The bourne supremacy, p.39
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.39

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 39


  'Sometimes I wonder if I'm in Hong Kong or the Vatican. ' Webb raised his head and looked around. All along the walkway terrified people were hesitantly beginning to rise. Mothers clutched children; men held women, and men, women and children got to their knees, then their feet and suddenly formed a mass stampede towards the Salisbury arch. 'You were told to make your call from here, weren't you?" said David rapidly, turning to the frightened hotel man.

  'Yes, sir. '

  ' Why? Did they give you a reason?"

  'Yes, sir. '

  'For Christ's sake, open your eyes?

  'Yes, sir. ' Liang did so, looking away as he spoke. They said they did not trust the guest who asked for Suite Six-nine-zero. He was a man who might force another to convey lies. Therefore they wanted to observe me when I spoke to them. . . Mr Bourne - no, I did not say that! Mr Cruett - I tried all day to reach you, Mr Cruett 11 wanted you to know I was being pressed repeatedly, Mr Cruett. They kept phoning me, wanting to know when I would place my call to them -from here. I kept saying you had not arrived! What else could

  I do? By trying to reach you so constantly, you can see I was trying to warn you, sir! It is obvious, is it not?

  'What's obvious is that you're a damn fool. '

  'I am not equipped for this work. '

  'Why did you do it?

  'Money, sir! I was with Chiang, with the Kuomintang. I have a wife and five children - two sons and three daughters. I have to get out! They search backgrounds; they give us incontestable labels with no appeals. I am a learned man, sir! Fudan University, second in my class -1 owned my own hotel in Shanghai. But all that is meaningless now. When Beijing takes over, I am dead, my family is dead. And now you say I am dead as of this moment. What am I to do?'

  'Peking - Beijing - won't touch the colony; they won't change anything,' said David, remembering the words Marie had said to him that terrible evening after McAllister had left their house. 'Unless the crazies take over. '

  They are all crazy, sir. Believe nothing else. You don't know them!'

  'Maybe not. But I know a few of you. And, frankly, I'd rather not. '

  '"Let who is without sin among you cast the first stone, " sir. '

  'Stones, but not bags of silver from Chiang's corruption, right?'


  'What are your three daughters' names? Quickly?

  They are. . . they are. . . Wang. . . Wang Sho-'

  'Forget it!' yelled David, glancing down at the Salisbury arch. 'Ni bushi ren! You're not a man, you're a pig! Stay well, Liang-of-the-Kuomintang. Stay well as long as they let you. Frankly, I couldn't care less. '

  Webb got to his feet, prepared to throw himself down again at the first irregular flash of light from a window above on his left. The eyes of Jason Bourne were accurate: there was nothing. David joined the stampede at the arch and slithered his way through the crowds to Salisbury Road.

  He placed the call from a phone in a congested, noisy arcade off Nathan Road. He put his index finger in his right ear to hear more clearly.

  ' Wet?' said a male voice.

  'It's Bourne, and I'll speak English. Where is my wife?'

  'Wade tian ah! It is said you speak our language in numerous dialects. '

  'It's been a long time and I want everything clearly understood. I asked you about my wife!'

  'Liang gave you this number?'

  'He didn't have a choice. '

  'He is also dead. '

  'I don't care what you do, but if I were you, I'd have second thoughts about killing him. '

  'Why? He is lower than a worm. '

  'Because you picked a damn fool, worse, an hysterical one. He talked to too many people. A switchboard operator told me he was calling me every few minutes-'

  'Calling you?'

  'I flew in this morning. Where is my wife-'

  'Liang the liar}' 'You didn't expect me to stay in that suite, did you? I had him switch me to another room. We were seen talking together - arguing - with half a dozen clerks watching us. You kill him, there'll be more rumours than any of us want. The police will be looking for a rich American who disappeared. '

  'His trousers are soiled,' said the Chinese. 'Perhaps it is enough. '

  'It's enough. Now what about my wife}'

  'I heard you. I am not privileged with such information. '

  'Then put on someone who is. Now!'

  'You will meet with others more knowledgeable. '


  'We will get back to you. What room are you in?

  'I'll call you. You've got fifteen minutes. '

  'You are giving me orders?'

  'I know where you are, which window, which office -you're sloppy with your rifle. You should have corked the

  barrel; sunlight reflects off metal, that's basic. In thirty seconds I'll be a hundred feet from your door, but you won't know where I am and you can't leave that phone. '

  'I don't believe you!'

  Try me. You're not watching me now, I'm watching you. You've got fifteen minutes, and when I call you back I want to talk to my wife. '

  'She's not here!'

  'If I thought she were you'd be dead, your head knifed from the rest of you and thrown out the window to join the other garbage in the harbour. If you think I'm exaggerating, check around. Ask people who've dealt with me. Ask your taipan, the Yao Ming who doesn't exist. '

  'I cannot make your wife appear, Jason Bourne!' shouted the frightened minion.

  'Get me a number where I can reach her. Either I hear her voice - talking to me - or there's nothing. Except for your headless corpse and a black bandanna across your bleeding neck. Fifteen minutes?

  David hung up the phone and wiped the sweat from his face. He had done it. The mind and the words were Jason Bourne's - he had gone back in only vaguely remembered time and instinctively knew what to do, what to say, what to threaten. There was a lesson somewhere. Appearance far outdistanced reality. Or was there a reality within him crying to come out, wanting control, telling David Webb to trust the man inside him?

  He left the oppressively crowded arcade and turned right on the equally congested pavement. The Golden Mile of the Tsim Sha Tsui was preparing for its nightly games, and so would he. He could return to the hotel now; the assistant manager would be miles away, conceivably booking a flight to Taiwan, if there was any truth at all in his hysterical statements. Webb would use the freight elevator to reach his room in case others were awaiting him in the lobby, although he doubted it. The shooting gallery that was a deserted office in the New World Centre was not a command post, and the marksman was not a commander but a relay, now frightened for his life.

  With each step David took down Nathan Road, the shorter his breath became, the louder his chest pounded. Twelve minutes from now he would hear Marie's voice. Oh God, he wanted to hear it so! He had to! It was all that would keep him sane, all that mattered.

  'Your fifteen minutes are over,' said Webb, sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to control his heartbeat, wondering if the rapid echo could be heard as he heard it, hoping it caused no tremor in his voice. 'Call five-two, six, five, three. '

  'Five?' David recognized the exchange. 'She's over in Hong Kong, not Kowloon. '

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