Christmas BallMature

Officer Cannon, Inspector Battering and co, have had reports that men and women of all ages have been disappearing all over the city. Links have been made to the sucessful spanish drug dealer; Mr Nino. Every year the Christmas Ball is held in the name of Commander Kay. The host this year is his son, General William Kay, and the detectives have been invited.
But all is not as it seems. Secrets, dark inner secrets, may slip out.

Murmuring, the doorman ran his finger down the list, leaving a brown streak as his thumb smudged the paper. The crowd in front of him shuffled in the dim light. The dark muttering and complaining made his ears burn. High heels clicked in the black night as the guests jostled and hopped from one foot to the other, rubbing their goose bump covered arms.

‘Hurry up, man!'

‘Er.. You can all go in. S-Sorry for the delay. Please enjoy the Christmas Ball and help yourself to drinks at the bar.'

His face twitched into a smile, yet all he received were disdainful scowls. The crowd gracefully strode past him and into the warmth of the Town Hall. He heard violins singing a sweet tune and the night was lit up ever so softly - before the door was closed again. He used one hand to massage his eyes before peering into the dark again.

There was a new group of three- he squinted- no four people. One was hidden, sulking in the shadows. Battering shook the doorman's free hand. His teeth sparkled.

‘Inspector Battering, Topaz Moore, Officer Cannon and Sam Tune, here for the ball.'

‘Um..' The doorman's face went crimson and he fumbled with the list of guests again, ‘Can you repeat that please?'

‘Inspector Battering, Topaz-'

‘Slower please!'

Battering repeated the names slowly. In the wait, his hand found Topaz's and squeezed softly. Looking up, the doorman gave Battering a weak smile.

‘Sorry, sir. You and the rest are not on the guest list.'

Sam moaned from behind Topaz ‘I knew we wouldn't get in.'
Battering adjusted his grey waistcoat, chuckling lightly,

‘Hah... I think there's been a mistake or something. Let us in and hey, we'll say no more about it.'

‘I'm so sorry sir, but I cant. Not on the list, see.'

Sam shivered and clapped his freezing hands together. His gelled back hair seemed to absorb the cold air and feed it into his skull.

‘Let's go home-' his whine stopped as he was shoved into Topaz's back. He hissed and glared at Cannon, stepping back and rubbing his face.

Cannon faced the doorman, his eyes flashing. Lowering  his clipboard, the doorman squeaked an inquiry.

‘Yes sir?'

‘Do you know who I am?' Cannon demanded. His voice was harsh and loud, bound together with a posh English accent that Sam had never heard come from Cannon's lips before. The doorman glanced at the several startled faces in front of him and then down at his feet.

‘No sir.'

‘You don't know?' spat Cannon, ‘Well let me tell you who the hell I am. I am Karl Cannon, son of Commander Kay - who this Christmas ball is being run in the name of, I might add. My brother is in there, and he is probably waiting for me and sad that I haven't turned up with my guests yet. You do understand?'

The doorman took a deep breath. And swallowed.

‘How do I know that what you are saying is true, s-sir?'

Sam closed his eyes and trembled.
Baring his teeth, Cannon leaned forwards and snarled in the doorman's ear, ‘It's written in Commander Kay's published autobiography, the old bastard goes on about me for ages. Maybe you should look it up. When you finally learn to read.'

Topaz snorted and covered her mouth, sniggering, ‘He's going to crrry.'

‘Just go in,' muttered the doorman, hiding his crimson face with one hand, ‘J-Just go!'

‘Thank you,' hissed Cannon, his accent twirling the words in the air. He pulled the door open and walked into the Town Hall, leaving the others to trail in after him.
Battering clapped a hand on the doorman's shoulder, ‘So sorry about that.'
‘Bad luck,' whispered Sam following after Topaz and Battering. The doorman nodded, his lip white. Sam noticed something dripping down the doorman's trouser legs and seeping on to the floor. He wrinkled his nose and stepped inside. That poor poor guy.

If Sam was an impressionable boy, he would have been whistling in the middle of the town hall like Battering was. Instead he glanced at the waiters zooming around with trays full of food and drink - and grinned widely. Battering and Topaz stared around the massive hall, counting the heavily decorated Christmas trees. They looked up at the balcony, that ran across three of the walls, which was sparkling with tinsel and glitter. Dancers were twirling around in the adjoining room and an orchestra played softly in the background. The crowd of people in front of them were politely ushered aside as General Kay came striding towards them. Sam glanced at Cannon.
He was glaring at the ground.

‘What Cannon said at the door wasn't true, was it?' Sam asked Battering, leaning back and whispering in his ear, ‘He made it up, didn't he??'

‘Cannon doesn't tend to lie,' murmured Battering, winking.
Sam stared, slightly pop eyed, at General Kay as he halted in front of them, his teeth twinkling, ‘Welcome!'

‘Why weren't we on the guest list?' Cannon muttered, not looking up. The floor was so well polished that he could see his reflection. And others.
General Kay laughed lightly as the crowd chattered loudly, ‘Well, dear officer, I didn't think you'd want to come - and if you did, I knew you'd get yourself in here some how.'
Battering shook General Kay's hand, ‘Yes, sorry for barging in like this...I guess you could say we were eager,' he leaned forwards and mumbled in General Kay's ear, ‘I'd let the doorman off for the night, Cannon's run him through the mill, the poor thing.'

‘Oh dear,' said General Kay, gazing at Cannon and biting his lip, ‘Yes, I will, Inspector.'

‘Is Cannon really the son of Commander Kay?' Sam blurted out. His foot twitched and tapped, beads of sweat ran down his neck.

Cannon looked up.

‘Why yes,' purred General Kay, beaming, ‘Of course he is!'

‘But that makes you two-!'

‘Brothers!' General Kay chuckled, ‘Amazing isn't it?'

Sam opened his mouth, looked at Cannon, and closed it again. Battering broke the awkward silence by starting up a new conversation with General Kay. Sam looked down at the floor and caught Cannon's reflected eyes.

Why didn't you tell me? Just a little hint would have done, nothing big. No one tells me anything.

He ground his teeth quietly, holding Cannon's reflected gaze.


Sam's head snapped up. Sapphire was gliding towards them, wearing a beautiful deep emerald dress which flowed behind her. General Kay paused in mid conversation and smiled, ‘Ah, your young lady, Cannon.'

‘She's not my young lady,' snarled Cannon tetchily, glancing up. Sapphire squeaked happily and hugged him, ‘Hi! Ben said you wouldaq meet me here!'

‘He did, did he?' murmured Cannon, rigid.

Battering's face crumpled slightly, ‘E-Er yes Cannon - for work purposes of course.'

‘Work?' asked General Kay.

‘Well this is an undercover investigation, so I figured we should have some couples to make it more natural,' explained Battering. He kissed Topaz's forehead, making her blush, ‘Topaz agreed to be mine, and Sapphire said she'd be yours.'

Cannon glowered.

‘An uncover investigation?' inquired General Kay quietly, worming his way into the conversation. Battering smiled uncertainly,

‘Yes sir..' he lowered his voice, ‘Mr Niño is interesting us.. This is secret information, you understand?'

‘Of course,' murmured General Kay, his eyes darting across the crowd, ‘I do believe that he hasn't arrived yet though. He was invited...'

‘Good, because-'

‘Enough, Ben,' hissed Cannon. Battering fell quiet, a blush appearing on his cheeks. Topaz stroked the back of Battering's hair as General Kay stared blankly at Cannon.

‘Want to dance?' she asked gently, taking Battering's hand.

Battering grinned and kissed her hand, before gently pulling her through the crowd. Sam, Cannon and Sapphire watched them disappear into the dancing room. General Kay wandered away, his forehead wrinkling in a frown.

Cannon and Sapphire seated themselves at a small bar in another room. Sapphire slid on to a seat, smiling brightly at Cannon, ‘How are you?'

‘Hm. Good.' murmured Cannon, as the bar tender walked towards them.

‘What will you be having today good man and lady?' asked the bar tender softly, his eyes crinkling with effort.

‘A gin and tonic please.'

‘Yes miss, and you, sir?'

‘Anything, I don't care. But no brandy.'

‘I will get something right away, sir.'

Sapphire leaned forwards as the bar tender made the drinks and placed them on the counter beside them. Her hair bounced up and down gently. She had curled it to perfection. Instead of playing with her own hair, she played with Cannon's.
Twisting his thick strands around her finger, she giggled at the disgruntled Cannon.

‘You know,' Sapphire said softly, ‘Your hair is starting to go grey. You should dye it, honey.'

Cannon snorted quietly, the corners of his mouth twitching up as he inquired;

‘What colour would you like, madam?'

‘Hmm- purple!' giggled Sapphire, ‘That would be awesome, right, Cannon?'

He picked up his drink, scowling, ‘That's bullshit.'

‘Aww come on!'

Cannon sniffed his drink and then rolled his eyes, sighing. What the hell, he thought, before throwing his head back and downing it. He closed his eyes as vodka, and something else, burned his throat on the way down.

‘You dance really well,' whispered Topaz as Battering swung her round and round. Battering winked, ‘Why thank you.'
He leant his head on her shoulder, her fruity perfume filling his nostrils. He watched the entrance to the Town Hall as he took two graceful steps back and then one to the side. Mr Niño and two of his daughters entered the Hall in a flurry of snow. His son wandered in with his hands in his pockets, sulking. Sam looked up from a cheese sandwich and then glanced towards Battering, eyes wide. Battering closed his eyes and sighed, swinging Topaz around gently.

Time for special detective Sam to blow our cover.

Mr Niño looked down as Sam reached up and tapped one of Mr Niño's wide shoulders.

‘What?' Mr Niño demanded. Sam quivered slightly. Mr Niño's eyes were very bloodshot, so much so that he looked like an enraged bull.

‘Umm.. Mr Niño, where's Alex?'

‘Where's who?'

‘Alexandra, your third daughter,' said Sam, beads of sweat rolling down his neck.

Mr Niño's lip curled, and he turned away, muttering, ‘Who?'

General Kay's eager head bobbed up and down as he moved through the crowd, waving a hand at Mr Niño. Scott stared at Mr Niño's back, and then gave a slightly pleading look to his daughters, Leoncia and Jannifer, but Leoncia was too busy waving to Battering and Jannifer ignored Sam completely. Sam strode past Mr Niño's son, Jose, his ears burning.

A new doorman had replaced the fumbling one, and he looked up as Sam opened the Town Hall's door and ducked out.

Please?' asked Alex again, shivering. The doorman shook his large head,

‘No sorry, miss. Not on the list.'

Sam watched Alex's face fall. She had straightened her black hair and added a purple streak through it, matching her light purple dress. The dress itself flattered her growing figure, especially as a belt was fastened under her chest. Sam blinked.
Wow, he thought staring blankly at her, she looks really pretty tonight. Wow.
Alex gave him a worried smile, swinging her handbag gracefully, before turning to go, her hand on her swelled stomach.

‘H-Hey, um-' Sam tugged at the doorman's coat, hoping Alex wouldn't go too far.

‘What, kid?'

‘Kay is wanting you,' said Sam, smiling uncertainly, ‘Something'


‘Tampered drinks?' he squeaked. The doorman sighed, tucking his clipboard over his shoulder and going through the door, ‘Whatever next.'

Sam hissed out into the dark, ‘Hey, Alex! Alex, he's gone, come on!'

There was a clatter of heels and Alex appeared again, brushing her hair out of her eyes and grinning. Sam leant backwards and peered through the door. His hand reached out absentmindedly.

‘The doorman's talking to Kay now, he's got his back turned. Let's go.'

She took his hand. Sam staggered through the door in shock before regaining himself. Face crimson, he ran through the crowd and up the staircase to the balcony, tugging Alex along behind him.

‘In here!'

He opened the first door he came across and they darted in, slamming the door behind them. Alex leant against it, half laughing, half panting. Sam watched her nervously, blushing still. She finally caught her breath, grinning at him, ‘I-I'm okay, it was just kicking.'


Alex giggled again, and took both his hands, carefully placing them on her stomach. Sam jumped as he felt a something tiny kicking his hand.


Sam smiled, relief washing over him, followed by his embarrassment. She watched him blush furiously, hiding her grin with her hand before she patted his slumped shoulders.

‘Cannon, are you okay?' asked Sapphire quietly. Cannon gazed at her, sweat dripping off his chin. She wrinkled her nose.

‘Your eyes are all blurry, Cannon,' she whispered, leaning forward.


Sapphire reached out and put her hand to his forehead. She frowned,

‘You're really hot!'


Cannon's mouth seem to pull itself into a smile. He shut his eyes, murmuring.

‘Smiler, when you...stop smiling, the whole world falls-s apart. Smile...'

Sapphire started to giggle as Cannon swayed forwards.

‘I love you, Cannon, you old dog,' she purred, playing his hair. He shuddered. And opened his eyes. His brown pupils had been replaced with black, not ordinary black either- this black was as deep and as dark as outer space. Sapphire was hurriedly downed her drink, then hopped off the barstool.

‘Cannon, something's wrong - I'll go fetch Battering!-Ooff!'

She practically bounced off a startled General Kay, and landed in Cannon's lap.

General Kay blushed, ‘Awfully sorry!'

‘M'Kay..' murmured Sapphire, clutching at Cannon's jacket till the world stopped spinning. Cannon narrowed his eyes and licked his lips. His tongue was oddly discoloured - as if he had been sucking at a black lollipop.

What do you want?'

General Kay rocked back on his heels, looking wary. Cannon watched him, like a dog.

I've seen those eyes before, thought Kay, wiping some sweat off his forehead with a handkerchief, and a second after I whenever I see those eyes, those hands are always around my neck...

‘Um...well it's time for my annual speech. You know, the one about dad and how great he was. I was wondering if you could join in this year, Cannon, as you're finally here!'

Cannon grinned, showing rather sharp teeth, ‘About Commander Kay? Why yes maybe I shall...'

Sapphire giggled as Cannon's accent wavered, and tuned into posh station 1.
A grin appeared on General Kay's face, ‘Wow, thanks!'

Yeah let's see. Maybe I should mention the time he caught Cannon drinking and walloped him with his belt he broke his fucking nose! Or maybe the time when he took Cannon out of school for a month to teach him mumbo jumbo about a poem and spiritual stuff and-'

‘Stop, stop!' cried General Kay, ‘I meant-'

‘I don't think he's well,' mumbled Sapphire. She tried to place her hand on Cannon's forehead again, but he attempted to bite it, his jaws clacking together like a dog's.

‘Why the hell where you referring to yourself in third person?' she whispered, ‘Have you gone mad?'

Calls came from the main Hall, and General Kay turned away, adjusting his uniform,

‘Time for my speech. Wish me luck.'

‘Whatever,' muttered Sapphire, as Cannon shuddered again. Black liquid dribbled out of the corner of his mouth. General Kay marched off, his head held high.
Sapphire grunted and pulled Cannon's arm over her shoulder, making him stand. The Hall next to them exploded with cheers and applause and she moved her head to peer inside. Battering was in the middle of the crowd, talking to a blushing Leoncia, while Topaz tapped her foot behind him.

 ‘Silver tongued devil,' Sapphire muttered, turning around with Cannon and moving forwards.

‘Let's at least cool you down a bit,' she said stopping by two bathroom doors. She gently trailed a finger down the silver ‘women' sign, before Cannon growled loudly.

‘Don't you dare take me in there, woman!'

Sapphire sighed and pushed open the door to the men's room, helping Cannon inside. He stumbled out of her grip and slumped on the floor, leaning back on the wall. The tap creaked slightly when Sapphire turned it on and plucked a towel off a rack, but the water spluttered out a few seconds later. She glanced over at Cannon as she dampened the towel. He was juddering violently. Part's of General Kay's speech penetrated the walls and the soft lighting flickered. Sapphire bent down next to Cannon and tried to wipe his mouth and cool him down, but he grabbed her wrists.

‘Don't be silly,' she whispered, ‘Come on, you're sweating and panting, let me cool you off.'

‘G-Go away,' snarled Cannon, leaning forwards. His eyes were tightly shut and his face jerked convulsively.

Sapphire laughed quietly, ‘I've never seen you like this. You seem so...weak..'

Cannon opened his eyes. Black eyes.

He smiled slightly.

What did you call me?'

Sapphire didn't say anything, she just returned the smile.

Silly woman...' breathed Cannon, leaning so far forwards that their lips touched.

Battering stepped backwards. Mr Niño and Leoncia didn't turn around, their eyes were focused on General Kay. Topaz brushed up against him, snapping, ‘What?'

‘Where's Cannon?'

‘How should I know?'

‘He's supposed to be around at least.. Just in case..' Battering leant forwards glanced over at the bar.

 ‘He's not there!' he hissed. Topaz shrugged and looked back up at General Kay. Fuming, Battering slid through the crowd, treading carefully until he reached the doors. He walked out into the wave of freezing cold air and fumbled in his pockets. The doorman had disappeared. Battering pulled out his mobile phone and stuck a cigarette in his mouth before dialling the number. He lit it while the tone rang and blew out a stream.

Cannon isn't here... some one has made sure he isn't here.

His hand shook.

‘Who is speaking?' inquired a serious voice, coming from the mobile. Battering closed his eyes and took another drag, muttering to the mobile;

‘Inspector Battering speaking - doing an investigation at the Town Hall. I need back up - don't know why, don't know what for - but I repeat, back up will be needed!

Sapphire ran her hands through Cannon's hair, licking his mouth. Dark liquid swirled up Cannon's throat and ran down their lips, creeping and seeping everywhere it could. Like cracks between lips. Cannon felt her warm tongue in his mouth, and the soft touch of her lips. Black, droopy threads hung from Sapphire's lips as she carefully pulled away. Dark gunk dribbled out of the corners of her mouth.

She closed her eyes and purred, ‘This..this tastes funny..'

She swallowed. For a second, the darkness could be seen as it trickled down her throat, spreading through her veins like ink through paper. She looked up at him with deep, dark eyes. It was like looking up at the night sky, but with all the stars extinguished. She moaned and closed her eyes, curling up beneath him.

‘S-Stop that now.. Cannon that... that makes me feeling funny..'

Who's weak now...?'


Suddenly, Cannon looked up at the bathroom door, licking his dripping lips. He stood up and took a silver cigarette case and lighter out of his pocket. As he lit it gracefully and placed it in his mouth, his nostrils flared. Sapphire tried to sit up, but she slumped back down, shaking. Cannon grinned.

I can smell darkness.'

‘Come on,' giggled Alex, opening the door and tugging Sam out, ‘Let's go grab some more champagne.'
He allowed her to lead, smiling - but his face fell as she stopped abruptly. Down below, in the main hall, General Kay was talking from the stage, reading out his well written speech.

‘Commander Kay was more then a father to me - he was a friend and a companion-'

‘What is it?' whispered Sam, peering over Alex's shoulder. She was trying to shuffle backwards, but she stood on his feet. There was a man on the balcony, a few yards from them. Shadow's hid his face and half his body, but the fairy lights draped above his lit up his pinstriped suit in festive flashes of blue, red and pink. He was holding a gun. It was cocked tight.

Sam's mouth dropped open.

Alex's screamed; ‘He's aiming for dad!! He's aiming-!!'


Sam clamped his hands over his ears and white light exploded in front of his eyes. He felt Alex grab his collar and yank him down to the ground as a second, third - fourth shot rang out. There was a loud shattering of glass as the large light about the hall shattered.

Everything went black.

Mr Niño moaned on the floor, clutching his head. By the light of the Christmas trees and fairy lights, the crowd began to panic. Glass rained down on them, tinkling as they hit the floor.

‘Stop!' yelled General Kay, ‘Stay where you are! Mr Niño are you okay?'

‘He hit me,' groaned Mr Niño, writhing. After jumping off the stage, General Kay ran over to Mr Niño and helped him up, ‘Where did the bullets hit?'

‘No bullets,' grunted Mr Niño, swaying in Mr Kay's hold.

‘What? I misunderstand you.'

Mr Niño raised his hand and pointed with a trembling finger;


General Kay stared.

Cannon was standing where Mr. Nino had been a second before. He had his arm outstretched, his hand scrunched into a fist - that had punched Mr. Nino out of the way seconds before. He was glaring up at the startled gunman.

‘Cannon...' whispered General Kay. A metre separated Cannon and Mr. Nino, complete with crimson skid marks. Cannon's breathing was heavy and slow, bordering on a grunt. The left side of his navy and gold jacket was drenched in the same blood which splattered on to the floor in the silence. The gunman replied to Cannon's glare with one of his own - right into his black eyes - lost in his disappointment for a second. Sam squeaked and lifted his head up off the floor, peering through the cracks in the balcony to see the scene unfolding below. The gunman's neck clicked as he averted his gaze towards Sam, which he quickly broke and started running for it.

Cannon lowered his head and his fist trembling. He spat out his cigarette.

‘Sam! Dammit boy! Get after him!' bellowed Cannon.

‘B-But..' Sam scrambled to his feet as the gunman reached a spiral staircase and leapt up it.

Veins stood out on Cannon's throat;

‘Boy, you do what I tell you! If I tell you to run you run, if I tell you to jump you jump and if I tell you to shoot you shoot! Now RUN!'

Whimpering, Sam set off after the gunman, pounding across the balcony's wooden floor. General Kay wrapped his arms round Cannon's shoulders,

‘Oh brother! You're hurt!'

‘Get off me!' muttered Cannon, shrugging furiously to dislodge the clinger. He blinked furiously and pinched the bridge of his nose. Cannon's iris slid into the colour brown. His left arm and shoulder felt like it was on fire.

‘Shit,' he hissed, before sprinting up the stairs, bounding up two at a time. Sam grasped the metal rail at the bottom of the spiral staircase and began the climb up the cold stone steps. Frantic footsteps echoed back to him, as well as snorts and heavy panting. Sam's hands were trembling so much he let go of the rail and just ran as fast as he could.

He has a gun, he could just turn round and shot me, he has a gun- One false step and I'm going to be flat out on these stone steps - He has a gun.

There was an open door up ahead.

Sam burst out into the fresh air. He stared up at the star strewn sky and then around at the partly flat Town Hall roof.
He's not here.
He squinted at the large silver dome that donned the Town Hall like a hat, but it was ten metres away - he wasn't that fast, surely?
He shivered and walked over to the edge of the roof, wrapping his arms around himself. Small cars whizzed by, their headlights sparkling. He stayed still for a while, watching his breath hang in the air, until he heard footsteps again.

Sam spun around as Cannon appeared at the top of the staircase, and was greeted with a scowl.

‘Where is he?' demanded Cannon through gritted teeth. His left arm hung by his side.

‘I-I don't know..'

‘He's gone?'

‘Disappeared,' whimpered Sam. Cannon snarled and stepped forwards.

‘How could you let him disappear?? You were right behind him!'

Sam hung his head. Cannon looked at the ground as anger surged through his body, but it was over come by pain. He closed his eyes and wished for it to go away.



Sam's whisper was barely audible.

‘Why didn't you tell me that you and General Kay are brothers...?'

‘It's not important,' snapped Cannon, ‘It's my life not yours.'

‘But if I had known then I could have asked Kay questions, he's on our side if he's your brother! He can help!'

‘In what way can he help? asked Cannon bitterly.

‘He could find out more about Mr Niño-'

‘No, he couldn't. Why should he? He's a bloody busy man.'

‘I-I was just thinking-'

No, you weren't.'

‘No one ever tells me anything...' breathed Sam, tears welling up in his eyes.

Cannon opened his eyes to stare at him.

Behind him, the gunman dropped down from where he had wedged himself above the spiral stair case door and walloped Cannon over the head with his gun. Cannon fell to the floor with a heavy thud. The gunman spat and threw the gun at Cannon's head before turning to glower at Sam.

‘You little runt!'

Sam tried to run but the gunman sprung towards him and seized his collar in both hands, pulling him up into the air. Sam stammered and tried to pry the gunman's hands away but the grip was too strong. The gunman growled and glared into Sam's eyes, ‘You were watching me on the balcony, weren't you??'
Sam's mouth opened and shut a few time as he croaked desperately.

‘You didn't see me, right?'



‘I-I didn't!'

The gunman grinned, showing yellow teeth to match the colour of his cat like eyes.

‘I'm going to throw you off the roof anyway- just to make sure!'

‘No!' squealed Sam, kicking out as the gunman swung him round to the edge of the roof. The gunman just laughed, but he stopped quite soon as Cannon punched him in the head. Sam screamed as the gunman dropped him in surprise and fell down, over the edge. His two flailing hands grasped the edge of the roof just in time.

‘Bastard!' roared the gunman, turning around and kicking Cannon in the stomach. Cannon caught the foot before it hit and grinned, pulling it sharply up in the air, unbalancing the gunman completely.

‘You think that after three bullets to my side a whack over the head would put me out of the running??'

The gunman's back slammed into the floor, and his head hit against Sam's fingers, making Sam wail and squirm. Cannon drew his sword and grabbed the gunman's hair, yanking him up and forcing the gunman's back to his chest. Sam's trainers scrabbled on the wall, trying to get a grip.

‘Hey!' yelped the gunman as Cannon pressed the sword blade to his throat.

‘Stay still,' growled Cannon, ‘You're under arrest!'

‘Says who??'

‘This badge and this bloody sword!'

Sam pulled himself up and clung to the floor as the gunman struggled in vain.

‘Stay still or I'll slice your throat!'

‘You can't do that I know you can't! You're an officer you can't harm me!'

Try me.'

All of a sudden there were yells and the thundering of pounding boots coming from the staircase. The gunman's eyes widened and in one powerful movement he grabbed Cannon's hands and swung him bodily over him. The sword cut into the gunman's throat slightly but winged away with Cannon as he went head over heels. Cannon landed hard on his back, on the roof's edge barrier, but the gunman kicked him off the roof as he ran like the wind. Sam yelled and flung himself forwards as Cannon's hand disappeared downwards. Closing his eyes and leaning over the roof, his stomach on the floor, Sam made a grab for Cannon's flailing hand. He felt material brush his fingers and clung to it. There was a loud ripping sound. Sam opened his eyes in time to see Cannon falling down, tumbling in the air, with one sleeve ripped right off. On the Cannon's exposed right arm, the tattoo of the 51st glinted.

The End

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