Chapter 40.

Eliza.

 

Eliza’s base of operation was Lima but she travelled everywhere keeping an eye on business. The head guardian was the head not only of the secret organization but was also at the head of legitimate businesses. Most of them were in tourism; they had hotels, small inns and car leasing businesses. Eliza had an office in Lima from where she could contact her people everywhere.

Lima is the capital of Peru, a sprawling metropolis that is chaotic and unloved. Blistering poverty is more apparent here than anywhere else as shantytowns ring the outer circle of the city. A grey cloud called the “garua” seems to cover permanently the city, obscuring the coastline and dulling the city’s appearance. It never rains in Lima and the sun comes out only between December and April. Eight million people live there and it is the seat of the national government and the headquarters of most industry. Eliza worked in the city center but lived outside the city where living was safer and better.

She lived in Barranco, a village several kilometers away from the center and probably the coolest city in Peru to live in. It is very relaxed and laid-back and Eliza liked that, especially after coming from working in the center of Lima with its pollution and lack of fresh air. Barranco is a seaside residential area but at night, it becomes a hot spot for tourists who like to dance but during the day it is languid and tropical. The name of the town means ravine and it is descriptive of its topography, with homes and restaurants around it near a cliff overlooking a sand strip. There is a walkway to the sea that runs through the town and crossing over this walkway is a bridge called the Bridge of Sighs. The town has a unique microclimate, shielded by the cliffs of Chorrillos from more colder and humid winds coming from the south. As a result, it enjoys a warmer and drier climate than the other districts of Lima, especially between May and October.

Eliza knew of Stevens arrival immediately as her numerous spies at the airport alerted her. They knew that for Stevens to come to Peru something must be afoot. Either he knew about the secret or he had found the gold cache. They knew that he had dispatched Jake Pierce and they had followed him, knowing that Pierce and Stevens were after the same thing. But to see Stevens arrive meant that something big was going to happen. But what? Eliza knew. She was the informer of Stevens and played a double game and she had done this for a very long time. It was a dangerous game for her and she knew that she risked her life by doing that. Should Gwen learn of it she knew that she would be in danger. But it is hard to say no to more money and Stevens had plenty of that to go around. She had been firm with Stevens; no physical contacts, only by phone or by mail and only be using codes. She knew that his arrival meant that the game would soon end and that some of the people involved would die.

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