Preview from Chapter One
“Wahad, code name for ‘the first,’ slipped into the building, past the guard sleeping in front of the bank of four gray elevator doors. Despite the weeks of careful training, Wahad’s heart raced. The first kill was always the toughest. The guard shifted position, his regular breathing briefly suspended, and Wahad tensed. The BW’s instructions did not include killing the guard, but being seen going in or out of the building was not an option. Wahad reached deep into a large pocket of the black unisex army trousers and took out the stainless steel Bard Parker scalpel. The #10 razor-sharp blade was capped but already in place for the surgery later. The guard started to raise his head from the desk, eyes blinking rapidly to adjust to the light. Wahad pounced, one hand grabbing the guard’s hair to pull his head back, and with a quick slash it was all over. Messy but finished.
Wahad unfolded the floor plan and walked quickly to the corner office. Inside, Karen Driver hunched over her computer, her back to the door. Wahad crouched, sitting back on shoe heels, took out the .38 hand gun and tried the door.
Karen stopped typing at the creaking noise and Wahad ducked out of sight just before she swiveled around. She rose and went to the door, opened it and peered outside. “Anybody there?” she called tentatively into the dark hall, shrugged her shoulders and returned to the computer. Wahad moved back into position and decided to shoot through the window. Charging into the room would certainly make her spin around and probably force a chest shot, which was unacceptable. She had to die by a head shot, clean.
Suddenly the phone rang and Karen leaned far left to reach the receiver. The angle now made the head shot risky because the bullet, not hitting the window straight on, could ricochet off line. “Yes, Kenneth, I’m still working,” Wahad heard through the thin door. “Pretty soon. Another twenty minutes or so.” She paused, listening. I miss them too. Did they eat all their dinner? I’ll stop for Chinese on the way home. Hot and sour soup, pot stickers, and chicken chow mein, as usual? We’ll have a quiet dinner together once they’re asleep. Love you too. Bye.”
The conversation lingered in Wahad’s mind. A waiting family marginally undermined the moment’s anonymity, but Wahad easily fended off the sentiment, slipped a finger through the trigger guard, aimed and slowly squeezed, thinking of the trigger on Windex. A fraction of a second after the soft pop, Karen slumped forward. Wahad picked up the bullet casing, entered the unlocked office and began the surgical procedure. Number one was completed. Nine hundred ninety-nine to go.”