Liz had been sitting in the coffee house, directly opposite the Thames building for forty minutes, hoping that her eagle-eye attention would achieve the desired effect. A glass of coke still untouched sat beside her.
The elegance of the place usually brought in the suits, but as it wasn’t yet lunchtime most of the workers were still in their offices. The ones that were inside sipping coffees paid no attention to her as she sat staring out of the large window.
The building was appealing with Italian architecture, but nothing that would stay a person’s attention for so long. What held Liz’s interest was who was coming in and out of the building. She noted in a small pad the body language and attitude of each visitor, with specific attention given to what they carried. Two men who exited the building together but walked off in separate directions caught Liz’s attention. She jotted down her thoughts and justification. Liz wrote. 1. Leaving MI5 headquarters – in casual dress? 2. Serious looks - trouble? 3. Identification and destination?
What she needed were photographs. However, that would make it obvious and she didn’t want to look like she was trying too hard.
Her phone rang right on cue. She answered the call with one word, listening carefully to the one-sided conversation. Keeping her eyes on the building a serious expression on her face she nodded at appropriate times, making sure what she did say was relevant, and easy to lip read. She closed the phone after three minutes.
Liz wasn’t sure whether they would be able to trace where the call originated. She wasn’t certain just how far their resources stretched. Deciding she wasn’t waiting to find out, she gathered up her things and carelessly threw some change on the table. Two of the coins rolled off and landed on the floor, the sound of spinning metal seemed to echo through the room. Not wanting to waste time picking up the money, she walked away and exited the coffee house.
She had an inkling of what might happen next; she’d been visualizing the scenario for weeks; psyching herself up for the actual moment. Nevertheless, the reality of the situation was very different. It was terrifying.
As soon as she saw the black Sedan, she knew they were coming for her. The huge car with shaded windows came around the corner with tyres screeching and drove on to the curb cutting off her path. Liz stepped back in fear. She knew she was in over her head.
Liz watched far too much TV, in particular crime thrillers such as CSI, The Bill, and her favourite, Spooks.
Spooks had become an obsession that had now gotten completely out of hand. Rather than recording the episodes, she would make sure she was always at home sitting beside the TV, note pad in hand, anticipating the next instalment. Printouts of her online research sat beside the computer monitor as did a job application to work for MI5. Not that she was serious about applying. It was just an idea that lingered in the back of her mind and she was interested to know what qualifications someone would need for a position in the Secret Service.
However, that still wasn’t enough. As soon as the DVD’s came out she was first in line to buy them. Liz had seen each episode a dozen times, noting the actor’s approach in diverse situations, the resources of MI5, and how the interrogations played out. Something was thrilling about the danger the characters faced, the secrecy behind their double lives and Liz wanted to know how realistic the program was. To see if Tom, the sexy main spy in Spooks, really existed. MI5’s website denied participating in underhand interrogations/investigations. Yet the TV portrayed quite the opposite. Who was she to believe?
It started as a game. A test; proof, that Spooks portrayed the Secret Service convincingly. Would MI5 notice a person paying too much attention to their headquarters? Would they react, how would they react, and how anxious and curious would they become?
It was a game, and although she had hoped and visualized how it would play out, she never truly believed that they would bring her in. So intent to play out the experiment, she never thought about the “what if” scenario.
Now, sitting in the back of the black Sedan with two dark-suited men either side of her, her imagination played overtime. It happened so quickly she didn’t have time to react or call out. One minute she was walking down the road, the next, they had snatched her bag and bundled her into the car.
How serious were they going to take her? Would they just ask her questions or were they going to interrogate her? Was she in serious trouble? Placing both hands on her lap, she squeezed them tightly to stop them from shaking.
Sitting, silently in the back while the car did a U-turn and entered the gated Thames building, Liz wondered whether to play dumb or to start asking questions, or own up and start pleading for them to let her go. On the other hand, she was about to step foot into MI5’s headquarters and maybe even meet some real-life agents. It was exciting in a scary way.
Liz remained calm and silent as the car drove underground and parked in a dark, secluded garage. The man sitting left to her grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the car, and started dragging her towards a white aluminium door. It wasn’t until the second man took out a pair of handcuffs from his jacket pocket that Liz reacted.
The driver had disappeared through another door leaving two agents to deal with an agitated and surprisingly violent woman. Liz knew how to defend herself and used her skills on the men when they tried to restrain her. The situation was too frightening, and she didn’t want to be there. She had to get away. Although the agents defended themselves, they couldn’t restrain her.
Using chopping motions with her hands, she stopped the men from grabbing hold of her. However, when she elbowed one of the men in his gut, winding him, and then finished off with a smash to his nose, the men had had enough.
Bringing the flat of his hand down on the back of her neck, the unharmed man knocked her out.