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But this was Paris. And everything started in Zurich was in motion.

Find Carlos. Trap Carlos. Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain.

False! Goddamn you, false!

Find Treadstone! Find a message! Find a man!

29

Jason remained in the far corner of the back seat as the taxi entered Villiers's block in Pare Monceau. He scanned the cars lining the kerb; there was no grey Citroen, no licence plate with the letters NYR.

But there was Villiers. The old soldier was standing alone on the pavement, four doors away from his house.

Two men . . . in a car four houses away.

Villiers was standing now where that car had stood; it was a signal.

'Arretez, s'il vous plait' said Bourne to the driver. 'Le vieux Horace. Je demande a lui. ' He rolled down the window and leaned forward. 'Monsieur?'

'In English,' replied Villiers, walking towards the taxi, an old man summoned by a stranger.

'What happened?' asked Jason.

'I could not detain them. '

Them?'

'My wife left with the Lavier woman. I was adamant, however. I told her to expect my call at the Georges Cinq. It was a matter of the utmost importance and I required her council. '

'What did she say?'

That she wasn't sure she'd be at the Georges Cinq. That her friend insisted on seeing a priest in Neuilly-sur-Seine, at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. She said she felt obliged to accompany her. '

'Did you object?'

'Strenuously. And for the first time in our life together, she stated the thoughts in my own mind. She said, "If it's your desire to check up on me, Andre", why not call the parish? I'm sure someone might recognize me and bring me to a telephone. " Was she testing me?'

Bourne tried to think. 'Perhaps. Someone would see her there, she'd make sure of it. But bringing her to a phone might be something else again. When did they leave?'

'Less than five minutes ago. The two men in the Citroen followed them. '

'Were they in your car?'

'No. My wife called a taxi.

'I'm going out there,' said Jason.

'I thought you might,' said Villiers. 'I looked up the address of the church. '

Bourne dropped a fifty-franc note over the back of the front seat. The driver grabbed it. 'It's important to me to reach Neuilly-sur-Seine as fast as possible,' said Jason, 'to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. Do you know where it is?'

'But of course, Monsieur. It is the most beautiful church in the district. '

'Get there quickly and there'll be another fifty francs. *

'We shall fly on the wings of blessed angels, Monsieur!'

They flew, the flight plan jeopardizing most of the traffic in their path.

There are the spires of the Blessed Sacrament, Monsieur,' said the victorious driver twelve minutes later, pointing at three soaring towers of stone through the windscreen. 'Another minute, perhaps two if the idiots who should be taken off the streets will permit. . . '

'Slow down,' interrupted Bourne, his attention not on the spires of the church but on a car several vehicles ahead. They had taken a corner and he had seen it during the turn; it was a grey Citroen, two men in the front seat.

They came to a traffic light; the cars stopped. Jason dropped a second fifty-franc note over the seat and opened the door. 'I'll be right back. If the light changes, drive forward slowly and I'll jump in. '

Bourne got out, keeping his body low, and rushed between the cars until he saw the letters. NYR; the numbers following 768, but for the moment they were inconsequential. The taxi driver had earned his money.

The light changed and the row of vehicles lurched forward like an elongated insect pulling its shelled parts together. The taxi drew alongside; Jason opened the door and climbed in. 'You do good work,' he said to the driver.

'I'm not sure I know the work I am doing. '

'An affair of the heart One must catch the betrayer in the act. '

'In church, Monsieur? The world moves too swiftly for me. '

'Not in traffic,' said Bourne. They approached the final corner before the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. The Citroen made the turn, a single car between it and a taxi, the passengers indistinguishable. Something bothered Jason. The surveillance on the part of the two men was too open, far too obvious. It was as if Carlos's soldiers wanted someone in that taxi to know they were there.

Of course! Madame Villiers was in that cab. With Jacque-line Lavier. And the two men in the Citroen wanted Villiers's wife to know they were behind her.

There is the Blessed Sacrament,' said the driver, entering the street where the church rose in minor medieval splendour in the centre of a manicured lawn criss-crossed by stone paths and dotted with statuary. 'What shall I do, Monsieur?'

'Pull into that space,' ordered Jason, gesturing at a break in the line of parked cars. The taxi with Villiers's wife and the Lavier woman stopped in front of a path guarded by a concrete saint. Villiers's stunning wife got out first, extending her hand for Jacqueline Lavier, who emerged ashen on the pavement. She wore large, orange-rimmed sunglasses and carried a white bag, but she was no longer elegant. Her crown of silver-streaked hair fell in straight, disassociated lines down the sides of her death-white mask of a face, and her stockings were torn. She was at least three hundred feet away but Bourne felt he could hear the erratic gasping for breath that accompanied the hesitant movements of the once-regal figure stepping forward in the sunlight

The grey Citroen had proceeded beyond the taxi and was now pulling to the kerb. Neither man got out, but a thin metal rod, reflecting the glare of the sun, began rising out of the boot.

The radio antenna was being activated, codes sent over a guarded frequency. Jason was mesmerized, not by the sight and the knowledge of what was being done, but by something else. Words came to him, from where he did not know but they were there.

Delta to Almanac, Delia to Almanac. We will not respond.

Repeat, negative, brother.

Almanac to Delta. You will respond as ordered. Abandon, abandon. That is final.

Delta to Almanac. You're final, brother. Co fuck yourself. Delta out, equipment damaged.

Suddenly the darkness was all around him, the sunlight gone. There were no soaring towers of a church reaching for the sky; instead there were black shapes of irregular foliage shivering beneath the light of iridescent clouds. Everything was moving, everything was moving, he had to move with the movement. To remain immobile was to die! Move! For Christ's sake, move!

And take them out. One by one. Crawl in closer; overcome the fear - the terrible fear - and reduce the numbers. That was all there was to it! Reduce the numbers! The Monk had made that clear! Knife, wire, knee, thumb; you know the points of damage. Of death.

Death is a statistic for the computers. For you it is survival.

The Monk.

The Monk!

The sunlight came again, blinding him for a moment, his foot on the pavement, his gaze on the grey Citroen a hundred yards away. But it was difficult to see; why was it so difficult? Haze, mist . . . not darkness now but impenetrable mist. He was hot; no, he was cold. Cold! He jerked his head up, suddenly aware of where he was and what he was doing. His face had been pressed against the window; his breath had fogged the glass.

'I'm getting out for a few minutes,' said Bourne. 'Stay here. '



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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