- Prologue -
You got them on a flight of stairs.
Zurich couldn't have planned it better. They followed behind them up the stairwell, talking quietly like they were no-one in the world.
You heard them coming, heard Hassam's cough. So you opened the door, stood in the way.
There's two, not the one that you planned, but it's too late now. Hassam acts, and you obey.
It takes you less then a second to realise that your division of labour should have been thought through better; Zurich and Hassam take the male down in seconds. They assumed your bulk and the advantage of height would be enough.
When her fingernails nearly take out your eye, you think perhaps this was wrong.
Hassam is quick; he grabs her from behind, slams her into a wall. She staggers, and there is blood. Zurich gets her with a taser.
She falls, tremors.
Her fingers are still wrapped tight around the knife. You look down at your side, to the pencil thin gash on your skin. A second later, she would have ripped out your organs to fall upon the stair.
You never even felt it.
There is little time.
You lift the man; he is floppy deadweight, so it's difficult to cover him in the black plastic Zurich unravels from his pocket. He's convinced the three of you will be able to sneak them out looking like garbage.
You're not sure; there's an obvious head loll and the cavities of eyes to your garbage bag. You feel stupid when you carry them out; months of planning, and it's so obvious as to what you're carrying. You may as well not have bothered. It's morning; no one's up yet. Your arms ache, and Zurich is breathing in snorts. You have to help him roll the woman in.
Hassam sees this, gives Zurich that look. Flat eyes, curling lips.
Zurich goes stiff beside you, and before the doors are rolled shut he's gone white.
You strip them of weapons, then hulk down as Hassam drives. You bind them both by the hands, then after discussion Zurich binds the woman's wrists, elbows and knees.
He's taking no chances.
You watch as they wake up.
The man first. His eyes pop open, like someone flicked a switch. His eyes train over Hassam, Zurich. Focus on you, clouded with blank confusion.
The woman gives a whispery moan, shudders.
Hassam drags them both to their knees. He picks the man because the woman's head is drooping; her face is white, blood worming down to drip from her chin. He kneels down in front, tells him what to recite. No paper; they don't want to look unprofessional.
Hassam laughed in Zurich's face, when Zurich told him to do that.
You feel slightly stupid, standing like this behind them. The gun is too heavy. Hassam moves away, turns on the camera.
The man doesn't sound scared. More dazed then anything; like he's sure he's about to wake up at any second, so may as well go along for the ride.
Hassam watches the recording they've made, and he frowns.
Watches it again.
You all practically hear the American swallow.
You glance down, and he's looking pale. The woman is staring at him sidelong as if to say: "What have you done?"
Hassam has found what he is looking for. He nods, just once. A sort of jerk up and to the left, like a nervous tick. You see it and step away quickly because you know what that means and you don't dare get in his way. Zurich sees it too; he isn't scared of Hassam like you are, but he hesitates all the same.
Enough time for Hassam to step forward, grab the American's hand and smash it with the butt of the gun.
You shut your eyes at the soft crunch. Then they're screaming in that harsh American, and you want to cover your ears.
You have to re-film it. The American is clutching his hand, and his voice shakes. Halfway through, the woman takes over because he looks like he's about to pass out.
Behind the camera, you see Hassam watch her. She's heard it once, when the American read it through the first time, and she's remembered perfectly.
He's watching her.
Zurich approves, sends it off. You and Hassam take them both, drag them into a cupboard beneath the basement stairs. The man is still clutching his hand, but the dazed expression is gone.
The media will love this, Zurich says.
The boy is American, fresh faced. And the woman is beautiful, that will gain sympathy. But most importantly, she is daughter to one of the most powerful men in Israel.
The sight of them both on bended knees in front of you will make the world boil.
It helps that the camera is clear, you think; the people can see the broken fingers, the twin pairs of eyes and the way she moved her hand to touch his side when he couldn't go on.
In sixty seconds of film, the world adores them for their tragedy.
Not even Zurich could have planned that.