'Can you hear me?' she asked.
'You're hurt,' she said, 'quite badly; but if you stay quiet, it won't be necessary for you to get to a hospital. That was a doctor ... obviously. I paid him out of the money I found on you; quite a bit more than might seem usual, but I was told he could be trusted. It was your idea, incidentally. While we were driving, you kept saying you had to find a doctor, one you could pay to keep quiet You were right. It wasn't difficult.'
'Where are we?' He could hear his voice; it was weak, but he could hear it
'A village called Lenzburg, about twenty miles outside Zurich. The doctor's from Wohlen; it's a nearby town. He'll see you in a week, if you're here.'
'How? ...' He tried to raise himself, but the strength wasn't there. She touched his shoulder; it was an order to he back down.
I'll tell you what happened, and perhaps that will answer your questions. At least, I hope so, because if it doesn't, I'm not sure I can.' She stood motionless, looking down at him, her tone controlled. 'An animal was raping me - after which he had orders to kill me. There was no way I was going to live. In the Steppdeckstrasse, you tried to stop them, and when you couldn't, you told me to scream, to keep screaming. It was all you could do, and by shouting to me, you risked being killed at that moment yourself. Later, you somehow got free -I don't know how, but I know you were hurt very badly doing so - and you came back to find me.'
'Him,' interrupted Jason, 'I wanted him.
'You told me that, and I'll say what I said before. I don't believe you. Not because you're a poor liar, but because it doesn't conform with the facts. I work with statistics, Mr Washburn, or Mr Bourne, or whatever your name is. I respect observable data and I can spot inaccuracies; I'm trained to do that. Two men went in that building to find you, and I heard you say they were both alive. They could identify you. And there's the owner of the Drei Alphenhauser; he could too. Those are the facts, and you know them as well as I do ... No, you came back to find me. You came back and saved my life.'
'Go on,' he said, his voice gaining strength. 'What happened?'
'I made a decision. It was the most difficult decision I've ever made in my life. I think a person can only make a decision like that if he's nearly lost his life by an act of violence, his life saved by someone else. I decided to help you. Only for a while - for just a few hours, perhaps - but I would help you get away.'
'Why didn't you go to the police?"
'I almost did, and I'm not sure I can tell you why I didn't. Maybe it was the rape, I don't know. I'm being honest with you. I've always been told it's the most horrible experience a woman can go through. I believe it now ... And I heard the anger - the disgust - in your own voice when you shouted at him. I'll never forget that moment as long as I live, as much as I may want to.'
'The police?" he repeated.
'That man at the Drei Alpenhauser said the police were looking for you. That a telephone number had been set up in Zurich.' She paused. 'I couldn't give you to the police. Not then. Not after what you did.'
'Knowing what I am?' he asked.
'I know only what I've heard, and what I've heard doesn't correspond with the injured man who came back for me and offered his life for mine.'
.'That's not very bright.'
'That's the one thing I am, Mr Bourne - I assume it's Bourne; it's what he called you. Very bright"
'I hit you. I threatened to kill you.'
'If I'd been you, and men were trying to kill me, I probably would have done the same - if I were capable.'
'So you drove out of Zurich?'
'Not at first, not for a half hour or so. I had to calm down, reach my decision. I'm methodical.'
'I'm beginning to see that'
'I was a wreck, a mess; I needed clothes, hairbrush, makeup. I couldn't walk anywhere. I found a telephone booth down by the river, and there was no one around, so I got out of the car and called a colleague at the hotel ...'
"The Frenchman? The Belgian?' interrupted Jason.
'No. They'd been at the Bertinelli lecture, and if they had recognized me up on the stage with you, I assumed they'd given my name to the police. Instead, I called a woman who's a member of our delegation; she loathes Bertinelli and was in her room. We've worked together for several years and we're friends. I told her that if she heard anything about me to disregard it, I was perfectly all right. As a matter of fact, if anyone asked about me, she was to say I was with a friend for the evening - for the night, if pressed. That I'd left the Bertinelli lecture early."
'Methodical,' said Bourne.
'Yes.' Marie allowed herself a tentative smile. 'I asked her to go to my room - we're only two doors away from each other and the night maid knows we're fnends. If no one was there she was to put some clothes and make-up in my suitcase and come back to her room. I'd call her in five minutes.'
'She just accepted what you said?'
'I told you, we're friends. She knew I was all right, excited perhaps, but all right. And that I wanted her to do as I asked.' Marie paused again. 'She probably thought I was telling her the truth.'
'I called her back and she had my things.'
'Which means the two other delegates didn't give your name to the police. Your room would have been watched, sealed off.'
'I don't know whether they did or not But if they did, my friend was probably questioned quite a while ago. She'd simply say what I told her to say.'
'She was at the Carillon, you were down at the river. How
did you get your things?'
'It was quite simple. A little tacky, but simple. She spoke to the night maid, telling her I was avoiding one man at the hotel, seeing another outside. I needed my overnight case and could she suggest a way to get it to me. To a car ... down at the river. An off-duty waiter brought it to me.'
'Wasn't he surprised at the way you looked?'
'He didn't have much of a chance to see anything. I opened the boot, stayed in the car, and told him to put it in the back. I left a ten-franc note on the spare tyre.'
'You're not methodical, you're remarkable.'
'Methodical will do.'
'How did you find the doctor?'
'Right here. The concierge, or whatever he's called in Switzerland. Remember, I'd wrapped you up as best I could, reduced the bleeding as much as possible. Like most people, I have a working knowledge of first aid; that meant I had to remove some of your clothing. I found the money and then I understood what you meant by finding a doctor you could pay. You have thousands and thousands of dollars on you. I know the rates of exchange.'
That's only the beginning."
'Never mind.' He tried to rise again; it was too difficult 'Aren't you afraid of me? Afraid of what you've done?'
'Of course I am. But I know what you did for me.'
'You're more trusting than I'd be under the circumstances.'
"Then perhaps you're not that aware of the circumstances. You're still very weak and I have the gun. Besides, you don't have any clothes.'