The bourne supremacy, p.93
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.93

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Page 93


  'Is this the academic speaking or the man they once called Jason Bourne?'

  'Bourne,' said David Webb, his eyes cold, his voice ice. 'If it ever was, it's now. '

  The canvas bag slung over his shoulder, Jason slowly opened the door at the head of the stairs, inching his body past the frame. Two men in dark pinstriped suits walked up the hallway towards him complaining at the apparent lack of room service; their speech was British. They opened the door to their room and went inside. Bourne pushed the staircase door back and shoved d'Anjou through; they walked down the corridor. The room numbers were in Chinese and English.

  Three forty-one, 339, 337 - they were in the right hallway, the room was along the left wall. Three Indian couples suddenly emerged from a brown elevator, the women in their saris, the men in tight-fitting cloth trousers; they passed Jason and d'Anjou, chattering, looking for their rooms, the husbands obviously annoyed to be carrying their own luggage.

  Three thirty-five, 333, 331-

  This is the end" screamed a female voice, as an obese woman in curlers strode martially out of a door on the right wearing a bathrobe. The nightgown underneath trailed below, twice snarling her feet. She yanked it up, revealing a pair of legs worthy of a rhinoceros. 'The toilet doesn't work and you can forget the phone!'

  'Isabel, I told you!' shouted a man in red pyjamas peering through the open door. 'It's the jet lag. Get some sleep and remember this isn't Short Hills! Don't nit-pick. Expand yourself!'

  'Since I can't use the bathroom, I have no choice! I'll find some slant-eyed bastard and yell like hell! Where are the stairs? I wouldn't walk into one of those goddamned elevators. If they move at all, it's probably sideways and right through the walls into a Seven-Four-Seven!'

  The distraught woman swept by on her way to the staircase exit. Two of the three Indian couples had difficulty with their keys, finally managing to negotiate the locks with loud, well- placed kicks, and the man in the red pyjamas slammed the door of his room after shouting to his wife in high dudgeon. 'It's like that class reunion at the club! You're so embarrassing, Isabel!'

  Three twenty-nine, 327. . . 325. The room. The hallway was deserted.

  They could hear the strains of Oriental music from behind the door. The radio was turned up, the volume loud, to be made louder with the first ring of a telephone bell. Jason pulled d'Anjou back and spoke quietly against the wall. 'I don't remember any Gurkhas or any scouts-'

  'A part of you did, Delta,' interrupted Echo.

  'Maybe, but that's beside the point. This is the beginning of the end of the road. We'll leave our bags out here. I'll go for the door and you follow hard. Keep your blade ready. But I want you to understand something and there can't be a mistake - don't throw it unless you absolutely have to. If you do, go for his legs. Nothing above the waist. '

  'You put more faith in an older man's accuracy than I do. '

  'I'm hoping I won't have to call on it. These doors are made of hollow plywood and your assassin's got a lot on his mind. He's thinking about strategy, not about us. How could we know he's here, and even if we did how could we get across the border on such short notice? And I want him! I'm taking him! Ready?

  'As I ever will be,' said the Frenchman, lowering his canvas bag and pulling the brass letter- opener from his belt. He held the blade in his hand, his fingers spread, seeking the balance.

  Bourne slipped the flight bag off his shoulder to the floor and quietly positioned himself in front of room 325. He looked at d'Anjou. Echo nodded, and Jason sprang towards the door, his left foot a battering ram, crashing into the space below the lock. The door plunged inward as though blown apart; wood shattered, hinges were torn from their bolts. Bourne lunged inside rolling over and over on the floor, his eyes spinning in all directions.

  'Arretez? roared d'Anjou.

  A figure came through an inner doorway - the grey-haired man, the assassin Jason sprang to his feet, hurling himself at his quarry, grabbing the man's hair, yanking him to the left, then to the right, crashing him back into the doorframe. Suddenly the Frenchman screamed as the brass blade of the letter-opener flashed through the air, embedding itself in the wall, the handle quivering. It was off the mark, a warning.

  'Delta! No!'

  Bourne stopped all movement, his quarry pinned, helpless under his weight and grip.

  'Look? cried d'Anjou.

  Jason slowly moved back, his arms rigid, caging the figure in front of him. He stared into the gaunt, wrinkled face of a very old man with thinning grey hair.

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Marie lay on the narrow bed staring up at the ceiling. The rays of the noonday sun streamed through the shadeless windows filling the small room with blinding light and too much heat. Sweat clogged her face, and her torn blouse clung to her moist skin. Her feet ached from the midmorning madness that had begun as a walk down an unfinished coastal road to a rocky beach below - a stupid thing to do, but at the time the only thing she could do; she had been going out of her mind.

  The sounds of the street floated up, a strange cacophony of high-pitched voices, sudden shrieks and bicycle bells and the blaring horns of trucks and public buses. It was as if a crowded, bustling, hustling section of Hong Kong had been ripped out of the island and set down in some far away place where a wide river and endless fields and distant mountains replaced Victoria Harbour and the countless rows of ascending tall buildings made of glass and stone. In a sense the transplant had happened, she reflected. The miniature city of Tuen Mun was one of those space-oriented phenomena that had sprung up north of Kowloon in the New Territories. One year it had been an arid river plain, the next a rapidly developing metropolis of paved roads and factories, shopping districts, and spreading apartment buildings, all beckoning those from the south with the promise of housing and jobs in the thousands, and those who heeded the call brought with them the unmistakable hysteria of Hong Kong's commerce. Without it they would be filled with innocuous anxieties too placid to contend with; these were the descendants of Guangzhou - the province of Canton - not world-weary Shanghai.

  Marie had awakened with the first light, what sleep she had managed wracked with nightmares - and knew that she faced another suspension of time until Catherine called her. She had telephoned late last night, dragging her out of a sleep induced by total exhaustion only to tell her cryptically that several unusual things had happened that could lead to favorable news. She was meeting a man who had taken an interest, a remarkable man who could help. Marie was to stay in the flat by the telephone in case there were new developments. Since Catherine had instructed her not to use names or specifics on the phone, Marie had not questioned the brevity of the call. 'I'll phone you first thing in the morning my dear. ' Staples had abruptly hung up.

  She had not called by 8:30 or by 9:00, and by 9:36 Marie could stand it no longer. She reasoned that names were unnecessary, each knew the other's voice, and Catherine had to understand that David Webb's wife was entitled to something 'first thing in the morning'. Marie had dialled Staples's flat in Hong Kong; there was no answer, so she dialled again to make sure she had spun the correct numbers. Nothing. In frustration and without caring, she had called the consulate.

  'Foreign Service Officer Staples, please. I'm a friend from the Treasury Board in Ottawa. I'd like to surprise her. '

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