The Hunters by Chris Kuzneski

Description : The Hunters
Friday, December 15, 1916

Iasi, Romania

(246 miles north of Bucharest)

The biggest theft in modern history didn’t occur at a bank. It happened in a train station in the dead of night, under the watchful gaze of armed soldiers.

Amazingly, no one knew it was a robbery until years later.

And by then, the treasure had been stolen again.

It was miserably cold as Bela Dobrev left the three-story building where he and his wife lived in a small, second-floor apartment. The streets were empty at this late hour, and the wind from the northeast carried the damp, dreadful smell of the Prut River. He pulled his new wool scarf higher on his face, over his full mustache to the bridge of his nose. He was grateful his wife had given him this Christmas gift early. The winter was unforgiving, the odors of sewage even worse. At least in the summer the winds tended to blow from the south.

From the moment he started out for his evening shift, he walked with his eyes downcast to protect them from the incessant wind. He did not have to look up to walk the three blocks to the sprawling station. He had worked there for over forty years, since the proud, palatial structure had opened in 1870. He knew the cobbled roadways stone by stone. He remembered when a carthorse had stumbled and broken this one, when an axe had fallen from a laborer’s backpack and cracked that one. He remembered it all.

A block from the station, Dobrev smiled beneath the scarf, the bristles of his mustache prickling his upper lip. It was then that he...
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