فصل 12

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فصل 12

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chapter twelve

Help! I’m dying!

Monika looked out of the window of the Air France 747 in surprise. She had thought she was on a flight to Paris, not Johannesburg. Then she heard the pilots voice. ‘Were staying in Johannesburg for forty-five minutes to take on more passengers. You may stay on the plane if you wish.’

‘Oh, yes,’ Monika thought. ‘I’m staying on the plane. I don’t want to meet Vitjord again!’

The flight took off for Paris on time and arrived early on Monday morning. Monika then took an SAS plane to Stockholm and was in Anders Blom’s office in the Old Town by lunchtime.

‘So that’s what happened,’ Monika said as she finished telling Blom about her adventures in South Africa and Mozambique.

‘Well done!’ Blom said. He had Monika’s cassette from the Carlton in his hand. ‘I’ve listened to this with great interest. What we must do now is clear. First of all, we must make sure that Carlsson is safe. We don’t want another shooting. Secondly, we must try and stop Vitjord getting the nuclear bomb.’

Monika nodded. ‘When is Carlsson’s meeting?’ she asked.

‘It’s on Friday evening at the Strand Hotel,’ Blom replied. ‘We’ve been busy while you’ve been away. I’m sure that Millham United, the English football team, are part of this plan. They arrived in Gothenburg on the ferry from England on Sunday. Then they drove straight here to Stockholm and took the evening ferry to St Petersburg. They are staying in Russia for three days and playing a match in St Petersburg. Then they are returning to Stockholm by ferry, playing a match here on Friday, and going down to Gothenburg on Friday evening.’

Monika thought for a minute.

‘How strange,’ she said slowly. ‘Why go by coach and ferry? Why don’t Millham United fly to Russia?’

‘Exactly!’ Blom said with a smile. ‘We have to find out what is so special about their coach. When they get back to Stockholm on Friday, I want you to search their coach. Now we’ve got three days to plan the security for Carlsson’s meeting at the Strand.’

Monika spent the rest of the week working to make sure that no-one would shoot Carlsson. Everyone going into the Strand Hotel was going to be searched and all the rooms were being checked.

Meanwhile, Millham United were in Russia. Their ferry arrived in St Petersburg at four o’clock on Monday. The football team went to their hotel. Then the coach, with only Dixon and Worthington, the chairman and manager of the club, and Kent Nystrom and Gunilla Lippich, the two young Swedes, drove out of St Petersburg on the road to Moscow. After about a hundred kilometres the coach turned off onto a side road. The side road ran through a forest. It was soon dark.

The coach stopped by a high wall, where someone was waiting for it. Big doors in the wall opened and the coach drove through. Two men in hats and long coats got into the coach.

Dixon gave them a very heavy sports bag. The men opened the bag and then smiled. There was something shiny and yellow in the bag.

‘The best South African gold,’ Dixon said with a laugh.

The men in long coats took the heavy bag and put it in a black car. The others got off the coach. Then the men in long coats carried what looked like a very large heavy suitcase over to the coach from the car. Worthington opened a door in the side of the coach. The huge ‘suitcase’ was put in and the door was locked. Then the bus returned to St Petersburg.

Millham United played their match in St Petersburg and then took the ferry back to Stockholm as planned on Thursday evening. In Stockholm the team again stayed at the Strand.

Monika and a group of twenty SMI agents followed Millham United everywhere in Stockholm. The SMI searched the team’s hotel bedrooms. They listened to the team’s phone calls. They tape-recorded the team’s conversations.

‘Nothing,’ Monika told Blom. ‘We can’t find anything. They’re just a football team. There is one strange thing though. We can’t search the coach. There are always people with it.’

‘Don’t give up,’ said Blom. ‘Stay with them until they leave the city. Then join me at the Strand. Carlsson’s meeting is at eight o’clock tonight.’

Monika didn’t give up. She watched Millham United play at the Stadion, the 1912 Olympic stadium in Stockholm. Millham United won 3-2. The police locked up twelve Millham fans. Then the team left the Strand Hotel to go to Gothenburg in their coach.

‘Nothing,’ Monika told Blom. They were in his office. ‘We found nothing. But we couldn’t get near the coach.’

‘We will,’ Blom said. ‘I’ve got an idea.’

‘But how?’ Monika asked. ‘They are on their way to Gothenburg now and they’re leaving Sweden in the morning.’

‘I’ll tell you on the way to the meeting,’ Blom replied with a quick smile. ‘Let’s think about Carlsson now.’

It was six o’clock when Blom and Monika got to the Strand Hotel. They were searched as they entered the hotel by an SMI man.

‘Good,’ Blom said. ‘I told them to search everyone. We can’t take any chances.’

The hotel was still partly full of tourists and businessmen. But the hotel’s main restaurant was closed for the night for Carlsson’s meeting. The restaurant was in the middle of the hotel. Blom and Monika went in and looked around. The restaurant didn’t have a ceiling. Above the restaurant there were rows of windows going up six floors to a glass roof. A large tree grew in the middle of the restaurant. In front of the tree there was a long table with a microphone.

‘We’ve checked all the rooms,’ Blom said. ‘And all the hotel guests and staff have been searched. There are no weapons here. Carlsson is safe.’

In room 615 on the sixth floor a man was very busy. He had checked into the hotel the day before. Security men had searched his bag and his guitar case. But now he took a shiny electric guitar out of the case. He started working to turn the guitar into a crossbow. By half past seven he was ready. His guitar had become a weapon able to kill a man at a hundred metres. He took out a heavy metal bolt and put it into the crossbow. Then he looked at his watch and sat and waited.

The window of the man’s room looked down at the restaurant. People were arriving for Carlsson’s meeting now, and the restaurant was filling up. There were more people than had been at the first meeting at the City Hall. The shooting of Carlsson had increased international interest in his idea. The man in room 615 waited.

By the restaurant door Monika and Blom waited.

At exactly eight o’clock a man in a dark suit came into the restaurant. It was Carlsson. Everyone stood up.

In room 615, the man opened the window a little. He picked up the crossbow, and looked down at the people in the restaurant.

Monika looked up at the windows above the restaurant.

Something caught her eye. It was a bright light. She had seen a light like that before. Outside the City Hall at the Water Festival.

The man in room 615 stood at the window and held up the crossbow. Monika saw the light again. Then she saw the shiny guitar. She turned to Blom.

‘There’s someone at that window! I’m going up to see what it is,’ Monika said. She ran up the stairs to the sixth floor. There were lots of doors. Which room was it? Monika tried to remember where the room was. She kicked open the door of room 613. Empty! Room 614. Empty!

In room 615 the man was ready to shoot. Then there was a loud crash as Monika kicked down the door.

The man turned and pointed the crossbow at her. Monika threw herself across the room at the man. She- crashed into his legs, knocking the crossbow, which fell to the floor. The man tried to push Monika away and hit her on the- head with the side of his hand. Her hands let go of him for a moment and he threw her down to the floor.

Monika hit the floor with a bang. The man ran across the room to the door. Lying on the floor Monika picked up the crossbow.

‘Stop,’ she shouted. The man didn’t stop. Monika shot him in the right leg with the crossbow and he fell to the floor by the door.

Monika got up and ran over to the man. He was lying face down. Monika turned him over with her foot. To her great surprise she knew who the man was. It was Bruce, the man she had met on the Mariella, the guitarist. His face was full of pain.

‘I’m dying!’ he cried. ‘Help!’

Monika stopped for a moment. This was the man who had shot Carlsson. But this was also the man whose music she liked, the man she liked. She felt sorry for him. He was lying at her feet crying, with blood on his leg. He needed her help.

Monika got down beside Bruce. He looked at her in surprise. ‘Please help me,’ he said.

‘You’re not dying, so stop crying,’ Monika said roughly.

‘Who are you?’

‘You know who I am,’ Bruce said. ‘And now I know who you are.’

‘Why did you shoot Carlsson?’ Monika asked.

No reply.

Monika got up and walked over to the crossbow. She picked it up and put another bolt in it. Then she walked back and pointed the crossbow at Bruce’s left leg.

‘Answer my questions or I’ll shoot,’ she said.

Bruce looked at her. Then his face changed and became angry.

‘Yes,’ he said in a loud voice. ‘I shot Carlsson at the City Hall. And tonight I was going to kill him.’

‘But why?’ Monika asked.

‘For my father,’ Bruce replied. ‘My father wants Carlsson dead.’

‘And who is your father?’ Monika asked.

‘You don’t know him,’ Bruce said. ‘He’s a great man. One day he will be the leader of my country. His name’s Vitjord.’

Monika looked at Bruce in surprise. ‘He’s your father, is he? Vitjord?’ she said.

‘Yes,’ Bruce replied. ‘Do you know him?’

‘Unfortunately, I do,’ Monika said. She looked up as two SMI men ran into the room.

‘Here’s the man who shot Carlsson,’ she said. ‘He’s hurt his leg. Take care of him.’ She then threw the crossbow onto the bed and walked out of the room.

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