Amid Christy’s envelope epiphany, Eva suddenly slammed on the brakes.
At that moment a black sports utility vehicle seemingly out of nowhere sped out in front of Eva’s car, its rear-end fishtailing, in a choreographed display meant to halt in-bound vehicle(s).
Eva’s efforts to brake in time, although successful, jolted and rocked the car as it careened, barely missing a crosswalk lamp standard. An obstacle that now prevented Eva’s egress from her car’s driver side.
On the passenger side, Christy watched as a shadowy figure exited the driver-side of the offending transformer-like SUV.
The stranger’s coat flowed in the early morning mist, flaglike, as he nonchalantly strolled to Christy’s side of Eva’s car. His stride was akin to what can only be described as the mythical depictions of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
The man, a tall figure, his long dark coat, and even darker sunglasses gleamed in the early morning Sun as he flashed his identification on the car window, clearly not intending for it to be examined closely.
Christy rolled down the car window.
To her surprise, the figure paused, peered over the rim of his sunglasses and said,
“British Intelligence, Mrs Pwaroon. Please come with me, Ma’am.”
Christy’s mind trotted out a stable of questions. What did any branch of Security Services want with her? What was this envelope and why were people after it? Her investigative mind decided that she might be able to seize this opportunity to corral much-needed information.
“Okay,” Christy responded, opening the car door. Before she could broach the subject of Eva’s role, the stranger added, “just you alone Ma’am.”
Christy waved her “I’m okay” signal to Eva as the stranger ushered her footsteps to the black SUV.
Christy entered the black SUV to find that two women were in the limousine-style SUV’s back seat. One woman facing the other on opposite seats. One woman spoke. The other courted silence.
The woman who spoke, identified herself as “Jane,” which Christy was quite certain was not the truth, by the smirk at the edge of her lips when she promptly provided her last name as “Doe.”
Next, to Christy’s astonishment, they arrived at University College Hospital’s Emergency Department. There, Christy was: examined for any possible concussion symptoms, served a light breakfast and released – as “Jane” hovered at every turn, clearly anxious to resume their mysterious excursion.
Feeling in better spirits, Christy thought she would probe for some answers. The SUV turtled along London city streets in the grip of morning rush hour.
Christy asked, “Why am I here, I mean, what do you want exactly?”
“Jane” staring out the car window, paused. And, after captivating an eternity of tumultuous silence, she replied –
“We wish to enlist your, er…uhm services, to assist with the envelope and or its contents. It was our people who left it on your doorstep last night. Our delivery person unfortunately, was followed by persons unknown.
Our team had been following you since you left your flat early this morning. We interrupted your attempted kidnapping. However, your associate’s arrival intercepted our plan to arrange medical assistance for you.”
“Jane” continued reluctantly. “Ketal here (as she pointed to the stranger in the dark coat, who collected Christy from Eva’s car), had been following you and your associate since those events in the alley.”
Christy asked, “So, are you taking me to someone in charge? I have questions. How does my great grand-mother, Tippence or I, connect with this envelope? What is the matter of international importance mentioned in the note.”
“Jane” paused again, uncomfortable with what seemed from her manner, a confession, rather and a briefing.
Eventually, “Jane” replied, “You are to liaise with me until this matter is resolved. Only then will you be introduced. My team and I will provide whatever equipment or assistance you require. Our experts found nothing in, or, on the envelope. But, we have it on good authority that Tippence’s great grand-daughter would be “the key” to solving the envelope or its mysteries. That is where you come in.
“But why now, why after all these years? Christy asked.
To which “Jane” replied. “We have a name, that is all.”
“And what is that name?” Christy heard her voice quiver as she uttered the question. The events of the morning had begun to take their toll.
Suddenly, for the first time, “Jane” made eye contact with the other woman in the SUV. The woman nodded.
And then, leaning over to Christy, “Jane” whispered, “Leonardo Da Vinci.”
****To be continued in Parts 4 and 5