4 Severing the ties

In the still of the night, Kyrano sat up in bed and opened his eyes. There was something he had to do. He left his room and, with his normal, silent tread made his way through the darkened house to the kitchen, where he selected a long, sharp carving knife from the rack on the wall, then turned back to the accommodation wing. Moving like a sleepwalker he made his way along the corridor that led to the rooms of Jeff, his mother, Scott, and the empty room that belonged to John.

The moonlight that shone through the window at the end of the corridor illuminated a small white object, pale against the dark carpet. Automatically, Kyrano bent to pick it up. Mrs Tracy had been busy with her knitting needles – in Kyrano's hand lay a tiny baby's bootee. Kyrano looked at it, remembering how Mrs Tracy had sent him similar items after Tin Tin was born. The trouble he had had to get them to stay on his daughter's tiny feet! It had been hard raising a child on his own, after his beloved wife had died in childbirth. A child needed two parents.

Two parents. Kyrano looked around, realising where he was for the first time. He looked at the knife in his hand and the bootee fell to the floor. "No" he whispered, softly. "No, I will not do it."

"Yes, you will, Kyrano!" the voice thundered in his mind. "You are powerless before me. You will do my bidding."

"NO! I will not! You cannot make me!" Kyrano's voice rose to a scream. Doors opened along the corridor, illuminating the scene of Kyrano, his face pale and sweating, and his eyes wide with fear, struggling with himself, both hands grappling on the handle of a wickedly sharp knife.

"Kyrano? What's going on?" asked Jeff, still not fully awake.

"Look out, Dad, he's got a knife!" Scott pushed Elizabeth back inside their room, closed the door and stood protectively in front of the doorway.

Jeff looked at his mother. "Mother! Get back inside!"

Ruth Tracy shook her head. "Don't be silly, Jeff. Kyrano wouldn't hurt me."

Jeff took a step towards his old friend, his hand extended. "Come on, Kyrano, my friend. Give me the knife."

As Kyrano turned to face Jeff, Scott darted forward and made a grab for the knife, but the older man twisted round to face him waving the knife wildly. "Stay back!" he gasped, seeming to have trouble speaking. "He wants me to do this. I do not want to, but he is strong."

"Who wants you to do it, Kyrano? What's going on?" As he was talking, Scott was trying to edge closer. "Come on, put the knife down. I know you don't want to hurt anybody."

In the dimly lit temple, The Hood stood in front of the statue, his eyes blazing like twin pools of fire. "Kyrano, my brother! You cannot resist me."

"I will fight you. You are evil!"

"Yes" came the mocking response in his mind, "I am evil incarnate, and the bond of blood that ties us together makes you powerless before me. I am in control of your mind, and of your body. Kill Scott Tracy now!"

"No! I will not let you use me in this way. I shall stop you, whatever the cost to myself!" To the horror of the watchers, Kyrano turned the knife and plunged it into his own chest, then pulled it out and dropped it on the floor. Scott picked up the knife, then threw it away down the corridor. Kyrano fell to his knees, his hands pressed to his chest. Jeff moved forward to support him. "Take it easy, my old friend. We'll look after you." He looked up to see that Virgil and Gordon had appeared at the top of the stairs leading from their rooms. "Fetch Brains, quickly!" he said, then glancing down at the blood-covered figure in his arms, added, "and Tin Tin".

Scott knelt by his side and was using a towel to try to staunch the flow of blood. His eyes met his father's and he shook his head slowly. He felt Kyrano grasp his hand. "I would not have let him do it, Mr Scott. He was strong, but I fought him."

Tin Tin came rushing up the stairs. She gave a gasp when she saw her father lying in an ever-spreading pool of blood, but knelt by his side and took his hand. Virgil, following behind her, looked over her head at his father. "Gordon and Brains have gone to sickbay for a stretcher." He looked down at Kyrano and Tin Tin. "Do you think I should go and get Alan?"

Jeff looked at the scene before him "Good idea, son. Take Thunderbird 2 and call Alan once you are airborne. He can drive out into the desert and meet you."

Tin Tin was bending over her father, tears on her face. "Father! What happened?"

Kyrano gave her a weak smile. "It was my brother. He is a powerful man, and a truly evil one. For too long he has been making me do wicked things," here he looked at Jeff, "giving away your secrets. But I am dying now, and soon I shall be free of him, so International Rescue will be in danger no longer."

"You fool!" echoed the voice in his mind. "Your daughter is close to you now. Her grief has brought her mind in contact with yours. Once you are dead I shall take control of her, then she will be my slave for the rest of her life"

"No," whispered Kyrano, in despair. "My daughter, I love you. I will not let him have you."

"Yes" came the mocking reply in his brain. "Soon she will be mine!"

"Never!" answered Kyrano, his eyes dimming.

"Father, no!" cried Tin Tin, as her father's grasp on her hand slackened.

In the temple there was a loud crack as the great bronze statue split on two. The essence that had once been Kyrano poured out, powered by years of resentment and fury, hitting The Hood's mind like a shockwave. These emotions he was used to, and could have deflected, but they were driven by a desperation born of love, against which the evil genius had no defence. This was no wriggling white worm – this was a raging tiger, and in its rage it attacked The Hood's mind, tearing it apart. With a cry, The Hood sank to the floor and lay still.

Back on Tracy Island the family crowded round to comfort Tin Tin as she cradled her father's lifeless body in her arms. Overhead came the roar of jets from Thunderbird 2 taking off.

Dawn was just breaking over the Malaysian jungle. In a temple in a clearing a body lay motionless on the floor in front of a broken statue. A rat crept out of the darkness, and sniffed at the still form. Soon it was joined by others and they began to feed.

Final note: Just to repeat what I said at the beginning – I love getting your reviews, I really do. But if you review this, pleeeease don't give away the end for those who have not yet read it!

Q