The hooded silhouette handed Dmitri the file, leaving immediately, just as gracefully as he had arrived. He could have been hovering, it was so smooth. Dmitri had no idea whose name and face would be plastered over the paper that he was holding though he knew that this man was important. The thick wad of notes that the ghost had slipped in Dmitri’s pocket was testament to the high profile of the person. The target.
Dmitri headed home via the subway. The phosphorescent lights burned through his squinting eyes. The worst thing was the smell. Boy was it disgusting. A greasy tramp was splayed across the padded seats opposite, fast asleep. Dmitri was tempted to toss him out of the doors at the next stop. He resisted, just. The tramp smelt of liquor, tobacco and shattered dreams, though Dmitri told himself that he had no care for such a person. Why should he? Dmitri tried with all his willpower to resist the urge to sympathise with this man. The training had attempted to beat any sentiment into a bloody submission though one can never completely rebuke their reptilian instincts. He left £1 on the tramps forehead. He didn’t want to be too nice. Sympathy is a weakness that would only inhibit his efficiency in the current profession that he was undertaking. He departed from the carriage with a heavy step down, checking himself; left, then right. I was a habit that he had gotten used to. He strutted toward the exit gates and slipped his ticket through the machine sand squeezed through the flaps. Dmitri was a big man: 6ft5 and he weighed around 280 pounds. People would have to very stupid to even begin to think about crossing him. Though his spectacularly muscular physique couldn’t hide one thing. The thing that he was most afraid of. The thing that he resented the most about himself. His heart. It didn’t belong to a killer. It was a kind heart. And it was his greatest threat. The only thing that could come between the bullet and the recipient.
As soon as Dmitri had reached his shabby north London flat, he slumped on the sofa and flicked through programs on the television that he did not want to watch. He turned it off and placed the file on the table, caressing the smooth waxed surface of the card, being ever so gentle with it. He could not mess this up. His life would be brutally terminated by the bosses that he knew not of and heard not of. Shadowy creatures who lurked in the high heavens of society, when they belonged in hell. For Dmitri, it was easier to die trying to make a Hit than for the target to be killed by him. This was because of The Weakness. Dmitri wasn’t in the game because he wanted to be, he had no choice. He was kicked out of school at 13 – couldn’t deal with authority and was a constant pain in the arse and he had nothing better to do. But those days are gone and the memory has since faded. And they pay is pretty amazing. Dmitri gets over £20k on average per hit (for example a work colleague or alienated relative), and for the big ones (Parliamentary figures or famous people) he gets over £100k. Per hit. Next to the file on the coffee table, he placed the clump of notes and started to count them. It took a while, as there were so many though he started to get suspicious when the numbers soared passed £170,000 so he started again. But he was right all along. £230,000 in total. His mind was whirring… guessing who it could be. This would probably be the biggest hit of his life as it was certainly the largest pay that he had ever received. That being said, this meant that it was a far higher risk operation for Dmitri, and could be the last job that he takes, but that thought was not uncommon for Dmitri. He prized open the file with his fingernails and read the demand:
“You must eliminate the target so as to cause havoc in England and increase state tensions. If the hit is successful, then it is likely that a war would break out. And war is profitable for us so there will be two other men with the same objective to ensure success. There will be an open motorcade on the 22nd November, which is when you will eliminate the target. You will use the new rifle that you have been issued with and will each be 700m out. Refer to map included for exact coordinates.”
‘Dragunov 7.62’ – though Dmitri – ‘good’. He turned over the page, shaking. He was breathing heavily. He thought he knew what kind of person he was going to see. ‘High profile businessman?’ he thought. He looked at the face. He was wrong. This was much, much worse. Dmitri didn’t sleep that night.
He had about a month until the hit. The days hurtled by at an unmeasurable pace; he was often having to ask people in the street for the day and date. They gave him funny looks when he did, but Dmitri never took note. He underwent the same routine very day, and it was an understatement to say that he was hating his time on earth. He was so bored – waiting for the day – dreading it. What does an assassin do in his free time? Dmitri couldn’t even work it out for himself. As the days ticked over and he neared the set date, the nerves piled in. Thoughts of himself in front of a firing squad or with a noose around his neck haunted him and his dreams. He began to fear sleep. ‘Only a few more days until the set date now,’ thought Dmitri – 22nd November.
Dmitri carried his rifle in a small briefcase. It had been modified to collapse into a compact package, which was handy. A big Russian on a subway carrying a soviet rifle during the Cold War wouldn’t raise any suspicions at all. He followed the map to an empty flat, around 20 stories off the ground – a perfect vantage point. He looked out from the balcony, letting the cool breeze ruffle his hair and refresh his clouded mind. 700 metres, there or thereabouts to the place where the target would be when three bullets from three snipers entered their body. They would cease to live and Dmitri would slip through the policemen’s fingertips back home. Simple. He had two hours until the motorcade, and some diehard fans of the target were gathered in groups around the barriers outlining the street and the crowds only continued to grow. ‘This is ideal.’ Thought Dmitri, as he knew all about crowd mentality and the confusion in the aftermath of the attack. Some of the civilians would run towards his building, and he could sneak away with them. He wouldn’t get a second look.
He had twenty minutes until he was to end the life of the target. He glanced once again at the photograph in his hand, his eyes burning a hole straight through it. Then he realised that… maybe he didn’t have to kill the target. He really hadn’t ever had anything against the Queen… yet what would the bosses say. Not much, he thought. Words are meaningless. Bullets do the talking. His watch gave him 13 minutes ‘till showtime. He could cover the 700 metres in under 2 minutes and he could save her. The whole world was in his control. If the UK found out that the Soviet Union was behind it, World War Three would break out. The world wouldn’t survive nuclear war. Dmitri felt an odd sense of power within him. He was in control of the fate of the world, and to think the training beat him down and made him feel useless…
He gazed down his scope towards the parade, where the crowds swayed like unearthly torrents or waves. His eye grew tired and he sat back against the wall. 3 minutes. He knew where the other two snipers would fire from. He suddenly got to his feet and ran. Down the steps and out of the block in a flash. The multi-coloured shapes whizzed by. He was covering the ground fast. He had to time it perfectly so that his body would take the bullets and not the Queen’s. He had taken bullets before and he would take them again. Busses seared past and the crowds started to thicken in front of him. He was knocking people out of the way all over the place. The barrier was in touching distance… 10 seconds. He hurdled it and sprinted towards the open topped carriage, with police turning to face him, rifles pointed. He ignored their cries and flung his body over the carriage and the queen. He felt two rounds enter his chest. Then silence. Those rounds can’t have been fired by the snipers, he saw the policeman’s pistol fire. The snipers weren’t there. Somebody knew him too well.