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INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE EfJ. ScHosse


WEIRD TALES 1

No Longer a Secret
Every Man
Can Have it! The secret is out! Brcitbart himself, acknowledged
the World’s strongest man, will reveal his innermost
secrets of strength that have astonished millions.

Most people think J was born strong, in fact they remark "It was born
in him.” Let me tell you I was not. From the time I was bom ? was
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of strength and secretly to exhibit a huge, monstrous muscle. Sort of
natural for a boy, isn't it? As 1 grew older, I gave more time, thought
and study to the scientific development of super-human strength.

I’ve Tried Them All!


1 can spare you many a wearisome hour. 1 tried all manner of courses
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tific course which would satisfy myself. I learned by actually pet forming
the ideas which 1 created. Thus l am able to offer a course which is
fundamentally sound, tried and true. 1 don't ask you to accept something
that isn't practical.

Tto You
Reveals It All
Want Strength? pound i. with sledge hammer: j-w pa pen >2 end
MJppoi t tUecA^Snf^
33 the motoi cycle race while 1
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and pep.” I will build a body possessing the super ated to picture' vividly in your mind that i possess
W'WS^-Si " ^ *gP° wer to bend, break or crush at the instant the that which I teach. If you want a new start in
me. | atn on tWe to resist y
,
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;
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he man. Send for it. Yours is waiting.
What ttocy e the Edition is Exhausted
it lus «o fa exceeded my expec.
l want you to realize that
the bottom of my heart,
talking from
Ij

mn. telling yoa


|
ave already .twice increased the
e it h ret went to press. It is the
Clip and
only the plain truth. 1 bet
iron bands around my arm
Inch
would a with my
on strength
photographs
Mail this
piece of ribbon. Bend horses i»y
!:.«ve caused
feats ot
prominent
Coupon
hands ov>re ee«Hy lhan the: viBa^e Black-
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gt* TV.
a&nuitM-neas, Take this
A/* i^^.-|>iwt<*{ra ph of
Now/
Drive nails «.nru oak planks and n**to th*u <s|ifcjrrf$i»h> ayiSKoctal.
Support four thousand pounds of Vert
granite on my chest while six husky men! Siegmund Breitbart
away at it with steel sledge hammers. Is it Dept. J-15
with six^mraJj
beyond reason that 1 am continually re- 1 demonstrare
Gotham Bank Building
ferred to as "The Super-man of the Ages?” of granite on New York City
want to become muscular and
I
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method. Send me your new 64 -page
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meter which is free.


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0IZARRE and UWSUAl

VOIOIK V NUMBER 1

r Published monthly by the Popular Fiction Publishing Company, 325 N. Capitol


Ave., Indianapolis, Ind. Entered as second-class matter March 20, 1923, at the post-
ofBpe at Indianapolis, Ind., under the act of March 3, 1879. Single copies, 25 cents.
. Subscription, $2.50 a year in the United States; $3.00 a year in Canada. The pub-
lishers are not responsible for the loss of unsolicited manuscripts, although every care
will be taken of such material while, in Our possession. The contents of this maga-
zine are fully protected by copyright and must not be reproduced either wholly or in
part without permission from the publishers. FARNSWORTH WRIGHT, Editor.
Copyright, 1924, by the Popular Fiction Publishing Company

Contents for January 1925 ,

Cover Design Andrew Brosnafcb


Invaders From Outside J. Schlossel 5
A Planet From Outer Space Wages War on the Twelve Worlds

The Electric Chair 1 George Waight 17


Death Faced Him —or Else the Grisly Horror of an Unknown Fate

As Obligated Armstrong Livingston 26


The Baronet’s Bathroom Bell Was Bewitched
The Rajah’s Gift E. Hoffmann Price 35
Oriental Tale — One Crowded Hour of Glorious Life
The Fireplace Henry S. Whitehead 40
A Weird Murder—and a Ghostly Revenge

White Man's Madness Lenore E. Chaney 49


Last of the Incas —the Lure of Gold
Red and Black Irvin Mattick 67
Yong Lo Was a. Reptile with an Artists Soul

( Continued on Next Page)


( Continued from Preceding Page)

When We Killed Thompson Strickland Gillilan 73


For Thirty Years He Believed Himself a Murderer

Wings of Power (First Part) Lady Anne Bonny 77


Three-part Pseudo-Scientific Novel

Out of the Long Ago Seabury Quinn 95


Werewolves —a Tale of Heredity
On the Highway Cargray Cook 106
Wild Automobile Ride, with Death at the Wheel

The Ocean Leech Frank Belknap Long, Jr. 109


Uncanny Monster Oozes Over the Side of a Ship

Two Crows Francis Hard 115


Verse

Fog C. Franklin Miller 116


Prehistoric Patagonian Monsters —a Tale of Stark Terror
Luisma’s Return Arthur J. Burks 123
Haiti —Death of Henri 1, Emperor of the North

A Changeling Soul Victor Lauriston 129


Tale of Tangled Personalities

The Specter Priestess of Wrightstone Herman F. Wright 134


Ghostly Legend of an English Castle

The Valley of Teeheemen (Conclusion) Arthur Thatcher 138


Two-part Novel —Strange Valley in South America

The Remorse of Professor


Scientist Tries to
Panebianco
Find the Physical Qualities of the
— Greye La Spina 157
Human Soul

Arhl-a of the Caves C. M. Eddy, Jr. 163


Zurd the Coward and — the Love of Arhl-a for Wagh the Mighty

The Festival H. P, Lovecraft 169


Eldritch Tale of New England Witchcraft

Phantoms Laurence R. D’Orsay 175


Crime— Dope —and a Haunted Conscience

The Eyrie —— — 179


A Chat With the Readers

For Advertising: Rates in WEIRD TAXES Apply

W. B. ZIFF CO.
Transportation Building: Architects Building Bryant Building
Chicago New York Kansas City

4
O N EVERY
suns,
hand huge
single or
brilliant
multiple,
flashed past with their retinue
of small dark planets. Though there
was no soirnd to mark their passage
It can almost be said that no phe-
nomenon of the sky, great or small,
escaped their keen-eyed vigilance. Hot
glowing suns and cold dead worlds
came equally under their curious, all-
through the heavens, yet one felt that penetrating gaze. Their system of re-
here, indeed, was a roaring inferno. search was as near perfect as possible
Slowly and steadily did the solar sys- besides, if one or more of the mem-
tem forge ahead through this verita- bers of that great body known as the
ble whirlpool of mighty blazing suns. Scientific Society of the Twelve Con-
It was nothing less than a miracle that federate Worlds missed something
the sun should be able to guide his through an unavoidable local conui-
charge of planets safely through this tion, the other members did not.

densely star-packed region near the Always did they keep watch, and
center of the Milky Way. Even though their instruments embraced
the limits of the Milky Way yet a
though the sun now shone with his
large number of cold, dark worlds had
greatest possible splendor, he was
slipped in past their vigilance, and
nothing but a tiny dwarf sun within'
one of these was now hurtling at an
a region where white-hot giants
enormous velocity straight toward the
abounded.
solar system.
The intelligent inhabitants of the
Ignorant entirely of its coming, of
solar system had for ages past been the curious zigzag course it followed,
sweeping the heavens with their pon- or of its desperate purpose, the in-
derous astronomical instruments, en- habitants of those twelve civilized
deavoring to see farther, always worlds went on confidently with their
farther. Their telescopes were gigan- researches and their dreams of eter-
tic. With the aid of those huge eyes nal peace.
that stared unblinkingly out into the Peace? To the average inhabitant
starry regions of the night, they were of the Twelve Confederate Worlds the
able to record, chart, and compare meaning of the words peace and war
nearly every star within the island was unknown. Those two words were
universe of which they were an in- met with only in the oldest archives on
significant part. each planet. For the perfect and se-
6 WEIRD TALES
cure peace that the Twelve Confeder- were, of course, the moons of Uranus,
ate Worlds enjoyed had never been but life there was still in the savage

broken. They were the masters of state.


the solar system. Peace was even The thrill that the first few fear-
older than the confederacy, and that less Martians. experienced when they
was old beyond reckoning. No one dared the unknown terrors of the vast
knew or had the least conception when airless seas in their flimsy crude craft
the Act of Confederation had been can never be recalled. Bridging the
passed. It was forgotten in the bot- space between the worlds was as
tomless seas of the past. common now as traveling from city to
Not even the industrious inhabi- city. But there was no danger now,
and neither was there any thrill in it..
tants of Mars, though their civiliza-
tion had reached its apex two hundred
Even though the Confederacy was ad -

mittod to be old. very old. interplane-


and fifty thousand Martian years be-
tary travel was necessarily still older,.
fore and their written records extend-
It was the forerunner of the other.
ed back twice that far. knew when
that deathless compact had been
agreed upon. Wrought deeply in the
npHE very first trip from Mars was

smooth, imperishable walls of ada- to the Moon, which circled the


mant that surrounded the Moon's cap- barbarous planet. Earth. Those in-
ital city, Isliree, was the entire history trepid Martian explorers expected to
of the ages that had so swiftly glided throw their lives away when they shot
into the past: but even this great- up into the absolute void of space.
est oldest of all histories faded
and They never thought that they would
into amass of crisscrossed lines return. And their folk waited season
of undecipherable script long in the in and season out still they did not,
;

ancient past dealing with that mem- hear from them. Years after all hope
orable event. The records
of the other had been abandoned their craft was
civilized worlds were just as illegible sighted in the clear sky. They were
- ki^regard to the period when the returning at last.
twelve worlds had confederated.
The Martians crowded around that
One hundred and twenty million ship after the initial shock and roar
miles out beyond the orbit of Mars
of its landing was past. As the cap-
was the orbit of the next world be-
tain stepped out of his frail craft he
longing to the Confederacy. It bore
was cheered again and again by the
no name, but was called No. 5. It was
admiring populace. Twenty had
situated between Mars and the Jovian
started out on that first trip into the
system of habitated moons. And then
infinite, yet only seven others besides
came Jupiter with his four civilized
the captain dragged themselves wear-
moons, each of which was a member
of the Confederacy: C’allisto and
ily on to the Martian soil. The other
twelve lay buried in a strange world.
Ganymede, the two largest Europa;

and Io. the two smallest. Far out They had for the most part suc-
beyond the Jovian system, about cumbed to the frightful rigors of the
trip over.
four hundred million miles, lay the
orbit of Saturn. Out there he was Their folk begged them, then and.
supreme. He owed allegiance to none there, to tell of the terrible hard-
but his parent, the Sun. He held ships and dangers that they must have
continual sway over his five habitable gone through. Those daring pioneers
moons: Japetus, the outermost Titan,:
first rested, and then they began their

the largest while Rhea, Dione. and


:
strange tales. That they were thickly
Tcthvs came in order named. There garnished with wild imaginings was
INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE 7

suspected, but no one then could tell civilizations almost equal to their
positively. own. They returned to Mars, their
The travelers told of the wonderful home. They had been received with
feeling of lightness that pervaded hospitality everywhere, and treated
them as they stepped out of their with the respect due to an envoy from
vehicle ;
of the Moon ’s
strange vegeta- one world to another.
tion, the great scarlet blossoms that The government of Mars entered
were far larger than any vegetation into a trade compact with the gov-
on Mars. They described the smooth, ernments of the other worlds. The
unbroken plains the great cities that
: situation on Mars prior to the return
dotted the lunar landscape the civili-
;
of the first exploring expedition had
zation there that was even older than been critical. The local markets had
their own. They recounted in each been overcrowded, and to avoid grave
detail the immense throngs that came industrial crises it had been absolute-
to greet them the perfect hospitality
;
ly necessary that new markets be
of the Moon dwellers; the genuine found at once.
welcome. After the return of the explorers
They next told of the homesickness the traders started out. They went
that had engulfed them and their in- in droves. They went almost to the
ability to leave because they were limits of the solar system to obtain
short-handed. More than half of the markets for their surplus products.
crew had died and they could not That they had found new markets and
work their vessel back. They had kept them could be proved by the
made many friends while they had so- enormous traffic that each world now
journed there. They told their hosts carried on with the others. The an-
of their yearning to return to their cient method of transportation, those
native soil and the reason why they old ships propelled by the rocket dis-
could not. Their hosts volunteered charge principle, were too' slow-. Why,
to help them work their vessel back, their limit of speed was only about
and showered them with gifts when twenty thousand miles an hour. So
they took leave, and invited them to slow ! It took their ancient ancestors
return. from one to eight Martian years to
When these first voyagers had told make one round trip. Compared to
their tales and exhibited metals that the modern almost instantaneous
were considered almost priceless on method of wireless transmission of
their own planet, but which could be solid matter, the rocket-propelled
had in any quantity on the Moon, ships were slow and crude.
their tale so fired the adventurous Though the inhabitants of Mars
Martians that there was a stampede were the most aggressive, they did not
to sign on for the proposed expedition presume to' the right of leadership or
that their government was undertak- the right to dictate terms. They were
ing. too far advanced to entertain such
Other explorers started out in the useless dreams of conquest. What
direction of No. 5. They found the they had or knew they gave without
inhabitants there as far advanced as stint to the younger civilizations of
they were, but along different lines. the union. All was instantly accessi-
The inhabitants of No. 5 were esthetic, ble to every member of those twelve
pleasure-loving and beauty-loving worlds throttgh the Bureau of Knowl-
creatures. edge and the Bureau of Means.
Others went still farther out, to It seems like a paradox to say that
Jupiter and the Jovian system of hab- they were civilized and still peaceful,
itated moons. Everywhere they found that they did not understand the full
8 WEIRD TALES
significance of war. They knew what It was strange that tlieir instru-
war was, but not through personal ments should be of such strength that
contact.War, they held, was for the they were able to search out and as-
savages that lived on the three outer sign to its proper place the smallest
moons of Uranus, or for the nameless and most minute star, yet not know
four-legged things that so miserably of the approaching body.
existed on the planet Earth, but not
for the highly intelligent beings who
A message came from Mars, the
most industrious member of the Con-
owed allegiance to the Confederacy.
federacy, that its scientists were work-
That strange, alien world that was
ing on an intricate instrument that
speeding toward them, meanwhile, re-
would easily separate into its com-
mained totally unknown. Its small
ponent parts the thousands of star
size and its tremendous distance
clusters that dotted the region beyond
might have been the reason why their
mighty telescopes could not bring it the Milky Way. When this new in-
into view, or perhaps the curious zig- strument would be completed, the
zag course it followed. Martians promised, they would be
It made no difference how far ad-
able to see the surfaces of the dark
vanced their civilization were, they bodies that attended the bright stars
could not read the future. That was throughout the heavens.
admitted to be beyond the realms of The Confederacy was enjoying its
possibility. But why couldn’t there golden era of peace and prosperity.
be one, only one, out of the combined There was no sign of war or strife.
populations of- the whole twelve The tremendous advancements in
worlds to warn them of the approach- every field of activity had long since
ing danger, to tell them that a strange eliminated the drudgery from exist-
world was approaching out of the ence. Life was very sweet, but not
depths of space at an inconceivable cloying. One question loomed up
velocity ? large would not this perpetual peace
:

and ease breed a race of cowardly


HP HE inhabitants of the Twelve degenerates ?
^Confederate Worlds were not in-
The inhabitants of the twelve
dividualists. They had advanced be-
worlds had never been called upon to
yond that stage on the day when their
risk their lives against an invading
separate worlds had united, for on
force. They might be soft, as com-
that day each race had given up its
pared to their progenitors of the dark
deep-rooted dream that its own pe-
and bygone past, in the matter of
culiar species had been created su-
muscles and in their ability to resist
preme above all others. It was the
the naked elements. But what of it?
intelligence, not the form or color of
Life was not so hard now. There
their fellow creatures, that they held
really was no need of brawn. And
in high esteem.
besides, their science had made them
Messages in the musical tinkling practically immune to all the disease
universal language of the solar sys- germs that bred within the solar sys-
tem were hourly broadcast from the tem. Even though they Avere soft in
central broadcasting stations on each the matter of muscle, their span of
planet. The latest news and all the life Avas from twenty to fifty times
improvements in the field of science the full life span of their early an-
throbbed through the ether on equal cestors. Who could foretell Avhether
terms with the commercial matter they would prove in a pinch to be a
that was being sent out continually. race of cowardly degenerates or not?
INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE 9

And
'danger
then, entirely unexpected (for
always comes unexpected),
from one of the huge observatories on
T HE first reports,
cially
from Japetus.
though not
confirmed, came at
Its distance was
offi-

last
esti-
Japetus, the outer moon of Saturn, mated to be a little less than the dis-
there came an imperious command tance that it takes light to travel in
that all broadcasting immediately half a year. It was much farther
cease. As the broadcasting died down away than the first wild reports had
a message was repeatedly flashed led them to believe. Later came its
through the ether ; “A
large body of size, speed, and direction.
planetary dimensions is hurtling to-
It was generally considered that it
ward the solar system at a terrific
’ 5
'
was a dead world— a piece of slag
velocity.
hurtling through space at the incred-
The Martians worked night and day ible velocity of eighteen thousand
to complete their intricate half-fin-
miles a second! Just one-tenth the
ished instrument for long distance ob-
speed of light. At that speed it would
servation. It was completed at last
be upon them in less than five years!
and ready to be tested. It lived up
Its diameter was ascertained to be
to their highest expectations. Without
any further delay it was sent to Jape- about two thousand miles, or one-
tus and there set up for observation.
fourth the diameter of the planet
Nothing further could be learnt Earth. It was nothing but a tiny
with the old instruments. The inhabi- speck as stellar sizes go. Small as it
tants of each world waited for some- was, at that rate of speed, it was large
thing definite to come from the Mar- enough to wreck the civilization of
tian observatory on Japetus. the solar system. The question that
Somei frightened inhabitants of the naturally came to the inhabitants of
Confederacy demanded that govern- those twelve civilized worlds was:
ments declare martial law and con- was it only a burnt-out cinder
script every individual so that they thrown off by some mighty sun with
could commence building and outfit- such unerring aim and such great
ting a fleet of great stellar transports force that it should flash through the
large enough to give every one a heavens straight for the solar system ?
chance to flee from the doomed solar Or was it inhabited by sentient be-
system. A
few, more learned but ings?
equally wild, suggested that the Scien- A reassuring official report was sent
tific Society of the Twelve Confeder- out. It said that there was absolutely
ate Worlds concentrate their com- no cause for alarm; that when the
bined energies toward finding a way approaching body reached the spot in
to hurl Neptune, the outermost of the the heavens where the sun and his at-
solar family, out to meet it. But tending planets now were, the entire
most of the inhabitants waited quiet- solar system would have moved on
ly, numbed by the terrible threat of many hundred million miles away on
doom. its own course. At the rate of speed
No
attention was at first paid to Avith Avhich the approaching body Avas
those who
let their emotions run away traveling, the attraction of our sun
with them, but later, when the hys- could not swerve it from its course;
teria of the few was spreading like no, not even if our sun Avere ten thou-
wildfire, itwas decided to banish all sand times his oAvn size.
who were inclined to excessive nerv- The astronomers welcomed its < om-
ousness to some far off spot until the ing. Its speed Avas an unexplainable
crisis was either past, or their fate phenomenon of the heavens. ‘‘Noth-
definitely settled. ing but a head-on collision Avith some
10 WEIRD TALES
larger body could stop it,” they de- head on a clear, frosty night. But
clared. they do not shine with the sharp
All surface peculiarities were
its brightness of nearer stars. It is their
known by even the youngest inhabi- distance, impossible to comprehend,
tant of the Twelve Confederate that makes them appear nothing but
Worlds. as smooth as a bil-
It was a patch of soft, hazy light, notwith-
liard ball —
proof of its great age. A standing the fact that each cluster
shines with the combined light of fifty
snowlike substance covered its sur-
face, probably to a depth of five hun- thousand to one hundred million
1

dred feet. But the knowledge con- huge flaming suns!


cerning it extended no deeper than its Everything must in time grow old
surface. The living take their substance from
If their instruments could have the dead. The suns grow old and die.
seen 'beneath the snowlike cover- Everywhere in the heavens the ruins
ing, seen what was going on there, the of dead star clusters can be seen-,—
Confederate Worlds would have be- huge, shapeless masses that are abso-
gun feverish preparations for one of lutely dead-black.
the most desperate struggles that had And that approaching world and
ever been fought. many others had come from some-
They thought of tracing it back. where out there, not from a living,
At that speed (so they reasoned) glowing star cluster, but from the out-
nothing could have turned it from its skirts of a dead, intensely black re
course, and so it must have come al- gion. From a region, if such a region
most as straight as a ray of light. But can be imagined, where all matter has
they were wrong, very wrong, for its nearly reached a state of perfect
flight was not governed solely by the equilibrium. Where all matter is
mechanical laws that govern matter. nearly stable, and so all matter almost
The Confederate Worlds made no al- dead. There were no flaming suns
lowance for such a thing as a direct- there to give light to that terrible
ing will. If they had known of its darkness. Each body within the bor-
curious zigzag course, could they ders of that lifeless region was break-
have accounted for it? They knew ing down. The molecules were disin-
no laws to explain why it should tegrating, the atoms flying free. In
swerve sharply aside when it came the boundless sea of ether the atoms
into the neighborhood of some of the were moving sluggishly away in vast,
mighty suns that had dotted its cloudlike masses. This was the end
course as it flashed on its way toward of a universe.
the solar system, and then, after pass- Like slinking rats from a sinking
ing them, resume its former course. ship this approaching body had come
Instead of repulsing, those mighty from that region. It came with a
suns irresistibly attract any wander- grim, fixed purpose, nearer, still near-
ing bodies that chance to come within er. It was invisible to the naked eye.
the field of their influence. It was calculated to soon pass the
It was impossible to trace back its solar system.
course, but if they could have done Some of the more hot-blooded mem-
so, they would have been dumfounded bers of the Scientific Society of the
at the immense distance that the ap- Twelve Confederate Worlds requested
proaching body had covered. permission to take one of the society’s
It was
a visitor from a far off re- interstellar vehicles, provision it for
gion. indeed. Out beyond the borders a lifetime, and go out to meet and
of the Milky Way
the star clusters board it. They painted in glowing
gleam as thick as the stars shine over- pictures the advantages that the
INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE 11

Scientific Society would gain from ing Neptune. In a little while all the
their sacrifice, and the perfect de- snowlike substance had evaporated.
scriptions that they would be able to It had turned into an almost trans-
broadcast back. parent envelope of heavy, bluish gas.
Their l’equest was refused on the The surface under the covering was
grounds that the new Martian instru- then seen for the first time by the ob-
ment for observation installed upon servers on the Twelve Confederate
Japetus could easily follow its flight Worlds. Nearly the entire area of
for ages to come. It would be only a this new world was covered with
useless sacrifice of life to attempt to square or oblong structures. In some
board that strange object. places the square structures had been
In -the secret code of the Scientific concentrated for reasons that were as
Society word was sent out that this yet unknown. In those places the
body had actually stopped in its head- foundations were truly massive; the
long journey. It hung poised, mo- structures had been built in tiers, each
tionless, then began to fall slowly to- succeeding tier smaller than the one
ward the solar system. These new and beneath it and up, up they went un-
;

terrifying facts were not given to the til they formed pyramidal structures
general public. It would not help several miles in height.
matters if they knew, but might bring Strange creatures that walked erect
on another attack of hysteria. The on only two feet next made their ap-
Scientific Society could hardly believe pearance. The inhabitants of the
the evidence of its observation instru- twelve worlds marveled. The two-
ments. legged creatures moved here and
The body continued to drop slowly there, also seeing, it seemed, the sur-
toward the sun, and then, as it neared face of their world for the first time.
the orbit of Neptune, it turned, and They must have come up from be-
at an acute angle it began to head neath the surface. They were clad
for old Neptune, who was crawling in a uniform, gray, hairy material
out of the west to meet it. A collision that hung loosely upon their frames.
seemed imminent. Its speed was very Their movements were at first listless,
slow, no more than eighteen hundred but gradually they began to quicken.

miles a minute just a fraction of
former tremedous speed, and
They looked around for a while and
its then went below the surface again.
it became still slower. When the new- It was not until the next day that
comer came within a quarter of a mil- they really began to come up in num-
lion miles of Neptune it began to cir- bers. For the two succeeding days
cle him, as if it were a moon. they poured up in a constant stream.
The Scientific Society heaved a sigh In a little while the surface of their
of relief, and gave out the facts then world was black with them. They
to the public. The changing speed must have hollowed out the very bow-
and the deliberate actions of this new els of the planet to have accommo-
member of the solar, family were un- dated such vast numbers. Like bees
explainable; still, all the threatened in a hive they were now swarming
danger seemed past. over their huge pyramidal structures
and the smaller oblong buildings,
npHE instruments that had been everywhere.
brought to bear upon this new The Scientific Society now realized
member showed that the snowlike sub- that it had not been blind chance that
stance that covered its surface was had steered this body toward the solar
quickly evaporating under the warm, system. It was evident that those in-
kindly glow emanating from old dy- telligent creatures had directed their
12 WEIRD TALES
world to this, a more favorable loca- delegation from the twelve worlds had
tion. arrived in.
Realizing that these creatures were After the event of the red-clothed
intelligent, and thinking that they group the inhabitants of this strange
would probably need and appreciate world were seen to start building some
aid after their long journey, the new huge pyramidal structures and
Twelve Confederate Worlds generous- repairing the old ones.
ly sent out a delegation to the new- Always before had it been the Con-
comer to inquire if they could be of federate Worlds who were the mas-
any assistance. Form or color meant ters of every situation, but now they
nothing to the inhabitants of those were plainly bewildered. They de-
twelve civilized worlds it was intelli-
;
cided to bide their time and wait.
gence that they held in high esteem. They did not fear the invader. It
No sooner did the party from the was quite a different matter, this
Confederate Worlds land than they killing of a few unsuspecting individ-
were surrounded and killed Neither
!
uals, from attacking the twelve civ-
a reason nor a warning had been ilized worlds.
given. They were killed with about
as much compunction as one would T^ROM the moment that the strange
kill some loathsome insects. After world so suddenly ai-rived, and
killing them, these strange two-legged with its first ruthless act took up its
creatures were seen to go about their sullen position as a new member of
tasks as if nothing had happened. the solar family, the watchful eyes
The inhabitants of the twelve of the Twelve Confederate Worlds did
worlds were startled, horrified. They not leave it for an instant. Every
actually did not know what to do. The act was viewed with suspicion. In-
act had no precedent in all their his- tently did they watch the two-legged
tories. Something must be done. But creatures repair and build the huge
what? A reprisal? They did not pyramidal structures that reared
even think of a reprisal, for they were their heads several miles above the
essentially a peace-loving folk. It surrounding surface. With deep won-
was unwise to send out another dele- der they watched them bring out from
gation to demand an explanation. the interior of their planet large,
They tried even- means of interplane- metal, boxlike objects. They were
tary communication, but they elicited not producing them one at a time, but
no response. by the thousands, and stacking them
A few hours after the killing, a up near the huge pyramidal struc-
group of those strange creatures, but tures. On the very pinnacle of each
evidently in high command (for they pyramid there was a square opening
were dressed in a bright red instead that was exactly the size of those
of the usual gray, and the gray-clad metal boxes, and each opening extend-
creatures prostrated themselves when- ed down to the very base of its pyra-
ever the red-elad group came near mid. The Scientific Society, try as it
them), had come up to view the re- would, could not discover to what use
mains of the slaughtered delegation. those boxes were being put.
They were seen to question in turn The numbers of those strange two-
those who killed them. Those ques- legged creatures were seen to increase,
tioned were seen to point up toward and still increase. The Scientific So-
the sun, and toward the Twelve Con- ciety had often discussed, wondering,
federate Worlds. The red-clothed how so many could exist on so small
were next seen to go over and examine an area. There seemed hardly room
the interplanetary- vehicle that the for a fraction of their numbers.
INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE 13

Where did they get their supply of of those twelve worlds did not realize
food? They did not grow it on the their danger. They went about in
surface, for there was no room. Did the smug belief that they were invul-
they manufacture artificial foods ? nerable.
Several times in past ages the The one thing that most amazed
Scientific Society had produced arti-
those who studied the strange, two-
ficial foods, but the inhabitants did
legged aliens was the speed with
not seem to relish them, though they
which they continued to increase their
were as palatable and nutritious from
numbers. In a very short time the
the chemical standpoint as any of the
four moons of Uranus were too small
foods that nature produced.
to hold them. An air of intense ac-
It was just three Martian years
tivity pervaded the four moons of
from the moment that they had ar-
Uranus. They commenced building
rived to the solar system until they
pyramids that were to be at least six
began to leap the tremendous void
that separated Neptune from the four
miles high. As soon as these were
moons of Uranus. From each square completed the square, metallic cubes
opening on top of the pyramidal made their appearance and were
structures a steady stream of metallic stacked up by thousands near by.
cubes flashed out into the bleak void The invaders leapt from the moons
of space on their journey toward the of Uranus to the five habitable moons
moons of Uranus. Each square box of Saturn, which were members of
was large enough to accommodate one the Confederation. The inhabitants
hundred of those queer two-legged of those five Confederate Worlds were
beings. unprepared. There was a steady whiz
They landed upon the four moons as the cubes shot through the air of
of Uranus, and with the cubes that those five worlds. They came in count-
had carried them across the void they less hordes.
formed a wall surrounding their first Rhea, Dione, and Tethys, the three
rude camp. They immediately set to smallest, were snuffed out in a twin-
work building a city. The structures kling. Japetus and Titan put up so
that they put up were identical with savage a front that they were able
those that covered the surface of their to hold them off. Each sent its des-
own world. After their first city was perate appeal for help throbbing
completed these ruthless two-legged through the ether.
creatures went out in their thousands Even though the invaders had many
and commenced slaughtering for their efficient death-dealing weapons and
furs the wild life that had lived there \ised them ruthlessly, the unpre-

prior to their coming killed those liv- pared inhabitants of Japetus and
ing creatures just for the bit of skin Titan put up so grim a strag-
or fur that covered their backs gle, fought so fiercely with what
The world of their origin, now the they could lay their hands upon,
moon of' old Neptune, still continued that they were able to stop the for-
to send those metal cubes in a steady ward charges time after time. Still it
stream to the moons of Uranus. City was plain that those pitiless two-
after city sprang into existence. They legged invaders held their most des-
flourished, growing so swiftly that the perate attempts at resistance cheaply
outskirts of each city soon blended — held them in sneering contempt
into the outskirts of its neighbors. held even the whole combined power
The Twelve Confederate Worlds of the Twelve Confederate Worlds in.
still continued to think of peace.
seemed strange that the inhabitants
It —
contempt played with them as a cat
would play with a mouse!
14 WEIRD TALES
The Confederate Worlds awoke to There came a shout of encourage-
their danger Was it too late?
at last. ment from the main wide entrance to
They sought in their museums and in the wireless transmission of matter
the old archives of their early his- building, and a solid line, some thirty
tories for plans of death-dealing de- deep, of fully armed Jovians from
vices that their own ancient, blood- the four Confederate Worlds of Jupi-
thirsty ancestors had used. They dis- ter leapt out to attack. A wide ave-
carded their foolish dreams of peace nue was immediately opened in the
and selected the ideas for the most tightly packed mass of Eelee’s cower-
terrible weapons that they could find ing populace, and the Jovians leapt
and they began to manufacture these through and spread out fanwise in
with lightning rapidity. Meanwhile, front of the defenseless inhabitants.
the inhabitants were conscripted, and Each of the Jovians in the front
the use of the weapons explained to on his back a small tank
lines carried
them; and they were soon ready to that sprayed out a hundred feet in
be sent out against the invaders. The advance a chemical, \ which ignited
Twelve Confederate Worlds did not everything it touched and burnt with
make the terrible mistake of under- a hot, livid flame.Those behind them
rating their antagonists. carried stubby metal tubes, which
would bark with short, thunderous re-
A GREAT force of invaders
surrounded Eelee, one of the
had ports, and which left ruin and death
in the ranks of the invaders.
and were slow-
largest cities on Titan, Help had come in the blackest mo-
ly forcing the weary defenders back. ment. Similar scenes w'ere taking
The invaders fought with swift, death- place in all of the larger cities on
dealing weapons, while the defenders Titan.
had only sticks and stones to oppose 1

Back, back they drove the invaders.


them. Was any wonder that the
it The Twelve Confederate Worlds (now
dispirited inhabitants of Titan were and two of those
there were only nine,
being forced back on every hand? threatened with momentary extinc-
The city of Eelee was full of weary, tion) hurled their conscripted forces
trembling fugitives who had fled be- across the void so swiftly and in such
fore the invaders from the surround- numbers that the invaders were star-
ing open country. The morale of the tled. Reluctant to give ground that
defenders was breaking. Time after they had previously gained, the two-
time they tried to fight through the legged warriors contested desperately
slowly tightening ring of those terri- each inch of their retreat. From every
ble two-legged invaders. The de- direction they were met by the de-
fenders were slaughtered in their fenders, who were armed with weap-
thousands. They were driven back ons as good as their own.
from every nook and cranny until Could these be the despised, peace-
they met in the center of their city. loving inhabitants of the solar system
This could hardly be called their last whom they had meant to destroy so
stand they were merely waiting their
: as to have undisputed possession of
turn to be butchered. In one solid, the entire solar' system? They could
compact mass they cowered in the hardly believe it, for the once peace-
public square in the center of the city. ful Jovians fought with a ferocity
The only protection at their backs that was terrible.
was a solidly built public building. Whenever the invaders stopped and
Eelee ’s central station for wireless tried to stand their ground, the de-
transmission of matter. Would help fenders swarmed up; the chemicals
never come? sprayed fires upon the two-legged in-
INVADERS FROM OUTSIDE 15

vaders; and those in the lines behind Prior to the invasion, the passenger
the first came with their short metal service from world to world had al-
tubes that roared with thunder and ways been subordinate to the commer-
wrought havoc in the ranks of the in- cial traffic of the wireless transmission
vaders. The Jovians forced them of matter system of transportation
back, always back, and began to sur- that interlaced the twelve worlds. But
round the isolated detachments of the with a few slight modifications the
invaders and destroy them. Not till whole system of transportation was
they had wiped them completely from made available for passenger service.
Titan did they turn their attention The Twelve Confederate Worlds were
toward the beleaguered inhabitants of now able to hurl their defenders from,
Japetus. world to world at the speed of light.
The inhabitants of Japetus were In a steady line the defenders
still fighting desperately when the would march into a station for wire-
J ovians came. Following close on the less transmission of matter, enter the
heels of the Jovian4 came the first de- automatic transmission chamber and
tachment from No. 5. There was also there receive the preliminary charge
a 'steady influx of invaders. des- A of specific high-frequency current
perate battle raged for possession of that would cause temporarily suspend-
Japetus. Reinforcements were pour- ed animation; then they would auto-
ing in on both sides. matically be carried to separate vi-
The invaders, who had successfully brating chambers of high intensity,
destroyed the inhabitants and build- which would cause the electrons that
ings on Rhea, Dione, and Tethys, now composed the bodies to be impinged
turned their attention toward Titan. upon the sending apparatus in the
Once more the invaders stormed compartment; a few minutes later,
Titan. They did not drop down upon the process reversed, they would be
defenseless inhabitants this time.
ready to leave the receiving station at
They were met and repulsed by a their destination. After the experi-
strong force of beauty-loving inhabi- ence of leaping millions of miles at
tants from No. 5. Those beauty-lov- the speed of light they would be none
ing beings from No. 5, despite the worse except for a slight touch of
their estheticism, fought with an in-
nausea.
credible fury in defense of the union
of the twelve worlds.
When the news of the first setback
N OW the invaders came in count-
less swarms. The number of
cubes that had attacked the five moons
reached the invaders, from the four
moons of Uranus and from their of Saturn was as nothing compared
densely packed parent world steady to the flood of cubes that whipped past
streams of cubes shot out toward the the orbit of Saturn and headed for
Twelve Confederate Worlds. They Jupiter’s moons. The remnant of in-
were bringing new and better weapons vaders who were still attacking Jape-
to combat those of the Confederacy. tus shot out to join the main body
They were coming at incalculable of invaders as they shot past the
speed, using their own secret means moons of Saturn.
of propelling the cubes besides the ad- A detachment of cubes, about fifty
ditional attraction that the sun’s thousand in number, leapt ahead of
gravitational force exerted upon them. the main force of invaders and at-
But though the invaders could send tacked the moons of Jupiter. The
their forces swiftly, the Twelve Con- Confederacy hurled its forces there
federate Worlds could transport their to repulse them. But it was only a
defenders ten times more quickly. feint on the part of the invaders, for
1G WEIRD TALES
their real objective was lone No. 5. were prepared to offer stubborn re-
They had been taught a lesson on sistance. As the ' invaders neared
Titan and Japetus. No longer did Mars, the Martians left the surface
they hold the fighting qualities of the of their world and went out to meet
Confederacy in contempt. them in the empty void. The two
They did not leap down upon the forces met, and from the start the
surface of No. 5 as they did upon Martians were outclassed. They were
the five moons of Saturn: instead, slowly forced back to the surface of
thousands of cubes filled with high their own world, for the cubes were
explosives and noxious gases were di- superior in every way to the Martian
rected toward No. 5’s surface. After craft.
that, the terrible, two-legged invaders From the six remaining Confed-
landed and killed off all that were left erate Worlds,, jets of Intense light
of the half-gassed inhabitants. They leapt toward No. 5. This playing of
also destroyed all the stations for light on the invaders seemed so weak
wireless transmission of matter. and ineffectual It was the new
!

The invaders made No. 5 their head- weapon. The light at times ap-
quarters. Cubes were pouring in peared to be of delicate purple. It
from every direction. It seemed that would grow until it was a bright pur-
they were abandoning their own world ple, then fade into invisibility. It
that circled old dying Neptune. The seemed the weapon of a child, and yet
four moons of Uranus were also being whatever it touched was destroyed.
deserted by the two-legged invaders. The invaders shot their cubes out
They were massing for one supreme in every direction, but -were “picked
attack. No. 5 would be the center offby the jets of all-destroying light.
from which they intended to sally Whenever two jets of light touehed a
forth. cube, there was a short explosion
The inhabitants of the Twelve Con- that was all. The purple from the
federate Worlds realized it. Thou- twin jets would fade, and the results
sands of the defenders offered their that followed were the same as if the
lives, offered to steer large interstel- terminals of powerful electric currents
lar vehicles loaded to the limit with had short-circuited there. The jets of
high explosives to No. 5. But those light were merely carriers for an elec-
in supreme command demurred, for tric current that was capable of
the Scientific Society had just per- vaporizing any substance that came
fected a new, terrible weapon. This between any two jets.
was manufactured with all possible The jets of light from the six
speed and sent to the eight remaining worlds had now reached No. 5, and
worlds of the Confederacy. Hope were destroying everything upon the
flamed anew throughout the eight surface. The invaders came to the
sorely tried worlds. bitter realization that this was the be-
The invaders did not delay an in- ginning of their end. They had
stant. They had experienced only two waited too long. They should have
setbacks. So far they had the best attacked the Twelve Confederate
of it. They sent a stream of cubes Worlds on the day of their arrival.
filled with explosives and gases to- They tried to leave No. 5 by the cubes,
ward Callisto, the outer moon of Jupi- but the twin jets of light easily picked
ter. and destroyed all life on it. At them off.
the same time they sent a mighty The Confederation turned its at-
force Mars.
to' tention to Mars. It sent its forces
The Martians had been preparing a down upon Mars as the rain comes
fleet of swift interstellar vehicles and ( Continued on Page 182)
“’Tis an awkward thing to play with souls of death, he would choose death rather
And matter enough to save one’s own.”
than face the greater mystery. I
— Browning. doubt I doubt it very much.”
it.

HE FACTS were carefully “By Jove, yes!” Wordsworth, the


hushed up at the time. Strange soldier and celebrated explorer, re-
stories, it is time, began to be marked suddenly. That reminds me

whispered in the clubs about the ec- of a story I read somewhere during
centricities of Dr. Ainsworth and his the war. Some German captain had
electric chair, but nothing definite captured a number of British spies,
ever leaked out. Now that that weird
.
and instead of shooting them outright,
scientist is dead and buried, the true he gave each of them a chance. For
story of what happened in his labora- half an hour he put them, separately,
tory can be made public for the first of course, into a room out of which
time. two doors led. He told them that
It all began in a conversation that one door led straight to the waiting
took place one afternoon early in 1919 firing party, but where the other door
in the smoking room of the Athenaeum led he refused to tell them. Each
Club, of which Dr. Ainsworth was a man was given his choice. This Ger-
member. man fellow had the reputation of be-
The talk had turned on the subject ing a pretty cunning fiend, I remem-
of death and the fear of death. Mor- ber.”
timer, the actor, had given it as his “They chose the firing party, I
opinion that it is not death which men fancy,” Mortimer remarked sotto
fear so much as the uncertainty of voce.
what is beyond. Almost inevitably he “Each man,” Wordsworth con-
quoted “Hamlet” in support of his tinued quietly. “Each man guessed
contention. that something pretty grisly lay be-
Hamilton, the Harley Street brain —
hind that other door Chinese tor-
specialist, joined the discussion at this tures, mutilation, hanging. Each
point. man, as it came to his turn, chose the
“If that is true,” he remarked firing party. With that they knew
’ ’
thoughtfully, “it should follow that exactly what they were in for.
if a man were confronted with a mys- Arthur Sinclair, the young author
tery stranger even than the mystery whose book, “The Slender Hope,” it
17
18 WEIRD TALES
will be remembered, made such a sen- end of the table, he was affability it-
sation in the last year of the war for self. Dr. AinsAvorth enjoyed a Euro-
the keenness of its sensitive imagina- pean reputation as a man of science,
tion, had so far taken no part in the and in the course of his career he had
discussion. Now he suddenly broke managed to rub shoulders Avith most
in, speaking with sharp conviction.
of the celebrities of the continent.
“But that’s absurd!” he said. When he chose to exert himself, his
“Why, the other door might have led reminiscences of men and manners
to freedom, for all they knew!” were A\'ell worthy of attention.
“That’s exactly where it did lead,” After the port had gone round the
the soldier finished quietly. “I told table, Mildred left the tAvo men AA'ith
you that the German was reputed to their cigars, with an admonition not
be a pretty considerable expert in
to be too long before joining her in
frightfulness. You see, none of them
the drawing room.
had the courage (and they were brave
men, too, or they couldn’t have been
When she had left the room, the
spies in wartime) to face the horror doctor passed the decanter again to
of the unknown. They chose the his guest and continued to engage him
death they knew'.” in close conversation. By the time
that an inch and a half of Avhite ash
For a time there was silence. Each
of his hearers was interpreting the
showed at the end of his cigar, he
story in accordance with his own pushed back his chair and rose from
thoughts. the table.

“I wonder, I wonder,” Dr. Ains- “Before we join Mildred, I should


worth muttered, half to himself. “I like you to see one or two little tlungs

wonder. ” in my laboratory, which I believe may


interest you,” he remarked, and led
2
the A\’ay upstairs, past the door of the
QIN CLAIR was taken by surprize draAving room, to the top floor of the
^ when Dr. Ainsworth invited him house, Avhich Avas green up entirely
to dine at his house about a month to his researches.
later. He had never been able to Sinclair had never entered the labo-
determine whether the doctor objected ratory before. His first impression
to him
personally, or whether the nat- Avas a SAA’ift recollection of schoolboy
ural reluctance of a man of fixed days, Avhen he had Avorked in a room
.habits to lose an efficient and charm- that presented just such an unbroken
ing housekeeper accounted for the doc- array of bottles and balances and
tor’s strong hostility to Sinclair’s en- strange-looking instruments, except
gagement to his niece. As the date that here there seemed to be more of
of their tvedding approached, the sci- them. His attention Avas attracted by
entist’s opposition intensified rather a line of cases on the right of the room
than diminished, so that when he w ent r apparently containing a series of Avax-
Avorks, of which he did not immediate-
out of his way to invite the young
ly appreciate the significance. It Avas
man to dinner, the latter surprizedly
as he AA'as moving over to examine
wondered whether this Avas to be con-
these that he first became aAA'are of a
strued as a flag of trace.
strange sensation of dizziness steal-
At any rate, on this occasion the ing OA'er him. The room darkened
doctor shoAved not the slightest sign of and he felt that he Avas about to fall.
hostility. At dinner, seated with his The A'oice of his host sounded for a
guest on one side of him Avhile Mil- moment as from an immense distance
dred, his niece, faced him at the other before it trailed off into nothingness.
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR 19

3 Sinclair made a motion to pass his

INCLAIR stirred slightly, and his


hands over his eyes and was reminded
S eyes opened. Once more his brain
again that his hands were fastened.
He looked stupidly at the other man.
was beginning to function dimly, and
he had a vague sensation of being


What has happened ? ’ ’

closed in. He made to move his hand The doctor gave a little chuckle and
and discovered that he could not. His stood for a moment longer looking
head felt as if it were rigidly held in down at him before he answered.
a vise. “A little experiment. Just a little
Slowly, as consciousness came back _
experiment. ’ ’

to him, he became aware of his sur- He turned away and came back
roundings. He remembered entering with a mirror, which he held up be-
the doctor’s laboratory. Then the sud- fore the younger man.
den blackness had come. He saw now
Sinclair looked, and saw his head
that he was still in the laboratory.
crowned with a metal cap, to which
He supposed he had fainted. That
were attached strange-looking wires.
no doubt accounted for the sensation ‘ ’
I don ’t understand,

he muttered.

of being bound. He became aware
that he was sitting upright in a large, “I fainted, didn’t I?”
hard chair. He could not see the Again the doctor laughed his curi-
doctor. ous, satisfied laugh.
Slowly, as if testing his faculties, “Not exactly,” he said. “No, not
he tried to turn his head. He felt as exactly. I’m afraid I must plead
if something was pressing his head guilty to having put something into
down, and discovered he could not your coffee.”
move it. A new dizziness swept over Sinclair would have shaken his head
him. Visions of sudden paralysis in bewilderment, but his head was se-
flickered through his brain. With an cured, as he had noticed in the mir-
effort he regained control of himself. ror, by a vise attached to the back of
At least he could move his eyes. That the chair.
was something, anyway. At this “I don’t understand,” he repeated.
point he caught sight of his hands,
“Please explain what has happened.
which were lying along the arms of
his chair, and he discovered that iron
Why am I fastened like this?”

bands encircled his wrists and that The doctor had laid aside the mir-
these bands were fastened by a chain ror and now stood facing the young
to the arms of the chair. Utterly at man in the chair. Behind him, long
a loss, he tried to move his feet, only rows of labeled bottles and phials
to learn, after moving them about six
1 formed an appropriate background,
Inches, that they were similarly fas- together with instruments of which
tened. Sinclair could not guess the use.
He closed his e5T es, attempting to The doctor’s manner was now that
shake off what he supposed must be of a lecturer addressing his class.
the nightmare of a dream. “I shall have to take your mind
At that moment he heard a step. back some time,” he began. “You
Opening his eyes again, he discov- willno doubt recall hearing that very
ered that Dr. Ainsworth had come interesting little story of a German
round in front of him and was watch- captain and his captured spies, who
ing him smilingly. were given the choice, you will remem-
“Ah, conscious again, I see,” Ains- ber, of going to a known certain
worth remarked in a tone of satisfac- death or of meeting a fate the na-
tion. “Quite comfortable, I trust?” ture of which remained a mystery.”
20 WEIRD TALES
Ho
paused. Sinclair had almost “You have not yet explained why
forgotten the incident, but he now re- you have fastened me to this chair,”
called it. he reminded the smiling scientist.
“In that story, each of the victims “At least, I suppose it is ypu that I
chose to face the firing party. You, have to thank for it.”
I remember,

ho continued in a tone
’ Dr. Ainsworth nodded brightly.
of easy reminiscence, “were scornful “Iam coming to that. I decided to
of this and declared that they ought use you, as I said, for my experiment.
to have chosen the other door which As you remember, the problem is
will
might have led, as it actually did lead, this : if a man
is faced with the choice
to freedom. Personally, I keep an of alternatives, one of which leads to
open mind as to the psychology of the certain death and the other to some
problem involved. I find it an inter- unknown fate which may range from
esting speculation— intensely interest- freedom on the one hand, to a slow,
ing. This evening, however, we are revolting form of torture ending in a
going to put this most interesting psy- loathsome death on the other hand
chological problem to the test.” if he is faced with choice, which alter-

He paused a moment. native will he select? That is our


problem, and this evening I look to
“And you, my dear Sinclair, are go-
ing to be the means of solving it.”
you to decide that problem by being
faced with just such a choice.”
Sinclair had not yet understood to
Taking no notice of the young man’s
what this introduction was leading,
startled exclamation of horror, he
but already he felt a vague premoni-
continued blandly.
tion of disaster.
“It was, of course, comparatively
“It may occur to you to wonder easy to bring you to this laboratory
why I have chosen you personally as of mine, and, as you entered, to inject
the subject of this experiment,” Dr. you with a drug that at once ren-
Ainsworth continued, assuming more dered you senseless, while I fastened
and more the manner of a. lecturer 1 * I
.
you in this chair to ensure your con-
have had two reasons for that. In tinued presence during our little ex-
the first place, it was necessary for periment. It was a more difficult
me to find a man of keenly sensitive question to reconstruct the factors of
imagination, as you will realize later the problem. I have given some con-
and in the second place, you are siderable thought to this matter. You
aware that I regard with the greatest may not have noticed very carefully
distaste your intention of marrying the chair in which you are sitting. I
my niece, Mildred. The idea of such recommend it to your careful study. ’ ’

a marriage is, in the highest degree, He paused a moment to allow his


repugnant to me. However, consid- next words their full significance.
erations such as those must always
come second to a man of science. I “TT IS an electric chair such as is
only mention them as affording an ad- used in executions in America,”
ditional ground for my reasons in se- the doctor went on. “On your head,
lecting you. The psychological ex- as you have seen in the mirror, is a
periment is, of course, the main metal cap to which are attached two
thing.” wires connecting with the storage bat-
By now Sinclair had serious doubts teries, which you cannot see but which
as to the sanity of this extraordinary are close behind you. Near your right
old man. His feeling of uneasiness hand” (the doctor indicated a small
was rapidly giving place to one of table set close to the chair, which Sin-
serious alarm. clair now noticed for the first time)’
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR 21

“you will see a switch. Press that a matter of fact, led to freedom. Well,
switch to the right and a current of you may do the same. You may
electricity of enormous power (I need choose, if you wish, the contents of
not weary you with the exact figures) this phial. It may have the same re-
will run through the metal cap on sult. It may perhaps contain merely
your head, through the metal chair water, in which case you will be none
on which you sit, and, passing through the worse for your little adventure.
your body, it will make a complete On the other hand it may contain the
circuit, with the result that you will same as this tube.” (He again picked
be instantaneously and painlessly elec- up the tube in which were stored the
trocuted. That constitutes one horn germs of meningitis.) “In that case
of the dilemma. That is the way of you will not have long to wait for your
certain and known death. You will fate. In three or four days the symp-
recognize that that corresponds to the toms should develop, and in about
firing party in the original story. Do three weeks you will be dead. Not a
I make myself clear ? very pleasant form of death, perhaps,
’ ’

Sinclair shivered. The doctor had but comparatively rapid. Then, 'of
made himself only too clear. course, there is the cerebro-spinal
variety of meningitis. It may be that.
“We now come to the alternative,”
Ainsworth continued. “The uncer-
Also, I fear, not very pleasant. Or
tain factor.” —
tetanus what you call lockjaw. That
He would be rather disagreeable.”
opened a drawer and took out a
small syringe and held it up to the His voice had sunk to a sort of
light. Sinclair could see that it was drone, and now he hardly glanced at
filled with a colorless liquid like water. his victim in the chair.All his at-
“You may have heard, my dear tention seemed focused on the glass
Sinclair, of some researches I have tubes, which he picked up one by
made into the causes of certain dis- one and named, dwelling on them, as
eases. I have succeeded in isolating if to handle them gave him pleasure.
the germs of a number of the better “This is lupus,” he went on. “It
known diseases and of some others less is an Eastern disease. I have a model
widely known. All round this room of a sufferer from this disease.”
you can see test-tubes filled with vari- lie went across the room and came
ous liquids. Each of these contains back with a glass case containing a
the bacilli of some disease or other. model in wax of a man’s head. The
This, for instance” (he picked up one nose had completely rotted away, the
at random), “contains the germs of teeth were entirely outside the mouth
the disease generally known as menin- and festooned round the protruding
gitis. In short, there are enough tongue like a necklace. It was diffi-
germs in this room” (he waved his cult to imagine anything more revolt-
arm to the line of glass tubes) “to de- ing.
stroy the whole of Europe.” “Of course, the model was taken
He picked up the syringe once more from a patient in the last stages. In
and held it lightly in his right hand. your case, the disease would develop
“What does this contain? That is in a year or two, but you would not
the question, isn’t it? You see, you reach the stage I have shown you for
are to have the choice between electro- many years.
cuting yourself, or injecting yourself “Here is the consumption bacilli (I
with the liquid in this phial. You am afraid you might go in fear of
remember you gave it as your opinion that all your life), diphtheria, lep-
that the men in the story would have rosy,” (he picked up one tube after
chosen the unknown fate which, as —
another) “rabies ah, that, would be
22 WEIRD TALES

particularly disagreeable and might loss to devise a means which would


not show itself for a couple of years. force you to a choice. I think you
A curious disease. will admit I have succeeded. In the

' But I wcaiy you with this recital. days of your war service (and very
You will see for yourself that there distinguished service it was, permit
are many more tubes from which I me to say) you were doubtless familiar
may have chosen.” with the poison gases used by our
He waved a hand to indicate the ar-
enemies. To a man of science such
devices have an element of crudity,
ray of phials.

The disease in the case of some of

and the gases used were not as pow-
erful as they might have been. I have
these would develop in a few days.
In others, it might remain for several devoted some attention to that sub-
ject, and I think I may say that I have
years in the system before it showed
evolved a gas that is infinitely supe-
itself. I think I have said enough to
rior to anything used during the late
convince .you that if you choose to in-
ject yourself with the contents of this
war. ”
hypodermic syringe you will go in The doctor walked across to the
fear of death or some form of dis- corner of the room, and came back
ease that is a thousand times more hor- dragging Avith him a large metal cylin-
rible than death for a number of years der, which he placed just in front of
at least. On the other hand, the con- the other man.
tents may be perfectly harmless. See, “I have a supply of this gas here..”
I place it beside your left hand you ;
he continued. “You will notice tins
will find von have just sufficient free- •wire.

dom of movement to inject yourself lie indicated a length of tubing,
with tills, or if you prefer it, to push “One end is attached to a ta p-A al\'e
r

over the switch and electrocute your- on the cylinder. The other end I shall
self painlessly and immediately. The
attach to the clock in the corner of
choice is yours.”
the room in such a manner that when
He stopped and regarded his victim the clock strikes the hour, the tap w illr

with interested eyes, trying to mark automatically be opened and the gases
what emotions were racing through released. I am quite sure that you,
the .voting man’s mind. Presently he with your knowledge of the effect of
resumed his lecture. even the comparatively inefficient Ger-
‘‘You will have half an hour in man gas'es, will certainly make a defi-
which to make your decision. ’ ’

nite choice rather than allow these


With a great effort Sinclair threw gases to be released on you.”
off the horror that was seizing hold of
The doctor had never raised his
him, and when he spoke he had suc-
voice. All the time he had spoken
ceeded in infusing some degree of
in a quiet, calm manner that served
calmness into his manner.
only to lend an added horror to the
‘‘But this is perfectly ridiculous,”
proceedings.
he protested. “I don’t know whether
Sinclair passed his tongue over his
you consider a practical joke or not.
it
lips,Avhich had become quite dry.
If so, it seems to me to be in extraordi-
narily bad taste. In any case. I shall “How am I to know the Avhole
certainly refuse to make either one thing not a bluff?” he demanded.
is

choice or the other.” “It of course, very important


is,
The doctor looked down at him that you should be convinced on that
thoughtfully. point,” the doctor admitted. “Other-
“I had anticipated that,” he re- wise the Avhole psychological value of
marked. “For a time T was at some the experiment would be lost. I think
THE ELECTRIC CHAIR .23

this little experiment will satisfy the rubber tube leading from the
you.” cylinder had been within a few inches
He disappeared behind Sinclair’s of the cage. Suddenly the rat rolled
chair. When he returned he was car- over on the floor of its cage and com-
rying a small metal cage. menced to struggle violently.
“Here, as you see, I have a rat in For a moment the doctor watched
a cage. Please watch what I do.” its convulsions, then “Switch on!”
After setting down the cage on a he commanded suddenly.
bench at some distance from Sinclair Mechanically Sinclair pressed over
he came across to the chair. “I now the switch by his right hand. A blue
detach the terminals from your skull spark flashed at the bars of the cage.
cap and attach them to the bars of The rat gave a tiny shiver and its
this cage, so. Next I fasten this piece struggle ceased forever’.
of rubber tubing to the tap of the gas “You see, it is quite dead,” the doc-
cylinder, so. Now I connect this wire 4
tor remarked. ‘
Switch off. ’

from the gas cylinder to the striker For a minute there was silence in
of the clock. We
will move back the the room. The doctor busied him-
hands to two minutes to 9 for the self refastening the electric terminals
purpose of this experiment . . .
to Sinclair’s skull cap and rearrang-
there. As we are dealing with only a ing the mechanism of the clock, which
very small animal, a whiff of gas will he again set at the correct time: half
be sufficient, and I shall turn off the past 9. When he had quite satisfied
tap almost immediately. You will not himself with these proceedings, he
require a mask, but it is as well to be turned back to his victim.
on the safe side.” “That the electrocuting machine
He saturated a handkerchief with and the gas cylinder, at least, are no
some liquid and tied it in front of bluff,I’m sure you are convinced.
Sinclair’s mouth and nose. He then The injecting syringe may be, of
saturated a similar handkerchief for course.
’ ’

himself.
Sinclair could feel the sweat break-
“This will protect us,”
he re- ing out on his forehead.
marked. “Now when I give the word, “But this is sheer murder!” he
I want you to press your switch over.
made a last protest. “Don’t you
You see, I have adjusted the current realize that you will be hanged if I
of that also, to our needs.” am found dead in this room?”
He made some adjustment of an- The doctor smiled.
other switch. “Your solicitude for my welfare is
“There is still one minute to go. charming,” he said. “But he sure
Watch.” that the small knowledge of science
to which I may perhaps lay claim
npHE next sixty seconds seemed an has not left me without efficient
eternity to Sinclair, whose eyes means of disposing, both by electricity
wandered backwards and forwards and by chemicals, of any trace of your
between the clock and the doomed body. Always supposing, of course,
rat. that your tastes lead you toward the
At last the clock began to strike, electric switch. I shall leave you now.
and as it did so, Sinclair observed You have half an hour in which to
that the wire had jerked open the gas make your choice. At 10 o’clock the
cylinder. Almost immediately the gas cylinder will come into action.
doctor reached out a hand and closed I shall come back a few seconds ear-
it again. But the gas had already lier to disconnect that, if you have
served its purpose. The mouth of already chosen. If not, be under no
24 WEIRD TALES
delusion that I shall interfere. I give know afterwards, not for a year per-
you my solemn word of honor that I haps, not for two, three, four, or even
shall not do so. I need hardly say longer. How could one go on, dread-
that I await the result of your de- ing from day to day the outbreak of
’ ’
liberations with the liveliest interest. some awful disease, like the man in
Ainsworth crossed toward the door. the model. Good God! Death were
At the threshold he paused. better a thousand times than that!

“Just one word more. The walls But on the other hand, there was al-
of this room are specially constructed
ways hope. “Hope springs eternal”.
to shut out from the rest of the house
Yes, and fear also.

the noise of explosions that occasion- Still, to die suddenly with all the

ally become necessary during my re- world bright and inviting, and love. .
searches. To shout would be the This brought another aspect of the
merest waste of breath on your part.’' problem to his tortured mind.
A moment later the door had closed Suppose he chose the syringe, and
behind him. kept his life for the time at least:
what was he to do with it? One
4
couldn’t marry, and have children,

ALMOSTployed the
his half
Sinclair em-
inevitably
few minutes of
first
hour in shouting for help,
perhaps, with a thing like that, may-
be, in one’s blood. That dream was
ended either way. Pretty damnable.
only to discover that Ainsworth had Just what would life be like? Love
spoken no more than the truth when shut off, fear sitting daily on one’s
he called the room sound-proof. shoulders. If one only knew when it
He soon desisted and attempted to would strike. But one would never
focus his mind on his situation, but —
know never know. That was the
the horror of it was such that only constant tenor of his mental travail.
with the greatest difficulty could he Always his mind came back to that.
escape from the paralysis that had One would never know.
seized his brain. Sheer numbing ter- After all. what was death? Clean,
ror gripped him. The grisly experi- swift (when one had seen five years of
ment with the rat had convinced him war. death wasn’t quite the staring
that it was indeed no bluff with which horror it seemed to the man in the
he was dealing. Meanwhile the hands street). Pretty rotten, of course. One
of the clock inexorably traveled to- hated to be snuffed out like that, but
ward the moment when even deliber- there were worse things.
ate choice would be denied him by an His mind went back by a freakish
agency more terrible than either horn turn to the story of the captured spies
of his dilemma could be. Helplessly who preferred the death they knew,
liis eyes traveled from the. switch, so He remembered his own unbelief.
conveniently close to his right hand, “Damn it, the fellows were right!”
to the hypodermic syringe equally he cried bitterly.
handy on his left. It was just three minutes to 10
Gradually he forced himself to real- when he shut his eyes tight, gave a
must be one or the other.
ize that it little gasp, and pushed over the
lie looked at the electric switch. switch.
Certain, instantaneous, painless, but
5
—death.
The syringe looked harmless enough.
Water perhaps. That would not do
a fellow any harm but then one—
T HE doctor had returned from the
dining room. He had no inten-
tion of joining his niece until he knew
couldn’t be sure. One wouldn’t even the result of his experiment. He lit
TIIE ELECTRIC CHAIR 25

himself another cigar, and sat down has made his choice. There only re-
to wait and to speculate'. mains the gas, and that is discon-
He was interrupted in this revery nected also. You quite
see, dear, it is
’ ’

by his niece, who suddenly appeared bloodless.


at the door. The clock then pointed to five min-
“However much longer are you go- utes to 10.
ing to be ? ” she demanded then, com-
;
“Oh, hurry, uncle, hurry!” the
ing into the room, she perceived that girl panted. “It’s torture! I think
the doctor was alone. “Why! what you must be mad. It ’s cruel—cruel !
’ ’

have you done with Arthur?” ‘


On
the contrary, dear, it is as fas-

Dr. Ainsworth looked at his watch. cinating an experiment as any I have


It was a quarter to 10. undertaken. Doubtless he is making
“We are having a little experiment, his decision now.”
a very fascinating experiment,” the He had allowed the girl to drag
doctor continued. “Listen, dear, and him upstairs.
tell me what you think will be the out- “I have always supposed that ex-
come. For myself, I am unable to periments with the human mind
make up my mind.” would be of all experiments the most
He thereupon went over the facts fascinating, and I see now that I was
of the case to the girl, speaking as he right in supposing so,” he remarked
would have spoken of any other scien- on the way up.
tific expei’iment of his. He did not “By the way, if by any chance this
even notice the horror in his hearer’s young man of yours has chosen to face
face. the uncertainty of the injection, and
“Why! You’re murdering him, if,suspecting his blood to he tainted,
uncle!” she cried, springing up. he asks to be released from his engage-
The doctor looked at her agitation ment to you, before knowing the in-
with surprize. Then he smiled a slow jection to be harmless, I shall entirely
smile. withdraw my opposition to your mar-
“My dear, it’s quite harmless,” he
riage. A
most fascinating problem.”
said. “There is no danger. When He had reached the door of the lab-
I came out of the room, I disconnected oratory and fumbled with the handle.
the current of the batteries. He can “Oh, hurry, uncle, hurry. He must
’ ’
do himself no harm. have had such a terrible fright.
’ ’

“But
the other thing! He may be The old man chuckled, “I dare say
choosing that ’ ’! he has.”
Ainsworth laughed outright. He had.
“Water, dear, water. I shall, of When they reached him, he was
course, toll him afterwards, when he quite dead.

\ 1

K2>
AS OBLIGATED
by Armstrong Livingston

1. The Bathroom Bell. the old chap about it the next time I
see him. He’ll be tremendously
IR GEOFFREY COOMBE, bucked.”
S Bart., snorted contentedly as his
round bald head and his plump
white shoulders emerged above the
When he had added this new and
perfectly equipped bathroom to the
ancient country seat of his fathers,
waters of his morning tub with- ;
that bell had been a bone of conten-
out troubling to open his eyes,
he reached over the edge of his tion between Hodgkins and himself.
porcelain container and groped The baronet, weary of antiquated ap-
blindly along the length of the pliances, had drawn the plans of the
heated towel rail. Then he snorted room himself to the end that they
again, in a very different key. The might be perfect, and with the aid of
second housemaid, derelict in her a London catalogue of modem lava-
duty, had evidently neglected to place tory fixtures, plus his own vivid imag-
any towels upon the device intended ination, he had succeeded admirably.
for them; worse than that, a more He was proud of those plans. . . .

thorough examination through re- Of course the task of executing


luctantly opened eyes showed that them had fallen to the lot of Hodg-
there were no towels in the room at
plumber. Any other
kins, the village
all.
arrangement would have been mani-
Of all life’s misadventures,
little festly improper. Hodgkins was a tra-
this is admittedly one of the most an- dition. Ever since plumbing had been
noying. The baronet was on the point invented a Hodgkins had been plumb-
of being very annoyed indeed, until er for a Coombe, just as a Stubbs
his eye chanced to fall upon the but- had always supplied the meat and a
ton of an electric bell that was placed Smith the groceries. The system
in the wall at the side of the tub. A worked excellently for all concerned
sudden smile came to his face instead the village profited by the patrona ge
of the threatened frown, and his blue of the Hall, and the Hall benefited by
eyes were twinkling as he reached up good meat and groceries and plumb-
and pressed firmly upon the button. ing. Traditions, properly adhered to,
“That’s one to Hodgkins!” he mur- have a practical as well as a senti-
mured good-humoredly. “I must tell mental value.
26
AS OBLIGATED 27

Hodgkins had glanced over the bell in that bathroom, I’m just plain
plans and warmly approved them. A obligated to say so!”
glow of pride suffused the amateur “Thank you, Hodgkins,” replied the
draftsman’s being, to be presently baronet gravely, and not ungrateful-
chilledby a growing doubt in the ly.He might reserve his private opin-
plumber’s eye. ion about' the matter in dispute, but
“You’ve not allowed for a bell, Sir he could also appreciate the stubborn
’ ’
Geoffrey. determination of the old plumber to
“A. bell in a bathroom? Don’t be do his best for the Coombe family.
silly, Hodgkins !
’ ’
“It is really a. pleasure nowadays to
You’ll want a
meet anyone who takes the interest in
“It’s not silly, sir.
’ ’ his work that you do.”
bell—there.
Sir Geoffrey, twiddling his toes in
Hodgkins had jabbed at the neat
the bath while waiting an answer to
plan with a sadly maculate finger,
his summons, smiled as he recalled
and when he removed there was no it
that conversation with Hodgkins. The
'difficulty in finding the spot he had
smile faded slowly away as he reflect-
indicated.
ed that quite an interval had elapsed
“Just where you can reach it from
’ ’
since he rang, and that the water in
the tub. Handylike.
the tub was getting deueedly chilly.
“Absurd! Have you no sense of He reached for the bell again, and
decency, Hodgkins ? Under what con- this time his finger lingered on the
ceivable circumstances would a man button with a pertinacity that he de-
in a tub want to ring a bell especial- — voutly hoped would cause consterna-
ly, if he knew it was bound to be an- tion in the servants’ hall. . . .

swered by a housemaid?” lie had not entirely regained his


Hodgkins accepted the implied poise when hebustled into the break-
challenge with gusto. He began to fast room and seated himself at the ta-
enumerate a series of hypothetical ble. His wife was already in her place
cases in- which a bell by the bathtub at the other end. deftly sorting the
might be most useful, and when he morning mail.
presently showed signs of deserving
“Henrietta,” he began promptly,
the reputation he had in the local
“I wish you would please send word
Conservative Club of being its most
to Hodgkins that the bell in my bath-
eloquent and long-winded member, room doesn ’t work. I rang three times
the baronet threw up his hands in
this morning for towels,- and nothing
despair.
happened. It was most embarrassing.
“Have it your own way! I can I had to scuttle to my dressing room,
always tie a bow of pink ribbon on dripping
!”
like a — like a half-drowned
it and pretend it’s a mural decora- l'abbit
tion.” “Very have it
well, Geoffrey. I will
“Yes, sir.” attended to,” answered Lady Coombe
Hodgkins, having gained his point, soothingly.
magnanimously proceeded to explain She paused in her shuffling of the
his insistence. mail to examine an envelope.
“You’ll not regret Sir Geoffrey.it, “Here’s a letter to you from the
You see, sir, it’s like this: my father Psychical Society !

always did his best for your father, “I was expecting it. I met Mat-
and my grandfather for yours, before thews. the secretary, the other day,
that, and now it ’s up to me to do the and he told me they were going to
best I can for you. So when my judg- invite me to address them some eve-
ment tells me you ought to have a. ning this week,”
28 WEIRD TALES
“Really!” many pleasant week-ends at Coombe
Lady Coombe’s slender eyebrows Hall, found himself fluctuating in-
were delicately arched for an instant, stead between London, Geneva, and
but they straightened again as she re- —
Cannes and other hospitable points.
membered that her husband was an Fully six months had gone by before
astute politician.
he and Lady Coombe returned to the
Hall, glad to escape from the turmoil
“They control some votes, I sup-
of London life and photographers.
’ ’
pose ?
This was real comfort.
“Possibly in the next world,” said While he was taking his bath next
Sir Geoffrey, and added with a little morning Sir Geoffrey’s eyes inevi-
chuckle: “Of course there’s no rea- tably rested upon the bell-button so
son why a far-sighted statesman conveniently placed beside the porce-
shouldn’t build up a constituency lain tub. It was equally inevitable
there — in advance !
’ ’

that his mind should revert to that


She ignored his flippancy, but the unhappy morning when he had scur-
eloquent brows signaled her amuse- ried through the hall to the haven of
ment at his new hobby. his dressing room.

“Is you are a be-


it possible that “Wonder if it has been fixed?” he
liever inspooks?” she asked, mildly mused.
derisive.“At your age? Really!” He could think of no excuse for

“I’m interested. Frankly, I am. ringing at that moment, and he was
a kindly man who did not like to dis-
One hears such extraordinary stories.
. . There must be some truth in
.
turb his servants unnecessarily. But
these well-authenticated cases of ap- the question stuck in his mind all the
parent? y inexplicable phenomena.” time that he was shaving and dressing,
and when his morning toilet was
“One hears!” she repeated skepti-
complete he decided to have it
filially
cally. “But does one ever experi-
’ ’ answered. He went back to the bath-
ence ?
room and pressed the bell. . . .

“Ah, that's it,” admitted Sir Geof-


After some moments he rang again,
frey readily. “Listening to another
man’s account of a ‘manifestation’ is
and a little later a third time. Then
he went into another room and rang
not like having one of your own. But
the bell there. A maid appeared with
I’m afraid I’m not the sort of a per-
son to attract a spook!” he ended
commendable punctuality.
with a sigh. “I’ve just rung three times from
the bathroom,” he told her severely.
Lady Coombe surveyed his plump,
matter-of-fact face good-humoredly.
“Why did no one answer?”
“It couldn’t have rung, Sir Geof-
“No, Geoffrey, I don’t think you
! ’ ’ frey,” answered the girl. “I’ve been
are
right in the pantry, and I must have
She picked another letter from the heard it if it had. Did you want
pile beside her.
something, sir?”
“Here’s a dinner invitation from “I wanted to know just that,”
Agatha. Of course we’ll accept .” . . .
said the baronet grimly. “Thank
you, Jane.”
2. The Bell Bewitched.
He came into the calm serenity of
TN THESE days of international the breakfast room like a thunder-
conferences, a serious politician’s cloud.
life is not his own. Sir Geoffrey “Henrietta, did you tell Hodgkins
Coombe, who had expected to spend about that bell in my bathroom ? ’ ’
AS OBLIGATED 2't

“I spoke to the housekeeper, cer- he called it ‘obligated’ to — remedy


tainly/’ replied his wife tranquilly. any work done at the Hall.”
“It must be all right now.” “Well, he hasn't remedied it yet,”
“Well, its not!” grumbled the baronet.
“Then I will speak to Mrs. Smith “How are the spooks getting on?”
again.
’ ’
asked Lady Coombe softly.
Like a good housewife, she report- Sir Geoffrey looked mildly sur-
ed the result of her inquiry at dinner prized at the sudden change of sub-
that evening. ject; a little suspicious, too, for his
“Mrs. Smith tells me that she re- wife had recently derived a lot of
ferred matter of your bell to
the quiet amusement from what she called
Hodgkins. He was
quite upset.” ‘spoofing spouse’s spooks.’ Before
“I’ll send him a card of sympa-
he could reply, she explained the con-
nection.
thy,” said her husband crossly. “I’m
upset myself, and can feel for him.” “I was thinking of your Psychical
Society,” she said dryly. “I thought
“He came to the house two or you might like to tell them about your
three times, while we were away. He
bathroom bell, because Hodgkins
tinkered with it, hut couldn’t fina ’ ’
swears it is bewitched !
the trouble.”
“It’s an electrician’s job,” com-
mented Sir Geoffrey absently.
He was wondering why these mod-
A GAIN Sir Geoffrey’s presence
was required in London, and
once more several months slipped by
ern cooks sent up a brown dressing before the Hall was warmed and aired
with a chicken instead of a white. throughout to receive its master.
“It serves me right for leaving This time he did not have to be re-
that bathroom to the tender mercies minded of the bell that had refused
of a village plumber!” to respond to the pressure of his
“Don’t be silly.” august finger. Curiously enough, the
Lady Coombe helped herself liber-
thought of that bell had continuously
ally to the salad —she was conserva- cropped up in his mind even during
the stress of the past few months
tive in everything else.
and some of them had been very
“You could have done nothing
stressful indeed. Whenever a bell
Hodgkins would have been mor-
else.
had rung for anything, he had been
tally offended.His father woi’ked for
your father, and his grandfather — reminded of a bell that would not
ring for towels. . . .

“Worked for my grandfather!” Fortuitously, on the afternoon^ of


groaned the baronet. “I’ve heard it his arrival at Coombe Hall, he met
all from Hodgkins himself, Henriet- the housekeeper in a darkened corri-
ta!” dor of the old house.
“It’s rather fine, though, when “Oh— Mrs. Smith! Has that bell
you come to think of it,” said Lady in mv bathroom ever been put in or-
Coombe thoughtfully. “Hodgkins der?”
represents a generation that is dying “I’m sorry, Sir Geoffrey, but I

out the generation that did its don’t think it has. Hodgkins the —
work, and was humiliated if that
work wasn’t satisfactory. He told
plumber, you know, sir has been
here several times. But ——
Mrs. Smith one day that such a thing “Confound Hodgkins!” cried the
had never happened before: that baronet angrily. “Hodgkins is an
neither he, nor his father, nor his antediluvian fossil who doesn’t know
grandfather, had ever been obliged a brass washer from a tin bathtub!”
30 WEIRD TALES
His voice rose Mgh, and even in “Don’t stand there like a graven
that dim light the startled house- image, Parkins; don’t you see I want
keeper could see that his face was some more claret?”
growing purple. “Go on, Geoffrey!” urged his wife
“Why did you call in Hodgkins? bitterly. "‘Make an idiot of yourself,
Why didn’t you. get somebody with do! But don’t forget to take a. note-
some sense ? I know that Lady book to bed with you; it will be so
Coombe left it to you. Why haven’t useful at the next meeting of the
you attended to it ? What are house- Psychical Society when you try to
keepers coming to? Oh, Lord why — describe your grandmother’s ghost!”
does a sane man have a housekeep- He did in truth spend a restless,
’ ’
er i storm-tossed night. If he felt like a
He went down the corridor without Clydesdale at all in the morning it
waiting for an answer to this conun- must have been a very elderly speci-
drum. Mrs. Smith was staggered by men indeed. lie swayed slightly as
the violence of the assault, which was he got out of bed, and his hands
as unexpected coming from him as gripped the footboard w’hile he
if it had come from the tweeny and steadied himself.
by no means more to be endured by a “Gad!” he muttered. “My diges-
hard-working self-respecting woman tion must be properly out of whack !
’ ’

with three children and a husband to


Before she could
He clung to his base an instant
support. . . .

longer.
frame a crushing reply, she was star-
ing down an empty corridor, and her “These doctors aren’t such fools
’ ’

honest brain had arrived at a just, as we like to think ’em !

appreciation of the trouble. She re- A dim memory stirred in him to


called a few' anxious remarks that the effect that a hot bath is good for
Her Ladyship had dropped anent her indigestion. He went to his bath-
husband's health. Politics had been room, turned on the taps, and ran
very trying of late; Sir Geoffrey was the tub full of water as hot as he
no longer a young man; the doctors could comfortably bear it. He dis-
had warned him very gravely. Mrs. carded pajamas and wrapper, kicked
Smith mechanically pulled up her off his slippers, and luxuriously sub-
skirt and wrung her hands thereon, a merged his body in the warm
custom that she had not thought of depths. . . .

for twenty years.


He hardly knew what happened
“Poor dear!” she murmured sym- after that. A
terrible pulse throbbed
pathetically. “Tf only you wasn’t, a in his brain a mist swam before his
man — !” ;
sick
eyes; a chill raced from his head to
Sir Geoffrey ate a very hearty din- his feet. Vaguely, he realized that
ner that evening, his appetite obvi- —
he was ill very ill dangerously ill —
ously improved by the fresh country Frightened, he flung a finger toward
air. Presumably it was still further the bell beside the tub, and as he
improved by the fact that his doctor pressed it he remembered that it did
had sternly tabooed one or two of the not ring. . . .

dishes to which he helped himself That was his last thought before
twice. He
remonstrated feebly across he lost consciousness. The room cir-
the table with a pair of eyebrows. cled about him, a panorama of porce-
“Nonsense, my dear, nonsense! T lain and white tile. His body relaxed
feel like a two-year-old Clydesdale!” into the tub, and the agitated water
He glanced sideways. presently calmed above his face. . . .
AS OBLIGATED 31

3. As Obligated. the handsome gates, and slipped into


the main street of the neat little vil-

THAT was the beginning of a seri-


ous illness for Sir Geoffrey. A
month, two months, passed. Life
lage that lay beyond. Women and
children came to the doors of the tidy
cottages; men stopped their work. to
fought against death. The grim grin bashfully and touch their hats.
shadow hovered dangerously close for One and all, they were glad to see the
a time, then lifted, then returned baronet out again, and he. brightened
again to frighten the watchers by the by their welcome, nodded and smiled:
bed, and finally drifted away to bide his appreciation. But suddenly, as
a better opportunity. June found Sir they came abreast of a small shop, he
Geoffrey able to sit up in his own straightened in his chair and spoke
room; in July, the doctors permitted sharply to his attentive nurse.
short excursions in a wheeled chair
“Hullo, Saunders! What’s this?
through the beautiful grounds of
Ooombe Hall.
Why is there a new sign over Hodg-
kins’ place?”
It was -on a sunny morning in the
latter month that the invalid first be-
“Hodgkins, sir? Why, he's been
trayed an awakening interest in his dead this matter of two months or
surroundings. Through the lingering more. Went out very sudden, sir. C
days of convalescence lie had led an think the doctor said it was his heart.
apathetic, almost somnolent exist-
His widow sold the business, sir, and
that’s why there’s a new sign over
ence, answering with a perceptible
the door.”
effort when spoken to. and never
speaking of his own initiative. But “Dead! Hodgkins dead!”
this morning, warmed by the sun- Sir Geoffrey’s voice was shocked.
shine, his tired eyes brightened and a “I’m very sorry to hear that.”
touch of color crept into his sunken He was silent a moment, thinking
cheeks. He lifted his head and spoke of the man who had taken that path
over his shoulder to the old ex-soldier which he himself had so nearly fob
who was quietly propelling the chair. lowed.
“Saunders, I’m bored with this “I would like to see Mrs. Hodg
confounded park Are you strong
!
kins. Saunders. Where does she live?
enough to wheel me as far as the vil- Is it far?”
lage?” “It’s right across the street, Sir
’ ’

“Plenty strong enough. Sir Geof- Geoffrey.


frey. Bless you, sir, you don’t weigh The old soldier twisted the chair as
no more than a feather, and these he spoke, and in another moment,
new chairs move along at the touch of brought it to a standstill before a cot-
a finger.
” tage door. A
woman came out.
The touch of a finger. The . . .
gaunt, dull-eyed, black-garmented.
phrase struck upon Sir Geoffrey’s ear She looked straight at the man in the
with odd force, and he idly pondered chair, and there was an appreciable
the words while he was rolled along. interval between her recognition of
He vaguely felt that there was some Sir Geoffrey and the curtsey she
dormant memory in his mind that dropped.
should have been awakened by their “I’m glad to see you up again. Sic
sense, but the memory stubbornly re- Geoffrey,” she said.
mained asleep. Presently, with the “Thank you, Mrs. Hodgkins . .

impatience of an invalid, he gave up I’ve only just heard of your loss, and
the futile effort to recollect. I’ve come to tell you how sorry I am,
They proceeded slowly the length I did not even know that you** hus-
of the beautiful drive, passed through band had been ilk”
32 WEIRD TALES
“He was
hardly that, sir, hut he’d work,” answered the widow with
been depressed like for a few quiet dignity. “That was why your
’ ’
months. bell upset, so. him
It preyed on his
She hesitated, and added in a low mind, sir. I could tell from the way
tone with an edge of bitterness in it: he talked about it, and from the way
“It seemed to me that he was never he acted a dozen times or more when
the same man since the time that bell he’d come back from the Hall with-
went wrong at the Hall.” out having been able to fix it. The
“Eh? What?” night before he died he ate a very
hearty supper, sir, and that was what
Sir Geoffrey, wincing as if from a
killed him, according to the doctor. I
blow, leaned back in his chair and
suppose he ought to know. But just
half closed his eyes. The clear sun-
the same, the last words he ever spoke
light bathed the little group by the
in this world were about that bell.”
cottage door, bringing out the stern,
unrelenting lines of the woman ’s face The baronet said nothing for a mo-
and revealing the minute wrinkles of ment. From behind the chair Saun-
pain that twitched at the corners of ders glared ineffectively; the woman
Sir Geoffrey’s mouth. It was Saun- was fascinated, to the exclusion of all
ders, mindful of his trust, who' broke else, by the expression of Sir Geof-

the silence. A
righteous indignation frey’s face.
quivered in his speech. “Go on, Mrs. Hodgkins: what did
“You’ve no business to say such he say?”
things to Sir Geoffrey, and him as ill “He’d had a very bad night, sir.

as he is.” Restless. . About 8 o’clock in


. .

the morning I was getting him a bite


He made an impatient movement
of breakfast, thinking that something
as if to wheel his charge out of this
danger zone, but the baronet opened warm would do him good, when I
his eyes and cheeked the old soldier’s
heard him call me from the bedroom.
I went in and put my arm beneath
impulse with a prohibitory motion of
his hand.
his shoulders. ‘What is it, Henry?’
I asked. ‘I’ve been thinkin’ about
“What do you mean, Mrs. Hodg- that bell at the Hall, Maria,’ he said.
kins?” he asked gently.
‘I do wish I could have got that fixed
The rebuke from Saunders had up, as obligated. .’
‘You’ll have
. .

Btartled the woman into a softer plenty of time to see to that,’ I told
mood. Her attitude became faintly him. ‘No, I won’t, wife,’ he said,
apologetic, and she looked a little ‘I’m goin’ fast now.’ It was on the
frightened as she marked the effect tip of me tongue to tell him to, stop
of her words in the baronet’s altered his foolishness, when I felt him stif-
features. fen in me arms. His eyes were set,
“I’m sure I’m sorry if I’m talking sir, like a person who’s listening to
nonsense, sir, but it’s only what I something far off. ‘He’s ringin’ now,

think to be the the truth. I know Maria ! he said, sort as if he was
’ '

he felt downhearted about that chokin’. ‘Can’t you hear him? Sir
bell. . . Geoffrey’s ringin’ now, and he wants
“I am distressed to hear you say an answer pretty bad!’ ”
so, Mrs. Hodgkins. I sincerely trust The baronet, his hands clenched on
you are mistaken. After all, the thing thearms of his chair, waited for the
was but a trifle.” woman to control her emotion. Her
“Not to him, sir; he was always worn face was working pitifully.
one who took ^reat pride in his “And then, Mrs. Hodgkins?”
AS OBLIGATED

“Why—that was all, sir. He’d no Come back and let me know if it is
sooner finished speaking than he fell in order.”
back dead against my arm.’’ “Yes, Sir Geoffrey.”
“What day . was . . . . . that?” At the end of five minutes Saunders
“May third, sir, a little after 8 in returned from his mission.
the morning.” “It is not. Sir Geoffrey. I tried it
Sir Geoffrey tried to think, tried to twice, and waited, but nobody came.”
remember, but presently abandoned “Thank vou, Saunders. That is
the effort. He covered his eyes with all.”
one shaking hand.
“It is all most distressing, Mrs.

not tell yon.



Hodgkins most distressing. I can-
You have my. . .
T HE convalescent was very quiet
for the rest of the morning and
for the better part of the afternoon.
deepest sympathy, as you must know. Yet it was not the quiet of an invalid
If there is anything that Lady who is fatigued so much as the quiet
Coombe or I can do, you must cer- of a man who is deep in thought. At
tainly tell us. . .
.” 5 o’clock he volunteered to Saunders
He stammered out the awkward the information that he felt much
phrases, halted, and abruptly turned stronger. At 6, the whole household
to his glowering attendant. was electrified by the announcement
“Back to the Hall, Saunders. I that Sir Geoffrey had sent for the
am tired. . .
” mail which had accumulated during
.

his illness.
He was very on the way home
still
so still that the conscientious Saun- He was hardly half way through
ders wheeled the chair as rapidly as the pile of correspondence when 7
was .consistent with comfort, his loyal o’clock arrived, and with it his eve-
heart filled with self-reproach because ning meal of weak tea. toast, and soft-
he had ventured to take his. charge boiled eggs. In their wake came Lady
.

beyond the confines of the quiet park. Coombe, whose custom it had been to
But beneath the surface calm the in- have a tray in her husband’s room
valid’s mind was working rapidly, since he had been able to sit up. She

and he was no sooner back in his own opened his eggs, buttered his toast,
room than he spoke crisply to his and fussed about him generally until
faithful companion. she was assured of his comfort.
‘ ‘
Saunders !
’ ’ “You’re feeling better. Geoffrey?”
“Yes, Sir Geoffrey.” “Much better, my dea r. He con- ’

tinued to slit envelopes. “By the


“What day was I taken ill?”
way. Henrietta, how long have I been
“Well,
— sir, I —I wasn’t here ill?”
then
“Since May third. The doctors
“You must have heard.” warned you. you know, and they
“Yes, sir, The other
so I have. think the hot bath you took that
servants have mentioned it. It was morning —
May third, sir.” “Ah. yes! That bath! I can’t
“That’s what
thought. But I seem to remember much after I got
everything seems so hazy. Saun- . . into it. I lost consciousness, I sup-
ders, I want you to do something for pose?”
me.” “Lost consciousness! dear My
“Yes, Sir Geoffrey?” Geoffrey, you nearly drou'ned! The
“I want you to go into my bath- servants heard you ring, thank heav-
room and ring the bell beside the tub. en. and got you out just in time.”
:J4 WEIRD TALES
“They heard me what?”— ness, and fixed them upon the para-
“Ring. You must have rung just graph which was the meat of the
before you fainted. ’ ’
communication.
“Then, the bell — rang!” “I must tell you something which
I am sure will interest you very
“Of
course. —
Oh !” She sudden- much, as I have often heard you wish
ly remembered. “I’d forgotten! It
that you personally might receive
was that bell which gave poor Hodg-
some message from the other side. At
kins so much trouble, wasn’t it? He
a recent seance, held by some mem-
must have fixed it just in time. . . .
bers of this society, a message came
Oh, Geoffrey, suppose he hadn’t! And
through that was clearly sent to you.

now and now he’s dead! Did you It was very indistinct, very eloudy,
know that, Geoffrey?” as though coming from one who had
“Yes, I heard so today.” only just passed over. The name of
The answer came from him me- the sender was doubtful; it might
chanically. He had been opening let- have been Hodges, or Hopkins. The
ters while they talked, and at that message itself was quite incoherent.
moment he had reached one which he It seemed to refer to a hell, and two
held for a second in his hand. He words, steadily reiterated, finally re-
was not given to premonitions, but solved themselves into ‘as obligated’.
he was seized with a perfectly gen- It will be most interesting if you can
uine one as he read the neat letter- throw any light on this evident at-
head at the top of the sheet. It was tempt to communicate.”
with something of an effort that he Sir Geoffrey, a little shaken, stared
drew his eyes from the conventional at the letter. He continued to stare
form of address, from the opening until his wife reminded him that the
lines that expressed regret at his ill- eggs were getting cold. . . .

The Brown Moccasin


A Tragicomedy of Animal Life

By DAVID BAXTER
The great armored loggerhead umpired the
contest and a score of brilliant dragonflies flew
over the pool and watched as the mud puppy
fought with the dreaded brown Kansas water-
snake. And it was the alligator turtle that won
out in this struggle between the moccasin and the
salamander.

In WEIRD TALES next month

ON SALE AT ALL NEWS STANDS JANUARY FIRST


TRANGE tales are told of tlie “Zaid,” the prince was saying,

S rajah of Lacra-Kai, of the jus-


tice he dealt, of the rewards he
gave; but the strangest of all these
“but for your courage and fidelity 1
would surely have been assassinated;
therefore have I summoned you this
many tales is that of the gift he gave afternoon so that you may receive
1

to Zaid, the Persian who had served some token of my gratitude. Name
him long and well. A crafty man was whatsoever you desire and it shall be
the rajah, an eastern Machiavelli who yours, for I mean to reward you
’ ’
by his devices had retained the sov- richly.
ereignty of his petty state almost un- “My lord,” replied Zaid, “there is
impaired by British rule a keen,
; but one request that I would make,
shrewd diplomat, a polished cosmopol- and that is mad beyond all conception
itan, an oriental wearing a thick of madness. . .” .

veneer of European culture. In short, “Nevertheless, let me hear it; tell


he was an enlightened monarch, a me what is on your mind. Forget
tributary prince who was left quite that I am rajah of Lacra-Kai, and
to his own devices as regarded the in- consider me but as your friend who is
ternal administration of his state. indebted to you therefore speak
;

But it is of his gift to' Zaid whereof freely.”


we are to deal. * ‘
For ten years
I have been favored
In the privacy of his palace, by your munificence,” began Zaid,
screened from the view of his people, speaking slowly. “For ten years I
the rajah was quite European, dis- have been the friend of kings but all ;
’ ’
pensing with the pomp and glitter that is nothing.
and formality that is supposed to sur- Zaid paused. A far-away look had
round alleastern potentates at all crept over his features; he seemed to
times. Therefore it was that Zaid the be gazing through and beyond the
Persian, who had served his master rajah, and back to some dimly remem-
long and well, not only sat, but bered, almost forgotten episode of the
also smoked! in the royal presence as past. And then, picking liis words
he listened to the words of his lord. as one groping in the dark picks his
35
30 WEIRD TALES.

steps, he told how, twenty years pre- in Laera-Kai. But with Zaid the
vious, he had stood on the edge of the vision remained, following him over
crowd in the square before the great half the earth, and returning with
temple of Kali, awaiting the arrival of him to Laera-Kai, where, ten years
the procession at whose head the pres- later, he entered the service of that
ent rajah would be riding. Zaid, a same rajah, and, by strange turns of
boy scarcely a dozen years old, ragged, fortune, rose to rank and power in
that same court; for in the East all
dirty, half starved, part of the scum
of an eastern city, stood that day to
things are possible. Who has not
heard of the blacksmith who founded
watch the rajah ride past in state. All
the Sassanian dynasty that once ruled
the color and magnificence, all the
Persia ?
barbaric pomp of that oriental court
was there, dazzling, the concentrated, .
Such was the tale Zaid told the
rajah.
fiery splendor that marked a prince’s
accession to his throne. And all this
STRANGE
the boy saw. yet saw not, for he had
eyes for none but the rajah. High
A
"You have
S a
mused the prince.
ever heard,”
tale as 1 have

above the crowd, on the back of a indeed prospered.” Then,


great elephant lie sat. dark. calm, im- suddenly, “And all this is apropos of
passive. and arrogant as a god. Not what?”
as a man. exultant, but rather as some Zaid started, as one waking from a
high, passionless fate solemnly ad- dream, then laughed oddly.
vancing across the wastes of space. “Hear my desire, then deal with
The prince was oblivious of the pomp me as you will. For twenty years
and splendor, oblivious of the tumult that vision has haunted me. Much
and applause on that day it seemed
: has happened since then much have ;

to Zaid that he saw not a man, but I seen and experienced, but through
destiny itself in march. And as the it all, this mad desire has persisted.
rajah drew near, the great temple And at last it happened that I en-
gong clanged with a reverberation tered your service, and that, having
that seemed to shake the very base of served you well, it has pleased you to
the universe; a strange, unearthly vi- grant me whatsoever I might desire.
bration that mingled with the reso- Therefore, seeing that this great mad-
nance of brass the hiss of serpents and ness has haunted me all these years,
the rustle of silk; a sound that rose I make this request that I be permit-
:

and fell, resonant, sonorous, awful. ted to ride in state as I saw you ride
Through all this the rajah sat calm twenty years ago, so that I may ful-
and inscrutable, above all exultation, fil the oath I then swore.”

above all human emotion. But at the Whereat the rajah replied in the
sound of that gong, at the sight of tone of one wr ho denies some child a
that hard, impassive face, a great dangerous toy: “Fool! To’ grant
madness possessed Zaid, so that his you that favor Avould be to sign your
blood became as a stream of flame. death-warrant. Were you to ride
And he swore that he, too, would some thus at. noon, poison or dagger would
day ride in such a procession, would find you before dawn; for no man
bear himself with that same godlike may enjoy such a mark of favor and
hauteur, that same superb arrogance live. What? Have you lived in this
he, Zaid. hungry beggar lad and land all these years and do not realize
scum of the streets, dared have such the penalty you would pay? Consider
a vision. a moment: my son is dead; the suc-
Silent were the gongs vanished the
;
cession to the throne lay among my
procession; and the new rajah ruled three nephews. One of them sought
THE RAJAH’S GIFT 37

to hasten his succession. The plotwas gift of satisfaction, the gift so often
discovered, and the plotter I pun- denied to kings. And after all, is the
ished by showing him a mark of ex- assassin so sure of finding me? Is
traordinary favor. Immediately it that conclusion inevitable?”
was rumored about that I had selected The rajah smiled as one upon whom
him as my heir; and within ten days great understanding has suddenly de-
he died. But not by my command, scended.
for that was superfluous. The princes
“Zaid,” he said, “you are more
of the blood, and the lords of the
.”
than ever a man after my own heart.
court. . .
Mad you are, stark mad and raving;
The rajah made sweep-
a suggestive, I understand, for I, too, have been
ing gesture with his hand, then con- haunted by visions. But none has
tinued, “Me you were able to save understood my thoughts, even as none
from assassination yourself ;
you would understand your mad desire.
could not save, nor could I save you. It would be misconstrued, and . . . .

You would ride in state; rumors you know' the result.”


would drift about. And you know
the rest.” UDDENLY the rajah arose.
“Even so, my lord; I know the rest. “Come. Zaid, let me tempt you
But I will take my
chance. It is not with the things I have but named.”
good for a man to cherish a vision, And Zaid was led through subter-
however mad, without having made ranean vaults, treasure vaults full of
some effort to attain it.” gilded arms and armor, trays of flam-
“Think again, Zaid, think again! ing jewels, great chests of age-old
Cast aside your insanity. Choose coins, dinars and mohurs of gold, the
whatsoever else you will a ... secreted plunder of a hundred gen-
lakh of rupees ....
ten lakhs if erations.
you will .... jewels the like of “All this leaves you unmoved?
which you have never dreamed .... Then let me try again.”
and I have a dancing girl whose equal The Persian accompanied his mas-
is not to be found in the entire woi’ld ter to the very heart of the palace,
. ... all this, and more, is yours, to a hall overshadowed with twilight
for you have served me well; it is to
you that I owe my life. Be reason-
—a broad, spacious hall whose vr alls
were curiously carved with strange
able, friend, be reasonable.” figures in unnamably odd postures,
“Be reasonable? That the one is engaged in unmentionable diversions.
command I can not obey, for in me And then his ears were caressed by
there is no reason. This mad vision the soft, sensuously wailing notes of
has haunted me entirely too long. So. reed and stringed instruments his :

though it may cost me my life, as senses were stirred by the dull puls-
surely it may, let me see it to a finish. ing of atabals, throbbing like a heart
For there at least would be a round- racked with passion. And through
ness, a completeness to my career that the purple gloom of incense fumes he
in no way else could I attain. In the saw the lithe, swraving. gilded bodies
square before the great temple of Kali of dancing girls, slim and wondrously
I found the inspiration that led me beautiful. One, emerging from the
to enter your service, to attain your figures of the dance, slowly advanced
favor, to serve you well; and in that and made obeisance before the rajah
same square, if need be, I will meet “And this is Nilofal, the matchless
my doom. The cycle will be complete. bayadere, she whose equal is not to be
After that, let come v'hat may, for I found in the entire world. Should
shall have cheated destiny of the rare she please you. . .
.”
38 WEIRD TALES
The Persian, lost in admiration, '
for whatever the end may be, it will

saw that she was perfection incarnate, be as nothing; Zaid is about to ac-
outstripping the maddest flight of the complish that which he set out to do
most voluptuous fancy. But when when he was a beggar, a hungry,
he turned to reply, the rajah had dis- nameless urchin. There is something
appeared and the door through
; great and heroic in this madness
which they had entered was barred. but what will happen when he passes
What allurements, what sorceries, the temple of Kali ? Can he ever be-
what fascinations Nilofal used to en- come a man again? .... for in his
tice the fancy of Zaid during those madness he is more than a man; he
three days, we shall never know. Suf- has overturned destiny to fulfil a
fice it to say that she failed in her childish fancy. .” . .

efforts to separate the Persian from And the prince, watching the pro-
his madness. cession get under way, was lost in ad-
Once again Zaid stood before the miration of the man who for half an
rajah,who smiled with the air of one hour would be rajah.
whose cleverness has just reaped its “And having attained his dream,
reward in the solution of a difficult will not the man Zaid have died,
problem. though he live a hundred years there-
“What now, Zaid? Was Nilofal to after in security? And what would
your taste? Surely she must have life mean to him?”

been; and certainly she is worth all The procession, turning, had taken
the dreams that have haunted men Zaid from the rajah’s view. Bestir-
since the beginning of time.” ring himself from his revery, he whis-
“My lord,” replied the Persian, pered a few words to' A1 Tarik, his
“you have tempted me man has
as trusted servant.
never before been tempted; yet am I “. And do not fail me in the
. . .

to sacrifice the vision of twenty years slightest detail.”


in favor of a treasure vault and a The rajah repeated his instructions.
lupanar? Although you may refuse A1 Tarik departed. And in the mean-
it, I nevertheless hold fast to my first while, Zaid rode to the fulfilment of
desire.” his dream.
“So be it then; and tomorrow at Through the streets of Lacra-Kai
noon you shall see it satisfied.” the procession wound. The Persian,
And then and there were prepara- as in a dream, bore himself not as a
tions made for Zaid to ride in royal man but as the avatar of some god
state through the streets of Lacra-Kai. returning to judge the world. Vanity?
A love of pomp ? No surely not that.;

XTOON the next day. The rajah, Rather was it that strange madness
watching from the roof of his that overwhelms men when they
palace, saw Zaid in the gilded howd'ah, snatch from fate the achievement of
mounted on the great elephant that a vision. On and on he rode, like the
carried none but princes of the blood. slow, sure march of destiny, immuta-
Calm and serene and godlike sat the ble, irresistible. And but one thought
Persian: a king he seemed, and the flitted through his brain, the words of
descendant of a hundred kings, for at some long forgotten sage: “When
that moment he was about to fulfil indeed they do grant to a man the
his destiny. Once again a great un- realization of his dream, they straight-
derstanding descended upon the way reach forth to snatch from him
rajah. his prize, lest in his triumph he be-
“It was wrong indeed that I tried come godlike and gaily toss them from
to dissuade him,” reflected the rajah, their lofty thrones.” His lips curled
THE RAJAH’S GIFT 39

in the shadow of a smile, for swift rising and swelling again. And the
indeed would have to be their envy to god, who but half an hour before had
defeat him; the great temple of Kali been Zaid, the Persian, toppled for-
was at hand. He was approaching ward in the gilded howdah. The last
the square where, twenty years ago, roll of the gong had masked the
an obscure nobody, a starving beggar, smacking report of a high-powered
a mere boy, he had seen the vision rifle.
that now was materializing.. And
then the great gong in the temple
rang, reverberating like the crash of
doom, filling the entire universe with
THAT the
served
evening the rajah gazed at
body ofthe man who had
the man he had es-
him well,
its shivering resonance— full-throated, teemed and loved as a friend. Pity
colossal, then hissing with the rustle and sorrow were on his lean, hard

of silk a sound that swelled, and features; but regret was absent.
died, and rose again. “A king and more than a king,”
As slowly as some animated Jug- he soliloquized, as he regarded the
gernaut the royal elephant advanced, still, transfigured face of the Persian.
pace by pace, deliberately, majes- “A —
madman, perhaps or the avatar
tically, as though each step took him of a god, for by his own efforts he
from world to world. And again the rounded his destiny. The cycle is com-
gong, touched to life by the mallet plete, from the temple of Kali, and
wielded by a temple slave, rolled forth back again ; the circle has closed upon
its sonorous, vibrant crash. itself. Yes, it is well that I command-
A few more steps, and Zaid, the ed A1 Tarik to fire before Zaid en-
Persian, whom the rajah loved to dured the agony of becoming mortal
honor, was before the temple of Kali. again. .
.”
.

High and arrogant was he. as Rama Such was the gift of the rajah of
going forth to conquer the world; no Laera-Kai. Yet once, at least, though
longer a man, but transfigured be- he did not know it, the rajah had
yond recognition. Again the temple made a futile move: the shot of A1
gong gave forth its vibrant note, Tarik had missed; and there was no
reverberant, awful; diminishing, then wound on the Persian’s body.

In WEIRD TALES for February

Wanderlust by Proxy
By WILL SMITH

The most bizarre story ever


written around radio. One of
the strangest of all strange tales

On Sale At All News Stands January First


Author of “Tea Leaves ” and “ The Door''

W HEN the Planter’s Hotel in


Jackson, Mississippi, burned
to the ground in the notable
fire of 1922, the loss to that section of
the South could not be measured in
had been keeping a kind of Christinas
anniversary, a fact which added no
little to
and horror.
On
the general feeling of regret

the request of these prominent


'

terms of that ancient hostelry’s for- gentlemen, the hotel management had
mer grandeur. The days had indeed cleared out and furnished a second-
long passed when a Virginia ham was floor room with a great fireplace, a
therein stewed in no medium meaner room for long used only for storage,
than good white wine; and as the hut for which, the late mayor and
rambling old building was heavily in- lieutenant-governor had assured
sured, the owners suffered no great them, the four old cronies cherished
material loss. The real loss was the a certain sentiment. The fire, which
community’s, in the deaths by fire of gained headway despite the truly des-
two of its prominent citizens, Lieu- perate efforts of the occupants of the
tenant-Governor Frank Stacpoole and room, had its origin in the fireplace,
Mayor Cassius L. Turner. These and it was believed that the four, who
gentlemen, just turning elderly, had were literally burned to cinders, had
been having a reunion in the hotel been trapped. The fire had started, it
Avith two of their old associates, Judge appeared, about half an hour before
Varney J. Baker of Memphis, Ten- midnight, wdien everybody else in the
nessee, and the Honorable Valdemar hotel had retired. No other occupant
Peale, a prominent Georgian, from of the house suffered from its effects,
Atlanta. Thus, two other Southern beyond a few incidental injuries sus-
cities had a share in the mourning, tained in the hurried departure at
for Judge Baker and Mr. Peale both dead of night from the blazing old
likewise perished in the flames. The firetrap.
fire took place just before Christmas,
on the 23d of December, and among OME ten years before this regret-
the many sympathetic and regretful S table incident ended the long and
comments which ensued upon this honorable career of this one-time fa-
holocaust was the many-times-repeat- mous hostelry, a certain Mr. James
ed conjecture that these gentlemen Callender, breaking a wearisome

THE FIREPLACE 41

journey north at Jackson, turned into transcended all his previous second-
the hospitable vestibule of the Plan- hand experiences of the occult. It
ter’s, with a sigh of relief. He had had, he found, anything but a sopo-
been shut up for nine hours in the rific effect upon him. He was read-
mephitic atmosphere of a soft-coal ing carefully, well into the book, with
train. He was tired; hungry, thirsty, all his faculties alert, when he was in-
and begrimed with soot. terrupted by a knock on the door of
Two grinning negro porters depos- his room. -®
ited his ample luggage, toted from
Mr. Callender stopped reading,
the railway station in th£ reasonable
marked his place, and rose to open
hope of a large emolument, promised
by their patron’s prosperous appear-
the door. He was wondering who
should summon him at such an hour.
ance and' the imminence of the festi-
val season of Christmas. They re- He glanced at his watch on the bu-
ceived their reward and left Mr. Cal- reau in passing and was surprized to
lender in the act of signing the hotel note that it was 11.20. He had been
register. reading for nearly two hours, stead-
“Can you let me have number ily. He opened the door, and was
28?” he required of the clerk. “That, surprized to find no one in the corri-
I believe, is the room with the large dor. He stepped through the door-
not? My friend, Mr.
fireplace, is it way and glanced right and then left.
Tom Culbertson of Sweetbriar, recom- There were, he observed, turns in
mended it to me in case I should be both directions at short distances from
stopping here.” his door, and Mr. Callender, w'hose
Number 28 was fortunately va- mind was trained in the sifting of
cant, and the new guest was shortly evidence, worked out an instantan-
in occupation, a great fire, at his or- eous explanation in his mind. The
ders, roaring up the chimney, and he occupant of a double room (so he
himself engaged in preparing for the guessed) had returned late,' and, mis-
luxury of a hot bath. taking the room, had knocked to ap-
prize his fellow occupant of his re-
After a leisurely dinner of the sort
for which the old hotel was famous, turn. Seeing at once that he had
Mr. Callender first sauntered slowly knocked prematurely, on the wrong
through the lobby, enjoying the first door, the person had bolted around
fragrant whiffs of a good cigar. Then, one of the corners to avoid an awk-
seeing no familiar face which gave ward explanation!
promise of a conversation, he ascend- Mx*. Callender, smiling at this
ed to his room, replenished the fire, whimsical idea of his, turned back
and got himself ready for a solitary into his room and shut the door be-
evening. Soon, in pajamas, bathrobe, hind him.
and comfortable slippers, he settled A gentleman was sitting in the
himself in a comfortable chair at just placed he had vacated. Mr. Callender
the right distance from the fire and stopped short and stared at this in-
began to read a new book which he truder. The man who had appro-
had brought with him. His dinner priated his comfortable chair was a
had been a late one, and it was about few years older than himself, it ap-
half-past 9 when he really settled —
peared say about thirty-five. Ho
to his book. It was Ai’thur Maclien’s was tall, well-proportioned, and very
“House of Souls,” and Mr. Callen- well dressed, although there seemed
der soon found himself absorbed in to Mr. Callender’s hasty scrutiny
the eery ecstasy of reading for the something indefinably odd about his
first time a remarkable work which clothes.
42 WEIKD TALES
The two men looked at each other aroused and keen. He drew up an-
appraisingly for the space of a few other chair and seated himself on the
seconds, in silence, and then abruptly side of the fireplace opposite the
Mr. Callender saw what was wrong stranger, who at once began his ex-
with the other’s appearance. He was planation.
dressed in the fashion of about fifteen “My name is Charles Bellinger, a
years back, in the style of the late fact which I will ask you kindly to
nineties. No one was wearing such a note and keep well in mind. I come
decisive-looking piccadilly collar, nor from Biloxi, down on the Gulf, and.
such a huge puff tie which concealed unlike yourself, I am a Southerner,
every vestige of the linen except the a native of Mississippi. You see, sir,
edges of the cuffs. These, on Mr. Cal- I know something about you, or at
lender’s uninvited guest, were im- least who you are.”
maculate and round, and held in place head,
Mi’. Callender inclined his
by a pair of large, round, cut-cameo
and the stranger w aved r
his hand
black buttons.
again, this time as if to express ac-
Thestrange gentleman, without knowledgment. of an introduction.
rising, broke the silence in a well-
“I may as well add to this, since it
modulated voice with a deprecatory
explains several matters, though in it-
wave of a very well kept hand. self sounding somewhat odd. that
“I owe you an apology, sir. I trust actually I am dead.”
that you will accept what amends I
Mr. Bellinger, at this astounding
can make. This room has for me a
statement, met Mr. Callender’s facial
peculiar interest which you will un-
expression of amazement with a smile
derstand if you will allow me to speak
clearly meant to be reassuring, and
further, but for the present I confine
again, with a kind of unspoken elo-
myself to asking your pardon.”
quence, waved his expressive hand.
This speech was delivered in so “Yes, sir, what I tell you is the
frank and* pleasing a fashion that Mr. plain truth. I passed out of this life
Callender could take no offense at the in this room where we are sitting al-
intrusion of the speaker. most exactly sixteen years ago. My
“You are quite welcome, sir, but death occurred on the 23rd of De-
perhaps you will be good enough to cember. That will be precisely six-
continue, as you suggest. I confess teen years ago the day after to-
to being mightily puzzled as to the morrow. I came here tonight for the
precise manner in which you came to express purpose of telling you the
be here. The only way of approach facts, ifyou will bear with me and
is through the door, and I ’ll take my suspend your judgment as to my san-
oath no one came through it. I heard ity. It was I who knocked at your
a knock, went to the door, and there door, and I passed through it, and.
was no one there.” so to speak, through you. my dear
“I imagine I would do well to be- sir!
gin at the beginning,” said the “On the late afternoon of the day
stranger, gravely. “The facts are I have mentioned I arrived in this
somewhat unusual, as you wall see hotel in company with Mr. Frank
when I have related them; otherwise Stacpoole, an acquaintance, who still
T should hardly be here, at this time lives here in Jackson. I met him as
of night, and trespassing upon your I got off the train, and invited him
good nature. That this is no mere to come here with me for dinner. Be-
prank I beg that you will believe.” ing a bachelor, he made no difficulty,
“Proceed, sir, by all means,” re- and just after dinner we met in the
turned Mr. Callender, his curiosity lobby another man named Turner—
THE FIREPLACE 4 :!

Cassius L. Turner, also a Jacksonian better my hand discarded the fours,


I
— who proposed a game of cards and with the odd card, and drew to the
offered to secure two more gentlemen pair of kings, hoping for a third. 1
to complete the party. I invited him was fortunate. I obtained not only
to bring them here to my room, and the third king but with it a pair of
Staepoole and I came up in advance eights. Thus, equipped with a full
to get things ready for an evening of house, I considered my hand likely
poker. to be the best, and when, within two
“Shortly afterwards Mr. Turner rounds of betting, the rest had laid
and the two other gentlemen arrived. down their hands, the pot lay be-
One of them was named Baker, the tween Peale and me. Peale, I no-
other was Mr. Valdemar Peale, of At- ticed, had also thrown down three
lanta, Georgia. You recognize his cards, and every chance indicated
name, I perceive, as I had expected that I had him beaten. I forced him
you would. Mr. Peale is now a very to call me after a long series of raises
prominent man. He has gone far back and forth; and when he laid
since that time. If you happened to' down his hand he was holding four
be better acquainted here you would fours
know that Staepoole and Turner are “You see? He had picked up my
also men of very considerable prom- discard.
inence. Baker, who lives in Memphis, “Wishing to give Peale the benefit
Tennessee, is likewise a well-known of any possible doubt, I declared the
man in bis community and state. matter at once, for one does not light-
“Peale, it appeared, was Stac- ly accuse a gentleman of cheating at
poole’s brother-in-law, a fact which cards, especially here in the South.
I had not previously known, and all It was possible, though far from like-'
four were well acquainted with each ly, that there had been a mistake.
other. I was introduced to the two The dealer might for once have laid
newcomers and we commenced to . down his draw on the table, although
play poker. he had consistently handed out the
“Somewhat to my embarrassment, cards as we dealt in turn all the eve-
since I was both the host and the ning. To imply further that I regard-
‘stranger’ of the party, I won stead- ed the matter as nothing worse than a
ily from the very beginning. Mr. mistake, I offered at once to allow the
Peale was the heaviest loser, and al- considerable pot, which I had really
though as the evening wore on he sat won, to lie over to the next hand.
with compressed lips and made no “I had risen slightly out of my chair
comment, it was plain that he was as I spoke, and before anyone could
taking his considerable losses rather add a word, Peale leaned over the
hardly. table and stabbed me with a bowie
knife which I had not even seen him
“^lOT long after 11 o’clock a most draw, so rapid was his action. He
^ unfortunate incident took place. struck upwards, slantingly, and the
I had in no way suspected that I was blade, entering my body just below
not among gentlemen. I had begun, the ribs, cut my
right lung nearly iti
you see, by knowing only Staepoole, two. I sank down limp across the
and even with him my acquaintance table, and within a few seconds had
was only casual. coughed myself almost noiselessly to
“At the time I mention there be- death.
gan a round of jack-pots, and the sec- “The actual moment of dissolution
ond of these I opened with a pair of was painful to a degree. It was as if
kings and a pair of fours. Hoping to the permanent part of me, ‘myself’
44 WEIRD 74LES
my soul, if —
you will snapped ab- “The others, who all appeared
ruptly away from that distorted thing somewhat dazed, set about their ap-
which sprawled prone across the dis- pointed tasks silently. Peale, who
ordered table and which no longer seemed unable to leave the vicinity of
moved. the table, at which he kept throwing
“Dispassionately, then, the some- glances, straightened up the chairs,
thing which continued to be myself replaced them where they had been,
(though now, of course, dissociated and then gathered up the cards and
from what had been my vehicle of ex- other debris from the table, and
pression, my body) looked on and ap- threw these into the now blazing fire
prehended all that followed. which Turner was rapidly feeding
“For a few momenfs there was ut- with fresh wood.
ter silence.Then Turner, in a hoarse, “Within a few minutes Baker re-
constrained voice, whispered to Peale: turned as unobtrusively as he had
‘You’ve done for yourself now, you left,and after carefully fastening the
unmentionable fool!’ door and approaching the table, gath-
“Peale sat in silence, the knife, ered the three others about him and
which he had automatically with- produced from under his coat an awk-
drawn from the wound, still grasped ward and hastily-wrapped package
in his hand, and what had been my of newspapers. Unfastening this he
life’s blood slowly dripping from it produced three heavy kitchen knives.
and gradually congealing as it fell “I saw that Turner went white as
upon a disarranged pile of cards. Baker’s idea dawned upon his con-
“Then, quite without warning, sciousness, I now understood what
Baker took charge ot the situation. Baker had meant when he told Peale
He had kept very quiet and played a to defer the cleansing of his bowie
very conservative game throughout knife! It was, as plans go, a very
the evening. practical scheme which he had
“ ‘This affair calls for careful evolved. —
The body the corpus de-
handling,’ he drawled, ‘and if you licti, as I believe you gentlemen of

will take my advice I think it can be —


the law call it was an extremely
made into a simple case of disappear- awkward fact. It was a fact which
ance. Bellinger comes from Biloxi. had to be accounted for, unless well, —
He is not well known here.’ Then, Baker had clearly perceived that there
rising and gathering the attention of must he no corpus delicti!
the others, he continued: ‘I am go- “He held a hurried, low-voiced
ing down to the hotel kitchen for a conversation with the others, from the
short time. While I am gone, keep immediate effect of which all, even
the door shut, keep quiet, and clear Peale, at first drew back. I need not
up the room, leaving this (he indica- detail it to you.
1

You will have al-


ted my body) ‘where it lies. You, ready apprehended what Baker had
Stacpoole, arrange the furniture in in mind. There was the roaring fire
the room as nearly as you can re- in the fireplace. That was his means
member how it looked when you first of making certain that there would
came in. You, Turner, make up a big remain no corpus delicti in that room
fire. You needn’t begin that just yet,’ when the others left. Without such
he threw at Peale, who had begun evidence, that is, the actual body of
nervously to cleanse the blade of his the murdered man, there could be, as
knife on a piece of newspaper; and you are of course well aware, no
with this cryptic remark he disap- prosecution, because there would be
peared through the door and was no proof that the murder had even
gone. been committed. I should simply
THE FIREPLACE 45

have ‘disappeared/ He had seen all which had been in my possession, were
that, and the opportunity which the then cold-bloodedly divided among
fireplace afforded for carrying out these four rascals, for such I had for
his plan, all at once. But the some time now recognized them as be-
fireplace, while large, was not large ing. There arose then the problem
enough to accommodate the body of a of the disposal of my other belong-
man intact. Hence his hurried and ings. There was my watch, pocket-
stealthy visit to the hotel kitchen. knife, and several old seals which had
“The men looked up from their belonged to my grandfather and
conference. Peale w'as trembling pal- which I had been accustomed to wear
pably. The sweat streamed fi’om on the end of the chain in the pocket
Turner’s face. Stacpoole seemed un- opposite that in which I carried my
affected,, but I did not fail to observe watch. Thei*e wei*e my studs, scarf-
that the hand which he reached out pin, cuff-buttons, two rings, and last-
for one of the great meat knives ly, my These had been laid
teeth.
shook, violently, and that he was the aside at the time when Baker had
first to. turn his head aside when carefully raked the charred but in-
Baker, himself pale and with set face, destructible teeth out of the embers
gingerly picked up from the table one of the first fire.”
of the stiffening hands . . .
At this point in his narrative, Mr.
Bellinger paused and passed one of
“ VX/ITHIN an hour and a quarter
his eloquent hands through the hair
Y ( for the fireplace drew as well on top of his head in a reflective ges-
then as it does tonight) there was not ture. Mr. Callender observed what
a vestige left of the corpus delicti, he had not before clearly noted, that
except the teeth. his guest possessed a pair of extraor-

Baker appeared to think of every-

dinarily long, thin hands, very mus-
thing. When the fire had pretty cular, the hands of an artist and also
well burned itself out, and consumed of a man of determination and action.
what had been placed within it piece- He particularly observed that the in-
meal, he remade it, and within its dex fingers were almost if not quite
heart placed such charred remnants as long as the middle finger's. The
of the bones as had not been com- listener,who had been unable to make
pletely incinerated the first time. up mind upon the question of the
his
Eventually all the incriminating evi- sanity of him who had presented this
dence had been consumed. It was as extraordinary narrative in so calm
if I had never existed! and convincing a fashion, viewed
“My of course, had been
clothes, these hands indicative of so strong a
burned. When the four, now hag- character with the greatest interest.
gard with their ordeal, had completed Mr. Bellinger resumed his narrative.
the burning process, another clearing- “There was some discussion about
up and final re-arrangement of the the disposal of all these things. The
room was undertaken. Various news- consensus was that they must be con-
papers -which they had been carrying cealed, since they could not easily be
in their coat pockets were used to destroyed. If I had been one of those
cleanse the table. The knives, includ- men I should have insisted upon
ing Peale ’s, were washed and throwing them into the river at the
scrubbed, the water poured out and earliest opportunity. They could
the wash-basin thoroughly scoured. have been carried out of the room by
No blood had got upon the carpet. any one of the group with the great-
“Mv not inconsiderable winnings, est ease and with no chance of detec-
as well as the coin and currency tion, since all together they took up
•tti WEIRD TALES

very room, but this simple plan


little carried it carefully over to the table
seemed not to occur to them. Per- and laid it down, and, emptying it
haps they had exhausted their inge- out between them, checked off the
nuity in the horrible task just finished various articles which Mr. Bellinger
and were over-anxious to' depart. had named. The round cuff-buttons
They decided only upon the necessity came last, and as he held these in his
of disposal of these trinkets, and the hand, he looked at Mr. Bellinger’s
actual disposition was haphazard. wrists. Mr. Bellinger smiled and
This was by a method which I need pulled down his cuffs, holding out his
not describe because I think it desir- hands in the process, and Mi*. Callen-
able to show them to you.” der again noted carefully their pecu-
liarities, the long, muscular fingers

M R.
the
BELLINGER
way
closely followed
rose and led
to a corner of the room,
by the amazed Cal-
being especially conspicuous, thus
seen under the direct light of the elec-
tric lamp. The cuff-buttons, he noted,
lender. Bellinger pointed to the pre- were absolutely identical.
cise comer. “Perhaps you will oblige me by
“Although am
for the present
I putting the whole collection in your
materialized,” remarked, “you
he pocket,” suggested Mr. Bellinger.
will probably understand that this Then, smiling, as Mr. Callender, not
whole proceeding is in the nature of unnaturally, hesitated: “Take them,
a severe psychic strain upon me and my dear man, take them freely.
my resources. It is quite out of the They’re really mine to give, you 1

question for me to do certain things. know !


’ ’

Managing to knock at the door took Mr. Callender stepped over to the
it out of me, rather, but I wished to wardrobe where his clothes hung, and
give you as much warning of my pres- placed the packet in his coat pocket.
ence as I could. Will you kindly ob- When he returned to the vicinity of
lige me by lifting the carpet at this the fireplace, his guest had already
’ ’
point ? resumed his seat.
Mr. Callender worked his fingers “I trust, ” he said, “that despite
nervously under the comer of the car- —
the vei*y singular I may say, bizarre
pet, and pulled. The tacks yielded — character of my narrative and es-
after several hard pulls, and the cor- pecially the statement with which I
ner of the carpet came up, revealing thought best to begin it, you will have
a large piece of heavy tin which had given me your credence. It is uncom-
been tacked down over an ancient rat- mon to be confronted with the recital
hole. of such an experience as I have re-
“Pull up
the tin, too, if you lated to you, and it is not everybody
please,” requested Mr. Bellinger. The —
who is may I say privileged?— to
tin presented a more difficult task carry on an extended conversation
than had the carpet, but Mr. Callen- with a man who has been dead sixteen
der, now thoroughly intrigued, made years
short work of it, though at the ex- “My object may possibly have sug-
pense of two broken blades of his gested itself to you. These men have
pocket-knife. At Mr. Bellinger’s escaped all consequences of their act.
further direction, inserting his hand, They are, as I think you will not
he found and drew out a packet of deny, four thorough rascals. They
cloth, which proved on examination are at large and even in positions of
to have been fabricated out of a responsibility, trust, and prominence
trousers pocket lining. The cloth was in their several communities. You
rotted and brittle, and Mr. Callender are a lawyer, a man held in high es-
THE FIREPLACE 47

teem for your professional skill and coat pocket in search of negative evi-
personal integrity. I ask you. then, dence that he had been dreaming, but
will you undertake to bring these men his hand encountered the bag which
to justice? You should
be able to re- had been the lining of a trousers
produce the salient points of my pocket. He drew it out and spread
story. You have even proofs in the a second time that morning on the
shape of the articles now in your coat table the various articles which it con-
pocket. There is the fact of my dis- tained. . .

appearanee. That made a furor at After an early breakfast Mr. Cal-


the time, and has never been ex- lender asked for permission to exam-
plained or cleared up. You have the ine the register for the year 1896. He
evidence of the hotel register for my found that Charles Bellinger of
being here on that date and it would Biloxi had registered on the after-
not be hard to prove that these men noon of the 23d of December and had
were in my company. But above all been assigned room 28. He had no
else, I would pin my faith for a con- time for further enquiries, and,
viction upon the mere recounting in thanking the obliging clerk, he has-
the presence of these four, duly sub- tened to the railway station and re-
penaed, of my story as I have told it sumed his journey north.
to you. That would fasten their guilt During the journey his mind re-
upon them to the satisfaction of any fused to occupy itself with anything
judge and jury. They would be cry- except his strange experience. He
ing aloud for mercy and groveling in reached his destination in a state of
abject superstitious fear long before profound preoccupation.
you had finished the account, of pre-
cisely what they had done. Or, three
As soon as his professional engage-
ments allowed him the leisure to do
of them could be confronted with an
so, he began his enquiries by having
alleged confession made by the other.
looked up the owners of those names
Will you undertake, to right this fes-
tering wrong, Mr. Callender, and give
which were deeply imprinted in his
memory. He was obliged to stop
me peace? Your professional obliga-
there because an unprecedented
tion to promote justice and set wrong
right should conspire with your char-
quantity of new legal business
claimed his more immediate attention.
acter to cause you to agree.”
He was aware that this particular
“I do so, with all my heart,”
will
period in his professional career was
replied Mr. Callender, holding out his
one vital to his future, and he slaved
hand. painstakingly at the affairs of his
But before the other could take it, clients. His diligence was rewarded
there came another knocking on the by a series of conspicuous legal suc-
door of the hotel room. Slightly cesses, and his reputation became
startled, Mr. Callender went to the greatly enhanced. This heavy preoc-
door and threw it open. One of the cupation could not fail to dull some-
hotel servants reminded him that he what the shan't impression which the
had asked to be called, and that it was adventure in the hotel bedroom had
the hour specified. Mr. Callender made upon his mind, and the contents
thanked and feed the man, and turn- of the trousers pocket remained locked
ing back into the room found himself in his safe-deposit box undisturbed
alone. while he settled the affairs of the
He went to the fireplace and sat Rockland Oil Corporation and fought
down. He looked fixedly at the smol- through the Appellate Division the
dering fire in the grate. He went conspicuous case of Burnet vs. De
over to the wardi’obe anc^ felt in his Castro, et al.
48 WEIRD TALES
T WAS
in the pursuit of a vital guilty men who were still at large be-
I piece of evidence in this last- cause of his failure to keep his prom-
named case that, his duties called him ise, he was human enough, and mod-

South again. Having obtained the ern enough in his ideas to shrink still
1

evidence, he started home, and more from the imputation of oddity


again found it expedient to break the which his refusal of the room on no
long journey northward, at Jackson. sensible grounds would inevitably
It was not, though, until he was ac- suggest.
tually signing the register that he He went up to his room, and, a;s
noted that it was the 23d of Decem- it was a cold night outside, ordered
ber, the actual date with which Mr. the fire to be made up. . .
Bellinger’s singular narrative had When the hotel servant rapped on
been concerned. his door in the morning there was no
He did not ask for any particular ans-wer, and after several attempts to
room this time. He felt a chill of arouse the occupant the man reported
vague apprehension, as if there his failure at the office. Later another
awaited him an accounting for some attempt was made, and, this proving
laxity, a feeling which recalled the equally ineffectual, the door was
occasional lapses of his remote child- forced with the assistance of a loch-
hood. He smiled, but this whimsical smith.
idea was quickly replaced by a som- Mr. Callender’s body was found
ber apprehension which he could not lying with the head in the grate. He
shake off, and which emanated from had been, it appeared, strangled, for
the realization that the clerk by some the marks of a pair of hands were
strange fatality had again assigned deeply imprinted on his throat. The

,

him room 28 the room with the fire- fingershad sunk deeply into the blu-
place. He thought of asking for an- ish, discolored flesh, and the coroner’s
other room, but could not think of jury noted the unusual circumstance
any reasonable excuse. He sighed and when they sent out a description of
felt a positive sinking at the heart the murderer confined to this pecu-
when he saw the figures written down liarity, that these marks indicated
at the edge of the page; but he said that the murderer (who was never
nothing. If he shrank from this discovered) possessed very long thin
room’s occupancy, this room with its fingers, the index fingers being al-
frightful secret shared by him alone most or quite as long as the middle
of this world’s company with the four fingers.
HITE MAN'SA MADNESS
COMPLETJ NOVELETTE

-**&g/'i

H OUR after hour John Martin


staggered up the steep trail,
singing bits of ribald songs
picked up here and there throughout
a rather free and easy past. Occa-
and on, climbing steadily higher in
long,

itself.
slow spirals. In the end it

seemed to lead nowhere it only went
on and on, grim and relentless as fate
As far as his dazed and un-
sionally he paused to curse the patient
1

certain sight could reach, there was


pack-mule that labored along in his no sign of life or human habitation,
wake, or to shout back jests and words in this inhospitable part of the Peru-
of encouragement to the man behind vian Andes.
him. Answers to these jests had grown As he stood still, looking from side
briefer and briefer as the day wore on, to side, his right hand fumbled almost
for Jackson was not in a frivolous automatically to the bosom of his
mood. shirt and brought forth the flask,
A little wind began to filter down which he tilted to his lips. A sur-
upon them from the high passes up prized exclamation broke from him
ahead, and Martin shivered now and as the upturned bottle yielded no drop
then and drank deeply of the flask of the precious fluid upon which he
that he carried in the bosom of his had traveled for the past six days.
shirt.
* ‘
Now, wha ’ you know about that ? ’’

At last, as he rounded a point he inquired, with a drunken leer at


where the trail crept like a thread the august peak above him. “Wha’
around the granite breast of the you know about that? The damned
mountain, he was met by a blast so thing’s empty again Got to fill her
!

keen, so bitterly cold, that it went —


up from the keg never did see such
through him like the thrust of a knife a bottle —
always empty empty —
blade, chilling the very marrow of his empty. —
Here you now where the
bones. Months of dissipation in the devil did thatmule go?”
dives and barrooms of the coast towns He turned and peered behind him :

had shaken him out of the strength there was no sign of the burdened
and vigor which was his rightful her- mule nor of Jackson, his fellow-trav-
itage, and his heart was jumping like eler.
a trip-hammer as he paused and “Slow as cold molasses,” he grum-
stared irresolutely ahead. As far as bled, as he stood waiting for them to
the eye could reach, that trail ran on come up. “Can’t make no headway
40
50 WEIRD TALES
with a fellow like Jackson— grum- brain. His head ached and his blood-
bling and growling and dragging shot eyes burned like flames.
along.’

Suddenly he stopped. What a fool’
For fully ten minutes he stood still, he had been to leave the main trail!
leaning heavily against the rocky wall Jackson had simply turned around
that lined the narrow trail. He was and gone back, as he had threatened

tired it was good to rest, even for all day to do, for Jackson had long
since sickened of their drunken cam-
a moment. But presently, as no sign
of either Jackson or the mule ap- pact to explore the ruined village of
peared, he turned and went back which their Indian guide had told
along the narrow, ’ledgelike trail, and such glittering tales. It was like Jack-
as he ‘went the fumes of alcohol lifted son’s cursed selfishness to steal away
a little from his deadened brain, and with the pack-mule and all the sup-
he cursed Jackson passionately for plies. Martin remembered nowr how
delaying their journey. But nowhere Jackson had glared at him in that,
was there any sign of either Jackson silly quarrel when they stopped for

or the mule. - lunch. They had been good friends


Suddenly he came to a little path
and boon companions when they
loaded up the pack-mule and started
that led off from the main' trail up a
out on this trip, and when their spir-.
deep ravine, which exit into the side
its had flagged or their limbs wearied
of the mountain, and which he had
they had had plenty of chicJia to pour
not noticed when lie had passed it
its fiery courage into their deadening
some time before. He stopped at the
veins. On the second day their guide
juncture of the two trails and called.'
had left them, promising to join them
“Jackson hoor-aye —
Jackson ’’ — !

later, in the day; and though he had


and waited anxiously a moment be- not come they had kept on, with the
fore repeating the call.
curious persistency of drunken men,
There was no answer. and fools, making only a few miles a
Again and again he called. His day, but well satisfied since the sup-
own.w:ords echoed strangely back. to ply of chicliq was inexhaustible. Jack-
him, but there was no answering
.
son had wearied first of this foolish
shout.. . .
expedition; besides, it was growing
‘ ‘
stands to reason he must have,
It colder and colder as they climbed
gone the trail here,’’ he mused,
off higher, and the journey that was to
aloud, as he .considered the situation. have taken three days at best had

“And yet he can’t have gotten very already taken six. And now Jackson’
far—strange lie’s out of hearing, so had made good his threat and turned
soon. I’ll have to go up here a. wavs back, taking with him w hat remained
after him, I guess.” of their scanty supplies, as well as the
He hurried along up the new trail, blankets and bedding.
which he could barely discern in the As these thoughts ran through Mar-
gathering dusk, and as he went he tin’s mind, he had already turned-
paused again and again to call out. around and was running back down
There was no answer. the trail. IIow easy it was to go down
He walked faster and faster, break- hill again: no wonder Jackson had
ing now and then into little runs until turned back! What fools they had.
his laboring heart and gasping breath been in the first place to set out with
slackened his pace, for the little fear, that Indian! Martin remembered
that had been only a trifling uncer- now how the fellow’s eyes had
tainty at first, was growing by leaps gleamed as he urged the undertaking
and bounds within him, clutching upon him. Why, he had practically
with horrible Angel's at his quivering talked them into the whole thing, hint-
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 51

ing at treasure and le; ling them off Lost ! He


repeated the word again
the main trail on to this obscure and again, trying to grasp the mean-
one, on which they had met not a sin- ing, and all the time, round and round
gle traveler during the whole of their in the recesses of his mind, fear ran
journey. swiftly, recalling stories of other men
That Indian had been a traitor! lost in the Andes and of what had
happened to them in the end. He had
1

M ARTIN
along
saw
the
now, as he ran
it all

trail,hurrying to
catch up with Jackson before the
laughed at these stories in the snug
warmth of cheerful barrooms and
club lounges, but he did not laugh
night fell. He was anxious to talk now as, with white face and trembling
over with Jackson the duplicity of limbs, he stopped and peered anxious-
that Indian, who had been angered, ly into the shadows.
perhaps, at their familiarity with his All the food, the blankets and even
daughter. the firearms had been packed on the
“You never know about these back of the mule, for they had found
damned cholas,” he muttered aloud, it steep going up the rocky trails and
as he trotted heavily along.

For all

they had stripped down to shirt and
he seemed as soft as butter, that fel- trousers. Even Martin’s coat had
low was ready to stick a knife into been hooked over the horn of the pack
us all the while. Only it was like his saddle. Last night he had been cold,
damned impudence to choose this wrapped in that coat and two blankets
way instead, sending us off up here besides. What would it be like to-
on a wild goose chase, hoping we’d night, still higher up and with neither
fall off some of these cliffs and break coat nor blankets to shelter him from
our nceks. Wait till I get back to the wind that slipped down from

Huanuco I’ll fix that greaser! Fun- those snow-covered peaks up above ?

ny I surely have come back as far as As he thought of these things he
I went up — the other trail ought to was conscious for the first time of the
show up about here somewheres.” awful silence that reigned about him.
He stopped and looked about him. Not a whisper, not a sound anywhere,
Nowhere could he see a familiar land- except the sound of his own labored
mark. He seemed to remember that breathing, which sounded harshly in
the ravine had been steep and narrow his ears. Involuntarily he tried to
at the point where it intersected the muffle that panting breath. The effort
main trail. He saw now that the ra- made his ears ring and he staggered

vine had widened out he could not slightly, as a sudden nausea came
see the side-walls in the deepening over him. He had talked and sung
twilight. He seemed to be in a sort of songs while Jackson ate lunch. So
spoon-shaped depression in the moun- long as he had plenty of the ever-
tainside; the trail that he had fol- potent chiclut he had wanted nothing
lowed he had lost somewhere, perhaps else, but now his stomach felt weak
when he started back, for he saw that and empty.
what he had taken for a trail was a He went forward a few steps, feel-
mere runway that the mountain deer ing his way along. If only he could
had made, running in steep zigzags find some place to take shelter for the
from one grazing ground to another. night, in the morning he would find
There was no real trail in sight. He his way back to the main trail and
could not tell whether he was above follow Jackson. But the bare slopes
or below the main trail up which he of the mountain offered no shelter
had labored earlier in the day. the best he could do would be a fire
He was lost! under some rock. He tried to keep
WEIRD TALES

down the panic that grew and grew derful thing it was: the gift of the
within him.. He was afraid, horribly gods to men
afraid; but. he must not acknowledge He must not down in his
let it die —
it, even to himself, lest that little anxiety to get it started he had not,
spark of self-control desert him utter- collected sufficient fuel, and the dried
ly, He must not think of what it tola burned quickly —
too quickly. He
meant, to be lost in this wilderness, hurried about looking for larger wood,
of the slow starvation for food and but on this side of the mountain there
water, the cold and the utter loneli- was so little that would burn. One
ness. He must not think of his own clump of bushes promised well, and he
pitiful insignificance in the face of
hurried toward it eagerly. He did
not see until too late, that the sup-
these awful solitudes ;
he must not
posed bush was really the top of a
think of the thousand and one dan-
gers that lay about him. He raised
qnenuar tree that grew out of the side
of a deep fissure in the mountainside.
his chin and tried to square back his
Before he could stop himself, his mo-
drooping shoulders to make a pretense
of the courage that he did not feel.
mentum carried him over the edge of
the chasm, and he fell, clutching at
A little sound from the rear made the air as his body shot downward.
him wheel suddenly and peer anxi- And as he fell a last, despairing cry-
ously back into the shadows of the
burst from him.
ravine behind him.' Then, seeing noth- ‘
The fire ” he cried.

The fire ‘

’ ’

ing, he went on again. Amoment ! . !

later he wheeled again. Had he heard, Hours later he came back to con-
or had he imagined, a soft pad-pad- sciousness for a moment.
pad of some creature that followed He was being lifted up and placed
silently along his trail? In spite of upon a litter of some sort. A groan
his caution his footsteps quickened, of agony came from his lips, and in-
and with a little smothered sob he stantly he felt a hand, as soft and.
broke into a run. cursing his stupidity light as thistledown, laid upon his
for unbuckling the" gun from his belt forehead, and a woman’s voice, infi-
earlier in the day. nitely tender, murmuring over him.
He Halted, choking for breath, and Then the black cloud slipped down
turned again and listened. There was again over his brain and he knew no
no sound from along his path. What- more.
ever it was that had followed was 2
gone. He could go no farther—-a rock
AWOKE
ahead, jutting sharply out of the side
of the mountain, offered the only H E to find himself lying
on a rude bunk against the side
of a stone hut, arid through the open
shelter in sight. He felt in his pock-
ets: there was a handful of matches, door the sun streamed in, warm and
enough' to insure a fire for several cheering. He was dazed for a mo-
days. Tie looked about for fuel. Ear- ment, and tried to rise to his feet, but
lier in the day he had seen plenty of instantly sank back again upon his
the resinous little tola- bushes, which pillow. Then he discovered that his
made so bright a fire, and now he left leg was in splints from the hip
looked about in the fading light, down, and that his left shoulder was
eagerly collecting a little bundle of tightly bandaged. The memory of 'his
fagots. With infinite paticiice and blunge down the abyss came' back to
care he arranged his fuel, and a mo- him: he had broken a leg and perhaps
ment’ later the flame flared up. His dislocated a shoulder hi a fall that
spirits .. instantly lifted with the might easily have cost him his life,.
ttiounting blaze. —
Fire what a won- His head ached and he felt the fever
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 53

throbbing through his tortured body heard many of the fabulous


tales
he closed his eyes again and moaned riches of some of the mountain tribes
aloud. in the Andes, and his blood quick-
Instantly he felt that soft hand ened at the thoughts that rose up
again on his forehead, and a low voice, within him at sight of that cup of
vaguely familiar, sounded in his ears. gold. He coughed, stirring noisily.
“Ah, the senor is awake at last,” Instantly from the door of the hut
she said in Quichua. ‘ ‘ He would like a came that voice, like a silver bell.
cool drink, perhaps?” “Ah, again the senor wakes, is it
’ ’
not ? Perhaps he is again thirsty ?
He opened his eyes and looked up
He smiled up at her and nodded
at her.
assent.
“Water, water!” he begged. “Iam “I would like another drink. That
so thirsty —so thirsty!” cold water tastes very good to me. ’’

“Si, senor, I know,” she answered, She laughed merrily, as she held
deftly slipping her firm round arm the cup to his lips.
under his head, as she held a cup to “The senor is so very thirsty
his parched lips. “Just a little while today, but tomorrow he will be so
and you will be better. Drink deep much better. Then he will beg for
that is well It is the good cold water
! food, but now, the water is enough,
that shall make the fever fly away.” is it not? Rest you quietly now; in a
He sank back to his pillow with a little while our dear TJilca will come
sigh of relief, and in a moment had again^to see how well I have taken
drifted away again into oblivion. care of you.”
When he awoke it was evening. —
“But wait don’t go,” Martin
Through the open door of the hut he begged, as she turned away again.
Tell me, how did I come here ? How

could see the long, dark shadows that ‘

lay over the mountains, and he shiv- did you happen to find me? I didn’t
ered a little. He felt stronger now think there was a human being within
the fever and the pain had both sub- a hundred miles of me when I fell.”
sided, and his mind was clearer than She shook her head doubtfully, but
ithad been for days. turned back and seated herself at his
Where was he? Who were these side.
people who' had picked him up and “I do not think I should stay to
carried him here? Who was the talk with you now, for you are to keep
woman who had been with them and very quiet, you know. Still, there is
who had given him the drink of water so little to tell. My
brothers and I,
a while ago ?
little we were returning from a visit to a
He
lay upon a bed made thick and neighboring village. We lingered long
soft with the fleece of many sheep, and so, in order to hurry, we took a
and a warm, thick blanket covered short cut across the canyon, because
him lightly. For a long time he was we are good climbers and we do not
fain to lie quietly and as comfortably mind when the way is steep and
as the pain would permit, but his rough. As we came along I heard a
mind was restless by nature, and his noise, as if one groaned. I insisted
curiosity was aroused. At his side —
on stopping to look my brothers
stood a rude table, and on it rested laughed at me and said I dreamed;
the cup from which he had drunk. but I would not go on until we had
His eyes fell upon it as they roved searched. Then we found you, lying
about the room. He started and gave crumpled up at the foot of the cliff.
an exclamation of surprize, for the You had fallen from high above, and
cup, curiously shaped and somewhat I do not see why you were not killed,
battered, was made of gold. He had but so it was. We made a litter from
54 WEIRD TALES
two branches and my cape, and we long time he could not place the type.
carried you here, where our good Her eyes were large and dark, heavily
Vilca, the very wisest one in all the fringed with curling black lashes, and
world, he bound your poor leg into when she looked at him their slum-
splints and bandaged your shoulder, brous depths lighted luminously. All
and in time he will make you quite at once he remembered: he had seen
well again. And because we found these same features during years of
you, my brothers and I are to be your —
wanderings in the East the Aryan

nurses that is, if I do not disobey Brahmins of India. But what had
the order to keep you quiet. If I given this daughter of the Peruvian
should talk more I should be sent wilds the form and features of the
away and one of the old women set to best product of the Aryan race ? How
watch in my place.” came India to Peru?
“I
will be quiet,” Martin promised As he lay turning this over in his
hastily, and she laughed at the anx- mind, footsteps approached and an
iety in his voice. ‘‘Don’t let anyone old man, clad in a long dark robe of
else come —
I want you to be my only llama hair, entered the hut. At sight
nurse.” of him the girl sprang to her feet and
‘‘Do not fear,” she laughed. ‘‘I will made a little obeisance evidently this
;

not permit anyone else to care for was the priest of whom she had
you. for did I not find you myself? spoken. Martin watched the pair curi-
Close your eyes and sleep again. Only ously as the girl, in some strange dia-
while we sleep do the sick bodies lect which he had never heard before,
grow well and strong again.” began eagerly speaking. Evidently
Martin obediently closed his eyes she was describing his own condition,
but he did not sleep. From time to for the priest nodded once or twice
time he stole glances at the slender in apparent satisfaction, before he
figure of the girl beside him. She had threw off his outer garment and
the lissome grace of the wild crea- turned to his patient. Like the girl
tures of the woods; she sat limply as he wore around his waist the heavy
if every muscle were utterly relaxed girdle of gold links, except that his
and yet he knew that at the slightest were heavier and the buckle at the
sound she would be instantly alert center was set with green stones.
and poised for action. She was
dressed in a soft, clinging garment of
cream-colored woolen material, and
around her waist was a girdle made of
Y OU find yourself better?” the
priest inquired of Martin, speak-
ing in the common language of the
golden links, fastened with a flat disk,
mountains. ‘‘I am glad to see that
curiously carved. Gold, and more
our rude surgery is, after all, proving

gold was it so cheap with this tribe
satisfactory.
’ ’

that the girls made belts of the pre-


I am indeed grateful,
For which
‘ ’ ’

cious .metal ?
Martin had had some little experi- Martin answered. “Indeed, I cannot
ence with the Indian women who fre- begin to express my gratitude to you
quented the coast towns, and was fa- and these kind people who have saved
miliar with their love of bright colors my life.”
and gay adornment. But this girl “Life is dear to every living crea-
was not like other Indian women at — ture,” the old man answered, as he
least like none that he had seen. She deftly examined the dressing of the
was tall and straight, her back un- wrenched shoulder. “And yet, my
bowed by burden carrying, and her son, that life is only of real value
clear-cut, sensitive features were which serves mankind. I trust that
vaguely familiar to him, but for a your life is of that nature. *

WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 55

Martin flushed red under the scru- to find wood


for a fire when I fell.
tiny of those keen eyes. He had not That’s the whole story.”
expected so searching a reply to his The moment the last words were out.
conventional remark, and he found mouth Martin realized that they
of his
himself at a loss for an answer. See- had been a mistake. In some indefin-
ing this, the priest went on able way the priest’s manner had
“You are an American; is it not changed from the open friendliness
so?” with which he had first greeted him
“Yes, an American mining engi- to a certain chilly politeness that told
neer. I have been employed until Martin plainer than words that the
recently at the Sunueo mines. My old man believed him to be lying. At

name is Martin John Martin.” any rate he asked no' more questions,
“You were found in a strange place but busied himself in making his pa-
for an American mining engineer,” tient as comfortable as possible.
the priest replied. “How came you As the priest stooped to help the
so far away from the beaten tracks of sick man shift his position, Martin
the Avhite men?” saw a heavy gold chain around his
Martin hesitated. Evidently he was neck, from which dangled a pendant,
to be required to give an account of as the old man bent forward. Mar-
himself, and he realized that it would tin gave a gasp of astonishment and
be very difficult to deceive this ap- delight as he saw that pendant, and
parently simple old man. More diffi- his eyes gleamed like fire. It was an
cult, however, would it be to explain emerald, the largest one he had ever
truly the drunken stupidity which seen, roughly cut in the shape of a
had landed him in his present pre- heart, and from the center there shone
dicament. a tiny point of flame, as if a small
diamond had been set within the very
“I was traveling with a friend of
eenter of the green stone.
mine; we planned to explore some
ruins in this vicinity, of which we


W onderful ! Won derf ul !


Mar-
had been told by an Indian guide in tin ejaculated, and then bit his lips
Huanuco, who started us on our jour- in annoyance. Why
had he spoken?
ney and pointed out the trail which The priest turned inquiring eyes to
his, and then, seeing his eager glance,
was to lead us directly to the ruins.
I believe now that the fellow deceived looked down at the pendant and has-
us. At any rate we did not find the tily slipped it inside of the folds of his

ruins, and we traveled six days in- tunic, looking suspiciously at Mar-
stead of the three that he promised tin’s burning eyes as he did so.
would be sufficient.
’ ’
“It is nothing,” he answered
“And your friend —where is he sharply, “only a little
whose only value
bit of green
now ? ’ ’
crystal, is in its
“I do not know,” Martin answered meaning. “In
the heart of life the
with a touch of impatience. He was ‘ ‘
divine fire burns. May you meditate
behind me, with the pack-mule that upon that message, my son, until I
carried our camp supplies. I must come again.”
have gone too fast for him at any — With a word to the girl he turned
rate I suddenly missed both of them, and went out of the hut., and she fol-
and I had turned back to look for lowed him.
them when I got off the trail. I fol- Martin was glad to be left alone for
lowed a side trail, thinking Jackson a moment, for he was trembling vio-
had turned up it, and when I tried to lently and he needed time to compose
find my way back I found myself lost. himself.
It was getting dark and I was trying Who were these people ?
56 WEIRD TALES
Ever Peru, Martin
since he came to at his side, and these were bright
had. heard tales of strange mountain hours for Martin. She was beautiful,
tribes, old in the land when the Incas full of natural grace and poise, and
reigned, long before Pizarro and his Martin forgot everything as he looked
cut-throats had set foot on these at her except the light shining in her
shores. He had heard tales of fabu- dark eyes and the touch of her soft
lous riches that they had hidden away hand. Under his ardent glances,' her
in mountain temples, riches that had eyes drooped and a dusky rose crept
hitherto proved utterly beyond the into her cheeks.
reach of the white adventurer. Axid One day, when Martin was able to
now he, Martin, practically an out- move about for the first time, he
cast among his own people, was leaned upon her arm as he made the
thrown by an accident among one of first uncertain steps. After a few mo-
these very tribes, a tribe which used ments he was obliged to rest, and as
vessels of gold for common household he sank down upon his couch again
use a.hd whose priest wore, a fortune he drew her down with him, pressing
around his neck in a single pendant. a hot kiss upon her round, bare arm.
This was luck which he must take “I love you! I love you, Taia
! ’

care not to spoil by giving away his he whispered hoarsely. “I love you.'”
real design. The priest was no fool,
,

Two large' tears gathered in her


and neither was the girl. lie would
great dark eyes, but she did not draw
be very careful.
away. Instead she dropped upon her
He smiled when he thought
, of. the
knees by his couch and pillowed his
girl, and. his eyes kindled, How easy
head against her breast.
it.was to read her simple heart, al-
ready infatuated with the white man “I know, I know,” she murmured.

that fate had east at her feet He !



I know,- beloved. It is written In the
supposed Indian maidens were fully stars that we should love each other.”
as romantic as white ones mature — “Then why do you
weep, dearest?”
used the same methods in all climes. he asked, as his arms went a round her
. But the thought that sent the blood slim figure. “Are you not happy that
coursing through his veins was the we love each other? It is not a time
thought of a green, heart-shaped for tears.”
stone, with a tiny flame at its core. .
“I do not know,” she answered
“In the heart of life the divine fire simply, “I am happy, and I am sad
burns.
’ ’
also. From, the beginning, when I


O
O ... saw you lying there so white and still,
I loved you. and I knew that you
OR
F some days Martin found his
.entire attention absorbed by the
would love me in return. Qf course. I
am happy in that love, and vet pain
demands of his pain-racked body. Hq lies clo,sc to my heart,' f.or now I shall
had not only the slowly -knitting leg, be Taia no longer. I am Taia only so
but the complete nervous and physical long as my heart is for mv own blood
collapse which followed the shock of now that a stranger and a white man
the fall, as well as the aftermath, of has taken possession of it I am Taia,
his prolonged spree. But slowly his no longer.”
brain and liis nerves grew
cleared Something in the mournful repeti-
steady, and his native strength came tion sent a little shiver down Mar-
back little by little, so that each day tin's spine. Many women had
loved
saw an increase in strength and vigor. Martin, to their sorrow, but none had
While a great part of the nursing been like unto this girl.. For a mo-
devolved upon, the young brothers, yet ment his heart smote him, but she w'as
a largo part of each day the girl spent so beautiful ! The' touch of her warm
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 57

young body, vibrant with life and “The few who were in this land,
love, made him tremble with delight. cut off from the home which had been
“Are you sorry that you love a the very center of their lives, still re-
white man, dear?” he queried, half mained loyal to the teaching that had
playfully, secure in his Anglo-Saxon been given them, worshiping their god
superiority. in the temples as before, only now no
teachers came to teach and explain
Her reply shocked him a little.
the true doctrine. Then, many years
“Oh, if only you were Indian!” later, when this land was rich and
she ejaculated. “If you were Indian
prosperous, came the white men,
you would be like a god. But do not bringing sorrow in their train. They
fear, I will love you just the same. It
rifled our temples of gold, but they
shall make no difference to me at all
laughed at the golden teaching, which
I promise to forget that you are
would have made their hearts glad
white.” and their lives beautiful. My people
He smiled ruefully, and changed were scattered, as you know, but I
the subject. shall not dwell upon that unhappy


But tell me what you meant about time.
changing your name,” he asked. “Do “The priest of our tribe was a wise
married women change their names in man, and he drew his little flock away
this tribe?” to these mountains. Here we guard
“Ah, no! But I am not like other our sheep and till the soil of the rich
women in this tribe— I am Taia!” she valleys where the grain grows high,
answered proudly. “I am the One and here Ave have lived in peace for

Set Aside but now, alas, I will no fully five hundred years. And be-
longer be so.” cause Ave have kept the faith, it is
4 ’
Listen, she continued, seeing his

promised that there shall be born to
1 will tell you how it is.
4 4
perplexity. this very tribe a great teacher, greater
You must know that my people are even than the teachers of the olden
very, very long in this land. Long time. And Avhen he comes, so great
ago, in a time when the white race will be the power of his wisdom that
lived like beasts in their northern all the world will listen to his words,
caves, then did my forefathers come even the white man, who will turn to
to this land. They came from a land the worship of the true law. In that
very rich in wisdom and all the arts day the great golden altars will be set
that make life beautiful, and in this up again in the sight of men, and the
land they set up temples and halls of great golden disk will gather the rays
learning, and from the homeland came of the sun itself and reflect them into
great teachers who instructed the peo- the heart of the Avorld. Oh, what a
ple. Then at last there came a great wonderful time that will be hoAV —
earthquake, which rocked and twisted happy!”
the whole earth until there was not a Martin, Avatching the color come
land untouched by it, and after the and go in her cheeks, thought he had
earthquake came great ocean waves, never seen so beautiful a picture.
which swept all before them. For “But what has all this to do Avith
many months our people took refuge your name, dearest?” he queried idly.
in their highest temples and prayed She sighed as she ansAvered.
without ceasing. When at last all was “Do you not see? To each of the
quiet again, the homeland had disap- maidens of our tribe is bom the hope
peared, completely swallowed up by that she may bear the body Avhich this
the sea, with all its great cities, its great one will use. From the begin-
monuments of beauty and its wise ning Avas I trained and taught to serve
men. in the temple, because of a dream that
WEIRD TALES

my mother dreamed at my birth. I teacher, but dreams of the capitals of


was called Taia, which is to say. ‘The Europe, whose innermost portals
mother c»f the worshiper of the sun,’ Avould be opened, wide for him if only
and I was .bound about with this he could lay hands upon this treasure.
golden, chain to signify that I was He was really attracted by the girl,
bound to the service of thy people. for women were his second great
But love laughs at chains, and so my weakness, and he was a born lover.
heart has broken through its fetters, When he had begun this love making,
dear as they were, and has lit itself the girl ’s loveliness had been sufficient
at the flame of your. love. Loving you attraction, but now there was added
I can never be betrothed to one of our another and a greater reason. The
own blood, and the great one comes girl loved him, she would deny him
never to mixed blood. So it is writ- nothing. Given plenty of time, he
ten. would win his way into her innermost,
“But think not' that I grieve, dear soul, so that she would hold no secrets
one. For you I gladly give up the that she did not willingly share with
dreams of my mother, and fay aside him. It was pitifully easy, for she
this golden girdle. Another will be knew nothing of the hesitations and
chosen in inv place to serve in the evasions of her more civilized sisters.
temple and await the call, which may To her the path of love led straight
come, nay', which trill come, soon] But to the doorway of marriage, and mar-
I will make my home in your heart, riage surely meant giving all.
beloved, and pray that in. another life Afew days later she appeared,
we may be of one blood/’ closely followed by the Uilca. Martin
Martin could hardly repress a smile saw at once by the latter’s stern and
at her' earnestness. To him the tale forbidding countenance that Taia had
was the tale of a child, but it would confessed her love, and that the con-
not do to let Taia know this,. Under
fession had not brought pleasure to
the fervor of his caresses, she was soon
the priest, lie braced himself for ,a
smiling again, and, when she presently
struggle, as the old man went directly
left him there was no cloud on her
to the point. -

brow.
After she had left him,, Martin. lay
'

“I am told that, you wish -to wed


this maiden. Is that true?”
'

and considered the situation that her


words had revealed. There was evi- “I do,” Martin answered, a little

dently a hidden temple, as he had sus- nervously.


pected. where these people worshiped He had not originally meant any-
—a temple, whose great golden altars thing so serious, but these savage cus-
were hidden away against that time toms were not binding in civilized
, when their god should come again. lands! The priest considered him
He conjured up a. vision of that tem- somberly.
ple, somewhere in these mountain “ It is not' well for a maiden to go
fastnesses, and his blood beat through outside her race when she seeks a hus-
his veins in a fever of desire.. band,” he said. “ Do you understand,
that, in lifting your eyes to this wom-
Z" OLD Gold The
1
! ! fabled treasures an you must forsake your own people
0 f the Incas paled beside the pic- and become one of us? Perhaps you
ture, that this simple Indian girl had wish time to consider those things?”
unwittingly 'drawn for him. To Her Martin paused, the barest fraction
the gold evidently meant nothing; all of a moment. He could have laughed
lier' attention was centered upon the aloud at the old man’s assumption
that he was
“ lifting. his' eyes” when
teaching; but to Martin the story
brought, not a vision of a spiritual he took an Indian giri for a wife. Blit
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 59

he had no mind to let any sueh thing But


presently, underneath Martin’s
interfere with his plan. smiling exterior, a fever of impatience
“I understand all this,” he an- began growing. Although he was still
swered steadily. ”1 still wish Taia young, he had long ago left the days
for my wife.” of innocence behind him, and the
Without another word the priest sweetness of this quiet life began to
turned and left them, motioning them pall upon him. Again and again he
to await his return. Presently he tried to lead the conversation back to
came back again, followed by the two the subject of the hidden temple, for
brothers of Taia and several of the after all, that was the thing that was
Indians of the village. Joining the keeping him in this stupid Indian vil-
hands of the two, he went rapidly lage.
through a sort of ritual, of which But Taia, who was eager to antici-
Martin could understand only a word pate his every other wish, would not
here and there. Then he took from speak of the one subject upon which
around Taia’s slim throat a golden his heart was set. As his impatience
chain, from which hung the familiar grew, his temper waxed short, and
golden disk, and this he hung around presently, before three weeks had
Martin’s own neck, and lifting Mar- passed from the day of their mar-
tin’s right hand he laid it upon the riage, he spoke sharply to her, so that
girl’s bowed head. she turned away to hide the tears.
‘‘You are now one,” he said.
He was quick to beg her pardon
‘‘Walk together in the law. Take for this lapse, for some instinct told
heed lest sorrow come through fault
him that she was not a woman who
of your own, since sorrow earned is
could be brow-beaten into submission.
sorrow doubled.”
Only love could win her to his will.
Turning gravely, he walked out of
the hut, followed by the others, and One day, after Martin had definite-
ly thrown away his cane, they walked
Taia and Martin were left alone. The
girl was pale, and Martin kissed the
far up the mountainside and sat
heavy-lidded eyes and begged her to down an overhanging ledge. Below
smile again, but the grim manner of them lay the high plateau with the
village near its upper end, while the
the priest had put a chill upon her
flocks grazed peacefully on the grassy
spirits which nothing but love could
lift again. slopes below.

4 Martin watched them idly; he had


no interest in flocks and herds. Taia,

T HE days that followed were the


happiest days that Martin had
ever known. Spring was well ad-
however, was a born herdswoman, and
talked incessantly of the flocks and
the good pasture, which made them
vanced in the mountains, and daily fat and frisky. Martin wished she
he walked abroad, leaning upon would talk of something else.
Taia’s arm and drinking in the beauty “Is it not wonderful?” she ex-
and wonder of the world. Soon he claimed for the tenth time. “One,
had no real need of her assistance, so two, three years and everything goes
quickly did his own strength return, well with the flocks. Plenty of grass,
but still he leaned upon her, because no sickness, no trouble, everything so
he saw that it gave her such pleasure happy! When you are quite well,
to feel herself of service to him. When beloved, then you will go out with the
they walked forth over the carpet of other men and watch the flocks, is it
wild flowers that everywhere spread not so? I shall be so happy when
before them, she was as gay and hap- you are quite as the others, only I
py as a little child. know you are so clever and so brave,
60 WEIRD TALES

you will soon be a leader among them. do we not go together ? Thus do hus-
Strict account is being kept of our bands and wives in my country.”
flocksnow, for does not one-third of “Thus do we also,” she returned
all our family stock belong to you?

proudly, when husband and wife are

Are you not proud of a wife who Indian. But it is forbidden that any
brings you so much wealth?” stranger should set foot in our tem-
He smiled at her enthusiasm. ples. Listen, I will explain once for
“I do not give a rap about your all,and then w e will speak of these
r

sheep,” he returned, and then, seeing things no more. For our law is not
how crestfallen she looked, he added of my making, nor even of the Uilca
quickly, ‘‘I only care about your own who now leads us, but comes from
bright eyes and your pretty smile. the past and cannot be changed by
They are worth more to me than many the desires of our hearts.

sheep.” ‘
Once our temples were open to all

She dimpled with pleasure at the who came to bow their knees at our
compliment, and laid her cheek altars. All in this land worshiped
against his shoulder in a childish the sun god, and seeing that there was
caress. a certain metal in the earth which
shone like the sun itself, my people
“Ah, yes, I know!” she returned
softly. “You are filled with such made many beautiful works of art
and our temples were filled with rare
beautiful thoughts, so loving always,
and wonderful treasures.
that you do not think often of the ‘

other things. And yet I think that Then came the white men, and the

it is good for the family that one of sight of the golden vessels upon our
us shall be fond of the sheep, and so altars wrought in them a kind of mad-
we shall always have plenty of every- ness, so that they turned and slew all
thing that we need. I know you care about them and laid waste the land.
only for love, but I shall look after My people fled to the mountains as
all things for you, for have you not the sheep flee before the wolf-pack,
given up everything, friends and knowing not which way to turn.
home and people, for me?” Then came one of the wise men of

He was quick to seize the opening. our people and he explained what had
“Tell me, Taia,” he said, slipping
happened. Because the white man
an arm around her and drawing her
would not listen to the teaching of the
great law, they were stricken with a
close, “tell me more about this reli-
kind of frenzy at sight of the gold,
gion of yours. Why am I not taken
which is the symbol of the god, and
to the temple you told me about ? Am they remained under the curse of that
I not truly one of your people now?
frenzy so long as the gold remained
I should go where my wife goes, it
seems to me. ’ ’ in their sight. So our people hid
away the gold in secret places and
“Everywhere I go, there shall you covered the entrances of the mines
go also,” she answered gravely. “But
from which it was taken, so that the
1 go no more to the temple, since I
eye of the white man no longer fell
am your wife. Think not, beloved, upon the thing that made him mad.
that you alone have paid a price for And sure enough, when the gold was
our love. Because of it. I go no more
hidden from sight, then peace and
to the holy places of my people.
’ ’

quiet came again and all was well.


Martin started. But such is the power of that strange
“But why?” he persisted. “Why disease over the white race that even
should you give up your religion, and now, after all these years, if one of
remain away from your temple ? Why them were to discover the hidden
/
WHITE MAN'S MADNESS 61

treasure, then war and bloodshed For days Taia was strangely cold and
would burst forth over all this land, distant, but he set himself deliberately
and my people would be hunted down to win her back again, and before
like dogs. And therefore, though I long he was rewarded by seeing her
love you more dearly than life itself, full of love and happiness again. He
dearest, yet I must obey the law of seemed to have entirely forgotten the
my people. Oh, I know what you subject of their quarrel, making no
would say, that you are not like those further references to the topic that
others. I know that you would not had distressed her.
willingly bring pain and suffering up- He watched the villagers as they
on us for the sake of the senseless came and went about their affairs. He
metal that is like any other stone, explored every path, that led away
save only that it shines more brightly. over the plateau, and sat for hours

But you are a white man the mad- on ledges overlooking the plain, seek-
ness might seize upon even you, for in ing to discover where they went, and
that old day none was immune. But whether any went secretly. But the
let us not think of these things, for Indians were open and frank in all
I fear that Ido wrong even to discuss their movements; their ways were
it with you, except that I want you simple and easily followed, lie could
to understand that it is for very love discover no mystery here.
of you that I save you from the great Behind the village a well-beaten
curse that would surely come upon path led to the deep pool, at the bot-
you should you persist in seeking this tom of a high waterfall, from which
forbidden knowledge. Forget it the village took its water. Farther
sweep your mind clean of all these down, the stream broadened out and
thoughts, which come only to destroy ran peacefully between wide banks,
our peace. Have we not everything and here the flocks came to drink.
in the world to make us happy ? Why Martin used often to go and sit by
should you seek further?” that pool and ponder over the prob-
“Nonsense!” Martin returned lem that vexed him. He studied the
huskily. “ That story of the madness steep cliffs above, over which the wa-
is a child’s tale —a myth. At any ter fell; they seemed utterly inacces-
rate you ought to trust me


if you sible for human feet. The plateau
really love me. ’ widened out below the village, though
She drew away from him, and her the mountains were close on either
voice was cold as she answered side. Somewhere, either to the right
“It is not a good thing to question or to the left, there must lie the secret
the love of the woman who has given trail that led to the temple.
herself to you. Let us go down. ” Try as he would, he could not dis-
Martin smothered the curse that cover that any of the Indians ever
rose to his lips and turned and fol- left the village, and yet he knew that
lowed her. He must not lose his tem- they did go, and often. Then one
per, but such provocation tried his night, turning restlessly from side to
greatest powers of self-control. His side upon his bed, he heard a sound
only hope lay in this stubborn, ig- outside on the path. Instantly he was
norant Indian woman, to whom the quiet, listening. By dint of almost
legends of her tribe were of more im- breathless concentration he made out
portance than anything he could say the sound: moccasin-clad feet were
or do. slipping past the hut, but he could
not detect whither they went, and he
ry^HEN began days of secret torture, dared not move lest he awaken Taia.
A when the humdrum life of the vil- But the first mystery was solved : they
lage wore upon his nerves like a fde. went to worship before their shrine in
62 WEIRD TALES
the darkness of the hours of the
first to consider the bitter wrong that was
morning. Or else — why had he not being done to him.
thought of that before ? — they w ent r
to He sat down at last to rest, high*
greet the morning sun, and the temple up on the mountain overlooking the
must. lie some distance away. valley. He meant to climb up to the
For days thereafter Martin was in peak above the waterfall, but his leg
a fever of excitement. He felt him- was not quite up to so great a strain
self near the goal. It maddened him yet. As he sat staring moodily before
to reflect that the very children about him, he heard a noise in a thicket near
him held the secret, and held it as well him, and turned to see one of the vil-
.

lage children, a crippled boy of about-


as any adult. These Indians, quiet
and placid, looking at him with their twelve years of age, regarding him
opaque eyes, which baffled every at- solemnly with wide, questioning eyes.
tempt to. read, their meaning, came in “Hello, Eoca,’’ he called out indif-
the end to fill him with fury. He ferently. What are you doing away

hated .them, men, women and children, up here ?”


the while he ate their bread, but most The boy flushed and half turned
of all he hated the old priest, for some away, and something in his hesitation
instinct told him that the priest knew brought Martin suddenly alert, sus-
him for what he was; despite every picious. What was the boy doing up'
effort of his will Martin could hot here ? Was he trailing Martin or was-
force himself to meet those piercing he, perchance, returning from ? — !
'

eyes which Seemed able to probe his With his most engaging smile he
innermost soul. When they met, as motioned the boy to a seat by his side
they did many times a day, Martin and began to talk lightly of many
bowed coldly and turned away, giving things. Roea, diffident and shy at
the old man no chance for conversa- first, was soon chatting gayly, sitting
tion. alongside Martin on the ledge and
Time was passing on winged feet, flinging pebbles into the abyss, >vhile
and still he w as kept chained to inac-
r
Martin told him stories of the great
tion. He dared not make a false move, world outside. .

and he could not. make a direct one. Suddenly Martin threw an arm
He became moody and silent, and around his shoulders and said : .

Taia’s face grew sad -as she began to “Now. Roea, tell me: where is the
realize that he was in heart and spirit path that leads to the temple? Tell
an alien among her people. She was me, and I will make you a kite that
too simple, howeyer, to realize that he shall soar as high as the alcamari,
felt himself above the people of her above the very tops of the moun-
tribe she had a naive pride in the
; tains.” '

glories of her own race, which was He felt the slight body stiffen in-
amusing to Martin, but he was seldom side his encircling arm, but the boy.
in the mood to smile at it. made no answer. The- long strain of
One day, after a sleepless night, he repression was slipping now,- and
rose and walked toward the hills Martin trembled as his clasp tightened
alone. Something must be done soon cruelly around the thin shoulders and
he simply could not bear this life,
, his voice grew sharp.
much longer. Rage, smoldering in the “Speak up, I tell you! I’m tired
depths of his being: threatened to of this damned nonsense.. Where do
burst into- a. flame that would destroy you go, at night, when you creep
everything. His only salvation was
-
away in the darkness? Whei’e do
to get away. as much as possible, to they all go? Talk quickly, or I will
brood secretly over what he had come find a way to make you speak.”
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 63

The boy quivered and shrank away A


spasm of pain crossed Marini’s
from the menace in Martin’s voice, face. Taia instantly dropped down at
but he did not speak. his side, and laid her cheek against
Then the long pent-up fury burst his.
forth, for the man had gone mad “There; I forget that you are ill.
through the passion of thwarted de-
sire. For the centuries of civiliza-
all
Rest you quietly —
I will explain to
the others. Besides, I will go in your
tion have but served to lay a thin ve-
neer over the cruelty of the savage,

place I loved him more than all the
rest.”
and, given sufficient prodding, the
beast within breaks forth now and
Martin murmured a few words of
then, either in organized fiendishness, sympathy, but his lips were stiff and
as in the public Inquisition, or in pri- he sighed with relief when she was
vate deviltry that finds no historian gone. He had no fear that the search
ready to record it. would be successful. But he could
An hour later, spent and a little not banish a vision of a pair of haunt-
sick, Martin staggered down the trail
ing dark eyes, filled with tears like the
alone, and he did not yet know the eyes of a wr ounded doe.
secret of the path. As he went along “Oh, to get away to get away—
he thought of what Taia had said of from it all!” he cried over and over
the madness in the white man ’s brain. to himself. To get away from these
It had seized upon him, Martin, even damned mountains, from these silent,
as it had seized upon Pizarro’s men, wooden-faced people, this constant
five hundred years before. pretense, pretense, pretense! If only
he could discover the treasure and
5 steal away w ith
r
it, they would not be

THE next morning Martin kept


his bed, pleading illness.
how he could not bear to walk abroad,
Some-
really injured, while his life would be
made
if
glorious and triumphant. But
the very children could not be tor-
to face those placid Indians. Taia tured into betraying the secret, what
chance had he with the adults? He
accepted with tender solicitude his
felt beaten and hopeless-desperate.
explanation that he had strained his
leg the day before, and busied herself As he had foreseen, there was no
in making him comfortable, until he trace found of the boy Roca, though
begged her to go away and leave him the search went on for days. Finally
alone.
one night, Martin, tossing restlessly
on his bed, heard again those faint
About 10 o’clock she came rushing footfalls passing the hut. This time
into the hut, weeping bitterly.
there were many of them, so many
“Oh, a terrible thing has hap- that it seemed as if the whole village
pened ’
she cried.
!

‘ ‘
great sorrow A must be on its way to the temple. As
my brother’s child, Roca he has not — he listened he was aware that Taia
come back. All night he has been out was awake at his side, softly sobbing
on the mountain: something has be- under her breath. He lay very still;
fallen him His mother thought
! he did not want to talk to her now,
nothing of it at first, for he is often and presently he knew that she slept
out late but never, never did he stay
; again. He dared not rise and try to
away all night! Even now the men follow the worshipers, for she would
are searching for him. If only you be awake in an instant if he stirred,
would rise and go with them You are ! and so he was forced to lie quietly
so clever, you would be sure to find while another opportunity slipped by
him.” him.
64 WEIRD TALES

“Where did they go? Where did Taia ’s mind should be quite easy
they go?” about him now. He must have her
Over and over he asked the ques- utmost confidence, and he set himself
tion, and was not aware that the skilfully towin it, sure of success.
words slipped from his lips aloud. Throughout the long summer days
Suddenly Taia stirred, moaned a lit- he followed the flocks, easily master-
tle and murmured. ing the trick of turning them hither

They go to pray for the soul of and yon
They go—

at his pleasure. It was a lazy
Iioea in the temple! life, almost as lazy as his former one
The murmur died away into silence. had been, for the boy who attended
Martin lay transfixed with wonder. him did most of the work. But it
She had answered his question in her satisfied Taia.
sleep, without knowing that she did And when the night shut down and
so. Taia lay sleeping quietly in his arms,
Ah! Long he had waited, but it every night he whispered over and
had come at last, the way to his goal. over, softly yet insistently
Already his quick mind was busy with “Where is the path to the temple?
its plans what had been once by acci-
:
Where is the path to the temple?”
dent should be again by design.
For many, many nights there was
The next morning he was like an- no answer, but he did not lose pa-
other man, bubbling over with good tience. Then, at last, she stirred fit-
humor, so that Taia smiled again in fully in her sleep, murmuring lovv,
spite of her bereavement, and kissed
broken words. He
could barely catch
him lovingly as he started away for
their import, but it w as enough.r

his morning walk.


All day he went about like a man in
“You
are well again, is it not?” she
a dream. Taia had gone with some
questioned eagerly. “Only do not of the other women on an expedition

go too far today you will get too
tired again, as you did before. Be
into the mountains in search of cer-
tain medicinal herbs, and when she
careful; promise me.”
returned at night she was weary and
“Do not fear,” he replied, lightly. a little pale. Martin scarcely looked
“This time I go only as far as the at her. She had ceased to figure in his
herders’ huts, where the sheep are thought she had served his purpose,
;

turned out of the night pens. I am and the incident was closed. His kiss,
at last going to begin my work as a as he bade her good night, was cold
shepherd of the flocks.” and perfunctory her eyes darkened
;

She elapped her hands with delight with sadness and her lips trembled,
at his words'. but she said nothing. Already she
“Really? Jiow happy that makes realized that the love of the white
me. to hear you speak so Be sure that !
man was as fickle as a spring zephyr.
my brothers see you working, and the Martin sat at the door of the hut,
other men as well. They will see that after she had gone to bed, staring oiit

been ill.”

you are not lazy at all you have only into the soft darkness. ‘His impa-
tience was mounting with every pass-
Martin guessed readily enough that ing moment, and yet he had need for
there had been some comments upon the greatest caution now. lest a false
his idleness among the Indians, but step ruin everything. He must leave
he realized for the first time how the village unseen, just before mid-
much Taia must have suffered from night, giving himself time to get to
the' criticisms which he had ig- the temple and away again before the
nored. It was -highly important that morning worshipers appeared/
WHITE MAN’S MADNESS 65

Twice as he sat there waiting, the glimpse of the starlit sky. The stairs
old priest passed him, going about under his feet were worn smooth.
the village upon his own affairs. Mar- Througli hundreds of years had the
tin watched him covertly, and finally devotees of that strange cult been
.slipped his stool inside the shadows of passing up and down this subterra-
the hut, so that the old man would nean way.
think he had gone to bed. He did On and on he climbed, most of the
not like those keen, prying eyes, way leading upward, but now and
which seemed able to read his most then long stretches ran fairly level.
secret thoughts. He hurried, but he had grown soft
When at last he considered it safe, through the weeks of his idleness axxd
he i*ose and wrapped his thick cape of he found himself panting for breath
vicuna hair about him and slipped and obliged to stop often to rest. Yet
away in the darkness. It was typical he must reach the temple and get
of the man that he did not cast one away again before the priest came for
fleeting, farewell glance back upon the morning service, and he drove his
the woman whose love and devotion weary body forward with the lash of
had saved his life. his will.
Suddenly, just when he felt himself
P
U the familiar path he went swift-
ly and surely, to where the great
unable to go farther, the passageway
opened out into a great square cham-
pool lay at the base of the waterfall. bcr, hollowed out of the solid rock.
He paused for a moment and looked He recognized it, from pictures that
behind. All was silence and darkness. he had seen of the old temples, as the
Then he stepped quickly behind a anteroom where the people gathered
great clump of bushes, which grew at for the outer service.
the edge of the water, so close that the From the ceiling of this room hung
water of the fall sprayed over it as it dozens of lamp's from which wicks set
fell. Martin almost laixghed aloud at in oil sent out a flickering light. The
the utter simplicity of the thing. The lamps were curiously wrought, with
broad path, worn by many, many feet, fine tracing and delicate cut work.
led just here, where the ground was Each would be a museum piece of
tramped hard and firm, for it was just rare value.
at this point that the villagers stood The room itself was bare of furni-
to dip the water from the deep pool. ture. Evidently the audience knelt
Martin had stood here himself a hun- upon the stone floor throughout the
dred times, had dipped water again service. In the middle of the wall
and again upon this very spot and nearest the opening through which
never dreamed that behind the inno- Martin had come, a spring of clear,
cent clump of shnibs lay the entrance sparkling water gushed out of the
to the desire of his heart. rocky wall. The water fell into a
Now he slipped quickly behind the deep niche, which had been hollowed
bushes. Deep down, half buried in out of the wall, and the overflow was
the foliage, there was a rectangular carried away by hidden drainage
opening into’ the face of the cliff. Mar- pipes. Before this niche two tall
tin stooped and crawled through; he golden lamps burned brightly.
found himself at the bottom of a long With a little gesture of delight Mar-
flight of narrow stairs cut from the tin ran to the spring and buried his
solid rock. Here and there, as he hot face in the cold water, drinking
climbed, he saw that narrow fissures deeply again and again. The long,
in the roof of the passageway let in hard climb had parched his throat and
air, and sometimes he eaught a the cool water was like nectar.
66 WEIRD TALES

Then he turned again to thewon- ure. He did not notice that his head
der-world about him. In the center was pounding with pain and that his
of the wall opposite the entrance was eyes burned like twin flames. He was
an opening, draped with a cui’tain of not conscious of his body at all he ;

gold mesh so finely wrought that he saw only this golden treasure gold,
gold, gold, everywhere. He piled it

crumpled it in his hand like a piece
of woolen cloth, yet it was so heavy up until upon the floor he had a heap
that he knew it for purest gold. which three men could not have lifted.
Through the opening he stepped in- Still there remained twice as much
and as
to the holy place of the temple,
more. He ran to the great golden
brazier and tried to lift it from its
he did so he cried aloud with wonder
and delight. He had been prepared
place. He staggered and almost fell,

for treasure, but his wildest dreams


and for a moment
a terrible nausea
overcame him. He leaned against the
had not pictured anything half so
altar, panting for breath, and gradu-
wonderful as the sight that now greet-
ally his legs crumpled under him and
ed his eyes.
he slipped down upon the floor, with
Against the opposite wall a great his head upon the edge of the pile of
gleaming golden disk, so wide that treasure.
Martin's two arms outstretched could
not have spanned it, made a shining
‘‘Been working too hard —over-
strained myself!” he gasped, and
background for the great altar,
theif a cry of agony burst from his
wrought of solid gold, which stood be-
lips as the pain gripped his vitals,
fore it. On the altar itself, in the
twisting him about on the rocky
center, stood a great brazier, of a
floor while the sweat poured out upon
workmanship so fine that Martin
his blanched forehead.
gasped as he looked at it. and in the
brazier a fire burned, fed automati-
cally from two little reservoirs of
\XyHILE lie lay thus the curtain
’ ’
at the doorway lifted and the
powdered wood. Everything upon

the altar was gold lamps, vessels of
old Uilca stepped softly into the room.
Martin was too far gone now to feel
all kinds, wrought with such skill and
either surprize or dismay at this in-
such richness of design that any one
terruption strangely enough the
of them was worth a king’s ransom. ;

very gold itself no longer seemed im-


The light from the fire in the bra- portant to him. A
film was drifting
zier was reflected a hundred times
over his eyes he did not care that the
;
from the dazzling surface of the great priest was rapidly replacing each
golden disk, the symbol of the sun golden vessel in its accustomed place,
god, and Martin’s eyes began to burn nor protest when the pile which he
and his head to ache as he ran from had gathered so feverishly a little
one thing to another in an excitement while before was completely depleted.
that was rapidly mounting to a de-
lirium. He laughed aloud again and
A last spasm of agony burst over
him. He cried aloud. Help Help ! ‘

’ ’

again, as he spread his cape out in


!

then shuddered and lay still.


the center of the floor and began to
pile vessel after vessel in a heap in The priest stood looking down at
the center. He chose swiftly here and him. and his eyes were full of pity,
there, trying to select the heaviest and though his lips were stern.
Alas ” he murmured.

therefore the most valuable. All the ‘
! There is ‘ !

time he was talking to himself as he no help for the one who drinks from
worked, running to and fro, tearing the guardian spring. White man’s
golden figures from their niches and —
madness ever it leads to sorrow and
ravishing the altar of its golden treas- to death.”
RED BLACK
ick
AND

Y ONG LO was a reptile with an


artist’s soul, lie did not sting
with a fang, but belonged to
the family of boas and coiled about
his victims till the last drop of life
for the panel to slide back and a lean
yellow face to appear at the slot.
“Man want see Yong Lo. Pass."
The door would open, the chosen
would enter.
was drained from them.
But instead of leaving hope behind,
To him blood was not red. It was they would pass buoyantly into the
yellow and silver and green. Golden second room, that red and black al-
disks, soft, heavy and velvety to the cove, Yong Lo’s gambling parlor.
touch, were chunks of rich blood,
Its walls were red, pigeon-blood
transmuted by the alchemy of Yong’s
red, black stripes running alternately
spiked roulette wheel from the purses
from ceiling to floor, where a red and
of his guests to his gambling tables.
black mottled rug silenced the tread
Silver coins were so much blood of feet.
squeezed from gullible victims. Crisp,
From the center swung a monster
crackling greenbacks, or those wrin-
lamp wrought of black iron, rose-col-
kled and fouled, were certificates of ored incandescence glowing from the
blood, left by those who could not
glass lights about which the chimera,
carry gold.
coiled its hideously scrolled malforma-
This relentless coiling about his vic- tion.
tims till their last chip of cash went The gaming tables were covered
across his tables under his rakes was with pigeon-blood simonis cloth. Their
the reptilian streak in Yong Lo. His '
edges were of jet, hard and gleaming,
artistic soul verified itself in the on which the players drummed
grandeur of his gambling room. money-hungry fingers.
First you entered a low, wobbly —
And the wheel that revolving,
store that helped to demoralize IIop striped and figured bowl, the ball bob-
Alley. In this filthy cube stale to- —
bing over the flutings the roulette
bacco fought moldy spices for stink- wheel was a marvel.
ing ascendancy. Here two Chinese The numbers on black rim were
its
clerks kept store for Yong Lo, but if rose color, coral set in ebony. The
you were popular, these would rap on alternate stripings of the red and
a door in the rear of the shop, wait black bowl were ebony and lacquer.
67
68 WEIRD TALES
polished strips accurately joined, ta- very shadows that moved across the
pering to points -where they crowded walls.
to the hub. Agog on its race, the Occasionally he peeked through the
wheel was a diabolical kaleidoscope. keyhole of the door, to watch the aw-
Yong Lo presided .
nightly at the ful faces in that red and black gam-
gambling classics. Clad in a man- bling room. Then he would crawl
darin ro.be of pigeon-blood red, back to his bunk, suck on a bamboo
trimmed confusedly with black, he sat tube and be at peace.
high up on a sooty throne of fumed
wood.
drummed
With a red lacquer fan he

liead arm
occasionally on the lion’s-
of Ins chair.
T HUS til
for a week all went well un-
one night the roulette wheel
won too much for Yong Lo. Too
Immobile, Yong Lo’s drum-skin
-
'
much to suit Butch Killian, who no-
face was a mask for the greed eating ticed that each time Yong Lo tapped
his heart. He presided over the games, the arm of his chair with the red fan,
contributed to the law in his neigh- the wheel came to rest at a figure that
borhood, and hoarded the proceeds of won stakes for Yong Lo,
his wheel in a secret cache of the Butch Killian had the complexion
chandelier in the sleeping room be- of a beefsteak and the strength of a
hind the gambling parlor. tiger.
There- were three rooms in Yong
,
Once, twice, four times Butch saw
Lo ’s apartment the mock store out
: Yong’s fan tap the chair. Four times
front, the red and black gambling the house won.
chamber, and this third room in back, Butch raised his fists, was about to
a hutch filled with junk, bunks, opium bellow protest at the croupier,', when
stands, rags' for carpets, an oil lamp Yong Lo caught the eye of the in-
for. illumination.
furiated giant. Out of the mon-
A big chandelier on heavy chains golian’s black orbs a terrible warning
swung from the ceiling of this last oozed, a warning that' checked the
room, but- .Yong Lo never used the blurt on Butch’s curled lips.
fixture for lighting purposes. The Then a wan smile filtered through
gambling miser trusted more the the quartz of Yong’s face.
chandelier bowl swinging near his
Butch Killian threw down a hun-
bunk than the security of banks. dred on the red.
In this cubby room Yong Lo slept.
Three times Yong’s fan tapped the
Just, now lee. Cow shared the hole chair.
with Yong Lo.
When the wheel stopped Butch Kil-
Lee Gow had been offered the seclu- lian picked up nineteen hundred dol-
sion of the den for a few days while lars and left.
hiding -from the police. Something Far into the night Yong Lo sat in
the authorities had found in Lee
the room behind the den, pondering
(low’s rooms, something belonging to
over the thing Butch Killian had dis-
a murdered white girl, made it im-
covered.
possible for Lee Gow to venture
While Yong Lo had lived alone
abroad.- -
here, through nine years of crooked
•Bred in Yong Lo’s tong. Lee Gow roulette, no one had detected the
obtained fraternal cover. fraud.
In this room, adjacent to the snarl- A weary, deeply drawn breath
ing, money-sucking patrons in the sounded from Lee Gow’s bunk. Slow-
gambling .den, Lee Gow crouched in ly. as the boa creeps, Yong Lo’s brain
his Ioft„ a -rat, apprehensive of the functioned. He wondered if Lee
RED AND BLACK 69

Cow. . The
glib terror of a
. the darker bunk room-and replaced
smile crinkled his tight skin, then slid the folded paper under Lee Gow’s
back to the covering of his skull. bunk cover.
Yong Lo shook the sleeping Lee All next day Yong Lo hovered near
Gow. Lee Gow, preventing the fugitive
“Lee Gow!” double-crosser from reading the mes-
The sleeper grunted, and his mouth sage he now carried concealed on his
dropped open with the comatose in- person.
difference of one drugged. That night, just after Butch Kil-
1

Lee Gow ! Get up Yong Lo want!
lian’s bullying voiceboomed in the
you to kill somebody.” gambling room, Yong, through cur-
tained glances, saw Lee Gow, under
Yong Lo shook the torpid fugitive.
cover of peeking, dexterously push a
Lee Gow’s face showed not a whit
wad of paper into the keyhole of the
of understanding.
door.
Beholding the Chinese sleeper,
Yong Lo recalled how each night
Yong Lo saw the corner of a paper
Lee Gow hung about the door, and
peeping from under a cover in the
now he understood.
bunk.
Deftly Yong Lo withdrew Passing through to the gambling
this pa-
per. Creeping to his gambling parlor, room that night, to take his place on
the big chair, Yong noticed the paper
Yong Lo unfolded and read what Lee
Gow had scrawled. An icy smile had been removed from the keyhole.
glazed his face as he finished reading. Yong Lo let Butch Killian win five
Once again he read it: heavy stakes. Then Yong got back
every dollar, and took every cent the
Butch Killian: human tiger put on the table, until
Don’t tell cops me hiding here. Me tell a bit before closing time Butch Kil-
truth, Yong Lo put winnings in fake chan-
delier bowl of bunk room in back. Chan- lian had placed nine thousand dollars
delier on chains, like pulley. Turn crank, on the red simonis cloth, and had seen
chandelier go up, go down. I tell truth, the black croupier rake them in at
like yesterday about crooked roulette wheel. each gentle, decreeing tap of Yong’s
You write how we get money. Yong Lo he '

fan.
not savvy you me work together. You not
tell police, we get Yong Lo cash. Yong saw the rage cooking in Kil-
—Lee Gow. lian’s body.
The maddened man clenched his
At a gambling
secretary in the
fists deep in his empty pockets, and
chamber Yong Lo destroyed Lee the fire in Killian’s wild eyes faded,
Gow’s note, and wrote another one:
as he stood there a beefy mass. Yong
Butch Killian:
saw the man draw a crumpled paper
You be last man leave here tonight. You from his pocket. He saw Butch Kil-
come back later, ring bell at store door. lian read the note again saw Butch ;

Me send Yong Lo out to answer bell before Killian sneer cruelly. Then Killian
he undress from red black mandarin robe.
left and the house closed.
When Yong Lo open door, you choke him,
kill, throw him down manhole of sewer on
corner. Me wait in hall you come back
from manhole. Me open door for you, you
follow me, we get cash, divvy, skin out.
LEE GOW and Yong Lo were
bering in the bunk room, when
the store annunciator suddenly snared
jab-

Money in chandelier back of gambling


room. Seventy thousand. —Lee Gow. on the wall.
Lee Gow’s eyes widened. Yong Lo
Folding the message he had just took the tiny scissors from his nostrils
written, Yong Lo slipped back into where he was trimming black hairs,
70 WEIRD TALES
and looked perplexed. Then he as-
sumed the expression of one startled. A MAN was crossing the street, com -
ing from the manhole on the cor-
‘‘Lee Gow! Me got tip tonight. ner; a huge man tilting his bulk on
Didn’t believe first, but guess tip was tiptoe, much like a hog walking on its
true. Cops coming to search here, for hind legs.
you.” The big man came to Yong Lo ’s
‘ 1
Yong ! No cops — not let cops in, door.
eh?” “Lee Gow!” Butch Killian growled
‘‘Must let in, Gow— they smash in, into the black, door opening.
chop in.” “Sh!” whispered Yong from the
“Na na — —na—they find me. I darkness.
kill white girl —I hide in cellar hole.” “Lee Gow. I killed Yong, the
Lee Gow was on liis knees, the iron cheater — choked him in that red gam-
riiur of the cellar hatch in his spidery bling shirt, like you wrote me to.
fingers. Pushed him down the sewer man-
The bell snared again : one long hole.”
buzz, then several short impatient “Hee-hee.”
whirrs. Yong’s guarded glee was all Butch
Lee Gow tried to open the bolt on Killian heard as he followed the slip-
the cellar door. pered mongolian to the bunk room in
“Yong help, me — hide in cellar. back.
You let cops in, not let them look in “Make a light, Lee Gow. Where's
cellar!” the dead chink’s money?”
“Bah — they look in cellar. Here! “Give me your hands.” Yong whis-
Yong Lo have good scheme.” pered covertly.
Yong already had his robe off. Yong’s bony fingers took Killian’s
“You wear my red black mandarin and led him in the dark.
thick hands
robe. I wear your clothes. You go “Old Yong never piped a word
to front door, let-in cops. I stay here. after I got my grippers on his wrin-
They pinch me. Think me you in kled turtle neck.”
your clothes. Find out at station that
“Hee-hee.” Yong Lo bleated in the
me Yong Lo. I not kill nobody, po-
dark!
lice let me go. You skip while me at
station. Thousand cash here in pocket Now they were in the bunk room.
of mandarin robe.
” •
Yong Lo raised Butch’s hands up-
Yong helped Lee Gow into his. gar- ward till the big bully touched a
ments. heavy chain.
The annunciator snared a gab ..
The Chinaman whispered low.
The lamp in the bunk room was ex- “You strong, like lion. You pull
tinguished, and while Lee Gow, dis- down chandelier chain. Me light
guised as Yong. slippered toward the lamp. You pull down money bowl.
front door. Yong donned another red We divvy cash.”
robe. Butch Killian pulled on the chain
In the- dark bunk room Yong ma- but the fixture did not lower. Then
nipulated something that

clinked the big brute grabbed the chain with
against the heavy chandelier chains. both hands.
The iron ring of the cellar door in the As he did so, smooth -rings were
floor squeaked oti its rusty staple, then slipped over his wrists, were com-

Yong Lo, in the role of Lee Gow; pressed on the thick flesh,- snapped
slipped forward to the store and “But eh- big strong feller, -pull
pulled back- The. entrance door; . >.... ehandelier down.’’ >• -
RED AND BLACK 71

“Say, Lee Gow —what the—” “Money heavy tonight in chande-


But in that instant his ankles were lier, Butch.”
meshed in something, the tether of Wrists in the steel cuffs, Butch’s
which was fast to the floor. arms were drawn taut above his head.
With Killian tugging in the dark, Marshaling the strength of four men,
endeavoring to free his legs, the he tried to withhold the chains from
Chinaman slip-slupped to a corner of pulling him upward, but the windlass
the room. was a squeaky music box in Yong’s
hands.
A tip of flame dawned in the cup
of two bony hands, the match touched The chains tightened, creaked, till
the lamp. they had lifted Butch’s two hundred
When the light seeped through the
and forty pounds three inches clear
room, Butch Killian, his arms aloft, of the floor.
handcuffed to the heavy chandelier The windlass complained at
chain, his feet bound in several wind- Butch’s added weight, and Yong
ings of folded bed sheeting secured threw the pawl in the crank ratchet
in the iron ring of the cellar door, 1
and left the cursing man swinging
looked into the placid face of Yong by his wrists, dangling from the ceil-
Lo dressed in a red silk mandarin ing like a heifer about to be skinned.
robe. “Butch not holler now, else Yong
Butch Killian tore with his great call cops and tell how Butch kill Lee
strength at cuffs securing his
the Gow and throw in sewer.”
wrists, but the back at
steel snarled From a bunk Yong Lo brought an-
him. He tried to kick free of the other sheet.
sheeting about his ankles, but the ten lie wound it about Butch’s body,
or twelve-ply bandage of linen was across the stomach. He tied the knot
stronger, stronger even than Butch’s at the back of the suspended man.
hydra strength. Through the loop of the sheet Yong
Yong Lo stood off a little way and Lo thrust a curtain pole, devising an
laughed. enormous tourniquet about Butch
“Butch Killian big boob. You let Killian’s middle.
Lee Gow make rummy of you. Lee Yong Lo belonged to the family of
Gow hide here from cops. He kill boas that coil and throttle.
white girl. Lee Gow double-cross He gave the curtain pole a Half-
Yong Lo. Tell you Yong’s wheel turn, taking up the slack in the sash
work crooked. Lee Gow then write about Butch’s torso.
you to get my cash. I wrote note, not The big man was silent, fumbling
Lee Gow. I tell you to ring bell and with his wits for a way out. He
kill Yong Lo when he come to front swayed, jerked, cavorted on his fas-
door. Hie! I send Lee Gow in my tenings, but the handcuffs held him
clothes. Him think you cops. You aloft. The metal gnawed at his wrists
think him me. You kill Lee Gow, not till something warm trickled down
me. Lee Gow dead in sewer for kill- his cold arms.
ing white girl. You die for killing He grew weak. Sweat dripped
Lee Gow. You big strong boob. Only from him, and the shriveled yellow
Yong Lo get free. Hie!” man below him, a spider plying at a
At a wall where chains came huge fly, gave the wooden pole an-
through the paneling, Yong Lo turned other turn.
a windlass and Butch Killian was The flesh folded beneath Butch’s
hoisted with the chandelier as it clothing.
raised on chains, passing through He tried to curse, to shout, but rage
holes in the ceiling. and exhaustion stifled the effort. The
72 WEIRD TALES
pole turned another half -circle; the blazed at his wrist— another sickening
sheet sank in, cramped a pain floated
;
slock of his arm, like the sound of a
around Butch’s stomach. fowl being drawn.
The tourniquet was getting stub- A groan from Butch as Yong Lo
born, and the Chinaman now had to drew down the pole another inch,
tug. with all his might to budge the flooding Killian’s vitals with a hot
pole farther. mass from something that seeped
Butch’s neck turned black. His within him.
eyes grew bigger. Rushing noises Then Butch’s arm came down upon
swooped down upon him. And still the Chinaman’s head. The blow sent
his brute strength fought the death
the heathen down, forced him to let
Yong Lo was inflicting. go of the pole, which unwound like a
“Big boob, Butch Killian is.” pinwheel.
Yong Lo now had to hang on the
pole to move it. The
sheet tightened.
Knocked from his balance, Yong
Lo’s head bumped Butch’s thighs, and
Something ripped inside of Butch.
the big man opened his legs and caught
Crazed; the door of hell just over the
Yong’s neck between them. Still sus-
pole winding an inch farther, pain
pended, Killian’s thighs closed on the
racking his vitals, being ground to
Chinaman’s throat, held him breath-
death in the middle by Yong Lo’s in-
less in that sinewy vise.
fernal pole. Butch Killian tugged on
the handcuffs with all his weight and Two minutes* three minutes, four
strength. minutes he held Yong Lo, then
He drew steadily. In a tug of war Butch’s senses left.
with death he pulled on those hand-
cuffs. Continually, harder, horribly, IX^HEN they found them next
’ ' morning, Yong Lo was dead on
every ounce of effort went into that
pull to burst or bend the cuffs about the floor. A ruby patty of coagula-
his wrists. tion plastered the Chinaman’s black
Fiercer, terribly, he drew and drew hair, blood that had dripped from
with those mighty arms, till his tem- Butch Killian: for Butch, when his
ples thrummed, the handcuffs seared, arm hit Yong Lo’s head, had pulled
champed through flesh, bit on the with his beast’s strength so mightily
bone. on the chain that his wrist gave way,
Still Butch drew down with that separated where the steel cuff chewed.
mighty, tigerish strength; the sheet His dismembered, clenched fist re-
tightened a bit; his thighs seemed to mained aloft in the locked handcuff,
take what belonged in his torso. next to his other arm by which he
Red and black spots before his eyes. swung, bleeding to death from the
Butch strained on his distended arms, handless right arm dangling over

drew something slocked something — Yong Lo’s strangled body.
THOMPSON
CKLAND GILLILAN

M
hadn’t done
Y, HOW I used to lie awake
nights, staring into the dark-
ness of the attic, wishing
it!

By staring a long time with eyes


we
I got
ly.
up and left the table hurried-
I hadn’t meant to say
unfair to the others.

HpHOMPSON had
it.

come to our
It was

stretched wide, I could see the rafters house to board. Itwas spring-
and hanging to the rafters near the time. He wasa timber-looker for a
little partition that turned part of the
spoke and rim company of Ports-
attic into a room, were his pants—
mouth. People sent him to our house
brown-striped they showed in the day- because sometimes we took folks in.
light —
and his white shirt. We were reputed to have good food,
and our little frame home was one of
There was quite a while before I
the best in a poverty-ridden vicinity.
would admit that we had done it. I
Not so much of a home it would
kept my mind resolutely bent on be-
appear now. There was a combina-
lievingwe hadn’t, until by reviewing
tion kitchen-dining-room, with an old
the circumstantial evidence over and
stove in one corner, the stairway to
over again I could see no loophole.
the attic in the corner nearest the
And when his brother-in-law was re- stove, the gun hanging over the door-
ported to have been in the neighbor-
way leading to the living room where
hood asking others about him, and the big fireplace was, and an out-of-
never came near us, I knew it was no
doors door leading to the back porch
use to deny it if any one should ac-
where the morning wood was piled in
cuse us. Yet it would be unfair to
the winter. Off from that back porch
confess without the consent of the
opened the little room where the boys
others involved in the killing.
of the family sometimes slept. Al-
So I held my
peace. With the ex- ways one or two of us slept there.
ception, of course, of the one night Then leading back from the living
at supper when I blurted, out of a room was the parlor, and back of that
dead and oppressive silence, “I wish the spare bedroom.
we hadn’t killed Thompson.”
On the wall of the living room hung
Every one stopped eating and a chromo entitled “Rock of Ages.”
looked wildly at me. They had not It consisted of a large lady draped in
expected me to say this, evidently. a single garment, reaching up with
Mother asked harshly: “What do bare arms and clinging to a great,
you mean?” stone cross on a wave-washed rock
73
74 WEIRD TALES
Mighty religious-looking picture for a gled at by a small, freckled boy with
home whose occupants would mouth and eyes both hanging open.
And we did set a good table. We Now and then he talked. Father
had plenty of apple butter and jelly was a great pumper. His cross-exami-
and yellow tomato preserves and nation of strangers, of whom he was
peach blitter and all kinds of jam and always wistfully suspicious, was some-
pickled peaches and canned pears, thing to listen to and for mother to
and dried apples —schnitts — and scold him about afterwards. One
everything else edible. Besides, we night in a burst of confidence, Thomp-
kept a flock of cows and mother was a son told us his first name was Charley,
mistress of the art of dairying. Many his wife ’s maiden name was Lewis, he
and many a night I sat beside her lived at Frost Station, over in Athens
churn after dusk in the entrance to county, he had a brother-in-law
the hillside cellar, listening to her named Lewis (his wife’s brother).
working the dash up and down to the He referred to the fact that Thomp-
rhythmic accompaniment of Scott’s son and Lewis were two very common
“Lady of the Lake” or “Marmion”; names. I thought a great deal about
or do the churning myself while she that. It has stuck in my mind
sat on her bare feet (she was a more through all these years as if there
than half wild woman) and recited were something really significant or
Campbell’s “Hohenlinden” or “The important in the statement.
Ritter Bann from Hungary came Thompson would disappear early in
back renowned in arms,” etc. the day and go to Jake Garret’s, Billy
She wasn’t the sort of woman one Gordon’s, Levi Halderman’s, Joe
would pick out as a conspirator in Armstrong's or Eli Tope’s or some-
taking human life, however. But how where else in the vicinity, looking for
can one tell ? One knows so little of

the sort of timber that would make
the inner workings even of those with spokes and rims for wagon and buggy
whom one is most intimate. wheels. Now and then, when he would
Thompson was a quiet man with return in the evening, he would men-
brown whiskers and a nose that tion that he had found enough for a
turned up a little. He had blue eyes. “cah”. It was in that way he re-
I can see him yet. He had a way of ferred to a car-load lot of his sort of
sitting, on the cool spring evenings, timber. It would need, he told us, to
and staring into the fire that father be seasoned for a year or so after cut-
would have one of us boys build to ting, before it would be ready to make
keep off the chill. There was, as I into wheel timbers. I can hear him
now see, nothing else for Thompson yet saying he had “found enough to
to have done. The coal-oil lamp didn’t staht a cah”. He had no other dia-
give a very good reading light; there lectic tricks, and his “staht a cah”
was no lamp for the spare room and sounded strangely to me. Had it been

;

we children I in particular —
sat and today I might have accused him of
stared so hard at the man that he plain affectation. But then I didn’t.
couldn’t keep his countenance. He It was a part of Thompson, the
was a stranger, and any stranger was stranger. It seems to me now he was
mysterious to me. I would sit and never out of my thoughts, waking or
look at him for half an hour at a time, sleeping, from the time he came till
endowing him imaginarily with all now, forty years later.
sorts of miraculous attributes and sur- One day he announced that he was
rounding him with an aura of dra- going to Jackson or Wellston to meet
matic possibilities. It was no fun for his workmen, whom he had arranged
Thompson, as I now realize, to be gog- for by mail, to come and start cutting
WHEN' W'K KILLED THOMPSON to

the timber he had eontraeted for. He to see us. We


were the last people,
was to walk. to Simpson’s station, to who had seen him; he had lived in
take the train into Jackson. Before our house. Why hadn’t he come to
he left. Father asked him if he hadn't see us? It looked bad for the brother-
better settle up for his board. He did in-law. It looked bad also for us
so with seeming reluctance. Whether the fact that he had omitted us from
this was because he hadn't intended his list of inquiries. Did he suspect
squaring up, or whether he was a lit- us? What should we. say if we were
tle miffed at being asked for it, we accused of making away with Thomp-
pouldn ’t tell, though I wanted to con- son? Back it came in the inevitable
tinue discussing for days. He left
it vicious circle to that question.
his brown-striped pants in his room, It haunted me day and night, until
with a spare white shirt. So we were I made up my mind we ought to ad-
sure he was coming back. mit the killing.Why try to defend
ourselves in the face of such over-
Ft/'E NEVER saw
Thompson again. whelming circumstantial evidence?
* *Days and days we looked for No criminal ever felt guiltier than I
him and his gang of workmen to re- felt for my Avhole family.
turn. Then the way they acted when I
They did not come. blurted out an expression of my re-
No message was received. gret that we had killed the man that —
As the days went by with no word was suspicious. They looked as peo-
ple would look if they had done such
from him, I began grow uneasy and
to
a thing and were surprized that it
apprehensive. Who had been with
w-as known or that any of the con-
Thompson last? We had. so far as spirators had the nerve to speak above
I could know. I covertly inquired of
a -whisper about the dastardly deed.
people who lived near the railroad
track between our house and Simp-

The pants the brown-striped ones
son’s, but none remembered having
—and the white shirt had been rele-
gated to the attic, from Thompson’s
seen a man of that description. Then
room. They hung where 1 could sec
I began to be afraid, and stopped ask-
them. I marveled at the foolhardiness
ing.
of the folks in keeping the things
Night after- night I lay awake, till
about as incriminating evidence when
near midnight, thinking about Thomp-
the investigation by the detectives
son and wondering what had hap-
should begin. Every tramp that came
pened.
to the door for a hand-out was a de-
I thought: “Maybe he has been tective in disguise, and I would watch
killed. If anybody, accused us of it. from the foot of the hill until he went
could we clear ourselves? He was across the Whaley bridge and over the
here: w.e rvould say ‘he went away’. next rise toward Jim Boyd’s’
Would any one necessarily believe it" Eventually, we being very poor, it
Could we j>rove he went away?” was up to some of us to wear out these

speculated on a motive, but could
T garments of Thompson’s. No men’s
find none except robbery. He- might clothing should ever be allowed to rot
have had money on him. out in that house. It fell to my lot
Then a neighbor told us of Thomp- to wear the things, I being a long-
son’s brother-in-law. Lewis, having legged. growing boy. Oh, how horri-
been in the neighborhood, inquiring fied I was to have the things on me!
off' those who owned timber he had The stripes in them seemed to writhe.
been- looking at, as to- when the- man And I also had to wear that- white
had been seen last, Lewis never came shirt. But I made short shrift of it,
76 WEIRD TALES
as I wore corn-cutting, which whit-
it “Did you ever know anybody
tles out a shirt in no time. around here named Charley Thomp-
How glad I was to be i*id of both son?” I precipitately asked, while
the articles of wearing apparel. the baggageman began struggling
“Kill a man and then appropriate with one trunk and the station agent
his clothes,” I used to mutter to my- waited with one milk-can on his track.
self. Biit strictly to myself. I never “That’s my name,” he said.
again ventured to mention the killing
“Did you ever work as a timber-
to any members of the family, and of
looker for a Portsmouth spoke and
course not to strangers. I had found,
rim company?” >
by my family’s reception of the one
mention, that it was a sore and unwel- “Yes, I bought many a cah for that
come topic with them. Had there not company.”
been so many appalling silences in our “Did you”
house, so many “hushes” when one “ B-o-o-oard ” yelled the conduc-
!

of us would speak, so many * stop that



tor.
sniggerin’s” when we would get to I had hop on to resume my jour-
to
laughing, those reflections of mine on ney without finding out what I’d al-
our crime might not have been so con- ways wanted to know: why Charley
stant and so poignant. Thompson hadn’t come back, where
Nobody knows better than I what he was while his brother-in-law was
are the thoughts and apprehensions hunting him, and everything.
and conscience twinges of an undis- But I felt a thousand pounds
covered murderer. lighter. I knew now we hadn ’t mur-
dered him; and for the first time in

THIRTY years after Thompson


disappeared, I happened to be
traveling on a local train. Looking
three decades I was absolutely at
peace with the world. Of course com-
mon sense had asserted itself years
at the time card I noted that Frost before and I had known positively
was the next station. Yes, and it was that there was no foundation for my
Athens county, too! I slipped into childish and self-conscious obsession:
my overcoat and ran forward while that is, I had known it mentally. But
the train slowed down. A
little, with- a fear had lodged in my emotional
ered old man was loafing at the sta- system that had not, until that with-
tion, looking up at the coach win- ered native had said “cah”, been
dows. wholly absent from me.

In the February Issue of WEIRD TALES


The WOLF of the CAMPAGNA
By HARRY BAILEY
A Tale of Cesare Borgia

ON SALE JANUARY FIRST


T HE
light
moon’s stealthy search-
extended long, ghostly
fingers- into the darkened bed-
room on the second floor of a fine old
house that huddled between encroach-
pulling against her, and she quickly
slipped it back into place.
She crossed the room to look out
upon the garden below. The lawn
near the house was in shadow, across
ing warehouses on a street that had which lay two slanting oblongs of
known better days. They fell on a light. As the girl at the window
girl, asleep in her canopied bed. She, caught sight of the blocks of orange
stirred restlessly, then sat up among on the grass, she shrank back in ter-,
her pillows. Both slender hands ror. They narrowed to the merest
pressed hard against her face. Her- line, as she made her way back to the.
indrawn breath held suspended the bed.
scream that struggled to escape. The .
“ It is he, she murmured, as if the

elfin face, framed by its dark hair, whisper might somehow reach the
stared out in terror; the black eyes man of whom she spoke. “It is he,
were haunted wells in its deathly at work again! Wliat can there be
pallor. about- these strange activities in his
The girl looked down at her hands, laboratory to terrify me so?”
and turned the strangely chased band Then, as if some unseen hand had-
on the third finger of one of them. In placed itself heavily on her shoulder,
the shadow of the canopy, where the confronting her for an explanation of
rays of moonlight did not penetrate, that whisper, the girl huddled fear-
the ring gave, off, a faint phosphores- fully against her pillows. She pressed
cent radiance. The intricately chased against her eyes those pale hands, on
wings that elongated themselves in the the third finger of one of which the
circlet of the ring glowed faintly, but ring gave out its strange emanation.
the lump of greenish gold in the cen- At the same moment. Professor
ter, no less intricately chased, which, Kurt Maquarri turned from a window
like a jewel, formed the beetle’s body, in the cellar of that house. In his
shone with a strange and steady radi- long laboratory coat, the bearded
ance. Desperately the girl tried to hunchback needed only the peaked hat
pull the ring from her finger, but as to make one think irresistibly of some
she worked it up over the first malevolent alchemist of the middle
knuckle, some power seemed to be ages. Dank hair hung in strands
77
78 WEIRD TALES
across his forehead, under whose ance, and from the machine bluish
shadow the deep-set eyes glittered sparks leapt. They lit up the scene,
their guard against the world. The disclosing Maquarri bending over a
man ’s face was parchment yellow and switch, intense concentration on his
dry, without a wrinkle. The heard hid face. The ends of the wires attached
the lines of his mouth, but it was un- to the metal caps on the three Crookes
able to disguise the gnomelike con- tubes that topped the machine gave
tour of his face. Those glittering off phosphorescent sparks which shot
eyes that peered out of the parch- through the air for several feet before
ment of his skin, strangely smooth they were dissolved.
for all his fifty-odd years, yet some-
how, despite its lack of lines, never
suggesting youth, compelled one’s
gaze. What ruthless design had in
U PSTAIRS, the girl started from
her pillows, shrieking out of the
nightmare that had awakened her.
its inflexibility guarded the wrinkles
“Susan! Susan!”
of age from making their inroads on
The call ended in a moan as an an-
that parchment skin? A
man utterly gular Scotchwoman appeared. In a
without conscience might have a mask
like that; a man so' fixed in one mad
moment she had the girl huddled in
her arms, the bedclothes pulled about
purpose as to be beyond good and
the shivering form.
evil.
“It’s a pairfect shame to see you
Clouds of smoke hung in the air
thisway, my bonny Joan,” she mut-
of the dim laboratory fitted up in the
stone cellar of the house, smoke of a
tered. “Nothing but dreams to
frighten you near to death ever since
strange, bluish color and a faintly
your blessed mother passed away. ’ ’

acrid, pungent odor. Professor


Maquarri bent over a table on which Joan sobbed, clinging to her nurse.
stood a complicated machine. He “It’s a different dream this time, Su-
brushed away a slight haze of smoke san. Not the usual one about Moth-
and pressed experimentally against er’s death.”
one of the switches. She shivered, and brushed away at
what seemed to be an imaginary
“It works,” he muttered, after the
fashion of aman much given to activi- swarm of insects about her head.
“Tell it to Susan, then, my wee
ties demanding
solitude and discourse
lamb. Tell it to Susan, and you’ll
with himself; “it works, but the

smoke the after effects must be — feel less frightened of it.”
Once more Joan seemed to brush
eliminated.”
away a swarm of insects that hovered
Maquarri crossed to the window about her head.
and cautiously fastened its bolts, mak- “It’s those yellow butterflies!” she
ing sure that the curtains shut in all
gasped. “I used to love them once,
light. With only one electric lamp but now they haunt me !
’ ’

near the machine, he bent over it, his She sat up in her excitement.
gnome’s face screwed up, as he care- “Oh, Susan, you’ve no idea how
fully examined each part. Against
the stone walls of the laboratory, the
real it all was, for a dream! We
were back in the West Indies, and I
outlines of his shadow grotesquely
was wandering through Uncle Hu-
flickered. Satisfied at last, the hunch- bert’s garden in the old plantation.
back switched out the light, and the At a turn of the path I came upon
laboratory was in darkness.
two figures. They didn’t see me, but
There was a second of suspense, I recognized Uncle Hubert in white
'then the liquid in the Crookes tubes linens. He was bending over a shrub,
took on an unearthly, crawling radi- his collector’s net in hand, trying to
WINGS OF POWER 79

catch a butterfly had alight-


that you know, the way she looked after
ed there, but Professor Maquarri after her marriage to. the professor.
swooped down on it and captured it “ ‘Let the child go!’ she
cried an-
under Uncle’s eyes.” grily,and my heart beat hopefully,
“Ay, as he swoops down on every- but Professor Maquarri turned and
thing.” muttered Susan. glared sternly at her. He raised his
“Neither of them saw me watch- magnifying glass, and as the sun’s
ing.” the girl continued; “but the rays caught it, his eye glared through
professor took out his microscope, and the lens, enormous and ferocious.
they examined the butterfly closely. Mother shrank back in terror. She
As I looked, Professor Maquarri turned away with a little moan. I
started to pull the wings from the tried to call out to Uncle Hubert,
1

body, explaining something about but he was absorbed with another but-
their structure to Uncle. I gave a terfly he had caught in his own net,
little cry, and they both turned and
and there the dream fades.”
saw me at once. ‘Come here, Joan,’
Joan, for all her nineteen years,
said Uncle, ‘I want to tell you that
looked up at Susan with a sense of
Professor Maquarri is to marry your
relief. It was like telling to her nurse
mother next week.’ ”
her fear of the bogy man in childhood.
Joan paused to look at Susan.
But Susan’s eyes were hard and her
“That’s just exactly how Uncle Hu-
lips tight in thought.
bert told me of Mother’s marriage,
Susan. Really, you know, just as it “Ay, much good it would do you

was in the dream. Now wait until to call out to Lord Hubert Charing
you hear the rest. I gave a little cry at any time ! Him so absorbed in his
of dismay, and stepped backwards. bugs and beetles he’s no time for his
Professor Maquarri stood watching kin!”
me. his net in hand, as if ready to “I know,” murmured Joan, lying
spring, and then it seemed to me in back in her nurse’s arms. “It’s aw-
the dream that I could feel myself ful of me, Susan, but do you know, I
getting smaller and smaller. Telescop- sometimes think that if Uncle Hubert

ing like Alice in Wonderland, you hadn’t been such a famous entomolo-
know. I was still myself, but I was gist, then the professor would never
swiftly becoming diminutive, until I have come to Montserrat to see his
stood there in the garden path no collection, and Mother and all of us
more than three inches high. The might be safely there now.”
professor watched me become smaller, Susan nodded in her forthright
and then with a horrible laugh he fashion. “Ay, right you are there,
sprang forward and caught me in his my bonny lamb. But it’s done now,
butterfly net.” and there’s no remedying it, though
Susan stroked the girl’s trembling your mother was a changed woman
hands as she listened, but Joan was after her marriage.”
living again the terror of her dream. Joan sighed and brushed back her
“I struggled in the net, Susan, but hair. Susan’s eye caught the gleam
Uncle Hubert and the professor both of gold on her finger, no longer phos-
took out their magnifying glasses phorescent now that the lamp beside
again and bent over me. I felt as the bed was lit, and her tone sharp-
though they were going to pull my ened.
legs and arms apart, to see how I “That ring there,” she said, point-
was made, as they had done with the ing disapprovingly at the band on
butterfly, but just at that moment Joan’s hand; “that heathenish design
Mother appeared in the path. She of the beetle with spreading wings,
didn’t look like herself at all, but sad. made by the professor himself out of
so WEIRD TALES
his wedding ring to your mother and matched Maquarri ’s tone. It is true. 4 4

that of your own father, to be worn He is famous already among his many
by you as a symbol of the protective young Dr. Philip
love he would give you
— patients,
Olivier.
this
All day the people file in
“I know, I know,” murmured Joan, and out of the office, seeking the mira-
“it wasn’t like Mother, and yet she cles he is said to work.”
made me promise to wear it always. Maquarri listened intently, his eyes
It’s awful of me to feel as I do about shifting over the countenance of the
the ring, but I can’t care for it. It other man. Felix’s face looked more
somehow terrifies me. ’ ’
than ever like a mask as he told his
story, and again the professor con-
Joan looked down at the band on
her finger, and shivered. The golden gratulated himself on having found
wings and body, so intricately carved, such an accomplice.
so fragile, lay on her white finger The older man reached across his
much as a real beetle might have done, desk to a magazine that lay face
and her flesh crawled at the thought. downward. Turning it over, he stared
at the keen face that looked out from
“Come, come, my lamb,” mur-
the left hand page. Across from the
mured Susan, contrite. “Try to picture the article ran: “Dr. Philip
sleep, and forget everything. Before
Olivier Experiments in Curing Mental
long you’ll be of age, and the profes-
sor no longer your guardian. Just
Disease by Means of Zeta-Ray. And ’

lower down, a sub-heading: “Young


think of that, now, and go back to
Grandson of the Late Dr. Philip Ma-
sleep. We can go back to Montserrat
quarri, of Florence, Italy, Believes He
then, my wee one. ’ ’

Has Discovered Element Resembling


Soothed by her old nurse’s words, Radium in its Properties which will
Joan gradually relaxed, and after a Emanate Zeta-Rays.” Once more
little while Susan laid her carefully
Kurt Maquarri ’s envious eyes read
back among her pillows and stood the lines he already knew by heart,
watching her peaceful breathing. the lines telling how the jrnung Dr.
Olivier had given to the Society for

D OWNSTAIRS
his hands with
in his laboratory,
Professor Kurt Maquarri rubbed
satisfaction.
Psychiatric Research his opinion that
suggestion for curing mental diseases
could be administered by means of a
4 4
The greatest scientific discovery in Zeta-ray emanating from an element
the world,” he gloated, muttering to of his own discovery, whieh would re-
himself after his usual habit; “and I semble radium in its properties, but
alone am its possessor!” the future limit of whose usefulness
He frowned at a sudden thought. could be proved only by repeated ex-

“Unless unless he somehow stum- periment.
bles on the secret before I can get my The hunchback looked up from the
father’s notebooks and formula} out magazine and narrowed his eyes at
’ ’
of his grasp ! Felix.
A
knock sounded through the thick “He is a soul doctor, my father’s
oaken door of the laboratory, and grandson, who has inherited his se-
Maquarri crossed softly to open it. crets. He loves humanity, so let
“Ah, Felix, at last,” he muttered, science wait.
’ ’

bolting the door with his habitual cau- Maquarri said the words with a
4 4
tion. Tell me. what have you found sneer,but in the next second his face
out?” set with unshakable purpose.
4 4
what the magazine ar-
It is true, “Ay, let science wait, my pretty
ticle Maestro,” replied Felix,
said, doctor, until Maquarri shall have
lowering his voice to the mutter that wrested the secret from your grasp !
’ ’
WINGS OF POWER 81

His face took on a strange raptness. a machine receives the etheric vibra-
“Until, possessed of unlimited tions carrying the sound waves. With
wealth, secure and inviolable, he shali zodium, the effect of the radio-active
soar on the wings of power!’’ he element hypnotizes the mind, making
added. itpassive to receive the thought waves
“But now Maestro. has the secret,” sent on the rays of the zodium. It is
murmured Felix. •
a question of like seeking like, is it
not, Maestro?”
“I have it, yes, and I have devel-
Maquarri nodded, scarcely heeding
oped power beyond my father’s
its
di’eams but what good is it to me un-
For a second he
the other’s question.
;

What good
hung undecided. Then, switching out
less. it remains a secret?
the one cloaked light in the labora-
if at any momentyoung upstart
this
tory, he bent once more over the wish-
doctor should stumble upon it? He
ing machine.
has my father’s notebooks, his experi-
Upstairs in her bed. Joan stirred
mental data, and already, in his no-
torious cures—his miracles he has — restlessly. After a moment she sat
up, a strange raptness on her counte-
been working along the lines of. sug-
Only he is content to sub-
nance. With the fingers of an au-
gestion.
tomaton, she wrapped herself in her
stitute the uncertain human touch for
” dressing-gown, and with the measured
the surety of science !

tread of a somnambulist she made her


“But is it sure' —your method?” slow way across the room to the ease-
“As sure as six months of unde- ment window through which the
feated experiment can prove. I have moonlight streamed. Her dark eyes
the girl absolutely under my power stared straight in front of her, looking
now. She hates the winged ring, but
'
neither to the right nor to the left.
she dare not take it' off, and so long For an instant she stood poised on .

as She wears a piece of zodium on her the window ledge .that hung over the
person, I can hypnotize her mind to dark garden below. Then, with the
do my bidding. ” same trancelike movements, she edged
The hunchback bent malevolently herself sidewise on a coping not more
over the machine that stood before than six inches wide that extended
them on the table. along the back wall of the house. ,

“ The- wishing machine,” he mut- In the laboratory, hung with its


tered; “the wishing machine that haze of bluish smoke. Maquarri mo-
.

shall send us soaring on the wings of tioned Felix over to the. window, keep-
power !”"'
1

ing his own place. at the switch of the


He pressed a switch, intense con- machine, concentrated on projecting
centration on his face, and as the blu- his brain and thought weaves along the
ish sparks leapt through the dim lab- mysterious rays that emanated from
oratory," his eyes "glittered with satis- it.

faction. Felix gasped and held his breath


“Upstairs in her bed she dreams, as the figure of Joau made its way
and starts out of those dreams in ter- along the coping on. a wing of the. old
ror at my
bidding!” he muttered. house that ran at right angles to the
“ Afterward, she remembers nothing. laboratory in the basement. One slip,
Only the vague, formless dread that and she would be dashed to the
holds her in its grip— the reaction ground, but at .the sharp intake of the
after the effect of the zodium. rays.
” young West Indian’s breath, Maquar-
“The wings of power,” said Felix, ri laughed evilly, still bending over
forming the Words deliberately. “How his machine. Felix turned from the
if "would Startle"' the" world, and yet- window, a protest on his lips, but ,

is if 'Stranger than the radio? There Maquarri ’s concentration was imper-


82 WEIRD TALES
vious to interruption, and he crouched ‘

Come, come, my boy, why this
as if in a vise. fear? Surely if I have kept your se-
cret well for a year, you might begin
npHE girl faltered for a moment, to breathe easily.
’ ’

A where the coping turned another


He looked at the young half-caste
sharp corner of the building. Surely
Spaniard.
her foot would slip at that sharp,
right-angled turn! But with the ut- “Only, it is well to remind you at
most precision she turned about and times of the fact that makes you so
made her way in the same, steady- invaluable an assistant.”
footed tread back to the window of And Maquarri turned aside to hide
her room, and climbed in. his satisfaction as Felix blanched.

Professor Kurt Maquarri laughed “We must w ork quickly now,” he


r

as he switched on the light in the lab- continued, fumbling among his pa-
oratory. pers. “The experiments have eaten
“You need
not have feared, my up most of my capital.”
friend. have other uses for the girl,
I Felix nodded.
and would not let her die !
’ ’
“That last order of uranite from
Felix looked at the wishing ma- the Rumanian deposits cost a small
chine, and Maquarri ’s eyes gleamed fortune, it is true, but from it you
triumphantly. succeeded in separating the zodium,
“Ay, I shall hypnotize her to do my the hypnotic element you have been
bidding by means of the wishing ma- looking for, did you not, Maestro?”
chine. First she shall get the secrets Maquarri ’s eyes blazed with tri-
that rightfully belong to me from this umph. He felt the desire to confide
soul doctor, my father’s grandson, in someone, even in someone so much
and then to the West Indies and Lord his tool as Felix d ’Acosta. It is a
Hubert’s treasure the luck of the
’ ’
— desire that at some time comes to all
human beings, but never so strongly
Charings !

He laughed slyly. as to those whose devious ways of life


“Then shall we soar on the wings have sealed them to a more than hu-
of power!’’ man repression.
Felix moistened his lips. On an impulse, he bent forward and
“You mean you will find out the pressed a beetle’s body carved in the
whereabouts of this rumored treasure scroll at the top of his desk. The
which the pirate, Blaekbeard, left in scroll swung back, and out of the se-
care of the Charings, by means of the cret compai’tment which it revealed
hypnotic power of the wishing ma- Professor Kurt Maquarri drew a
chine ?
’ ’
faded photograph and a yellowed let-
Maquarri nodded. ter. For a second, he compared the
“That treasure, first, and then we photograph in his hand with the pic-
shall seeabout others, ’ he murmured. ’
ture of young Dr. Philip Olivier

It was lucky you chose that particu-
* which stared out at him from the page
lar underground passage in which to of the magazine. Then he looked up
hide the evidence of your ah folly, — — at Felix.
Felix, and that I happen to be a lean “My father, as you know, wras a
man who does not sleep much of very great scientist, the greatest of his
nights, so that I found you there, day. His theories and discoveries
eh?” paved the way for the triumphs of
Felix cringed, but Maquarri Becquerel and the Curies, and he an-
clapped him reassuringly on the shoul- tedated many of the discoveries of Sir
der. William Crookes.”
WINGS OF POWER 83

Maquarri arrogantly tossed his


. notize others to do. our bidding?’ I
grotesque head. asked. My
father shook his head, but
"And I inherited his genius! He after a little argument I had con-
recognized my capacities, and trained vinced him that there was something
me himself, giving me access to his
.
in my theories, after all.”
laboratory in Florence, and all his Professor Kurt Maquarri cast a
notebooks. He was on the verge of an look of triumph at the wishing ma-
important scientific discovery, and I chine that after so many years had
was to carry on the torch if he died vindicated his early hazard.” Then he

before before he had achieved his
’ ’
turned once more to his memory, and
purpose. Felix listened impassively.
The hunchback brooded for a sec-
"I remember there was a storm out-
ond. Then he continued. "Only we
side. and in a. flare of lightning my
quarreled, and six months after I ran
father looked keenly at me. ‘My re-
away, he died-.”
search and my life’s work have been
Felix looked at him impassively. .
to aid humanity, not to exploit it,’ he


And the quarrel ?” he murmured. said quietly. Before I could reassure
"The Florentine girls were very him. we both turned, startled, to see a
beautiful,,” muttered Maquarri, and
girl’s white face pressed hard against
in his mouth the. commonplace words,
the French windows of the study,
sounded somehow ghoulish. Tall

down which the rain poured.. At a


and slender, but with a full curve of
flash of lightning, she huddled there,
breast and hip that made them infi-
and my father sprang forward to.
nitely desirable.”
open the window and let her in.
For' the space of a second, the eyes
of master -arid servant met in a glitter "A shiver went through, me as I
of understanding that told of the met the girl’s look. I started toward

buried streak of sensuality in both her in instinctive menace, but my


their natures. . father’s hand stopped me, and the
girl poured out her story.”
<(
How well I remember that night
—thirty years ago, it was. My
father Felix just barely moistened his lips
and I were together in his study in' with his tongue, and Maquarri pod-
Florence. It was on the eve of my ded.
twenty-first .birthday, and we had had “Lisa was beautiful, even for a
a long talk.'. ‘My son,’ he said. ‘I have Florentine,” he muttered, "but she
given you the best of Scientific train- was scarcely worth what she cost me. ”
ings, and I shall depend on you to He looked reflective. .

continue my work when' I am gone.’ "There was no stopping the girl:


I nodded, for this "had been the sub- She told my father everything. How
ject of- many previous conversations I had made love to her out on the
between. us. ‘I believe there is a nat- cliffs, and had finally made her let
ural element to be separated from me hypnotize her, just as an experi-
either pitchblende,, uranite or some ment, you know,
other sort of volcanic lava that will "My father was furious and heart-
prove of incalculable curative benefit broken at once, and accused me of
to mankind,’ he continued. ‘A sort having used his own secret theories.
of concentrated sunshine.’ " ‘Yes,’ I answered defiantly, for
"I knew my father’s theories,” Ma- here was the proof of the correctness
quarri mused, “and I agreed with of my theory, ‘yes. I made a sort of
them,- but, as .1 say, I had inherited magnet of the uranium, but it worked
his genius, and I could make inde- imperfectly. I could not have hypno-
pendent scientific hypotheses of my tized Lisa unless she had been will-
own. ‘Could this not be used to hyp- ing!’
84 WEIRD TALES
“Myfather was pale with sup- to use and perfect for the benefit of
pressed anger. He went over to his mankind.’ ”
safe and took out a leather hag of
Maquarri folded the letter and
gold and notes.
‘ ‘
looked up at Felix.
‘Take this and go. 1 will send “There follow^ some moral admoni-
you a draft for more, and 1 will write tions to me, with the promise of a
lo you at the Bank of Naples when I
modest bequest for life, and that is
have made up my mind about you. ’ all.”
I went, of course. I had never seen
Tie brooded again.
him so wrathful.”
Professor Kurt Maquarri
“How well I remember his will!
leaned
back and opened with careful fingers
And the furor it created when it was
published at bis death six months
the letter the years had tinned yel-
later! Old Professor Bertelli, of Pisa.
low and fragile.
w as made one of the executors, and a
r

“He sent me this letter to Naples German doctor at the University of


a week later,” lie said quietly. Bonn, where he had studied, anoth-
Maquarri watched Felix as he er.
’ ’

stared down at the old-fashioned “Ah, they wrere powerful, then,


script, clear and angular, that stood these secrets!” murmured Felix. “I
out from the yellowed sheet. see. The old doctor, your father,
“Ah.” he murmured, “I forgot for wished his grandson to be a man who
the moment that you do not know had tried himself first, or who had
Italian. Well, come; I will translate been tried by the judgment of the
it for you.” executors.
’ ’

“Exactly,” answered Maquarri.

TOGETHER the two men bent


over the letter.
“You see, it is dated September 11,
“And for the past thirty years I have
worked against time
perfect that secret first. For four
to discover, to


1893 thirty years ago, the year months now he has been in possession
r

Philip Olivier was born. I regret that of the notebooks and secret formulae,
you do not read Italian, for a transla- but luck has been with me. By the
tion scarcely does it justice. The lan- time he was thirty, this young Dr.
guage is old-fashioned and sternly Philip Olivier had already acquired a
moral, but it says that the writer is so large practise as a nerve specialist, a
’ ’
disappointed at the uses his son has psyclianalvst.
made of the scientific training and Thirty years of rancor, of sup-
heritage he had intended to hand on pressed bitterness, lay in Maquarri ’s
to him. he wishes to warn him that tone. Unfathomable avarice, unlim-
he is cut off from all his secrets and ited lust for gold, for power, weighted
formulae. the words.
“See, here it is in exact translation. “The wings of powder!” he mut-
‘My secrets and formulae are to be tered. “That was the idea in back of
left under seal to the just-born son of my fancy to shape the ring in the
my daughter, Eleonora, in America, form of a beetle, with spreading
’ ’
one Philip Maquarri Olivier, for wings.
thirty years. I leave the bulk of my His eyes glittered in a smile.
fortune in trust for him to obtain the “Even we scientific men have our
best scientific and medical education fancies.”
which Eu rope can Then, when
offer. For a few moments Maquarri ’s
he is thirty, and has already been head was bent as he followed the maze
practising medicine five years, he is of his plans. Then he rose wearily,
to have these secrets handed on to him and taking the signal from his master,
WINGS OF POWER S3

Felix said good-night and let himself His skilled fingers betraying an un -

out of the laboratory. usual agitation, Maquarri put the but-


Maquarri shot back the. bolts after terfly back into its case, and switching

his accomplice, and turned, candle in off the light, he followed the quadroon

hand, to study the beetles and tropical up the circular staircase at the end
of the laboratory to her housekeeper’s
butterflies that lay entombed in the
quarters above.
coffin-shaped eases along the walls of
his laboratory. It made a strange o
picture, that dimly lit grotto, its ta-
bles littered with retorts and other N THE waiting room outside the
chemical apparatus, its walls lined I office of Dr. Philip Olivier, famous
with those coffin-shaped cases, and the psychiatrist and specialist for mental
figure of the hunchback, eandle in troubles, a motley crowd was assem-
hand, moving from one to another and bled. The lame and the halt were
peering into their contents. represented there; also those misera-
Stooping under the weight, the pro- ble ones inwhose eyes burned a light
fessor lifted one ease and carried it bordering on the insane.
over to the table. Miss Thompson, the doctor’s mid-
“The wings of power,” he mut- dle-aged nurse, entered and the gath-
tered; “the wings of power, my ering looked up hopefully. She ush-
golden beauties ! But for your lure I ered in a little lame boy, his mother
might never have gone to the island following tremulously behind, and the
of Montserrat
” !
three vanished beyond the door lead-
ing to the doctor’s inner sanctum.
Amuffled tattoo sounded on a door
Several of the patients who had
at the top of a spiral stairease at the
other end of the laboratory, leading
come prepared to wait pulled their
lunches out of bag or pocket, and sat
to the main floor above, Maquarri
leaned forward and pressed an elec-
calmly eating. A fat old Freneh-
Avoman appeared in the doorway. Be-
tric button on his desk. Grinning
craftily, he laid the golden butterfly
hind her came a butler, bearing a
carefully on the table as a tall, mag-
huge bowl of steaming soup, and be-
hind him a maid Avith a tray full of
nificently built quadroon came slowly
smaller bowls, and a great platter of
down the stairs.
bread, piled high.
“Come, come, my tawny one.” he “Noav% then.” cried Mme. Fran-
said, his eyes traveling possessively
chard, the doctor’s housekeeper, with
over her. “I shall be ready to go in a good-natured laugh. “hoAV many of
a few moments. But look, first, at
you that have to Avait forgot to bring
this other golden beauty that I have lunch?” And one by one the lame
just unmounted. From your own and the halt and the miserable filed
Montserrat, the rarest specimen on
’ ’
up to receive their boAvls of steaming
the island !
soup, Avhieh they ate gratefully.
The quadroon moved with a slow Five minutes passed, ten minutes,
grace nearer the table, and cast an a half an hour, and then the door to
indolent, heavy glance upon the the doctor’s office opened. The little
brown and golden butterfly. Then, boy avIio had gone in on crutches came
settling herself in a chair, she spread out now, AA’alking without them. Be-
her bright skirts and bared a mag- hind him his mother foUoived, ready
nificent set of teeth in a slow smile. to catch him if he should fall. Th<*
“I am sleepy,” she said in a boy waved her off and faced the hope-
throaty tone, and looked away again, ful gathering in the waiting room.
her lids drooping. “Wateh me?” he cried. Then ho
36 WEIRD TALES
walked straight across the room, with- question on his friend’s lips as they
out aid, his face radiant, his eyes stood beside the laboratory table.
rapt. ‘

I mean to give the rest of the aft-


*

Old Mme. Franchard bustled for- ernoon to the experiment,’’ he said,


ward with some hot soup, while the smilingly *
but first those people out

;

others crowded about the boy, eager there must be attended to. ’’
to hear his story of the miracle.
As Quinn turned impatiently away,
“Here now, mon petit,” said the the doctor picked up some sheets from
old Frenchwoman, “eat the good hot
the table.
broth and nourish yourself. It is not
’ ’ “Look, here are the proofs for a
well to overdo things at first.
second article on the theories of in-
Miss Thompson stood in the door-
duced suggestion which the Journal
way, watching the scene. She turned
of Psychiatric Research asked me to
with a smile to Christopher C. Quinn,
write.”
brilliant lawyer and devoted admirer
of Dr. Olivier. Quinn eagerly scanned the first

“The doctor isn’t content to give paragraph.


all his time and strength to the peo- “That’s fine stuff, old man,” he
ple, but he must feed them also.’’ said approvingly; “but I can’t stop
Quinn scarcely concealed his im- now. Let me take these with me, and
patience, but the woman smiled indul- I’ll look in again just before dinner

gently. to see how the experiment has pro-


“Oh, he doesn’t spare himself gressed.”
ever,” she said, and conducted him “Good!”
through the green baize door. The doctor absently shook his
Dr. Philip Olivier looked up from friend’s hand, and led him to the door
his notes as his best friend appeared. as Miss Thompson appeared with the
At thirty, the hair just slightly next patient.
graying at the temples gave the doc-
tor’s vital, alert face an air of distinc- rpELIX D ’ACOSTA bent forward
tion. Quinn was perhaps ten years and searched his master ’s eyes.
older than his friend, and he took ad- “But the girl, your stepdaughter,”
vantage of his age to berate him. Felix spoke cautiously, fearful of be-
“You are the famous grandson of a traying himself, “what is it exactly
famous grandfather, Olivier, on the you wish to do with her now that you
verge of the greatest scientific discov- have her under your power ? ’ ’

ery of the age, and yet you give the It was early afternoon, but the
best of yourself to those people, and laboratory was dark, and the one
science must be content with the cloaked light threw its circle around
! ’ ’
dregs the two men.
“What can I do, in the face of “It is simple. With your help and

present need ? answered Dr.' Olivier

hers, avc shall get the secret from this
with his gentle smile. Dr. Philip Olivier before he shall have
Christopher Quinn walked into the discovered it to be a secret.”
laboratory adjoining the doctor’s of- “You mean she is to get it from
fice. Olivier followed, and for a sec- him?”
ond the two men stood side by side. Maquarri nodded, a glint in his
One end of the room was lined with eye.
books covering the entire range of “You mean,” Felix barely formed
science, and the rest of the laboratory the Avords on his lips, but Maquarri
was fitted for complicated experi- accented them and gave them life,
ments. Olivier silenced the impatient “you mean your stepdaughter is to—
WINGS OF POWER ST

to make him fall in love with her, and ri, well pleased, rejoined Felix in the
so gain his confidence?” laboratory underground.
“.That, is my scheme,” Maquarri “She shall go to him today. At 5.”
agreed. ‘‘Under the hypnotic influ- Maquarri prepared for his long
ence of my wishing machine and the vigil with the wishing machine.
zodium rays, she shall go to him, as “The late afternoon
the good is
if for treatment. There has been time, he in, the mellow time, for first
some purpose, you see, in inspiring impressions? For love at first sight?”
her with terrifying dreams. She shall
The hunchback shot a shrewd
consult this psychanalyst to unravel
glance at Felix, across the table, and
her dreams—her inspired dreams !
’ ’

the lines of his face settled into satis-


Maquarri grinned in appreciation faction at what he detected there.
of his own joke.
“Go. wait outside, Felix,” Mar-
“You are to shadow her from now quarri muttered, “and when you see
on. She is not to be out of your her leave the house, follow at a dis-
sight for long. And when she is with tance and see that she enters Dr.
him, you are to let me know. I shall Olivier’s.”
control her thoughts, her utterances.
Upstairs in the library. Joan read
She shall tell him only what I choose.
on to the end of her article with fever-
If he is so clever, this soul doctor,
ish interest. She looked up, as if held
let him find out what I do not choose
in a trance by omrftxed idea.
she shall tell him.”
“Yes,” she muttered, “I must go
“And under your influence she is to him. At once! Today, if he will
to steal the formulae, the notebooks,
see me. But of course he will He !
the experimental data, Maestro?”

must !I could not stand another

with time whether
It shall rest night of dreams!”
that task shall be yours or hers,”
said, Maquarri inscrutably. “Wait O
O -

here, while I talk with stepdaugh- my


ter in the library upstairs. Then you nPHE spring dusk had begun to set-
shall see how scheme works.” my tie over the city, but still Dr.
Joan had dreaded the interview, Olivier worked on in his laboratory.
when word came to her that the pro- Under the strong lights, engrossed in
fessor wanted to talk with her in the his experiment, the passage of time
library, but if it was to be nothing had no meaning for him. A knock
worse than a lecture on nerves and
.
sounded on the doOr, followed in .a
insomnia, she could stand, it. second by the head of Christopher 0.
Quinn. Still absorbed over his cruci-
“I know you have been troubled
bles and his Crookes tubes, Olivier
recently with strange and terrifying
called out to his friend.
dreams,” began the professor.
“Come in, come in, Chris, and. for-
He held out a magazine, and she give me if I don’t for the moment at-
looked down: into the sympathetic
tend to you. I have an interesting
countenance of Dr. Philip Olivier.
performance taking place under the
“Perhaps, my child, you would lens, and I don’t want to miss .any
care to consult this doctor. He is a of its transformations.”
psychanalyst, and can doubtless rid Quinn came in softly. His wide.
you of your troubling dreams. ” Irish-blue eyes sparkled with eager-
Joan settled to her magazine arti- nessand anticipation. For a moment,
cle .
vvT.tli more interest than she had
. hands in pockets, he stood watching
felt in months, and Professor Maquar- his young friend. Then, irrepressible
88 WEIRD TALES
as a child, he broke into eager ques- sharply, his being tense, ready to
tioning. spring on the result he was working
“What is it you think you have, for if it should take form in the

my boy?” changing liquid under the slide of the


Still bending over his microscope, microscope.
Olivier felt for his words. Scarcely less excited by contagion,
‘‘Gad! I don’t know, but I’m be- Quinn turned impatiently to Miss
ginning to think my grandfather was Thompson as she came into the lab-
on the right track, after all. There’s oratory.
an element in this mixture that acts “Not this trial, worse luck,” mut-
suspiciously like radium, but I can’t tered Olivier, his voice edged with dis-
separate it as yet.
’ ’
appointment.
For a second he was busy at one Then, still not looking up, he signi-
of the retorts, mixing the chemicals fied his knowledge of the nurse ’s pres-
and adding them to those already in ence.
transformation under the microscope. “What is it, Miss Thompson?”
“It acts like radium, yes but it — “I hated to interrupt you, doctor,
would be a thousand times more pow- but there’s a patient outside—
erful. A sort of Zeta-ray, you know, young lady —who refuses to go away
as an emanation, and heaven alone without seeing you.”
can tell what it will accomplish!” Quinn cut in before his friend could


Glory to all the saints, me boy, but answer.
you’ll be more famous than the Curies “Tell her she can’t, by all the
if it’s true!” saints!” he cried irascibly. “The doc-
When under the stress of excite- tor gives his mornings to patients and
ment, the cultured Irishman reverted his afternoons to science ” !

to his early brogue.


“I told her to come again in the
“A sort of Zeta-ray, you think? mornftig, but she simply refuses to go
Who knows but that it will cure can-
cer, then, where radium has not yet
away until she has seen the doctor.
’ ’ It seems to be a fixed idea with her,
succeeded ?

“Cancer and other things be-
sir,a sort of monomania.”
Miss Thompson, skilled of long
sides,” muttered Olivier. “The poor
old human race has had hard sled- service, supplied her facts without
ding since primeval days, and this ele- waiting for questions.
ment, this Zeta-ray thing, should, if I “A young woman, a girl, really, not
am correct, have in it all the curative, past twenty, if she’s that, dressed in
marvelous powers of concentrated deep mourning, and with a face as
sunshine. A
sort of essence of vital- white as paper.”
ity” (there was a pause as the doc- “Young, pale and in mourning,”
tor bent closer over his microscope) growled Quinn. “A widow, I sup-

“for the gods the men, if you will pose. Tell me, Miss Thompson, is she
who sit in the dusk.” pretty?”
A faint smile hung on Olivier’s Dr. Olivier still bent over his mi-
lips, but his eyes were still intent over croscope he still jotted down his
;

the microscope. formula.' but he had missed not one


;

The dusk of the gods, ” he mur-

of Miss Thompson’s words.
mured, half to himself, “and to them “Just explain to her, Miss Thomp-
we bring back the vanished light. ’ ’ son, that I’m engaged on an impor-
Jotting down formulae as he spoke, tant piece of experimental research,
the young doctor drew in his breath and- can’t be interrupted at the mo-
WINGS OF POWER 89

ment, but be sure to make an appoint- “I understand. Those mental im-


ment for the morning.” pulsions often lead us to do things
Miss Thompson was out of the room unaccountable to ourselves.”
on a murmur of approval from Quinn, The gill’s eyes searched his. Poor
and for the next two minutes Olivier little thing, he thought, it is one of

worked feverishly over, his experi- those cases of dissociated personality.


ment, now pouring in one mixture, One moment she is one person, and
now another, and after each time care-
then she wishes to consult me, to be
helped by me in the next, everything
fully scrutinizing the resultunder the ;

in her tugs away from that idea.


microscope. Then, still not looking
up, he said quietly to his friend, “Suppose you tellme, first, some-
“Just ring the bell for Miss Thomp- thing of yourself. Something of your
son, will you, old ehap?”
life, so that I may know how to help
you.”
When
the nurse reappeared, he put
Dr. Olivier was famous for the con-
a brief question to her.
fidence with which he invariably in-
“She’s still here,” Miss Thompson spired his patients. Before his gen-
answered.. “Seems to be slightly hys- tle understanding and kindly sympa-
terical in her determination to see thy, the fiercest reserve could not hold
you. Says she^ll not go until she out for long, but now the girl frowned
does.” inscrutably, and a curious, set expres-
“All right, then,” answered the sion contracted her face.
doctor, drawing the slide from under “There is nothing to tell you that
the microscope and emptying its con- would be of interest to you,” she said.
tents -before Quinn could stop him. “Then why have you come?”.
‘ ‘
Tell' her 1 11 come in a few mo-
” “I am ill.”
ments.
Joan’s voice trembled slightly.
Olivier smiled at his disgruntled
“I dream horrible things at night.
friend; “The human reason' is a I have hallucinations— about my
strange thing, Quinn, and one night ’s
delay' is sometimes’ enough to throw

mother her death. I read of 'you in
a magazine, and I had to come. Some-
balance. I must see this girl,
it off its thing insideme compelled it.”
but why not stop and dine with me “Your mother died recently?”
here? I’ve a number Of new theories ‘
Two months ago. ”

I’d like to talk over with you.”


“What is your name?” asked the
OAN SUFFERN doctor suddenly, as if to catch her off,
rose timorously
guard.
J as she faced Dr. Olivier’s kind
Joan threw a. frightened glance at
smile.
him.
“I had to see you today,” she mur-
“I cannot tell you, she half whis- ’

mured. Then, finding his grave eyes Why must you know ?
‘ ’ ’
pered. ‘

fixed on 'her, she continued. “I must


She looked at him in terror.
apologize for my insistence. I can “I do not wish to tell you my
scarcely understand myself but — name.”
something here,” and she put her. Then her hands went up in despair
hands to her forehead desperately, to her forehead.
“something, here seems to be impel- “Dr. Olivier,” she eried, “I do not
ling me.” know my name! My own name! I
Gently the doctor motioned her to cannot remember it! And yet a mo-
a seat. V . ment ago—”
90 WEIRD TALES
“It is nothing, nothing, I assure the —
dream fades I find myself beside
you,” said the doctor gently. “You my mother, bending over her in an-
are afraid that I may insist on your guish she— gasps out her dying
telling me, and your subconscious breath, and it seems to me her eyes
mind has thrown up the barrier of reproach me. I look down, and in
forgetfulness as a defense. Never my hands I hold the bottle marked
’ ’
mind,” ho smiled, “some other time ‘
Poison ’.
you will tell me your name. It is un- A sob shook the .girl’s fragile body,
important, really. But these halluci- and the doctor moved closer, in in-
nations, these dreams, suppose you stinctive sympathy.
tell me about them.”
“Tell me, who else is present in the
With practised eye
relief, Olivier’s dream?”
noted that the girl did not shrink “No one.”
from his question.
“Are you sure?”
“My mother’s death it haunts — me
constantly almost— every night I
Joan bent a puzzled frown on him.
She seemed to be struggling with
dream of it.”
something in her own mind. Then
The gii'l shuddered, and pressed her face set in that same tragic mask.
both slender hands against her aching
“No one else, I am sure.”
forehead. A characteristic gesture Dr. Olivier was famous for combin-
that, the doctor noted mentally. What
ing the tenderest sympathy with an
is it, I wonder, docs she want to for-
aloofness of manner that made a
get ? But the girl was speaking again,
young demigod of him. For that rea-
and he bent all his faculties on her.
son, none of his female patients dared
They never told what one wanted to to fall in love with him, and he, on
know, these mental patients. One had his side, was believed and believed
to fill in the gaps oneself.
himself to be impervious to the charms
“This dream, is it always the of women. But today he had a
’ ’
same ? strange, unaccountable impulse, of
“Yes! Yes! Almost always! That which he was scarcely aware, to take
is what frightens me so. I see myself this lovely young creature in his arms
standing beside my mother ’s bed. She and comfort her. It softened the lines
is —
she is dying. I gave her her medi- of his usually austere face as he bent
cine, sometimes. She liked to have forward to talk to Joan, but that keen
me. And in the dream, I take up one intellect was still intent on its prob-
of the bottles from the night table be- lem.
side her bed.
’ ’
“Dreams, my dear child, are never
The girl threw back her head and to be taken literally, you must know.
drew in her breath, her throat con- They are symbols, merely, symbols of
tracting at the memory. What an ex- some inner conflict, some inner dis-
quisiteprofile, thought the doctor, tress.”
watching her, but how those great He smiled at her gently.
shadows under the eyes make a tragic “For that reason, we can be abso-
mask of the face. lutely sure that if in the dream you
The girl turned her head and looked killed your mother, ” deliberately Dr.
at him somberly. Olivier spoke the words which the girl
“There was a sleeping potion on had avoided (the best way to lay a
the table, marked ‘Poison Overdose — ghost was to confront it, he held)
Fatal.’ One could not mistake it, but and the girl threw a startled glance
in my dream it is always the same. at him, “if in the dream you killed
Just before I wake up just before — your mother, in reality you did not.
WINGS OF POWER 91

The poison of the dream stands for suringly into her eyes, reminded her
something else, and it is for us to find again of the next day’s appointment.
out what.”
Joan looked at him steadily, her T WAS Christopher C. Quinn’s
eyes somber.
I boast that patience was a virtue
he did not possess, and Olivier found
“Rid me of the dream, it is all I
him striding angrily up and down the
ask,” she muttered.
laboratory.
“My dear child, we never rid our-
“Well, it’s good-bye for today to
selves of a thing by suppressing it.

We must explain it understand it. the experiment,” he fumed, but
Olivier’s quiet, amused smile dis-
And therefore you must tell me some-
thing of your life.
’ ’ armed him.
For half an hour Dr. Olivier talked
“Sit down. Chris, sit down, and let
on in this strain, but whenever he the experiment be forgotten for the
tried to lift the veil of secrecy which moment. I’ve an experiment in
Joan hung about herself, her face be- there.” nodding toward his consult-
came a mask, and he could get her ing room, “that promises to be just
to reveal nothing. He was almost in as interesting. A human experiment.”
despair, when suddenly her mood Thoughtfully he watched his
shifted. friend’s face.
“Let me come again tomorrow,” “A curious case, a curious case.
she said pleadingly, reaching forward Chris, and one that baffles me. I ad-
and taking his hands. mit it.”
Ordinarily the young doctor would “They never baffle you for long,
have been on his guard against such my boy. You have a flair for han-
an advance from a woman patient, but dling the human soul, or mind, call it
this girl was simply a frightened child, what you will.”
who clung to him, depended on him. “Extraordinary, Chris, this busi-
Gently, instead, he stroked her hands, ness of the multiple personality. Plays
but as his fingers came in contact with the devil of a trick on me. To the
the strangely carved ring on her
lay observer that girl I just saw
finger, he shivered and drew away.
would be simply an unintelligent per-
“It is only with you that I feel son with one fixed idea. Absolutely
safe,” Joan murmured, lifting up her couldn’t get her to talk of one other
elfin white face. “Oh. please, please thing but the dream she came to con-
let me come again!” sult me about. Refuses to tell me her
“Of course, of course, you must name, her station in society though —
come tomorrow.” The doctor looked it’s plain to be seen she’s a lady or —
thoughtful for a second. Then he anything about her personal life.”
added. “Come at the same time. The Olivier looked at his friend drolly.
great thing is that you should have
“Thinks she murdered her moth-
confidence in me. Once you realize er.” he said quietly.
that I mean to help you. you will tell
me everything.” The Irishman whistled with inter-
est.
The girl smiled sadly, standing
there pale and fragile, childlike and
“And did she?”
appealing, and again the doctor had Olivier laughed.
the desire to take her in his arms and “Not a chance.Dreams go by op-
comfort her. Instead, he led her posites. They never tell the truth
kindly to the door, and smiling reas- It’s for us psychanalysts to interpret
92 WEIRD TALES
them, to bring back sanity to unbal- tion properly
” — give one a joie de
anced minds.” vivre, eh ?

He thought deeply for a moment.


4 4
More than that.
’ ’

4
I tell you, Quinn, I ’ve never in all

Olivier spoke positively, with the
my experience come across so strong uncanny prevision of the scientific
a fixation. It crowds everything else genius.
out of the girl’s mind. For the time “I stand half way between
the psy-
being, it ’s the one thing she will think chanalysts and the behaviorists, you
of or talk about, and I shall have my know. My theory is that, full of the
work cut out for me to shake that fixa- primeval strength and sunshine of
tion.” early days, mental troubles vanish.
4 <
Oh, she comes again?” asked Whoever heard of an insane Neolithic
Quinn. man, for example ? The way the brain
works is a matter of function. But
“Of course. Tomorrow at the — give a human being a fresh infusion
same time. The great thing, however,
of life, fill him to the brim with the
is that she trusts me. Absolute child-
strength and sunshine of the youth
like dependence, in spite of her re-
of the world, and his mental balance
fusal to talk.” 1

is automatically restored. With a


He bent forward tensely. plenitude of health— vitality, rather
4
God! I wish I could discover the — fear vanishes.
’ ’

secret my grandfather was convinced He smiled excitedly.


existed. The Zeta-ray would do the
trick for the girl —
that is, providing
“And fear, my friend, as you know,
is at the bottom of all mental
itcontained all the magic properties _
s
troubles.”
my grandfather believed in. You see,
Quinn, it’s this way. Radium is an 4
element separated from pitchblende,
and its curative power is immense.
But zodium, as my grandfather called
P ROFESSOR KURT MAQUARRI
rejoined Felix in the laboratory
his hypothetical element, could only after dinner that night. As he en-
tered, the young half-caste straight-
be separated from certain kinds of
volcanic lava.” ened up from the lever of the ma-
chine.
His eyes burned with excited specu-
lation. “It’s all right,” Maquarri told him.
4 4

44 While you concentrated at the wish-


And its power would be just about ing machine, I made my stepdaughter
ten million times as great as that of
relate to me every word that had
radium. In an entirely different
passed between her and the great Dr.
sphere, of course, you understand. ’ ’
Olivier. I questioned her skillfully.
The volcanic lava comes up out of the
bowels of the earth, where the crea- Maquarri openly gloated.
tive fires are hot and burning. It “It works, my boy, it works! He
contains all the concentrated magic iscompletely taken in, this great doc-
of the sun, and if properly injected, tor. Wait, I will show you now how
by a sort of Zeta-ray, into a human we shall work out our scheme.”
— —
being a tired, nervously womout hu- The hunchback pushed his young
man being accomplice to one side, and took up
4
Ah!” Quinn
broke in excitedly. his position of concentration at the
“I get you, my boy! It would renew fiendish machine.

womout nerves send vitality into Watch nowr as my thought pic-
4 4


anemic blood make the organs func-
,

tures are carried along the electrons


WINGS OF POWER 93

of the zodium. The ether waves will he met his accomplice’s usual impas-
earn- the electrons of zodium through sive stare.
limitless space until they find similar The quadroon, Mariquita, could be
electrons of zodium somewhere else.” heard fumbling at the door at the
He smiled. head of the spiral staircase leading
“Where else but on the finger of from the main floor above.
Joan Suffern, my stepdaughter? Her “Come, Mariquita, see the wonder-
mind is passive, under the ring’s in- ful machine that shall bring us more
fluence. Watch now, how this thought gold for your ears.”
transference shall take place.” He fingered the gold circlets that
lie bent again over the wishing ma- lit up the ocher of her skin. Mariquita
chine. laughed lazily. Those quadroon beau r
1
See, picture it to yourself against

ties knewtheir day of glory to be
the dark wall of this laboratory. Now brief. If the little hunchback could
she is with the doctor. She tells him not give her gold enough, then she
of her dream. He' is puzzled and tries would go back to Charlotte Amalie,
to question her. But she knows noth- where ships came in from all the
ing; my stepdaughter, except what I world. That, port in the West Indies
choose for her to know. When he tries meant wealth to the woman clever
to find out something about her per- enough to make use of her beauty.

sonal life her name, where she lives
As Professor Maquarri bent over
—she becomes once more the beautiful
the quadroon, fingering her gold ear-
automaton. ”
rings, Felix’s brown hand darted for-
Maquarri looked up triumphantly ward. It closed over a key that lay
into Felix’s face. Then he bent for- beside Maquarri on the desk, and in
ward again over the machine. the next second that key was slipped
“But wait a moment, I must only into his pocket, and he was bending
hold one vision in mind to hypnotize speculatively over the wishing ma-
her. Now I -shall show you how I chine.
shall make her seem to be in love with
“Come, Felix, tonight we cele-
him.” brate,” cried the hunchback genially.
He sneered. “Mariquita shall fetch us a bottle of
“What man, what bachelor, could wine, and we three shall drink to the
resist her? Especially such a young wings of power, eh?”
Sir Galahad as this soul doctor is re- But Felix betrayed no eagerness
puted to be!- What man could resist for the wine. He gulped it hurriedly,
her-vbeautiful, young, in distress, de- like a man eager to be done with it,
pendent on him and innocently, un- and made his excuses to his master..
consciously in love?”
.
Felix ’s. eyes glimmered strangely as
Maquarri sketched for him the pic-
ture o.f Joan making her innocent ad-
THE laboratory had been dark for
a good two hours, and Mariquita
and the hunchback had long since left
vances to Dr. Olivier. As the hunch- it, when the sharp click of a key in
back crouched over liis machine, and the door at the farther end stabbed
made him visualize Joan in Olivier’s the silence. The door swung slowly
arms. Felix started from his chair on its hinges, and Felix stepped, in-
with clenched fists. But in a second side. Padding across the floor, he
he gained control of himself, and made sure that the laboratory window
whfen Maquarri looked up from his in- was shut, as usual, and then he just
over the machine,
‘tense concentration as cautiously unbolted the door that
94 WEIRD TALES
led up to the main part of the house. oratory. A glance told him the situa-
The single ray of his dark lantern tion, and he trembled with fury as he
pierced the curtain of black that hung confronted Felix. At the same mo-
over the laboratory. It outlined the ment, Susan’s voice could be heard
figure of Felix as he crouched in con- outside. Maquarri opened the door
centration at the wishing machine, quickly, his agile mind already fram-
and beyond its light the blue sparks ing an excuse.
of the zodium rays flashed. “Ah, Susan,” he cried, “it is well
Upstairs in her bed, Joan sat up, you have come. Your young mis-
dark eyes staring out of a white face. tress’ nightmares have taken a new
With trancelike movements, she turn, it seems. She has started to
slipped on her dressing gown and walk in her sleep.”
made her noiseless way across the Susan’s arms were about the sob-
room. bing Joan, but her face told of her
Felix still crouched over the ma- distrust in the professor’s story.
chine, but his being was tense, his
“Felix and I were working late in
ears strained, to catch the almost
the laboratory and she startled us by
noiseless tread of approaching foot-
coming in through that door,” Ma-
steps. As Joan appeared in the door-
quarri ’s glib tongue garnished the
way of the laboratory, still staring
unseeingly before her, his eyes nar-
tale. “We tried not to awaken her,
but some noise frightened her, evi-
rowed in a glitter of triumph, but
dently, for she screamed as she came
still he crouched at the wishing ma-
to herself.”
chine. Joan came forward a few steps,
and then, impelled by the force out- When Susan had led away the
side herself, she went softly back and
trembling girl, Maquarri turned to
Felix.
shot the bolts to the door. Felix’s
head, thrown back on his shoulders as “Fool!” he raged. “Fool and
’ ’

he pressed against the switch of the idiot !

machine, showed a face flooded with Felix looked sullen but said noth-
a repulsive, gloating triumph. Slowly ing.
Joan turned, approaching the figure “How dare you risk upsetting our
that crouched over the machine. plans now when we are on the verge
She was within an inch of his hand of success?” cried the hunchback.
when with a cry he released his hold Then, as Felix still did not answer,
on the switch, and grasped her in his he continued, “Ah! I know, you are
arms. For a moment she lay there jealous of this doctor I understand, !

passive, unseeing, unknowing, while you desire her yourself I have known !

Felix gloated. Then, freed of the it for a long time, but you must have
wishing machine’s deadly power, con- patience. Once the secrets and the
sciousness flooded back in her. Con- treasure are in our grasp, you shall
sciousness and horror, for as her eyes marry her!”
took in the leering face so close to her Felix’s incredulous eyes sought his
own, she gave one shriek, and strug- master’s for confirmation of the story
gled out of his arms. his lips told, and found it. Maquarri
There was a thud of footsteps across smiled evilly.

the floor above the laboratory, and ‘
I shall make her consent to marry
while Joan struggled, Felix’s hand you,” he said, pointing to the labor-
across the mouth that tried vainly to atory table, “by means of the wishing
’ ’
scream, Maquarri appeared in the lab- machine !

[TO BE CONTINUED]
Author of “fP eird Crimes” cmd “The Phantom Farm House”

[Excerpts from the diary of Prof. uinely fond of me, besides being an
Simeon Warrener, D. Sc., Ph. D.] able and conscientious assistant, so I 1

shall accept both invitations.


Sept. 20, 19

T WO letters in the afternoon


mail; both requiring answers.
Most important, a note from
Morgan Carew, inviting me to come
to Wales and join in some excavations
npAKING
was
it all

a success.
in
Sept. 21,
all.

During the few


moments I was able to pry Frank
away, I told him my project to join
19—
Alice’s party

he plans making this fall. He has Carew, and asked him to get his traps
stumbled over a promising-looking together as quickly as possible, as I
mound near' the village of Cag na want to leave before the autumn
Gith, not far from Chatsworth, and
storms setin. I am not a good sailor;
expects some interesting digging.
There is a dolmen, in a pretty fair
He seemed a little crestfallen at

state of preservation on one of the


first,but a few minutes later came up
hills, and Carew thinks some instruc-
all smiles, and assured me he’d not.
tive kitchen-middens will be found in only be delighted to go on the expedi-
the neighborhood. tion. but to stay at Cag na Gith long

The second is a favor Horn Alice enough to dig to the center of the
eai'th, or clear through, if I so de-
Frasanet, asking me to tea at 4 to-
morrow. I suppose I may curse sired. Frank is a good boy, but a,

Frank Seabrjng for that. Ever since little inclined to be flighty.

he met the girl he’s been dancing at- If ever there were a born flirt, Alice
tendance on her, singing my praises Frasanet is she. Before the guests
when other conversational topics had thinned out, she allowed herself
failed. There are several drawbacks to be teased into singing, and, with
to having an assistant of the impres- Dora Ca ruth ers accompaniment, ren-

sionable age. If it were not for Frank dered ‘The Land of The Sky-Blue
and the fact that Frasanet. pcre, is a Water.” I felt sorry for Frank. The
liberal contributor to the Society for little minx planted herself squarely in
Anthropological Research. I’d ignore front of him, and sang as directly to
the invitation. P>ut the boy is gen- him as any Broadwav chorus girl tor-
95
96 WEIRD TALES
turing some hapless victim in the one, human and canine, in the village
audience. but this loafer was new to me.
The half-mythical story of some re- “I went on with my painting until
mote ancestor of Frank ’s who married the sun had gone behind the big hill
a Mohawk woman in the days when where the dolmen is, and the air be-
Boston Common was a cow pasture gan to take on the twilight chill. Once
is a standing joke among his friends, or twice I glanced back out of the
and Alice declared she was address- tail of my eye, to see what my com-

ing the charming little ballade to the panion was up to, and each time I
drop of redskin blood in him. saw him sitting in the same stiffly
upright position, gazing fixedly at me.
Certainly she succeeded in making
him a temporary aborigin, for he
“As I folded up my easel and camp
was rod as a boiled lobster from collar stool, and started across the tracks for
to hair before she brought the song
my boarding place, he rose and began
to a close.
to walk in the same direction.
Another incident that helped me “There was no hurry in his gait,
Dr. Warrener, but I felt that he was
through the dreary rounds of weak
all a-tremble, and terribly eager to
tea and vapid conversation was a
overtake me. I began to hasten a
story Shela Tague told me, which di-
rectly concerned Cag na Gith. I
little, and with two long strides posi- —
tively, they were like an athlete’s
chanced to mention my plan to go
there with Frank to help Carew in

standing leaps! he lessened the dis-
tance between us by fifteen feet, and
his digging,and at the village’s name
I saw he’d be abreast of me before
she turned as white as though a chill
I could pass the water pit lying on
had suddenly come on her.
the farther side of the railway. I
Thinking she was sickened with the
hadn’t noticed him particularly, and
fetid air, I was about to fetch her a
couldn ’t see him very well in the gath-
glass of water, when she begged me
ering dusk, but there was something
to sit with her and listen to an experi-
about that man that horrified me,
ence she had near the place three
though I couldn’t say exactly what it
years before.
wr as. He was tall, very tall, well over
“I was stopping at a farmhouse, six feet, and startlingly thin, and
about half a mile from the railway seemed wearing a tight-fitting
to be
station,” she began, “doing some fuzzy gray cloth. And
suit of shabby,
sketching at times; but mostly walk- though he walked directly on the
ing over the hills and moors about gravel ballast of the roadbed, his feet
the village. made no sound.
“One
afternoon, near sunset, I had “I hurried a few steps; then, when
set up my easel a few hundred feet I saw I couldn’t possibly shake him,
from the station platform, and was I determined to brazen the thing out,
painting away industriously, trying and turned on him, asking angrily,
to make my colors and the daylight
1


What do you mean by following me ? ’

come out even. I chanced to glance “Professor Warrener, if I live to


behind me, and saw a queer-looking be a hundred years old, I’ll never be
man sitting on a luggage truck near able to forget that face. It was small
the station, gazing intently at me. and narrow, and drawn to a point,
“There aren’t more than half a almost like a dog’s, and the teeth pro-
dozen houses in all Cag na Gith, you truding from the great, wide mouth
know; and anything in the shape of a were long and yellow and hooked, like
stranger, even a tramp, is a sensation an animal’s fangs. But the eyes were
in the place. T thought T knew every- the most horrible part of it. They
OUT OF THE LONG AGO 97

glowed and glowered at me like two heardme gran’faither say they crave
disks of phosphorus in the half-light, human meat a times. ’
’ ’ ’

and Iremembered thinking for one



awful moment absurd as it may seem

to you of a quotation from ‘Red
Riding Hood.’ Do you remember
D ESPITE Shela’s earnestness,
could not forbear a grin.
“We’ll be looking for dead rabbit
I

where she asks the wolf, What great



hunters ;
not live ones,” I told her.
eyes yon have, Grandmamma' and “What you saw was probably some
‘What great teeth you have, Grand- poor, half-starved tramp maybe a ;

mamma ? Those were the very words



lunatic escaped from some asylum.
’ ’

that popped into my mind, and their “No,” she insisted, “it wasn’t.
awful answers came running in their Nothing human could have looked like
wake like the echo/ of a horror. I’ll that thing. Please, please, Professor
never be able to look at a book of Warrener, don’t go to Cag na Gith;
fairy tales again, without a shudder I know something terrible will happen
for since that night the story of ‘Red if you do. Why, I wouldn ’t. go there,
Riding Hood’ is a frightful ghost not even at midday, for all the money
story to me, and a real one, a terribly in the Bank of England.”
real one. ‘ ’
Possibly,

I assented, but we ’re



“What the monster I can’t think looking for something more valuable

of him as a man would have done if than money: we’re digging for relics
he’d gotten to me, I don’t know, and of a vanished civilization.”
I don’t like to speculate on it; but To my astonishment, the little Irish-
what I saw a few seconds later wakes woman suddenly crossed herself.
me up screaming at night, sometimes, “Digging?” she almost shrieked.
even now. “Digging? And in those hills? Pro-
“While he was still fifteen or fessor Warrener, you don’t know
twenty feet away, a silly, little gray what you’re doing. The country peo-
rabbit popped out of its hole in the ple wouldn’t put a spade in one of
rocks beside the tracks and scudded those mounds for anything. They say
between us. As it flew past, the thing the body of a bugwolf is buried there,
caught sight of it, and, seeming to and to turn, the sod would liberate
forget me, gave chase. You know how its spirit.”
fast a frightened rabbit can run, Pro- “A bugwolf?”
echoed. “That I
fessor? I assure you the poor little accounts for the condition of the dol-
bunny didn ’t have a chance with that men and mounds. Fear of the were-
tall, lean pursuer on its track. He wolf has probably kept the peasantry
ran it down before it had covered away. Carew told me that the excel-
a hundred yards. I heard the poor lent state of the land, arc.heologically
thing scream as he crushed it in his speaking, puzzled him. Your friend,
long, bony fingers, and lifted it, still the werewolf— or, as the Welshmen
struggling, to his mouth, and tore it will have it, the bugwolf has per- —
to bits with his teeth. formed a valuable service to science.
“I ran as I’d never run before to I ’ll have to propose him for honorary
my cottage, and got there more dead membership in the Society for An-
’ ’
than alive, for every drop of blood thropological Research.
in my veins seemed to be running “Ah, Dr. Warrener, don’t make
cold as a night-sweat. My
landlady light,

’ Shela begged. “You scientists
shook her head when I told her what who don’t believe in God nor devil
I’d seen, and said, ‘Don’t ee go out think you know everything; but you
o’ nights nae mair, Missie; for there don ’t. These stories of ghosts and
do be bogles in the hills, an’ I’ve werewolves are as old as humanity it-
98 WEIRD TALES
self surely there must be some truth
;
hill. There it stands, foursquare with
in them, or they wouldn’t have per- the compass, frowning disdainfully
sisted so long.” upon these degenerate offspring of the
“Well.” I replied, “if wliat you once mighty Britons like an ancestral
saw really was a wolf -man, he’d better portrait regarding the familv spend-
lie low while we’re about. Frank Sea- thrift.
bring is part Mohawk, you know. An Carew has engaged a cottage a few
ancestress of his was a woman of the minutes’ walk from our digging
totem of Ihe bear; and the tribes grounds. A widow who boasts more
claiming descent from the great bear, wrinkles than I've ever seen in a hu-
and those who had the wolf for their man face lives a quarter-mile away,
manitou, were always at war. If I and, for a consideration, cooks our
remember my pre-colonial history meals and otherwise ministers to our
rightly, the bear people usually came wants. The remains of an ancient
out ahead, too.” stone-quarry lie about a hundred
Shela twitched her shoulders as she yards from the dolmen here we have
;

rose, for all the world like a spaniel staked out a plot of promising
shaking the water from its fur. ground. Tomorrow we commence dig-
“You’ll be sorry if you dig in those ging.
hills,” she warned.
“ 1 ’ll be sorrier if the society ’s Oct. 12, 19—
board of governors learns that I knew
about them and didn’t dig there,” I
N OTHING remarkable. Our ex-
cavations have been more pro-
ductive of disappointments than any-
countered. “Scientists of today ai*e
like bricklayers or carpenters, you thing else. A few feet down we
know. So many bricks laid and so struck a stratum of coarse sand and
many nails driven, so much wages gravel, and one or two bits of rough
so many scientific discoveries a year, a blue stone, clearly not indigenous to
new appropriation no discoveries, no the neighborhood. After that, water.
;

salary. It ’s so much for so much, you If nothing further develops in the


know; and I think I’d rather brave next two or three days we shall move
your Welsh werewolf than the gaunt, our operations to another hill.
gray wolf that accompanies an unpaid
salary.” Oct. 13, 19-
With which bit of homely philos- •VTO FURTHER discoveries of note.
ophy, I bade Alice adieu, got my hat A few bones, apparently canine,
and stick, and left to pack for the came to light in the moist sand today.
trip. The weather is perceptibly cooler,
Oct. 10. 19— and brisk winds spring up at dusk.

CAG NA GITH. And


hole it is. Six or eight sad-look-
a dreary little Last night the breeze was so strong
it rattled the doors and windows in

a most annoying manner; once or


ing cottages cling with despondent
tenacity to the hillsides rising from twice my lamp flickered and nearly
the shabby little railway station. A went out.
nervous little train fusses up to the There is a chill quality in the air,
platform twice a day, always threat- too, which baffles all the efforts of
ening to deposit a stranger in our our little fire to keep the room com-
midst, and never doing it. Even the fortable. Several times the gusts of
loafers at the public house wear an air played so gbout the door I could
air of settled, gloom. The only thing have, been certain a dog was snuffing
of interest in the neighborhood is the at the crack. Yet when I flung the
great dolmen that crowns the tallest door open there was nothing there.
Ol'T OF THE LONG AGO 99

Our house must be in the path of “Ye’ll not be diggin’ by th’ quarry,
some air current, shot down between though?” she pursued. “Not much

the hills, for I chanced to look out deeper ?
the window while the panes were rat- She avoided looking at me; but
tling, and the fir trees on the hilltop there Avas an almost feverkh anxiety
Avere perfectly quiet. in her Avords.
Frank has been very restless all “We haven’t found much there,”
day. TAvice he left the Avork to go I conceded. “We’ll try somewhere
to the village, coming back each time else if the luck doesn’t turn in a I’cav
with disappointment written large in days.”
his face. I suppose he has been ex-
The old Avonian busied herself Avith
pecting a letter from the Frasanet
the toast and marmalade a moment,
girl.
then, abruptly, “Did ye hear th’
Oct.. 14, 19— dargs last night?”
TT IS really most extraordinary, the “Dogs?” I queried. “No; do
A way the Avind seems to have singled Iioav
you mean?”
out our cottage for its pranks. Just ‘ ’ ‘
Oh, she evaded, they was howl-
'
’ *

before dawn I was awakened by the


ing at someat as Avas runnin’ through
rattling of the casement. It shook
the hills. Th’ Avind, p’aps.”
and quivered till I thought someone “I certainly heard the wind,” I as-
Avas trying to force an entrance. ‘
sured her. It raced round the house ‘

Neither Carew nor Frank seemed dis-


for an hour or more last night. Is it
turbed by the noise, so I got up to
a habit of Welsh dogs to bark at the
investigate. Immediately I turned Avind ?
’ ’

my flashlight on the window, the rat- “ 'Tis a habit of all dargs to bay
tling ceased. The minute I left the tli’ wind Avhen there’s evil in it,” she
AvindoAv, the clatter recommenced
answered seriously. “Sixty -five years,
Avhen I stood at the casement several
girl an’ woman, I’ve lived in these
minutes, the noise began at the back
parts, an’ there’s ahvays trouble come
door. I hurried through the barren
to them as dug in th’ hills. I’m not
little kitchen, and heard it at the front
sayin’ it’s true; but me faither used
of the house.
to tell of a bogle his faither had seen
For several minutes I played a sort beside that heathen grave onth’ big
of crazy blind man’s buff; finally I mound. ’Tis some as says th’ old
cursed myself for a fool and crawled dead Avarn’t buried deep enough, and
back to bed. But the Avind ’s sharp, they Avalks at night when their graves
furious stabs persisted some time, isscratched an’ some says it’s a bogle
;

knocking at windows and doors, Avhin- that-watches beside th’ quarry; but
ing and Avhistling about the eaves and none round here Avould strike a pick 1

chimneys, and buffeting the Avails. in th’ hills for love nor gold. When
Almost as abruptly as it commenced, our dargs howls, aac knows there’s
the racket ceased, and the absolute things abroad.”
silence of the pre-dawn settled OA*er “You think the dogs can see Avhat
the house. you can’t, then?” I asked, .amused
Old Mrs. Jones was laying the tea at her earnestness.
things Avhen I came in a feAv minutes “Aye,” she answered simply, “th’
before the others this afternoon. darg sees what mortals’ eyes can’t, be-
“Be ye goin’ to stop yer diggin cause there ’s no soul in him.
’ ’

soon!” she asked, sAvathing the I fumbled in my jacket pocket for


earthen pot in a tea-cozy. my pipe, bringing out a small, hard
“No,” I answered, “Ave’\e just, object along Avitli the briar. It Avas
commenced.” one of the 'bits of blue stone we’d dug
100 WEIRD TALES
from the quarry the day before. Toss- went to look for it, the thing was no-
ing it on the mantel, I opened my where to be found. I must have tossed
tobacco' pouch. it farther than I realized, yesterday.
“Where’d ye come by that?”
Oet. 18, 19-—-.
Mrs. Jones was staring at the bit
of blue rock as if she saw a specter
hoveri ng over it ‘ .
THERE are certain advantages* in
having an assistant of the impres-
sionable age, -Alice Erasanet arrived
“Ohjfhat?” I replied.' “Why, we
this morning, bag and baggage, in-
dug it 'from the gravel the other day.
cluding her Aunt Anna.
Odd,' isn't it? No stone like it any- i;

where fibbut; "Can't figure how it got Frank lias been of little practical
he're.
r- ’ • use, anyway, and the small loss of his
" ,i
W"put it' back —tonight!” she in- assistance is more than compensated
by Alice Ja-, services. Like the practi-
ficmiptfed' 'fcxeitedly. “It's th’ bug-
'
\v’6lf sfilire'. Man; man. ve don’t know cal little person she is, Alice has t alien
what. ye did when ye took that bit o’ up our care where Mrs. Jones .left off,
TOek from th ground. ’
and we liaye already been, treated, to
.*• “The -bugwolf stone?” I echoed. a batch of biscuit, real biscuit, Ameri-
‘'‘AV’lfet 'd’ye mean?'” • can biscuit,. The ladies have obtained
•- SI ie" twisted the hem of her apron lodgings at the Jqnes. cottage, and. if
'between fctfn -guarded hands, and swal- all the guile I can exercise will kyep
,

ffo wed> painfully. them, there ‘they shall remain till


. .


- “I’m* S "Christian woman, an’ I we’ve completed. our excavations,, *.
don’t set much- store -by th’ old tales;
but .’tis, said a demon >;wolf- used to

.Oct., 19. 1.9^

roam th’ hills; hillin’ all-lie met; an’ /"vUR first real find was made today.
when th’.faithers kilt his body they Grabbing in t
a half-hearted w^y,
buried it under a cairn o’ them magic I unearthed, yfiiat appeared to be a.Jui-
stanes, to hold his spirit in. Man. ye man tibia; in, a few more, strokes*, five
unstopped -th flask .when ye took that,

had an almost perfectly articulated
stane from th’ earth. He’ll.be runnin’ skeleton out -.of the sand. Whoever
loose again, a-pryin’ at yer doors an’ possessed those bones in life must
winders* and some time lie'll get in, have been a human bean pole, for the
an’ tM-t ’ll he th’ death o’ ye.” limbs are disproportionately long. Ilis
I balanced tiie bit of rock in my hands and feet must have given him
palm a minute, then dipped it through considerable trouble, too, for their
;

the door. bones are half again as long as those


“Let him come for his confounded of any modern man’s. f

stone,” I said contemptuously, reach- Welaid the frame on a blanket be-


ing for a blazing splinter to light my side the trench and searched about for
pipe. the skull. Here the mystery began,
The slamming of the door answered for though we churned lip the sand for
me. Mrs. Jones was scrambling down
,
yards round, we could find no head.
tiie path as fast as her old rheumatic Finally, after about an hour’s search,
legs would carry her. wre dug out a large dog’s skull, which
processed neatly upon the vertebrae.
Oct. 15, 19— We shall pack these bones carefully,

M JONES lias discharged us.


RS.
Bribery, threats and entreaties
are alike of no avail to bring her back.
and hold them to compare with fur-
ther discoveries. Is it possible we have
stumbled on the remnant of an an-
An offer to replace the blue stone mol- cient dog-beaded people, or did the
lified her temporarily: but when we old Druids have an unrecorded cus-
OUT OF THE LONG AGO 101

tom of burying the head of a dog “What’d he look like?” asked


with the malefactor in some instances Carew.
of capital punishment? It is too “Darned if I know,” Frank ad-
early to indulge even in hypotheses, mitted. “It was raining so hard I
but the possibilities are fraught with couldn’t get a good look at him at
interest. first, and he made off so fast when I
“Maybe we’ve dug up Sliela yelled that I didn ’t get much of a line
Tague’s werewolf,” Frank suggested on him then. All I can say for sure
as he and I packed the skeleton down is that he’s about a head taller than
the trail to our cottage. any of us, and thin as Job’s turkey-
4
Maybe you ’re a fool !
” I told him. hen. His clothes looked skintight on
him, and he was wearing a cap, I
Oct. 20, 19— —
think something with a long peak
COMEONE is interfering with our that stuck out in front of his face
^ work. When we arrived at the and man, oh, man, he surely could
’ ’

quarry this morning, we found sand run.


scratched into our trench, stakes “Which way did he go?” I asked.
pulled up and several of our tools “That’s the funny part of it,”
missing. Prints of large, naked feet Frank shook his head doubtfully.
in the earth showed that the miscreant “I’d have sworn he ran right for our
had removed his boots in an effort to back door, but I lost sight of him by
hide his identity, though why he that little bunch of -scrub down the
should have done this is more than I path. Don’t suppose either of you
can understand. One pair of village heard anything of him?”
boots is exactly like another to me. We talked the mystery over for half
Toward evening it blew up a rain. an hour, then went to bed for want
Carew and I smoked endless pipes of something more exciting.
and played endless games of cribbage.
Frank went to the Jones cottage. It Oct. 21, 19—
was nearly midnight when he burst AREW is dead. Murdered.
in, drenched and excited. Itseems incredible that this hor-
“I saw him!” he exclaimed, fling- ror should have come upon us yet as ;

ing his dripping waterproof over a I write, the poor fellow’s body “lies
chair. “I saw him; but he got away.” —
by the wall” what a beastly grue-
Who ? Carew and I chorused.




some way of expressing themselves
“The fellow who’s been jazzing up these Welsh have!
our work. When I left the Jones Last night, after supper, Frank de-
house, that mongrel pup of the old pai’ted for the Jones cottage as usual
lady’s set up an awful howling and Carew and I settled ourselves for
you’d have thought his grandmother a quiet game and a smoke. The tobac-
was dead from the noise he made co canister went empty before we’d
and I spied a suspicious-looking bird dealt half a dozen hands, so we cut. to
down I kept my eye on
the road. see who should go to the village for a
him as walked along, and when he
I fresh supply. I drew an aee, Carew
left the trail and made for the quarry, a ten spot.
I followed him. He went straight to “Be back in half an hour,” ho
our trench and got down on his all- promised, pulling on his cap and
fours, scratching sand into' the hole jacket: “and if I catch that chap
like a dog. -who’s been meddling with, our dig-
“I let out a yell and rushed him; gings it’ll go hard with one of us.”
but he saw me coming and streaked Poor Carew It certainly went hard
!

it across the hill.” with him.


102 WEIRD TALES*

Ten o’clock came. No sign of Carew. lip of the trench. His throat and
I played sullenly with my cold pipe chest were horribly lacerated, as
and cursed his delay. Frank came in though he had been worried by some
midnight struck ;
still no Carew. animal of incomparable ferocity.
“Hanged if I can stand this any Across his cheeks and brow several
longer,” I said irritably. “I’m going hideous gashes wrote the story of his
to see what’s keeping him.” death-struggle. But the most appal •

ling thing was the expression of un-


“I’ll go with you.” Frank volun-
speakable horror stamped on his. fea-
teered. “This place is too all-fired
tures. It was as if he had looked one
spooky to stay in alone.”
awful moment on the bareboned gris-
We set off briskly through the chilly liness of death before the spirit was
moonlight, keeping a sharp lookout rent from his body.
for any signs of Carew and our to-
bacco. Fifteen minutes’ walk brought
“My God!” Frank shrank against
me, shivering with panic terror. “ His
us to the village tavern, where the
face, man; look at his face!”
sleepy bonifaee paused long enough
in ejecting a gin-soaked farmhand I dropped my handkerchief over
from the tap room to assure us Carew my poor friend’s head. I had no wish
to look again.
had not been there. Several inter-
ested spectators of the eviction pro- “We’d best notify the coroner,” T
ceedings corroborated him profanely. said, half leading, half carrying-
Here was a i#ser. Carew had been Frank away. The boy was done in
gone almost long enough, to walk to with fear; never have I seen a man’s
Chatsworth, yet no one had seen him. nerve fail him so completely.
Buying a couple of tins of tobacco, we The fussy, fat little coroner per-
hurried back along the trail. formed his duties with all the punc-
Out in the hills, we gave several tilioof a rural, official today. Strang-
long halloos, and the barren mounds ers in a. strange land, we were mote
shouted back our calls mockingly. than half suspected of our friend ss
“D’ye suppose he could have gone murder, and might have been held for
over to the works, and turned his the assizes but for a bit of evidence
ankle, or something?” Frank haz- the post-mortem disclosed. Clinging
arded. to poor Carew ’s nails were a few small
“H’m, not likely; but we'll have a tufts of tawny-gray hair. These, to-
look.” I answered as we left the path gether with the terrible mangling of
and struck across the hill for the his throat, influenced the jury to re-

quarry. turn their strange verdict : That

“That’s where I saw that fellow- Morgan Carew came to his death at
scratching in the sand." Frank indi- the hands or teeth of some person or
cated the head of white earth beside animal to your jurors unknown.”
our trench. “He was down on his The village undertaker has just
knees, making his hands go like a pair left. Embalming is about as much a.
of— hello, what ’s that ?
’ ’
lost art here as it is in modern Egypt,
He pointed to a dark object lying so the coffin has been put in the un
on the sand pile. used kitchen, where no heat will has-
I broke into a run without answer- ten dissolution. There, beside the
ing, for I had a presentiment of what —
skeleton of the thing man or devil—
we’d find. we dug from the sand last sveek, is all
Carew sprawled upon his back, his that is mortal of my old friend. To
outstretched hands clutching at the morrow they ship the remains to Eng-
yielding sand, one knee slightly flexed, land for burial, Carew had no near
the other leg hanging limply over the relatives: Frank and I shall go with
OUT OF THE LONG AGO 100

the body and see it laid in. the family terror. Eyes seemed boring me from
vault at Mulbridge. behind, and I gripped the candela-
brum savagely to suppress the desire
Oct. 22, 19— to turn.
TX7HAT 1saw last night simply Slowly, without moving my head,
* » could not have happened. And I turned my eyes on Frank. He was
yet it did. frowning morosely at the table, chip-
Frank and 1 were sitting before ping bits of wood from it, as though
the fire, watching the reflection from intent on serious business.
the coals fuse with the afternoon sun- “Rat, tat, tat!”
beams on the hearth, each busy with A sudden sharp clatter of knuckles
his own thoughts, when a subdued against the window pane. I wheeled
clatter in the kitchen started us up in my tracks, my breath gone hot and
together. The tiniest noises are mag- sulfur ous with fear.
nified a hundredfold in the house of
Staring through the glass was a
death.
great, shaggy- haired wolf. Yet it was
The same thought was in both our not a wolf. About the lupine jaws
minds as we made for the back room. and cheeks were lines hideously remi-
The rats were at their devilish work. niscent of a. human face, and the phos-
Frank took, up a carving knife, big phorescent glow of those monstrous
as a half-grown cutlas, as I swung the eyes never shone in anything carnal.
door open. I smiled at the action in As I looked, the monster raised its
spite of myself. The reflexes of ele- head, and strangling horror gripped
mental psychology are as unreasoning me as I saw a human neck beneath it.
today as when our ancestors slunk Very long and thin it was, corded and
naked through the primeval forests. sinewed like the neck of a thing long
Nothing but a blind desire to kill led dead, and covered with thick, gray
to the seizure of that knife a second’s
;
fur. Then a hand, hairy, like the
reflection would have told him that a throat, and slender as a woman ’s, fin-
,
knife is well-nigh as useless against gers tipped with blood-red nails,
rats as a pointed finger. struck the glass again. I went sick
We searched the little cell of a room with fear as I speculated how long the
quickly. Nothing living, save a cricket fragile glass would withstand it.
which set up its mournful “ka-cheek” The thing must have seen my ter-
from a cranny in the stones, was there. ror, for the corners of its devilish
The chest with the dog-headed skele- eyes contracted in a malevolent smile,
ton lay by the cold, gaping fireplace. and a rim of scarlet tongue flicked its
Carew ’s eoffin rested starkly under its black muzzle.
black pall on a pair of saw-horses be- A moan behind me told Frank’s ab-
side the wall. One of the candles sput- ject terror*.
tering at its head leaned a little in its “Oh, my God!’* he quavered.
socket. I straightened it, pressing the “That’s the thing I saw the other
melting wax with my thumb to pre- night. That’s the thing that billed
vent its soiling the cloth. Frank half Carew. Shela Tague was right. We
seated himself on the rough deal table, dug np one of them, and the other
’’
gouging at the wood with the point has come for us.
of his absurd knife. I swallowed at the dryness in my
A sudden current of air, icy cold, throat. Words were beyond me.
fluttered the candle flame and shook —
“Professor ” Frank had crawled
the hem of the coffin-robe. Instinc- across the floor and seized me by the
tively, I felt another presence; some —
knees “don’t let it get in; for God’s
evil thing, that traveled in a chill of sake, don’t let it in!”
104 WEIRD TALES

1 pressed the boy’s shoulder, not so drowned in the yell he set up as he


much to comfoi’t him as to have the cleared the intervening distance with
feel of something human under my long, loose-limbed strides.
hand. Then my fingers closed fiercely It was Frank who charged that
on him, as. high, and sweet, and very gray horror; yet it was not Frank.
lovely, I heard Alice Frasanct’s voice As Jekyll metamorphosed to Hyde, so
rising from the trail at the base of the a subtile physical change was wrought
hill. She had promised to look in on in him. It was a man no one in ten
us before we left with Carew’s body, generations had seen who rushed
and bring us a plate of biscuit. Now down the hillside. It was a cry no
she was coming blindly to meet this living white man had ever heard that
waiting horror. he raised as he brandished his great
knife.
From the land of the sky-blue water
They brought a captive maid “Aie, aie, tclin -yoh-yeh-roh-noh ! ’ ’
Twice he repeated the blood-freez-
Perpetuating her old jest at ing yell, ending the second time Avith
Frank’s Indian ancestry, she came a crescendoed “Aie, aie, YAH!”
singing up the path. The thing out-
It was the Mohawk war whoop
side turned at the sound, its pointed
the battle cry of the people of the
ears cocked forward, the white of its
bear.
teeth showing as its lips parted in an-
ticipation of easy prey. Slowly, bend-
ing nearly double, it crept from the
TT WAS a miracle of heredity I be-
A held; an ataA-ism, a throwback, a
window, making for the clump of
reversion to type. Sleeping, but never
withered brush at the turn of the
dead, the long-forgotten character of
path, crouching to spring as Alice
his redskin ancester had aAvakened in
rounded the "bend.
Frank Seabring at the challenge of
I looked, horror-frozen in my place,
danger to his beloved.
waiting the tragedy as the Christian
martyrs must have watched the grat- Before us lived and breathed the
ings lift from the lions’ dens. personality of a Mohawk sachem-
some Avarrior of the totem of the bear,
Balancing the tray daintily, Alice
Avhose moving passion Avas a hatred of
approached the knot of shrubs. Si-
the Avolf people.
lently as a shadow the gray thing
slipped into the path, barring her way
“Aie, yah ! Aie, yah!” the battle
with gaping jaws and red tongue lol- whoop rang out again.
ling from its mouth. Slowly, jaws There Avas something horribly comic
working with a horrible, chewing mo- in the Avolf -thing’s expression as it
tion. it advanced its hellish face near- turned. Such a look of astonished
er and nearer her throat. rage the Evil One might give at de-
I tried to speak, to shriek my hor- fiance from a lost soul.
ror to the evening sky but a paralyz-
;
They sprang together, meeting in
ing dust seemed to have gathered in mid-air.The man-Avolf struck swiftly,
my throat, and only a hoarse, inartic- seeking to bury its fangs in Frank’s
ulate whisper came. Summoning all throat. Frank’s free hand sank in.
my strength, I took a step toward the the coarse fur at the creature’s gul-
window; next instant I went reeling let; the great knife described a half-
against the wall as a dark object hur- circle, disappeared rose and sank
;

tled past me. again, and again, and again. Stum-


Dashing panes and sash to splin- bling, reeling, speAving blood, the bug-
ters, Frank took the window at a wolf staggered from the clinch, the
bound. The crash of Falling glass was light of battle fading in its eyes.
OUT OF THE LONG AGO 105

“Aie, teJin-yoh-ych-roh-noh, YAH!” Once more the blade circled the


The bear had tasted blood but not man-brute’s head, and Frank Sea-
;

his fill. bring, product of effete New England,


college man and instructor in an-
Again they once more the
closed ;
thropology, rose and contemplated the
wolf-tliing sought to worry at Frank’s
scalp of his slain foe.
throat. Again the huge knife rose
and blood dripping from its point
fell,
Tucking the patch of fur in his- belt,
he seemed to notice Alice for the first
and And ever, as the murder-
edge.
time, where she stood ash-white, be-
ous work went on, the war whoop of
side the path. An instant he regarded
the Mohawk rent the mountain quiet.
her wonderiugly, then abruptly tore
Taller by a head than Frank, the
his Norfolk jacket apart, spreading
wolf-thing began to sink. Slowly it the open edges between his out-
went to its knees, to its side; to its
stretched hands. It was the blanket-
back.
holding, the age-old invitation of the
“Aie, aic, YAH!” Indian brave to his squaw.
Like an executioner’s simitar the And Alice Frasanet, fox-trotting,
great knife descended, traversing the bridge-playing, tea-drinking Alice
bugwolf’s throat, a dye of rusty-red Frasanet, laid her fluffy, empty little
staining the fur in its wake. head against his breast.

In the February WEIRD TALES

SEA-CHANGE
By
HENRY S. WHITEHEAD
Author of “ The Fireplace"

He was a and unless he took his daily cap-


cretin,
sule of thyroid extract he would degenerate into
an idiot, a beastly thing, horrible tosee, and

incapable of thought. Then he and his young


wife were cast ashore on an island in the South
Seas, where he could get no thyroid. This fasci-
nating story tells what happened.

ON SALE EVERYWHERE JANUARY FIRST


A Wild Ride ,
with Death at the Wheel

ON THE HIGHWAY

>*

By CARGRAY COOK
Y TWENTY-FIRST birth- slackened the pace I found- tiittS to
day. Today I have reached swear at another, racy-lookmgi'j&ar
my Majority. On this date, ahead .of me, as it swerved frotn side
in accordance with my late father’s to side in the -effort of
. . -its drivfeteto
will. 1. -Charles Claiborne, became the avoid the outcropping boulders? b A
absolute; master of. six millions of bit farther on, the new highway 'be -

money. As much more in cash, a


. gan. howe.ver;. and .with a sustained,
; ,

-great town house, and the magnifi- .shriek from, my electric hortjp I
cent estate of All-View, remained my .stepped upon the accelerator,,. opened
.

mother’s, to be mine at her death. my,- exhaust,, and tore* .past- the -other
And this, too; in' accordance' with my car with.a grin of derision, .- >>«•
late father’s will. But none of these Seventy-.”! Seventy-five. ” Eighty
things meant half as much to' me on miles I mad®!' and still- I. "pressed- irpon
this wonderful September morning, the .feed for-, more. kick with my A
as the new twelve thousand, dollar -rac- left lieeh-apd the muffler -closed;* and
ing car that had been presented to -me the ensuing silence -seemed to startle
the night before by my .doting mother. the perfect mechanism into a hapre .

Think of it ! A- real Gordon-Rennet, velvety, swiftness. Not. a quiver, ;iiot


the fastest model in the wr orld, the a sway,, to the. wonderful- machine, land,
only car of- its kind in America and — the blood- coursed through, my yfci ns
mine. with an exhilaration not to bp.-d®- .

This was Life. scribed.


Father had been very liberal, of Think of Outside of the profes-
it!
course. Most fathers are. But with sional tracks, there was not a eat* in
all my allowance he had never per- America that could touch me. On the
mitted me to own a speed car. No highway ,
I was king. .

imagination, you see. Couldn’t un- Luxuriating in the perfection of ...

derstand why a young fellow should this matchless creation of the greatest,
want to tear along the highways at automobile builders in the world, I
ninety miles an hour. No pep to Dad. softened the pressure on the pedal,
Too busy making money, I guess.. thrilling with the consciousness, of
But mother, now, she was different. personal ownership, as the great ma-
She could understand. Anyway, she chine noiselessly reduced its momen-
knew I had had my eyes on this racer tum.
for a long time, and for that reason “Some boat!” I exclaimed in sheer
had decided to anticipate my purchase joy. as I shifted my back to a more
by presenting it to me for my birth- upright position. And then I wras al-
day. most shocked out of this posture by
And now I was out on the highway, the appalling thunder of an open ex-
c”eeping along at a mere warming up haust immediately behind me. Furi-
of sixty miles an hour. This part of ously I pressed upon the gas feed. I
Ihe road was a bit rough yet. and as T didn’t turn to look. I felt in my
io", • •• :
an
ON THE HIGHWAY 107

bones that it was the racy-looking ger, but because of the imminent dan-
car I had passed so exultingly, away ger of a collision with the racer com-
back where the good road began. Well, ing from behind. I had not seen
all the better! If its driver had any him, nor had I now time to raise a
sporting blood in him, I would show warning arm; but I knew he was
him a race that would test his game- there, for the clamor of his cut-out
ness to the limit.
was at my very heels— I had not
Like a thing unchained, the Gor- gained an inch.
don-Rennet responded to my touch. I
And then I swerved!
smiled as I felt the rush of air and
gave the car more gas. And then I There was a cry, a crash— and in-
ceased smiling and sank a bit lower stinctively my right foot pressed the
in the seat. I was not losing the footbrake, while my left threw out the
other. His open exhaust still thun- clutch.
dered at my back. I was not gaining I found myself upon the highway,
an inch. and with footsteps light as air has-
Not really disturbed, yet a bit irri- tened back to where a racing car was
tated at the ability of the unknown overturned. Even yet one of the
to keep pace with me, I pressed upon front wheels continued spinning, and
the gas pedal for a maximum feed to curiously enough my first thought was
the carburetor, and narrowly watched a mental comment of approval upon
the climb of the speedometer to the perfection of that wheel’s noise-
eighty, eighty-five, ninety. less bearings.

But
despite the terrific speed with My foot struck a license tag upon
which I flew along the highway, there the roadway and I gave an exclama-
was no let-up to the thunderous roar tion as I recognized it as my own.
of my pursuer’s open muffler. I be- With that peculiar human attribute
came really nervous then and swore that causes us to touch a freshly
aloud at the unbelievable possibility painted post, I involuntarily turned
that the other’s car might even pass to where I thought my own car stood,
my new Gordon-Rennet. my license plate was missing.
to see if
Oddly enough, I did not see the car,
T WAS just turning to look behind and I kicked the license plate aside
in an angry effort to calculate the
and approached the group made up of
unknown the two pedestrians and a silent form
racer’s chances, when. I
heard a cry ahead. on the ground.
Like a flash I
saw the situation. Two pedestrians One of the pedestrians was kneeling
had emerged from a wooded path di- beside the victim of the wreck, and I
rectly upon the highway. They had could not help giving vent to an ex-
no time to think. No time to move. clamation as I saw him place his
No time to escape. They stood par- handkerchief over the face of the
silent figure before him.
alyzed with fright. And yet I seemed
to have plenty of time to consider The other pedestrian was intent on
them and to consider the highway the examination of a card-case, evi-
beside them. I realized instantly that dently taken from one of the pockets
itwould be impossible for me to pass of the motorist.
them on my right. I must swerve to “Is he dead?” I asked.
the and yet I saw distinctly that
left, The man standing was too preoccu-
this would be a tremendous risk, not pied to hear me, evidently, for he
alone because that side of the road failed to answer me or to obseiwe my
was in a state of eruption, due to the presence; and even when I tapped
work of a gas company’s ditch dig- him on the back he did not turn.
108 WEIRD TALES
‘'Well, is he dead!” I inquired of speed he was traveling. Tearing along
the other pedestrian, as he arose from like a crazy man on the highway, with
beside the prostrate body. But he, his muffler wide open, at a hundred
too, vouchsafed no answer. miles an hour! You could under-
stand it if he was racing now, but
T LOOKED at the form on the there wasn ’t another ear in sight. Gee,
A ground. There was something and he was twenty-one today.”
vaguely familiar about his clothing, I cried out to them again, but they
and one sprawling hand showed a didn’t seem to hear me and. turned
ring I recalled having seen before. I
away. I then perceived anotlier«pf
lifted the kerchief from his face, but
the cards on the ground and picked
the features were too mangled to af-
it up. It was my card.
ford recognition; and the dreadful
angle of his head showed that the And then I cried out in fright, for
now I knew why the dead man’s cloth-
man’s neck was broken.
ing and the dead man ’s ring seemed
Then I heard the man with the '
.

so familiar. . ,
card-case speaking.
"It’s that young fool, Claiborne.” They were mine!
he said with an oath ; and whether his Then it was true. There had been
anger was at his own narrow escape no other car. I had accidentally
from the speeding car, or at this care- opened the muffler of my own caif
less prodigality and waste of youth, I when shifting my seat, and I had been
could not tell ; but I turned to him racing against myself!
impatiently. This day I had reached my major}-,
“Don’t be an ass,” I cried. “Iam
,

ty- •

Claiborne. This fellow was chasing


On this date I had become the abso- «

me w'hen he was wrecked.” lute master of six millions of money* .


But they didn’t seem to hear me.
Yet this was death.
and then the other one spoke.
“Yes, it’s him, all right. It’s a I was the dead man. “ :
'!
y
wonder he got out of our wr ay at the Oh, mv Ood, I am the dead man!"

In Next Month's WEIRD TALES

The Crossed Lines


By ROBERT G. BOWIE and ROBINSON H.HARSH
What would you do ifby some strange prank
of fate your personality entered into the body
of a stranger and his personality took your body
for its own? Read what happened to two
strangers in this unusual story.
j

ON SALE EVERYWHERE JANUARY FIRST


:
HEARD Boucke beating with scalp Avas fringed by yellow hair. I
his bare fists upon the cabin door distinctly recall his dark, hungry eyes
I and the wind whistling under the and his fringe of hair glistening in
cracks. I objected to both and I the moonlight. But the rest of Oscar
opened the door wide. Boucke came I can no longer visualize. He has
in then, Avith a fierce rush of Avind. faded into an indefinite ghost of mem-
He was a curious little man, Avith the ory. It is curious, though, how clear-
sea and sky in his eyes, and he spoke ly I remember every other shape and
in pantomime. He pointed towards incident of that amazing night.
the door and ran his fingers savagely
Oscar was standing by my elbow,
through his reddish hair, and I knew and I turned suddenly and gripped
that something had nearly .finished
his arm. It reassured me to grip his

him I mean finished him spiritually, strong, muscular arm. But I kneAv
damaged his soul, his outlook. that I had hurt him, for his shoulder
I didn ’t know whether to be pleased jerked and he looked at me reproach-
or horrified. Boucke seemed more fully. I presume Oscar wanted me to
human Avith his queer, A’ivid gestures stand upon my own feet. But he
and flaming eves, but I couldn’t im- made a sweeping motion with his arm
agine what he had seen up on deck. to assure me that it didn’t matter.
Of course I found out soon enough. The Avind Avhistled about our ears and
The men AA ere sitting about in
r
the tattered sails flaffed and Avheezed.
idiotic groups of tAvos and threes and Sails can speak, you know. I have
no one saluted me Avhen I stepped out heard sails protest in chorus, each
from the shadoAA s of tAvisted cordage
r
sail Avith a slightly different accent.
into a luminous stripe of moonlight. You get to understand their conver-
1

“Where’s the boatsAvain?” I asked. sation in time. On still mornings it


Several of the men heard my ques- is Avonderful to come up on deck and
tion, and they turned and stared at hear the sails Avhispering among
me, and deliberately tittered. themselves. They make gestures, too,
“It took the boatSAAr ain ! ” said and when they are tired they sway
Oscar. pathetically against the sky.
Oscar seldom spoke to anyone. He I took a turn about the deck and
was tall and lean and his jaundiced bawled out the men and told them to
110 WEIRD TALES

go to the devil. Then I got my pipe


4
Oscar in a very low voice. -Did that
out and blew grotesque yellow effigies take the boatswain?”
They danced in the
into the cold air. Oscar nodded and shuffled his feet.
moonlight and made the situation ir- The men on the deck whispered among
redeemable. I came back to Oscar themselves, and I knew intuitively
eventually and asked him pointblank that a spirit of rebellion was rife
what he meant by “it.” But Oscar among them. And yet even Oscar
didn 't answer me. He simply turned, exonerated me!
and pointed. “Where 'would we have been if you
Something and gelatinous
white hadn’t brought us in here? A -drift-
oozed over the rail and ran or slid ing, —
probably rudderless and sail-
for several feet along the deck. Then
less. Our sails may look like the skin
on a water-logged corpse, but we can
a larger bulk seethed out of the dark-
ness and stood poised above the black
use ’em —
when we can get the masts
into shape. The lagoon looked inno-
stern-post. A
second object descend-
cent enough, and most of us were for
ed upon the deck, coming down with
coming in here. But now they whine
a thud and running at a tangent with
the first over the smooth, polished
like yellow puppies —and blame it on

boards. I saw two of the men get


you.
word —The
’ ’
idiots! If you just say the

quickly to their feet, with wildish,


I stopped him, for I didn’t want
jerky motions, and I heard Oscar
the men to take his proposal seriously,
shout out a curt command.
and he spoke loud enough for them to
The thing upon the deck spread out hear. The men, I felt, were scarcely
and became broader at its base. It
reared into the air a livid appendage
to blame —
under the circumstances
“How many times has the thing
encircled with monstrous pink suck-
crawled over the sides?” I asked.
ers. We could see the suckers loath- “Eight times!” said Oscar. “It
somely at work in the moonlight,
took the boatswain on the third trip.
opening and closing and opening
He shrieked and threw up his arms,
again. We were affected by a queer and turned yellow! It twined itself
aromatic stench and we felt an over-
about his leg, and set its great pink
powering sense of physical nausea. I suckers to work on him and the rest
saw one of the men reel backward and
collapse upon the boards. Then a

of us could do nothing nothing We
;

tried to get him away, but you can-


seeond idiot keeled over, and a third
not imagine the sheer pull of that
a third actually advanced toward the
white arm. It oozed slime all over
loathsome object on his hands and
him, and all over the deck. Then it
knees, as if fascinated.
flopped back into the water, and car-
At that moment the moon seemed ried him with it
to draw nearer, to actually careen “After that we were more careful.
down the sky and hang above the I told the men to go below, but they
cordage. Then suddenly the amor- only glowered at me. The thing fas-
phous tentacles shot forward, like re- cinates them. They sit there and de-
leased hawsers, and struck against the liberately wait for it to return. You
nearest mast, and I heard a splinter- saw what happened just now. The
ing, and a noise like thunder. The thing can strike like a cobra, and it
arms quivered and seemed to fly in sticks closer than a lamprey but the ;

all dii’ections. Then they flopped idiots won’t be Avarned. And when I
back over the side. think of those quivering pink suckers
I fastened my eyes upon our black I feel sorry for —
them and for my-
topsail mastheads, and questioned self! He didn’t utter a sound, you
THE OCEAN LEECH 111

understand, but he turned livid under and it pulled him. It pulled him
the gills and his tongue stuck out hor- slowly and hideously.
ribly, and just before he disappeared His head struck against the scup-
over the side I noticed that his lips pers,and a crimson stream, no wider
were all black and swollen. But as than a hawser rope, ran down the
I told you, he was immersed in yel-
deck and formed a miniature pool at
lowish slime, in ooze, and the life must
have gone out of him almost at once.
Oscar’s feet. A
sucker fastened
upon his. right temple, and another
I’m sure that he didn’t really suffer.
got in under his shirt and set to work
With God’s help, it’s we who have to
’ ’ upon his bare chest. I tried to get
suffer !

to him, but Oscar held fast to my arm,


“Oscar,” I said, “I want you to and would not tell me why. The body
be quite frank, and if necessary, even became white, slimy, changed before
brutal. Do you think that you can our eyes. And not one man stepped
explain that thing? I don’t want any forward to prevent it. Suddenly,
wretched theories, Oscar. I want you while we watched,
the dead man,
to fashion a prop for me, Oscar, some- whose eyes had already glazed, was
.thing for me to lean upon. I’m so jerked forcefully toward the scuppers,
very tired, and I haven’t much again and again.
..authority here. Oh, yes, I’m supposed
But he wouldn’t go through. His
to be in command, but when there is
head was soon pounded into an un-
nothing to go upon, Oscar, what can
imaginable resemblance of something
I say to them? How can I get them we didn’t care to think about, and w e r

doApi into the cabin ? I pity them so.


became deadly sick. But we watched,
What do you think it is, my friend ? ’ ’

strangely fascinated, even perhaps


“The thing is obviously a eephalo- more than a little resentful. were We
,pod,” said Oscar, quite simply, but watching something brutal and in-
there was a look of shame and horror
credibly alive, and we beheld it in an
which I didn’t like.
in his eyes,
unrestrained exercise of all its facul-
,
“An octopus, Oscar?” ties. There, under a shrouded moon,
“Perhaps. Or a monstrous squid! in the phosphorescent wilderness of
Or some hideous unclassified species ’ !

exotic waters, we saw the law of man
outraged by something mute, mis-
FABRIC shapen, blasphemous, and we saw in-
A of greenish cloud cov-
ered the face of the moon, and I
saw one of the men crawling on his
dustrious retching matter, brainless
and self-sufficient, obeying a law older
hands and knees along the deck. Then than man, older than morality, older
he gave a sudden, defiant scream, ran than sin. Here was life absorbing an-
to the rail and held out his arms. A other life, and doing it forcefully, and
white exudation ran the entire length without conscience, and becoming
of the rail. It rose up and quivered stronger and more exultant through
amidst illimitable shadows, and then the doing of it.
it poured in an abominable stream But it couldn’t get the body
over the scuppers and enveloped the through the scuppers. It pulled and
hectic form of the wretch, and it made pulled, and finally let go. The wind
no sound. The poor fool tried to get had gone down, and oddly enough, as
away. He screamed, made shocking it let go and fell back into the dead 1

grimaces,fell down upon the deck and calm of water, we heard an ominous
tried to draw himself along by his splash. We
rushed forward, and sur-
hands. He pawed at the smooth slip- rounded the body. It seemed to swim
pery surface, but the thing had wound in a river of white jelly. Oscar called
its tenebrous tentacles about his leg, for something) which had become nee-
112 WEIRD TALES
essary, and- we wrapped it up decent- I endeavored to follow the little
ly and threw it overboard. But Oscar printed signs on the white page be-
repeated a few words mechanically
: fore me, but they called up no images,
out of the little black prayer-book, stimulated me to no response. The
which he: imagined were appropriate. words did not take shape in my mind,
1 stood -and stared at the dark open-
.
and I did not know whether' the
ing in the forecastle. stupid phrases that I sought to under-
I don’t know to this day how I got
stand formed part of an essay or a
the men through that dark opening.
short-story. The title of the book it-
But I did it—rwith Oscar's aid. I self I cannot now recall, although I
can see? Oscar standing with his glis-
think that it had something to do With
tening. head -against a voiceless wilder-
ships and the sea, and derelicts, afid
ness- qf stars. -J can see him shaking
the pitfalls of over-imaginative Hap- '

his fists- fit the. slinking cowards .on


pens. I fancied that I could heai*‘the
the dgck,tftnd shrieking out comniands.
Or. .werq ,f Hey insults? I know that
water lapping against the side prthe
>
ship, and now and then a great sfft&sh.
I stepped .forward and helped him,
aiid I think ,1 must have ’used my fists, Blit I knew that a portion of my
for later on I discovered that my

brain hotly ’repudiated both theHSp-
knuckles \yere bruised and discolored, ping and’ ’the. splash.- and I assumed
and CWar had to bandage them. It . myself that the nervous excitement
.is queer How Oscar has faded in my under .which' I labored was but physi-
meniory, for f thought a great deal cal:' find ’momentary, and ini no ’seise

of him, in spite of his queer ways, and psychic' or due to outside causes^'Jfy
liis large Hungry eyes, and. his fringe senses had beeft .appalled, afid Tff’ow
of yellow hair! He helped me get suffered a na’tnral rfcactibn frond The
the men Into the forecastle, and so did shock but no new danger threatened
;

Boucke. Boucke, with perfectly hor- me. ‘

rified’ ’fecc,. and with lips quivering Something pounded upon the door.
and struggling with a vicious inarticu- I got quickly to my feet, and if ’(lid
lateness! not oeettr to me at that moment that
We drove tHem in like sheep, but Oscar had promised that no Hue
'


'

- -
sheep often rebel and are troublesome, should disturb me.
Bpt we got them in, and then we “.What, is it you want?” I asked.
turned and looked back at the gaunt There was.- no direct or satisfactory
masts, swaying soullessly against the
answer, but a queer guggling noise
lifeless, somber regularity of calm sea
came to me through the door, and I
and sky, at the hanging ropes and fancied that I could hear a quick .in-
frizzled sails, ‘and at the long, moon- take of breath. A
horrible, intense
washed rails, and the encrimsoned fear took grim possession of. me.
We heard Boucke inside,
, ,

scuppers.
I looked a t the door in white horror.
blubbering idiotically to the men.
It shook like broadvards in a gale,. It
Then something made a dreadful gug-
bent inward under a terrific impact.
gling sound in the water, and we
heard a loud splash. Thud followed thud, as if some
“It’s risen again,’’ said Oscar, in monstrous body had hurled itself for-

a tone of despair. ward only to withdraw and to come


back with additional momentum. I
2 quelled an impulse to cry out, and I
SAT in my cabin, reading a book. opened my mouth and shut it, and.
I Oscar had bandaged up my hands, opened it again. I ran forward to
and left, and he had promised not to assure myself that I had really bolted
disturb me nn- the door. I fingered the bolt caress-
THE OCEAN LEECH 113

ingly, and then I retreated xintil my how my head pounded upon the stairs
back was against an opposite beam. as we ascended, I and the thing, and
The door bulged inward hideously, I think that my scalp bled, and I
and immediately afterwards there fol- know that I lost three teeth. I re-
lowed a great crash, and a splintering ceived dreadful blows, cuffs, from the
and a sundering of wood and a retch- corners of stairs, from the edges of
ing of hinges. The door gave, fell in- doors, and from the smooth, hard
ward and was lifted up on the back boards of the deck itself.
of something white and' unspeakable.
Then the panel was hurled violently HP HE thing dragged me out across
against the wall, and the thing under the deck, and I remember that I
it rolled forward, with terrible and saw the moon through folds upon
increasing velocity. It was a long, folds of obscenely bloating jelly. I
gelatinous arm, an amorphous tentacle was buried deep down within fatty,
with pink suckers that slid or oozed obscene folds that shivered and shook
towards me across the smooth floor. and palpitated in the moonlight!
I stood with my back pressed I no longer felt any desire to pro-
against the beam, with only my harsh, test or to cry out, and the thought of
stertorous breathing to keep it at bay. Oscar and a possible rescue did not
I could see that it did not fear me, fill me with elation. I began to ex-
that arm, and I could do nothing. It perience sensations of pleasure. How
was long and white and it slid towards am I to describe them? peculiarA
me. Can I make you understand? warmth pulsed through me my limbs ;

And Oscar had bandaged my hands, quivered with a weird expectancy. I


and they were but feeble, fumbling in- saw through the folds of animate
struments. And that thing was ut- jelly a great reddish sucker, or disk,
terly intent upon its purpose, and lined with silver teeth. I saw it de-
it did not need eyes to guide it across scend rapidly through the folds. It
the floor. fastened upon my chest, and a mo-
Anungodly, aromatic odor had en- mentary revulsion made me claw ludi-
tered the cabin with the thing, and it crously at the nauseous tissue sur-
overpowered me almost before the ten- rounding me. There w as a kind of r

tacles seized upon me. I endeavored cruelty in the refusal of the flimsy
to slough off the great, loathsome stuff to offer any resistance. One
folds with my bandaged hands, but could go on that way forever, clawing
my crippled fingers sank into the and tearing at the fatty folds, and
jellylike tissue as in soft mud. It feeling them give, and yet knowing
was palpitating, living tissue, but it that nothing could possibly come of
seemed to lack substantial body, and it. For one thing, it was utterly im-
it gave horribly. It gave! My hands possible to get a hold on the stuff,
went right through it, and yet when it to get it between your hands and
gripped me it was elastic and it could squeeze it. It simply flipped away
tighten its grip. It strangled me. I from you and then it rushed back and

felt that I could not breathe. I bent solidified. It could condense and di-
and twisted but it had wound itself late at will.
about me, and it held me, and I could My feeling of horror and antipathy
do nothing. disappeared, and a new tide of exalta-
I remember that I called for Oscar. tion, of warmth, of vigor surged over
I shouted myself hoarse, and then I me. I could have wept or screamed
think I w’as dragged ruthlessly across with pleasure and genuine ecstasy.
the floor, through the smashed-in door, I knew that the monster was ac-
and up the stairs. I remember now tually drawing up my blood through
114 WEIRD TALES
its fumbling, convulsive suckers. I the entire deck, and to go flying up
knew that in a moment I should be against the darkness. The cordage
drained as dry as a grilled carbonado, and the luminous rails seemed afire,
but I actually welcomed my inevitable and a red and ravening serpent,
dissolution. I made no effort to con- lengthened parallel with the scuppers.
ceal my glee. I was frankly hilarious, I saw Oscar clearly, and I saw the
although it seemed unjust to me that great spiral of smoke that streamed
Oscar should have to explain to the from the tails of flame, and I saw
men. Poor Oscar! He tied up the the swaying, enerimsoned masts, and
loosened ends of things, smoothed over the black sinister opening in the fore-
vulgar and disagreeable realities, castle. The darkness seemed to part
made the raw, ungarnished facts al- to let Oscar through with his torch
most acceptable, almost romantic. He and his stoicism. He swayed in the
was a precious stoic, and gloriously darkness above me, that silent,
self-reliant. That 1 knew, and I
quixotic man, and I knew that Oscar
pitied him. I distinctly recalled my could be trusted to put an end to
last conversation with him. He was
tilings. I bad no clear idea of what
slouching along the docks, with his
Oscar would do, but I knew that be
hands in his pockets, and a cigarette
would make some sort of brilliant and
between his teeth. “Oscar, ” I said,
satisfying end.
“I didn’t really suffer when that
thing fastened upon me! I didn’t, I was not disappointed, and when

really. I enjoyed it!” He scowled, I saw Oscar bend and touch the folds
and Scratched his ridiculous fringe of jelly with liis great, flaming torch
of hair. “Then I saved you from I wanted to sing or shout. The folds
yourself!” he cried. His eyes quivered, and changed color. mad- A
blazed, and I saw that he wanted to dening kaleidoscope of color passed
knock me down. That was the last —
before mv eyes flaming scarlet and
I saw of Oscar. He faded into the yellow and silver and green and gold.
shadows after that, but had I kept The sucker released its hold upon my
him with me I might have been wiser. chest and shot upward through the
The jelly about me seemed to in- voluminous folds. A terrific stench
crease in volume. It must have been assailed my nostrils. The odor was
three feet thick about my bead, and unbearable I threw out my arms and
:

I am sure that I saw the moon and fought savagely to break through to
the swaying mastheads through a reach the air and light and Oscar.
prism of varying color's. Waves of Then I felt the heat of Oscar’s torch
blue and scarlet and purple would upon my cheek, and I knew that the
pass before my eyes, and a taste of tissue about me was falling away and
salt came into my mouth. For a mo- burning to shreds. I saw that it was
ment I thought, not without a certain dissolving also, turning into oil, into
resentment and hurt pride, that the grease, and I felt it hotly trickling
thing had really absorbed me, that I down my knees and arms and thighs.
was a portion and parcel of that quiv- I closed my keep from
lips tight to
ering. gelatinous mass and then I — swallowing large quantities of the
saw Oscar! nauseous fluid, and I turned my face
I saw him looming above my ob- to the deck to protect my eyes from
scene prison-house with a lighted the falling fragments of sizzling tis-
torch in his hand. The torch, viewed sue. The creature was literally being
through the magnifying folds of jelly, burnt alive, and in my heart of hearts
was a thing of flawless beauty. The I pitied it!
flames shot out and appeared to cover When Oscar at length helped me to
THE OCEAN LEECH 115

my, feet I saw the last of the thing Oscar bent and picked up one of the
disappear over the side. Its arms fragments. He turned it right side
were horribly charred and the suckers up in his hand, so that the moonlight
were gone, and I caught a momentary fell upon it. It contained in its five-
glimpse of dangling, frayed ends and inch expanse a four-inch sucker. And
reddish knobs and bulging protuber- the sucker opened and closed while
ances. Then we heard a splash and Oscar held the thing in his hand. It
a queer guggling sound. We looked fell from Oscar's hand like a leaden
at the deck, and saw that it was cov- weight and bounded into the air. Os-
ered with greenish oil, and here and car kicked it overboard and looked at
there great solid chunks of burnt tis- me. I looked away towards the black
sue swam in the hideous porridge. topsail masthead.

Two Crows
By FRANCIS HARD
Two crows flapped over dismally
(So wearily, so drearily)
To the blackened limb of a blasted tree;
The shells flew screaming overhead,
And the field was covered thick with dead
The earth reeked with its dead.

One crow lamented to’ his mate


(So wearily, so drearily)
“How long, how long must we now wait
For the taste of food that was so good
Before the shrapnel shattered the wood
And loaded the ground with dead?

“The odor sweet of dying men”


(Lamented he so drearily),
“How strangely pleasant was it when
I sensed it first with ravished breath
But I am sated, and sick to death,
And would fain lie yon with the dead.”

A shell came moaning through the air


(So drearily, so eerily)
And burst where the crows were plaining there;
It shivered the wreck of the blasted tree,
And bits of crow fell bloodily
Among the ifengled dead.
Author of “His Family “The Ghost of Silent Smith ” etc.

OME men are like the throb of did when Moisell was around, he al-

S
rious.
a kettledrum.

Moisell was like
that high-strung, vivid, myste-
His every word and gesture
ways managed to steer it into other
channels. ..

stocks and bonds


. Imagine talking
and real estate with
disclosed a certain emotion, a certain a man like that
tensity, that his friends found highly But five years ago no, it was —
fascinating. Into the life of the club —
nearer six, I believe Moisell let Us
he came and went like a flash of color, have our way. He couldn’t help it.
radiating all the glamor of those At that time he was hobnobbing a lot
silent, far-away places he inhabited. with a fat, good-natured chap by the
Short, lithe, well-groomed, he sparkled name of Bonner. Bonner was a
for a day or two and then dropped botanist with quite a reputation and
out of sight for months. liked to talk “shop” almost as much
No one ever knew his destination. as Moisell avoided it.
It was always a matter for conjecture. Young Donaldson, “Long Jim”
Occasionally we received hazy reports Haney and myself were boring each
of his work in Africa, or Alaska, or other over a couple of highballs down
innermost China. At other times we in the grill of the Bachelors’ Club,
read brief newspaper extracts de- when Moisell and Bonner wandered
scribing the bones, or eggs, or other in. Donaldson pounced upon the two
fossilized deposits he had unearthed immediately and dragged them across
in Mexico, or Central America. And to our table. Their orders were taken
then, quite unexpectedly, he himself and we all got settled comfortably.
would bob up at the club and deliver Moisell ’s face was beaming.
a broadside of questions anent our “This is—life!” he exclaimed Avith
own gray lives. all the enthusiasm of a boy. “Fi’iend-
That was like Moisell. He was as — —
ship talk a bit to drink Somehow !

talkative as any of the boys but never


: or other. I don’t get half as much of
about himself. AYfrenever the conver- this sort of thing as I’d like to.”
sation drifted info the field of paleon- “You Avould soon tire of it,” sighed

tology with its fantastic flying-lizards, ‘ Long Jim.” “ Besides, you couldn ’t
dinosaurs and other prehistoric mon- stand it. You’re too much of a
sters, as our conversation invariably gipsy.”
116
FOG 317

Moisell laughed. abound in a peculiar vegetation which


“Even a gipsy has his hand, Long Bonner wants to take a look at, while
Jim; some one he can talk to some — I—”
one he can smoke with some one to — He paused and lit his cigar. Then
clap him on the back and remind him he laughed a bit.
of the sun. . . Life
. without “It does seem absurd to think
that would be — madness.
’ ’

about it here where everything is so


Moisell had a way of saying such modem and cocksure; but I’ve got a
things that made you wonder at his theory that prehistoric life is not
laughter. wholly extinct. That unexplored sec-
* r Jnst the same,” put in the irre- tion of Patagonia is a likely place to
pressible Donaldson, tapping his look for it.”
glass, “I’ll bet you get more kick out “You mean,” ejaculated Donald-
of a dead dinosaur than you could son, “that some of those high-soaring
out of a dozen of these.” woppers are still flapping around
“Humph!” snorted Bonner dis- down there?”
dainfully. “Dead ones, indeed!” Moisell smiled faintly at this, but
He glanced hurriedly around the immediately grew serious.
room with an elaborate air of mys- “Dr. Johnson of Columbia says
tery and then leaned across the table so,” with a conclusive flirt of his
as if about to divulge some momentous hand. “In fact, he has written a
secret. thesis on the subject. Many other
“How about the kick of a live scientists hold to the same belief. We
,
’ ’

one!” he whispei’ed. know nothing to the contrary.


Wo all looked incredulous — all ex- Young Donaldson whistled softly.
cept Moisell. “And you expect to camp right in
“You mean a live —dinosaur?” in- their back
admiration.
yard!” with wholesouled
quired Donaldson, doubtfully.
“Maybe! Maybe something else; Moisell reddened under his tan at
but it jnust be alive. Tell you bettor the frankness of this hero-worship and
shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
i'n- — possibly a year from now.”
“But —say! What’s it all about?” “If I thought Moisell were right,
I’d never leave New York,” laughed
By this time young Donaldson was
fairly radiating eagerness. Even Bonner frankly. “But it’s hard to
“Long Jim” had straightened up.
believe— and besides, there’s that pe-
culiar vegetation. I’ve been wanting
“Down in Patagonia: oil the upper — to poke around down there for years.

plateau Cold climate hills— unex-
! — “Just what kind of life have you

plored caves peculiar flora- and all

— in mind?” I inquired of Moisell.
that !
Surely, if he entertained the idea,
Bonner’s voice was grave, but his there must be something to. it.
eyes were twinkling. “Dinosaurs,” was Moisell ’s prompt,
“Tell them all about it, Moisell!” reply and his earnestness was pro-
Moisell pulled out a cigar and care- found. He studied his cigar for a
fully clipped the end. moment before continuing. “Per-
“Why— —
or yes! Just so!” haps it were better to say the descen-
He hesitated. Then he turned and dants of those mammoth reptiles.
smiled faintly upon Bonner much — You must remember that the recon-
like a tolerant father upon his son. structions in our museums represent
“Bonner and I have been planning life as it existed millions of years ago.
a trip. The highlands of Patagonia It is reasonable to suppose that that
118 WEIRD TALES
lifehas been modified to some extent “I know I’m only boring you with
by the change in surface and atmos- my fancies,” he smiled. “What say
pheric conditions of the earth.” you to another little drink ? ’ ’

“I should think,” ‘‘Long reflected Poor chap! As if we flabby stay-


-lifn,” “that the very change you at-homes preferred a drink to talk
speak of would tend to wipe out all like that But nothing more could’ be
!

such life.'” gotten out of Moisell that night.


“And so 'it has,” nodded Moisell. An liour later he was gone; l!i

“‘in most portions of the globe. But-


in eCftain unexplored sections there 2
still exists tba’t strange vegetation

which- as even our friend Bonner A YEAR elapsed and my fyusi#fss
will admit —
many botanists trace back
On
interests took me to Buenos Aires.
the return trip, I booked passage
to -the .reptilian- age. The inference
is that .animal .life has survived in on the steamer Southern jS'/ar, bpUnd
!

those sections along with their- native for Panama. The first night at,sea
vegetation. ” . , . .
we ran ililo a heavy mist that .slewed
our progress and set the ^ogMhhn
“Then you are liable to encounter
almost 1—anything,” exploded “Long
booming dismally. Then it was tfiat
jim”. eagerly “Perhaps something
...
I again laid eyes on f fiend, my

Moisell. •

we never, dreamed of. Surely, our


knowledge does not cover all the queer groping my way thrdiigK’fhe
I Wa's

life of. that era. wetness of the upper deck tow&rdjmy


A cabin, "wheit a blurry figure darted
.strange, haunted gleam entered
by and sent me SomeWnere
,

reeling.
Moisell -s, eyes. . .

along the passage' a door banged 'shut.


“It does not,” he agreed. -with pas-
Mentally I cursed the fellow fear ban
sionate .conviction. “I've thought idiot and' stumbled along. - •- 1 sril
about it, of t-en. Qne runs across some
remembered that my own-’^ffite-
.

mighty peculiar things out there.” — I


room was located about halfiday
1 ‘

The- sweep of his arm was all-em-


down the passage, and' p resently
braeive.
paused." T found a knob and fltuiglhc
“In
the Gobi desert I’ve examined door wide open. Aflood of light
tracks- that no living, animal I know poured out and with it came a ery
of could possibly make. Along the of horror—a hoarse, throaty cry that
upper Amazon I’ve heard the most setmy blood a-tingling.
unearthly roar imaginable. Down in
With a queer sense of impending
the African jungle I’ve touched a
tragedy I blinked into the sudden
spongy, quivering mass that looked
glareand discovered my error. ’The
like— a rock.”
room was not my own. I started to
He paused suddenly and looked back away when my eyes lighted on
around as if to apologize for his the strange figure of a man cowering
lengthy outburst. in a far corner. He was alone and
“Good Lord!” gasped young Don- plainly terror-stricken. His eyes
aldson. were wild and sunken, his cheeks and
And we all fell silent. lips bloodless. I could see liim trem-
One could almost see the mountain bling in the greatcoat that enveloped
and the stars when he gazed upon him. Even as I stared, he uttered a
Moisell. For a minute or two he piercing scream, which trailed off into
Fluffed slowly on his weed, immersed a moan.
in thought. Then he lifted his eyes Something about the cowering crea-
and the spell was broken. ture made me think of Moisell. I
FOG 119

quickly stepped inside and locked the Iturned and found nothing but an
door. open porthole through which could
“Moisell!” I cried. be seen the gray swirl of the fog.
This I closed and adjusted the cur-
He shrank farther into the corner.
tain. Moisell was breathing rapidly
His fingers were playing nervously at
his throat, while from his lips there
behind me.
came a blubbering, incoherent sound. I made him swallow some whisky
His face was unshaven probably had
been for weeks; but I recognized my
— from the ever ready flask I carried
and gave him a cigar. His eyes took
friend, Moisell. on a greater sanity as I settled down
"This is Hunter,” said I, trying before him on the bed.
to hide my amazement. —
“Forgive me Hunter,” he stam-

Hunter ? ” he

quavered. And mered. I
I
‘ ‘

’m not myself. — ’ ’

again Hunter ?
:
‘ ‘ ’ ’
“Moisell, what is it?” I insisted.
Some of the wildness left his eyes. His answer came in a queer, low-
He stared at me as if gazing upon, pitched, jerky tone.
some long-forgotten dream but he re- ;
“Fog!”
fused to come out to greet me. The revelation was dumfounding.
I moved toward him. I stared at him. His overcoat was
“Surely, this is no way to receive gaping open and for the first time I
an old-time friend,” I chided with noticed that he was still in working
the best of intention. “Moisell, you —
togs a soft-collared shirt, corduroy
do remember Hunter from the — suit and high-laced boots. Here and
club!” there a peculiar, grayish substance
Gently I took his arm and pulled clung to his garments smeared on —
like grease.
him erect. The action seemed to stir
his memory. For a moment he stared Suddenly his body jerked and a
into my eyes and then uttered a cry weary sort of sob escaped him.
of recognition. I led him to a chair —
“I tried to fight it, Hunter,” said
across the room and he sank weakly he in the same low tone. “Up on the
between its arms, sobbing like a child. deek. It almost smothered me. . . .

My heart ached at the sight. I had Sometimes I think I ’m going mad — !


’ ’

always thought of Moisell as a bar I struck a match and lit his cigar.
of well-tempered steel flexible, but — He inhaled the smoke in deep, quiver-
unbreakable. And I found him a ing waves and seemed to grow calmer.
bundle of shattered nerves a pitiable — “Suppose you tell me all about it,”
wreck. The thing was staggering, un- I suggested gently. “Maybe I can
believable. help.”
Suddenly he raised his head and his He gave me
a quick, searching look
fear-haunted eyes glared past me. The glint in his eyes was unfathom-
“Moisell, what is it?” I asked. able. For y, time he puffed fitfully
“Are you in danger?” on his weed, now and then easting a
He raised a quivering hand and furtive glance around the cabin. The
pointed wildly. booming of the vessel’s fog-horn up
“There,” he whispei’ed. “See! It above seemed to play upon his nerves.
breathes. It lives. It’s crawling “The door, Hunter,” he mur-
in. . .
.” mured uneasily. “It is locked?” —
With a moan he huddled behind the I crossed the room and tried the
crook of hisarm as if to shut out knob to reassure him. His eyes fol-
some maddening sight. The man was lowed closely my every movement. I
in dire agony. returned to the bed and for a moment
120 WEIRD TALES

or two he smoked rapidly, eyes half- paused suddenly. ‘Hello!’ he ex-


dosed like one trying to piece together claimed. His voice fell with a hollow,
stray bits of thought. Finally, in a echoing sound upon my ears. ‘Some
low, tense voice, he started speaking. one has been here before us. Take a
look at this, Moisell.’
“T FELT the breath of the foggy “I stepped forward. Within the
1 beast, but Bonner only laughed. glowing circle of his torch lay a man’s
Now Bonner is —dead. . .
.” dead body—part skeleton and part
He shuddered. flesh, but still clothed. I believe it

“A man was Bonner. was white man. The body was en-
a
very brave
He cut the rope. ... No one tirely covered by a sort of gray mold.
I touched the stuff. It was moist and
elsesaw it. No one else knows. But.
sticky and undoubtedly the source of
Bonner and I found life. Damnable
that acrid stench. ‘Now what do you
life! A hideous survival of those an-
make of that?’ mused Bonner. I had
cient times when life first oozed up
no explanation to offer— unless
from the bottom of the sea.
"It was right at the other end of
Moisell’s voice trailed away and for
the cavern. A
swift current ran
a moment he gazed thoughtfully
straight through the mountain. Bon-
across the cabin. The
talk seemed to
ner wanted to explore the place and
.” have a soothing effect on him. More,
I agreed. . .
closely I examined the gray daubs
Moisell paused and nursed his cigar
on his own garments and wondered;
into a glow. Then he continued and but I made no comment. He con-
the words seemed to flow more freely. tinued, slowly:
‘‘The place was dark. So we tied a "Somewhere in the African jungle
rope around our waists with about I once saw a gray, spongelike mass
five yards of it between us much like— that lived and might have spewed
Alpine climbers. We carried only our such a substance. I told Bonner so
rifles,knives and pocket-torches. A He only chuckled. ‘Moisell.’ said he,
fine mist was falling when we entered ‘you travel too much alone. It’s prob
the cavern and we soon lost sight of ably nothing more than some un-
the opening.
known fungus, much like the moss we
‘‘It was like stepping into some vast —
are familiar with. See there is more
cathedral. The air was damp and of it ! And he swept his torch around.
chilly. Except for the soft purr of The ground as far as we could see,
,

the stream and our own footsteps, the Avas spread with the stuff. were We
place was silent. Our torches did not treading in it.
penetrate very far in the gloom, so "I letBonner have his way and we
we hugged the stream closely. It was set out again. But the discovery had
our only guide. kindled new thoughts. I strained my
‘‘We had not gone very far in the ears and gradually became conscious
darkness when I became conscious of of a steadily swishing sound behind
a strange, nauseating odor. It grew us. At first it Avas scarcely percepti-
more obnoxious as we advanced and ble, but as I listened the sound in-
at times was almost unbearable. I —
creased like some umvieldy body
could liken’il to nothing I had ever laboring along in the stream. I
experienced before excepting, possi- stopped and Bonner in front brought
bly, the evil-smelling scum over a up Avith a jerk. ‘What uoav ? ’ he
sun-baked mud-hole. boomed.
‘‘I was trying to account for the "Without answering I flashed my
sickening odor when Bonner in front torch to the rear and peered into the
FOG 121

gloom. The swishing sound ceased; stopped long enough to empty my rifle
but the dead silence that ensued was into the gloom, and then we stumbled
even more ominous than the sound along like drunken men.
itself. About thirty yards away I “The enraged thing behind us
thought I detected a stealthy move- hissed and spewed its suffocating fog
ment along the bank. until the light of our torches was only
“ ‘See anything?’ asked Bonner, a blur. I could feel my senses swim-
coming back. Evenas he spoke a ming as I gasped for air. Once I tot-
blast of icy air struck us and froze tered on tlie very edge of the stream
its way in to the bone. Bonner and would have gone over had it not
gasped and clutched my arm like a been for the rope around me. Bonner
vise. shouted something; but I could not
“As if paralyzed we stood staring see him.
into the darkness. My
flesh was creep- “Hunter, it’s the mysteries of life
ing at the thought of our utter help- that drive men mad. The hidden
lessness. ‘Do you see it. Bonner?' things! I was trembling like a child.

I whispered. ‘
Along the bank ? That hissing monster was almost upon
“And Bonner laughed. . .
us. I could feel its colossal presence

.

God I can hear him yet.


! It was —and it was cold cold. In a frenzy
forced. ‘Imagination, Moisell! The of terror I dragged myself along.
place is getting on your nerves. Let’s Bonner was at my side. I could feel
go!’ his life-giving clutch on my arm.
“We —
did and again came that “How we ever found the outlet I
swishing sound — cumbersome, do not know but suddenly we
;

stealthy, insistent — like some enor- emerged into something bordering


mous beast stalking prey. Bonner
its more on sanity. A
heavy fog had
must have heard it too, for he quick- descended and things were only dimly
ened his pace. But we could not visible. We could faintly trace the
shake it off. It stopped when we winding course of the stream and the
stopped, and when we got going again yawning mouth of the cavern. Be-
itcame swishing out of the darkness yond that hung the fog, like a curtain
with maddening persistency. It clung of gray.
to our heels with almost human in- “Bonner was for laughing it all
telligence —
and gained steadily. I away. A nightmare, he called it. A
could feel cold breath on my neck.
its weird product of the imagination.
“Then, with startling abruptness, But I was as sure as I am now that
a tremendous long-drawn hiss swelled we had come in contact with primeval
through the cavern. All about us life —
in some form.”
there fell an icy spray. In the light Moisell paused and eyed me steadily
of our torches it descended like fog for a moment. His face was haggard
and settled without dissolution. From and drawn as if, with the telling, he
it arose a pungent, fishlike stench were reliving the terrifying experi-
that was almost overpowering. ence; blit I thought I detected in his
manner a flash of his former self.
T HAT settled all doubts.
treat was cut off and the realiza-
unnerved me. If T could only
Our re- “The death of Bonner is my
proof,” he added simply. “Even as
Bonner laughed at my assertion, an
tion
see Tra iled in the darkness by some
! enormous shadow loomed in the mouth
inconceivable monster and unable to of the cavern. Gray, shapeless and
fight back was too much for the scarcely definable, it seemed a part of
human brain. For a moment I believe the fog itself. Like a huge puff of
I went —mad. Without reasoning I smoke it came rolling out of its lair
122 WEIRD TALES
and spread. I could hear the water Avard on the ground half way up the
churn with its motion. Before we slope. My arms Avere Avrapped tight-
could think it was upon us. ly around the trank of a tree. A fine
“We made a frantic effort to evade rain was falling.
its spread. It was useless. Its power “In a daze I fled Avithout a back-
of expansion and contraction seemed Avard glance and stopped only Avhen
tremendous. With an unearthly hiss I fell exhausted. Hoav I managed to
it swirled about us and held us, strug- make the coast — I do not knoAV
1

. . .

gling madly, in its icy embrace. I—I—”


“As if in a cloud make
I could still Wearily Moisell passed a hand
out Bonner’s form. He was moving across his eyes as if to brash away a
slowly, laboriously, as one does under memory and slumped motionless in

water or in a dream. He shouted his chair. Up above, the fog-horn was
something that sounded strangely like still booming its dismal Avarning. I
'quicksand’ and seemed to be making gazed upon his tragic figure, and it
a desperate effort to wield his knife. seemed like a living proof of the state-
. . . I believe Bonner was mad. ment that there are more things in
. . . stifling ooze around us
That heaven and earth than are dreamt of
seemed be pulling him down—
to in our philosophy.

down and me Avith him. I could feel Still, there Avas Bonner’s last word
the rope which bound us digging in
at my waist.
—and Moisell had seek him sink.
“There may have been a quicksand
“With a last, merciful effort Bon- bed,” I suggested thoughtfully.
ner’s knife found the rope and sev- Moisell did not move.
ered it. He sank quickly. For a “Imagination and fog may have
moment his hand only was visible. I done the rest,” I added.
tried Avith all my strength to reach
him; but the next second he was — At this Moisell sprang to his feet
Avith such ferocity that I recoiled be-
gone. ...
I never ssav Bonner
fore him. His eyes Avere blazing; his
again.
body trembled.
“Alone in the clutch of that name-
straggled madly for free-
less thing, I
“I told you Bonner went mad,” he
rasped.
dom. I eould feel it pulling and
pressing all about me, sloAvly Avork- Then he laughed —a Aveird, cackling

ing me doAvmvard the way that Bon- laugh.
ner had gone. Almost blinded and “Imagination?” he croaked. “Then
scarcely able to breathe, I hacked where did I get this?” trium- —
aAvay with my knife, trying to dig phantly.
a Avay through the pasty mass. I was Froma pocket he hauled a small,
like one fighting in delirium. For oblong box and threw it on the bed.
one agonizing moment I was conscious I opened it and stared at the contents
of a dull roar in my ears and then Avith sinking heart. Moisell, my
“I must have fainted. With the friend, was mad. On the bottom lay
coming of light I Avas lying face doAvn- a lump of putty
A
TALE
LUISMAS
RETURN
Arthur J Burks
ie)


Author of “Voodoo” and “Thus Spake the Prophetess"'

G ITR1ST0PHE. who
•self Henri- I,'
called'
Emperor
Northern Haiti, Was the great-
est monster in all history. He killed
him-
of
tion. Only the knowledge bat his lit-
tle black sweetheart, awgited him at
the end of the street kept him on his
leaden feet.
I

for the love of killing. He murdered


'

The girk’s mother. met him at. the


innocent people who dared to gaze up- door of the hut. and he read in her
on his face without permission. To dry eyes and expression of utter hope-
question his orders and commands was lessness that something terrible had
to give oneself to the executioner. This happened. His lips trembled a bit as
black monster of the Haitian hills took .
he asked for Madeleine.
•whatever, pleased him,- be it lands,
“Have you not heard then, Luis-
movable property, or. women. His ma?’’ asked the old woman, hope-
word was law, as immutable as that lessly.
of the Medes and Persians, and his
hand was quick to punish. “Have I heard what, old woman?”
None knew this better than did demanded Luisma. “ 1 have asked fo
' ’
?
General Luisma Llansal, the greatest
the little sweetheart. Where is she

soldier in the pay of the emperor. “Alas!” cried the old woman
‘ ! ' ’

Luisma was a little man as to body; ' Hen ri has taken her
but his arms hung below his knees as —
“But Henri! 1 do not under-
he walked, like those of a giant an- stand. What could he want with the
thropoid ape. His mind was slow to girl?’’
thought, and mental pictures came “Henri does not explain his actions
sluggishly. Even so. he could look to common people.” replied the old
into the near future and picture what woman. “I only know that the sol-
Christophe would say and do to him diers from the citadel came for her
when he should return to report fail- and that she has gone. Who knows?
ure in the mission which Christophe The queen is very old and very fat.
had assigned him, out there in the Perhaps Henri craves the freshness of
Haitian wilderness. He had tried youth.”
with all his power to succeed, as evi- “Hush, aged one, do hot speak thus
denced by his dragging gait as he of the emperor’s consort! Dost wish
walked up the streets of Cap Haiticn to be hurled from the cliff at sub
—proof that he was tired to exhaus- rise?”
123
124 WEIRD TALES
‘"What matters it? As well be He feared Henri more than he
hurled tomorrow morning as a week pitied Luisma. The emperor had
hence. Age does not breed
pity in the made him a gatekeeper, with the title
heart of Christoplie, and one is as apt of baron, just as he had made dukes
to go as another when it moves the of black stevedores on the wharves of
soul of Henri.” St. Mare but the emperor was fickle
;
‘ 1
Hush, the very stones in the street and he made vacancies in the royal
have ears with which to listen for the family just for the pleasure it afford-
emperor ’ !


ed his vanity -while the deposed
“So be it, Luisma; I am very old, dukes and barons left their bones to
and I am ready.” whiten on the rocks a thousand feet
“But,” cried Luisma, “have our below the citadel. It was best to guard
friends done nothing to save the be- one’s speech.
loved demoiselle from the hands of Luisma hurried away, walking
Christoplie ? Surely thev have known erect and unafraid. The baron gazed
of this!” after him and shook his head. Al-
“It was told in the market place ready he could hear the death shriek
after you had left for the wilderness, of a general as he plunged to the foot
Luisma. They pitied you, knowing of the cliff.

that Henri had sent you so that you


UISMA
might not spoil his plans, though what
you could have done no one knows.
For who has ever stood against the
^
J stood erect before his
emperor. The latter, half reclin-
ing on the stone bench beneath the
might of the emperor?” great tree which still remains as one
“None has ever done it and — of the monuments to Christophe,.
lived,” replied Luisma, “Yet mark raised himself on his elbow to glance
what I say, aged one, Luisma will do at this man, bravest of his generals.
itand live to tell how he avenged the Luisma affected not to notice the
dishonor of his loved one. ’ ’
dusky demoiselle who snuggled
General Luisma turned about and against the emperor and complacently
left the hut. His fatigue was forgot- allowed him to stroke her bare arm
ten because of the terrible weight of with his disengaged hand.
his great misfortune. He would be


What is it, Luisma ? We give you
avenged. He had promised himself permission to speak.”
that it should come to pass. Anger “I have failed, Excellency,” re-
as you very well knew

flashed from his black eyes as he en- plied Luisma, ‘

tered the jungle, en route to the cita- that I would. Why did you bother
del. to send me away, Avhen you might
Luisma was admitted because he have taken my loved one without?
was a general in the service of the Why steal her away by stealth?”
monster. But even the keeper of the “Steal her away, Luisma? I did
gate looked at him with pity in his not steal her. She came of her own
eyes. free will, because Henri the Emperor
“Where is she, baron?” questioned desired her. Tell him, child, that the
Luisma. master speaks the truth. ’ ’

“She rests in the arms of his Ex- The black girl, who had held the
cellency, on the bench beneath the. heart of Luisma in her keeping for
council tree,” replied the baron hur- many months, looked into the eyes of
riedly. Luisma as she answered.
LUISMA’S RETURN 125

“I want none of thee, filthy one!” “That one, the blackest one in tbe
she replied. “Thou needest a bath, rear rank, Luisma,” the monster
’ ’
Luisma ! would say, with a judicial air, “he
She said it in a sing-song fashion, does not seem to keep step with his
as if it were a lesson she had com- mates, exactly. If he were hui’led
mitted to memory. over the cliff we believe that it would
* ’
Dost see, Luisma ? demanded the
‘ ’
improve the appearance of the
emperor. “There is no more to be guard!”
said, man. Tomorrow you take com- Luisma would bow at this and tell
mand of our guard. You will put off two men for the task. The offend-
them through their paces well, for in ing one would be led to the edge and
a few days an envoy comes from
Boyer, and it is our wish to impress

pushed over well over, so that he
might not, perchance, have an oppor-
the fellow with our might. Go!” tunity to grasp at something and save
Luisma turned and left the royal himself.
presence.
With his shriek of terror dying
Out of sight of Cliristophe, Luisma away as he plunged downward like a
met the baron who had admitted him plummet to land with a crunching
to the palace.
sound as his bones became as jelly
“Luisma!” cried the baron in a on the rocks below, ringing in their
husky whisper. “Have you taken ears as they commenced to drill again,
leave of your senses, man? Do you is it any wonder that those who re-
not recall that you looked upon the mained made an even more perfect
face of Christophe without permis- machine than before? Yet ever the
sion, forfeiting your life?” critical Henri found fault with the
“But I am baron,”
still alive, re- drilling. The guard had dwindled no-
plied Luisma bitterly. “I shall con- ticeably when the emperor would
tinue to live until I am avenged of finally yawn, opening his thick lips
!”
Christophe to their widest extent, and leave the
“Say on, fool,” replied the baron; narrow parade to find rest in the arms
“you cannot make your position worse of Luisma ’s sweetheart-that-might-
after gazing without permission on liave-been. Luisma was left to wonder
the face of the mighty Christophe!” why both himself and Christophe still
“So be it, baron!” lived.

The next day Luisma ’s one-time


sweetheart was not to be seen. Luisma
knew that she was in the palace, a
TWO days later came word that
Boyer’s ambassador was at the
gate of the citadel. Christophe com-
plaything of the monster. Yet ho
could do nothing. He was slow of manded that the fellow be brought
into his presence at once. He received
thought like all his kind, with the
fatalist’s belief that all things are
the dignitary beneath the great coun-
foreordained and that his own time cil tree, where the two great men
talked largely of affairs of state.
must come in the end. In the mean-
time he marched and countermarched “We are told, Excellency,” said
the troops of Christophe until they the envoy at length, “that in all Haiti
moved at his word of command like there is no man who has such author-
a bit of well-oiled machinery. And ity over his people as does Henri the
ever, suggestively near, yawned the Emperor.”
edge of the cliff upon which the castle “My authority is absolute!” re-
stood. Christophe came daily to plied Christophe calmly, forgetting
watch the drilling of his crack troops. for a moment the imperial “we.”
12 G WEIRD TALES
Christoph© clapped his hands and. sation of falling. Sickening pain as
an attendant crawled into the royal his legs struck nubs of rock which
presence on hands and knees, eyes protruded from the face of the thou-
turned steadfastly toward the stones sand foot cliff. He struck with such
of the courtyard. force that he was turned over in mid-
“Tell Luisma Llansal to march on air. His head struck next, filling his
his soldiers
!
' ’
brain with molten fire. His hand
The attendant crawled away. The —
struck something then and held on!
soldiers marched into view and began The crushed body of the erstwhile
their well-oiled evolutions at the com- general swung there in space, unknow-
ing- that it swung, holding on by in-
mand of Luisma. It was beautifully
stinct because the brain could not
done and the envoy clapped his hands
by way of applause when Luisma had command. Luisma was a man with
finished. great strength in his arms. His other
hand, without command, moved up
“But there are many generals who
and over, clawing, grasping, holding.
can cause their men to do this

cried !

the envoy. “Your Excellency has not A glimmering of sense came back
proved yet that his discipline is any to the brain of the broken general.
stronger than that of Boyer!” His eyes turned downward. He pon-
‘ ’ dered dully as, far below, he caught

Luisma, said the emperor softly,

glimpses of ragged bundles that


“place yourself at the head of your
bounced from rock to rock, shapeless
troops. As I give the commands you
’ things that had once been peerless
will lead in the execution. ’
,
soldiers, coming to rest in huddled
Luisma obeyed, taking his place at heaps. He looked up and saw them
the head and standing stiffly at at-
still stepping over into space, wonder-
tention.
ing why they, like himself, did not
“Forward, march!” catch on and hold. He saw them
As one man the entire guard moved strike bits of rock above him, felt
forward. warm splashes on his cheeks but —
“God Heaven!” thought Luis-
in whether the blood was theirs or his
ma. “Does the fool not see that we own, he could not tell. When the last
are headed directly for the edge of one had stepped over, fallen, bounced,
the precipice?” and finally lay still in a huddled heap
far, far below, Luisma began to climb,
But, never faltering, Luisma held
the step. There came no command to
dragging his useless legs behind him
halt or for a column movement to
up the face of the precipice. He was
glad of the strength in his arms and
right or left. The edge of the preci-
he had always been sure that his time
pice was but a few strides away.
had not come to die.
Even th<^ envoy turned a dirty gray
when he fead the intention of the em-
peror. He sprang to his feet.
“Not that, Excellency!” he cried.
M eanwhile, as if nothing had
happened out of the ordinary,
Henri the Emperor talked calmly
“Not that! I believe! I believe!” ahead with the trembling envoy. He
“You demanded proof, sire,” re- seemed absolutely unmoved over what
plied Christophe calmly. “I am giv- he had done. The envoy was shaken
ing it!” to the very core. Such a monster
Luisma was the first man over, He could not be human !He might even
stepped without fal-
off into eternity forget the dignity of Boyer’s own en-
tering. There was the awesome sen- voy! That worthy shuddered as he
LUfSMA’S RETURN 127

saw' himself, inmind’s eye, a


his mind had gone, placed him asy- in au
crumpled and bloody heap at the foot lum, where he spent the rest of his
of the precipice. Ever and anon his days, happy because he knew that
eyes wandered, against their will, to crawling things could never get
the place where, to a man. the guard through the bars to haunt him!
of Christophe had stepped off into Christophe looked at Luisma as the
space. latter, groveling before the emperor
“Excellency!” he shouted, spring- only because he could not rise to his
ing to his feet and pointing a trem- feet, looked up into his face with all
bling finger. “Look!” his savage hate easily readable in the
Slowly Christophe swerved his gaze flashing eyes.
and fixed it intently on the gruesome “I have come back, Christophe!
thing that the envoy had seen. At puppy that calls himself
Ridiculous
the precise moment that he looked, a HenriI, Emperor of the North! I
single black hand came into view' am stronger than you I have !

above the edge of the precipice claw- — cheated death itself! Even you can-
’ ’
ing fingers clutched here and there for not do that !

a grasping place. Another hand came “Baron!” called Christophe softly.


up and placed itself beside the first. “Take this fellow' and hurl him over
A straining of muscles and a face such once more. He has disobeyed me!
as neither had ever seen came up He climbed back instead of falling, as
above the edge. The face, which could ordered !

not be recognized as such except


for the shape, weirdly resembling
The thing leered up into his mas-
ter’s face.
that of a man. looked more like

a smear of blood. Even the hands ‘


Stay, monster I shall go back of
!

were smeared with red, and with my own accord. I only came back
something else that they had found to tell you that, even though I fall
when, during the upward climb, they to the rocks this time, I shall yet be
had grasped at the protuberances avenged for your cruelties!”
where the heads of the falling sol- Luisma turned, like a snake with a
diers had touched. broken back, and slithered to the
Slowly, like a great black serpent precipice edge and over out of sight! —
with a broken back, the red-visaged Had Henri followed and looked over,
apparition slithered up and over the that which followed might never have
edge. Its ghastly eyes were staring been.
fixedly at the face of the emperor. Why. when all his life he had never
Atop the precipice at last, the jelly- felt a tremor of fear, did the great
like creature slithered toward Chris- emperor suddenly get a fit of the ague
tophe and the envoy, leaving a snaky and tremble so that his very knees
red trail in its wake, dragging the knocked together? He wiped the fine
crushed legs, dangling red things, be- dew from his forehead, and wondered.
hind. He entered the citadel and tried to
“I have come back, monster.” bab- forget the whole incident.
bled the thing. “Surely dost know
that Luisma could not die una-
venged !

The envoy
’ ’

nor stopped his mad


fled,
T HIS night was the one during
which the great Christophe killed
himself with a silver bullet, because
flight until he reached Port an Prince he believed that no baser metal should
and told his wild tale to Boyer him- touch that brain of his! No one real-
self. Boyer, knowing that his envoy’s ly knows why he did it. Some say
128 WEIRD TALES
itwas because he had failed to make ple thought herdemented because she
himself emperor of all Haiti. Many had spent the night in the chamber
stories are told. One does not know —
with the dead emperor and did not
what to believe. believe her.
Only the dishonored sweetheart of There aremany stories of the death
Luisma heard the last words of Chris- of Christophe. Many of them are
tophe just before that monster blew
queer. Many are horrible.
out his brains. She was awakened in
the dead of night by his wild ravings. Nor are any of them as queer or
Go back, Luisma


Go back Go ! !
horrible as that told by the aged idiot
back to your dead body at the foot who dragged himself about Cap
of the precipice How dare you leave
!
Haitien like a snake with a broken
splotches of blood on the floor of my back, begging for pennies, telling his
bedchamber with your dragging story to all who would listen. They
limbs Turn about so that I may not
!
never believed, of course, for people
see those hate-filled eyes of yours

!

whom Christophe cast over the cliff
There followed the sounds of a never came back, they said. When
scuffle, as if the emperor fought with he told them that his name was Luis-
invisible devils, there in the darkness. ma Llansal, they only laughed. For
The girl cowered beneath her covers, he looked not at all like the Luisma
leaving only her widening eyes ex- they remembered.
posed. In the flash of Christophe ’s He died a few years ago, in Cap
pistols she saw the thing! She bab- Haitien, insisting, even on his death-
bled her story the next day, but peo- bed, that his story was true

STRANGE TALES from


SANTO DOMINGO
By ARTHUR J. BURKS
( Estil Critchie)

The author of “ Luisma ’s Return” and “Thus


Spake the Prophetess” has written a powerful
series of short stories for the readers of this
magazine. The first “A Broken Glass
of these,
Chimney,” appears in WEIRD TALES next
month.

ON SALE EVERYWHERE JANUARY FIRST


LOTI A,' hesitant, whispered He stared moodily at her, as one

1
E —
“It is impossible.
“You need say nothing
-

moiie. '’'returned Folke, grimly.' “Y'ou


who sees- his-
less destruction;
world engulfed

“I'd rather have died a


in piti-

thousand
do not care— had I any right to hope deaths—"
you would?" “Oh, I know.” Iler lips quivered.
She half raised appealing hands to “I — I know it all. I cannot help
— ’’ it.
ihim. The mute gesture halted even Yon — surely you will spare me
his bitterness. Her voice broke into a sob. Instant-
|

i “I,, eaqnof -help it.'" slip pleaded. ly; dropping to his knees, he humbly
i“I know ybu for t lie soul of honor, kissed her hand. She snatched it from

I
but — I cannot help it. If—” him in sudden horror, as from a thing
“ If I were sPhilip Kihgswell ?
’ ’
contaminate.
j

i
The man’s brows knit into a stern, “Forgive me," lie muttered, chok-
jugly frown. Flora’s gaze was un- ingly.
•seeingly intent on the grass. Vague It was blur on his memory
all a
land indistinct though her face was in when he reached the street: he saw
The shadows, Follce knew that it nothing clearly save her pale face
'flushed in hesitant assent. lie fan- with its downcast eyes; felt nothing,
cied even more. Leaning forward, save the choking heartbreak that
one tense hand gripping the back of came when she snatched away her
her chair, he almost screamed a ques- hand. The arc lights far behind threw
tion : his shadow on the pavement, ludi-
“Do you —do you love Kingswell
? ’
crously long: his fancy accentuated
the distorted shoulder and filled in
No answer came. The
cripple’s
seemed that the the cruel, scarred lines of the face.
grip tightened till it
wood must fairly splinter. He had come involuntarily to San-
drv’s door before he recollected their
:
“Do you?" appointment. The friendship of old
“Yes." Almost inaudible her whis- times unconsciously drew him to San-
per.
dry; Sandry, with his quaint love of
1 “My God! Flora!" the bizarre and the hideous that led
“I know." She did not look up. him to pet toads and lizards and to
120
330 WEIRD TALES
open his heart to the ugly youth at “Which is never— eh?”
college. The soothing, sympathetic
touch of the Orient spoke to him of

“Nay very soon.”
Folke 's hand, viselike in its grip,
Sundry as Alkazim, the Egyptian
closed on the edge of the table. The
servant, with a silence that was part
eyes that stared into the mirror oppo-
of the strange place, ushered Folke
site saw only the scarred face and the
into the Egyptologist’s study.
distorted shoulder.
About the visitor all things
breathed the sensuous beauty of the
“I may, therefore, congratulate
The rugs under foot were you, Phil,” murmured the scholar,
East.
soft, the hanging of exquisite silks,
gently, “but —not the woman.’*
and on all sides magnificent mirrors Kingswell *s laugh was evert ‘more
tossed back to one another the glitter cheery.
of a myriad of lights. A subtle per- “Let's postpone the sermon,” he
fume soothed him. And then, cross- urged, “and dig right down to busi-
ing the threshold, he came face to face ness,my Lord of the Pyramids.”
with Philip Kingswell. Sundry smiled inscrutably.
In an instant the scarred counte- ‘
When I invited you here, my
'

nance was livid, as there rose before friends,” he said, “I spoke of an im-
t he cripple's mind the scene in portant experiment. You are to be
Flora’s garden. Yet, mingling with
Folke ’$ .hate, was admiration. This
the subjects. Be not alarmed — I offer
you an honor, not a peril.”
was a man whom women could not
His soft, cooing tone had grown
help but love even those keen-
;
and surged into zealous enthusiasm.
visioned women who, beneath his
handsome outer showing, gazed into “My experiment concerns the
the repellent depths of the soul. soul,” he pursued. “What is the
“Hello, Jack, old boy!” cried soul? Whence comes it? Whither
Kingswell, cheerily, stretching forth does it go? Or is there, as skeptics
his hand. “Didn’t expect to see me tell us, no such thing? If we answer
in Pharaoh's cage, did you?” these questions, we answer all ques-
His laugh was like music. Folke tions. You both know,” he added
took the hand clammily. His soul hesitantly, as though apologizing for
burned with envy of the man who such discussion with men of intelli-
could greet even a discarded rival as gence, “that old fable of Pythagoras,
a friend. concerning the transmigration of
“Hurry up, Pharaoh,” added souls. I met that belief often among
Kingswell, turning toward an inner the Eastern races, particularly among
door. “I’ve an appointment for 10 the Hindoos. Certain archeologists: to
o 'clock.

’ the contrary, the ancient Egyptians,
“Very well, Phil,” responded a at least in some degree, shared the
soft voice, from the adjoining room; Hindoo belief— possibly originated it.
and a moment later the orientalist I have studied many ancient writings.

crossed the rug toward them. There These ancient writings convince me of
was the hint of another world in his the existence of a soul, that it can de-
quiet step, his soft tones, the un- pai’t from man for a time and later
changing fixity of his dark eyes. return to him, and that this, befalling
“Alas, I am still Pharaoh to you, in sleep, causes those strange soul
Phil,” he murmured, sinking into a journeys which we call dreams.”
chair. “When will you learn respect All the while he spoke, the strange,
for wisdom?” tense gaze of his dark eyes, .aglow with
“When I wed,” laughed Kings- enthusiasm, never left the faces of
well. the two spellbound auditors.
A CHANGELING SOUL 131

“So, my
friends,” concluded San- folded itself more and more clearly.
dry, solemnly, we shall now prove or
‘ 1
At length he laid down the pen.
disprove for all time the existence of Alkazim, without a word, brought
a soul.” his hat and coat, and helped him put
-Kingswell’s careless laugh rang out. them on; then, still in the same
Folke involuntarily shivered. San- strange, unmoved silence, followed to
dry, noticing, the tremor, smiled re- the door, closing it softly after him.
assuringly. The street was Folke
deserted.
nothing to fear, my
“You have knew that the hour must be
late. His
friends,” he urged. “You will sleep mind surged with the memory of
still
—that is all. While sleeping, you may his strange experience. The talk with
visitstrange scenes. When you wake, Flora, the cruelly significant snatch-
I may
not be here; if so, write what ing away of her hand, seemed to have
you have seen and heard while sleep- befallen dim centuries ago. But as he
ing, and leave the writing with Al- hurried homeward, weariness came.
kazim. You must tell no one— no, not The clear outlines which rose before
one— what has befallen you, till I give his mind while he wrote at Sandry ’s
the word. Are you willing?” table gradually faded. All in a maze
Folke nodded. He scarcely seemed at last, Folke entered his rooms, and,
to understand; oppressing his mind too tired even to turn on the lights,
was the memory of that evening in tumbled sleepily upon the bed.
Flora’s garden. Kingswell’s careless He woke next morning with a rag-
laugh jarred upon his soul. ing headache. He could not think.
Sandry still spoke, but to Folke the He knew only that a hideous night-
words came indistinctly. The voice mare of some kind had left him
faded into a whisper, as though, still stifling. Gasping, he staggered to-
discoursing but in tones that every ward the stair, where he clung to the
moment grew softer and softer, the balustrade as he descended.
orientalist were gradually vanishing The woman of the house gazed
into unutterable distance. queerly at him.
“What do you want here?” she

LONG hours afterward, John


Folke, rousing himself, sat sharp-
up The lights were
demanded, sharply.
But Folke did not answer. A mo-
ly in his chair. ment later he staggered into the
turned low. Sandry was gone. Al- street.
kazim, the silent servitor, stood immo- The fresh morning air revived him.
bile at the sleeper’s elbow, as though By degrees, as he hurried blindly
he had been long waiting. along, his head grew clearer. vagueA
“Where am I?” demanded Folke, consciousness of utter dishevelment
the sensation still upon him of
fresh haunted him. His mind was too dulled
a long yet unwearying journey. to reason. The fresh air must first


Where is Sandry —and where is ? — ’ ’
finish its beneficent work.
“Gone,” returned the sei’vant, with He had traversed four blocks when
an expressive shake of the head. he came upon a little group of peo-
“Here,” he commanded. “Write.” ple. In the center was an excited, al-
He motioned toward a little table most frantic man, talking incoherent-
close by, and
silently placed a chair. ly. Folke looked thrice before he rec-
In unquestioning obedience
mute, —
ognized Sandry Sandry, usually so
Folke sat before the table, and, taking calm, now strangely agitated, with
up a pen, wrote unceasingly for more horror written on every line of his
than half an hour. With each added face. At sight of Folke his eyes grew
word the story of his soul journey un- staring.
332 WEIRD TALES
“That queer, ugly little hump- Folke had hitherto borne an excellent
hack?” muttered a man in the group. reputation. A disappointment in love
“ Who'd have thought it?” was thought to have started him on
Folke shrank away, but Sandry ran his downward course. Startling de-
to him. In his hand he gripped a velopments
morning paper. Sharply checking his reading, the
“Kingswell!” he gasped. man with a sudden, violent movement
“What’s the matter?” demanded tore the paper in twain, and cast the
Folke. Ilis very voice startled him, fragments from him.
so strangely resonant was it.
“You are right, Sandry,” he
“Haven’t you heal'd?” cried San- cried, fiercely.
4 4
There is a mistake
dry. “I’m on my way now to the a mistake for which some one will pay
poor fellow’s rooms. I can’t believe dearly.”
it. There must be a mistake a horri- — In sudden alarm, Sandry gripped
ble mistake. And only last night his sleeve.
’ ’
oh, this is awful !
“Don’t do anything rash, Kings-
“What— what is awful?” fairly
well,” he urged.
yelled Folke, his whole frame filled
with sickening suspense. “What is it, “Kingswell!”
man?” The name leapt involuntarily from


Here,


answered Sandry. Folke ’s lips.
lie spread the paper before the “Kingswell,” he muttered, thickly.
other’s eyes, as he did so pointing to Why—?”
an item on the front page; a brief The words he was about to utter
item, but under flaring headlines. died on Ids lips. Swinging half
Folke caught the paper from San- round as he spoke, the terrified ques-
dry’s trembling fingers. His eyes tioner saw, mirrored in the bright
widened with terror and anger as he window of the comer drug store, the
read handsome face and debonair figure of
Philip Kingswell.
PROMINENT CITIZEN KILLED The street seemed whirling. Tot-
IN LOW GAMBLING JOINT tering, the man felt the supporting
strength of Sandry ’s arm.
Shot Down by Opponent in Poker 4
Why, man, cried the orientalist,
4 ’

Game, Victim Is Identified As sympathetically, “you’re ill.”


John Folke— Assailant Makes “No,” came the answer, in a shaky
Escape — Startling Devel- voice. “But, in God’s name, tell me
opments Promised. — who am I?”
Sandry stared as one amazed then ;

The item itself was little more than his amazement merged in a compas-
a repetition of the headlines. At an sion that was tenderly silent. But the
early hour that morning a man had oriental scholar did not need to speak.
been shot down in a gambling den on Intuitively, in the same moment that
Brush Street during a quarrel over a he voiced the frantic question, the
poker game. His slayer had escaped, truth forced itself compellingly upon
but the police had the murderer’s the questioner. Without an answer-
description and were hot upon the ing word from Sandry, he knew that
trail. Through papers found in his when, the night before, Philip Kings-
pockets the victim had been identified well ’s soul returned from its journey,
as John M. Folke, a graduate of the it had, through some terrible mis-
state university and a well known chance, found* refuge in the earthly
scholar, residing in rooms at 279 For- body of John Folke. He knew that
est Avenue. Though a trifle eccentric, he who had hitherto been John Folke
A CHANGELING SOUL

must henceforth dwell body of


in the
Philip Kingswell. The body that had
been his, responsive to the mastery Announcement
of Kingswell ’s soul, had, after leaving
the
Sandry’s rooms, gone to the Brush
Street den in pursuance of a previous
February Number
appointment, to play out its low game of
Had that
to the sudden, tragic end.
body lived, the two might, with Sun-
dry’s aid, have once more exchanged;
WEIRD TALES The Unique Magazine
dead, there could be no changing.
Contains an eldritch devil-tale of
'"T'HE man’s face was deathly white Verdun, the World War, and the
as he gazed at his new image mir- gruesome specters that haunt the
rored in the window. tunnels under Fort Vaux.
Sandry still watched him compas-
sionately.
Whispering Tunnels
“Come, Kingswell,” he urged,
“don’t take Maybe A Complete Novelette
it so to heart. it’s
all a mistake. It must be a mistake. By STEPHEN BAGBY
Folke would never have gone to a
“When the tunnels whisper ,” said
place like that.”
the at Fort Vaux,
French soldiers
He. smiled, grimly. “ someone will die.” Though the
“He was not your kind, Phil. It’s Great War teas over, yet the whis-
all a mistake— a mistake.” per always foretold death. And
The man’s soul seethed with mad, then one night, the friend of the
impotent revolt as lie listened to San- man who hud been proscribed as a
dry’s attempted consolation. To die, traitor to France came to grips
to have the name of dying in such unth the —
Thing and a terrible
ways as that— he was disgraced, un- trisit was made to the devil-ridden
utterably and forever. And Flora — shambles that lay beneath the fort.
what would Flora think 1 Individual- The incredible things that took
ity still struggled, keenly resenting pla-ce there, themalignant entities
the bitter shame of it. loosed by the medieval devil-wor-
shipers, and the gruesome horror
“Come, come,” urged Sandry, con-
that fought for its life, are told in
solingly, “I’m sure it isn’t true.”
this utterly strange novelette.
Then, suddenly, light burst upon
the man: he knew that all he longed In the February Issue
for in the world was his. Henceforth, On Sale January 1
if he must be Philip Kingswell, the
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new Philip Kingswell would be
worthy. And what the soul of John WEIRD TAXES
Folke, the distorted cripple, in the 325 N. Capitol Ave..
Indianapolis, Ind.
old days must have hopelessly longed Enclosed find 25c for a copy of the February
for, that blessing the same soul, new issue, or enclosed find $1.00 and this coupon
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Heedless of Sundry’s astonished panied by this coupon.
stare and wild questionings, the newr
Name ,

Philip Kingswell caught a passing


cai’, bound for the West End bound — Address
City State
for Flora.
The SPECTER PRiSTEJSOF WRIGHTSTONE
bu Herman F! Wriqht

T
the
HE ruins of

their crumbling towers above


dreary Hampton Bog, near
historic
Wrightstone Castle still rear

Manchester, a fast decaying but fitting


old After the death of his father, the
late Count Charles, the eldest son,
young Count Richard of Wrightstone,
decided to leave the fashionable court
and pay a visit to his ancestral home,
memorial to the foul deeds and fiend- which he had never seen. After mak-
ish proceedings that have taken place ing his intentions known, the young
within its bleak walls. The counts of nobleman was astonished by the pecu-
Wrightstone and their families have liar actions of his father’s old and
long since removed to more favorable trusted servants. Young Richard, on
London, abandoning the old ancestral several occasions, had found them
home to gloomy memories. conversing together in low tones and
The following tale was told me by caught his name mingled with that of
old Sir Mandeville Wright, forty-sev- a “priestess” in their mysterious con-
enth count of Wrightstone, as it was versations. They tried in various
related to him by his father, and thus ways to dissuade him from going, and
came the legend down through the when questioned as to their peculiar
centuries from early days in Eng- actions they became quite sullen and
land’s history. silent.

Previous to, and in the early reign Richard, not to be dictated to by


of James I, many strange and weird the servants, determined to see Castle
stories were told among the peasants Wrightstone. Finally the day arrived
of the eastle and its aristocratic own- when he was to leave for the home of
ers,then residing at the court. The his ancestors. Seated inside the
villagers told ofhow a specter horse coach with Scrooge, the old family
bearing a figure in flashing armor butler, while the other servants
pranced before the raised drawbridge. perched on the front and rear outer
Then came the news of Count Charles’ seats, the young man started for the
death at the court by an emissary of castle.
the king. Then the priestess the —
Specter Priestess of Wrightstone, as A FTER several hours of weary trav-
the apparition was termed appeared, — -** el in silence, old Scrooge suddenly
claiming as her victim a poor peasant demanded, “Master Robert, have you
found wandering near the edge of the by any chance ever heard of the druid
bog after dark, priestess of Wrightstone eastle?”
m
THE SPECTER PRIESTESS OB' WR IGHTSTONE 135


• Upon- tiie young map 's negative an- / ha untings of the druid priestess.
swer 5 Scrooge cleared his throat, as
,
True, he had heard a few strange
was his custom when preparing for a tales of his father’s castle, but of the
lepgthy; oration, .and began: “It was •
priestess he had never been told.
always the wish, of Count Charles,- .
:
Though its crude, gray exterior be-
your "father, to keep .froth; you the ‘
,
;
tokened gloom, the bleak walls of
jsppomy secret hohie.
.-
He. * Ms ,;pld Wrightstone hid richly furnished
gt|jfe me ptoipiscL nef
;
to let you rooms, crackling fires ph the large
^u[ of the priestess^.hutii Siuce you ;
.

hearths; and cozy corners hidden by


decided; to visit Wrightstone It . velvet tapestries. The fil’st few weeks
raK tell you for your own welfare.’ were devoted to making the great
,

Jjfdi§fk;ive been told that your grand- rooms- habitable for the reception of
fat?bi\ Sir William, was murdered in the guests,’ and the incident of the
tW- castle, but how or why he was specter and her weird slayings vfere
•"
rifuTffered you never knew. Did you forgotten by the young count for the
ever reflect upon that ? The secret is. .
while.
,--Master Richard, and. I like not to tell
;


^..ydu^-ljp.t, there is a curse upon Wright*

-
i - V".

WiHia-m.. was found lying on


; •
.
- •
.
LATE one evening several weeks
after his arrival at- the castle,
Richard was reading over several old
the? floor of his -study, his heart torn and musty manuscripts in the study,

.

..i’rom.y.his body the worts of- the in which room the dead body of old
,
!pries£ess. The g-ppqpition.is evidently Sir William had been found. The
a1 ,ptt'uifl prjO-stess,. for she carried a blazing logs on the hearth had dwin-
.dnpdical sacrificial knife ip. her hand. dled to mere glowing embers, and the
,
.witti .whi’cli she pierces her victims candles in the massive bronze candela-
ap'd tears out their living hearts. The bra were sputtering and burning low.
.’
fiend ‘has 'haunted the castle for gen- A strange silenee brooded oyer the
erations, and an Old legetid tells that aged structure, and a choking stuffi-
'the ’sflecter 'cAn never be laid Until ness seemed to pervade the room.
two of the heads of the ruling family Richard, annoyed by the choking at-
Of-Wrightstone have sacrificed their mosphere, laid aside the manuscript
-throbbing hearts to her gleaming seal-
:

he was perusing and prepared to rise,


;
pfeL When or how the legend origi-
--

when his eye caught the flashing re-


nated none can tell; suffice it to say flection of the candle light on a pol-
that in my time your grandfather and ished surface before him. Looking
three peasants have died by her fiend- up. he was horrified to behold the
ish hand. specter priestess of the castle standing
“It is for this reason, Master Rieh- before him.
a.rd, that’ I and the servants implored His horror gave way to wonder as
you to forbear from visiting the he gazed upon the beautiful figure
haunted.- castle. I am old. and age that smiled down upon him. A young
brings queer prognostications I fear : girl was the priestess, her golden
[ may live to see a second lord of tresses falling over her shoulders,
Wrightstone meet his end thus. God which were draped in a long, flowing,
forbid!” white robe. Her lips were slightly
With these words Scrooge lapsed parted in a smile, and her blue eyes
into silence, and no amount of ques- seemed to convey a message of fiendish
tioning from Richard could make the triumph: nevertheless they were en-
old man Speak further. By the time trancing and held the young man
the party arrived at the castle Rich- spellbound. In her right hand was
ard fully decided to investigate the grasped a gleaming, crescent-shaped
1'56 WEIRD TALES
knife, while the other hand was con- “No,” answered the nobleman,
cealed in the folds of her robe. slowly shaking his head. “I must
The young count’s tongue clove to —
stay here to see her again. Her eyes
the roof of his mouth, and he sank — they have charmed me, so' filled with
back in the chair exhausted and help- passion. Scrooge, I love the priestess
less. Unconsciousness began to numb and I would die to see her again.”
his senses. lie heard a clear, bell-like “You are bewitched by the fiend!”
voice that seemed to come from far declared the butler, begging the count
away: “Death comes; prepare!” to leave the castle.
Richard awoke just as the first rays After vainly pleading with him, the
of the rising sun streamed across the old man finally left Richard, <

floor of the study. The fire had gone Gathering the other servants,
out, and despite the sunny cheerful- Scrooge told them of the apparition’s
ness, the peculiar coldness that re- appearance (for he knew it to be no
minds one of death hung about the dream) to their young master and sta-
room. tioned them near the study in a vain
The young man recalled vividly the attempt to thwart the curse of im-
dreadful experience of the night be- pending death he believed must come.
fore —
but was it a reality, or merely a Richard finally consented to
dream caused by a creative and wan- Scrooge ’s staying in the study with
dering imagination ? Which -was the him that evening, although he knew
truth the count could not say, for it nothing of the platoon of armed serv-
seemed so vivid, yet so fantastic. He ants without the doors.
would tell Scrooge and get the old As the night gradually wore on,
butler’s advice on the matter. both men began to doze. Once Scrooge
There came a gentle tap on the door awakened to find Count Richard soft-
and Scrooge entered, bearing a break- ly snoring in the great leather chair
fast tray. by the table. Then Scrooge, too, be-
gan to snore.
“Good morning, Master Richard,”
The old butler was awakened by the
began the butler. “How why, what — rays of the sun shining in his facel
is the matter ? Are you ill ? ” lie asked
Yawning and stretching, he arose
in a startled tone when he beheld the
from his cramped position and walked
count’s features.
toward the window. Suddenly he
“I merely had a rather peculiar stopped, his arms outstretched in as-
dream, Scrooge. I shall be all right tonished fear and horror. At his feet
’ ’
in a few minutes. lay the cold body of Count Richard,
“A dream ? —
Not the the priestess, his heart torn from his breast. The
Master Richard?” demanded the old butler gave a cry and fainted beside
man in a startled tone, his ruddy face his dead master. The frightened serv-
becoming suddenly white. ants, hearing the cry, rushed into the
“Yes, Scrooge, the priestess,” re- room and stood horrified about the
plied the count with a peculiar absent pair.
look in his eyes.

I dreamed

or she— The next day the body of Count
really told me, I don’t know which Richard was interred in the family
’ ’
to prepare for death. vault of the counts of Wrightstone by
“My God!” gasped the terrified the village priest. The servants with
Scrooge, dropping the tray. “You Scrooge closed Tip the haunted castle
are marked for death within twenty- and departed for Loudon.
four-hours. Come, we shall leave for The curse of Castle Wrightstone
the palace at once. Leave this ac- w as ended. The specter priestess was
r

’ ’
cursed place, Master Richard ! seen no more, but the descendants of
THE SPECTER PRIESTESS OF WR f GIITST ON 137

Count Richard’s brother, into whose turned over to Sir Ernest Clreystoke, of tin-

hands the castle passed, never dared British Museum, who is of the opinion that
take up their abode within its dreary the skeleton is that of a druid priestess, no
walls. doubt interred alive in the old castle walls.
Strewn around the body and grasped in
jCHNISHING his story, Sir Mande- one hand were found several bits of dried
ville drew from his pocket a clip- flesh, claimed by several physicians of this
ping of the Times of March 24. 1878, city, who examined them, to be human
and handed it to me. It was a short hearts. Dried blood was also spattered about
article and the paper was yellow with near the body.
age. To the living heir of Wright- There lias been a revival of the old su-
stone it conveyed the proof of the perstition of the “Specter Priestess of
curse of his ancient ancestors Wrightstone” among the villagers of this

Manchester, March 24. While removing vicinity, and many are of the opinion that
stones from the ancient ruined structure the skeleton recently unearthed is that of
known as Wrightstone Castle, near here, to the specter priestess, w ho murdered her vic-
be used for building purposes in this city, tims by tearing out their hearts. Tw o of r

several workmen found the skeleton of a the Counts of Wrightstone were supposed
young woman. to have met their deaths at the hands of
The skeleton was draped in a few strands the apparition early in the reign of James
of a decayed white robe. Clutched in the I. The present Count Wrightstone, Sir
bony fingers of one hand was an ancient Mandeville Wright, is now residing at Lon-
druidical sacrificial knife. The body was don.

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SYNOPSIS OF PRECEDING “The men of the high priest have
CHAPTERS. seized the white gods’ friends,” he
I was on my way to join

D RIVEN many explained. ‘

hundreds of miles from


its course by a Caribbean storm, the forces of Duros in the arena, when
I saw a company of the warriors of
the super-airplane carrying Benton, Van
the temple with Walum the high
Otter, Holton and Virginia Hart to Cuban
waters crashes down into the Valley of Tee- priest. I hid in the entryway to the
heemen in South America. The valley is a arena and saw them capture the white
huge volcanic crater from which there is woman, Gala of Teeheemen, and the
but one exit, known only to the high priest white man.”
of The party of Americans
Teeheemen. “The priest has probably taken
rescue several natives who are offered by them to the temple, ’ said Gomo. * He
’ ‘

the inhabitants as sacrifices to the two will place the white man in the tem-
tremendous animals known as the teehee- ple prison, and the white woman and
men, and kill one of them. Then they join Gala may be taken to wife in the tem-
the forces of Duros, who attempts to over- ple.”
throw King Urlus and Walum the high Benton studied for a moment.
priest. After a successful battle, in which “There’s only one course for us to
the firearms of the invaders are used to follow now, Otter,” he said. “We
good advantage, it is learned that Virginia must ally ourselves with Duros and
and Holton have been captured by the forces his fighters in the arena there. If we
of the high priest. can defeat the forces of the king and
high priest, then we shall have a
13 chance to invade the temple and the

W HEN
Benton realized that
Virginia and Holton had dis-
appeared, he thought quickly
of the best course to pursue.
They have probably left to seek a


prison and release Holton and Vir-
ginia.”
“You’re right,” Otter agreed.
“Let’s go, then,” said Benton, fill-
ing the magazine of his rifle.
place of safety,” he remarked to Ot- “The forces of Duros are being
ter. driven back,” announced Gomo, who
A warrior of the Duros forces ap- had been studying the progress of the
proached the three. battle in the arena.
138
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 139

Benton and Otter turned toward The statement of Gomo was rapidly
the battle and saw that what Gomo fulfilled. Guards from the forces that
had said, was true. Though fighting had been battling in the arena quickly
bravely, Duros and his men were out- began to patrol the walls of the place.
numbered and were retreating to the Additional forces began entering and,
south side of the arena. later,droves of wild-appearing cattle
‘‘We can pick off a bunch of those and sheep were driven into the arena.
birds from, here,” Otter suggested; In the chambers under the galleries
"and not run much chance of their the soldiers of Duros established their
getting at us with their spears.” quarters.

Suiting the action to the words, Ot- An hour later a messenger from
ter began firing into a crowd of war- Duros approached Benton.
riors designated by Gomo as follow- “The king-to-be would speak with
ers of Urlus, Benton imitated his ac- the white gods,” the man announced.
tion, and the two rifles began work- “Show us the way,” Benton re-
ing havoc among the Urlus warriors. plied, and the warrior started across
At sound of the reports from the the arena.
rifles,the Duros fighters took new Benton and Otter followed with
courage and. began a counter
terrific Gomo. Across the arena, strewn with
attack upon the followers of Urlus. hundreds of dead, they proceeded to
The latter saw dozens of their most a room in one of the apartments un-
powerful warriors falling without der the stands. The three entered
spear wounds every time the thunder and the warrior remained at the en-
noise came from the gallery where the trywav. Duros was seated on a bench,
two white gods were stationed. surrounded by several of his chief-
Panic began to seize the forces of tains, among whom was Bolga.
Urlus, and the warriors, noting how As the white men entered, Duros
far the white gods could kill, began arose and advanced toward them witli
to retreat. Duros and his men fol- extended hands.
lowed, and the slaughter became ter- “Duros greets the white gods as
rible as the men of Urlus went down brothers,” the chieftain exclaimed.
by hundreds. “The white gods are friends of
’ ‘
In fifteen minutes from the time Duros, Benton returned.

They are

that the men of Urlus began their ready to help him win the city of
retreat, the forces of Duros had Teeheemen from Urlus.”
cleared the arena and its large gal- “Duros believes that such is the
leries, ease,” the chief returned. “Where
‘ 1
The arena is a very valuable place is the other white man and the—
for an army to possess. Gomo ex-’
*
woman?”
plained to' Benton and Otter. “It “They were captured by the war-
has high outer walls like a small city, and have been
riors of the high priest

and an army could hold it for months taken away, Benton explained.
'

with sufficient food supplies. Young Duros was silent for a few mo-
Duros will hold it with his men. They ments.
will drive hundreds of cattle into the “They have probably been re-
arena and bring feed to keep them turned to the prison or the temple.
here so that they can withstand a It is to those places that we must,
long siege and not know hunger. It send our spies to learn how we may
was part, of the plans of Duros to best capture them. The king’s palace
seize the arena first. That would give is another place that Duros desires to
him a mighty fortification in the heart capture. With the temple, prison and
of the city.” palace in his possession also, Duros
140 WEIRD TALES
will have little trouble in being pro- our rifles and other weapons here, for
claimed king.” to attempt to carry them would arouse
“We will help you,” Benton as- suspicion at once.”
sured him. “We are very anxious to
rescue our friends from the temple T)ENTON and Otter turned their
or wherever they may be. There is
only one thing that the white men
^ riflesover to Duros, who in turn
handed them to two of his men with
ask in return for their services, and instructions that they should not leave
that is that they be- permitted to leave the thunder sticks until their owners
the valley of Teeheemen in peace called for them. Awarrior was dis-
through the passageway of the moun- patched to bring the damrock stain
tains known only to the high priest. ’ ’
for the white men.

There is the great difficulty, said
‘ ’

Benton and Otter seated them-
Duros. “The passageway secret is selves. With Gomo they began plan-
known to none other than the high ning their campaign for the coming
priest. If, when we capture the city night.
from the high priest and Urlus, the “The temple of Teeheemen,” Gomo
passageway can be found, then the informed them, “is guarded by a com-
white gods shall depart through it in- pany of the best warriors of the city.
to the land of the hereafter. I have They are allowed only in the outer
said that I need spies. Gomo is a courts. Only the high priest and his
crafty man and would make a good guards have access to the inner
spy. Will Gomo go to learn the se- shrines and the sacrificial room. There
crets of the temple and its fortifica- are six maidens of the sacrificial
tions?” shrine who wait upon the priest. They
“I will go,” Gomo replied. are the ones you saw carrying the

And I will go with him, ’ asserted
‘ ’
statues of the teeheemen on the ped-
Benton. ‘ I must find the place where

estals, when we were called before
the white woman and white man have the king upon our arrival here.”
been taken.” “How may we obtain access to the
Duros smiled with pleasure at Ben- outer courts?” Benton asked. “If
ton ’s announcement. the temple has sliding doors such as
The white man will be successful,
‘ ‘
the other public buildings, we shall
I know,” he asserted confidently. have a difficult time getting inside.
“You must count me in on that Our chief object must be to find Vir-
deal, too,” Otter asserted. “I want ginia and Holton and release them
to get a crack at that guy they call from their captivity. How are the
Walum.” doors operated, Gomo?”
“Three of my men have also volun- ‘

That is a secret known only to the
teered,” Duros continued. “Tonight adherents of the temple.”
they start. The white brothers must “We must find out the secret of
change their color. Duros will send their operation, if possible. I believe
for some of the stain of the damrock. that we can gain entrance to the tem-
It is the color of themen of Teehee- ple by prying the grating from one of
men. They can put the stain on their the roof windows, of which there must
faces and dress in the same kinds of be a large number. We can let our-
skins as the men of Teeheemen.” selves into the place with a rope or
“That’s a good suggestion,” said leather thong. I wonder what Duros
Benton, “for it solves a problem that will take as his next move toward de-
I have been trying to determine. In throning Urlus. The latter still must
disguise, as you have suggested, we retain a powerful hold on the city.
ought to be able to get to the temple, Duros possesses, as I understand, one
and probably into it. We
will leave of the chief places of refuge for of-
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 141

fensive and defensive purposes: the “We shall be offered in theTemple


arena where we now are.” of Teeheemen as sacrifices upon the
*
Duros will spy for some time upon

altar,” Gala averred stoically. “Wa-
Urlus,” said Gomo. “When he is lum is angered. He will sprinkle our
ready to strike he will do so with great life blood upon the images of the
swiftness. Urlus has been defeated beasts engraved on the face of the
in battle, and for a time at least he altar and pour it also upon the waters
will remain in safety behind the great
of the river of the temple where it
“walls- of his castle on the side of the
departs from the valley into the base
-city. where the sun rises."
of the mountain, near the sacrifice
•i U'Wii not many of Urlus’ follow-
room. The white sister of Gala can
ers desert him and ebfne to Duros,
save herself in only one manner and
since the latter has* been victorious in
that is by yielding to the desires of
the: first encounter ?” Benton queried,
the priest.”
w: 'ft Many have done so this day,”
Gomo replied. “Then I will gladly die.” Virginia
'/The » hf temoon passed and asserted with determination.
late in
evening the messenger returned
tftfe Night came and passed, and 'no food
bearing the damrock stain and two was brought to the prisoiie'rs. The

trappings fashioned’ from the skins of •two young women spent much of the.
•tmirrials Such as the other Warriors of time in Speculation' on the outcome
Tefeheerhen wore.' Benton and Otter of the battle in the afena.
'
immediately begaii putting on their /‘If the' forces' of Duros were vic-
''
’-'disguises.’ torious,” Gala asserted, “there is
‘ ,T
l n half* an’
-
hour they were ready some hope of being rescued from
for" ‘the "night adventure, that con-
3
Waluin.”'
fronted them'. Durds expressed him- Morning came again, and the. rest-
pleased with their disguise.
self' ’well' less slumber into, which they had
“YOu will deceive any of the
'
fallen was disturbed by the rolling
’ guards;” he assured them “and since :
aside of the stone door. Virginia
"you speak our language so well, you •shrank as she beheld the powerful

c&ii obtain a 1st of information that form of Banrup. the guard. The lat-
Duros needs. Before you go, let us ter’s face showed unmistakable signs
eat.” •

of the rough treatment it had received


'A' warrior was sent for food, and at the hands of Otter during the bat-
returned shortly with a quantity suffi- tle in the arena. Two of the warriors

blent for the party. The men ate in from the temple accompanied Ban-
silence, Benton and Otter thinking rup.
what course to pursiie but unable to “The white woman and Gala -will
plan definitely, for they little knew
come with Banrup.” he commanded.
What dangers they were to encounter “The high priest has ordered that
before the sun should rise again.
you shall view the morning sacrifice
in the temple of Teeheemen. Then
14
perhaps the white woman will con-
sent to become the wife of Walum.

'\X7'HEN the door closed on the re-
» ’ tiring form of the wrathful high Virginia and Gala followed the
priest of Teeheemen, Virginia turned giant, rather than offer resistance.
to Gala. The white girl dreaded the thought
“ We must get out of this place.” of his hands being placed upon her.
she said. “X am certain that unless The two w arriors followed after the
r

we make our escape some terrible fate three to frustrate any effort of the
’ ’
is in store for us. two girls to escape.
142 WEIRD TALES
In tha main court of the prison the victims are thrown after they are
party was joined by three more war- offered upon the altar to the beasts.”
riors, who were accompanying Hol-
ton. The latter was still bound and ' I 'HE blast of a trumpet sounded
his wrists were swollen where the from an adjoining corridor. In a
cords cut into the flesh. short time the royal procession of
The procession moved from the King Urlus entered the chamber.
main court into an adjacent corridor The king always attends the sacri-

ficial ceremonies,” said Gala.


and proceeded for several hundred
Several warriors entered shortly
yards until it halted before a wall.
from the corridor through which Vim
Banrup rapped against the obstruc- ginia and Holton had come from the
tion, and in a few seconds a panel in
prison. They were pulling and half
the masonry slid to one side. The ad- carrying a young girl with them.
vance then continued into an adjoin- “She is to be offered to Teeheemen
ing corridor, which was followed for on the altar,” explained Gala.
another fifty yards before it opened “Is there no way we can save her?”
into an immense chamber. Virginia pleaded, turning to Holton.
As the procession entered the lat- Holton shook his head.
ter place, Virginia and Holton de- The six maidens who were carriers
1

tected the continuous roar of water of the pedestals of teeheemen then


as apparently to a great depth.
it fell, took the victim. They seized her and
In the faint light that filtered through immediately began stripping the trap-
the overhead gratings, Virginia and pings from her body. While they were
Holton glanced about them. so engaged, the high priest and Ban-
‘'The sacrificial room of the temple rup entered. A woman, old and bent',
of Teeheemen, ” Gala explained. accompanied them.
Virginia and Holton, as their eyes “She is the head wife of the tem-
became accustomed to the faint light, ple,” Gala informed, indicating the
began to distinguish the objects bent old hag. “She has been in the
around them. At the opposite side of temple during the reign of many high
priests. She taps the bodies of the vic-
the room was constructed a large altar
fashioned from stone of snowy white- tims and draws their blood while the
high priest catches it in a vessel and
ness. On the front of the altar were
engraved three images of the beasts pours it over the images of teeheemen
teeheemen. engraved on the face of the altar. .

. The maiden who had been selected


To the left of the altar, the wall of
for the sacrifice was disrobed by the
the sacrifice room opened to the outer
six young women of the temple. Still
world and the two discovered the
struggling, she was carried to the top
source of the continuous roar that
of the altar by them and securely fas-
tilled the place. The river of Teehee- tened. Several bands connected, to
men touched the Avails of the temple the top of the structure were strapped
on the open side with its waters. At a
"around each of her limbs. Another
point some twenty steps from the al-
passed just above the hips and anoth-
tar the river entered the base of the
er at a point below the breasts. A
mountain, falling with a roar like heavy band strapped about the neck
Niagara into the abyss that led to its held the head almost motionless.
subterranean exit from the Valley of The high priest picked up the stone
Teeheemen. bowl indicated by Gala for gathering
“The priest Walum sprinkles blood the blood of the victim. The hag
upon the waters each day, ” said Gala; drew from her clothing a long knife
“and into the river the bodies of the with a rieedlelike point. She made an
THE VALEEV OF TEEHEEMEN 14::

incision first in the thigh of the victim The door of the chamber opened
and the high priest caught the blood. slowly. Banrup entered and stood
The hag, as Walum was thus occu- before the two women.
pied, placed her hand over the mouth “I come.” he stated, “as a messen-
of the girl on the altar to muffle her ger from the high priest. One more
screams. offer Walum makes to the white wom-
Walum sprinkled blood from the an to become his wife. If she refuses
bowl over the faces of the images of she shall suffer the fate of the girl you
the beasts on the front of the altar. saw offered to Teeheemen on the altar
Then lie' advanced to the edge of the of the temple this morning. What is

river where it emptied into the abyss.


your answer?”
Virginia was stoical as she an-
“Eternal river of Teeheemen,” swered calmly, “I may die, but the
Walum chanted, “bear upon thy hands of Walum shall never defile
waters to the spirits of our departed my body. Tell Walum that if I die
brothers in the land of the hereafter
he shall die at the same time.”
the warm life blood of one of our be-
As Virginia gave her answer she
ings. May this offering appease the
recalled the revolver still resting in
wrath of the beasts of Teelieemeu and
the holster attached to the belt about
may they not destroy the lives of our
her waist. The high priest ’s men had
warriors who go forth to hunt in the
’ ’ taken her rifle when they seized her
forests.
in the gallery of the arena but had
At
the conclusion of his appeal to not investigated the holster attached
the stream, Walum poured the re- to her belt.
maining blood upon the water at his “Then the white woman must die
feet. The hag removed her hands on the altar of the temple of Teehee-
from the victim and made a second in- men in the morning,” Banrup an-
cision in one of the arms. The third nounced. Without further conversa-
and fatal one was made in the large tion he withdrew from the chamber,
vein of the neck. and once more the stone door slid
At the repetition of the terrible across the opening.
sight Virginia felt her senses leaving “If I am to die in the morning,”
her. She remembered hearing Holton Virginia soliloquized, “I must shoot
call to Gala to support her, and then Walum before his maidens seize me
all became darkness. to prepare my body for sacrifice. Once
When she regained consciousness, my revolver is wrested from me then
she was back in the chamber in the I am helpless, and if I must slay a
prison. Gala was still with her. man, then Walum shall be the one to
’ ’
die.
“I must have fainted,” she said.
“Ilow horrible it all was
r
What a !
15
hideous nightmare!”
A FULL moon was rising above the
“It was terrible,” Gala admitted. city ofTeeheemen when Otter,


Can you blame our more enlightened Benton and Gomo, accompanied by
people for rebelling against such a the three spies of the followers of Du-
horrible practise? Better to have ros, left the arena and walked through
no god than one who demands such the streets toward the district where
horrible tributes The girl they sacri-
!
the palace of King Urlus and the tem-
ficed was one of the disbelievers in the ple of Teeheemen with its attending
Teeheemen gods. She was sacrificed in prison were situated.
the temple, as she preferred to meet “We must enter the temple to-
death there rather than be taken to night, ’ ’ said Benton. * 1 At least a cou-
the woods where the animals live.” ple of us should remain with the outer
144 WEIRD TALES
guards and there learn the place there are several keeping watch here
where Holton and Virginia are eon- tonight.
’ 5

lined.” Gomo’s warning was timely. The


"The temple is yonder,” Gomo in- three had crouched low in the shadow
dicated, pointing to a high wall with of one of the towers when a gigantic
several towers projecting toward the warrior approached from the opposite
moonlit sky. side of the temple. The three flat-
A warning was sounded by the tened themselves on the roof.
three spies of Duros, who were in the "We must dispose of this fellow if
lead. The conversation ceased, and we expect to get. into the temple from
soon the six encountered a number of the roof,

said Benton. ‘ Let him ap-

'

the warriors of Urlus. proach, and we can down him before


The latter addressed the members be can give warning of our presence.”
of the party and made inquiry as to The warrior walked toward the
whether they had battled against the place where the three lay. He halted
Duros forces in the arena during the for a time near the outer edge of the
afternoon conflict. wall. Gomo, as noiseless as a gigantic
The spies, to avoid any unnecessary snake, began wriggling his way across
conversation, denied that they had the roof toward the spot where the
been anywhere near the arena during guard stood.
the time of the battle. Benton and Otter saw their big
The warriors seemed satisfied, for companion suddenly leap from his po-
they began moving on. What they sition and bear the guard to the roof.
apparently were searching for was A muffled outcry escaped the throttled
someone who had taken part in the warrior and then all was silence, for
;

conflict following the games. Gomo had driven his knife deep into
“The best side of the place to the heart of his adversary.
mount the wall will be the one where Benton and Otter crawled toward
the sun sets,” Gomo advised. “The Gomo.
shadow of the wall will protect us.” “We must look for a window grat-
The suggestion was followed and ing and get into the temple,” said
the six men halted on the western Benton. »

side of the temple of Teeheemen.


“There is one near the body of the
guard,” said Gomo, and he crawled
The three warriors began forming
toward the designated spot, with Ot-
a human pyramid in an effort to scale
ter and Benton following.
the wall. Benton was told to climb
At the grating the three peered in-
upon them, and when he had done so
to the darkness below.
he could touch with his hands the
lower comer of the stone cornice of
“What do you suppose i» under
us?” Benton queried in a whisper.
the building.
“I would say that it is one of the
With a great effort he pulled him- outer courts of the temple used and
selfup and got upon the roof. Otter ’
occupied by the warriors, Otter sug-

followed, and then came Gomo. The gested.


other three remained at the base of “We must get into it,” Benton
the wall. continued, “while the night is here.”
The three on the roof proceeded at Gomo began digging and cutting
once to investigate their surround- at the grating with his knife. After
ings. constant sawing for half an hour, one
“Be careful,

’ Gomo advised. ‘
' Gen- of the bars holding the main part of
erally a guard is kept on the roof the grating in position was cut
of the temple, and it is possible that through. The three men, with their
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 145

combined strength,then lifted the Gomo nodded in the darkness, but


grating and bent it back from the remained silent.
opening which it covered. The three advanced cautiously,
“Hist,” Gomo warned, and the with Gomoleading. They passed un-
three paused, breathless. noticed into the room ahead, which
A warrior bearing a torch entered was occupied by some hundred war-
the chamber below and passed" riors. Keeping together they sat down
through. The three on the roof got a in a dark corner, where they might
glimpse of the room. listen and still have a good chance of
“It is the armor room of the tem- avoiding detection.
ple,” said Gomo. “In there the high The conversation among the guards
priest keeps his arms and extra weap-
was mostly regarding the battle in the
ons for the warriors of the temple.” arena. Only a few of them had par-
“Let us drop in there at once,” ticipated in the conflict. One of the
Benton suggested. chiefs was doing a lot of loud boast-
Gomo produced a strip of leather ing and the attention of the three was
rope some twenty feet in length. He attracted to his words.
lowered the line into the chamber be-
low /md fastened the end to the bent
“Had Vedos been in the battle, the
forces of Urlus would have been vic-
grating,
torious,” he boasted. “Has not Vedos
“The chances are that the line will
been made chief of the forces of the
not be discovered for some time,”
warriors of the temple of Teeheemen
said Benton. “We can get into the
because of his ability to fight?”
place and mingle v ith the other war-
T

riors of the guard.” “But the white gods spread terror


and death among the men of Urlus,”
rT'*HE down interposed a lesser chieftain near the
three slid the rope into
the darkness of the chamber. boasting Vedos. “They used their
They began groping their way about thunder sticks, say the men who bat-
in the darkness, keeping close to- tled there, and billed with them at a.
gether. distance completely across the arena.”
Otter struck a match at the risk of Vedos was flabbergasted for a mo-
detection on the part of anyone who ment by the statement of his fellow;
might be in the armory. The place then he proceeded.
was empty with the exception of “Why did not the men of Urlus
stacks of spears and other weapons. capture the two white gods? Walum
The light- of the flickering match re- and part, of our guardsmen took the
vealed a corridor leading from the white woman and the other white
place. man. They are but flesh and blood,
“Take a spear,” Gomo advised. just like us. Tomorrow Walum will
“Then we can better fool the war- draw the blood from the veins of one
riors of the temple. Our task will be of the captive maidens in the prison
easy tonight, but tomorrow it will be of Teeheemen. He will show the white
difficult to avoid detection.” man and woman how it is done. He
The three armed themselves from will give the white wmman her choice.
the piles of weapons, and then ad- She shall either become a wife of the
vanced to the exit. They followed the temple, or else Walum will draw her
corridor and soon detected the flick- blood to be poured upon the sacred
ering light of a torch in the near dis- images of the head of teeheemen.”
tance. The sound of many voices Benton shuddered.
reached their ears. “We must save her,” he whispered
“One of the main rooms occupied to Otter, “even if it takes our own
by the warriors,” Benton speculated. lives. Gomo must make his escape
146 WEIRD TALES
from the temple through the armor and they engaged in no conversation.
room and tell Duros. ’ ’
Their appearance excited no comment
“If Duros and a thousand of his on the part of the warriors of the tem-
men can come tomorrow night they ple, for there were at least five hun-
can enter the temple, just as we have dred men quartered in the various
done, and overpower the guards and outer rooms of the place, and new re-
the men in here and rescue Virginia cruits must have been added every
and Holton. Once we destroy the day to replace the ones killed in battle
high priest and his close followers, or in the service of the temple in the
then there is little danger of Holton forests of the valley.
and Virginia meeting death in the The two men tried to explore the
prison until we can enter and take various corridors and courts whenever
them out,” said Benton. opportunity would permit. A large
Homo will go and report to Duros

number of warriors passed through
and tell him of the plan and how best one of the rooms, and they fell into
to enter the temple,” the native an- line with them. The company marched
nounced in a low tone. along one of the corridors until a wall
He rose to his feet and left the large was reached. It was at this point that
chamber. The big fellow followed the Benton and Otter saw two men leave
passageway leading toward the ar- the ranks.
mory. Once in the latter room he lo- Two panels were removed, and one
cated the rope by the moonlight man entered each opening. Then the
streaming into the place. panels were replaced.
Gomo listened intently before be- The obstruction in the pathway of
ginning his climb to the outside. Then the company began slowly sliding
he began to draw himself hand over aside, and the men passed on to one
hand toward the upper window. A of the larger outer rooms, where they
half dozen feet separated him from remained quartered for the remainder
the opening and he paused a moment of the day and the following night.
to rest. With a final effort he pro- “We have at least solved the mys-

ceeded and gained the opening. tery of the sliding stone doors, ’ Ben-
Grasping the grating he began emerg- ton remarked to Otter when they were
ing on to the roof. seated in a corner of the room they
As Gomo made his exit from the had just entered.
arsenal room on to the roof, a half
“Yes,” Otter agreed. “A man in
dozen waiting warriors leapt from the the walls, which are hollow at the
shadows of a tower near by. doorways, pushes or pulls the doors
A terrific battle ensued. Gomo shut and open. I believe that we
threw one of his antagonists bodily might get into one of those walls and
over the wall to the street below. The open an outside door if we just could
other five leapt upon him and bore find the location.”
him, battling bravely, to the roof. In Several warriors for a time excited
a short time they had bound him and the fears of the two that they had
carried him away to become a prisoner been detected. They glanced toward
in the temple prison. Otter and Benton a number of timfes
and then passed on to the other side
16 of the room.
“I was afraid those galoots were
T) ENTON and Otter spent the night going to spot us,” whispered Otter.
in the main room with the other ‘ ‘
Our disguise is mighty good,
warriors of the temple. When the though,” Benton assured him. “In
morning came they were careful not another three hours the forces of
to mingle too closely with the others, Duros should be marching toward this
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 147

place — if Gomo has been successful in “We couldn’t carry them without
making liis return trip.” at once attracting attention. I don’t
Darkness began to fill the chamber know how good I may prove to be
again. Torches were lighted, and Ot- with a spear, but I ’m going to make it
ter and Benton ate with the other a point, if I get into the inner shrine
warriors of the place. The meal had of this place, to get close enough to
scarcely been completed when Vedos, the high priest to knock him for a
the commander in chief of the temple goal.”
forces, entered. His announcement 17
was a blow to the plans of Otter and
Benton.
“Guards of the temple of Teehee-
T HE night passed, and at dawn
the company ate again. The hour
for marching to the sacrificial shrine
men,” he announced in a loud voice
arrived. The company fell into line
that echoed through the adjoining
and marched from the room. Through
corridors, “there are spies about the
what seemed a quarter of a mile of
temple of Teeheemen. One of them
corridors they tramped before the de-
was captured last night as he attempt-
tachment finally halted before the
ed to leave the temple through the
sliding door covering the entrance in-
window in the roof of the armory. Be
to the temple. The men of the van-
on your guard lest the forces of Duros
guard rapped on the panels at the
be upon us. In the morning all are
sides. The big stone door slid aside,
to march
to the inner shrine of the
exposing to their view the great au-
sacrificial chamber. The high priest
ditorium of the inner shrine of the
has proclaimed that all in his temple
temple with its sacrificial altar, and
shall view the sacrifice of the coming
bearing to the ears of the men the
morning. The white woman has re-
roaring of the water leaving through
fused to wive with the high priest,
the subterranean exit.
and in the morning he will draw her
The company was the first to enter
blood with his own hands and pour it
upon the altar and the sacred heads
the inner shrine. A
short time
elapsed before another band of the
of teeheemen, so that all within his
temple warriors entered. These were
temple may see that the white faces
followed in turn by other companies,
are not greater than the gods of tee-
until Benton estimated that there
heemen. ’ ’

must be five hundred or more in the


The announcement of Vedos struck place.
Benton with dismay. Benton and Otter crowded toward
‘ ‘
Gomo
has failed, ’ ’ he said to Otter the altar with the members of the
in an undertone. “We are virtually company with whom they had en-
prisoners in this place, and Duros has tered. The trumpet of the king’s ret-
not been notified of our plan.” inue sounded in the corridor from
“It looks like a bad situation,” Ot- which the different detachments had
ter admitted. “These birds will be entered the inner shrine. The royal
on the watch for anything out of the party entered shortly, and Benton
way here, since they captured Gomo and Otter watched them closely as
leaving their armory.” they came into the shrine and as-
“Yes, we will have to be careful. sumed their positions close to the altar
I have made up my mind to get the of Teeheemen.
high priest if it’s the last thing I While the scenes in the inner shrine
’ ’
ever do on earth. were being enacted, Virginia Hart
“You’ll have a fat chance,” said and Gala in the prison were waiting
Otter. “You haven’t even got your the arrival of the guards who would
revolver with you.” lead them to the temple. Virginia
148 WEIRD TALES
hoped that something might occur to “The maidens of the temple will
delay the carrying out of the plans of prepare the sacrifice for the altar,”
Walum and that through the delay Walum commanded, fixing his eyes
sho might yet he saved. upon Virginia. ‘
The high priest will

Her hopes were soon doomed to


last draw the blood of the sacrifice him-
disappointment. The doorway of the self. Banrup is this day named to
prison chamber opened and three war- succeed Walum when the latter dies
riors of the temple entered. as priest of the temple of Teeheemen.
“The time for sacrificing to teehee- Banrup will hold the bowl and gather
men is at hand,” one of them an- the blood of the sacrifice. ’ ’
nounced. “Will the white woman The six maidens of the temple
walk, or must the warriors of the high seized Virginia before she could draw
priest cany her?” her- revolver from its holster. They
“I’ll walk,” Virginia replied brave- began removing her clothing and tore
ly.
*

Let not the warriors of the high the belt with its accompanying holster
priest Walum
lay their hands upon
from her body.
the white woman, or they will surely Holton strained at his bonds but
'

die.” realized that he was physically unable


“Gala shall witness the death of her to render any aid.
friend on the altar,” one of the war- “Let the white man die in the place
riors announced, turning to the native of the white woman,” he urged, ad-
girl. “Come.” dressing Walum.
The party proceeded from the Walum gazed craftily for a moment
prison chamber and passed through at Holton as lie sharpened the point
the corridor until the main court of of the sacrificial knife.
the prison was reached. Here they “The white man is brave,” Walum
were joined by Holton, who by decree ‘
admitted, but the gods of Teeheemen

of the head of the temple had been must be appeased. The white man
ordered to view the death of Virginia. has found favor, however, in the sight
Holton’s arms w ere pinioned behind
r
of the teeheemen. He shall be offered
his back with leather thongs, and two also on the altar instead of in the
guards were stationed at either hand. woods to the beasts themselves.”
“I am powerless to help,” Holton “That must be a lot of consola-
spoke. “I will gladly die in your tion,” Otter muttered to Benton as
stead, Virginia. Why not marry the the latter gradually made his way to
high priest for the time being and where Holton was standing.
save yourself from this miserable Otter little surmised what action
death?” Benton was intending to take.
“I would prefer to die than suffer The disrobing of Virginia had
such indignities,” replied the girl, about been completed. The girl of-
and Holton was amazed at her calm- fered no resistance to the action of
ness. the maidens of the temple in remov-
The command was given to move ing her clothing, as she seemed stupe-
forward and the party left the main fied by the fact that she was face to
court and entered the corridor leading face with a horrible death.
toward the temple. The wall of the “Place the sacrifice upon the al-
latter placewas reached and the stone tar,” Walum commanded.
door rolled aside. The six maidens lifted Virginia
In the sacrificial room Virginia and strapped her into position. Wa-
viewed the ranks of warriors lined up lum with his sacrificial knife advanced
about the altar. They gazed with in- to the altar. Ho prepared to make
tense interest at the young woman. the first incision in the girl’s thigh.
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 149

“Had you not insulted the gods of her naked shoulders, and viewed with
Teeheemen by refusing to live in the terror the scene enacted before her.
temple with their priest,” Walum In imitation of Benton she emptied
spoke before making the incision, her revolver into the horde rushing
“you might have lived in happiness upon them.
for thousands of suns. As it is, you By sheer force of numbers the Avar-
now must cover the images of the gods riors of the temple o\r erpoAvered the
of Teeheemen with your life blood.” three,men and bound them. Vedos
Walum drew back the sacrificial advanced to the altar and addressed
knife. the company.
As the priest spoke, Benton stepped “The high priest of the temple is
quickly to the rear of Holton. Otter dead,” he said, “and Banrup the
then realized the object of his action. mighty has fallen. Vedos is next in
He saw Benton reach for Holton’s command and by the laws of Teehee-
and draw the police positive.
holster men is the logical successor to the po-
The arm of Walum never made its sition of high priest of the temple of
forward thrust.The report of the Teeheemen. What say the Avarriors
thirty-eight broke the deathlike still- of the temple? Let all Avho wish
ness. Vedos for high priest of Teeheemen
Benton’s aim was unerring. Walum raise their spears.”
fell before the altar, his brain pierced Hundreds of spears went into the
by the bullet. His life blood spattered air.
upon the faces of the images graven “Thewarriors of the temple have
upon the front of the altar. Banrup, spoken,” Vedos announced. “From
holding the blood bowl, reached for noAV on Vedos shall pass judgment
the knife in the hands of Walum but greater than that of the king of Tee-
fell with a bullet through his brain heemen. No more will he battle at
from the same gun. the head of his warriors. Vedos calls
Confusion reigned for a time and for vengeance for the death of Walum
Otter and Benton took quick advan- and Banrup. It is his order that the
tage of it. Otter cut Holton’s bonds white faces be taken to the airless
and the latter rushed to the side of chamber and placed therein until they
the altar and took the weapons of are dead. Let them be taken at once
Banrup from his body. Benton from the sacred shrine of Teeheemen
rushed to the altar and cut the thongs and placed in the smother chamber
’ ’
that held Virginia to the top of the of the temple.
structure, and cast the robe of the A
score of warriors moved forward
tlead high priest about her. Virginia and seized the three Avhite men. Vir-
recovered her clothing and took the ginia gathered her clothing under her
revolver from the belt in her holster. arm as the Avarriors moved tOAvard
The panic in the temple among the her. Still garbed in the long robe of
warriors quickly changed as the com- the high priest, she was led with her
manding voice of Vedos rang out. three companions from the shrine
“Overpower the white faces!” he along a corridor leading through in-
ordered. tense darkness.
The three men fought off their an-
tagonists for several minutes. Benton
emptied into the charging mob
the revolver he had taken from Hol-
THE party halted after some hun-
dred yards of the corridor had
been traversed. In the darkness they
ton, while Otter and Holton gave a could hear a door sliding aAvay. They
good account of themselves Avith their were led into a chamber, and then the
primitive weapons. Virginia crouched, Avarriors Avithdrew. The four listened
with the robe of the high priest about and heard the door closing upon them.
150 WEIRD TALES

The smother chamber,” said Ben-
' of the walls to place an explosive.
ton. Do you realize what we are up
4 4
When changed my costume to this
I
against?” disguise I slipped a couple of my
Holton answered. “A regular black patent bombs into the folds of the
hole of Calcutta on a small scale. We skin shirt. I have carried them with
can live in here until the air is ex- me ever since we left the plane in the
hausted then we shall all die of suffo-
:
forest. Until now I have never found

cation.” a place where I was perfectly willing


4
There is one consolation, if such a
*
to try them. It is the last chance, and
thing is to be found under such cir-
if you are all willing I am now ready
to attempt to blast our way from this
cumstances,” said Virginia; “and
place.”
that is that I shall die with my ‘
*
Better to die in an explosion than
friends. I must release you, since they ’
for want of air, Otter remarked.

neglected to bind me.” ‘ 4


This corridor has a sharp turn in
Virginia with some difficulty re- it,” Benton continued. “I will place
leased Benton, and the two in turn the bomb if I can find a desirable
unbound Holton and Otter. crevice. You can all get back of the
“If we had a light in here we might turn in the chamber and be protected
guess what we are to do,” said Ben- from the back-fire of the explosive.
ton. The action of the explosive used in
“I have a dozen or more matches the construction of the bomb is
with me,” Otter informed them. “I against the object of impact.”
carried them with me to use in the “It is our only chance.” Holton
temple when I changed to this skin agreed, and Virginia also expressed
’ *
outfit. her willingness for Benton to make
“Light one and let us see where we the attempt.
are,” Befiton commanded. “Light a match. Otter,” Benton
As the small light flared up, the commanded, “and we will get busy,
four got a glimpse of their surround- for time is precious.”
ings. The chamber was apparently Otter lighted the partially burned
an air-tight vault hewn in the side of torch. Benton began studying the
the granite of the mountain. In size walls.
it resembled a continuation of the “This has the appearance of ma-
corridor through which they had en- sonry here,” Virginia called.
tered. and it receded for about a hun- The men rushed to her and found
dred feet. At a distance of fifty feet that she was correct, for pieces of
from the entrance it made an abrupt "mortar in several places were crum-
curve almost at a right angle. bling. They broke off a piece of the
Holton leaned over and picked an torch, and with it Benton dug per-
object from the floor as Otter's match sistently in an effort to remove more
went out. of the mortar and fashion a place for
“An old piece of a torch.” he said, planting his bomb. Virginia stood at,
passing his hands over the object. “It his side and held the torch.
was probably placed in here at one “It is our last chance.” she said.
4
time to hasten the destruction of the ‘
One in a thousand. ’

oxygen of the chamber for other vic- Benton glanced at her for a mo-
tims of royal wrath.” ment. She had donned her clothing
“We can use it,” said Benton. in the darkness before the torch had
“Doing so means a shorter time to been lighted, but still carried the robe
live,” Holton argued. of the high priest about her shoulders.
“But we must use it,” Benton in- He noted how she had changed during
sisted. “We mustfind a place in one the past few days. Her face was care-
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 151

worn from the experiences


terrible into the base of the adjoining granite
through which she had recently of the mountain blown to pieces, -apd
passed. She noted his glance and a huge rent appeared in the wall.
smiled encouragingly. Duros was near the place at the
“Gamest of women,” Benton solilo- time and witnessed what to him was
quized to himself, ‘
changed from a
‘ a strange phenomenon. He was quick
girl to a woman in a few weeks.” to interpret its meaning.

Holton, glaeing about the floor of “A breach!” he called to his fol-


the chamber, found a round stone.
lowers.
*
A breach The white gods

!

have destroyed the Avails of the temple


“A real find,” he called. ‘
Here’s
of Teeheemen.”
a hammer for you, Benton.”
A thousand Avarriors rushed toAA ard 7

The latter seized the stone and beat the breach


' and began making their
at the masonry before him. sense A way through the corridoi*s leading
of drowziness began to seize upon the about within the great structure of
members of the party. the temple of Teeheemen. Terrific
‘‘The air is becoming foul,” said battles ensued for possession of the
Holton. “What we do must be done various courts, and Duros and his
hurriedly.” men were victorious. Gradually they
“All of you retire to a place beyond cleared the temple and captured its
the curve of the chamber,” Benton many chambers and shrines.
ordered. “I must place the bomb
soon.” 18
With a last blow from the stone he
chipped a large piece from the spot
atwhich he had been working. THE first thing that Benton
called AAr as the odor of fresh air
delicious fresh air, perfumed Avith the
re-

“Give me the torch, Virginia,”


The girl handed him the light, and odor of green vegetation. His mind
with Holton and Otter retired behind began to function slowly, and then
the curve in the chamber. he began recalling the events of the
Benton placed the bomb in the hole past feAv days. He wondered if it
he had fashioned in the masonry. He were not all a dream. Finally every-
adjusted the trigger and set it to ex- thing came back to him. From the
plode in thirty seconds. He released spot Avhere he Avas lying he could look
the safety and rushed back through into the distance through the corri-
the chamber until he was around the dor and see the sunshine and feel the
curve where his three companions fresh air.
were waiting. “The bomb worked,” he mused to
For a second Benton crouched. Vir- himself. “It stunned me and the
ginia placed her hand upon his shoul- others — ’ ’

der and then a stunning report, that He turned his head to one side and
seemed to drive the air in the cham- recognized Otter. The latter was still
ber through their brains crashed in. breathing and so Avas Holton.
the place. Then all was blank.

And Virginia, he Avondered ; “is
*

Huge pieces of masonry were hur- she dead?”


tled into the air surrounding the tem- He turned around and saw the face
ple of Teeheemen. A
horde of Duros’ of the girl close to his OAvn on the floor
warriors besieging the outside of the of the chamber. Her stillness alarmed
walls of the temple were thrown from him.
their feet and scores were injured by “She must be dead,” he said.
a shower of small stones falling upon With an effort lie raised himself on
their heads. They saw a portion* of one arm and touched her brow. A
the outer walls of the temple that ran noise attracted his attention. There
152 WEIRD TALES
in the entryway created by the explo- he drove the blade of the wea'pon into
sion stood a gigantic warrior. It w as r
the heart of the chief of the warriors
Vedos. A
hideous smile played across of the temple.
his features. Gomo raised himself to his feet*
“The white gods are dead!'’ he Benton pointed to the rear of the
laughed. —
“All but one and Yedos smother chamber and explained to
will kill him. The white gods have Gomo what had been done. He told
helped overthrow the forces of the the latter to get water and bring it to
temple of Teeheemen. Duros has cap- the three.
tured the temple and Vedos must flee. Gomo rushed into the temple and
He will go to the land of the here- later returned with several warriors
after, but before he goes he will see of the Duros forces. They carried
that the last of the white gods dies.” the unconscious Otter and Holton
Vedos raised his spear and started with Virginia into one of the smaller
forward. Benton attempted to raise chambers of the temple. Benton told
himself, but failed. Vedos laughed. them to bring his pack from the
“The white god is weak,” he taunt- arena, and when it had been brought
ed. took some of the first aid material
that the kit contained. He attempted
As the laughter of the Teeheemen
to pour some of the stimulants from
chieftain sounded in his ears, Benton
a ’bottle down the throats of the three.
saw a familiar figure suddenly rush
behind Vedos and spring like a great Ott'er regained consciousness, and
cat upon his shoulders. It was Gomo. later Holton. Virginia alone remained
The old warrior had been released by as if dead. Benton bathed her face
the forces of Duros from the prison with cold water, and after a few min-
and had started in search of his utes he thought that he felt the weak-
friends. He
had. learned while in ened pulse quicken. A half hour later
prison that the four had been com- she moved her lips, and her eyelids
mitted to the smother chamber and opened.
had come to the place to learn of their “It is I, Virginia,” he called to her
fate. as she stared vaguely at him. Alight
Vedos was a large man with great of recognition flashed into her eyes.
natural brute strength. He was many “We are saved,” he said. “The
years younger than Gomo. He bomb worked.”
dropped his spear and grappled with “Saved,” she echoed weakly. “The
the latter. The two fought, and by bomb worked.”
degrees Vedos began to gain the as-
cendancy. Benton’s strength rallied / 19
as he saw his old friend’s danger.
Straining every nerve, he rose to his
feet and grasped the fallen spear of B ENTON and Gomo continued in
charge of the chamber for the re-
Vedos. The latter hurled Gomo with mainder of the day. The three pa-
a great effort to the floor, but Gomo tients began to gather strength rap-
clung to him with a powerful idly, as Benton had done. The next
grip and carried Vedos down on top morning saw them able to walk about.
of him. “I have a headache worse than
Benton launched forward with the when I was a pugilistic apprentice,”
spear and caught Vedos back of the said Otter. i

ear. The blow was enough to daze the “Here too,” Holton echoed;
warrior for a moment. Gomo reached “though never tried the game, but I
I
into Vedos’ belt and drew the chief- can imagine how it must feel if this is
’ ’
tain ’s knife. With a powerful thrust anything like it.
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 153

“I’m. feeling much better,” Vir- At this juncture, Gomo, who had
ginia smiled. remained silent during the conversa-
“What pleases me,” said Benton, tion, spoke.
“is that we can begin to see the end “If my friends will come with me,”
said, “Gomo wishes to show them
’ ’
of our stay in this country. he
Gomo at this time entered the room, what he has discovered at the place
and with him was Duros. The latter where the walls of the temple were de-
’ ’
extended his hand to the members of stroyed.
the party. The members of the party gathered
“Duros is now ruler of Teehee- their weapons and followed after the
men, ” he announced. “Urlus and giant native. Benton and Otter had
his followers have fled from the city recovered their rifles from the room
into the jungles. Tell us what the where they had been left in the arena,
white gods wish, and it shall be done.” and the rifles of Holton and Virginia
Virginia turned to Benton. had been recovered from one of the
private rooms of Walum in the tem-
“Tell him,” she said, “that we
ple.
want to go home, and that we would
like to know the way through the Gomo led the way to where the
mountains. ’ ’
bomb placed by Benton had wrecked
the temple wall. He went to a point
Duros shook his head.
where a large rent appeared in a por-
“If I knew the exit from the val-
’ ‘
tion of heavy masonry seemingly
ley of Teeheemen, ’ he said, I would ‘

erected against the base of the granite


gladly tell my white friends. Duros
of the mountain that rose almost per-
would be glad to travel through it
pendicularly in^p the heavens above
and view the land on the other side. the temple of Teeheemen. Gomo
Duros does not believe that where he thrust his spear into the crack.
was born is the only place where men
may dwell.”


Here, Gomo believes, is the begin-
ning of the passage from the land of
“Duros is correct,” Benton as- Teeheemen in$o the outer world.”
serted. “The men .of Teeheemen Benton and Otter thrust the barrels
should be taught that there are vast of their rifles into the darkness of the
valleys and countries many times opening.
larger than the Valley of Teeheemen. ‘
There must have been a door lead-

The land on the other side of the


ing into this from the rear of the
seemingly insurmountable mountain
smother chamber where we were
peaks that enclose your valley is not
placed,” Benton commented.
a land where spirits of the dead of
Teeheemen dwell but is the land “Yes,” Holton admitted. “We will
where other races exist, races that in have to get this place opened before
many instances worship a living yet we can enter and explore.”
God.”
invisible “I still have a couple of bombs in
“Duros has a plan for finding the
my possession,” Benton laughed. “I
exit from the valley,” he said after think we can tear this thing wide
thinking for a few minutes. “It has open.”
ever been reported from the temple “We are willing for you to demon-
of the high priest that the exit was strate,” Virginia laughed, “but let us
in some manner connected with the get at a safe distance before you place
*
temple of Teeheemen. The temple it.”
must be thoroughly investigated Virginia and the other members of
first.” the party removed themselves while
154 WEIRD TALES

Benton found what he considered a “I, too, must make the trip,” said

desirable point for placing the bomb, Virginia. I want to get the clothing

lie set the bomb and placed the time I left in the plane in my two suit
lock at its greatest length. He left eases.”
the spot and hurriedly rejoined the “You will be better cared for in

others. the temple of Teeheemen, Benton in- ’

Scarcely had he arrived where they sisted. “The trip will require but a
were standing before the earth shook short time. wall take enough We
and a large section of the masonry men to bring everything from the
and base of the mountain appeared to plane. What we cannot use in mat-
be tom away. When the accompany- ing our trip to the coast we will do-
ing shower of fine rocks and gravel nate to King Duros.”
had subsided the members of the After some protesting. Virginia
party again advanced to the place.
finally agreed to remain at the temple
“The exit from the Valley of Tee- of Teeheemen with Gala, under the

heemen, said Benton, as they looked

protection of a special guard which
into an enormous natural cavern that
Duros <would select. The new king of
apparently receded into the bowels of Teeheemen delegated Gomo to name
the mountain.
a hundred of the best warriors of his
Duros nodded. forces to accompany the white men
“It is the way through which our on their trip.

first ancestors came, ’ he said. By evening Gomo had. completed
“We must make arrangements to his task, and the party made prepara-
pass through as soon as possible,” tions for an early march in the morn-
said Benton. Our packs yet contain

' ing.
enough goods for a week’s journey Virginia smilingly waved farewell
and we have enough firearms and am- to the expedition the next day.
munition to furnish food and protec- “A
few weeks more and I shall be
tion. It would be better, though, be-
going home to my people.” she said,
fore undertaking the trip through the turning to Gala.
mountain, to return * to our plane ‘ ‘ ’
Gala will be sad, replied the na- ’

in the forest of Teelieemen and


tive girl,turning her eyes toward the
bring the other rifles and supplies *
young white woman. She will never ‘

that will be needed in our trip toward ’ ’


see the white sister again.
the coast.”
“Gomo will make the trip,” the big
“You may, some time,” Virginia
*
suggested. This is an unusual world.

fellow offered, turning to Benton.


“He will take a force of warriors and Who knows but that some time I may
desire to return to the Valley of Tee-
carry all the things.”
heemen?” •

“I will go with you,” Holton of-


fered. “The exact location of the “Gala will always live in that

plane may be difficult for you to hope, ’


replied the native girl.

find, since you were never there and “Let us go


to the entrance of the
know only the approximate posi- mountain passage which Benton tore
tion. I remember the road perfectly open with his bomb yesterday,” Vir-
from the camp where we remained.” ginia suggested.
“I would like to make the trip, Gala consented, and the two wan -

too.” said Benton. “I would relish dered to the cavern mouth.


an opportunity of again shooting “Let us go inside,” said Virginia,
some of the strange beasts in the jun- “It will be all right for just a little
gle of Teeheemen.” distance..”:--
THE VALLEY OF TEEHEEMEN 155

The two entered the opening after was the friend in secret ofWalum,
some difficult climbing and advanced the high priest of Teeheemen. Tc
a short distance into the gloom. Vir- Morop, Walum brought choice offer"
ginia stood peering into the darkness, ings from the land of Teeheemen.
when suddenly there was a rush of Walum is dead, for Morop has spied
footsteps upon the rocky floor of the from the secret passage upon the
cavern, and before she could escape white men and Duros. Morop ’s wife
she felt herself seized by unseen hands is old and ugly. The white woman
that reached from the darkness and
shall become the wife of Morop.”
bore her from her feet.
Virginia felt the great arms of the
Gala, who had not advanced so far
giant crush her body to his breast.
into the cavern mouth, rushed for the
She felt his massive lips pressed with
opening and made her escape. She
crushing force against her own.
called loudly for help, and members of
the Duros guard came running to-
“In a few days,” the giant an-
ward her. She informed them what nounced, “Morop of the hollow moun-
had occurred* and the warriors rushed tain will make a great feast for his
into the cavern. They shouted, and new wife.
’ ’

the answering echoes threw them into Still carrying her, Morop proceeded
superstitious terror. along the corridors of the great cav-
They left the place and reported ern. The light increased constantly,
the occurrence to Duros, who imme- until Virginia could ascertain the
diately ordered a large company of cause for this. The mountain into
warriors with torches to assemble. An which she was being carried was a
advance was started into the cavern great shell, largely hollow, and at the
and continued for more than half a top of the volcanic peak was an enor-
mile. Duros in person led the van- mous opening an eighth of a mile in
guard of his men. diameter. Through this the sunlight
and fresh air penetrated to a great
20 portion of the interior.
Morop carried Virginia to a point
'\X7'HEN Virginia felt herself lifted
in the cavern where a number of rude-
* ' and carried along she made no
ly fashioned stone huts stood. In one
outcry, for she realized that her of these he placed the girl, and then
strength was incapable of combating pushed a large stone over the opening.
.with her unknown antagonist.
To Virginia the time passed slowly
For a long time she was carried by in her rough prison. Several hours
powerful arms until she noticed the had passed when she was aroused by
darkness in the cavern beginning to the sound of a number of warriors of
grow lighter. She glanced upward Morop ’s mountain tribe assembling
for a look at her unknown captor. The and chanting fierce songs. Looking
face she viewed filled her with terror. through one of the cracks in the wall
The man who was carrying her was of of her prison, she saw more than a
tremendous size and possessed the hundred powerful, brutelike men cir-
muscular development of a gorilla. cling about and chanting.
He was beardless, and his skin was They were armed with great bludg-
ashen gray. When he saw her glance eons and spears. With a final wild
at him he spoke, and the language shout they ceased their chanting and
used was that of the men of Teehee- proceeded in the direction of the Val-
men. ley of Teeheemen. Duros, advancing
“Morop is the king of the hollow at the head of his forces into the hol-
mountain,” he announced. “Morop low mountain, was suddenly attacked
156 WEIRD TALES

with terrific fury by the tribesmen of her shoulders and with a wild laugh
Morop. pushed her from him.
The men of Teeheemen fought by “Tonight you will be the bride of
the light of their torches, and more Morop,” he stated. “Tonight when
than one of the warriors of Morop the sun leaves the mountain top,
went down with a spear thrust in Morop will then come to his new
his body.
woman.”
“If the white men were here with The giant again left the stone hut,
closing the entrance after him with
theirthunder sticks we could easily
the big stone slab.
conquer these enemies.” Duros called
to one of his lieutenants, as they When he had gone, Virginia rushed
fought together. to the opening and pushed against
the stonewith all of her power.
The word finally was passed along
Her efforts were unavailing, for the
the line of theDuros followers to re-
stone had been so fashioned that it
tire inorder toward the entrance, as
fitted into a mortiselike groove in the
itwould be necessary to obtain rein- side of the house and the floor of the
forcements and formulate a new plan
cavern.
for invading the mountain’s interior.
The order was carried out and the
retreat was conducted successfully.
Two hours later Virginia heard the
THE
of the
remainder of the day passed
quickly for the
coming night
girl, as the 'dread
filled her. When
tribesmen of Morop return and begin
the gloom began to gather in the sur-
the celebration of their victory.
rounding cavern depths, she again at-
The celebration continued unabated tempted to push the stone door away,
for a week, and Virginia wondered if
but without success.
Morop had forgotten her presence in
the village. Every day a wrinkled Darkness had gathered fully when
old woman had brought coarse food to she heard the stone ‘moved from the
her and had never spoken. With the entrance. She could distinguish
old woman had come a man powerful Morop in the light of a torch which
enough to remove the stone from the an attendant warrior of the tribe was
doorway and place it in position carrying. The giant took the torch
again. from the other and motioned for him
to retire.
Morop had been too busy celebrat-
ing what he considered a victory over Entering the hut, he fastened the
the men of Teeheemen when the latter torch in a niche on the side of the
retreated from the mountain, to pay wall. With the muscles of his great
any attention to his fair captive. As arms knotted and moving beneath his
the joy of the victory and the inces- skin, Morop stood before the girl,

sant feasting began to grow weari- naked except for a trapping about the
some, he again thought of Virginia loins. His powerful physique was one
and went to her prison. With little to create wonderment, and Virginia
effort he removed the stone and en- thought as she shrank from before
tered. him how little chance any ordinary
Virginia shrank from before him.
man could have in battle against the
great brute.
He laughed boisterously, and seizing ‘
the girl he crushed her body to his

Morop has eome to claim his bride
chest. She fought desperately but this night,” he muttered in low tones
was as helpless as a child in the grasp that seemed to come almost like dis-
of the king of the mountain giants. tant thunder from his chest. “Morop
He tore a portion of her blouse from (Continued on Page 184)

Author of “ The Tortoise-Shell Cat

“^">(IELO, what an enormous The professor shook his head de-


. crystal globe, Filippo!” ex- cidedly.
V/
.

claimed Dottore Giuseppe “Such animals are things of the


del Giovine, regarding the great in- past, caro amico. We have seen the
verted glass bell that hung over the soul of a drowning mouse emerge
professor’s dissecting table. “What’s from its body, in a spiral coil of vapor
the idea of that?” he added curiously. that wreathed its way out of the water
The professor’s black eyes rested to lose itself in the etheric spaces
upon the globe with the fondness of a that include all life. Wehave watched
parent. He pushed the table more the soul of a dying ape emerge in one
centrally under the opening at the long rush of fine, impalpable, smoke-
bell’s lower extremity, then pulled on like cloud that wound upward to be-
a chain operating a valve at the top. come invisible as it, too, amalgamated
“The purpose of this globe is to with the invisible forces of the uni-
win me such recognition from the verse about us.”
world of science as no man has ever “I myself once saw what I believe
enjoyed and no man after me can might have been the soul of a dying
ever emulate,” he responded, with a man, as it departed from his body,”
kind of grim enthusiasm. asseverated the doctor, musingly.
“But how?” “Ah, one could but detain that fine
if
The doctor was intensely inter- essence of immortality, what wonders
ested. could not one work in time? What
“You are aware that Elena and I mighty secrets would perhaps be dis-
have long experimented on animals, covered!”
to ascertain if that thing men call the “You understand, then, Giuseppe
‘soul’ is at all tangible? have We mio, what I await with anxiety? The
now arrived at a very advanced point subject for the most tremendous ex-
in our studies, so advanced that we periment of all! It is futile for me
are at a dead stop because we cannot to attempt to make it upon one of the
obtain the necessary subjects for our lower animals, since they do not pos-
next experiment.” sess the power of reason, and tbeir

One can always find mice —or cats

souls would therefore be by far too
—or monkeys,” said fhe doetor. tenuous for a successful experiment.
157
158 WEIRD TALES
I have been trying for months to ob- ever, as his eyes searched the counte-
tain possession of the person of some nance of the professor sharply.
criminal condemned to death, that I “My idea is indeed awe-inspiring,
might subject him to my theory as his caro dottore. Your wonder is very
dying breath fled, bearing with it his natural,


said the professor gra-

soul that about which all men the- ciously,
orize, but which none have yet seen or “It must be trying to have to wait
conceived of as have I.” so long for a suitable subject for your
“The idea is tremendous, Filippo. experiment,” ventured the doctor,
What have the authorities done about with a side glance.
it?” “Ah, how I shall love and venerate
“They refuse to assist me. I can- that human being who furnishes me
not them
all that I desire to do,
tell with such a subject!” cried the pro-
naturally, or my rivals would try to fessor fervently.
get ahead of me. Their stupid, petty A deep sigh followed closely upon
jealousy! Quanto e terribilc!” his words. The curtain hanging be-
“Exactly what do you wish to do, fore the doorway was pushed to one
and how is this bell to serve you?” side, as Elena Panebianco walked
inquired the doctor, a puzzled series slowly into the room.
of lines drawing across his forehead. “How you will gaze upon that im-

I have observed, 'taro mio, that the
*
prisoned soul ’

cried she, with a pas-
!

vaporous soul of the lower animal is sionate intensity that startled the doc-
so much lighter than the ether around tor anew, as he turned his regard
it that it withstands the pull of grav- from her husband to her. “If it were
ity and rises, swaying with whatever a soul that loved you, how happy it
currents of air are in the atmosphere, would be to know that your entire
always to a higher level, where it dis- thoughts were centered upon it,
sipates into invisibility. within the crystal bell! To see your
“I have been trying to possess my- eyes always fixed upon it, as it floated
self of a living human being whose there within!”
lifewas useless to the world, that his She leaned weakly against the dis-
death might be made of transcendent secting table,and her great eyes, dark
value through my scientific knowl- with melancholic emotion, stared
edge. I constructed this crystal bell wildly out of her thin, fever-flushed
for a wonderful and stupendous pur- face.
pose. It is intended to hold the ten-
uous wraith of the subject of my ex-
“Tu sai impossibile /” cried the
professor. “What, tragic jealousy is
periment.

yours, Elena! A
jealousy of things
The valve above, open at first, will

that do not as yet exist !
’ ’

permit the air to escape at the top of


the bell as it becomes displaced by the 'G'LENA did not reply. She loved
ascending essence of the dying man’s too deeply, too passionately, too
soul. Then, when I pull the chain,
irrevocably. And the only return her
thereby closing the valve, the soul husband made was to permit her as-
would be retained by its own volatile sistance in his laboratory work. Her
nature within the bell, being unable
’ ’
eager mind had flown apace with his
to seek a lower level.
that she loved the work for itself,
.not.
“Filippo, you astound me!” but that she longed to gain his appro-
There was something more than as- bation. To him the alluring loveli-
tonishment in the doctor’s face, how- ness of her splendid body was as noth -
THE REMORSE OF PROFESSOR PANEB1ANCO 159

ing to the beauty of the wonderful in- too delicate; she had faded visibly.
tellect that gradually unfolded in his Hectic roses flamed in her cheeks. Her
behalf. thin hands, too, had been too cold
In private, Filippo complained to when she touched his in greeting. Her
the doctor that his wife was too de- constant cough racked her slender
monstrative. She thought nothing of body. It seemed to Giuseppe del
distracting his attention from impor- Giovine that she had become almost
tant experiments, with pouting lips transparent, so slender had she be-
clamoring for a kiss, and not until he come from loss of flesh. As she went
had hastily brushed her lips with his from the room slowly with a gesture
would she return to her work. of helplessness, he turned to the pro-
fessor.
"I am obliged to bribe the woman
with kisses,” cried the professor, de- “Your wife is a very sick woman,”
spairingly. he declared, abruptly.
Elena had gone so far as to affirm “I suppose she must be,” Filippo
to her husband that she was even jeal- responded absently. “She’s very
ous of his research, his experiments. nervous, I know. She disturbs me in-
That was unwise. No woman can in- excusably with silly demands for
kisses and caresses, actually weeping
terfere between a man and his chosen
life-work. Such things are, as ’An-D when she thinks I don’t see her, be-
cause I refuse to humor her foolish
nunzio puts it, “piu che l’ amove”
whims. I’ve been obliged, more than
(greater than love), and prove relent-
once, to drive her away with cold
less Juggernauts to those who tact-

looks and hard words, because she has
lessly disregard the greater claims. tried to coax me to stop work, insist-
“ife is worn out,” said Elena to ing upon my talking with her.”
the doctor. “He has flung himself He began adjusting his apparatus
into his work to such an extent that with an abstracted air. It was as well
nothing exists for him but that. He that he did not see the expression of
studies all night. He works all day. indignation and despair that flashed
I have to force him to* stop long across the mobile face of the physi-
enough to eat sufficient to maintain cian, who had long loved Elena in
life.” secret, but hopelessly, as he very well

“Go on, Elena, go on! When my knew, because she was absolutely in-
head swims, I tie cold wet towels different to anybody but her husband.

about it. When my brain refuses to “Yes, Giuseppe, she interrupts my


obey me, I concentrate with incon- most particular experiments to caress
ceivable force of will upon my goal. me ardently, trying to bring my lips
Oh, Giuseppe mio, my very existence down on hers. Often I have reproved
is bound up in this last experiment, her severely for attempting to turn
which, alas! I am unable to complete me aside from my life-work. The man
because the authorities will not per- whose intellect has driven him to en-
mit me to make use of the death of ter the precincts of the great mystery

some criminal a death that must be cannot stop to dally with the folly of
fools, and love is the greatest folly
entirely useless to the scientific world,
through their blind stupidity.” of all.”
The doctor shrugged, with a ges- “Blind fool, you!” muttered tho
ture of his slender brown hands. His doctor under hrs breath. “Love is the
eyes sought Elena’s face. Since he very breath of life itself!”
had been away the Signora Panebian- “If Elena is to assist me in my last
co had altered terribly. She looked experiment, the greatest of all, I must
160 WEIRD TALES
get a subject soon, for she wasting
is “Elena! Can you really mean it?
away fast. Oh. yes, I have observed You fill me with the most intense, most
it. Death has his fingers at her vivid gratitude and admiration —
throat.’' and,” he added hastily as if with an
His voice was the voice of the man afterthought,


love.
’ ’

there was not the slightest


of, science: “My life is burning low,” was her
intonation that might have indicated quiet reply. “If my death can profit
other than passing interest in the un-
happy Elena.
you, it is yours for the asking if you —
desire it.”
“What I am afraid of,” he re- with incredulous horror, the
Stiff
sumed, “is that even a human being’s doctor stood rooted to the spot. Elena
spirit not materialize properly
will knew what the professor desired; she
within the bell, unless instructed was ready, willing, to serve as the
previously. And how can I expect a subject of his experiment. It was for
criminal to lend liimself voluntarily her a final proof of her love for him
to an experiment that necessitates his and a test of his love for her. She
death for its success? No, the fool realized that she alone, of all the
would cling too closely to his misera- world, knew the occult foundations of
ble life, and might even refuse to lis- the science that would enable her to
ten when I tried to prepare and in- carry out successfully the other part
struct him. I ought to have for my of the experiment.
experiment someone who knows just
With an access of lofty emotions.
what I want done: someone who will
Filippo Panebianeo gathered her into
carry out my wishes faithfully. And
his arms and kissed her pallid brow.
where I am I to find such a person?”
Elena’s dark eyes closed ccsta4ically
he finished lugubriously.
undcr this caress; she felt his heart
beating high, but knew, alas! it was
HP1IE curtains over the doorway
not for her it was with renewed hope
^ swayed to admit Elena. It was ;

for the success of the stupendous per-


only too evident from her expression formance to which he had long been
that she had heard part, if not all. of irrevocably pledged.
her husband’s words. There was an
“Now I shall vindicate myself to
incomprehensible expression within those who have called me a visionary,
those dark orbs that shrank not from madman!”
a Filippo cried in tri-
the glance the professor turned upon umph.
the intruder.
His wife clung to him, her eyes
“There is but one person in the seeking his with an appeal that he de-
whole world who could, and would, be liberately refused to recognize. He
able to carry out your ideas,” said was only too afraid that Elena might
she, deliberately. change her mind, might refuse what
Filippo whirled upon Dottore del he desired more than anything else
Giovine, relief and joy flashing over on earth: the accomplishment of his
his face. Del Giovine gave a short plans.
exclamation and took an involuntary Hanging eagerly and anxiously on
step forward, horror written on his her reply, the professor murmured:
face. The other man turned to Elena,

When. Elena ? When ?
'
’ ’

caught her hands in. his, and gazed



' When you desire, my husband.
down into those pellucid depths The fire of my life is burning verv
whence came the glow of a fire that low.”
burned within her heart for him “This is infamous!” cried Giu-
alone. seppe del Giovine, in an outburst that
THE REMORSE OP PROFESSOR PANEBIANCO 161

shook him. from head to foot, so in- “She will die today,” affirmed the
-
tense was his emotion. “Elena, are professor, still smiling.
you, too, insane ? Do you realize what “Dio mio! He is absolutely mad!”
you are doing? Cannot you under- Del Giovine would have fled for as-
stand that Filippo is quite mad with sistance, but the horror of the situa-
his visions? Even if what he has tion rooted his feet to the spot. More-
dreamed could be possible, do you
over, an imperative gesture from the
know that you have offered him your
proud Elena held him frozen there,
death? Elena, Elena, give me your
his questioning eyes on hers.
life !Put yourself into my hands I!

will cure you. I know that I can cure “When the hell rings, Elena mia,
you,” he begged wildly. I shall free your soul from its earthly
shell, on which the hold is already so
The beautiful young woman looked
frail, and let it fly upward into the
sadly and understandingly at the im-
passioned doctor. She shook her head crysta] bell,” murmured Filippo,
slowly. Then her eyes turned again more tenderly than his wife had ever
to her husband. Giuseppe del Gio- heard him speak to her before.
vine realized that his interference was “I did not believe you could do it,”
futile; Elena’s life, Elena’s death, Elena said, strangely. “I thought
both lay in the hands of the man she you really loved me! Have* you no
loved. And (cruel irony!) it was her soul yourself, my husband, that you
death that would mean most to the can so relentlessly sacrifice a woman
man she loved. who adores you, to add fuel to the
The professor called a servant and fires ofyour ambition?”
issued hasty instructions; his rivals “Elena! No more, I beg you. You
were to be summoned at once, to see surely will not withdraw what you of-
the successful outcome of his experi- fered freely, of your own will?”
ment. Then he turned to his wife, He turned his face from hers, lest
elation shining from his glowing unexpected weakness of the flesh
countenance. might undo his will.
“Help me prepare!” he command- The doctor knew that Elena had
ed. risked her all on a single toss of the
An expression of awful agony dice. Womanlike, she believed that
passed over Elena’s set face, but she Filippo would throw aside the ever-
motioned the agitated young doctor lasting fame which he hoped would
indifferently from her path, and be- accrue to him, instead of accepting,
gan to set in position various instru- as he was doing, the sacrifice of her-
ments on the table adjacent to that self.

under the crystal bell. With face still averted, the profes-
“What are you intending to do, sor motioned his wife to place herself
Filippo?” demanded del Giovine, upon the table under the crystal bell.
grasping the exalted dreamer authori- She gave one dreadful, tearing sob.
tatively by one elbow. “For me, life has long since lost, its
Filippo shook off that restraining value,” said she. “I think I may be
hand with impatience. happier dead!”
“Watch, and your patience will be She mounted the table and
rewarded,” was the answer, as he stretched herself upon it.

smiled mysteriously. Footsteps sounded outside the door.


“But Elena will not die today,” Came a knock. The paralyzed del
said the physician, his hesitating lips Giovine saw the professor catch up a
forming th§ words reluctantly. glittering knife. And then Elena
162 WEIRD TALES
turned her face upward, and gazed Del Giovine succeeded in throwing
so earnestly at the determined and off the lethargy of horror that had
ruthless scientist that he hesitated, bound him a cry burst from the
;
hith-
weakening. Del Giovine saw the be- erto paralyzed vocal cords of the
loved woman of his soul push her lips young doctor.
together for her husband ’s last kiss. The door burst open. Into the
“Why spoil this last exalted mo- room rushed the little group of men
ment ? ’

murmured Filippo harshly. who were confreres and rivals in
He her
dared not risk refusing science with Professor Filippo Pane-
whim, for delay would be fatal to his bianco. Wordlessly the triumphant
plans were not his rivals waiting for
;
professor pointed to the crystal bell,
the work of entrance, behind the all eyes following his guiding finger.
closed laboratory door? Leaning
over his wife, he hastily brushed his
1 “ TTAIO !” he suddenly screamed, in
lips against hers. She flung up her agony and despair. “I forgot
arms at once and caught him to her to close the upper valve See see ! —
with convulsive strength. it is wide open! And there there —
The young doctor heard her whis- floats upon the air the last soft, wav-
per, “Farewell, unhappy man!” ering fringes of that wraith that was
Del Giovine straggled to throw off the spirit of my wife !
’ ’

the almost hypnotie spell that bound He


flung himself upon the lifeless
him. form of the woman who had loved
Furious at the delay, and hearing him too well, and beat at her with
another knock at the door* Filippo maddened fury.
jerked himself away from that pas-
“It is your fault, Elena! All your
sionate embrace. The knife flashed
fault!”
plunged downward Them he stood — .

Someone uttered a cry: “He has


back, an expression of stupefied
amazement on his face as he gazed killed hispoor wife!”
enchanted at the crystal bell. “Secure him, gentlemen! He has

It is her soul
' Look That pale
! !
gone utterly mad!” warned the doc-
mist of azure cloud that rises from tor, springing forward.
her wounded bosom so lightly! See By sheer united strength they over-
it sway and drift Oh, ethereal vapor,! came the mad scientist, who fought
now you are entering your crystal against them furiously, uttering inco-
tomb! I can almost distinguish her herent phrases as he straggled.
features, Giuseppe. Look, how they “Why did I stop to give her a silly
change, almost imperceptibly, but
kiss? Oh, if I had not stopped, I
surely, as the current of air moves
would have remembered to close the
out at the top of the bell to accommo-
valve, and the wonder of my triumph
date the entrance of her wraith
would have remained to cover with
“Why does she look at me so? She the mantle of success what they ar>*
is pitying me me —
How can that be, !
pleased so stupidly to call my crime.
seeing I am to be envied? Have I
not attained in this moment to the “But
alas! I was always a tender-
loftiest pinnacle of my success? • My fool! Oh, if only I could have re-
triumph is complete! No— no — mained firm against her, when she de-
need the envy the jealous envy — sired that fatal kiss I, who believed
!

the admiration and astonishment of I would never experience the emotion


my fellow-workers, to complete the of regret, shall suffer remorse for that
glory of my success!” weakness until I die!”
Author of “The Ghost-Eater” “With Weapons of Stone” etc.

W HEN Arkl-a opened her eyes,


darkness had settled over the
universe. The tough cords of
reindeer sinews which hound her
hands and feet eut deep into her flesh,
him now as she lay there, his tall,
lithe, sinewy frame scarred from head
to foot by the claws and teeth of the
mighty beasts he fought and overpow-
ered. He even wore a necklace made
and her wrists and ankles were raw from the very teeth and claws that
and bleeding from her futile struggles had inflicted those wounds, trophies
to free herself from the bonds. The she had strung together for him with
flickering light of the fire at the en- her own hands and hung about his
trance of the cavern caused the shad- neck when it was finished. His broad
ows to dance on the limestone walls head with its shock of jet-black hair,
in a ghostly, ever-changing glow. Sil- his powerful hands that could tear
houetted against the background of apart the jaws of the mighty cave-
the fire loomed the huge body of Zurd, lion! He was a man, indeed!
his eyes fastened intently upon her. She looked again at the squat figure
Ugh how she hated him She spat
! ! still watching her from the mouth of
between her clenched teeth, and her the cave. His low, receding forehead
tortured wrists strained anew at their with its heavy overhanging brow, his
fastenings as her gaze rested upon massive jaw, his short grotesque arms
him. Never would she become his and legs, reminded her of the ape peo-
mate of her own free will Better
! ple that still roamed the forests and
far that she should bury the keen warred against her kind.
blade of the stag-handled stone dag- Zurd, the Coward! He was even
ger, that lay hidden away beneath her afraid of her, a woman! He had
garment of doeskin, clean to the hilt sprung upon her from behind, and
in her bosom than to suffer such in- even now that he had spirited her
sult at the hands of the human mon- many miles away from her own people
ster who had stolen her from her he dared not loose her bonds. She
chosen one. thought of the day to come, when
Zurd, the Coward ! How wT ell he Wagh should trail Zurd to his hiding
was named! How different he was place. Then lie would take him in
from Wagh, the Mighty, the man his two hands and break him like a
whom she loved. -She could picture stick of wood across his knee.
163
11)4
. WEIRD TALES
Zurd rose and crossed the floor of to her, and her night would be filled
the cavern to the helpless girl, with with nameless terror. Far rather
loping, swinging strides. He did not would she spend a night in the forest
stand erect, his knees being slightly and take her chances with the mon-
bent, and his similarity to a huge mon- sters there. She could hear some of
key was more marked than before. them now as she lay with eyes half
closed the trumpeting of the ele-
He gave the girl a vicious prod with ;

phants as they crashed their way


his foot and spoke to her. His tone
was harsh and guttural, not at all like
down to the river, the howling cry of

her own low, liquid and musical. In-
the terrible hyena, the bellow of the
stag, the roar of the lion, and the
deed, he spoke more with his eyes and
growl of the cave-bear.
his gestures than with his lips, for
language was then in its infancy and Her eyes scanned the length of the
speech a power to conjure with. cavern within her range of vision in
“And how likes Arhl-a the fare search of some way of releasing her-

that Zurd provides for her! A long


self. The dancing light of the fire on
journey and a longer sleep she has
the was poor illumination, but
Avail

had since last she feasted upon the


fate must have guided her eyes, for
they lighted on a ragged point of rock
flesh of the reindeer.”
that jutted out a. few inches above the
Arhl-a ’s sloe-black eyes flashed fire.
floor of the cave.
“And does it aid Arhl-a to digest If only she could reach it before
her food to be slung upon Zurd’s back Zurd returned. Should he come back
like the carcass of the shaggy cave-
and discover her. . . .
bear and be carried thus for miles
Slowly she began her torturing jour-
through forest and field!” she asked.
“Does it improve her appetite to lie ney toward the jagged rock that must
here bound by thongs of the same
serve as her liberator. At every move
the cords cut deeper and deeper into
creature he would have her eat?”
her tender flesh. On, and still on, she
“Then Arhl-a must needs remain rolled it seemed miles instead of feet,
;
hungry and Zurd will feast alone. For hours instead of seconds. One more
bound she must remain until the fire twist and she Avould be within reach of
dies out of her heart and she is tamed
the broken, stone. Could she make it ?
— until she will give herself to mate
Every muscle, every nerve cried out
with Zurd.” She
in protest against the attempt.
“Much would Arhl-a prefer to suf- gritted her teeth and clenched her
fer the great hunger and pass into the fists so tightly that the nails sank
land of the long sleep,” retorted the deep into her palms. With a supreme
girl. effort she made the last turn and
Zurd, angered by her taunts, caught paused for the moment, exhausted.
up a piece of driftwood from the floor The thought of Zurd roused her
of the cave and raised it high above from her lethargy. If he discovered
her head. The girl steeled herself her. . . .

for the blow, but his mood passed, and She bent every energy to the tedi-
with an imprecation he flung the stick ous task of sawing through the tough
against the wall of the rock chamber. sinews that bound her, until at last
Satisfying himself with another kick they gave Avay and her Avrists were
at the defenseless girl, Zurd lumbered free. The stone dagger in her bosom
out of the cavern and into the night. made short work of her other bonds
Arhl-a knew that he would soon re- and Arhl-a gave an articulate sigh of
turn. When he had gorged himself relief when the last cord dropped 1

on reindeer meat he would come back aAvay.


ARHL-A' OF THE CAVES 1G5

>)
Wagh’s eyes dilated as they recog-
nized the object the girl held. He had

THE sun yet glowed, a flaming ball


of red in the western sky, when
Wagh, the Mighty, pushed his way
fashioned this fillet himself for Arhl-a
to wear. His strong hand closed about
the wrist of the girl in a viselike grip
out of the great forest and came in and tightened until she winced be-
sight of the huge cliffs which had been
neath the pressure.
the dwelling ground of his people.
“Speak, girl! Where found We-na
The season was growing cold again,
and the larger part of the dwellers
the head-dress made for the raven
locks of Arhl-a?”
had already started on their migra-
tory march to where the warmer “At the edge of the great jungle,
breezes would blow upon them. But where Wagh spends his day hunting
Wagh, together with a few of the the woolly mammoth and the saber-
hardier ones, had chosen to linger in tooth tiger who preys upon his people
the old haunts for a while. Later, by and robs the land of the food that
forced marches, they could easily they desire. I thought it might be

overtake the slower moving older ones that Arhl-a had joined Wagh in the
and join them in their new camping chase today, but when I saw him re-
ground. turn alone I hastened to show him
The other hunters had not returned that which I had found.”
from the jungle, and the place was “We-na did well to come at once to
well-nigh deserted. He picked his Wagh with her discovery. Come, take
way over the rocks to his cave and en- him to the place where she found the
tered, letting his burden of pelts slip fillet of tiger-liide that he might seek

from his broad back to the floor. for trace of what has become of
Wagh had a strange premonition that Arhl-a, woman of Wagh.”
something was wrong; that was why “Wait. First shall I take the news
he had left the chase and come home to Ze-ka, that he may ask the hunters
earlier than usual. His keen eyes about her as they return. Then shall
swept the surroundings in search of I show you where I found the orna-
that which might either confirm or ment. ’ ’

allay his suspicions. He wondered At last they set out for the edge of
where Arhl-a could be. Most likely the great jungle, and the girl led
she was with We-na, mate of Ze-ka, Wagh to a spot not far from where
the Flint-cutter. He did not see what he had entered the great forest earlier
these two women could find to talk in the day and indicated the spot
about. They were always together. where she had found the fillet of
Still, he reflected, he was early. Arhl-a Ahrl-a. There in the earth Wagh
would return in due time. read the story of the struggle that had
The patter of sandaled feet fell up- occurred. It was all as plain to him
on his ear. Ah But it was not Arhl-a
! as the pictures that decorated the
who burst with the speed of the wind walls of his cave. He saw that it was
into his cave. It was We-na, breath- no jungle creature to whom she had
less from v the haste with which she fallen a victim; it was a two-footed
had traveled. * beast that had spirited her away. But
“Where is Arhl-a?” who had dared to make off with
“I have not seen her since early Arhl-a, woman
of Wagh, the Mighty?
morn. I had thought to find her with He would track him to his hiding
you in the cave of Ze-ka. See!” place and beat out his brains against
The girl thrust her hand into her the side of his own habitation!
bosom and displayed a broad fillet of It was too late, now, to follow the
tiger hide. trail, for already the shades of night
166 WEIRD TALES

were falling. He would return to his —and he knew that Arhl-a would
people and there he would count never have gone with him of her own
noses. Soon he would know who had volition.
stolen his mate away. Then, on the Well on toward midday he stopped
morrow, he would set out upon the short in his tracks and listened, for
trail, and by the antlers of the great the wind had brought to' his quivering
reindeer, one of the two would not nostrils the scent of the reindeer, and
return alive! Wagh realized that he was hungry.
The hunters were nearly all re- Cautiously, silently, he made his way
turned, and already the circle fires in the direction where he knew the
had been lighted when Wagh reached herd must be grazing. He pushed on
the camping grounds. The others through the underbrush without mak-
straggled in by ones and twos until ing a sound, for man could, if he
only one remained unaccounted for chose, move more silently than any
Zurd. the Coward. of the animals that roamed at the edge
of a clearing.
3 The herd were making their way

W AGH awoke in the morning as


the first rays of the sun were
streaking the eastern sky. He se-
directly toward his hiding place. It
could not have been better if he had
planned it out for himself. He swung
into the overhanging branches of a
lected from the pile of crude weapons
in the corner of the cave his favorite big tree and waited, until the last of
lance, the head carved with a likeness
the reindeer passed beneath the tree.
of the cave-bear that it might be more Then, swinging lightly from the
effective against him a stone hatchet branches, he dropped to the back of
;

which had put the finishing touches the hindmost animal and plunged his
to more than one four-footed antago-
lance clean to the shaft into its
shoulder.
nist; and a long, sharp dagger of
stone, with an edge as keen as the The startled animal plunged into
finest tempered steel. the underbrush with its human
Thus armed, the man set out upon freight,and Wagh clung to its spread-
his quest. With these simple weapons ing antlers for support, lest he be
he would face all the dangers that be- brushed off by the branch of some
set him and make his way to where tree and crushed by the flying feet of
he knew his Arhl-a must be waiting* his wounded steed. The now frantic
an unwilling captive at the mercy of animal crashed heedlessly on, trying
Zurd. With unerring accuracy he in vain to shake off its unaccustomed
read the trail of the fleeing man. burden. Of a sudden, one foot stepped
Every broken twig or crushed blade into a deep hole, and the reindeer
of grass bore a message for this man stumbled and tottered to its knees.
who had learned to interpret their With the agility of a monkey, Wagh
significance. On, and still on, he fol- sprang clean over its antlers, and be-
lowed the path so plainly ma rked for fore the frightened animal could re-
Ids eyes. At times, when the spoor gain its feet he sank his stone dagger
would not be so clear, he would go deep into its heart. A last convulsive
along on all fours, his nose close to effort to rise, and the reindeer col-
the ground, sniffing, more like one of lapsed and rolled over upon its side,
the animals of the jungle than man. dead
He wondered how far the two had Regaining his weapons, Wagh pro-
gone. He knew that their progress ceeded to strip the animal of its pelt.
would be slow, for Zurd would be Next he gathered a head of dry leaves
hampered with the burden of the girl and twigs. With a sharp bit of hard
ARHL-A OF THE CAVES 167

wood and a hollowed-out piece of soft belly filled with the savory meat of
wood lie proceeded to build a fire, the reindeer, had turned his thoughts
twirling the hardwood stick upon the to the helpless girl he had left bound
other until a spark caught the dry- in the far corner of the cavern. Suit-
leaves. He nursed the tiny blaze with ing action to impulse, he made his
care, until he had a fire of the size way to where he had left her. The
he desired. Then, cutting a large, food had warmed his body and the
juicy steak from the animal he had blood flowed hot through his veins;
killed, he proceeded to cook his din- he yearned for the solace that only
ner. Retracing his steps, Wagh the soft warm body of the girl could
finally picked up the trail he had left give him. His eyes agleam with lust,
and once more set out upon his way. he entered the cave.
All this had taken time, and it was Out of the darkness, Arhl-a sprang.
not until late afternoon when Wagh Zurd reeled and lurched forward
at last came in sight of the cold, bar- unsteadily under the impact of the
ren, deserted cliffs whither Zurd had unexpected attack. He tried to shake
borne the helpless girl. Every nerve off the body that clung to him with a
tense, every sense alert, he drew near- grip of steel. He swore a mighty
er and nearer to the cave where the oath, invoking the anger of the gods
single trail led. No sound broke the upon this girl who dared defy him.
stillness, save the lapping of the sea- He felt a sudden hiting, stinging sen-
waves upon the beach at the foot of sation as the blade of the girl’s dag-
the cliffs. Boldly he entered the cas- ger was buried deep into his back.
ern, before which the fire had smol- His body burned with a feverish fire.
dered and died. And there, his body Again the stone knife bit his flesh. He
already grown cold, he found Zurd, could feel the life-blood gushing from
with Arhl-a ’s stag-handled stone dag- the open wound. He staggered drunk-
ger shaft-deep between his shoulder- enly and pitched face down upon the
blades. floor of the cave. The cavern echoed
But where was Arhl-a? hideously with his mighty groans. At
Once more he took up the trail, length they grew weaker, until finally
harder to follow now, with darkness they ceased altogether. ...
coming on. Back into the forest Wagh Arhl-a breathed a great sigh of re-
followed the spoor of the woman he lief as the silence of death fell over
loved. Already the moon had risen the cave. Heath, sudden and sure,
and flooded the scene with silvery held no terrors for this girl of the
rays. Wagh was desperate. He must cave and the wilderness. It was the
find Arhl-a before the animals of the living whom she fought and feared.
night came out to roam the jungle, Exhausted with the strenuous expe-
else all that he might find would be riences of the day and stopping only
her bones, picked clean! long enough to replenish the fire, that,
Suddenly, upon the somber still- she might be protected from the
ness of the night, rang out a piercing chance prowler from the jungle near

cry the cry of a human voice, a cry by, she curled up into a snug warm
ball and slept— a long, deep, refresh-
fraught with horror and distress. And
ing, dreamless sleep.
in that cry Wagh l'ecognized the voice
of Arhl-a! When Arhl-a awoke the sun was
4 high in the heavens. With only a
passing glance at her lifeless compan-
A RHL-A, crouching in the shadows, ion she made her way down the side
heard the heavy step of Zurd as of the cliff to where the sea-waves
he approached the cave. Zurd, his gently lapped the sun-kissed shore.
168 WEIRD TALES
Then, letting her single garment of at her from the underbrush, nor did
doeskin slip from her white shoulders, she hear the catlike tread of the crea-
she stepped out into the water and ture that trailed her as she pushed on.
bathed, the little waves playing She did not know that long, hairy
over her lithe form. At last, tired of arms reached out to encircle her, un-
her sport, she stretched at full length til she felt a gigantic paw close upon

on the sandy beach and basked in the her shoulder and she wheeled to meet
glorious warmth of the sun. her new-found foe. But when she
*
Donning her doeskin wrap once saw the wicked eyes that burned into
more, she sought out the remains of her own, the low, slavering jaw and
the reindeer flesh upon which Zurd the hairy, misshapen body of the great
had feasted the night before and ape that held her in its grasp, then
roasted some of it for her breakfast horror overwhelmed her and she
in the hot embers of the dying fire. —
screamed a shrill, piercing, blood-
Her bodily needs satisfied, Arhl-a be- curdling scream.
came possessed of a desire to be on In answer, a mighty form came
her way back to her people, and crashing through the forest and stood
Wagh. But first she must have weap- before them, and Arhl-a ’s heart leapt,
ons. She re-entered the cave and with joy as she beheld the one who
stripped the dead body of the weapons —
had come to her aid Wagh, her mate
it wore, leaving her stag-handled dag- and her protector.
ger in the body that Wagh. should he • With a harsh, guttural cry the ape
be trailing them, might know that she flung the girl from him and turned
was safe. Thus armed, she sealed the to give battle to his more formidable
barren walls of the cliff and plunged antagonist.Another moment and the
into the heart of the great forest. two were locked in a mighty, death-
All through the long day she like embrace, with only the wide-eyed
plunged on, ever on. But Arhl-a girl to witness the battle supreme for
possessed not the ability of Wagh to which she was to be the prize.
follow unerringly the vaguely defined
trail through the jungle. It was not QILENTLY they fought, the still-
until twilight closed about her that ^ ness broken only by the snapping
the girl realized that she was last. of dry twigs beneath their feet or the
Had she but known, she had traveled dull thud as the huge bodies crashed
in a gigantic circle and was but a against the trunks of the massive
short distance from the cave where trees.
she had spent the night before, with At last Wagh gained the opening
the silent form of Zurd her sole com- he sought and brought his stone ax
panion. down with terrific force upon the
The fast gathering darkness head of the beast, clearing it from
brought with it a disquieting .silence skull to chin between the eyes. The
—the silence that always preceded the hairy bulk tottered for a brief instant
voices of the creatures of the night. and toppled in an inert mass at the
Above the tree-tops the white moon feet of the victorious man.
shone bright in a clear sky and Arhl-a And there in the heart of the jun-
caught an occasional glimpse of a gle, with only the moon looking on,
tiny, twinkling star. '
the girl found her