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'What is it?"

'I'll write it out for you; you can give it to the man he sends. It's got to be exact, both in what it says and what it doesn't say. ' Bourne looked over at the dead woman, at the swelling in her throat 'Do you have any alcohol?'

'A drink?'

'No. Rubbing alcohol. Perfume will do. '

'I'm sure there's rubbing alcohol in the medicine cabinet*

'Would you mind getting it for me? Also a towel, please. "

'What are you going to do?'

'Put my hands where your hands were. Just in case, although I don't think anyone will question you. While I'm doing that, call whoever you have to call to get me out The timing's important I have to be on my way before you call Carlos's relay, long before you call the police. They'd have the airports watched. '

'I can delay until daybreak, I imagine. An old man's state of shock, as you put it not much longer than that. Where will you go?'

'New York. Can you do it? I have a passport identifying me as a man named George Washburn. It's a good job. '

'Making mine far easier. You'll have diplomatic status. Pre-clearance on both sides of the Atlantic. '

'As an Englishman? The passport's British. '

'On a N. A. T. O. accommodation. Brevet channels; you are part of an Anglo-American team engaged in military negotiations. We favour your swift return to the United States for further instructions. It's not unusual, and sufficient to get you rapidly past both immigration points. '

'Good. I've checked the schedules. There's a seven a. m. flight, Air France to Kennedy. '

'You'll be on it. ' The old man paused, he had not finished. He took a step towards Jason. 'Why New York? What makes you so certain Carlos will follow you to New York?"

Two questions with different answers," said Bourne. 'I have to deliver him where he marked me for killing four men and a woman I didn't know . . . one of those men very close to me, very much a part of me, I think. '

'I don't understand you. '

'I'm not sure I do, either. There's no time. It'll all be in what I write down for you on the plane. I have to prove Carlos knew. A building in New York. Where it all took place; they've got to understand. He knew about it Trust me. '

'I do. The second question, then. Why will he come after you?'

Jason looked again at the dead woman on the bed. 'Instinct, maybe. I've killed the one person on earth he cares about. If she were someone else and Carlos killed her, I'd follow him across the world until I found him. '

'He may be more practical. I think that was your point to me. '

"There's something else,' replied Jason, taking his eyes away from Angelique Villiers. 'He has nothing to lose, everything to gain. No one knows what he looks like, but he knows me by sight. Still, he doesn't know my state of mind. He's cut me off, isolated me, turned me into someone I was never meant to be. Maybe he was too successful; maybe I'm mad, insane. God knows killing her was insane. My threats are irrational. How much more irrational am I? An irrational man, an insane man, is a panicked man. He can be taken out. '

'Is your threat irrational? Can you be taken out?'

'I'm not sure. I only know I don't have a choice. '

He did not. At the end it was as the beginning. Get Carlos. Trap Carlos. Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain. The man and the myth were finally one, images and reality fused. There was no other way.

Ten minutes had passed since he had called Marie, lied to Marie, and heard the quiet acceptance in her voice, knowing it meant she needed time to think. She had not believed him, but she believed in him; she, too, had no choice. And he could not ease her pain; there had been no time, there was no time. Everything was in motion now, Villiers downstairs calling an emergency number at France's Brevet Militaire, arranging for a man with a false passport to fly out of Paris with diplomatic status. In less than three hours a man would be over the Atlantic approaching the anniversary of his own execution. It was the key; it was the trap. It was the last irrational act, insanity the order of that date.

Bourne stood by the desk; he put down the pen and studied the words he had written on a dead woman's stationery. They were the words a broken, bewildered old man was to repeat over the telephone to an unknown relay who would demand the paper and give it to Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.

I killed your bitch whore and I'll come back for you. There are seventy-one streets in the jungle. A jungle as dense as Tarn Quan, but there was a path you missed, a vault in the cellars you did not know about - just as you never knew about me on the day of my execution ten years ago. One other man knew and you killed him. It doesn't matter. In that vault are documents that will set me free. Did you think I'd become Cain without that final protection? Washington won't dare touch met It seems right that on the date of Bourne's death, Cain picks up the papers that guarantee him a very long life. You marked Cain. Now I mark you. I'll come back and you can join the whore.

Delta

Jason dropped the note on the desk and walked over to the dead woman. The alcohol was dry, the swollen throat prepared. He bent down and spread his fingers, placing his hands where another's had been placed. Madness.

34

Early light broke over the spires of the church in Levallois-Perret in north-west Paris, the March morning cold, the night rain replaced by mist. A few old women, returning to their flats from all-night cleaning shifts in the city proper, trudged in and out of the bronze doors, holding railings and prayer books, devotions about to begin or finished with, precious sleep to follow before the drudgery of surviving the daylight hours. Along with the old women were shabbily dressed men most also old, others pathetically young - holding overcoats together, seeking the warmth of the church, these clutching bottles in their pockets, precious oblivion extended, another day to survive.

One old man, however, did not float with the trance-like movements of the others. He was an old man in a hurry. There was reluctance - even fear, perhaps - in his lined, sallow face, but no hesitation in his progress up the steps and through the doors, past the flickering candles and down the far left aisle of the church. It was an odd hour for a worshipper to seek confession; nevertheless the old beggar went directly to the first booth, parted the curtain and slipped inside.

'Angelus Domini. . . "

'Did you bring it?' the whisper demanded, the priestly silhouette behind the curtain trembling with rage.

'Yes. He thrust it in my hand like a man in a stupor, weeping, telling me to get out He's burned Cain's note to him and says he'll deny everything if a single word is ever mentioned. ' The old man shoved the pages of writing paper under the curtain.

'He used her stationery. . . ' The assassin's whisper broke, a silhouetted hand brought to a silhouetted head, a muted cry of anguish now heard behind the curtain.

'I urge you to remember, Carlos,' pleaded the beggar "The messenger is not responsible for the news he bears. I could have refused to hear it, refused to bring it to you. ' 'How? Why.

'Lavier. He followed her to Pare Monceau, then both of them to the church. I saw him in Neuilly-sur-Seine when I was your point. I told you that. '

'I know. But why! He could have used her in a hundred different ways! Against me! Why this?'



Tags: Robert Ludlum, Eric Van Lustbader Jason Bourne Thriller
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