Silent Partner

Frank toppled under the wave of grays, a mass of teeth and talons and I thought I saw the flash of a switchblade. Still, Frank was a big man, six feet with some change left over, and he was giving as good as he got.

At last, I got close enough to do some good. I couldn't take a shot, but I pulled one kid off and slapped a binding on him. The thin chain whipped round, tying his legs together, pinning his arms to his chest. His snarl turned to shock as the chain constricted and he fell over, arms lashed painfully across his torso.

In that time, Frank had bloodied two more, leaving them writhing on the sidewalk, but one of the others bit into his arm and the cannon went skittering. Frank and the remaining three scrambled after it in a tangle of bodies, but it was Tattoo-boy got there first. I have to admit, he moved pretty quick for someone down half a leg. He hefted the gun and swung it around on us.

He was kneeling, balanced on a blackened stump, bleeding from his nose and a nasty gash over a swollen eye. He looked like hell, but the kid leveled the gun like a pro. Like a killer. I turned my own gun on him, nowhere near as steady. We weren't going to win a stand-off. The others were already circling, closing in. So I pulled the trigger.

It was just a brass caster, not like Frank's cannon, but it put a neat steaming hole in the kid's forehead, punctuating the runes across his face. His head snapped back, his face a perfect portrait of goblin grace. He was like that for ages, kneeling in front of the grocer, eyes upturned. Then he tipped to the side and stopped breathing and just like that the kid was dead.

There were still three goblins off to my left, but they never made their move. I guess they didn't like the odds. Frank groaned as he bent down and reached for his cannon.





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