At one time there were Masons in Cross.
They never established much of a foothold, although they did build an impressive hall for themselves at the end of Elm Street. For almost a century the Masons had a small but solid core of members. They were active in politics, society, and relief. All the duties they believed they should be part of.
Unfortunately, like so many other members of the Masons, they no longer felt the need to keep their practices in secret. To refrain from sharing the ancient and powerful rites, they practiced never crossed their minds.
It did become prominent in the minds of others.
Most noticeably, those Masons in other towns who had never allowed their secrets to be shared. Masons who kept themselves silent when the rest of the world screamed for more information.
I have never been a Mason. Nor have I ever desired to be. I have known too many of them, and few, if any are worth anything. At least not the new breed. The old breed, well, they were dangerous, and I could respect that.
It was that respect which encouraged me to keep my mouth shut and to say nothing when I learned of the attack to come.
It was a cool night, late in 1947, when the Cross Masons were attacked by some of their more devout brethren. The raid was quick and brutal, a powerful reminder of the strength of the organization.
When they finished with the raid, the Cross Masons were laid out in a neat row in front of the burning building, and then the attackers left.
Each man raised a hand and saluted me as I stood, clapping politely as they drove away.
True art always deserves praise.
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