The Man Who Didn’t Die
Diemerpark, Ijburg, the Netherlands
De Jogt made
for the ice, weaving among the black stone,
aluminum and glass apartment buildings, pulling his collar tight
wind. An early cold snap had frozen the bay end to end. Only the Dutch
build a city in the middle of an inland sea. But now that frigid
offered an insane, inviting escape route.
weren’t far behind. De Jogt was a scientist, not
an action hero—the fact that he’d thought of jumping from a
into a trash bin and darting away through the shadows was as amazing as
fact that he’d pulled it off. The idea of capture, of imprisonment,
animal in any creature that understood it—whatever skills he possessed,
was rallying to the cause.
had a ‘red alert’ phone number—just call and
Security would arrive in minutes. But his cell signal had disappeared
same moment as the lights in the house. That had been the tipoff, the
indicator that had him at the back window when the scratching began at
front door. The good die young—the
paranoid survive, De Jogt thought, ducking between thorn
bushes and the few
ancient elms this modern city hadn’t disrupted.
puffing already. He wouldn’t outrun any serious
opponent. It was possible this was just a burglar. A burglar might want
watch, credit cards, laptop—nothing shattering. And if he really was
the ice would even the odds—neither of them would be quick.
He skirted a
toolshed and stepped onto the slippery surface.
His shoes scraped against the ice as he pushed as hard as he could for
bank. The lights were ten or fifteen minutes away, if he didn’t fall.
would be a pay phone there, a police station, a bar with witnesses,
later, another benefit of the river became apparent—he
and his pursuers would all be out in the open. But what he saw in the
him no comfort at all.
was no burglar, that was certain on first
glimpse. No burglar, no mugger, no amateur. Very fit, encased in a dark
jumpsuit (Black? Blue? It was too dark to tell), a pair of very
night-vision goggles and what looked like a serious pistol (with
his hip. But why was it still tucked away?