A/N : Wow… Can’t believe this one has come so far. LOL That three weeks away certainly helped – plenty of time to think about and work through the plot. I can’t honestly say I know how much more of this there is to go in terms of chapters, but I feel satisfied with what has eventuated. Hope everyone who has been following the story feels the same way.

“Do I need to say it?” Deakins asked once Graham had gone. Goren groaned faintly from where he lay on the floor.

“Please don’t.”

Eames glowered up at Deakins, though there was no real rancour in her expression.

“What were we supposed to do, Captain? Let him kill you? You know we couldn’t let that happen… no matter what he threatened.”

Deakins sighed a little. He wanted to argue, but he couldn’t. He suspected that, had their roles been reversed, he probably would have done exactly the same thing.

“Bobby?” he asked quietly, looking across at Goren. “How bad is it?”

There was a long moment of silence, and then Goren answered, his voice barely audible.

“It’s broken again,” he whispered shakily. “Don’t… Don’t know how bad it is.”

Deakins shut his eyes, and had to fight an urge to groan. Dr Evans had warned them all in no uncertain terms that the risk of permanent damage was high if Goren were to sustain any other serious injuries to that leg, and the bottom line was that if Goren were to be left crippled, it would effectively end his career as a cop. That was, assuming they got out of this situation alive.

“Alex…? What on earth are you doing?”

Deakins opened his eyes at Jack’s startled question. Where she sat on the floor, Eames was wriggling furiously, grunting with the effort of whatever it was she was trying to do. She didn’t answer Jack, not immediately, but Goren did.

“You… You don’t think we’d walk… into a… a situation like this and give… give ourselves up without a… a backup plan?”

“Don’t talk,” Eames ordered him breathlessly. “Save your strength.”

A moment later, she gasped in pain as she finally succeeded in wriggling free of her bindings. Giving her wrists a quick rub, she then reached down and rolled up the left leg of her pants, revealing a sheathed knife that was strapped to her calf.

“Alex, how…?” Deakins asked tentatively as she sliced quickly through the ropes that bound Goren’s wrists, and then Jack’s. She was then behind him, cutting him free as well. She spoke in a low, urgent voice as she freed him.

“After you disappeared earlier this afternoon, Mullett asked Jack to take us back to CID to go through our notes to see if we could find any clue about where Graham might have taken you. We asked Jack to stop at his place on the way there so we could grab some notes that we’d left there.”

“Except, it wasn’t notes you collected, was it?” Jack asked. Eames shook her head as she hurried back to Goren’s side after freeing Deakins.

“We thought something like this might happen. We’d talked about it before we even left the US,” she explained. “So we planned ahead. It’s not quite how we thought it would happen, but when we realised what had happened to you, we knew Graham was going to try and use you to trap us as well. So we decided to be ready.”

Deakins walked over to the side of the room, and picked up Goren’s gun and ammunition clip.

“He’s not the brightest criminal we’ve ever dealt with. Anyone with half a brain would have taken these with them.”

“Captain, could you grab Bobby’s leg brace?” Eames asked. Deakins complied, and took the brace over to Eames, who fitted it carefully back on to Goren’s leg. The detective cried out through clenched teeth at the immense pain.

“Sorry,” Eames whispered, fighting back tears of her own. Deakins reached over, then, gently catching hold of her left wrist. The flesh was rubbed raw to the point of abrasion where she’d twisted her way out of the ropes that had bound her. She took her hand back from him.

“It’s okay. Just something else we’d planned for. We’ve both had plenty of practise getting out of a lot of different types of binds.”

Deakins blinked, astonished. “You… You tied each other up to practise getting loose?”

“Not just for that,” Eames murmured as she examined the arrow embedded in her partner’s shoulder. “We did it so we wouldn’t freeze up if it ever happened again.”

“You two never cease to amaze me,” Deakins murmured.

“Sorry to interrupt, but what are we going to do about that?” Jack asked, indicating the arrow.

“It has to come out,” Eames said firmly. “Help me… We have to get him sitting up.”

Between Jack and Deakins, they managed to help Goren to sit up, giving them a clear view of the injury.

“Is it…?” Goren started to ask, only to trail off, his breath escaping him in a soft whistle.

“It’s gone through the other side,” Eames confirmed. “I’m going to have to push it from this side, though. It looks like it’s gone through the bone.”

“Alex, you don’t have to,” Deakins told her quietly. “I’ll do it.”

She regarded him grimly. “It’s okay, sir, I’ll do it. I’ve… I’ve done it before.” She looked back to Goren, not giving Deakins a chance to question her further. “Bobby, you know how badly this is going to hurt, but you have to stay awake. Do you think you can do that?”

He looked up at her, his brown eyes filled with a kind of pain that both detectives had hoped and prayed they would never again experience.

“Just do it,” he whispered.

Eames never hesitated, and didn’t give so much as a warning to any of them. She almost lunged forward, pushing her full weight against the arrow shaft. Goren went rigid, a strangled scream tearing from his lips as the arrow slid through his shoulder. Deakins grasped it as Eames pushed, and pulled it all the way through and out the other side, pressing his hand hard against the wound while Eames compressed it from the other side with a handkerchief she’d pulled from Goren’s jacket pocket.

“It’ll be okay,” Goren whispered after a minute of struggling to regain his composure. Jack winced.

“I’m not sure I’d like to know what you think isn’t okay.”

Goren sucked in a long, hissing breath.

“Graham didn’t want to kill me with that shot… Just immobilise me.”

“He’s right,” Deakins agreed when Jack still looked sceptical. “It’s a clean through and through… as long as we can get medical attention for him fairly soon, it’s not a serious wound. He’s got more to be worried about with his leg.”

“Jack, here,” Eames murmured, directing Jack to hold the handkerchief in place. “Hold this here… Press hard, that’s it.”

While Jack held the compress, Eames hurried over and collected her own gun.

“He’s got something planned,” Goren whispered, struggling to keep his thoughts lucid. “Some sort of showdown. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have left the guns there. He’s insane, not stupid.”

“Regardless of whether that’s true,” Jack said, “I think it’s safe to say we have the advantage now. I mean, guns against bows and arrows…?”

“In a trick house that we aren’t familiar,” Goren added breathlessly. “Even if Graham didn’t want us to free ourselves, he’ll have devised a backup plan.”

“I suppose we could always stay here, wait for him to come back, and shoot him then,” Eames suggested without much hope. Deakins looked grim.

“This might be a clean wound, but he could still bleed out. We have to get out of here as quickly as possible, Alex.”

“I think there’s only one way we can do this,” Jack suggested. “I’ll help Bobby, and the two of you keep a lookout with the guns.”

Deakins nodded his agreement, and then looked at Eames.

“Is that all right by you, Alex?”

Eames looked reluctant, thinking of the long dark tunnel leading back to the house.

“The phrase ‘sitting duck’ comes to mind. We have no way of knowing whether Graham is just sitting at the other end of that tunnel, waiting for us to come back out.”

Deakins sighed.

“We have two choices. We go, or we stay. We’d have the tactical advantage if we stay, but Bobby needs medical attention now. If we go, we run the risk that Graham will be ready for that, and we have to hope that one of us will get a shot off before he can.”

“There might be another choice.”

Deakins and Eames looked questioningly at Jack. He looked back at them intently.

“Do any of you feel that?”

“Feel what…?” Deakins wondered, but Eames realised quickly what Jack was talking about.

“A breeze… Where’s it coming from?”

She and Jack began searching the dark room in earnest, knocking on the wooden walls, looking for any sign of a hidden door. Jack soon found what they were looking for when he banged on one section of wall, the action causing a hollow sound. Frowning, Jack leaned his weight against the panel, and there was a loud click in response and the wall pushed open to reveal wooden steps leading upwards.

“I don’t believe this,” Deakins muttered as he looked from where he still knelt beside Goren. “I feel like I’m trapped in a carnival house of horrors.”

“Not trapped anymore,” Eames said as she looked up the flight of steps. “There’s light up there.”

Jack hurried over, and between him and Deakins they managed to get Goren to his feet.

“All right,” Jack said grimly. “Let’s get out of the funhouse.”

They reached the top of the steps and passed through a narrow tunnel into a small, open cave. From there, they emerged into dimming daylight in the middle of what appeared to be some sort of forest, Deakins and Jack on either side of Goren to help support him.

“Denton Woods,” Jack said as they paused to look around. “We’ve come out into Denton Woods.”

“Do you know where in the woods we are?” Deakins asked. Jack frowned a little.

“I’m afraid not. I’m not all that familiar with the territory.”

Goren lifted his left arm a little, and pointed behind them.

“Graham’s house is that way. North.”

“Are you saying we should go back towards him?” Deakins asked incredulously. Goren shook his head and pointed in a different direction.

“No… We need to head… west… That way… Back towards Denton.”

“Graham’s house was about five miles out,” Jack said. “I’d say we have at least that distance to walk, if not further.” He looked at Goren critically. “Can you make it that far? Because I could try to get to my car...”

Goren shook his head.

“Can't go back to the house… And we can't split up...”

“Bobby's right,” Eames said grimly. “We have to stay together.”

“Well,” Deakins mused as they started back in the direction of the town, “there’s always the chance that Graham was waiting for us to get loose, and head back to the house. With any luck, by the time he works out where we’ve gone to, we’ll have a good head start on him.”

“Was it anything like this when Erik Mathers was after you?” Jack asked ruefully. Eames favoured him with a haunted stare.

“No. Not yet, anyway.”

David Graham hurried down the stairs, back through the house towards the hallway that led to the basement. In one hand he held a quiver full of long, thick-shafted arrows, and in the other he clasped an exquisitely-made long bow, similar to the one which hung in his office at the university. It was with this particular bow that he had permanently silenced Amon Bohen, and it was with this bow that he planned to finish the job that his youngest son had started nearly six months ago with Detective Robert Goren and Detective Alexandra Eames.

He hadn’t quite decided yet whether he would let James Deakins live or not, but the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea of burying one his arrows deep in Deakins’ skull. He knew he had to decide fast, but whatever he chose, he desperately wanted it to be a decision that he wouldn’t regret later on if, in fact, he himself survived.

With Goren and Eames, it was purely business. But with Deakins, it was personal.

A cruel smile lit up his face. He could always let him live, but as a cripple… An arrow to the right spot, and the man would never walk again.

Graham felt a surge of excitement through his body, almost powerful enough to cause an erection. That was what he was going to do to the bastard cop that had murdered his son. He’d cripple him, and then force him to watch while he killed Eames, and then Goren, in that specific order. Let Deakins live out his days as a cripple who, in the end, was helpless to stop his precious detectives from being brutally killed…

And brutal it would be. Graham planned on re-enacting each and every one of the detectives’ wounds that had been inflicted on them by Erik, from arrow wounds to broken bones, and then he would impale Detective Eames on an arrow, and watch the life drain from her pretty brown eyes. Then, when she was dead – there would be no mistake about that this time – when she was dead, he would take huge pleasure in breaking every bone in Detective Goren’s body that he possibly could. And then, he would do what his son had told him he was planning to do – he would put an arrow through Detective Goren’s skull, piercing the flesh through that soft, vulnerable spot at the base of the skull and the top of the spine, driving the arrow up through the brain…

Graham froze as he reached the door that led back down into the main basement. The guns… He forgot to take their guns…

Heart pounding, Graham slung the quiver over his shoulder and fitted an arrow into the long bow, ready to use. He then hurried down into the basement, cursing himself angrily for forgetting such a vital thing.

The basement was empty, and apparently undisturbed, so they had not come through there yet, assuming they’d even been able to get themselves free at all…

Graham entered the dark tunnel on the other side of the basement and advanced slowly along, the adrenalin pumping through his body. In theory, they should all be right where he left them. In theory, he should be able to walk in, and immediately begin to carry out the last stage of his plan.

But theories rarely translated perfectly into reality, and there was no way of pre-empting what the two American detectives might have planned for. Sure, he’d guessed that they would disregard his demand to leave their guns behind, but he had also been right to rely on Goren and Eames’ devotion to their captain in order to neutralise them.

He should have checked, though, to make sure that Goren had, indeed, tied up Frost and Eames properly, and not just assumed that he had. Another mistake, Graham cursed himself angrily. He was sure the shudder of pain across Detective Eames’ face when Goren had tied her up had been real, but that could simply have been from having to hold her injured arm behind her back. For all he knew, Goren had not tied her up at all.

A small smile found its way onto his lips, despite the uncertainty of what he would find. The look of sheer agony on Detective Goren’s face when he’d shot him with that arrow had been truly beautiful. And his scream of pain when his leg was broken anew had literally been music to Graham’s ears.

Perhaps, even before he dealt with Deakins, he would break Detective Goren’s other leg, just for the hell of it. Yes, he knew the good detective had suffered originally two broken legs, apparently the result of an accident rather than courtesy of his son, but what did that matter?

Graham paused as he came to the door. Yes, he was going to smash up Detective Goren’s legs so badly that he would never walk again. He laughed softly. Just like his precious captain. The only difference would be that Deakins was going to live to suffer. Goren was not.

He unlocked the door, and kicked it open hard.

Graham froze just inside the door, his mouth going slack from shock and dismay. Not only were his captives no longer tied up, they were not even in the room any longer.

He looked around in growing panic, trying to work out whether they had backtracked to the house and he had missed them, or whether they had taken the tunnel that led out into Denton Woods. He was fairly sure that had not found their way back into the house, so that left just one option.

He walked over and pushed open the hidden door. Sure enough, there on the dirt floor were fresh footprints.

A smirk formed on Graham’s lips. He had no way of knowing exactly how far ahead of him they were… Perhaps fifteen minutes at the absolute most. But with Detective Goren’s broken leg they weren’t going to be moving very fast, and he doubted that he’d have little difficulty catching up with them.

His grin widened as he ascended the steps. If they’d stayed in the room, they would have had the advantage, but in venturing out into the woods… Well, even though they had guns, he now had the advantage of stealth, and a weapon capable of firing with lethal accuracy over long distances. He would be able to take one of them down before they even knew he was there.

Graham emerged out of the cave, and quickly picked up the trail. Still grinning, he hurried after his prey.

Mullett arrived to find what appeared to be the entire Denton PD camped out around the perimeter of David Graham’s house. With some effort he concealed his surprise, and allowed himself to be directed to the superior officer in charge, Detective Chief Inspector Peters.

“We’ve had the chopper do a couple of fly-overs,” he informed Mullett quickly. “No sign of movement inside at all. Unfortunately, we don’t have heat-seeking technology to be able to determine just how many people are inside, or where.”

Mullet peered at the house, his heart pounding in his throat, feeling the weight of responsibility bearing down on him in a way that he had not experienced for years. If he made the wrong decisions now, it was entirely possible that four police officers would die, and that was an unacceptable outcome to him.

“We are working on the belief that David Graham has four hostages,” Mullett told him.

Peters did a double-take. That was news to him.

“We were told he had one possible hostage, no identity provided. Who…?”

“DI Frost, and Captain James Deakins and Detectives Robert Goren and Alex Eames from New York.”

“The Americans that have been here helping DI Frost? Bloody hell, how did that happen?”

Mullett shook his head.

“I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that question just yet.”

“All right, then. What’s the order, sir?”

Mullet paused, contemplating various options in silence while staring at the bleak façade of the house. Finally, when he spoke it was in a low but firm voice.

“Move in. Now.”

“Do you hear that?” Deakins asked, pausing for just a moment to look up. “A chopper… Sounds close.”

Now I’m getting dejavu,” Eames muttered, looking around intently, gun held in a rock-steady grip.

“It’s good news,” Jack muttered. “Means they’re searching for us. Luckily for us, looks as though Mullett was on the ball for once.”

“Let’s save the gratitude for when we’re safe,” Deakins said. “Bobby? How are you doing, there?”

The detective’s face was the colour of dirty snow from the loss of blood that he’d suffered, and he struggled to stay upright for the pain that his broken leg was causing him, but there was a familiar determination in his eyes as they made their way forward.

“I’m okay,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Watch for Graham. Once he knows we’re… gone… Won’t take him long to… to catch us up…”

Deakins looked around grimly.

“All we need is one clear shot…”

“And it’s getting dark fast,” Eames reminded him. “Once it does, he’ll have the advantage again.”

“Let’s just keep moving,” Deakins murmured.

Mullett strode through the house, led by DCI Peters. The strike team had descended on the house on command, rapidly spreading through the property, searching for any sign of Graham or his hostages. So far, they had found no one.

“DI Frost’s car was found in the garage,” Peters explained as he led Mullett down a long hallway. “We found two guns in a room at the end of an adjoining hallway.”

“Belonging, I assume, to Detectives Goren and Eames?”

“I imagine so, sir. DI Frost doesn’t carry a weapon, does he?”

No, he prefers to wield baseball bats

Mullett shook the thought from his head.

“No, he doesn’t.”

“Well, you might be interested to know that neither gun was loaded. Perhaps the suspect removed the clips, but I don’t think so. I’d hazard a guess that somehow the Americans foresaw a situation like this, and tried to be prepared for it.”

They came to an open doorway to descending steps.

“There’s a basement down there,” Peters explained. “Another tunnel leads to a new room, one that isn’t on the property plans. We, uh… We found evidence that someone had been held in there fairly recently. There are ropes and blood… some dried and some fresh.”

“Lead the way,” Mullett said grimly. “Let’s see.”

“Oh, dear god,” Mullett muttered as he looked around at the small room in sick dismay.

“It’s a killing room,” Peters said softly. Mullett looked around slowly, wondering if, indeed, Jack and the three Americans had been trapped inside this room recently. And if that were the case, then where were they now?


Mullett looked to see Peters holding up an item that looked strangely familiar.

“It’s some sort of brace,” Peters said, frowning.

“It’s an arm brace,” Mullett confirmed. “To be specific, it’s Detective Eames’ arm brace. They were in here, which means that fresh blood belongs either to DI Frost or to one of our American counterparts. We need to work out where David Graham might have taken them, and how long ago.”

“Sir, I’m guessing not that long ago,” Hazel Wallace spoke up for the first time where she stood by the far wall, staring intently at the dirt floor. “And it might be that Graham didn’t take them anywhere himself. Come and take a look, sir.”

Mullet and Peters strode over to see what she was talking about. A moment later, they found themselves staring at a distinct footprint… Or rather, half a footprint. They could clearly make out the heel print of a shoe, but the other half was missing, cut off cleanly by the wooden wall.

Not quite sure what he expected to happen, Mullett leaned forward and pushed against the wall. It swung open with a distinct click, revealing the steps that Graham had followed his prey up not ten minutes before.

“This must lead up into Denton Woods,” Hazel said, sounding more than a little stunned. Mullett looked around at the DCI sharply, at the same time drawing his gun from where he’d holstered it at his side before leaving CID to go out to Graham’s house.

“Summon all teams, and reroute them to Denton Woods. Hurry, go! Wallace, come with me.”

He all but ran up the steps, with DS Wallace right behind him.

They were joined in the woods by a team of officers who had followed them up the steps from the hidden underground room.

“Right,” Mullett said quickly. “This way…”

He trailed off as the sound of gunshots echoed through the otherwise quiet woods; two shots, each fired within rapid succession of each other.

“Sir…?” Hazel asked hoarsely.

“This way,” Mullett repeated, fighting to keep his own voice steady. “Move!”

It was no surprise to Eames when Goren’s strength finally gave out and he collapsed to the ground, very nearly taking Jack with him.

“Bobby…?” Deakins asked anxiously, crouching beside the detective. “You need to get up, Bobby. C’mon, pal, don’t quit on us now…”

“He can’t go any further,” Eames said, coming quickly to her partner’s defence.

“He has to, Alex,” Deakins said tightly. “We aren’t leaving him here.”

“So leave me with him,” Eames snapped. “You and Jack go on and find help, and come back for us.”

“That’s not an option,” Jack said firmly. “We aren’t leaving either of you behind, not for any reason.”

“C’mon,” Deakins muttered again, slipping the gun into his pocket and taking careful hold of Goren’s right arm. “We have to get you up. Help me, Jack…”

Jack moved in and took hold of Goren’s left arm, with the intention of helping to lift the big detective back onto his feet.

Eames almost sensed it before any of them heard it. A sudden, almost deathly silence was followed rapidly by an all-too-familiar, bone-chilling whistle that cut through the quiet like a knife through butter.

There was a hideous, soft thudding sound, and then silence. Eames looked up slowly from where she’d instinctively thrown herself to the ground, across Goren’s heaving chest. Jack looked up wildly from where he, too, had thrown himself down.

“Oh god… no…”

The exclamation came from Eames. Jack looked around in momentary confusion that was followed by a horrified realisation. Deakins lay on the ground on his side next to Goren, an arrow spearing him through his back and stomach. He clutched helplessly at the point that protruded through his stomach, his face contorted in pain. Even as they watched, blood trickled from the corner of Deakins’ mouth.

“No…” Eames whispered, scrambling around to the captain’s side in a near panic. “Captain, no…”

“Gun…” Goren muttered as he slowly, painfully pushed himself up into a sitting position beside Deakins inert form. “Alex… Give me my gun…”

Even as she reached for Deakins’ pocket, though, another arrow screamed through the air, not impaling Eames but rather grazing her upper right arm, slicing the flesh wide open. Eames cried out in pain, dropping her own gun as she clapped her free hand over the new wound. Goren started to reach for her weapon, but was stopped by a cold, callous voice.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Detective Goren. Unless, of course, you like pain.”

Goren drew his hand back slowly as David Graham came into sight, long bow at the ready with a new arrow ready to be fired at a split second’s notice. Graham nodded approvingly.

“Good, Detective.” He paused, looking at the four of them with open amusement. “I can’t help but wonder, how much is this like those last moments on that mountain? Detectives? Of course, then it was you who was impaled on an arrow, wasn’t it, Detective Eames? And Erik was about to put an arrow through your skull, wasn’t he, Detective Goren? Well, I’m afraid I don’t have the time now to do as I would have liked, but still, I think I can guarantee a moderately satisfying experience. Well… for me, anyway.”

He raised the bow and arrow slightly, and brought it around to aim at Deakins.

“I was going to let you live, Captain Deakins, but…”

In the next instant, several things happened at once. Goren, who had managed to pull his left leg underneath him, suddenly launched himself forward and collided his full body weight with Graham. The force of the impact caused Graham to release his arrow, sending it harmlessly away into the air.

At the same moment, Jack threw himself across to shield Deakins, while Eames snatched up her gun in her left hand, swung it around and fired twice at Graham.

Whether she hit her target, they didn’t know. The shock of Goren’s collision with Graham drew a loud gasp from one, and a half-stifled cry of pain from the other, and sent both of them tumbling out of sight down a slight incline.

Eames sat frozen for a long moment, before looking around at Jack.

“Are you okay? Jack…?”

He pushed himself up slowly, his face the colour of ash.

“Still intact… I think. Where… Where’d they go?”

Eames nodded her head towards the incline. “Over there…”

“Stay with him,” Jack told her firmly. She held her gun out to him, but he shook his head in decline, then pointed a short distance away. Eames looked, and immediately saw what he was indicating. Graham’s longbow and arrowslay on the ground where Graham had droppedthem when Goren collided with him.

“Be careful,” Eames warned him as Jack scrambled to his feet. “He might still have a weapon.”

Jack nodded in compliance and hurried away over the edge of the rise, leaving Eames with Deakins.

He didn’t have to go far. Goren and Graham lay side by side at the bottom of the slope, neither one moving. Jack approached cautiously, hoping Graham was neutralised but not knowing for certain. As he got closer, though, Goren shifted and moaned softly. Abandoning caution out of concern for his colleague, Jack hurried the rest of the way down.

“Bobby… Thank God…”

Goren shuddered, lifting his gaze weakly to his friend. It was all Jack could do not to cringe openly at the other’s badly bruised face. He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

“All right, don’t talk,” Jack murmured. “We’ll have help here very soon.”


Jack looked up at the familiar, distant voice. That was Mullett’s voice… He smiled despite the shock of the situation. Though his earlier comment about Mullett being on the ball for once had been more in jest that anything, it suddenly seemed that he hadn’t been wrong. And the realisation that his seemingly incompetent superior officer had actually left the confines of his own office to oversee a major police action gave him a sense of relief the likes of which he didn’t have the words to voice.

Reluctantly, Jack turned his attention to Graham. The man wasn’t moving, but whether he was unconscious or dead, Jack had no idea. Remembering Eames’ warning, Jack leaned over cautiously to check the status of their would-be killer.

Even taking as much care as he could, Jack was unprepared when Graham suddenly rolled over and slashed furiously at him with a previously concealed knife.

Jack felt a fiery pain across his chest but had no time to dwell on how much damage might have been done, as Graham tackled him to the ground.

A loud, breathless grunt escaped Jack as Graham landed on top of him. The knife came down and Jack cried out as it found a target in his left shoulder. Graham yanked the blade out and drove it downwards again, but this time Jack got his hands up in time, catching hold of Graham’s wrists and stopping the knife’s descent.

For seconds that seemed to stretch into hours, the two men struggled. Graham’s strength was fuelled by rage and adrenalin, and Jack was now wounded in the shoulder. Slowly but surely, Jack felt himself losing the fight for control, and could only watch helplessly as the blade got closer by the second.

Graham suddenly grunted in surprise as he was abruptly hauled backwards, off Jack. The Inspector looked around dazedly, expecting to see one of Denton’s finest there, subduing the killer. Except, it was not a Denton cop that had pulled Graham off him.

Jack looked on in a daze, his mind taking a good second or two to comprehend what his eyes were seeing. Goren had somehow, broken leg and all, pulled himself far enough off the ground to drag Graham backward, away from Jack. Blood was pouring down the side of Goren’s face from a new wound where Graham had slashed at him with the knife, and now the two were caught up in a ferocious struggle for that same knife.

It was a struggle that, with the wounds he had suffered, Goren couldn’t possibly win.

Looking around for anything he could use, Jack’s gaze fell on a thick branch that lay loose on the ground nearby. Getting awkwardly to his feet, Jack grabbed the branch and with just a moment’s hesitation to take aim, he swung the branch around into Graham’s head as hard as he could.

The momentum of the blow knocked Graham clean away from Goren, well and truly putting the killer out of action. Grabbing the knife purely to be safe, Jack then stumbled back to Goren’s side.

“Bobby? You still with me, lad?”

A weak smile touched Goren’s lips, followed by a tremulous, rasping laugh.

“Haven’t been… called that since… since tenth grade calculus…”

Jack smiled a little, only to realise in shock that Goren was bleeding profusely from what appeared to be a bullet wound in his left side.

“You’ve been shot!”

“I know,” Goren whispered, wincing in pain. “Do me a favour, tell Alex… If she’s going to start shooting left-handed… she needs more practise.”

Jack shook his head in disbelief that Goren was capable of making jokes when he was so badly hurt. A moment later, his ears picked up on the sound of voices getting closer, one of which was the distinct voice of his superintendent. Jack pulled his coat off and draped it carefully over his injured friend, then slumped over where he sat next to Goren, and waited wearily for help to arrive.

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