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'Of course. But we've got a problem. An associate flew in this afternoon and we agreed to meet at a restaurant, only I've forgotten the name. I've been there but I just can't remember where it is or what it's called. I do remember that on the front there were three odd shapes . . . a design of some sort, I think. Triangles, I believe. !

'That's the Drei Alpenhauser, sir. The . . . Three Chalets. If s in a sidestreet off the Falkenstrasse. '

'Yes, of course, that's it! And to get there from here we . . . ' Bourne trailed off the words, a man with too much wine trying to concentrate.

'Just turn left out of the exit, sir. Stay on the Uto Quai for about six kilometres, until you reach a large pier, then turn right. It will take you into the Falkenstrasse. Once you pass Seefeld, you can't miss the street or the restaurant. There's a sign on the corner. '

'Thank you. Will you be here a few hours from now, when we return?'

'I'm on duty until two this morning, sir. !

'Good. I'll look for you and express my gratitude more concretely. '

'Thank you, sir. May I get your car for you?'

'You've done enough, thanks. A little more walking is required. ' The attendant saluted, and started for the front of the hotel. Jason led Marie St Jacques towards the coupe, limping beside her. 'Hurry up. The keys are under the seat. '

'If they stop us, what will you do? That attendant will see the car go out; he'll know you've stolen it! !

'I doubt it. Not if we leave right away, the minute he's back in that crowd. '

'Suppose he does!'

'Then I hope you're a fast driver," said Bourne, pushing her towards the door. 'Get in. ' The attendant had turned the corner; he suddenly hurried his pace! Jason took out the gun, and limped rapidly around the bonnet of the coupe", supporting himself on it while pointing the pistol at the windscreen. He opened the passenger door and climbed in beside her. 'Goddamn it, I said get the keys!'

'All right. . . I can't think. '

'Try harder!'

'Oh, God . . . ' She reached below the seat, stabbing her hand around the carpet until she found the small leather case.

'Start the engine, but wait until I tell you to back out. ' He watched for headlight beams to shine into the area from the circular drive; it would be a reason for the attendant to have suddenly broken into a near run; a car to be parked. They did not come; the reason could be something else. Two unknown people in the parking area. 'Go ahead. Quickly. I want to get out of here. " She threw the gear into reverse; seconds later they approached the exit into the lakeshore drive. 'Slow down," he commanded. A taxi was swinging into the curve in front of them.

Bourne held his breath and looked through the opposite window at the Carillon du Lac's entrance; the scene under the canopy explained the attendant's sudden decision to hurry. An argument had broken out between the police and a group of hotel guests. A queue had formed for names to be checked before leaving the hotel, the resulting delays angered the innocent.

'Let's go,' said Jason, wincing again, the pain shooting through his chest. 'We're clear. '

It was a numbing sensation, eerie and uncanny. The three triangles were as he had pictured them: thick dark wood raised in bas-relief on white stone. Three equal triangles, abstract renditions of chalet roofs in a valley of snow so deep the lower storeys were obscured. Above the three points was the restaurant's name in Germanic letters. Drei Alpenhauser. Below the base line of the centre triangle was the entrance, double doors that together formed a cathedral arch, the hardware massive rings of iron common to Alpine chateaux.

The surrounding buildings on both sides of the narrow brick street were restored structures of a Zurich and a Europe long past. It was not a street for cars; instead one pictured elaborate coaches drawn by horses, drivers sitting high in mufflers and top hats, and gas lamps everywhere. It was a street filled with the sights and sounds of forgotten memories, thought the man who had no memory to forget.

Yet he had had one, vivid and disturbing. Three dark triangles, heavy beams and candlelight. He had been right; it was a memory of Zurich. But in another life.

'We're here,' said the woman.

'I know. '

Tell me what to do,' she cried. 'We're going past it'

'Go to the next corner and turn left Go round the block, then drive back through here. '

'Why?'

'I wish I knew. !

'What?'

'Because I said so. ' Someone was there . . . at that restaurant. Why didn't other images come? Another image. A face.

They drove down the street past the restaurant twice more. Two separate couples and a foursome went inside; a single man came out, heading for the Falkenstrasse. To judge from the cars parked on the kerb, there was a medium-sized crowd at the Drei Alpenhauser. It would grow in number as the next two hours passed, most of Zurich preferring its evening meal nearer ten-thirty than eight There was no point in delaying any longer; nothing further came to Bourne. He could only sit and watch and hope something would come. Something. For something had; a book of matches had evoked an image of reality. Within that reality there was a truth he had to discover.

'Pull over to your right, in front of the last car. We'll walk back. '

Silently, without comment or protest, the St Jacques woman did as she was told. Jason looked at her; her reaction was too docile, inconsistent with her previous behaviour. He understood. A lesson had to be taught. Regardless of what might happen inside the Drei Alpenhauser, he needed her for a final contribution. She had to drive him out of Zurich.

The car came to a stop, tyres scraping the kerb. She turned off the engine and began to remove the keys, her movement slow, too slow. He reached over and held her wrist; she stared at him in the shadows without breathing. He slid his fingers over her hand until he felt the key case.

'I'll take those,' he said.

'Naturally,' she replied, her left hand unnaturally at her side, poised by the panel of the door.

'Now get out and stand by the bonnet,' he continued. 'Don't do anything foolish. '

'Why should I? You'd kill me. '

'Good. ' He reached for the handle of the door exaggerating the difficulty. The back of his head was to her; he snapped the handle down.

The rustle of fabric was sudden, the rush of air more sudden still; her door crashed open, the woman half out into the street. But Bourne was ready; a lesson had to be taught. He spun around, his left arm an uncoiling spring, his hand a claw, gripping the silk of her dress between her shoulder blades. He pulled her back into the seat and, grabbing her by the hair, yanked her head towards him until her neck was stretched, her face against his.

'I won't do it again!' she cried, tears welling at her eyes. 'I swear to you I won't I'

He reached across and pulled the door shut, then looked at her closely, trying to understand something in himself. Thirty minutes ago in another car he bad experienced a degree of nausea when he had pressed the barrel of the gun into her cheek, threatening to take her life if she disobeyed him. There was no such revulsion now; with one overt action she had crossed over into another territory. She had become an enemy, a threat; he could kill her if he had to, kill her without emotion because it was the practical thing to do.



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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