فصل 17

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فصل 17

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

The Bridge Over the Golden Horn

I looked in the driving-mirror and saw that the Mercedes had been stopped by a tram which was crossing in front of it. I slowed down a little and turned right, starting to drive back towards the centre of the city. I thought that if we were in a crowded place, the passenger in the Mercedes wouldn’t use his gun again. I hadn’t even started to think about who these people were, or why they were trying to kill us.

I tried hard to remember the map from my guidebook. The Mustang raced through the narrow streets towards the railway station. There were more people here and I used the horn all the time. This didn’t help very much, as all the other drivers were doing the same. Everybody does it in Istanbul!

Then I saw some water between two buildings, and realized where we were. We were near the pier where all the Bosphorus ferries start their journeys.

Crack!

Another shot. I’d guessed that the man in the Mercedes wouldn’t use his gun in crowded places. It wasn’t a very good guess!

I looked down at Gail, who was sitting on the floor of the car - the safest place to be. I drove the Mustang through the crowds and came out on to a wider road by the side of the Bosphorus - the road which led to the wide Galata Bridge.

The Galata Bridge crosses the part of the Bosphorus which is called the Golden Horn. As we got near the bridge, I looked in the driving-mirror and saw that the Mercedes was very close to us again. But I also saw another car - a small blue Fiat. It was right behind the Mercedes, and going very fast.

‘Oh no!’ I thought. ‘There are two cars chasing us now.’

Ahead of me, a traffic light changed to red. I closed my eyes and put my foot down hard. We crossed the junction safely. Behind us, the Mercedes and the Fiat were stopped by the buses and trucks crossing in the other direction. I told Gail it was safe to get up, and I was pleased to see how calm she was.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a broken metal barrier. There was another red light, but I didn’t stop. In a moment, we were driving onto the bridge. We could see the Galata Tower on the other side of the Golden Horn. If we could get out of the car on the other side of the bridge, we could run into the narrow streets near the tower. We could escape the gunman.

But suddenly, the Mercedes was a hundred metres behind us again, following us onto the bridge. I heard the noise of a siren.

‘Good!’ I thought. ‘The police are coming.’

We were on the wide bridge, with the blue water beneath us. In one minute we would be safe! But then I looked in the mirror and I saw the Mercedes, right behind us again. And the blue Fiat was still behind the Mercedes.

Crack!

There was another shot and Gail got down onto the floor again. Sooner or later, one of these bullets was going to hit us. I decided the time had come to fight back. The bridge was wide and there wasn’t any other traffic on it. That was very strange, but it was useful! I braked hard, very suddenly. I pulled the steering wheel round and, using the handbrake, I turned the car right around. Now we were facing the Mercedes. I put my foot on the accelerator and I drove straight at it. The driver of the Mercedes tried to swerve to avoid a crash.

The Mustang and Mercedes just touched each other, but that was enough! The Mercedes skidded sideways and the blue Fiat, which was right behind it, crashed into it.

I turned the Mustang round again and started to drive back over the bridge. But suddenly, the car was going slower and slower. It was like climbing up a steep hill. And the view ahead was changing. I couldn’t see the Galata Tower any more - only sky! Then I realized what was happening. The Galata Bridge was opening!

The Galata Bridge is made in two halves - it can open in the middle. Each half of the bridge can swing upwards, so that big ships can pass along the Golden Horn. And the bridge was opening now, and we were driving towards the gap in the middle! We were going to drop off one end of the roadway, into the water below.

I hit the brakes. The tyres screamed and we stopped right on the end of our half of the bridge.

‘Are you OK?’ I asked Gail who was still on the floor.

‘Fine,’ she replied. ‘Let’s get out of here!’

She got up onto her seat. ‘What the hell!’ she said, when she saw where we were.

A moment later, Gail opened her door. Then she screamed.

‘There’s just water below me, Lenny,’ she said. ‘I can’t get out of the car!’

‘I think we can both get out on my side,’ I replied quickly. ‘We must try, before the car falls into the water.’

I started to open my door and started to get out, but as I moved, the car started to tip forward. The Mustang was balanced right on the end of the roadway. Every time I moved, the car moved too. We were trapped in the car.

Then we looked at what was happening behind us. Two men in dark suits had got out of the blue Fiat and they had taken charge. They had pulled the driver and the passenger out of the Mercedes, and they had taken the passenger’s gun. Now, one of the men from the Fiat was guarding the two men in red T-shirts, and the other was talking into a mobile phone.

The man with the phone looked at our car. He said something to his partner and he started to climb up the bridge towards us. He had to crawl forward on his hands and knees.

He stopped when he saw that the Mustang was balanced on the end of the bridge. He was still a few metres away from us, but I could see that he was about thirty, a handsome man with bright eyes.

‘You must be Miss Lane,’ he said to Gail. ‘I’m Sergeant Kamal of the Istanbul police. Your embassy asked me to make sure that nobody hurt you while you were in our city.’

Then he looked at me. ‘Why did you drive onto the bridge, sir?’ he asked. ‘I know the barrier is broken. But didn’t you see the red light? Didn’t you hear the siren which sounds when the bridge is going to open?’

I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled.

‘Well, don’t move,’ Sergeant Kamal said. ‘We’ll soon get you down from here.’

He needn’t have worried. We weren’t going to move!

I watched the sergeant crawl back down towards the bridge entrance. Lots of traffic was stopped there. And a large crowd of people was standing and watching us. I wondered what Sergeant Kamal was going to do. It would be impossible to bring a truck or a crane up the steep slope of the bridge.

Gail and I sat and waited. Then suddenly, she started to talk to me. She talked quickly and seriously.

‘Lenny,’ she began. ‘I haven’t told you all of the truth about myself. There’s something you ought to know.’

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