With a little help from Paul Auster…
This time I start with the first sentence from City of Glass by Paul Auster.
Here we go…
It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. His wife Dorothy had thought nothing of it. The man on the line did not ask for him and so she believed it was not important. But Daniel had heard the name before. ‘Maxwell Peaks’; It stirred in him a feeling of uneasiness, it was something he had longed to forget and yet now it was staring him straight in the face. Though his wife did not know it Daniel had been placed in the Witness Protection Program almost seventeen years ago. His past now seemed to be spilling into his meticulously crafted future.
He had not dared to face up to the fact that there was a problem. Daniel tried to distract himself from going over and over the facts and yet he couldn’t. He tried to recall the voice on the on the other line. It was raspy, harsh and yet most definitely female. It was one evening a week later that he called his emergency number. Even this was written nowhere in the house, he had been ordered to learn it and never tell anyone about it. His wife was out for the night and he wanted to report it without her getting suspicious. The man on the other end of the line asked him for a code. CARTER.23.28.94. There was a click on the line and he was redirected till he heard a familiar voice, he described the event in as much detail as he could. He hadn’t heard Jonathan’s voice once in those 17 years and it was strange to hear it once again. Once Daniel was finished with his story, Jonathan spoke up. ‘Yes, I’m sorry to say that I was expecting a call from you. Our intelligence has ascertained that the man you helped us to convict has been released from prison on early parole.’ ‘Though we do not believe he has any information related to your location we have a strong sense that he intends to find you.’ Daniel, who had been drinking a glass of red wine, choked a little at these words. ‘How could this be happening after all these years’. Daniel was stunned; he felt a mixture of rage and fear. ‘Daniel, you still there?’ He reassured him he was and begged him to continue. ‘I know this may worry you but we’re going to put a tap on your phone so we can record anything that comes through. We’ll also place an agent near the house but I’m afraid there is nothing else we can do at this point. All I can say it that we’ll be watching and keeping you abreast of any developments.’ ‘And if the woman calls again, I’d ask that you keep her on the line for as along as possible. It’s the only way we’ll get a full identification.’ Daniel breathed deeply. ‘And I know this is hard but you will have to tell Dorothy. She needs to know for her own safety.’ Though all the information was difficult to hear it was this that made Daniel go cold. How would he ever tell her about his past and the things he had done.