2 . 25 P.M.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, U.S.A.
“Shh-h” Derek shushed the girl. Through the slits in the lid that covered the manhole, he could see the men. He wondered how many they were, probably four or five. They seem to be talking to the old curator.
Minutes later, he heard a gunshot muffled by a silencer. He knew that time was up for the poor man. The young girl made the sign of the cross and prayed silently. She seemed to have known him personally.
The old man had after hasty explanation from Derek agreed to help them get out. There happened to be a secret manhole in the historical section of the library and with luck they might make it only if they didn’t get lost in the vast underground.
Overhead, the shadow of the men came into view and he heard them talking but couldn’t make out all of it.
“Do you hear them?” He whispered.
“Yeah, they are saying something about receiving signal from a nearby GPS tracker. Any idea what it means?”
“That would be you”, he said pulling out his Blackberry and initiating a bug scan. “Give me that”, he said pointing at her cell. She handed it over. He turned it off and stuck it in his back pocket. He ran the phone over her again and finally traced it to the gold pendant on her neck.
He had observed the necklace on her neck while they were in the museum. He wrapped it round his fingers and was about to yank it off when she stopped him. He glanced at her curiously.
“It’s from my dad and he warned me never to take it off me, no matter what”,she protested.
“Can’t you see? It would eventually give us away! I would try my best to minimize the damage”, he said trying to convince the teenager who was still clutching the pendant to her chest.
“It contains a picture of my mum; it’s all I have to remember her with”, she said almost breaking into a sob. Derek heaved a sigh and edged closer to her. He laid his hands on her shoulder.
“I’m so sorry about your mother, I know how it feels loosing your mother at such a tender age. My mother died too when I was pretty much young”, he said, finally getting her attention.
“How old were you then?” She asked, looking up at him.
“Five years old. Train accident killed both my parents. Investigations proved that it was an engine malfunction. I never let it get to me, because then I believed that only the strong-willed could survive with both parents dead. It has been a propulsive force that led to my success and I believe that wherever they are, they would be happy. Won’t you love your mother to be happy?” He said, nudging her.
“Sure”, she said, brightening up.
“Then you’ve got to be alive for her and that would be. . .handing over the necklace”, he said.
She hesitated, taking one last look at it.
“Come on”, he urged her. She unlatched the necklace and gave it to him.
He studied it carefully. It was a pure golden necklace and the pendant was done with a convex glass, the picture of a woman was in it. She was remarkably beautiful and Derek could hardly get the picture off his mind.
He pulled his ring up to his knuckles and with it he knocked hard on the glass casing until it shattered. He s—-d the trickle of blood on his knuckles.
“It’s nothing”, he said wincing. “You have a pen?”
“Of course, yes”, she said, groping in the pocket of her denim jeans and pulling out a Montblac pen. Derek used it to pry out the miniature picture. He found what he was looking for, the small metallic device. He quickly pulled it and deactivated it.
“Okay, we’re good to go. They’ll figure out where are very much soon”.