39. Pink Espionage

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Suddenly, Simmons shook his head.

"No, I don't want anybody else to hear it."

He threw a look at me and Karim.

What? Was he joking? I was on the tips of my toes here!

 "I don't want him to find out. If he does..."

Quickly, he leant forward and whispered something in Mr Ambrose ear.

Blast the man!

I had been waiting breathlessly all this time for the solution of the mystery, and now I wasn't going to hear it? I wanted to clobber Simmons over the head with something heavy, especially when I saw Mr Ambrose's eyes lighting up in recognition.

"Him!" His hands were balled into fists again. "After all this time, him!"

For a moment, his eyes flickered to me – then they were back on Simmons.

"Well," he said, almost as if speaking to himself, "at least now we know that the file is still in England. He wouldn't dream of having to run and hide. He probably thinks himself untouchable." In a softer voice he added: "And who knows... He might be right."

Abruptly, he fixed his icy glare on Simmons. "You will not speak of this to anybody else, understand?" The threat was there, hard and cold in his voice.

Simmons's lips twitched. There was no humour about it. "Certainly not, Sir. I value my throat just as it is, without any decorative cuts or slashes in it."

"Very well."

Mr Ambrose rose and strode towards the cell door.

"What about my ticket?" Simmons called after him. "When will I be released? I want to get out of here!"

Mr Ambrose stopped. Slowly, he turned. When he was facing the cell again, both Simmons and I couldn't help but gasp. He had a knife in his hand.

"No! Please don't!" Simmons croaked. "I've done everything you asked! Please..."

"Be quiet and hold still, man!" Mr Ambrose commanded. "I nearly forgot – there's something I still need from you." With two quick steps he was back at Simmons' side and grabbed him by the hair. The knife flashed in the darkness as it shot towards Simmons' head.

And then it was over, and Mr Ambrose's hand came away, holding a lock of blond hair he had severed from Simmons' head.

"That was all."

I stared at him, incredulously. For once, Karim seemed to share my feelings. He was looking at Mr Ambrose as if he'd grown three additional heads.

Pointing to the blond lock in my employer's hand, I hissed: "What's that supposed to be? A memento?"

"In a way."

He turned away again, and said, without sparing neither me nor the ghost-white Simmons another glance:

"Somebody will be along to bring you a change of clothes soon. You can't be seen coming out of my building in the filthy rags you're in right now. The man will show you to the street and give you everything you need. Our business is concluded, Mr Simmons. Our paths will not cross again."

Without waiting for an answer, he strode out of the cell. Karim and I followed him, the former grim and silent, the latter, that is to say my good self, twitchy and curious to the point of madness.

"What did you do to him so that he'd spill the beans?" I blurted out as soon as the metal door had closed behind us. "And who was it that ordered him to spy on you? And why should anybody want to spy on you anyway?"

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