F Wilson: Fatal Error

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F Wilson Fatal Error
  • Название:
    Fatal Error
  • Автор:
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Язык:
    Английский
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Fatal Error: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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She wanted a life.

"Yes, I know it's overdue," she heard Dr. Landsman say. "I was just discussing that with Dawn when you called. But the baby's healthy and, frankly, how do we know this isn't perfectly normal? It's not as if we have any precedents to follow."

Those kinds of comments popped out every so often and never failed to sour her stomach. She'd learned not to ask about them, because Dr. Landsman only stonewalled her.

But she was convinced something was wrong with her baby. Dr. Landsman could tell her it was healthy till he was blue in the face, but that look in his eyes when he watched the ultrasound screen said he was looking at something he didn't see every day.

And then there was the thing about the ultrasound images-Mr. Osala made the doctor delete them after every session. And when he wasn't here, his driver Georges made sure they were history. Georges was almost as scary as his boss.

What was so different about her baby that no one else could know?

3

The phone was ringing when Munir opened the door to his apartment. He hit the RECORD button on his answering machine as he snatched up the receiver and jammed it against his ear.

"Yes!"

"Pretty disappointing, Mooo-neeer," said the now familiar electronically distorted voice. "Are all you Ay-rabs such mosquito dicks?"

"I did as you asked! Just as you asked!"

"That wasn't much of a pee, Mooo-neeer."

"It was all I could do! Please let them go now."

He glanced down at the caller ID. A number had formed in the LCD window. A 212 area code, just like all the previous calls. But the seven digits following were a new combination, unlike any of the others. And when Munir called it back, he was sure it would be a public phone. Just like all the rest.

"Are they all right? Let me speak to my wife."

Munir didn't know why he said that. He knew the caller couldn't drag Barbara and Robby to a pay phone.

"She can't come to the phone right now. She's, uh… all tied up at the moment."

Munir ground his teeth as the horse laugh brayed through the phone.

"Please. I must know if she is all right."

"You'll have to take my word for it, Mooo-neeer."

"She may be dead." Allah forbid! "You may have killed her and Robby already."

"Hey. Ain't I been sendin' you pichers? Don't you like my pretty pichers?"

"No!" Munir cried, fighting a wave of nausea… those pictures-those horrible, sickening photos. "They aren't enough. You could have taken all of them at once and then killed them."

The voice on the other end lowered to a sinister, nasty growl.

"You callin' me a liar, you lousy, greasy, two-bit Ay-rab? Don't you ever doubt a word I tell you. Don't even think about doubtin' me. Or I'll show you who's alive. I'll prove your white bitch and mongrel brat are alive by sending you a new piece of them every so often. A little bit of each, every day, by Express Mail, so it's nice and fresh. You keep on doubtin' me, Mooo-neeer, and pretty soon you'll get your wife and kid back, all of them. But you'll have to figure out which part goes where. Like the model kits say: Some assembly required."

Munir bit back a scream as the caller brayed again.

"No-no. Please don't hurt them anymore. I'll do anything you want. What do you want me to do?"

"There. That's more like it. I'll let your little faux pas pass this time. A lot more generous than you'd ever be-ain't that right, Mooo-neeer. And sure as shit more generous than your Ay-rab buddies were when they killed my sister on nine/eleven."

"Yes. Yes, whatever you say. What else do you want me to do? Just tell me."

"I ain't decided yet, Mooo-neeer. I'm gonna have to think on that one. But in the meantime, I'm gonna look kindly on you and bestow your request. Yessir, I'm gonna send you proof positive that your wife and kid are still alive."

Munir's stomach plummeted. The man was insane, a monster. This couldn't be good.

"No! Please! I believe you! I believe!"

"I reckon you do, Mooo-neeer. But believin' just ain't enough sometimes, is it? I mean, you believe in Allah, don't you? Don't you?"

"Yes. Yes, of course I believe in Allah."

"And look at what you did on Friday. Just think back and meditate on what you did."

Munir hung his head in shame and said nothing.

"So you can see where I'm comin' from when I say believin' ain't enough. 'Cause if you believe, you can also have doubt. And I don't want you havin' no doubts, Mooo-neeer. I don't want you havin' the slightest twinge of doubt about how important it is for you to do exactly what I tell you. 'Cause if you start thinking it really don't matter to your bitch and little rat-faced kid, that they're probably dead already and you can tell me to shove it, that's not gonna be good for them. So I'm gonna have to prove to you just how alive and well they are."

"No!" He was going to be sick. "Please don't!"

"Just remember. You asked for proof."

Munir's voice edged toward a scream. "PLEASE!"

The line clicked and went dead.

Munir dropped the phone and buried his face in his hands. The caller was mad, crazy, brutally insane, and for some reason he hated Munir with a depth and breadth Munir found incomprehensible and profoundly horrifying. Whoever he was, he seemed capable of anything, and he had Barbara and Robby hidden away somewhere in the city.

Helplessness overwhelmed him and he broke down. Only a few sobs had escaped when he heard a pounding on his door.

"Hey. What's going on in there? Munir, you okay?"

Munir stiffened as he recognized Russ's voice. He straightened in his chair but said nothing. Monday. He'd forgotten about Russ coming over for their weekly brainstorming session. He should have called and canceled, but Russ had been the last thing on his mind. He couldn't let him know anything was wrong.

"Hey!" Russ said, banging on the door again. "I know someone's in there. You don't open up I'm gonna assume something's wrong and call the emergency squad."

The last thing Munir needed was a bunch of EMTs swarming around his apartment. The police would be with them and only Allah knew what that crazy man would do if he saw them.

He cleared his throat. "I'm all right, Russ."

"The hell you are." He rattled the doorknob. "You didn't sound all right when you screamed a moment ago and you don't sound all right now. Just open up so I can-"

The door swung open, revealing Russ Tuit-a pear-shaped guy dressed in a beat-up Starter jacket and faded jeans-looking as shocked as Munir felt.

In his haste to answer the phone, Munir had forgotten to latch the door behind him. Quickly, he wiped his eyes and rose.

"Jesus, Munir, you look like hell. What's the matter?"

"Nothing."

"Hey, don't shit me. I heard you. Sounded like someone was stepping on your soul."

"I'm okay. Really."

"Yeah, right. You in trouble? Anything I can do? Can't help you much with money, but anything else…"

Munir was touched by the offer. If only he could help. But no one could help him.

"No. It's okay."

"Is it Barbara or Robby? Something happen to-?" Munir realized it must have shown on his face. Russ stepped inside and closed the door behind him. "Hey, what's going on? Are they all right?"

"Please, Russ. I can't talk about it. And you mustn't talk about it either. Just let it be. I'm handling it."

"Is it a police thing?"

"No! Not the police! Please don't say anything to the police. I was warned"-in sickeningly graphic detail-"about going to the police."

Russ leaned back against the door and stared at him.

"Jesus… is this as bad as I think it is?"

Munir could do no more than nod.

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