The bourne supremacy, p.16
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.16

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 16


  'Mrs McAllister!' broke in Webb. 'I have to reach your husband! Now!'

  'Oh, I'm terribly sorry, but I don't think that's possible. He's in the Far East and, of course, I don't have a number where 1 can reach him there. In emergencies we always call the State Department. '

  David hung up the phone. He had to alert -phone - Marie. The line had to be free by now; it had been busy for nearly an hour, and there was no one his wife could talk with on the telephone for an hour, not even her father, her mother or her two brothers in Canada. There was great affection between them all, but she was the maverick. She was not the Francophile her lather was, not a homebody like her mother, and although she adored her brothers, not the rustic, plainspoken folk they were. She had found another life in the stratified layers of higher economics, with a doctorate and gainful employment with the Canadian Government. And, at last, she had married an American.

  QueI dommage.

  The line was still busy! Goddamnit, Marie!

  Then Webb froze, his whole body for an instant a block of searing hot ice. He could barely move, but he did move, and then he raced out of his small office and down the corridor with such speed that he pummelled three students and a colleague out of his path, sending two into walls the others buckling under him; he was a man suddenly possessed.

  Reaching his house, he slammed on the brakes; the car screeched to a stop as he leaped out of the seat and ran up the path to the door. He stopped, staring, his breath suddenly no longer in him. The door was open and on the angled indented panel was a hand print stamped in red - blood.

  Webb ran inside, throwing everything out of his way. Furniture crashed and lamps were smashed as he searched the ground floor. Then he went upstairs, his hands two thin slabs of granite, his every nerve primed for a sound, a weight, his killer instinct as clear as the red stains he had seen below on the outside door. For these moments he knew and accepted the fact that he was the assassin - the lethal animal that Jason Bourne had been. If his wife was above, he would kill whoever tried to harm her - or had harmed her already.

  Prone on the floor, he pushed the door of their bedroom open.

  The explosion blew apart the upper hallway wall. He rolled under the blast to the opposite side; he had no weapon, but he had a cigarette lighter. He reached into his trouser pockets for the scribbled notes all teachers gather, bunched them together, spun to his left and snapped the lighter; the flame was immediate. He threw the fired wad far into the bedroom as he pressed his back against the wall and rose from the floor, his head whipping towards the other two closed doors on the narrow upper floor. Suddenly he lashed out with his feet, one crash after another as he lunged back onto the floor and rolled into the shadows.

  Nothing. The two rooms were empty. If there was an enemy he was in the bedroom. But by now the bedspread was on fire. The flames were gradually leaping towards the ceiling. Only seconds now.


  He plunged into the room, and grabbing the flaming bedspread he swung it in a circle as he crouched and rolled on the floor until the spread was ashes, all the while expecting an ice-cold hit in his shoulder or his arm, but knowing he could overcome it and take his enemy. Jesus! He was Jason Bourne again!

  There was nothing. His Marie was not there; there was nothing but a primitive string-device that had triggered a shotgun, angled for a certain kill when he pushed the door open. He stamped out the flames, lurched for a table lamp, and turned it on.

  Marie! Marie!

  Then he saw it. A note lying on the pillow on her side of the bed:

  'A wife for a wife, Jason Bourne. She is wounded but not dead, as mine is dead. You know where to find me, and her, if you are circumspect and fortunate. Perhaps we can do business for I have enemies, too. If not, what is the death of one more daughter?''

  Webb screamed, falling onto the pillows, trying to mute the outrage and the horror that came from his throat, pushing back the pain that swept through his temples. Then he turned over and stared at the ceiling, a terrible, brute passivity coming over him. Things unremembered suddenly came back to him - things he had never revealed even to Morris Panov. Bodies collapsing under his knife, falling under his gun these were not imagined killings, they were real. They had made him what he was not, but they had done the job too well. He had become the image, the man that was not supposed to be. He'd had to. He'd had to survive - without knowing who he was.

  And now he knew the two men within him that made up his whole being. He would always remember the one because it was the man he wanted to be, but for the time being he had to be the other - the man he despised.

  Jason Bourne rose from the bed and went to the walk-in

  closet where there was a locked drawer, the third in his built-in bureau. He reached up and pulled the tape from a key attached to the cupboard ceiling. He inserted it in the lock and opened the drawer. Inside were two dismantled automatics, four strings of thin wire attached to spools that he could conceal in his palms, three valid passports in three different names, and six plastique explosive charges that could blow apart whole rooms. He would use one or all. David Webb would find his wife. Or Jason Bourne would become the terrorist no one ever dreamed of in his wildest nightmares. He did not care - too much had been taken from him. He would endure no more.

  Bourne cracked the various parts in place and snapped the magazine of the second automatic. Both were ready. He was ready. He went back to the bed and lay down, staring again at the ceiling. The logistics would fall into place, he knew that. Then the hunt would begin. He would find her - dead or alive and if she was dead - he would kill, kill and kill again! Whoever it was would never get away from him. Not from Jason Bourne.

  Chapter Five

  Barely in control of himself, he knew that calm was out of the question. His hand gripped the automatic while his mind cracked with surreal bursts of rapid gunfire, one option after another slamming into his head. Above all he could not stay still; he had to keep in motion. He had to get up and move!

  The State Department. The men at State he had known during his last months in the remote, classified Virginia medical complex - those insistent, obsessed men who questioned him relentlessly, showing him photographs by the dozens until Mo Panov would order them to stop. He had learned their names and written them down, thinking that one day he might want to know who they were - no reason other than visceral distrust; such men had tried to kill him only months before. Yet he had never asked for their names, nor were they offered except as Harry, Bill, or Sam, presumably on the theory that actual identities would simply add to his confusion. Instead, he had unobtrusively read their identification tags and, after they left, wrote the names down and placed the pieces of paper with his personal belongings in the bureau drawer. When Marie came to see him, which was every day, he gave her those names and told her to hide them in the house hide them well.

  Later, Marie admitted that although she had done as he instructed, she thought his suspicions were excessive, a case of overkill. But then one morning, only minutes after a heated session with the men from Washington, David pleaded with her to leave the medical complex immediately, run to the car, drive to the bank where they had a safety deposit box, and do the following: Insert a short strand of her hair in the bottom left border of the deposit box, lock it, get out of the bank, and return two hours later to see if it was still there.

  It was not. She had securely fixed the strand of hair in place; it could not have fallen away unless the deposit box had been opened. She found it on the tiled floor of the bank vault.

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