Prologue – A Bad Sniper

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crossofbethlehemfrontThe text of this page has been adapted from The Cross of Bethlehem

Jinghong, China – December 1, 2003

On that chilly morning, I woke up early and began brewing coffee after having slept my first full night in a bed since fleeing Vientiane. Holding the window frame with my left hand, I opened the double curtain with the other one, both stretching my body and checking the weather in a single movement. After a night in this dark hotel room, the bright sunlight forced me to squint and look down. The red spot advancing from my belly upwards was hard to miss. A laser microphone was improbable. Its beam wouldn’t be moving.

Instinctively, I bent my knees, left hand flat on the floor, once again becoming the Israeli soldier who had endlessly practiced that move in my former life. My legs stretched backwards as, lightning fast, I dropped to the carpet and lay prone; my right hand still holding the curtain, cast it back over the window. A second later, I heard a swish and the only light penetrating the room was from a bullet hole in the curtain.

Quickly, I grabbed my things and left the hotel. Then, to avoid the attention of the crowd, I walked into the brisk morning air of Jinghong as if I had all the time in the world. The Israeli secret police had found me.

I was being hunted by my own kin.