natan maneuvers toward the paper-covered sofa. Josh sees the color fading from her face. “Are you okay?” he asks. Natan plops onto the sofa, still holding the page, as paper crunches beneath her. She tries to catch her breath. “I’m fine.” “If I found both of our names in the Code and someone sent us that photo, then they may have found them too.” Natan’s N.S.A.-agent mode kicks in. “We don’t know anything yet. It has to be some random thing. Maybe someone who works with you is involved.” Josh warns, “Look, this is an incredibly delicate situation and we need to be as protective of our contact as we are of these elements of the Code. I haven’t revealed what I found about the riddle, about me, or about your information in the matrices to anyone…not to Congressman Bradshaw and not even to my research assistant.” “I need to think this through.” Natan runs her fingers through her hair, her min d racing a million miles a minute . A reluctant Josh continues, “There’s one more thing.” Natan looks up at Josh with even more shock. “Agent Natan. Do you know what your last name means?” Natan regains her composure. Another riddle? This guy is beginning to test my patience, clean-scented or not . “I haven’t the vaguest idea. Why?” she replies. “The name Natan means “Nathan” in Hebrew.” Natan retorts, “So? I’m not even Jewish, or religious, nor do I know if I even believe in God. Why would this be significant?” “Jewish or not, belief or not, Nathan means prophet in Hebrew.” Josh takes a breath. “The word prophet was also listed in the matrix…next to your name.” Natan drops the page to the floor. Near Natan’s name on the page is the word prophet circled in red pen.
P art II U nderneath
Chapter Nine July 1, 2006 Natan sleeps in the quiet of her home, lost in her daily dream.
Within her mind, the wind blows gently against the backdrop of deep blue sky. She observes a few white clouds as they dot the background. Natan reaches out to them, finding herself lifting off the ground. She flies, soaring through the sky as if God’s hand is cradling her. The wind whooshes past her, dancing on her skin as the small, gentle clouds she reaches for mount in the distance, pulling her toward them. As she gets closer she sees a lone white door suspended in the air with only its frame. A sudden silence