فصل 14

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فصل 14

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Silvia and the President

Zuwanie was alone in the safe room when the door opened, Silvia walked in, carrying a bag. “Dr. Zuwanie,” she said.

“Yes?” he replied and smiled at her.

“I remember your last visit to the U.N.,” Silvia said.

“That was a long time ago,” Zuwanie said. “You were very young. I was very young!”

“We watched you on TV, back home in Matobo. My family, all the families, watched you. You were like a movie star.”

Zuwanie laughed. “I don’t think so!”

“You were” Silvia said. “We were excited and very proud of you because you were speaking to the world. But that was a long time ago.” Her voice grew harder.

“What is your name, child?” Zuwanie asked.

“Silvia. You killed my family.”

Zuwanie suddenly looked uncomfortable. His eyes moved around the room.

“Where is everyone?”

“We’re alone,” Silvia said. She moved very quickly toward him and took a gun out of his pocket. “You always carry this gun. I saw it in every picture, everywhere you went. You saved our country with this gun.” She held the gun in her hand, but she didn’t point it at Zuwanie. “Then you used it to kill your people.”

She pulled a small book out of her bag. It was Zuwanie’s life story. She opened it and read: “You must fight for your land and country before you can understand the importance of that lane and country.”

“Who said that?” Zuwanie looked closely at her face, but he didn’t speak.

“Yes, you did,” Silvia said. “I was eleven years old and I loved you. You were my teacher.” She turned the page and showed Zuwanie a photo of a little boy.

“Look at yourself!” she said.

“The good times are past,” Zuwanie said. “Finished.”

“It’s not finished!” Silvia shouted. “Not until you die.”

“But I’m not ready to die.”

Silvia pulled a notebook out of her bag. “These people weren’t ready to die!” she screamed. “You were a good man - and now… You gave your people so much - and then you took it away.”

She moved toward him and placed the gun against his head.

Tobin and Dot met Chief Wu, Rory, and some U.N. security guards at the safe room door.

“Is he in there?” Tobin asked.

“Yes,” Wu replied. “What’s happening?”

“Keep everyone out,” Tobin said to Dot. “Give me a few minutes.”

He stood near the door and called, “Silvia! I’m coming in. It’s really me. I’m coming in now.”

He opened the door slowly and looked inside the room. Silvia was pointing the gun at Zuwanie’s head. Tobin saw Simon’s notebook on the table in front of the President. “Close the door,” Silvia said.

Tobin looked back at Dot, Rory, and Wu. “It’s OK,” he said to them and went inside the room. He closed the door and turned to Silvia.

“Don’t do this. We have Nils Lud and the rifle. That’s all we need.”

“But I have him,” Silvia said and pointed at Zuwanie. “Silvia,” Tobin said softly, “he’s finished. Lud is, too. Zuwanie will die in prison.

“Simon didn’t die in prison - he was shot. I want him to die the same way.”

“He will die in ten seconds, but you’ll remember killing him at the rest of your life.” He turned to Zuwanie. “Matu is dead. Your head of security has told us everything. That leaves you.”

Zuwanie opened his mouth to speak, but Tobin stopped him.

“It was a good plan,” he said. “You’re ‘almost’ murdered and people understand you better. But now it’s finished. You’ll go to court.”

Silvia pressed the gun harder against Zuwanie’s head. “No, he won’t,” she said.

“Silvia, listen,” Tobin said. “Remember the story about the Ku? The family can watch a murderer die or they can save him. I hate the man who destroyed my life. But I don’t want to kill him.”

“Then you’re wrong,” Silvia said.

“No, I’m not,” Tobin said. “I don’t want to be sad for the rest of my life.”

Zuwanie picked up Simon’s notebook. “What’s this?” he asked. They weren’t listening to him and he started reading the names in the book.

“Leave this room now,” Silvia ordered Tobin.

“I can’t,” Tobin said. “Put the gun down”.

“I can’t,” Silvia said.

“You can.”

“Just go!” she shouted.

Tobin quickly pulled out his gun and pointed it at her. Then he slowly placed it on the table.

“See? It’s easy to put down a gun.” She looked at him but she didn’t move. “Shoot him and he’ll be dead,” Tobin said. “And then you’ll be dead… and… I’ll be dead, too.”

Silvia’s hand was shaking. Suddenly, she looked at Zuwanie and pointed at the book on the table.

“Read it!” she shouted.

Zuwanie put down the notebook and picked up his life story.

“Where? Which part?”

“The first page,” Silvia said.

Slowly and quietly, Zuwanie started to read: “The guns around us…”

“Louder,” Silvia said. “Like when you wrote it. When you believed in it. When it meant something.”

Zuwanie tried again. “The guns around us make it hard to hear. But a man’s voice is different from other sounds. We can hear it over all other noises. We can hear a whisper above the noise of a thousand soldiers…”

“When? When?’ Silvia shouted.

“… when it is telling the truth,” Zuwanie read. He looked at the picture of himself when he was small boy. Then he picked up Simon’s notebook again, and his hand moved slowly across the names of the dead.

“That little boy was my country,” Silvia said.

Tobin reached out his hand toward her. She looked at him for a long time, and then she looked at Zuwanie. Slowly, she gave the gun to Tobin and he put it in his pocket.

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