Story 23 - Geometry of an Abduction.
The letter was signed electronically, and eneded,
"With all my love; your 'friend' from the fondi."
I put the letter down onto the bedside table. I closed my eyes to shut out the world. Oh God, what have I done, what have I done! How could I have been so stupid? He was right. I should have brought everyone here.
I took the letter again, to tear it up, but I couldn't. It wouldn't change anything. I let the letter fall to the floor in my daze of disbelieve that this was happening. It all seemed unreal. This couldn't be happening, but at my feet lay the proof that it was happening. The letter, a piece of paper, a link to an impending
tragedy. It was all real. It had arrived on one of the brightest days in my life. Suddenly, everything turned black, and I was the cause
for that myself.
The worst thing was, I couldn't even cry. No tears came; not for myself,
nor for Indira, Olive, Sylvia, Steve, Ushi, even Heather. I couldn't begin to imagine how this would affect everyone of them.
After what seemed like an eternity, I mustered the courage to call Ross, Steve, Ushi, and Jacky together. I did this reluctantly. I was stricken with shame more than
fear. This shame hurt. I was ashamed of the human race. I simply gave them the letter to
read as they arrived. Ross first, then Ushi. Ushi gave it to Jacky as soon as he came
into the room.
"I've run out of options," I said in a voice that matched the utter hopelessness of my situation. After everyone had read the letter I announced that I have no choice, but to fly to Chongquing in the morning and take the first available flight to New Delhi. If I don't go, and go quickly, they will kill Indira, the whole family, and possibly Olive as well.
Ross just shook his head in disbelief. Steve said nothing. Ushi had tears in her eyes.
"What else can I do?" I asked Steve. "I screwed up. They warned me.
You heard the tape yourself, of our meeting in Venice, fourteen years ago. Now they want me dead. I can't let anybody else die for
my stupidity in bungling things up."
"You are too valuable for this
self-sacrifice," Steve answered. "There must be another option."
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Ushi interjected and sobbed.
"There is," said Steve, and then shook
his head. "You will stay here. That much is certain," Steve replied sternly, speaking to me.
"You will not go the New Delhi. I will go to Venice, to the head man, and sort this thing out. I know people there. Maybe I can talk some sense into them."
"That's even worse," Ross got into the act. "Then they will kill you too."
Ross slammed his fist on the table.
"Remember Steve, I have listened to the taped meeting, too. We all have,
haven't we? I know who they are. They are arrogant; they are mad; they are stupid; they are not people that
anyone can reason with. You'll have more success negotiating with a rock on the beach."
"That's what I mean," I replied. "I don't see any valid
options than to stop this thing myself. There aren't any options. It have to go and deal with these monsters before they start killing people. If this gets me killed in the process, so be
it, but we don't know this yet. In any case, I won't let them kill Indira for my stupidity."
"That's not good enough," Ushi cried. "That
won't solve anything."
"Of course it isn't good," I answered. "I don't want to die anymore than you do, but if I don't go they will kill all these people. They want me, can't you see that? They will kill until they get me. Indira will be first, if I don't go, and then the rest of our
family will be next, and Olive too."
"How do you know they won't kill them anyway?" Ushi asked. "Just look at yourself. You're confused. You are too close to this case. You have lost your logic. No person in such a position
as you are in right now can think clearly. Just listen to yourself. You talk as though you are dealing with sane and honorable people. They are not normal people. They are people who have been destroyed as human beings, by their power. They are killers. They will surely kill you,
and everyone else in spite of your sacrifice. There must be another way out of this."