Chapter One..The Beginning:
She stood there looking down from the outside rail and wondered how people find the courage
to actually jump from this height. It would be wonderful to float down trailing scarves and skirts like a falling leaf.
Momentarily she thought of Tom, and what her life could have been, and what she had now sitting
in the room behind her.
Her secretary typed remorselessly transcribing the words she had spoken for the last time,
before climbing up here, to see what somewhere higher than her office looked like.
The office was situated in the highest building Sydney had to offer, and it overlooked the
Harbor and the Ferry which was a constant delight, as she could watch for his arrival every Thursday, and run down to meet
him as he entered the apartment just one floor below.
It was all set up so they could be lovers once more, after all these years. The other offices
around the world had similar setups so he could meet with her whenever she chose. It took some organising, but Marilee could
organise anything. She had waited a long time for this day, and now she was going to make sure it was perfect.
Her bright eyes flashed as she remembered last Thursday.
(Mallee) In the early hours of that morning, she
vaguely remember that the place she was at, had no hot water, and the pipes rattled when the water was turned on. As soon
as the cold water hit her face, she gasped, and then she realized that she did not know where she was.
(Pen) That was the day she'd first spotted them, or to
be exact, thought she recognized his distinctive brown head bobbing in the mill of the crowd. She had glanced at her costly
jeweled watch just to assure herself of the time and like an amateur pick-pocket or thief- followed him.
was straight forward and he seemed oblivious of her shadowing his steps. But, to insure her invisibility, she had stopped
and made a show of studying several of the shops windows, while still keeping him in her rear vision. It was a trick she'd
learned from watching those grainy black and white detective videos he was so fond of. Who would think they would come in
Several times she almost came close to calling his name, just to see his look of surprise. But, for some unknown
reason, she hadn't. Now, looking back, she knew why. Back then, she'd convinced herself it was just a silly and harmless game.
Sure, with herself the loser...
Finally, he arrived, entered and took a seat, sliding into the far booth of a favorite
restaurant they had eaten at several occasions. She ducked her head as the owner approached in her direction but he ignored
her, turned and walked toward the back. He stopped at Tom's table.
She stood on the busy sidewalk and peered into
the darkened eatery. Tom had nodded a reply. His mouth formed some words, but from her location outside, she couldn't understand
their meaning. But, the owner comprehended and much to her amazement made motions to the waiters to set another place setting.
Who, she wondered was Tom meeting for lunch? And why the clandestine location and secrecy?
(Frank) To Marilee's surprise her view to Tom was suddenly blocked. Crowds of
people gathered to surround the spot where Tom was. In the huddle of the masses she'd lost sight of Tom.
not move towards the crowd after all she'd shadowed him and did not yet want to give herself away. While watching suddenly
out of the crowd a messenger pushed herself through and rode off on a bike. It struck Marilee funny that someone was leaving
when the crowd itself all rushed in.
While this happened Marilee leaned back with the sudden thought that Tom was
not ok. Little to her knowledge where she leaned back was at an easy bank teller machine and this was to cause her problems
As she tried to gather these strange feelings that were suddenly coming over her the wail of sirens slowly sounded
in her mind.
(Musi) As the sirens grew louder, Merilee watched
for the emergency vehicles to appear. Judging by the amount of wailing, there must be several approaching. She soon saw them
in the twilight, their flashing beacons casting a blue hue across the scene below. They were police cars, several of them,
and they were moving fast, in pursuit of mething. At first she could see nothing of their quarry but as they came closer she
could make out a speeding black Porsche. It was at the head of the melee, obviously attempting a high speed getaway, for reasons
Merilee was unable to iscern
from her lofty perch.
She watched the unfolding drama below, with a detached fascination,
bred of knowing that she was safe on a roof, fifty-one stories above the danger in the street.
To her left she could see
the chase unfolding, five police cars and one insanely driven Porsche, rocketing towards the square. To her right, around
the corner of the building,she could see her lover, Tom, casually signing autographs for his adoring fans.
she realized that although she was in no danger, Tom may very well be in mortal danger. If the Porche turned to the right,
when it reached the square, Tom and a
hundred or more fans, all caught up in the euphoria of the moment, would be directly
in it’s path.
There was no time to warn them. If she used her cell phone the car would be either into the crowd,
or safely around the corner in the other direction, before the call reached Tom. She could scream, but there was no chance
that she would be heard above the din of a hundred fans grappling for an autograph and a peek at one of the
She did the only thing she could think of . She grabbed the bank machine she was leaning against and pushed
it as hard as she could, toward the edge of the roof. It
took every ounce of strength she possessed, but finally the machine
broke free of it’s restraints and began to tumble over the edge of the building. Too late Merilee realized
the wind had wound her scarf around the machine as she leaned there.
Before she could react she was pulled off the
roof. As she followed the bank machine toward the ground, her life flashed before her eyes, but today was not
day to die.
As she fell downward. The shock of her situation overwhelmed her. She passed out in fear.
As the machine fell, the speed and the wind unwound the shorter end wrapped now just once around her neck. Within a second
or two the scarf no longer was wrapped around her neck like the death grip of a starving python. Her body was free, her mind
Gretchen, one of Tom's covert body guards has scanned the scene and habitually looked up to survey the
buildings around the square. It was at this precise moment that the scarf flapped in the air free from Marilee's neck. Gratchen
military trained eyes immediately focused on the abnormal flash of color and motion high up.
She reacted quickly and
instinctively. She took steps forward and shouted a warning. People were looking at her dazedly, the way deer watch the oncoming
headlights of a speeding car. She was pointing upward. Precious seconds ticked by. Finally people were screaming running,
pouring away from the impending crash of the cash machine falling, with a womans body twisting and tumbling just behind it.
It was then that Gretchen heard the rushing sirens.
This momentary reprise threw her into a state of zen moment like the archer becoming the bullseye and
she saw the bigger picture. In the fraction of a second a plan developed that gave her one small hint of hope. It was slight,
and it meant calling upon skills learned as a little girl doing gymnastics many years before. She had been good, very good
but lost the dream because of the time and work involved.
Gratchen too was skilled at taking advantage of the moment
with quick assesment. She saw order
in the twisting and tumbling of the womans body knowing there was purpose behind the
motion. The sound of sirens brought with it another problem. A problem her friend and employer could not now confront. She
knew Tom's purpose for being there this day and what he had just obtained.
Tom too had quickly glanced at the falling
body, but the item just received had history and danger surrounding i,t and what was happening would seem minor to the problems
this would bring if not dealt with wisely, and with candor
All was in action and energy exploded with the crashing
of the teller machine,
(Carol) as Marilee, now almost unconsious from fear,was in a trance,
and another world arose in her. She remembered his touch, his smell, his face and eyes.She could not move, but felt movement-she
understood-now what she had with Tom, a love, maybe a major lust or a infaturation, that can take hold and bring a rational
woman to the end of rationality. She was feeling free at last and.........
(Baby) because of that feeling in her heart and soul her eyes began to open
slowly, around her she could feel the air hiting her body, trying to breath was not easy considering her fear and the pressure
in her lungs as she falls closer to her lover floors below her. Giving up on this love is not an option so...
Now, tumbling in a controlled motion, Merilee managed to loosen the belt from the cape she was wearing.
She quickly grabbed one bottom edge with her other hand, and as her belt came free, she caught the other corner in her free
hand. It took all of her strength to hold on to the cape, as it filled with the crisp cold air. It wasn't much but she hoped
it would be enough.
She slowed, ever so slightly , her cape acting as a sort of makeshift parachute. She knew it wasn't
enough to save her from injury, but maybe, just maybe it would be enough to save her life.
Time continued to move
slowly, as the ground seemed to move towards her. At the last possible instant, Merilee let go of the cape, tucked her body
into a ball and pulled her head into her arms. She hit the ground hard, but she hit it rolling. The wind was knocked out of
her by the impact, as her elbows were driven into her solar plexus.
Somehow she managed to stay concious and to hold her position until she came to a stop against a strong
masculine pair of legs.
Quickly Marilee's body went completely limp with unconsciousness.
High above the crowd and inside the office the sirens
were barely audible, but Marilee's secretary, Kathi, knew by the sound of so many of them that something terrible had happened.
She jumped up suddenly forgetting all about her typing duties and ran outside onto the balcony. She had never in her life
heard so many sirens at once and so much screaming and hollering. Looking down she saw the crowd and what looked to her like
a red metal box of some kind all broken up like it had fallen a great distance. Then she noticed a woman's blue shoe that
really looked too familiar to her stuck just below her on a small ledge against the building, and a small piece of what looked
to be a small scrap of blue floral fabric.
Kathi let out a blood curdling scream and gasped, "Oh, my God! Marilee, Marilee!"
With that she nervously went back into the office barely getting inside the door before she collapsed into a deep faint.
(Musi) Sensing danger, as only a trained professional can, Gretchen felt the small hairs on the back of her neck
tingling. She couldn’t explain it . . . God knows she’d tried a hundred times, in a hundred different ways, to
a hundred different people. The best description she could give, and it was sorely inadequate, was, “I just feel it.”
Feel it she did and she sprang into action. She didn’t look around for the danger, but rushed, instead to her charge,
Tom, still surrounded by adoring fans. He was her first and only concern.
Jostling and shoving, his devotees were
oblivious to even the shrill sirens cutting through the early morning quiet, like a hot knife through butter. One thread of
conscious thought linked the entire crowd together. That was getting closer to their idol. All that concerned them was the
chance to get a glimpse, a touch, an autograph or even, did they dare to hope, a word of acknowledgment from Tom Thompson.
Gretchen was at Tom’s side almost as before the conscious realization of danger had dawned on her. That was
what made such a great bodyguard, her instincts were never wrong. Grabbing his arm she pulled the super star sideways, scattering
his fans in the process, clearing a path to safety with a wave of her nine-millimeter pistol. She would never dream of firing
it in a crowd like this, even if meant failure to protect her client, but nobody new that, not even Tom.
the heck,” blurted Tom, as he was violently wrenched sideways?
Gretchen didn’t answer. She was pulling
him to the ground, shielding his body with hers, swinging the pistol in a wide arc, like a horizontal pendulum, to ward off
the fans now beginning to react to this affront on their beloved icon. Then all hell broke loose.
The automated teller
crashed to the ground, crushing a spectator beneath its bulk, scattering plastic and metal shards of shrapnel through the
crowd. Every eye now turned skyward, to see woman plummeting earthward, beneath, what one woman would later describe, as a
less than adequate tiny blue parachute, of sorts, slowing her descent slightly. Slightly being the key word. As quickly as
it had spread upon seeing Gretchen’s gun, the crowd made room for her landing.
Everyone heard the sirens now.
People scattered in all directions as the black Porsche careened around the corner. It was going much too fast for even a
sports car to negotiate such a turn safely. It skidded sideways into the square. The driver either didn’t care who got
injured, or was too occupied with a get-away to even notice the severity of the situation. These innocent bystanders were
in mortal danger, but so was the driver. As the car pitched perilously into a sidelong skid something on the concrete pavement
caught the edge of a tire and the momentum of the speeding Porsche suddenly sifted from forward to sideways flipping it sidelong
at the crowd.
Three people were crushed beneath the huge, metal projectile plummeting across the ground, before it
became air born. At the same instant as the car took flight, Merilee landed, crossing paths with the Porsche, she on the ground,
the car in the air.
Merilee hit the ground rolling. The crowd parted, like the red sea giving her a clear runway.
None of the onlookers knew where to look first. At the black car now sailing and spinning through the air above their heads,
or at the blue and white mass that appeared human, tumbling across the hard concrete.
She rolled perhaps twenty feet,
before stopping against Tom’s legs. Bruised and scratched, her left arm hanging limp at her side, she managed to, painfully,
uncurl herself from the fetal position that had likely saved her life.
Looking into his eyes, grateful to be alive,
Merilee’s mind worked to form some words of explanation for her secret lover, as to why she had fallen from the sky,
to land at his feet, in front of several hundred onlookers, but she could only manage the tiniest hint of a smile before she
In less than a heartbeat it was all over. Merilee lay beside Tom on the ground. The Porsche was propped
against a nearby building, half upside down. Four dead bodies, broken bits of glass, twisted pieces of the Porsche and the
remains of an instant teller littered the square. Stunned bystanders stood staring at the destruction surrounding them, each
thinking, I’m glad I didn’t die today. Police cars screeched to a halt, spewing uniformed officers into the square.
The policemen quickly took charge of the situation, clearing the spectators from around both Merilee, and the Porsche.
the blue tinted half light, Tom looked down at Merilee, unconscious and obviously in need of medical attention. He looked
at the wall where the black Porsche leaned precariously, the left-hand door bent completely back on its hinges. He looked
at the dead bodies laying broken on the pavement where they had fallen, and the pile of debris, barely recognizable as a bank
machine. He looked at Gretchen getting slowly to her feet, sliding her gun back in its secret holster.
For the second
time, Tom exclaimed, this time to no one in particular, “What the heck?”