The bourne supremacy, p.74
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.74

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 74


  'Please, sir. I cannot do that. Other officials are on their way. '

  'Oh, they are, are they? You punk-heads travel in gangs, do you? Well, you'll be a pitiful sight for their eyes when they get here!' The Australian grabbed the Oriental by the shoulder, spinning him to his left. But as the man from Special Branch spun, his right foot - the toe of his leather shoe extended like a knifepoint - whipped around, crashing up into the Australian's abdomen. The good Samaritan from down under doubled over, falling to his knees.

  'I'll ask you again not to interfere, sir!'

  'Do you now? You slope-eyed son of a bitch? The furious Australian lunged up, hurling his body at the Oriental, his fists pounding the man from Special Branch. The crowd roared its approval, its collective voice filling the street - and Marie's arm was free! Then other sounds joined the melee. Sirens followed by three racing automobiles, among them an ambulance. All three swerved in their sudden turns as tyres screeched and the vehicles came to jolting stops. Marie plunged through the crowd and reached the inner pavement; she started running towards the red sign a half block away. The slippers had fallen off her feet; the swollen, shredded blisters burned, sending shafts of pain up her legs.

  She could not allow herself to think about pain. She had to run, run, get away! Then the booming voice surged over and through the noises in the street, and she pictured a large man roaring. It was the huge Chinese they called the Major.

  'Mrs Web, Mrs Webb, I beg you! Stop! We mean you no harm! You'll be told everything! For God's sake, stop!

  Told everything! thought Marie. Told lies and more lies! Suddenly people were rushing towards her. What were they doing"! Why. . . 1 Then they raced past, mostly men, but not all men, and she understood. There was a panic in the street -perhaps an accident, mutilation, death. Let's go see. Let's watch! From a distance mind you.

  Opportunities will present themselves. Recognize them, act on them.

  Marie suddenly whipped around, crouching, lunging through the still onrushing crowd to the kerb, keeping her body as low as possible, and ran back to where she had come so close to recapture. She kept turning her head to her left -watching, hoping. She saw him through the racing bodies! The huge major ran past in the other direction; with him was another man, another well- dressed man, another bureaucrat.

  The crowd was cautious, as the ghoulish are always cautious, inching forward but not so far as to get involved. What they saw was not flattering to the Chinese onlookers or to those who held the martial arts of the Orient in mystical esteem. The lithe, strapping Australian, his language magnificently obscene, was pummelling three separate assailants out of his personal boxing ring. Suddenly, to the astonishment of everyone, the Australian picked up one of his fallen adversaries and let out a roar as loud as the immense major's.

  'Fer Christ's syke! Will you cryzies cut this out? Yer not punk-heads, even I can tell that! We were both snookered!'

  Marie ran across the wide street to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens. She stood under a tree by the gate with a direct line of sight to Ming's Parking Palace. The major had passed the garage, pausing at several alleyways that intersected Arbuthnot Road, sending his subordinate down several of them, constantly looking around for his support troops. They were not to be had; Marie saw that for herself as the crowd dispersed. All three were breathing hard and leaning against the ambulance, led there by the Australian.

  A taxi drove up to Ming's. No one, at first, got out, then the driver emerged. He walked into the open garage and spoke to someone behind a glass booth. He bowed in thanks, returned to the cab, and spoke to his passenger. Cautiously, his fare opened the door and stepped onto the kerb. It was Catherine! She, too, walked into the wide opening, far more rapidly than the driver, and spoke into the glass booth, shaking her head, indicating that she had been told what she did not want to hear.

  Suddenly Wenzu appeared. He was retracing his steps, obviously angered by the men who were meant to be tracing his steps. He was about to cross the open garage; he would see Catherine!

  'Carlos!' screamed Marie, assuming the worst, knowing it would tell her everything. 'Delta!'

  The major spun around, his eyes wide in shock. Marie raced into the Botanical Gardens; it was the key Cain is for Delta and Carlos will be killed by Cain . . . or whatever the codes were that had been spread through Paris! They were using David again! It wasn't a probability any more, it was the reality! They - it - the United States government - was sending her husband out to play the role that had nearly killed him, killed by his own people! What kind of bastards were they?. . . Or, conversely, what kind of ends justified the means supposedly sane men would use to reach them? Now more than ever she had to find David, find him before he took risks others should be taking! He had given so much and now they asked for more, demanded more in the cruellest way possible. But to find him she had to reach Catherine, who was no more than a hundred yards away. She had to draw out the enemy and get back across the street without the enemy seeing her. Jason, what can I do!

  She hid behind a cluster of bushes, inching farther inside as the major ran through the Garden's gates. The immense Oriental stopped and looked around with his squinting, penetrating gaze, then turned and shouted for a subordinate, who had apparently emerged from an alley on Arbuthnot Road. The second man had difficulty getting across the street; the traffic was heavier and slower due to the stationary ambulance and two additional vehicles blocking the normal flow near the entrance to the gardens. The major suddenly grew furious as he saw and understood the reasons for the growing traffic.

  'Get those fools to move the cars!' he roared. 'And send them over here . . . No! Send one to the gates on Albany Road. The rest of you come back here! Hurry

  The early evening strollers became more numerous. Men loosened the ties they had worn all day at their offices, while women carried high-heeled shoes in casual bags, supplanting them with sandals. Wives wheeling baby carriages were joined by husbands; lovers embraced and walked arm in arm among the rows of exploding flowers. The laughter of racing children peeled across the gardens, and the major held his place by the entrance gate. Marie swallowed, the panic in her growing. The ambulance and the two cars were being moved; the traffic began to flow normally.

  A crash! Near the ambulance an impatient driver had rammed the car in front of him. The major could not help himself; the proximity of the accident so close to his official vehicle forced him to move forward, obviously to ascertain whether or not his men were involved. Opportunities will present themselves . . . use them. Now!

  Marie raced around the far end of the bushes, then dashed across the grass to join a foursome on the gravel path that led out of the Gardens. She glanced to her right, afraid of what she might see but knowing she had to know. Her worst thoughts were borne out; the huge major had sensed - or seen - the figure of a woman running behind him. He paused for a moment, uncertain, unsure, then broke into a rapid stride towards the gate.

  A horn blew - four short, quick blasts. It was Catherine, waving at her through the open window of a small Japanese car as Marie raced into the street.

  'Get in!' shouted Staples.

  'He saw me!'


  Marie jumped into the front seat, as Catherine gunned the small car and swerved out of line, half on the pavement, then swung back with a break in the accelerating traffic. She turned into a side street and drove swiftly down it to an intersection where there was a sign with a red arrow pointing right. Central. Business District. Staples turned right.

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