The bourne supremacy, p.54
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.54

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 54

 

  It was 11:10. The passengers emerged through the long, fenced open-air corridor after dealing with immigration, mostly tourists, mostly white, mostly bewildered and awed to be there. The majority were in small tour groups, accompanied by guides - one each from Hong Kong and the People's Republic - who spoke acceptable English, or German, or French or, reluctantly, Japanese for those particularly disliked visitors with more money than Marx or Confucius ever had. Jason studied each white male. The many that were over six feet in height were too young or too old or too portly or too slender or too obvious in their lime-green and lemon-yellow trousers to be the man from Macao.

  Wai! Over there! An older man in a tan gabardine suit who appeared to be a medium-sized tourist with a limp was suddenly taller - and the limp was gone! He walked rapidly down the steps through the middle of the crowd and ran into the huge parking lot filled with buses and tour vans and a few taxis, each with a zhan - off-duty - posted in the front windows. Bourne raced after the man, dodging between the bodies in front of him, not caring whom he pushed aside. I was the man - the man from Macao!

  'Hey, are you crazy? Ralph, he shoved me!'

  'Shove back. What do you want from me?

  'Do something!'

  'He's gone. '

  The man in the gabardine suit jumped into the open door of a van, a dark green van with tinted windows that according to the Chinese characters belonged to a department called the Chutang Bird Sanctuary. The door slid shut and the vehicle instantly broke away from its parking space and careened around the vehicles into the exit lane. Bourne was frantic; he could not let him go! An old taxi-was on his right, the motor idling. He pulled the door open, to be greeted by a shout.

  'Zha!' screamed the driver.

  'Shi ma? roared Jason, pulling enough American money from his pocket to ensure five years of luxury in the People's Republic.

  'Aiyar

  'Zou!' ordered Bourne, leaping into the front seat and pointing to the van which had swerved into the semicircle. 'Stay with him and you can start your own business in the Zone,' he said in Cantonese. 'I promise you!'

  Marie, I'm so close! I know it's him! I'll take him! He's mine now! He's our deliverance!

  The van sped out of the exit road, heading south at the first intersection, avoiding the large square jammed with tour buses and crowds of sightseers cautiously avoiding the endless stream of bicycles in the streets. The taxi driver picked up the van on a primitive highway paved more with hard clay than asphalt. The dark-windowed vehicle could be seen ahead entering a long curve in front of an open truck carrying heavy farm machinery. A tour bus waited at the end of the curve, swinging into the road behind the truck.

  Bourne looked beyond the van; there were hills up ahead and the road began to rise. Then another tour bus appeared, this one behind them.

  'Shumchun,' said the driver.

  'Bin do?' asked Jason.

  The Shumchun water supply,' answered the driver in Chinese. 'A very beautiful reservoir, one of the finest lakes in all China. It sends its water south to Kowloon and Hong Kong. Very crowded with visitors this time of year. The autumn views are excellent. '

  Suddenly the van accelerated, climbing the mountain road, pulling away from the truck and the tour bus. 'Can't you go faster? Get around the bus, that truck!'

  'Many curves ahead. '

  Try it!'

  The driver pressed his foot to the floor and swerved around the bus, missing its bulging front by inches as he was forced back in line by an approaching army half-track with two soldiers in the cabin. Both the soldiers and the tour guides yelled at them through open windows. 'Sleep with your ugly mothers!' screamed the driver, filled with his moment of triumph, only to be faced with the wide truck filled with farm machinery blocking the way.

  They were going into a sharp right curve. Bourne gripped the window and leaned out as far as he could for a clearer view. 'There's no one coming!' he yelled at the driver through the onrushing wind. 'Go ahead! You can get around. Now?

  The driver did so, pushing the old taxi to its limits, the tyres spinning on a stretch of hard clay, which made the cab sideslip dangerously in front of the truck. Another curve, now sharply to the left, and rising steeper. Ahead the road was straight, ascending a high hill. The van was nowhere to be seen; it had disappeared over the crest of the hill.

  'Kuai!' shouted Bourne. 'Can't you make this damn thing go faster?'

  'It has never been this fast! I think the fuck-fuck spirits will explode the motor! Then what will I do? It took me five years to buy this unholy machine, and many unholy bribes to drive in the Zone!'

  Jason threw a handful of bills on the floor of the cab by the driver's feet. 'There's ten times more if we catch that van! Now, go. "

  The taxi soared over the top of the hill, descending swiftly into an enormous glen at the edge of a vast lake that seemed to extend for miles. In the distance Bourne could see snowcapped mountains and green islands dotting the blue-green water as far as the eye could see. The taxi came to a halt beside a large red and gold pagoda reached by a long, polished concrete staircase. Its open balconies overlooked the lake. Refreshment stands and curio shops were scattered about on the borders of the parking lot, where four tour buses were standing with the dual guides shouting instructions and pleading with their charges not to get in the wrong vehicles at the end of their walks.

  The dark-windowed van was nowhere to be seen. Bourne shifted his head swiftly, looking in all directions. Where was it? 'What's that road over there?' he asked the driver.

  'Pump stations. No one is permitted down that road, it is patrolled by the army. Around the bend is a high fence and a guard house. '

  'Wait here. ' Jason climbed out of the cab and started walking towards the prohibited road, wishing he had a camera or a guide book - something to mark him as a tourist. As it was, the best he could do was to assume the hesitant walk and wide-eyed expression of a sightseer. No object was too insignificant for his inspection. He approached the bend in the badly paved road; he saw the high fence and part of the guardhouse - then all of it. A long metal bar fell across the road; two soldiers were talking, their backs to him, looking the other way - looking at two vehicles parked side by side farther down by a square concrete structure painted brown. One of the vehicles was the dark-windowed van, the other the brown sedan. It began to move. It was heading back to the gate!

  Bourne's thoughts came rapidly. He had no weapon; it was pointless even to consider carrying one across the border. If he tried to stop the van and drag the killer out, the commotion would bring the guards, their rifle fire swift and accurate. Therefore he had to draw the man from Macao out - of his own volition. The rest Jason was primed for; he would take the impostor one way or the other. Take him back to the border and over - one way or another. No man was a match for him; no eyes, no throat, no groin safe from an assault, swift and agonizing. David Webb had never come to grips with that reality. Bourne lived it.

  There was a way!

  Jason ran back to the beginning of the deserted bend in the road, beyond the view of the gate and the soldiers. He reassumed the pose of the mesmerized sightseer and listened. The van's engine fell to idle; the creaking meant the gate was being lifted. Only moments now. Bourne held his position in the brush by the side of the road. The van rounded the turn as he timed his moves.

 
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