Chapter One - On the Run

. . . Day broke and her flight began with a phone call.
. . . Magda heard the phone ring softly but just twice - long enough to kick on the answering machine’s male voice.
. . . “Hello. Thanks for calling. You have reached 212-656-9099. Please leave a message after the tone.”
. . . After the tone, Magda heard a long pause on the other end and the sound of breathing. She wondered if they would hang up without speaking.
. . . She had always screened her calls. A simple matter of prudence.
. . . A hoarse voice began speaking and she imagined a handkerchief held over the mouth piece.
. . . “Miss Mirage, we need to meet with you . . . “
. . . “Mirage” had been her deceased husband’s name but she kept it after his passing.

. . . As soon as the caller finished leaving his message, Magda was up and rummaging through a back closet. It was time to clear out. Suspicions. A vague sense of foreboding. These twinges of the past few days were suddenly confirmed.
. . . It wasn’t a matter of paranoia after all. She was sure she had been tailed for several days. Subtle. Skillful. A team operation. One man ducking away. Another picking up the trail. Then a third.
. . . She threw on a battered trench coat left behind several years earlier by a housekeeper whose name she could no longer recall. The woman had been taller and wider than Magda, so this coat hung like a tent.
. . . She checked herself in the hall mirror. Perfect. No style at all.
. . .

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