فصل 11

مجموعه: جیسون بورن / کتاب: هویت بورن / فصل 11

فصل 11

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Chapter eleven

Rebirth

At 8:45 in the morning, the taxi moved slowly along Seventy-first Street. Bourne recognized everything. He thought of Andre Villiers. Bourne had written down everything that he could remember since his memory had begun to return, and had mailed the pages to Parc Monceau. The information would be used wisely and that knowledge gave him freedom. By the time it reached Paris, he or Carlos would be dead.

There was the house, and he had the feeling of return. He remembered a dark room - questions, endless questions: Who is he? Quickly. You’re too late. Where’s this street? Who did you meet?

Which of these killing methods do you use? No! Delta might do that, but not Cain. You are only what you have become here. He had written to Carlos that he was coming back here for the hidden documents that were his final protection. Now he understood what he had meant. His identity was inside that house. Whether Carlos came after him or not, he had to find it.

A moving van had stopped outside the house. Men climbed out and the front door was open. The house was being cleared! He had to reach Conklin. The men had to stop their work. The assassin would come at night.

The taxi driver spoke and Bourne bent forward to listen. As he did, a bullet raced past his ear and shot the driver in the head. Bourne jumped out and fell to the ground. Carlos was here, at the doors of Treadstone! He had brought him back. He ran to a cafe, asked for the phone, and called the CIA. He was told that Conklin was away. He was not expected back until the end of the week.

The U.S. Secretary of State was a very angry man. He demanded from General Crawford an explanation of a long phone call from the American embassy in Paris.

A Canadian woman had arrived at the embassy, talking about Bourne, Delta, Medusa, Cain, Carlos, and Treadstone - about American lies to foreign governments and European newspapers without the knowledge of the Department of State. She said that a “friend,” who was an important man in French politics, had suggested that this was the only way to save Bourne’s life.

“I’ve listened to the tape of her story ten times and I believe her. He’s an amnesiac,” the Secretary explained to Crawford angrily. “A man who has tried for six months to find out who he is. We know he tried to tell you. And now he’s bringing Carlos to us - unless you kill him first.”

Crawford was silent. Could it be true? “Then the woman’s our only hope,” he said finally. “We know Cain’s skilled at changing his appearance, but she may recognize him. I know where the action will happen, and it will be today.”

“Fortunately for you, the woman’s already here. We flew her over. But where - and why today?”

“At Treadstone - he wouldn’t go anywhere else. And today, because it’s the date of his own death.”

When Crawford and Marie arrived in Seventy-first Street, they found that Conklin was already there. Marie sat in a government car a little way away from the Treadstone house, while the men went into a neighboring property.

“She’s lying,” Conklin said in the face of Crawford’s anger. “You’re wrong, and you know it. He’s here, and that proves it.”

“Maybe, maybe.” Conklin closed his eyes. “But it’s too late. I hired gunmen to kill Cain and I can’t stop them.”

“Christ!” Crawford shouted. “At least send that moving company away.”

“I’ve tried. I didn’t bring it here.” He picked up the phone. “Who signed the papers for removals at Seventy-first Street?” His face went white and he turned back to Crawford. “A man who left his job two weeks ago.”

In the street below, Marie watched without recognition as a man in old clothes, carrying blankets, walked toward the house.

“I was told you needed more help,” Bourne said to two moving men who were carrying boxes to the van. “I’ve brought blankets.”

“Start at the top with the other new men,” he was told. Bourne climbed to the second floor. Which room? Memories returned. Oh, God, it hurt! He opened the door. Darkness, but not complete. A slight noise. He turned, terrified at the tricks being played in his mind. But it was not a trick! He saw the knife.

The hand! The skin! The dark eyes… Carlos!

He moved his head back as the knife cut his chin. His foot caught his attacker in the knee. Again the knife came toward him, but Bourne blocked the arm and pushed it up. The knife fell to the floor and Bourne reached for his gun. The metal toe of a shoe made contact with his head. He crashed into a wall, seizing his attacker’s hand and breaking Carlos’s wrist as he fell.

A scream filled the room, and then a bullet hit Bourne high in the chest. He jumped at the killer as more shots went wild. Then he heard the door crash shut and footsteps running to the hall.

Shots passed both ways through the door and then the footsteps ran downstairs. Shouts, and more gunfire. Carlos had organized the moving van! Some of the men in the house were his, but the assassin was killing the real moving men. In the distance, Bourne could hear the sound of the van speeding away. The front door was locked.

He was losing too much blood, but he knew that Carlos was also wounded. Jason Bourne had died once on this day. He would die again, but take Carlos with him. He went slowly down the stairs to the room where Cain was born.

Now. He pushed open the door and fired. Gunshots were returned. The face. He knew it. He had seen it before. It was known to many, he was sure. But from where?

A bullet hit him in the arm. Then the shots stopped and he could hear the sound of other men outside the door, the breaking of wood and metal, the men running into the building.

“He’s in here!” screamed Carlos.

Why was the assassin calling attention to himself? But it had worked - the men were running past him. Carlos was escaping.

Bourne fell to the floor. “Carlos…!” he cried. He heard commands, then a man was walking toward him. A man who had tried to kill him in a Paris graveyard.

“You think you’ll kill me - you won’t!” Bourne said angrily.

“You don’t understand.” The voice was shaking. “It’s Conklin, Delta,” a voice said. “I was wrong.”

He felt explosions in his head again, darkness, and then a clear memory. Tam Quart. They had arrived. The prisoner was moving - he was alive. But a man was walking toward him with a gun. This man had trained with them, studied maps with them, flown with them - and told the enemy where to find them. It was Bourne. Jason Bourne. Delta fired at him.

More darkness. Waves were carrying him into the night sky, then throwing him down again. He was entering endless, weightless… memory. And then he heard the words, spoken from the clouds, filling the earth: “Jason, my love. Take my hand. Hold it, Jason.”

Peace came with unconsciousness.

“What made you realize that he was in Treadstone?” General Crawford asked Marie.

“I didn’t recognize him at first, but later it came to me: the man with the blankets! It was the way he held his head, to the right. But it’s been almost two weeks now,” Marie said impatiently. “Tell me! Jason - who is he?”

“His name is David Webb,” Crawford told her. “Until five years ago he was a foreign services officer. His wife was Thai and they had two children. One day, while they were living in Phnom-Penh, a plane dropped two bombs on the area around his home and killed his family.”

“Oh, God,” said Marie quietly. “Whose plane was it?”

“It was never identified. Webb went to Saigon and trained for Operation Medusa. He became Delta, and he was very dangerous. The North Vietnamese couldn’t kill him, so they caught his brother, Gordon, and held him. D’Anjou was one of the men who went with Webb to free him. Two of the others were in the pay of the North Vietnamese. One was Bourne, and Webb killed him. Years later, when Treadstone was formed, Webb took his name.”

“What was he doing when he was called to Treadstone?”

“Teaching in a small American college, leading a quiet life. Those are the most important facts, but there’s one more detail that must be understood. He will now be protected twenty-four hours a day, wherever he goes, whatever identity he takes. He’s the only person alive who has seen Carlos - as Carlos. He knows who he is - a public figure - but Carlos’s identity is locked away in his mind. One day, he may remember.”

Marie went to the window and looked out. He was sitting quietly on the beach, facing away from the armed guards. The time here in the little house on the waterfront had been good to him. His body was whole again, and his dreams were less terrifying.

Suddenly, he jumped up and ran toward the house. Marie froze. Was the madness returning?

He rushed through the door, stared at her, and then spoke so softly that she could hardly hear him. But she did hear him.

“My name is David.”

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