Chapter 9

Sam lay virtually immobile on the dirty mattress. It was spattered with blood that had seeped from various cuts on his head and since every movement caused fresh pain, he thought it prudent to remain still. The frenzied beating by Jack had left him subdued and drained; his face was swollen and bloodied and the rest of his body was covered in sickening bruises. He gently moved his head and looked up at the small window, having to use his right eye because his left eye was closed due to the aggravation of his earlier injury. He could see that it was dark outside, so that meant it must be late evening or night time. So far they had left him alone during the night so if that remained the same he had a few hours respite to gather his thoughts and try and get the hell out of here. He knew that if any help was trying to locate him, they would never find him here, so it would up to him to escape or he would die. He rolled cautiously onto his back, but the damage to his nose and mouth meant breathing was uncomfortable so he had to try and sit up. God it hurt, and it took all the strength he possessed to lever himself into a semi sitting position; his ribs ached so badly but at least now he could breath more easily. He checked his body for damage and apart from his broken ribs and possibly his nose he appeared to be in one piece. Breathing gently, Sam began to formulate an escape plan, although he had to admit to himself it would take a minor miracle to remove the cuffs, open a 6" thick steel door and then walk how many miles to get help, and that was if he could avoid the three Stooges, but he'd been in worse situations, hadn't he? Anger began to replace despair and Sam decided that if he ever got out of here he would ensure that Jack, or whatever his name was received pay back.

Keel and team meanwhile, had been easily able to follow Kantor to an office block near Docklands. He parked out of sight and the three of them exited the car and managed to bypass the security and enter the building a few seconds behind Kantor. It was now 11pm so all the employees had left, but Kantor made his way up to the sixth floor where someone was waiting in a plush office. Keel erected the long range microphone he'd collected from his apartment and positioned himself in a neighbouring office. Backus and Gerry kept a discreet watch to see when their quarry left. As the microphone picked up the voices from next door, Keel listened with interest to the conversation.

"I object to being bothered this late at night!" One voice said. This was the unknown man.

"I felt it was important you know what's going on!" That was Kantor. "My stupid wife tells me CI5 are looking for a lost agent and they believe it is tied to you. They will come after you and subsequently me!"

There was a short silence.

"I do not see how they would know anything about me. So we have one of their agents, so what? They couldn't link this to me!"

Bingo! They do have Sam! Keep talking you bastards, Keel was thinking.

"If you do have him, you will need to hide because according to my wife they are on the case."

"Utter nonsense! My brother tells me that the CI5 man has told us nothing yet; we need to work on him a bit longer."

Well done, Sam! He hadn't broken. Keel could almost cry for his partner.

"Mr Morris, are you prepared to take the risk?" At last, a name, and they had the connection they wanted. Now, where were they holding Sam?

Again there was a silence and Keel could almost hear Morris's brain turning over.

"You may be right. I'll make a call."

Keel gave Backus the thumbs up and she contacted base to trace the call.

The call finished and Backus had the trace. Kantor left the building but the team had their proof, so he could go – for now. Morris too left the building, but Keel, Backus and Owens knew the area where their friend was being held and were determined to get him back, so Morris too could wait.

Later that night, Sam was rudely disturbed by Jack switching on the light and kicking his leg.

"More of your hospitality?" Sam asked sarcastically. "I think I found some unbruised flesh on my body that you missed…"

"You really have me in stitches with your humour, Sam." Jack replied with an icy coolness. Then his manner changed.

"No, no, nothing like that, I've come to tell you that we're moving out!" He announced this like a circus ringmaster.

"After all I've done to the place." Sam mumbled through his swollen lips. "Where are we off to?"

Jack indicated to Burke and Hare to release the cuffs and said, "Oh, don't worry you won't be going very far, Sam. It would appear we may be having visitors soon so someone might find you - or traces of you, so we will have to take you somewhere quieter."

Sam managed to look calmly at him, even though he understood the cryptic meaning of his words, as the two henchmen pulled him upright and re-cuffed his wrists behind his back. He didn't say anything at first, but eventually he said wryly. "Tell me, will it be a bullet in the back of the head, or just one in the back?"

Jack laughed. "I shall really miss you Sam. You have been a challenge to me and although I enjoy a challenge, you have taken it to new depths."

"Quite an obituary…" Sam muttered.

Jack removed his gun and motioned for Sam to lead the way. Moving carefully to minimize the pain to his bruised body, the CI5 agent left the cell fearing he only had minutes left on this earth.

A short drive away in the car, Backus was giving them an update.

"The signal came from an area around here. I have checked the map and there is an abandoned mental hospital which would make a perfect hide out. I say we head for that!"

Keel and Owens agreed and didn't realise that they were indeed heading to the right place.

As they arrived at the site of the old hospital they noticed there were people packing a vehicle in the weak light.

"It looks like they're getting ready to leave!" Gerry announced. "Let's go and say hello, shall we?"

"It would be the polite thing to do!" Keel agreed, but as the words left his lips he noticed a man stumbling out of a building closely followed by another man with a gun trained on him.

"Bloody hell, that's Sam!" he said with a mixture of relief and fear.

Gerry had his gun ready and broke the spell.

"We better move because if the guy with the gun is George Morris, he's a psycho!"

All three agents exited the car and circled silently around the building until they were within close proximity of the men.

Sam, unaware that his colleagues were in the area, felt his time running out.

"Stop here!" Jack, or rather George, barked.

Sam swallowed and did as he was instructed, facing his tormenter. For one fleeting moment he considered an escape but he knew in his heart of hearts he was no match for three men in his present state, especially when they were as large as Burke and Hare.

"Turn around and kneel down." George ordered, levelling the gun at Sam.

Sam defiently gave him a last look and muttered as he turned away. "As I said, in the back!"

He managed to struggle down onto his knees as George walked forward and aimed the gun at the back of his head.

"Any last humorous words, agent Curtis?"

Sam thought for a second and then replied, "This'll make you laugh. CI5 already have the file, so you're screwed!"

George was flustered for a second, and that gave the three agents the chance to strike.

"Sam! Hit the deck!" Keel screamed to his partner.

Needing no further bidding, Sam flung himself to the floor as a bullet struck the centre of George's chest.

George looked completely surprised for one dying moment, as a red stain spread over his shirt, before slumping to the floor, his dead eyes losing focus.

Sam struggled to look to where the shot had come from and saw Chris Keel standing motionless; his gun raised in an assassin's stance, his aim had been perfect.

Startled by the turn of events, Burke and Hare drew their weapons and ran behind the buildings.

Gerry Owens motioned to Backus to take the one man, whilst he sloped off to look after the other.

Keel shouldered his weapon and ran over to his partner.

Kneeling by his side he cradled his head in his lap.

"What took you so long?" Sam mumbled.

Keel had to smile.

"Blame Malone. I wanted to work through the night but he made us go home!"

Sam managed a smile. "Good old Malone."

Keel sighed inwardly at the sight of Sam's injuries, but kept fairly upbeat.

"Do you have a key for these cuffs?" he asked before realising that was a very stupid question.

Curtis coughed a little before replying, "Funnily enough, I don't."

Keel felt sheepish. "Sorry, I meant do you have an idea where it is?"

Curtis indicated over to George's body with his head. "Jack had it in his pocket."

"Jack? Who's Jack? Oh you mean George!"

Curtis wrinkled his brow in thought. "Is that his name? He doesn't look like a George!"

"Yeah, George Morris. I'll get the key." And he gently laid his friend down again.

Meanwhile, Gerry had managed to trap one of the henchmen in a small room and had bolted the door. He then went and helped Tina with the other one. When faced with fair opposition, they were not as threatening as they appeared.

They came back over to where Keel had undone the cuffs, and was supporting Sam in a semi sitting position.

"They won't give us any more trouble!" Gerry announced. "We've stowed them away until the police get here!"

Tina had rung for an ambulance. "I've let Malone know the situation and he's onto Kantor and Morris as we speak."

Sam was curious. "Kantor? Is he involved in this?"

Tina hushed him. "We'll discuss it when you are feeling better."

Gerry came over to Sam.

"You did well, buddy. Just like the old days!"

Sam tried to smile but his bruised flesh resisted.

Tina, ever the professional, felt her colleague's limbs and chest for signs of injury. A sharp intake of breath told her she'd found the sore spot.

She looked up at Keel. "He has a couple of broken ribs and nose by the looks of it."

Keel nodded.

Sam, for the first time in a few days finally feeling safe, allowed himself to slip into unconsciousness.

Back in London, Harry Malone had poured himself a large scotch and sat back in his chair, relief flooding over him.

They were bringing his agent home.