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فصل 09

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter nine

The Metro, Avenue C

“Second floor, Room 219,” said Gina.

No time to lose. Joe and I ran upstairs to the room. The door was open and the lock was broken. Inside, we could see that someone had quickly searched the room. An empty travel bag was lying on the floor. The blankets had been pulled off the bed, and clothes thrown around the room.

“O’Neill’s not here, but those other guys won’t be far away,” I said. “I don’t like this one bit. Let’s get back to the lobby.”

At the desk, I made a 911 call for the police, described the three guys and their car, and said, “I believe they’re looking for Patrick O’Neill, who’s staying at this hotel.”

We walked out onto the street to wait for the police, who I knew ought to be here in minutes. But things now happened very quickly. A guy in dark glasses was standing opposite us, across the road. He laughed and said, “I guess you ain’t going no place fast.”

Then he began to cross the street, like he didn’t need to hurry. He spoke again: “You guys. Just tell me where O’Neill is. Then you can go home and forget you ever saw me.

He wanted O’Neill, but we had no idea where he might be. I looked left and right along the street. On either side of us was a guy in a black suit walking slowly toward us. Both of them were carrying guns. We had no place to run, no place to hide.

Luckily, Joe was thinking more quickly than me. “Back inside the hotel, now!” he shouted and pushed me toward the entrance.

We turned and ran inside. Behind us I could hear the sound of running feet as they chased after us. “On the floor, behind the desk, now!” said Joe.

There was no time to say “If you please, ma’am” as I threw Gina to the ground. The front door opened with a crash, but Joe was ready for them. I heard two shots, followed by a scream, then everything was quiet. There was a cloud of smoke from the shots in the air. Joe was now at the desk.

“I think I hit one, but they’ll be back,” said Joe. “We have to hurry. Gina, you got to help us! Is there a back entrance?”

“Through here,” replied Gina. “Follow me.”

She led us through a door behind the desk, then down some steps. Behind us I heard a crash as the men in black returned. We were now hurrying through the hotel kitchen. I heard shouts and feet on the stairs. They were getting close.

“Turn off any lights and lock doors behind us if you can,” I told Gina.

I decided to make things more difficult for the guys following us. I pulled glasses and bottles to the floor. We reached the back door just as we heard the men coming into the kitchen. There was a shot, which left a hole in the wall beside me. That was much too close. A second later, the room was in complete darkness as Gina turned off the lights. There were shouts as one of the guys fell over.

“Up these steps. Hurry!” said Gina.

We were now outside in the cold night air. We went up a few more steps, then out into a narrow street behind the hotel. In the darkness, I could just see back entrances to buildings along Avenue C. We had passed a few doors when Gina suddenly stopped. “I don’t know what to do!” she screamed.

“Through this door, quickly,” I ordered. “And get down!”

We hit the ground behind some boxes. It didn’t smell too clean down there, but this wasn’t the time to worry about the dry cleaner’s bill. Gina had started to cry, so I put my hand over her mouth to keep her quiet.

“Don’t make a sound,’ Joe whispered. “With luck, the NYPD should arrive before they find us.”

As we hid there in the darkness, we heard feet running to the left and right along the narrow street. Then we heard the steps returning more slowly, and voices.

“They got to be here someplace,” said one. “They can’t have gotten far.”

“Start with these doors,” said another. “Let’s see where they’re hiding.”

There was crash after crash as the doors were opened. More shots. Well, that’s one way to unlock a door if you don’t have the key. The noise was now getting closer. I kept my hand over Gina’s mouth. Her body was shaking. Finally, above the crashes and shots, a new but very welcome sound. The scream of a police car.

“It’s the cops. Let’s get out of here!” shouted a voice on the other side of the door.

We heard them running back toward the hotel. Then all went quiet. After waiting a few minutes, I decided it was safe to come out.

Back inside the hotel kitchen, it looked like the morning after a wild party. We walked carefully around the broken glasses and bottles on the floor. In the hotel lobby, two guys in black suits were lying on the floor. Above them stood two NYPD cops.

“Am I pleased to see you!” I said. “I’m Nat Marley, licensed private investigator. Did you catch all three of them?”

“Yes, sir. The other one is outside with the sergeant. He’ll need an ambulance,” said one of the cops.

“We got here just in time,” said the other. “Captain Oldenberg’s on his way. He’ll need to question you.”

Gina was feeling better. Her suit was black with dirt and oil. Mine didn’t look much cleaner, though. Now I started to shake. It’s always the same. It never hits me at the time, but later, when I realize I’m lucky to be alive.

“I guess I could make everyone coffee,” said Gina.

“That’d be great.” But then I had a sudden thought and shouted, “Joe, upstairs now!”

We ran back up to Room 219. The door was closed and when I knocked there was no reply. I put my ear to the door and listened. Somebody was moving around in the room. I tried to open the door, but there was something against it on the other side. However, it wasn’t strong enough for Joe’s boot and flew open. Inside we saw a man holding the travel bag.

He threw the bag into Joe’s face and tried to push past me. But I was able to catch his coat and pull him to the floor. I looked at him closely - a middle-aged guy with gray hair and black metal glasses - Patrick O’Neill.

“Don’t be afraid!” I said. “I’m Nat Marley, private investigator. I’m working for your wife, Joyce. You’re going be safe. It’s time to stop running.”

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