The bourne supremacy, p.48
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.48

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 48

 

  The lady asked to speak with me,' replied the man, stepping back.

  The nurse glanced quickly at Marie. 'Yes?'

  'If that's what he says. '

  This is foolish,' said the muscular guard, going to the door and opening it. The lady's not well,' he added. 'Her mind strays. She says foolish thing's. ' He went out the door and closed it firmly behind him.

  Again the nurse looked at Marie, her eyes now questioning. 'Do you feel all right? she asked.

  'My mind does not stray, and I'm not the one who says foolish things. But I do as I'm told. ' Marie paused, then continued. 'When that giant of a major leaves the hospital, please come and see me. I have something to tell you. '

  'I'm sorry, I cannot do that. You must rest. Here, I have a sedative for you. I see you have water. '

  'You're a woman,' said Marie, staring hard at the nurse.

  'Yes,' agreed the Oriental flatly. She placed a tiny paper cup with a pill in it on Marie's bedside table and returned to the door. She took a last, questioning look at her patient and left.

  Marie got off the bed and walked silently to the door. She put her ear to the metal panel; outside in the corridor she heard the muffled sounds of a rapid exchange, obviously in Chinese. Whatever was said and however the brief, excited conversation was resolved, she had planted the seed. Work on the visual, Jason Bourne had emphasized and re-emphasized during the hell they had gone through in Europe. It's more effective than anything else. People will draw the conclusions you want on the basis of what they see far more than from the most convincing lies you can tell them.

  She went to the clothes closet and opened it. They had left the few things they had bought for her in Hong Kong at the apartment but the slacks, blouse and shoes she had worn the day they brought her to the hospital were hanging up; it had

  not occurred to anyone to remove them. Why should they have? They could see for themselves that she was a very sick woman. The trembling and spasms had convinced them; they saw it all. Jason Bourne would understand. She glanced at the small white telephone on the bedside table. It was a flat, self-contained unit, the panel of touch buttons built into the instrument. She wondered, although there was no one she could think of calling. She went to the table and picked it up. It was dead, as she expected it would be. There was the signal for the nurse; it was all she needed and all she was permitted.

  She walked to the window and raised the white shade, only to greet the night. The dazzling, coloured lights of Hong Kong lit up the sky, and she was closer to the sky than to the ground. As David would say - or rather, Jason: So be it. The door. The corridor.

  So be it. She crossed to the washbasin. The hospital-supplied toothbrush and toothpaste were still encased in plastic; the soap was also virginal, wrapped in the manufacturer's jacket, the words guaranteeing purity beyond the breath of angels.

  Next there was the bathroom; nothing much different except a dispenser of sanitary napkins and a small sign in four languages explaining what not to do with them. She walked back into the room. What was she looking for? Whatever it was she had not found it.

  Study everything. You'll find something you can use. Jason's words, not David's. Then she saw it.

  On certain hospital beds - and this was one of them - there is a handle beneath the baseboard that when turned one way or the other raises or lowers the bed. This handle can be removed - and often is - when a patient is being fed intravenously, or if a physician wants him to remain in a given position, for example, in traction. A nurse can unlock and remove this handle by pressing in, turning to the left, and yanking it out as the cog-lock is released. This is frequently done during visiting hours, when visitors might succumb to a patient's wishes to change position against the doctor's wishes. Marie knew this bed and she knew this handle. When

  David was recovering from the wounds he received at Treadstone 71, he was kept alive by intravenous feedings; she had watched the nurses. Her soon-to-be husband's pain was more than she could bear, and the nurses were obviously aware that in her desire to make things easier for him, she might disrupt the medical treatment. She knew how to remove the handle, and once removed, it was nothing less than a wieldy angle iron.

  She removed it and climbed back into the bed, the handle beneath the covers. She waited, thinking how different her two men were - in one man. Her lover, Jason, could be so cold and patient, waiting for the moment to spring, to shock, to rely for survival upon violence. And her husband, David, so giving, so willing to listen - the scholar - avoiding violence at all costs because he had been there and he hated the pain and the anxiety - above all, the necessity to eliminate feelings to become a mere animal. And now he was called upon to be the man he detested. David, my David! Hold on to your sanity I I love you so.

  Noises in the corridor. Marie looked at the clock on the bedside table. Sixteen minutes had passed. She placed both her hands above the covers as the nurse entered, lowering her eyelids as though she were drowsy.

  'All right, my dear,' said the woman, taking several steps from the door. 'You have touched me, I will not deny that. But I have my orders - very specific instructions about you. The major and your doctor have left. Now, what is it you wanted to tell me?'

  'Not. . . now,' whispered Marie, her head sinking into her chin, her face more asleep than awake. 'I'm so tired. I took. . . the pill. '

  'Is it the guard outside?"

  'He's sick. . . He never touches me -1 don't care. He gets me things. . . I'm so tired. '

  'What do you mean, "sick'?'

  'He. . . likes to look at women. . . He doesn't. . . bother me when I'm. . . asleep. ' Marie's eyes closed, the lids full.

  'Zang? said the nurse under her breath. 'Dirty, dirty!' She

  spun on her heels, walked out the door, closed it, and addressed the guard. The woman is asleep! Do you understand me!'

  That is most heavenly fortunate. '

  'She says you never touch her!'

  'I never even thought about it. ' 'Don't think about it now!'

  'I do not need lectures from you, hag nurse. I have a job to do. '

  'See that you do it! I will speak to Major Lin in the morning!' The woman glared at the man and walked down the corridor, her pace and her posture aggressive.

  'You!' The harsh whisper came from Marie's door which was slightly ajar. She opened it an inch farther and spoke. That nurse! Who is she?'

  'I thought you were asleep, Mrs,' said the bewildered guard.

  'She told me she was going to tell you that. '

  'What?'

  'She's coming back for me! She says there are connecting doors to the other rooms. Who is she?'

  'She what?

  'Don't talk! Don't look at me! She'll see you!'

  'She went down the hallway to the right. '

  'You never can tell. Better a devil you know than one you don't! You know what I mean?'

  'I do not know what anybody means!' pleaded the guard, talking softly, emphatically, to the opposite wall. 'I do not know what she means and I do not know what you mean, lady!'

  'Come inside. Quickly] I think she's a communist! From Peking!'

  'Beijing?'

  'I won't go with her!' Marie pulled back the door, then spun behind it.

 
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