The Bourne Identity / Page 20

Page 20



Something? It was there but it was so small, barely seen ... so bewildering. A tiny circle of green, an infinitesimal glow of green light. It moved ... as they moved.

Green. Small... light! Suddenly, from somewhere in a forgotten past the image of crosshairs burst across his eyes. His eyes were looking at two thin intersecting lines I Crosshairs! A scope ... the infra-red scope of a rifle. How did the killers know? Any number of answers. A hand-held radio had been used at the Gemeinschaft; one could be in use now. He wore an overcoat; his hostage wore a thin silk dress and the night was cool. No woman would go out like that

He swung to his left, crouching, lunging into Marie St Jacques, his shoulder crashing into her stomach, sending her reeling back towards the steps. The muffled cracks came in staccato repetition; stone and asphalt exploded all around them. He dived to his right, rolling over and over again the instant he made contact with the pavement, yanking the pistol from his overcoat pocket Then he sprang again, now straight forward, his left hand steadying his right wrist, the gun centred, aimed at the window with the rifle. He fired three shots.

A scream came from the dark open space of the stationary car; it was drawn out into a cry, then a gasp, and then nothing. Bourne lay motionless, waiting, listening, watching, prepared to fire again. Silence. He started to get up ... but he could not something had happened. He could barely move. Then the pain spread through his chest, the pounding so violent he bent over, supporting himself with both hands, shaking his head, trying to focus his eyes, trying to reject the agony. His left shoulder, his lower chest - below the ribs ... his left thigh -above the knee, below the hip, the locations of his previous wounds, where dozens of stitches had been removed over a month ago. He had damaged the weakened areas, stretching tendons and muscles not yet fully restored. Oh, Christ! He had to get up; he had to reach the would-be killer's car, pull the killer from it, and get away.

He whipped his head up, grimacing with the pain, and looked over at Marie St Jacques. She was getting slowly to her feet, first on one knee, then on one foot, supporting herself on the outside wall of the hotel. In a moment she would be standing, then running. Away.

He could not let her go I She would race screaming into the Carillon du Lac; men would come, some to take him ... some to kill him. He had to stop her!

He let his body fall forward and started rolling to his left, spinning like a wildly out-of-control manikin, until he was within four feet of the wall, four feet from her. He raised his gun, aiming at her head.

'Help me up,' he said, hearing the strain in his voice.

'What?'

"You heard me! Help me up' 'You said I could go! You gave me your word I' 'I have to take it back .. .! 'Wo, please:

This gun is aimed directly at your face, Doctor. You come here and help me get up or I'll blow it off.

He pulled the dead man from the car and ordered her to get behind the wheel Then he opened the rear door and crawled into the back seat out of sight. 'Drive,' he said. 'Drive where I tell you.'

Whenever you're in a stress situation yourself- and there's time, of course - do exactly as you would do when you project yourself into one you're observing. Let your mind fall free, let whatever thoughts and images that surface come cleanly. Try not to exercise any mental discipline. Be a sponge; concentrate on everything and nothing. Specifics may come to you, certain repressed conduits electrically prodded into functioning.

Bourne thought of Washburn's words as he adjusted his body into the corner of the seat, trying to restore some control. He massaged his chest, gently rubbing the bruised muscles around his previous wound; the pain was still there, but not as acute as it had been minutes ago.

'You can't just tell me to drive!' cried the St Jacques woman. 'I don't know where I'm going!!

'Neither do I.' said Jason. He had told her to stay on the lakeshore drive; it was dark and he had to have time to think. If only to be a sponge.

'People will be looking for me,' she exclaimed.

'They're looking for me, too.'

'You've taken me against my will. You struck me. Repeatedly.' She spoke more softly now, imposing a control on herself. 'That's kidnapping, assault... those are serious crimes. You're out of the hotel, that's what you said you wanted. Let me go and I won't say anything. I promise you!'

'You mean you'll give me your word?'

'Yes'

'I gave you mine and took it back. So could you.'

'You're different I won't. No one's trying to kill me, Oh God! Please I'

'Keep driving.'

One thing was clear to him. The killers had seen him drop his suitcase and leave it behind in his race for escape. That suitcase told them the obvious: he was getting out of Zurich, undoubtedly out of Switzerland. The airport and the station would be watched. And the car he had taken from the man he had killed - who had tried to kill him - would be the object of a search.

He could not go to the airport or to the station; he had to get rid of the car and find another. Yet he was not without resources. He was carrying 100,000 Swiss francs, and more than 16,000 French francs, the Swiss currency in his passport case, the French in the wallet he had stolen from the Marquis de Chambord. It was more than enough to buy him secretly to Paris.

Why Paris? It was as though the city were a magnet, pulling him to her without explanation.

You are not helpless. You will find your way... Follow your instincts, reasonably, of course.

To Paris.

'Have you been to Zurich before?' he asked his hostage.

'Never.'

"You wouldn't lie to me, would you?'

'I've no reason to! Please. Let me stop. Let me go!'

'How long have you been here?'

'A week. The conference was for a week.'

Then you've had time to get around, do some sightseeing.'

'I barely left the hotel There wasn't time.'

The schedule I saw on the board didn't seem very crowded. Only two lectures for the entire day.'

They were guest speakers; there were never more than two a day. The majority of our work was done in conference... small conferences. Ten to fifteen people from different countries, different interests.'

'You're from Canada?!

'I work for the Canadian government...'

The "doctor" is not medical then.'

"Economics. McGill University. Pembroke College, Oxford.'

I'm impressed.'

Suddenly, with controlled stridency, she added, 'My superiors expect me to be in contact with them. Tonight. If they don't hear from me, they'll be alarmed. They'll make inquiries; they'll call the Zurich police.'

'I see,' he said. That's something to think about, isn't it?' It occurred to Bourne that throughout the shock and the violence of the last half hour, the St Jacques woman had not let her handbag out of her hand. He leaned forward, wincing as he did so, the pain in his chest suddenly acute again. 'Give me your bag.'

'What?' She moved her hand quickly from the wheel, grabbing the bag in a fuI'lle attempt to keep it from him.

He thrust his right hand over the seat, his fingers grasping the leather. 'Just drive, Doctor,' he said as he lifted the purse off the seat and leaned back again.

'You have no right...' She stopped, the foolishness of her remark apparent.


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