فصل 06

مجموعه: جیسون بورن / کتاب: اولتیماتوم بورن / فصل 6

فصل 06

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Chapter six

Night Fight

It was ten o’clock in the morning and they held each other tightly, but there was no time for talk - only the brief comfort of being together, safe together, secure in the knowledge that they knew things that the Jackal did not know and that knowledge gave them an enormous advantage. But it was only an advantage, not a guarantee, and Marie and the children were being flown south to Guadeloupe’s Basse-Terre island. They would stay there with the Webbs’ housekeeper, Mrs. Cooper, all under guard until they were called back to Tranquility. Marie objected, but Bourne would not give in.

Now they stood on the dock, two sea planes in the water at the far end. One had brought Bourne directly to Tranquility from Antigua. The other was ready for the flight to Guadeloupe, with Mrs. Cooper and the children already inside.

“Hurry, Marie,” added Bourne. “I want to ask these two old men some questions.”

A few hours later, in a dark storage room on the third floor of the Tranquility Hotel, Bourne and the old Frenchman sat in front of a window overlooking the east and west paths of the hotel grounds. Each man held a pair of binoculars, watching the people walking on the paths and down the stone stairs leading to the beach.

Suddenly, the door opened and Judge Brendan Prefontaine walked quickly, breathlessly inside.

“He’s here,” he said. “Three of St. Jacques’s men, down the beach to the east, couldn’t be reached by radio. St. Jacques sent a guard to find them and the man just returned. All three were killed, each with a bullet in his throat.”

“The Jackal!” said the Frenchman. “It’s his signature. He is announcing his arrival.”

The steel band played as the remaining guests finished their dinners and moved through to the dance floor. St. Jacques had provided some loud entertainment for those guests who had stayed in the hotel. Very few had left after the fire and the deaths. Most thought the killings were just an isolated incident, and were determined to continue their vacations. Some were old friends of St. Jacques and loyalty kept them in place.

In St. Jacques’s office, Bourne and Fontaine stood up as a strong-looking black woman in a nurse’s uniform entered the room.

“Very good, my child, you look wonderful,” said the Frenchman. “Remember now, I’ll be holding your arm as we walk and talk, but when I squeeze you and raise my voice, telling you to leave me alone, you’ll do as I say. Correct?”

“Yes, sir. I must hurry away, quite angry with you for being so impolite.”

“That’s it. There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a game. We want to talk to somebody who is very shy.”

“Are we ready?” asked Bourne.

“We’re ready,” replied the Frenchman, smiling pleasantly at the very puzzled young woman. “What are you going to do with all the money you’re earning tonight, my dear?”

The girl smiled shyly. “I have a good boyfriend. I’m going to buy him a fine present.”

The plan was simple to prepare and, like most good plans, however complex, simple to carry out. Old Fontaine’s walk through the grounds of the Tranquility Hotel had been exactly mapped out. It began with Fontaine and the young woman returning to his villa, presumably to check his sick wife before his normal evening walk. They stayed on the lighted main path.

Two of St. Jacques’s guards moved through hidden routes in the bushes, always near them. Bourne followed the second man, his radio on Receive, listening to the angry words of Fontaine.

“Where is that other nurse - that lovely girl who takes care of my woman? Where is she? I haven’t seen her all day.”

Bourne raised his head above a low wall and suddenly there were lights, colored lights. They had reached the path to an old church, and the red and blue lights lit the way to a place that the hotel’s guests sometimes liked to visit. It was the last destination before the return route back to Fontaine’s villa. St. Jacques had put a third guard there to prevent entrance. Then Bourne heard the words over the radio - the words that would send the false nurse racing away.

“Get away from me!” shouted Fontaine. “I don’t like you.”

Up ahead, the two guards were hiding side by side. They turned and looked at Bourne. He knew that from that moment, all decisions were his.

The unexpected rarely disturbed Bourne; it did now. Had Fontaine made a mistake? Had the old man forgotten about the guard on the path and mistaken him for the Jackal’s contact?

Then another possibility came to Bourne’s mind. Had the guard been killed or bribed, replaced by another? Bourne rose to his feet. What he saw stunned him!

Fontaine didn’t move, his mouth open in shock, his wide eyes disbelieving, as another old man in a brown suit approached him and threw his arms around the old “hero of France.” Fontaine pushed the man away in panic and puzzlement. The words burst out of the radio in Bourne’s pocket.

“Claude! What a surprise! You are here!”

The old friend replied in a shaking voice. “It is a privilege our employer permitted me. To see my sister for a final time, and to give comfort to my friend, her husband.”

“He brought you here? But of course, he did!”

“I must take you to him. The great man wishes to speak to you.”

“But she’s dead! She took her own life last night. He intended to kill us both.”

Shut off your radio! screamed Bourne in the silence of his thoughts. It was too late. The door of the church opened and a man walked out into the colored lights. He was young, muscular, and blond. Was the Jackal training somebody to take his place?

“Come with me, please,” said the blond man, his French gentle but commanding. “You,” he added, addressing the old man in the brown suit, “stay where you are. At the slightest sound, fire your gun… Take the gun out now. Hold it in your hand.”

Bourne watched helplessly as Fontaine was taken through the door of the church. From the pocket of his jacket there was a sharp sound; the Frenchman’s radio had been found and destroyed.

Bourne crawled forward to the two guards and whispered, “They’ve taken Fontaine inside.”

“Where is the other guard?” asked the man near Bourne.

Bourne shook his head. “I’m afraid he may be dead.”

Suddenly, there came a long scream, followed by words screamed in pain: “No, no! You are horrible!… Stop, stop!”

“Now!” cried Bourne, as he jumped over the wall. “The lights!” he shouted. “Shoot them out!”

The taller guard’s Uzi fired and the lines of lights exploded on both sides of the church’s path. Then a single yellow beam appeared, moving quickly in all directions; it was a powerful flashlight in the guard’s left hand. The figure of an old man in a brown suit lay curled up on the path, his throat cut.

“Stop! In the name of God, stop where you are!” came Fontaine’s voice from inside the church, the open door showing the light of electric candles. They approached the entrance, automatic weapons leveled, prepared for continuous fire… but not prepared for what they saw. Bourne closed his eyes - the sight was too painful. Old Fontaine was tied over a table, his face running with blood where he had been cut, and attached to his body were thin cables that led to various black boxes on both sides of the church.

“Go back!” screamed Fontaine. “Run, you fools! I’m wired.”

“Oh, God!”

“Don’t feel sorry for me, I gladly join my wife! This world is too ugly even for me. Run!”

Bourne and the tall guard ran, and fell to the ground.

The explosion was enormous, blinding and deafening. Flames climbed high into the night sky and blew away in the wind.

Then, as their hearing returned to normal, there was the roar of powerful engines as a huge speedboat moved out of a shadowed section of the bay and sped out to sea. The beam of a searchlight shot out, lighting up the barriers of rock rising above the waves. Carlos!… The Jackal had changed. He had aged, grown thinner, and lost some hair - he was not the sharp, broad, muscular image of Bourne’s memory.

The boat’s motors screamed as it reached full speed. Then the words, in heavily accented English, came from the distant loudspeaker.

“Paris, Jason Bourne! Paris, if you dare!”

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