فصل 08

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فصل 08

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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CHAPTER EIGHT

A little bit of sightseeing

When Hiro came out of the underground station five minutes later, he found himself in a wide street. Smart shops and hotels stretched away in both directions - and there was the Brandenburg Gate, a couple of hundred metres away. Hiro saw the six columns of the great Greek-style gateway, just as he’d seen in the guidebook, and on its top, the horses and chariot against the sky.

Hiro made his way towards the Gate. It was 12.50. Now he had to take great care. He would have to get close to the Gate if he wanted to see the Shark’s meeting take place. But he also had to make sure he kept out of sight. He must make sure the Shark didn’t see him.

At first there was no problem. Cars were parked all the way up the street and Hiro kept close to these. On the left- hand side he noticed the entrance to the Hotel Adlon, a grand building with a revolving door. If Hiro was right, it was there that evening the Shark would complete his work.

Further up the street it became more difficult. The street opened up into a wide square - the Pariser Platz. Now Hiro could be seen more easily. But there were plenty of cars here too, many of them very large, with dark windows. He walked past these, getting closer all the time to the Gate. Now he could see how big it was. There were lots of people wandering about around the columns. He didn’t know what to do. Perhaps the Shark would meet his friend on the other side of the Gate, where most of the tourists were. But to get close was so dangerous! It was 12.55. If only he weren’t so easy to notice. If only he weren’t Japanese!

A coach pulling up on the far side of the Gate caught his eye. After a few moments, the passengers came pouring out of its door. Hiro had an idea. The tourists were all Europeans or Americans, but if he could get round to that side, a coach full of Japanese tourists was sure to appear soon. He began to make his way round.

Hiro was nearly there, when just as he’d guessed, a coach pulled up by the side of the road. Almost immediately thirty or forty Japanese tourists of all ages came hurrying down the steps. Hiro went to join them.

The sound of his own language made him want to cry out, but he stopped himself. He had to look out for the Shark. Several of the group hurried forward, pulling cameras from cases, and Hiro moved with them. As he got nearer the Gate his eyes searched the foot of the columns. He couldn’t see the Shark. He looked at his watch. It was exactly one o’clock.

Hiro studied the people round the Gate. Several were wandering around, looking up at the columns or standing for photographs, but none of them looked anything like the Shark. The only person over fifty years old was a priest, wearing long black clothes, standing away to the left. Hiro felt disappointed. After fighting his fears so bravely, was it all for nothing? Hiro watched as the priest was joined by a second man. The two of them went off behind one of the columns and disappeared from view.

Five minutes passed. Hiro began to wonder if he’d made a mistake. Should he go back to the other side of the Gate?

An old man walking with a stick came slowly past. Hiro’s heart missed a beat. He couldn’t see the man’s face. Was this the Shark, pretending to need a stick? Hiro moved in order to see the man’s face, but then stopped. A little old woman, perhaps eighty years of age, had joined the old man.

Hiro shook his head and looked at his watch: 1.10. Was the Shark really not coming? Hiro began to consider the possibilities. What if, following the mix-up with the phones, the Shark had changed the time or place of the meeting?

A hand on his shoulder made Hiro jump. For a second he thought it must be the Shark. Then he gave a sick laugh. One of the Japanese women from the coach was smiling at him and holding out her camera. She wanted Hiro to take a photo of her and her friend in front of the Gate, and she was speaking in Japanese. Hiro felt stupid - he’d been in such a dream that he hadn’t even recognised his own language. He took the photo as asked, handed back the camera, and looked at his watch. It was 1.20.

So, the Shark wasn’t coming after all. Hiro felt very stupid. ‘Perhaps the detective at the police station was right,’ he thought. ‘Perhaps I should just take the first train back to England.’ He walked straight towards the Gate, no longer hiding among the Japanese tourists, and headed for the underground station. He just wanted to get out of Berlin now, to get out of this stupid city.

Hiro was less than fifty metres from the underground station, when the sound of a car close behind him made him look round. A black BMW with dark windows stopped beside him. As it did so, the back window opened and a dark-haired man looked out.

‘Mr Hiro Adachi?’ the man asked in English. He didn’t wait for an answer. ‘I’d like a word with you. It’s very important.’

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