فصل 07

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فصل 07

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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CHAPTER SEVEN

Painful thoughts

When Hiro got back to his hotel, he went to his room, lay down on the bed and didn’t move for a long time.

He felt terrible. The police hadn’t believed him. Worse than that, they’d made him feel like a schoolboy again, a schoolboy who dreamt of spy stories and cried over the girlfriend he’d lost.

The visit to the police station made him remember something that had happened when he was about thirteen. It wasn’t a happy memory. One very snowy day on his way to school, Hiro saw a man breaking the side window of a car. The man got in and drove off. Hiro quickly wrote down the number of the car, then called 110, the emergency number of the police. All day Hiro felt very proud of what he’d done and told all his school friends. But that evening Hiro’s father took a call from the police. The man who had ‘stolen’ the car was its owner. The locks on the car had frozen and he’d needed his car in an emergency. Hiro felt very stupid and never told any of his friends the end of the story.

Now he had the same feeling. What had the detective said about seeing one thing and imagining another? Hiro wouldn’t tell anyone about his visit to the police that morning and he would never again ask them for help.

After half an hour of such thoughts, Hiro suddenly jumped up from the bed. Lying there like that, reliving the past and feeling sorry for himself, was weak. That was schoolboy behaviour - just like keeping all those love messages from Akiko on his phone. Immediately, he picked up his phone, went to Akiko’s texts, and prepared to delete them. His hand shook for a second or two. ‘Delete all messages?’ appeared on the screen. With a little cry of pain, he pressed the ‘OK’ key.

After that, Hiro put on his jacket and hurried out of his room, almost knocking over Herr Albert, who was cleaning the corridor. He went down in the old wooden lift and quickly out into the street. He had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do, but the sun was shining now. He tried to tell himself he was happier.

He stopped in a small cafe a short way up the road, and asked for a green tea. He took his cup and went to sit by the window. Looking out, watching all the people passing, his head began to feel clearer. He tried to decide what to do. As he was on holiday, Hiro thought he really ought to do some sightseeing. He took out his guidebook and started to read.

The very first place he found, on the first page of the guidebook, was the Brandenburg Gate. Hiro stared at the picture. The words seemed to jump out of the page at him: ‘The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous sight, is in Pariser Platz, where the famous Hotel Adlon can also be found.’ The Brandenburg Gate… the Hotel Adlon. Hiro read the words again, then looked at his watch. It was twelve o’clock. In one hour the Shark would be at his meeting; he would collect the gun and get the first half of his fee.

Hiro had a sick feeling in his stomach. His heart had started to beat very fast. He closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he knew what he must do. He’d found the strength to delete Akiko’s messages, now he had to be brave again. If the police wouldn’t go to the Brandenburg Gate, he would have to do it himself. There was just time to get there before one o’clock.

Immediately, he pushed his tea away and hurried across the cafe. He almost threw a five-euro note across the counter. He didn’t wait for any change. There wasn’t a moment to lose.

He found a U-Bahn station just round the corner and stopped at the map inside the entrance. Which was the way to go? He needed to get to Unter den Linden - that was the nearest stop to the Brandenburg Gate. It seemed very complicated: he would have to travel up to Friedrichstrasse and then get a different line. Remembering what his guidebook said, he hurried into a newspaper shop to buy a train ticket, then ran down to the platform.

At least he didn’t have to wait long. Soon a train arrived and he jumped in. He went to stand against the opposite door, too nervous and excited to sit down.

The journey seemed endless, although it wasn’t more than five stops. Then he was running along the platform and up and down the stairs to get to the other line.

This time there was a longer wait. He had just missed a train. It was already 12.40 - only twenty minutes before the Shark’s meeting. Hiro walked up and down the platform.

At 12.45 the train appeared at last. The moment it stopped Hiro opened the door and jumped inside. It was only one stop now, three or four minutes, no more. He tried to calm himself down, take some deep breaths. The train pulled out of the station and raced into the darkness. Surely now he must be there in time?

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