“In the paper they mentioned something about magnets,” Lewis said.
“Magnetic therapy.” Leedskalnin nodded. “That is what I told the reporters, yes.”
Told the reporters. Lewis’s heart sank. “So that wasn’t true?”
The ghost of a smile flitted across Leedskalnin’s face. “Oh it’s true. As far as it goes. But not the whole truth.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you really want to?” Leedskalnin asked with a spark in his eyes. “They called it a miracle, Mr. Crosley, but it’s no miracle. There is nothing supernatural about what I did. In the hospital or what I did here.”
“What you did here?”
“How I moved the stones,” Leedskalnin said. “How I took this obelisk whole, from the ground, and raised it to where you see it now. How I rid my body of the illness—the energies invading it. All the same. It’s about recognizing the forces around us. Seeing them for what they truly are and learning how to manipulate them.”
Lewis tried to mask his disbelief but knew it showed on his face.
The little man wasn’t just eccentric. He was crazy.
Leedskalnin said, “I can prove to you the truth of what I am saying. I can demonstrate my knowledge of these things in a way that will make you reconsider everything you know.”
Leedskalnin took another drink from his shot glass, draining it.
He smacked his lips. He smiled at Lewis, picked up the dusty bottle he’d pulled from his trunk, pulled out the rubber stopper, and poured a refill of the thick, dark liquid. Riga Black Balsam, he’d called it. A Latvian drink. Smelled like medicine to Lewis; tasted like it too.
“After the tsar’s police came for me the first time,” the little man went on, picking up where he’d left off, “I knew it was no longer safe in Latvia. Word had gotten out, about the things I had done. The Valleyrs.” He practically spat the last word. “They enjoyed seeing my family suffer. Seeing my grandfather grovel. You understand, yes?”
He jabbed his little glass at Lewis for emphasis. Lewis nodded, and to avoid answering the man’s question took a sip from his own. He was on his second glass of the stuff; thankfully, they were small glasses.
The two men sat side-by-side. An old seaman’s chest rested on a slab nearby. Leedskalnin had taken the Black Balsam and the glasses from inside that chest, which had been covered with a pale green tarp to protect it from the weather. A second tarp covered what Lewis assumed was another chest.
Leedskalnin continued his story until, at last, he came to the only subject Lewis cared about: tuberculosis.
“The look on the doctor’s face, the first time he examined me…” Leedskalnin giggled. “He was surprised I could live, with the damage to my lungs he found. But I was not surprised. I knew of them, the energies that had invaded my body…”
“That’s the second time you’ve used that phrase—energies,” Lewis said, trying not to sound as impatient as he felt. “Could you be more specific?”
“Agonic lines,” he said. “Do you know?”
“Agonic lines?” The term came back to Lewis from somewhere— probably in school, maybe from working in the Corps. “Something to do with the earth’s magnetic field.”
“Exactly. Magnetic fields. Lines that tell us how these energies are distributed all over the world. There are maps in books, but there are better maps here.” Leedskalnin tapped the side of his head. “More accurate maps. Maps that have never been written down anywhere. I know things the books don’t. You can believe that. What my grandfather showed me…” The man continued talking, but his words went by without Lewis hearing them.
Finally, Lewis leaned across the table and said, “How did you cure it? That’s my question. My brother’s wife is dying and he’ll do anything to save her.”
Leedskalnin nodded. “I understand. Such a loss. Who could bear it?”
“Then tell me how you did it.” His tone, Lewis knew, had shown the impatience he was feeling. He added, “Please.”
The hint of a smile tugged at Leedskalnin face. “You felt it.” His eyes lit up again. “The well. You felt it, yes?”
Lewis’s heart jumped in his chest.
The tingling on his arms.
“I saw,” Leedskalnin said. “You felt it. Energy. From earth, from water. This, I used to build my castle. To lift the coral from the ground. As easy as I lift this book.”
Lewis stared at him.
“My secret, Lewis Cross-ley, I tell you. First person I share this with. Gurutvakarshan. Energy. Power.”
And in that instant, Lewis remembered when he’d felt that tingling sensation before. It had been seven or eight years ago. WLW, Crosley’s flagship station, had broadcast at half a million watts. Ten times more power than any other radio station before or since—power enough to be heard across the globe, from Brazil to Australia.