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f^y^SIie : is Yours, Master/' 

f ©J\ ' ■'■W^A '" QI* ^ •<[ tu-.ifrttu- trt-rnhliii" i'irn.fiuddi-rril .at the w<*dsth,u 

H /gVV A'M O-deliwred h.T to rli.s cer'idtle i.in- .,1 ike k.„i I lou- cmdd 

/•A ^'-"'Offl'-'i • '" " > ! "'' '-'M'e £r. .ill clui On.nt.d inuiw.'r iifh.vliijN.- luiidi >he 

^? •^r 1 j. M ''^.'^tdV^r'"" ;"*■■ ^r*^ 

^^\;»'X >C^" \'y To know the. answer to this.- and the. most exciting 

y ,V->- -" ■ k.J 5 J" tales of Oriental adventure and mystery ever tola, 

Sp&\ ' > , I* *' read on through the- most thrilling, absorbing, 

i ■ ■ ~ i.fi'l entertaining* and, fascinating pages ever Written. 

Masterpieces of Oriental Mystery 

1 1 Superb Volumes by SAX ROHMER 
Written with his uncanny knowledge of things Oriental 



fejp; 



f,,<S. 



.\ 

|i!'M-r.r„- 
IYtv, 



Prictd for Quick Sale 



.eked wild IK 




■ «•.« McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie^- v».w. n-.» »„, 




On Sale the First Thursday of Each Month 



W. M. CLAYTONS Pakliflier 



BARRY BATES, E4ll*r 



DOl^LAS M. DOLD. f.on.ulM.« UUM 



t 



The Clapton Standard on a Magazine Guarantees: 






k, tiuci-MtlBg, »ltid, by loading orliajr* of ifat >l»y •««* P"' 
-erf bjiM" Autli»r»' Le-Boe of Amis rie, " 






rh««d «.._.. 

That «ueh Hagatlnea are *n anil factored in t nion ahopi by Aaaariei 

That each*'newidaaler and »»eal la liuurad ■ fair profit; 

That an in tell),™ t eaaior^ip Ku.rji their advertising pagva. «. 

.l*h* oiA*r Clayton magaaJiiai nr«t a 
ACE-tiiCH MAGAZINE, RANCH ROMANCES, COWBOY. STORIES, CLUES, FIVE -NOVELS 
MONTHLY, WIDE WORLD ADVENTURES, ALL STAR DETECTIVE STORIES, FLYEItS, 
RANGELAND LOVE STORY", MAGAZINE, SKY-HIGH LIBRARY MAGAZINE, 
MI99 19SO, and FOREST AND. STREAM ,. 
Taw Million Copies Required to Supply the Monthly Demand for Clayton Magazines. 



VOL. I, No. 2 



GONTENTS 



FEBRUARY; 1930 



H, W. WESSQLOWSKI 

i "Spavn^of the Stars.", - „ 



COVER DESIGN - - 

. Pointed, m Water -colors from a Seen* i 

OLD CaOMPTON'S SECRET , - HARL VINCENT 

- Tarn's Extraordinary' Machine Glowed— md the Years Were Banished from Old Cromp. 
ton's Body. But There Still Remained, Deep-seated ip His Century-old Mind, the 
Memory of His Crime. 
SPAWN OF THE STARS CHARLES WILLARD PIPPIN 

The Earth Lay Powerless Beneath Those Loathsome, Yellowish Monsters That, Sheathed 
in Cometlike Globes, Sprang from the Skies to Annihilate Man and Reduce His Cities 
to Asjkes. 
THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING " HUGH B. CAVE 

In the Gloomy Depths of he Old Warehouse Dale Saw a Thing That Drew a Scream of 
' Horror to His Dry Lips. It Was a Corpse — the Mold of Decay on Its Long-dead 
Features—and Yet It Was Alive! 
CREATURES OF THE LIGHT SOPHIE WENZEL ELLIS 

He Had Striven to Perfect the Faultless Man of the Future, and Had Succeeded — Too 
Well. For in the Pitilessly Cold Eyes of Adam, His Super-human Creation, Dr. 
Mundson Saw Only Contempt— and Annihilation—for the Human Race. 

INTO SPACE ' STERNER ST. PAUL 

What Was the Extraordinary Connection Between Dr. Liver mare's Swdden Disappearance 
* and the Coming of a New Satellite to the Earthf 

THE BEETLE HORDE VICTOR ROUSSEAU 

Bullets, Shrapnel, Shell— Nothing Can Stop the Trillions of Famished, Mam-slxed Beetles 
■ Which. Led by a Madman, Sweep Down Over the Human Race. 
MAD MUSIC ANTHONY PELCHER 

The Sixty Stories of the Perfectly Constructed Colossus Building Had Mysteriously 
Crashed! What Was the Connection Between This Catastrophe and the Weird 
• Strains of the Mad Musician's Viallnt 
v THE THIEF OF TIME - CAPTAIN S. "P. MEEK 

The Teller Turned to the Stacked Pile of Bills. They Were Gone! And No One Had 



.229 



Smgle popi«, 20 C*t>U (In C«n«U, 25 Cent.) Yearly Subscription, $2.00 

,W by PttMishera' Fiscal Corporation. Ml Lafayette St., New TorB N. Y. W. M Clayton ; Pre.i- 
CWdmimn. Secretary. Application for entry as second-class Mil W« "' ' he p <** Office at 
|»Aet of March 3, 1879. Application for registration of title ai Trad«, Mark pending In the 
ORV* Member Newwtand Group— Men*. List. For advertising rate, aadrew E. R. Crowe ft Co., 
^^Atc., New York ; or ?2E North Michigan Ave., Chic»«o. ' 1 



Itaued 
dent; _ 

New Y> 



Half a Million People 

have learned music this easy way 




ii 




Too, too, Can Lean to Play 

Yonr Favorite Instrument 

Withoot a Teacher 

Easfas&t&C 




_ rnittion delighted men aj&wpmeri. 
1 all 'over, the world have learned Tflusic this 



VES, half ; 



.qtiick, easy way. 

Half a million— 508,000— what a gigantic or- 
chestra they would make! Some are playing on 
the stage, others in orchestras, and many thou- 
sands are daily eajoying the pleasure and popu- 
larity of being able to play some instrument . 

Surely this is convincing proof of the success 
of. the new, modern method perfected by the 
V. S. School of Music! And what these people 
■ have done, YOU, too/can do I 

Many of this half million didnt know pot note 
from another— others had never touched an in- 
strument — yet in half the usual time they learned 
to play their favorite instrument Best o.f all, they 
found teaming music, amazingly easy. No monot- 
onous hours*; of exercises-^-no tedious scales — no 
^expensive teachers* This simplified method roai 
learning music as easy as A-B-C ' 

It Is like a fascinating gam& From the very start 
you are playing real tunes, perfectly, "by note/ ¥0u simply, 
can't go wrong, for every'step, from beginning to end.' 
la rir.ht before yonr eyes i«_ 
print, and picture. First yon 
are told how to do a tiling, 
then a picture shairs you 
how, then you do it yourself 
and hear ft. And almost be- 
fore you know it, you. tire 
playing yonr favorite •pieces 
— jazz, ballads, classics. No 
private teacher could make 
it clearer. Little theory — 
plenty of accomplishment. 
That's why students of the 
V. S. School of Music set 
ahead t w i(e as fast — th ret 
/times as font as those who 
study old-fashioned, plodding 
methods. 



play 
friend 



WHAT iMSTRUIttCT, 
FOR TOU? 

Plana Ptecofs 

Organ Hawaiian 

Violin Steei 

Clarinet Guitar 

Fluti Orumi and 

Harp Trap* 

Cornet - Mandolin 
•Cello Slsat Singins 

G attar Trasiboiit 

UkaMa Plaas 
Sax tenant AacarTJion 
Banfa, (P'eetrusi S-Sttiits 

or Tanor) ; 

Vtioa and Saaseh Cultare 

Harra*ey and CaaneaiUon 

aatsaistle Flitter CMitrai 

Italian ana Qarataa 

Aocortlan 



yew don't nW aiff special "talent." Haas* of thai 
half -million who have already become- ace ompB afcajl 
players never dreamed that" possessed nmaical ability. . 
They ' only wanted to play some instrument-— just Bs» 
you—and ' they found they 1 eoutd quickly learn how 
this easy way- Just a If til** of your »£■*"* time each 
day la needed— -tmd you enioy every minute ojf it-.', The 
cost is aurprisi-nitiy low — averaging; only a few cents a 
d«ty— and the price k the same far whatever h aaUAiia tnt 
you choose. And remember, you arc studyinc right in 
your own home—^wrthout paying fete fees to private 
teachers. ' 

Don't miss any more food times! Learn bo* to 
favorite instrument and surprise all your 
Change from a wallflower to the center of 
Music la tbe heat thinr to offer at a party- 
musicians are invited everywbere. Enjoy the popularity 
you have been visaing. Get your share, of the laoat - 
clan's pleasure and profit! Start now! 

Free, Booklet and Demonstration Lesson 

If you are in earnest about wanting to Join tha 
crowd of entertainers and he a 'Tata*-. Alt'* at any parts' — 
If you really do want to play your favorite instrument, . 
to become a performer whose service*, will he in de- 
mand — fill out and mall the convenient coupon aakfnff 
for our Free Booklet and Free Demonstration Lesson. 
These explain our wonderful method fuiiy and show you 
bow easily and auiekh/ you can learn. to play at little 
expense.' This booklet wil! also tell you all shout the 
amasins new Automatic Finger Control. Instruments are 
supplied when needed— cash or credit. U. S. School, ofl 
Music. SSSfr Brunswick Bldg., New York City. 

U. S. SCHOOL OF MUSIC. 

SW2 Brers-vie* Bid,.. Ntw Ysrk City. 

Please smhI me jour free book. "Marie T<— iiiii in Tour Owt . 
Boms," With Intraductioo by Dr. Frank Crane. PTw Demonstra- 
tion Lesson, and- oartienlara of your easy n»ria«nt plaa. I am 
interested in tbe following course: 

Kara yes 



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Only 28 years old and 
earning $15,000 a year 






Works in Shoe Factory 

W. T. Carson was forced to leave 
school at an early age. His'help 
*n 'needed at home. He took, a 
"job" fn a shoe factory In Hunting- 
ton, W..V*,, at $12 a week. . 



, Starts Studying at Home 

Canon determined to make soma- • 
- thing of himself before it try too 
J ale,- so he took up a' course with 
the . International Correspondence 
Schools and studied in spirt time. 



Now Owns Big Business 

Today "W. T. Carson Is tie owner 

of one of the largest battery ser- 

jvke stations in West Virginia, wltti 

• an income of |15,000 a year. And 

he a ooly 2S year* oldl : 






Lectures at Collet* 

Just ' a few months ago a large 
college asked Canon to lecture be 
fore a class in electricity. That 
shows the practical value of bis 
I. C. S.^onne. 



How to Earn More Money 
It the I. C. S. can smooth the path 
to success for men like W. T. 
Carson it can help you. If -it can 
help other men to earn more money 
it can help you too. 



The Boss is Watching Yoit 
Show him yea are ambitious and 
are really trying to get ahead. De- 
cide today that you-'are at leak 
going to find out all about the 
LC.S. and-wbat it can do for you. 



INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOLS. Bag 2124-E, 

Without cost or* obligation, please send me a copy of your booklet, "Whs Win aae'Wfey." and 
titulars shout the course bvtcto which I hsve marked X in the lUt below: 
BUSINESS TRAININ8 COURSES 



faa.ntl* 



□Traffic Management 
3Aceountlng and 
C. P. A. Coaching 



LjCont -Accounting 
QBookkeeplng_ 

•i.ilWork 
□spsniih D French 

rfe 






.„ji Correspondence -I 

w Card -and Sign Lettering! 

□Stenography sad Typing t 

rEngliih J 

»il Berries 
Ulwsy Mail Clerk 




TECHNICAL AMD INDUSTRIAL COURSES 



Telegraph StagtneeT 
Telephone Work 
Mechanical Engineer 
Mechaniral Draft) to an 
Machine Shop Practice 
Toolmaker 
Psttenunslier 
Ciyll Engineer 
SurTeylne and Mapping 
Bridge Enelneer 
Oai Engine Operating 
■■" Wort 



A<t» Hon Engine! 
Plumber and Steam Fitter 
Plamji'tnt Inipector 
Fore mm Plumber 
Heating and Ventilation 
Sheet 1 Metal Worker 
Steam Enrineer . ■■■■ , 

..■ -■: ■ ■;..,' . 

Refrigeration Engineer 



lOrTiIo School Subjects 
illtgh School Subjects 

' :'.■:■ : ■. 
Illustrating 
lljirnber Dealer ' 

Mining Engineer 
Navigation 

„_i and Steet Worker 
.fertile Overseer or Supt. 
, Cotton Manufacturing 
jWrwIcn Manufacturing 
\ '. :■•■■■■' <:.■■■ 
milt Growing 

■ Farming 
D Ms the ma tics Q Radio 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



JLET RCA IftftTITlTTES STAR 1 ! 
YOU ON THE ROAD TO . . . 

SUCCESS *RAi)IO 




Radio -need* you . , . That's why the entire 
Radio industry is calling for trained men. 
Radio is thrilling work". . . easy hours, 
vacations with pay and a chance to see the 
world. 'Manufacturers arid' broadcasting 
stations are now eagerly seeking 
t, i, ir i , trained RCA Institutes" men. 

StMffi^ MUhom of sconced servicing... 

find inspector , . . , . . . ■ , 

trsoo ui '$4000 tn o«s«nd»ot snips require experi- 
enced, operator* ..'. Never before ' 
was there an opportunity like this! 

This is the Only Court* Sponsored 

by Radio Corporation of 
America 
RCA sets the "standards for the 
entire -Radio industry . . . The 
RCA Institutes* Home-Labora tory 
Training Course enables you to 
quickly learn all the secrets of 
Radio ... In your spare time you 
can obtain a thorough, practical 
education in Radio. 
You learn Radio by actual expert- 
Land Station ence with the remarkable outlay 
Operator sidOO f apparatus given to every stu- 
t**4OO0«Ye«. dent _ That's why every graduate of 



Broadens* 

Operators 
$1800 to 
S4800 

a Year. 



For the added 

dents who prefer a Resident Study 
Course, RCA Institute!, lac.. ha* 
established Resident Schools in the 
following citiesi 

New York »-..,. 326 Broadway 
Boston, Mais. . . 899 Boylston St. 
Philadelphia, Pa. . U 11 Chestnut St. 
BaItimo*e,Md. . 1215N.Ch.rIesSt. 
Newark, N. J. ... 560 Broad St. 
Home Study graduates may also at- 
tend any one of our resident schools 
for post- graduate instruction at no 



RCA Institutes has. the experianee, 
the ability and the confidence to 
hold, a big-money Radio job. 

Qraduate* of RCA Institute* Find 

It Easier to Qet Qeod )/bs 
Students of, RCA Institutes get 
firw-hand knowledge, get it cfuick- ' 
lyand get it complete. Success in 
Radio depends upon training and 
that's the training you get with 
RCA4natitnr.es. That's why every 
graduate of RCA Institutes who 
desired a -position .has been able 
to get one . . .That's why 
graduates are always in big 
demand I ' , .' M 

■ Study Rodin at the Oldest and 

Largest CommerfHal Tramtna; 

Organization in die World 

Send for this Free Boole ..... . 

or step in at any of our resident 
schools and see for yourself how 
thousands of men are already on 
the road to success in Radio. 
Remember that, you, too, can 
speed up your earning capacity 
. . . can earn more money in Radio 
than you ever earned before. Tfa* 
man who trains today will hold 
down the bi£«^money Radio job 
of the future. Come in and get 
this free book or send for it by 
mail. Everything you want to 
know about Radio. 40 fascinating 
pages, packed with pictures arid 
descriptions of the brilliant op- 
portunities in this gigantic, world- 
wide money-making profession. 

SK>D FOB IT TODAY! 



€Up this Coupon NOW! 



RCA INSTITUTES, ircc. 



Hodkt Institute of America 



RCA DESTITUTES, Inc. 
Dept. NS-2, 326 Broadway, 
New York, N. Y. 

Gentlemen: Please send me your FREE 40-page book which 
illustrates the brilliant opportunities in Radio and describe* 
your laboratory- method of instruction at home! 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's-List, when answering advertisements •' 



u 



"INTO THE 
AFRICAN BLUE 

High Spots'in the Life of a Big Game Photographer , •'. 

By MARTIN JOHNSON ' .,'. « 

' ' ' > . »" . .. ■' ■ 

"Into the African Bluc M 

. is Africa— the land of ry- 
'mari'ce — of adventure. 

African big game is rap- t 
■ idly being shot off; the ; 
end is in sight, and it is 
for the, purpose of record- 
ing in pictures and in story 
. the remarkable wild life 
which' soon must vanish,' 
that Martin and Osa John— 
-, son- Undertake their safaris 
into the remotest corners 
of .the. '-'Blue." . 
V Jphhson T 3 photographs 
. are'rnagnificSflt! Theypor-. 
"tray the "primitive drama- 
.of the wilderness. . We see 
close-ups of elephants and 
giraffes sUcklitLg .their 
■young; lions lolling in the 
broiling sun or disputing 
possession of a zebra kilt 
We are introduced, into 
the inner family circle of 
rhinos, leopards, eland, 
oryx, gazelle and others — 
all unconscious of the 
-by presence of man. . And there are, of course, thrilling moments when a cantanker- 
rhino, elephant of lion resents the intrusion and charges the camera with deadly intent. 
■4 \ 

thrilling serial, profusely illustrated with photographs by the author, began in the Decern- 
;Bue of FOREST and STREAM. Follow Martin and Osa Johnson through the Soudan, the 
>, Kenya and Tanganyika; share their adventures — 




This 

ber ij 
Ci 




SPECIAL OFFER 



In addition to this thrilling 

would cost not less than $i 

FOHE£T and STREAM wi 

the outdoorsman — angler. 



serial, which in book- form 
Op, the next six issues of 
I contain mash of interest 
hunter, camper and nature 



I Lafayette Street, New York, 



FOREST and STREAM brings to yon the best of, out- 
'door literature written by the foremost authorities in 
their respective fields. By making use of the coupon 
_ to the left you can secure six issues of FOREST and 
T want the G issues beeimnn" I STREAM containing the complete story "Into the Afri- 
- number ami Vol-- i ■■'-•■•'"'" ~'<si ! can B,ue " lor 'he special price of (1.00, and you will re- 
■ "tive in addition to the magazine and without ftxtra cost 
Dlumes 1 and 2 of the Sportsmen's Encyclopedia, an 
valuable reference book which presents in handy form 
:curate and ..comprehensive information on every branch 
■ outdoor sport. 



I 

I 
1 
\ 
i 



"--Send In the < 



upon 



"DO IT NOWi" 



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J Will TiainYou 
at Home to Fill 
a Big-: 
KadioJ 




«*,« Ont Month 
la S>*re Time 

"Recently I made 
$375 in one month 

ine tailing, servic- 



Earle Cummins*, 
18 Webster St., 
Haverhill, Man. 



S4f» a Month 

"I work in what 
I believe to be the 
largest and .best- 
equipped Radio 
shop in the South- 
west and also op- 
crate KGFI. I 
am averaging $450 
a month." 
Frank M. Jonas, 
922 Guadalupe St,, 
San Angelo, Tex, 



■ ol iaior: 



II yon ,»re"e*rnmg 
a w*«k, send lor ray book . 
the opportunities rn Radio lf» FREE. O! 
the coupon NOW. A flood of gold is- ponring 
into Radio, creating hundred* at Tjig-pay jobs-. 
Why go- along a*. $26, WO or $45 a *«*■ wben 
the goo-i jobs in Radio pay $*>, $75 and up to 
$260 a week?/ "Rich Reward* in Radio" gi»e* 
foil inforrhation on theie big job* aiid cxpUmt 
how- you can quickly ieayn RkTkj through my 

•alarkt yflSettftlaaWttk 
Not UnMutl 

The, amazing growth oi Radio has astounded 
1 the world. Jn a few short years throe hun- 
dred thousand job* have been . created. And 
the biggest growth is still to comt. - That's 
why salaries at -«$0 I» $2Bf) a week are- n*t 
. unusual. Radio simply hasn't got naariy the 
number of thoroughly trained men it need*. 

T»u Gta L**rti~ tritUf mmd EavUjr 
In »aW» TImm 

Hundred* of N„ R. I. trained -awn its today raa±- 
in* oil money— holdiOf. daw* bis **•— in tkn Radio 
■ field. Tom. too. stsnlM Set tDtQ Racks. Tou «aa stay 
horn*, hold jour Job anil team in wmt war* tun*. 
Lack or U*b school educauon or Radio •KpsrieDne 
ate on drawbacks. ; ... i ^ _ / 

Many Zara «xf, «»*, «» Wt4kly 





possible. 

parts and temch you t 
recMrtiLS sot known. 
Brooklyn, M. y.. writ 
tot." 0. W. Pa**. 
Tesn.., "I picked, up 






bnild practlosiiy' every tyj« of 
M. B. SuUwaai. ill TSrd Bt.. 
• : ,"I madwfTM while mudy- 
1WT 21st At*. 8., Nastnllle. 
**J5 to my spare time while 

wk H Not »«tirfl«« 

for all lines— manufacturing. 
In business for yourself, opersa- 
1 811)1) or in a ffroadcsstlnc station— aad 
I. back up my traiWng with a Waned 
..._ . ; refund Brery penny of your mower if, 
after completion, you are not satisfied with the Ma- 
sons and instructions 1 live you. 

Act NOW-NEW 64-P*vg« BmK U FREE 

Send for this bis book of 
Radio Information. It has 
put hundreds of fellows on 
" s road to bigger pay and 



Yon can bwild 
lOO circuits vith 

of Radio parts 

3oftktW&you 



Get i 



See 



Radio offers you. and how 
my Employment- Department 
helps you cet into Radio 
after you graduate. Clip or 
tear out the coupon and 
it RIGHT NOW. 
J.E.S«ifc. Presided, DeptBSM 

National Radio Institute 

WsjUnftan, D. C, 





EmpfamertSermtoaBGrvdwiks 



OnPinaiors of Radio Home Study Iraimnj 



. SMITH. President. 

RBM, National Radio Institute, 
Ingtoo, D. C. 

-.! Mr. Suiith: Send me your STee book 
. Reward* in Runic" giving informal 
e blg-rnoney opportuniliee In Radio and 

>rtactir-s) rr.<?<hoi] :>f n-trh-.ni. with 
Outfits. T uhderstsnd" this places 



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' r .-.c^;.y lew than 3« a Pay I 4 2X££:£r 

111 or xvmnathv r 





Which do you want? Which will your family wantt 

Suppoic yon met with an accident or sickness ■ I n ca » c [ your accidental death,' which wAild 

tonight -salary stopped -which" would you - y;u r „h»r J give your family 

mWaUr. ... .or Sympathy t *»•.•*» C*. or Sympathy* 

Which would you Pay? 

WosWy° 1 *\ r a$er P a y bills and household ex- 
£ens«» out of a sliixt savings account or a 



$10 bill 



For a Whole Year's Protection Against 



SICKNESS 
ACCIDENT 



Get Gash instead of Sympathy 



If you met with an acci- 
dent in^-our home, on the 
rt.reer, or road, in the field, or on your job — will your income con- 
tinue? Remember, few escape without accident — andjaoneof mean 
tell.vrhat tomorrow holds for us. While you are readingthis warning, 
■omewhere some ghastly tragedy is taking its toll of human life or 
limb, some flood or fire, some automoMle or train disaster. Protect 

yourself now. Get Cash instead of Sympathy 

If you suddenly became illy— would your income stop? What if you 
contracted lobar pneumonia, appendicitis operation, or any of the 
many common ills which are covered in this strong policy, wouldn't 
you rest easier and convalesce more quickly if you knew that this 
old line company stood ready to help lift from your shoulders 
distressing financial burdens in case of a personal tragedy. Pro- 
tect yourself now. Get Cask instead of Sympathy 

Don't Walt for MUf ortune to Overtake Too 



North American Accident Insurance Co., IrbieaooJ ! 
388 Wallach Building, Newark, New Jersey, 

Gentlemen: At no cost to me send details of I 



Mail the Cobi 
today I 



New (10,000 Pre 

Name 



$10 Folic 



i A ami 
I Addr 

ICity 



■•■• I 

Address I 



Mail the 


.ttXte 


self against the 
chances of iate 
picking you out 
as its next victim. 



NO MEDICAL EXAMINATION 

$10 A Year Entire Costs. 
No Due*. No Aii m awtti. 

MEN AND WOMEN 

18 to 70 Years Accepted. 

910,000 

Principal Sam. 

$10,000 

Lois of hands, feet or eyesight. 

$25 Weekly Benefits 

for stated accidents 
or lick nesses. 



Doctor's Bills, Hospital Benefit, 
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features to nelp in time of need — 
all clearly shown in policy. 
This is a simple and understandable 

S' olicy— without complicated or mis- 
nading clauses. Yoa know exactly 
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word mean* exactly what it says. 



1 



Largest and Oldest Exclusive Health and Accident 
Insurance Company i n America. 

Cnder Supervision o f A il State Insurance Departments 
ESTABLISHED OVER 40 YEARS 



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«*i*J B 



*. /.; 




Jfc I i 

ii .: 



■*» 



r*« tripped on > 

kit f ereci**i ad- 
vrrtmry on («». 



Old Crompton's Secret 



By Harl Vincent 



usually accorded the other bizarre 
characters of the streets. 



TWO miles west of the village 
of Laketon there lived an aged 
recluse who was known only as The oldest inhabitants knew nothing 
Old Crompton. As far back as of his past history, and they had long 
the villagers could remember he had since lost their curiosity in the matter. 



visited the town 
regularly twice a 
month, each time 
tottering his lone- 
ly way homeward 
with a load of 
provisions. He 
appeared to be 

well supplied with funds, but pur- 
chased sparingly as became a miserly 
hermit. And so vicious was his tongue 



Tom'l extraordinary machine (towed — 
and the yeari were bantihed from Old 
Crompton' a body. But there stilt re- 
mained, deep -seated in hi* century-old 
mind, the memory of hi* crime. 



He was a" fixture, 

as was the old 

town hall with 

its surrounding 

park. His lonely 

cabm was shunn ed 

by all who chanced 

to pass along the 

old dirt road that led through the 

woods to nowhere and was rarely used. 

His only extravagance was in the 



that few cared to converse with hin%^ matter of books, and the village book 
even the young hoodlums of the town store profited considerably by his pur- 
hesitating to harass him with the banter chases. But, at the instigation of Cass 

153 ' 



1S4 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Harmon, the bookseller, it was .whis- 
pered about that Qld Crompton was a 
believer in the black art— that he had 
made a pact with the devil himself and 
- was leagued with him and his imps: 
For the books he bought were strange 
ones; ancient volumes that Cass must 
needs order from New York or Chicago 
and that cost*as much as ten and even 
fifteen dollars a copy ; translations of 
the' writings of the alchemists and as- 
trologers and philosophers of the dark 
ages. 

It was no wonder Old Crompton was 
looked at askance by the sjmple-living 
and deeply religious natives of the 
small Pennsylvania town. 

But there came a day when the her- 
mit was to have a neighbor, and the 
town buzzed with excited speculation 
as to what would happen. 

THE property across the road from 
Old Crompton's hut belonged to 
Alton Fopsythe, Laketon's wealthiest 
resident— hundreds of acres- of scrubby 
woodland that he considered well nigh 
worthless. But Tom Forsythe; the only 
son, had returned frbjh college ancVhls 
ambitions were of a nature strange to 
his townspeople and utterly incompre- 
hensible to his father^ Something 
vague about biology and chemical ex- 
""pertmnnTs'aiod the like .is what he spoke 
of, and, when his parents objected on 
the grounds of possible explosions and 
other weird accidents, he prevailed 
upon his father to have a secluded lab- 
oratory built for him in the woods. 

When the workmen started the small 
frame structure not a quarter of a mile 
from his own hut, Old Crompton was 
furious. He raged and stormed, but to 
no avail. Tom Forsythe had his heart 
set on the project and he was some- 
what of a successful debater himself. 
The fire that flashed irom his cold gray 
eyes matched that from the, pale blue 
one* of the elderly anchorite. And the 
law was on his side. 

So the building was completed and 
Tom Forsythe moved in, bag and bag- 
gage. 



For more than" a. year the hermit stu- 
diously avoided his neighbor, though, 
truth to tell, this required very little 
effort. For Tom Forsythe became al- 
most as much of a recluse as his pre- 
decessor, remaining indoors for days 
at a time and visiting the home of W« 
people scarcely oftener than Old , 
Crompton visited the village. He too 
became the target of village goaaip and 
his name was ere long linked with that 
of the old man in simila/ animadver- 
sion. But he cared naught for the 
opinions of his townspeople nor for the v 
dark looks of suspicion that greeted 
him on his rare appearances in the pub- 
lic places. His chosen work engrossed 
him so deeply that all else counted for 
nothing. His parents remonstrated 
with him in vaim Tom laughed away 
their recriminations' and fears, continu- 
ing with his labors more strenuously 
than ever. He never troubled his mind 
over the nearness of Old Crompton's 
hut, the existence of which he hardly 
noticed or considered. 

IT so happened one day that the old 
man's curiosity got the better of 
.him and Tom caught him prowling 
about on h^is property, peering wbmder- 
ingly at the many rabbit hutches, chick- 
en coops, dove cotes and the like which 
cluttered the space to the rear of the 
laboratory. 

Seeing that he was discovered, the 
old man wrinkled his face into a tooth- 
less grin of conciliation. 

"Just looking over your place, For- 
sythe," he said. "Sorry about the fuss 
I made when you buijt the house. But 
I'm an old man, you know, and changes 
are unwelcome. Now I have forgotten 
my objections and would like to,,,, be 
friends. Can we?" 

Tom peered searchingly into the 
flinty eyes that were set so deeply in 
the wrinkled, leathery countenance. 
He suspected an ulterior motive, but 
could not find it within him to turn the 
old fellow down. 

"Why — I guess so, Crompton," he 
hesitated: "I have nothing against you, 



OIASt CSOMPTOirS SECRET 



1M 



but I came here for seclusion and 111 
not have anyone bothering nte in my 
work." / 

"I'll not bother you, yountfman. But 
I'm fond of pets and I s»r you have 
many of them here; guinea pigs, chick- 
ens, pigeons, and rabbits. Would you 
mind if I make friends with some of 
themT 

"They're, not pets," answered Tom 
dryly, "they are material for use in my 
experiments. But you may amuse your- 
self with Ahem. if you wish." 

"You mean that you cut them up — - 
kill them, perhaps?" 

"Not that But I sometimes change 
them in physical form, sometimes cause 
tj»em to become of huge size, sometimes 
produce pigmy offspring of normal 
animals." 

"Don't they suffer?" 

"Very seldom, though occasionally a 
subject dies. But the benefit that will 
accrtie to* mankind is well worth the 
slight inconvenience to the dumb crea- 
tures and the infrequent loss of their 
lives." 



regarded him 
are* trying to 



OLD CROMPTON 
■ dubiously. "You 
find?" he interrogated. 

"The secret of lifet" Tom Forsythe's 
eyes took on the stare of "fanaticism. 
"Before I have finished I shall know 
the nature of the vital force — how to 
produce it. I shall prolong human life 
indefinitely; create artificial life. And 
the solution is more closely approached 
with each passing day." 

The hermit blinked in pretended 
mystification. But he understood per- 
fectly, and he bitterly envied the 
younger man's knowledge and ability 
that enabled him to delve into the mys- 
teries of nature which had always been 
so attractive to his own mind. And 
somehow, he acquired a sudden deep 
hatred of the coolly confident young 
man who spoke so positively of accom- 
plishing the impossible. 

During the winter months that fol- 
lowed, the strange acquaintance prog- 
ressed but little. Tom did not invite 



his neighbor to visit hint, nor did 0Jd 
Crompton go out of his way to impose 

his presence on the younger man, - 
though each spoke pleasantly enough 
to the other on the few occasions when 
they happened to meet. 
■' With the coming of spring they en- 
countered, 1 one another more frequently, 
and Tom/found considerable of inter- 
est in the quaint borrowed philosophy 
of the gloomy old man. Old Crompton, 
of course, was desperately interested in 
the things that were hidden in Tom's 
laboratory, but he never requested per- 
mission to see them. He hid his real 
feelings extremely well and was appar- 
ently content to spend as much time as 
possible with the feathered and furred 
subjects for experiment, being very 
careful not to incur Tom's displeasure 
by displaying too great interest in the 
laboratory itself. 

THEN there came a day in early 
summer .when an accidesH served 
to" draw the, twqf-men Closer together. 
and Oid'Crompton's long-sought op- 
portunity followed. i 

He was starting for the village when, 
from down the roadv there came a series 
of tremendous squawkings, then a bel- 
low of dismay in the voics-of his young 
neighbor. . He turned quickly and was 
astonished at sight of a monstrous 
rooster which had escaped and was 
headed straight for him with head 
down and wings, fluttering wildly. 
Torrf.iollowed close behind, but was 
unable tj» catch the darting monster. 
And monster it was, for this rooster 
stood no less than three feet in height 
and appeared more ferocious than a 
large turkey. Old Crompton had his 
shopping bag, a large one of burlap 
which he always carried to town, and 
he summoned enough courage to throw 
it over the head of the screeching, over-^ 
sized fowl. So tangled did the panic- 
stricken bird become that it was a com- 
paratively simple matter to effect bis 
capture, and the old man rose to his 
feet triumphant with the bag securely 
closed over the struggling captive. 



m 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Thanlw,'' pasted Tom, when be 

4f«w alongside. "I should never have 
caught him, and his appearance at large 
might have caused me a great deal of 
trouble — now of all times." 

"It's all right, Forsythe," smirked the 
old man. "Glad I was able to do it." 

Secretly he gloated, for he knew this 
occurrence would be an open sesame to 
that laboratory of Tom's. And it 
proved to be just that. 

A FEW nights later he was awak- 
ened by" a vigorous thumping at 
his door, something that had never be- 
fore occurred during his nearly sixty, 
years occupancy of the tumbledown 
bjit. The moon was high and he cau- 
tiously peeped from tlfe windoifrand 
saw that his late visitor was none other 
than young Forsythe. 

"With you in a minute!" he shouted, 
hastily thrusting his rheumatic old 
limbs into his shabby trousers. "Now 
to see the inside of that laboratory," he 
chuckled to himself. 

It required but a moment to attire 
himself id* the scanty raiment he wore 
during the warm months, but be could 
hear Tom muttering and impatiently 
pacing the flagstones before his door. 

"What is it?" be asked, as he drew 
the bolt and emerged into the brilliant' 
light of the moon. 

"Success!" breathed Tom excitedly, 
"1 have produced growing, living mat- 
ter synthetically. More thaft this, >l\ 
have learned the secret of the vital^ 1 
force — the spark of life. Immortality 
is within easy reach. Come and see 
for yourself." 

•They quickly traversed the short dis- 
tance to the two-story building which 
comprised Tom's workshop and living 
quarters. The entire ground floor was 
taken up by the laboratory, and Old 
Crompton stared aghast at the wealth 
of equipment it contained. Furnaces 
there were, and retorts that reminded 
him of those pictured in the wood cuts 
in some of his musty books. Then 
there were complicated machines with 
many levers and dials mounted on their 



{aces, and with huge glass bulbs of per 
culiar shape with coils of wire connect' 
ing to knoblike protuberances of their 
transparent walls. In the exact center 
of the great single room there was what 
appeared to be a dissecting table, with 
a brilliant light overhead and with two 
of the odd glass bulbs at either end. 
It was to this table that Tom led the 
excited old man. 

"This is my perfected apparatus," 
said Tom proudly, "and by its use I 
intend to create a new race of super- 
men, men and women who will always 
retain the vigor and strength of their 
"youth and who can not die excepting 
Jpy actual destruction of their bodies. 
Under the influence of the rays all 
bodily ailments vanish as if by magic, 
and organic defects are quickly cosf 
rected. Watch this now." 

HE stepped to one of the many 
cages at the side pi the room and 
returned with a wriggling cottontail in 
his hands. Old Crompton watched anx- 
iously as he picked a nickeled instru- 
ment from a tray of surgical appliances 
and requested his visitor to hold the 
protesting animal while bs^covered^Pts, 
head with a handkerchief. 

"Ethyl chloride,** explained Tom* 
noting with amusement the look of dis- 
taste on the old man's face. "We'll 
just put him to sleep for a minute while 
I amputate a leg." 

The struggles of the rabbit quickly 
ceased when the spray soaked the hand- 
kerchief and the anaesthetic took ef- 
fect. With a shining scalpel and a sux- 
gical saw. Tom speedily removed one 
of the forelegs of the "animal and then 
he placed the limp body in the center 
of tfre table, removing the handker- 
chief from its head as he did so. At 
the end of the table there was a panel 
with its glittering array of switches 
and electrical instruments, and Old 
Crompton observed very closely the 
manipulations of the controls as Tom 
started* the mechanism. With the en- 
suing hum of a motor-generator from a 
corner of the room, the four bulbs ad- 



OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET 



J37 



jacent to the table sprang into life, each 
glowing with a different color and each 
emitting a different vibratory note as 
it responded to the energy within. 

"Keep an eye on Mr. Rabbit now," 
admonished Tom. 

From the body of the small animal 
there emanated an intangible though 
hazily visible aura as the combined ef- 
fects of the rays grew in intensity. Old 
Crompton bent over the table and 
peered amazedly at the stump of the 
foreleg, from, which blood no longer 
dripped. The stump was healing over! 
Yes— -«t seemed to elongate as one 
watched. A new limb was growing on 
to replace the old ! Then the animal 
struggled one* more, this time to re- 
gain consciousness. In a moment it 
'was fully awake and, with a frightened 
hop, was off the table and hobbling 
about in search of a hiding place. 

T"* OM FORSYTHE laughed. "Never 
knew what happened," he exulted, 
"and excepting for tile temporary limp 
is not inconvenienced at all. Even that 
will be gone in a couple of hours, for 
the new*limb will be completely grown 
by that time." 

"But—but, Tom," stammered* the old 
man, "thirds wonderful. * How do you 
accomplish it?" 

"Ha! Don't think I'll reveal my 
secret. But this much I will tell you: 
the Ufe force generated by my appa- 
ratus stimulates a certain gland that's 
normally inactive in warm blooded ani- 
mals. This gland, when active, pos-* 
sesses the furiction of growing new 
members to the body to replaee-lost" 
ones in much the same manner as this 
is done in case of the lobster and cer- 
tain other crustaceans. Of course, the 
process, is extremely rapid when the 
^land is stimulated by the vital rays 
from my tubes. But this is only one 
of the many wonders of the process. 
Here is something far more remark- 
able." 

He took from a latge glass jar the 
body of a guinea pig, a body that was 
rigid in death. 



"This guinea pig," he explained, "was 
suffocated twenty-four hours ago and 
is stone dead." 

"Suffocated?" : Jm 

'*yes. But quite painlessly/! assure 
you. I merely removed the air from 
the jar with a vacuum pump and £he 
little creature paseed'out of the picture 
very quickly. , Now we'll revise it." 

Old Crompton stretched forth a skin- 
ny hand to touch the dead animal, but 
withdrew it hastily when he felt the 
clammy rigidity of the body. There 
was no doubt as to the lifelessness of . 
this specimen. 

TOM placed the dead guinea pig on, 
the spot where the rabbit had been 
subjected to the action of the rays. 
Jlgain hig%isitor watched carefully as 
be manipulated the control* of the ap- 
paratus. 

With the glow of the tubes and the 
ensuing haze of eery light that *u*« 
rounded the . little body, a marked 
change was apparent. The inanimate 
form relaxed suddenly and it seemed 
that the muscles pulsated with as ac- 
cession of energy. Then one leg was/ 
stretched forth spasmodically. Ttoere 
was a convulsive heave as the lungs 
drew in s first long breath, and, with - 
that, an astonished and very much alive 
rodent scrambled to its feetf* blinking 
wondering e*yes in the dazzling light. 

"See ? See ?" shouted Tom, grasping 
Old Crompton by the arm in a viselike 
grip. "It is the secret of life and* 
death ! Aristocrats, plutocrats and beg- 
gars will beat a path to my door. But, 
never fear, I shall choose my subjects 
well. The name of Thomas Forsythe 
will yet be emblazoned in the Hall of 
Fame. I shall be master of the world!" 

Old Crompton began to feai Tie glit- 
ter in the eyes of the gaunt young man 
who seemed suddenly to have become 
demented. And his envy and hatred of 
his talented host blazed anew as For- 
sythe gloried in the success of his ef- 
forts. Then he was struck with an idea 
and he affected his most ingratiating 
manner. * - 



1M 



A8T0UNMHG STORIES. 



"1* is * marvelous thing, Tom," l?c 
nra, "and is entirely beyond my poor 
comprehension. But I can see that it, 
is all you say and more. Tell me — can 
you restore the youth of. an aged per- 
son by these means?" 

"Positively!" Tom did riot catch the 
eager note in the old man's voice. Rath- 
er- be, took the question as an inquiry 
into the further marvels of his process." 
"Here," he continued, enthusiastically, 
Til prove that to you also. My cjog 
Spot is around the place somewhere. 
And* he is a decrepit old hound, blind; 
lame and toothless. "You've probably 
seen him with me," 

HE. rushed to the stairs and whis- 
tled. There was an answering 
yelp from above and the pad j^f-nncer- 
tsiin paws on the bare woooeh steps, 
A dejected old beagle blundered into 
the room, dragging a crippled hirrd leg 
as he fawned upon his master, who 
stretched f ortb a hand -to pat the un- 
steady head. 

"Guess Spot is old enough for thCj 
test," laughed Tom, "and I have been 
meaning to restore him to his youthful 
vigor, anyway. No time like the pres- 
ent." _ 

He led his trembling pet to the table 
of the remarkable tubes and lifted him 
to its surface. The poor old beast lay 
trustingly where he was placed, quiet, 
save for bis husky asthmatic breathing. 

"Hold him, Crompton," directed Tom 
as he pulled the starting lever of his 
apparatus. 

And Ohl Crompton watched in fas- 
cinated anticipation as the ethereal lu- 
minosity bathed the dog's body m re- 
sponse to the action of the four rays. 
Somewhat vaguely it came to him that 
the baggy flesh of his own wrinkled 
hands took on a new firmness and color 
where they reposed on the animal's 
back. Young Forsythe grinned tri- 
umphantly as Spot's breathing became 
more regular and the rasp gradually 
left it. Then the dog whined in pleas- 
ure and wagged his tail with increasing 
vigor. Suddenly he raised his head, 



perked his _ ears in astonishment and 
looked his master straight in the face 
with eyes that saw once more. The low 
throat cry rose to a full and joyous 
bark. He sprang to his feet from un- 
der the restraining hands and jumped 
to the floor in a lithe-muscled,! cap that 
carried him half way across the room. 
He capered about with the abandon of 
a puppy, making extremely active use 
of four sound limbs. 

"Why*~why, Forsythe* " stammered 
the hermit, "it's absolutely incredible. 
Tell me— rtell me — what is this remark- 
able force?" 

HIS host laughed gleefully. "You 
probably wouldn't understand it 
anyway, but 111 tell you. It is as sim- 
ple as the nose on your face. The spark 
of life, the vital force, is merely an ex- 
tremely complicated electrical manifes- 
tation which I have been able to dupli- 
cate artificially. This spark or force 
is all that distinguishes living from in- 
animate matter,- and in living beings 

. the force gradually decreases in power 
as the years pass, causing loss of health 

' and strength. The chemical composi- 
tion of bones and tissue alters, joints 
become stiff, muscles , atrophied, and 
bones brittle. By recharging, as it 
were, with the vital force, the gland 
action is intensified, youth and strength 
is renewed. By repeating the process 
every ten or fifteen years the same de- 
gree of vigor can be maintained indefi- 
nitely. Mankind will become immortal 
That is why I say I am to be master of 

rthe world." 

For the moment Old Crompton for- 
got his jealous hatred in the enthusi- 
asm with which he waB imbued. "Tom 
— Tom,'* he pleaded in his excitement, 
"use me as a subject. Renew my youth. 
My life has been a sad one and a lonely 
one, but I would that I might live it 

■ over. I should make of it a far differ- 
ent one — something worth while. See, 
I am ready." 

He sat on the edge of the gleaming 
table and made as if to lie down on its 
gleaming surface. But his young host 



%. 



OLD CROMPTOH'S SECRET 



t» 



only stared at him in open amusement. 

"What? You?" he sneered, unfeel- 
ingly- "Why, you old fossil! I told 
you I would choose my subjects care- 
fully. They are to be people of stand- 
ing and wealth, who can contribute to 
the fame- and fortune *of one Thomas 
Forsythe." -■■•'> 

"But Tom, I hive money," Old 
Crornpton begged. But when be saw 
the hard mirth in the younger roan's 
eyes, his old animosity flamed anew 
and he sprang from his position and 
shook a skinny fore-finger in Tom's 
f*ee. '; ... 

"Don't do that to me, you old fool!" 
shouted Tom, "and get out of here. 
Think I'd waste current on an bid cad- 
ger like you? I guess not! Now get 
-out. Get out, I say !" , 

Then the old anchorite saw red. 
Something, seemed to snap in his soured 
old brain. He found himself kicking 
and biting and punching at bis host, 
who backed away from the furious on- 
slaught in surprise.* Then Toot tripped 
over a wire and fell to the floor with a 
force that rattled the windows, his fero- 
cious little adversary on top. The 
-younger man lay still where, he had 
fallen, a trickle of blood showing: at 
his temple. 

"MyOoct! I've killed hhn !" gasped 
the old man. 

With trembling fingers he opened 
Tom's shirt and listened for his heart- 
beats. Panic-stricken, he rubbed the 
young man's wrists, slapped his cheeks, 
and ran for water to dash in his face. 
But all efforts to revive him proved 
futile, and then, in awful fear, Old 
Crornpton dashed into the night, the 
dog Spot snapping at his heels as he 
ran. 

HOURS later the stooped figure of 
a shabby old man might have 
been, seen stealthily re-entering the 
lonely workshop where the lights still 
burned brightly. Tom Forsythe lay 
rigid in the position in which Old 
Crornpton had left him, and, the dog 
growled menacingly. * 



Averting hia gaze and circling: wide 
of the body, Old Crornpton made for 
the table of the marvelous rays. In 
minute detail he recalled every move 
made by Tom in starting and adjusting 
the apparatus to produce the includi- 
ble result* he had witnessed. Not a 
moment was to be wasted now. Al- 
ready he had hesitated too ^ong, for 
soon would come the dawn and possible 
discovery of his crime. But the inven-, 
tion of his victim would save him from 
the long arm of the law, for, with youth 
restored, Old Crornpton would cease to 
exist and a new life would open its 
doors to the starved soul of the hermit. 
Hermit, indeed! He would begin life 
anew, an active man with youthful vig- 
or and " ambition. Under an assumed 
name he would travel abroad, would 
enjoy life, and would later become a 
successful man of affairs. He had 
enough money, he told himself. And 
the police would never find Old Crornp- 
ton, the* murderer of Tom Forsythe ! 
fie- deposited his small traveling bag 
on the. floor and fingered the controls 
of Tdsn's apparatus. 

He threw the starting switch confi- 
dently and grinned in satisfaction aa 
the answering whine of the motor-gen- 
erator came to his ears. One by one he 
carefully made the adjustments In ex- 
actly the manner followed by the now 
silenced discoverer of the process. 
Everything operated precisely as it 
had during the preceding experiments. 
Odd that he should have anticipated 
some such necessity! But something 
had told him to observe Tom's move- 
ments carefully, and now he rejoiced 
in the fact that hia intuition had led 
him aright. Painfully he climbed to 
the table top and stretched his aching 
body in the warm light of the four huge 
tubes. His exertions during the strug- 
gle with Tom were beginning to tell 
on him. But the soreness and stiffness 
of feeble muscles and stubborn joints 
would soon be but a memory. His 
pulses quickened at the thought and he 
breathed deep in a sudden feeling of 
unaccustomed well-being. 



160 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



THE dog growled continuously 
from his position at the head of 
his master, but did not move to inter- 
fere with the intruder. And Old 
Crompton, in the excitement of the mo- 
mentous experience, paid hira not the ' 
slightest attention. ^ 

His body tingled from head to foot 
with a not unpleasant sensation that 
conveyed the assurance of radical 
changes taking place under the influ- 
ence of the vital rays. The tingling 
sensation increased in intensity 'until 
it seemed that every corpuscle in his 
veins ^danced to* the tune of the vibra- 
tion from those glowing tubes that 
bathed him in an ever-spreading radi- 
ance. Aches and pains vanished from 
his body, but he soon experienced a 
sharp stab of new pain in his lower jaw. 
With an experimental forefinger he 
rubbed the gum. He laughed aloud as 
the realization came to him that in 
those gums where there had been no 
teeth for more than twenty years there 
was now growing a complete new set. 
And the rapidity of the process amazed 
him beyond measure. The aching area 
spread quickly and was becoming real- 
ly uncomfortable.^ But then — and he 
consoled himself with the thought- 
nothing is brought into being without 
a certain amount of pain. Besides, he 
wafc confident that his discomfort 
would soon be over. 

He examined his hand, and found 
that the joints of two fingers long crip- 
pled with rheumatism now moved free- 
ly and painlessly. The misty brilliance 
surrounding his body was paling and 
he saw that the flesh was taking on a 
faint green fluorescence instead. The 
rays had completed their work and 
soon the transformation would be fully 
effected. He turned on his side and 
slipped to the floor with the agility of 
a youngster. The dog snarled anew, 
but kept steadfastly to his position. 

THERE was a small mirror over 
the wash stand at the far end of 
the room and Old Crompton made haste • 
to obtain the first view of his reflected 



image. His step was firm and springy, 
his bearing confident, and he found 
that his long-stooped shoulders ' 
straightened naturally and easily. He 
felt that he had taken on at least two 
inches, in stature, which was indeed the 
case. When he reached the mirror he 
peered anxiously into its dingy surface 
and what he saw there so startled him 
that he stepped backward in amaze- 
ment. This was not Larry Crompton, 
but an entirely new man. The straggly 
white hair had given way to soft, 
healthy waves of chestnut hue. Gone 
were the seams from the leathery coun- 
tenance and the eyes looked out clearly 
-and steadily from under brows as thick 
aftd dark as they had been in his youth. 
The reflected features were those of an 
entire stranger. They were not even 
reminiscent of the Larry Crompton of 
fifty years ago, but were the features 
of a far more vigorous and prepossess- 
ing individual than he had ever seemed, 
even in the best years of his life. The 
jaw was firm, the once sunken cheeks 
so well ^filled out that his high cheek 
bones were no longer in evidence. It 
was the face of a man of not more than 
thirty-eight years of age, reflecting ex- 
ceptional intelligence and strength of 
character. 

4 "What a disguise t" he exclaimed in 
delight. And his voice, echoing in the 
stillness that followed the switching 
off of the apparatus, was deep-throated 
and mellow — the voice of a new man. 

Now, serenely confident that discov- 
ery was impossible, he picked up his 
small but heavy bag and started for the 
door. Dawn was breaking and he 
wished to put as many miles between 
himself and Tom's laboratory as could 
be covered in the next few hours. 
But at the door he hesitated. Then, 
despite the furious yapping of Spot, 
he returned to the table of the rays and, 
with deliberate thoroughness smashed 
the costly tubes which had brought 
about his rehabilitation. With a pinch 
bar from a nearby tool rack, he wrecked 
the controls and generating mechan- 
isms beyond recognition. Now he was 

Aat. St. 



OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET 



161 



absolutely secure! No meddling ex- 
perts could possibly discover the secret 
of Tom's invention. All evidence 
would show that the young experi- 
menter had met his death at the hands 
of Old Crompton, the despised hermit 
of West Laketon. But none would 
dream that the handsome man of means 
who was henceforth to be known as 
George Voight was that same despised 
hermit. 

He recovered his satchel and left the 
scene. With long, rapid strides he 
proceeded down the old dirt road to- 
ward the main highway where, instead 
of turning east into the village, he 
would turn west and walk to Kerns- 
burg, the neighboring town. There, in 
not more than two hours time, his new 
life would really begin! ■> , 

HAD you, a visitor, departed from 
Laketon when Old Crompton did 
and returned twelve years later, you 
would have noticed very little differ- 

* ence in the appearance of the village. 
The old town hall and 'the little park 
were the same, the dingy brick build- 
ing among the trees being just a little 
dingier and its wooden steps, more 
worn and sagged. The main street 
showed evidence of recent repaying, 
and, in consequence of the resulting in- 
crease in through automobile traffic 1 , 
there were two new gasoline filling sta- 
tions in the heart of the town. Down 
the road about a half mile there was a 
new building, which, upon inquiring 
from one of the natives, would be 
proudly designated as the new high 
school building. Otherwise. th©e were 
no changes to be observed. 

In his dilapidated chair in the untidy 

.office he had occupied for nearly thirty 
years, sat Asa Culkin, popularly known 
as "Judge" Culkin. Justite of the 
peace, sheriff, attorney-at-Iaw, and 

'three time's Mayor of Laketon, he was 
still a controlling factor in local j>oli- 
tics and government. And many a 
knotty legal problem was settled in 
that gloomy little office. Many a dis- 
pute in the town council was dependent 

Ast. St. 



for arbitration upon the keen mind and 
understanding wit of the old judge. 

The four o'clock train had just puffed 
its labored way from the station when 
a stranger entered his office, a stranger 
of uncommonly prosperous air. The 
keen blue eyes of the old attorney ap- 
praised him instantly and classified him 
as a successful man of business, not yet 
forty years'of age, and with a weighty 
problem on his mind. 

"What can I do for you, sir?" he 
asked, removing his feet from tbe bat- 
tered desk top. 

"You may be able to help rae a great 
deal, Judge," was the unexpected reply. 
"I came to Laketoa to give myself up." 

"Give yourself up?" Culkin rose to 
his feet in surprise and unconsciouily 
straightened his shoulders in tbe effort 
to seem less"dwarfed before the tall 
Btranger. "Why, what do you mean?" 
he -inquired. 

"T WISH to give myself up for mur- 
X der," answered the amazing vis- 
itor, slowly and with decision, "for a 
murder committed twelve years ago. I 
should like you, to listen to my story 
first, though. It has been kept too 
long." ' 

"But I still do not understand ." 
There was puzzlement in the honest old 
face of the attorney. He shook his 
gray locks in uncertainty. "Why 
should you come here? Why come to 
me? What possible interest can I have 
in the matter?" 

"Just this, Judge. You do not rec- 
ognize me now, and you will probably 
consider my story incredible when yd" 
hear it. But, when I have given you 
all the evidence, you will know who I 
am and will be compelled to believe. 
The murder was committed in Lake- 
ton. That is why I came to you." 

"A murder in Laketon ? Twelve 
years ago?" Again the aged attorney 
shook his head. "But — proceed." 
"Yes. I killed Thomas-Forsythe." 
The stranger looked for an expres- 
sion of horror in the features of his 
listener, but there was none. Instead 



162 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



the benign countenance took on a look , 
of deepening amazement, but the smile 
wrinkles had somehow vanished and 
the old face was grave in its surprised 
interest. 

"You seem astonished," ' continued 
the stranger. "Undoubtedly you were 
Convinced that the murderer was Larry 
Crompton — Old Crompton, the hermit. 
He disappeared the night of the crime 
and has never been heard from since. 
Am I correct?" 

"Yes. He disappeared all right. But 
continue." 

Not by a lift of his eyebrow did Cul- 
kin betray his disbelief, but the stran- 
ger sensed that his story was somehow 
not as startling as it should have been. 

"You will think me crazy, I presume. 
But I am Old Crompton. "It was my 
hand that felled the unfortunate young 
man in hislaboratory out there in West 
Laketon twelve years ago to-night. It 
was his marvelous invention that trans- 
formed the old hermit into the appar- 
ently young man you see before you. 
But I swear that I am none other than 
Larry Crompton and that I killed 
young Forsythe. I am ready to pay 
the penalty. I can bear the flagellation 
of my own conscience no longer." 

THE visitor's voice had risen to the> 
point of hysteria. But his listener 
remained calm and unmoved. 

"Now just let me get this straight," 
he said quietly. "Do I understand that 
you claim to be Old Crompton, rejuven- 
ated in some mysterious manner, and 
that you killed Tom Forsythe on that 
night twelve years ago? Do I under- 
stand that you wish now to go to trial 
for that crime and to pay the penalty ?" 

"Yes! Yes! And the sooner the.bet- 
ter. I can stand it no longer. I am 
the most miserable man in the world!" 

"Hm-n> — hm-m," muttered the judge, 
"this is strange." He spoke soothingly 
to his visitor. "Do not upset yourself. 
I beg of you. I will take care of this 
thing for you, never fear. Just take a 
seat, Mister — er — " 

"You may call me Voight for the 



present," said the stranger, in a more 
composed tone of voice, "George 
Voight. That is the name I have been 
using since the mur — since that fatal 
night." 

"Very well, Mr. Voight," replied the 
counsellor with an air of the greatest 
solicitude, "please have a seat now, 
while I make a telephone call." 

And George Voight slipped into a 
stiff -backed chair with a sigh of relief. 
For he knew the judge from the old 
days and he was now certain that his 
case would be disposed of very quickly, 

With the telephone receiver pressed 
to his ear, Culkin repeated a number. 
The stranger listened intently during 
the ensuing silence. Then there came 
a muffled "hello" sounding in impa- 
tient response to the calL 

"Hello, Alton," spoke the attorney, 
"this is Asa speaking. A stranger has 
just stepped into my office and he 
claims to be Old Crompton. Remember 
the hermit a*cross the road from your 
son's old laboratory? Well, this man, 
who bears no resemblance whatever to 
the old man he claims to be and who 
seems to be less than half the age of 
Tom's old neighbor, says that he killed 
Tom on that night we remember so 
well." 

THERE were some surprised re- 
marks from the other end of the 
wire, but Voight was unable to catch 
them. He was in a cold perspiration 
at the thought of meeting hi* victim's 
father. ". \^ 

"Why, yes, Alton," continued Culkin, 
"I think there it something in this 
story, although I. cannot believe it ail. 
But I wish you would accompany us 
and visit the laboratory. Will you K. 

"Lord, man, not that !"■ interrupted 
the judge's visitor. "I can hardly bear 
to visit the scene of my crime — arid ili 
the company of, Alton Forsythe. 
Please, not that!" 

'"Now you just let me take care of 
this, young man," replied the judge, 
testily. Then, once more speaking into 
the mouthpiece of the telephone. "All 



OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET 



163 



right, Alton. We'll pick you up at 
your office in five minutes." 

He replaced s the receiver on its hook 
and turned again to his visitor. "Please 
be so .kind as to do exactly as I re- 
quest," he said. "I want to help you, 
but there is more to this thing than 
you know and I want you to follow un- 
questioningly where I lead and ask no 
questions at all for the present. Things 
may turn out differently than you ex- 
pect." 

"All right, Judge." The visitor re- 
signed himself to whatever might 
transpire under the guidance of the 
man he had called upon to turn him 
over to the officers of the law. 

SEATED in the judge's ancient 
motor car, they stopped at the 
office of Altdh Forsythe a few minutes 
.later and were joined by that red-faced 
and pompous old man. Few words 
were spoken during the short run to 
the well-remembered location of Tom's 
laboratory, and the man who was 
known as "George Voight caught at his 
own throat with nervous fingers when 
they passed the tumbledown remains 
of the hut in which Old Crompton had 
spent so many years. With a screech- 
ing of well-worn brakes the car stopped 
before the laboratory, -which was now 
almost hidden behind a mass of shrubs 
and flowers. 

"Easy now; young man," cautioned 
the judge, noting the look of fear 
which had clouded his new client's fea- 
tures. The three men advanced to the 
door through which Old Crompton had 
fled on that night of horror, twelve 
years before. The elder Forsythe spoke 
not a word as he fumed the knob and 
stepped within. Voight shrank from 
entering, hut soon mastered his. feel- 
ings and followed the other two.' The 
sight that met his.eyes caused him to 
cry aloud in awe- < 

At the dissecting table, which seemed 
to be exactly as he had seen it last but 
with replicas of the tubes fie had de- 
stroyed once more in place, stood Tom 
Forsythe 1 Considerably older and 



with hair prematurely gray, he waB still 
the young man Old Crompton thought 
he had killed. Tom Forsythe was not 
dead after all! And all of his years 
of misery had gone for nothing. He 
advanced slowly to the side of the won- 
dering young man, Alton Forsythe and 
Asa Culkin watching silently from just 
inside the door. 

"Tom — Tom," spoke the stranger, 
"you are alive ? You were not dead 
when I. left you on that terrible night 
when I smashed your precious tubes? 
Oh— it is too good to be true! I can 
scarcely believe my eyes !" 

HE stretched forth trembling fin- 
gers to touch the body Of the 
young man to assure himself that it 
was not all a dream. \^ 

"Why," said Tom Forsythe, in aston- 
ishment. "I do not know you, sir. 
Never saw you in my life. What do 
you mean by your talk of smashing my 
tribes, of leaving me for dead ?" 

"Mean?" The stranger's voice rose 
now; he was growing excited. "Why, 
Tom, I am OJd Crompton. Remember 
the struggle, here in this very room? 
You refused to rejuvenate an unhappy 
old man with your marvelous appa- 
ratus, a temporarily insane ord man — 
Crompton. I was that old man and I 
fought with you. You fell, striking 
your head. There was blood. You 
were unconscious. Yes, for many hours 
I was sure you were dead and that I 
had murdered you. But I had watched 
your manipulations of the apparatus 
and I subjected myself to the action of 
the rays. My youth was miraculously 
restored. I became as you see roe now. 
Detection was impossible, for X looked 
no more like Old Crompton than you 
do. I smashed your machinery to avoid 
suspicion;. Then I escaped. And, for 
twelve years. I have thought myself a 
murderer. I have suffered the tortures 
of the damned !" 

< Torn Forsythe advanced on this re- 
markable visitor with clenched fists. 
Staring him in the eyes with cold ap- 
praisal, his wrath was all too apparent. 



164 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The dog Spot, young as ever, entered 
the room and, upoirobserving the stran- 
ger, set up an ominous growling and 
snarling. At least the dog recognized 
him! 

"What are you trying to do, cate- 
chise me ? Are you another of these 
alienists my father has been bringing 
around?" The young inventor was fu- 
rious. "If you are," he continued, "you 
can ge^ out of here — now! I'll have 
no more of this meddling with my af- 
fairs. I'm as sane as any of you and I 
refuse to submit to this continual per- 
secution." 

The elder Forsythe grunted, and 
Culkin laid a restraining hand on his 
arm. "Just a minute now, Tom," he 
said soothingly. "This stranger is no 
alienist. He has a story to tell. Please 
permit him to finish. 

SOMEWHAT mollified, Tom For- 
sythe shrugged his assent. 

"Tom," continued. the stranger, more 
calmly now, "what I have said is the 
truth. I shall prove it to you. I'll tell 
you things no mortals on\earth could 
know but we two. Remember the day 
I captured the big rooster for -you — the 
monster you had created? Remember 
the night you awakened me and 
brought me here in the moonlight? Re- 
member the rabbit whose leg you ampu- 
tated |and re-grew? The poor guinea 
t>ig you had suffocated and whose life 
you restored? Spot here? Don't you 
remember rejuvenating him?* I was 
here. And you refused to use your 
process on me, old man that I was. 
Then is when I went mad and attacked 
you. Do you believe me, Tom?" 

Then a strange thing happened. 
While Tom Forsythe gazed in growing 
belief, the stranger's shoulders sagged 
and he trembled as with the ague. The 
two older men who had kept in the 
background gasped their astonishment 
as his hair faded to a sickly gray, then 
became as white as the driven snow. 
Old Crompton was reverting to his 
previous state! Within five minutes, 
instead of the handsome young stran- 



ger, there stood before them a bent, 
withered old man — Old Crompton be-, 
yond a doubt. The. effects of Tom's 
process were spent. 

"Well I'm damnedl" ejaculated Al- 
ton Forsythe. "You have been right - 
all along, Asa. And I am mighty glad 
I did not commit Tom as I intended. 
He has told us the truth all these years 
and we were riot wise enough to stee it." 

"We!" exclaimed the judge. "You, 
Alton Forsythe! I have always up- 
held him. You have done your son a 
grave injustice and you owe him your 
apologies if ever a father owed his son 
anything." _ '. 

"You are right, Asa." And, his aris- 
tocratic pride forgotten, Alton For- 
sythe rushed to*the side of his son and 
embraced him. 

The judge turned to Old Crompton 
pityingly. "Rather a bad ending for 
you, Crompton," he said. "Still, it is 
better by far than being branded as a 
murderer." 

"Better? Better?" croaked Old 
Crompton. "It is wonderful, Judge. I 
have never been so happy in my life!" 

THE face of the old man beamed, 
though scalding tears coursed 
down the withered and seamed cheeks. 
The two Forsythes looked up from 
their demonstrations of peacemaking 
to listen to the amazing words of the 
old hermit. -■.«•■_ 

"Yes, happy for the first time in my 
life," he continued. "I am one hundred 
years of age, gentlemen, and I now look 
it and feel it. That is as it should be. 
And my experience has taught me a 
final lasting lesson. None of vou-Jtnow 
it, but, when I was but a very young^ 
man I was bitterly disappointed in love. 
Ha! ha! Never think it to'look at me 
now, would you? But I was, and it 
ruined my entire life. I had a little 
money — inherited — and I traveled 
about in the world for a few years, then 
settled in that old hut across the road 
where I buried myself for sixty years, 
becoming crabbed and sour and de- 
spicable. Young Tom here was the 



OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET 



165 



first bright spot and, though I admired 
him, I hated him for his opportunities, 
hated him for that which he had that 
I had not. With the promise of his in- 
vention I thought I saw happiness, a 
new life for myself. I got what I want- 
ed, though not in the way I had expect- 
ed. And I want to tell you gentlemen 
that there is nothing in it. With de- 
velopments of modern science you may 
be able to restore a man's youthful vig- 
or of b^ody, but you can't cure his mind 
with electricity. Though I had a 
youthful body, my brain was the brain 
of an old man — memories were there 
which could not be suppressed. Even 
had I not had the fancied death of 
young Tom on my conscience I should 
still have been miserable. I worked. 
God, how I worked — to forget ! But I 
could not forget. I was successsful in 
business and made a lot of money. 
I am more independent — probably 
wealthier than you, Alton Forsythe, but 
that did not bring happiness. I longed 
to be myself once more, to have the 
aches and pains which had 1 been taken 
from me. It is natural 'to- age and to 
die. Immortality would make of us 
a people of restless misery. We would 
quarrel and bicker and long for death, 
which would not come to relieve us. 
Now it is over for me and I am glad — 
glad— glad!" J ; -^ & 

HE paused for breath, looking be- 
seechingly at Tom Forsythe. 
"Tom,' 1 he said, "I suppose you have 
nothing for me jn your heart bxit 
hatred. And I don't blame you. But I 
wish — I wish you would try and for- 
give me. Can you?" ~ 

The years had- brought increased un- 
derstanding and tolerance to young 
Tom; He stared at Old Crompton and 



the long-nursed anger over the destruc- 
tion of his equipment melted iflto a 
strange mixture of pity and admiration 
for the courageous old fellow. 

"Why, I guess I can, Crompton," he 
replied. "There was many a.day when 
I struggled hopelessly to reconstruct 
my apparatus, cursing you with every 
bit of energy in my make-up. I could 
cheerfully have throttled you, had you 
been within reach. For twelve years 
I have labored incessantly to reproduce 
the results we obtained on the night of 
which you speak. People called me in- 
sane^— everi my father wished to have 
me committed to an asylum. And, un- 
til now, I have been unsuccessful. Only 
to-day has it seemed for the first time 
that the experiments will again, suc- 
ceed. But my ideas have changed with 
regard to the uses of the process. I 
was a cocksure young pup in the old 
days, with foolish dreams of fame and 
influence. But I have seen the error of 
my ways. Your experience, too, con- 
vinces me that immortality may not be 
as desirable as I thought. But there 
are great possibilities in the way of re- 
lieving the sufferings of mankind and 
in making this a better world in which 
to live.- With your advice and help I 
believe I can do great things. I now 
forgive you freely and t ask you to re- 
main here with me to assist in the work 
that is to come. What do you say to 
the idea?" 1 

At the reverent thankfulness in the 
pale eyes of the broken old man who 
had so recently been a perfect specimen 
of vigorous youth, Alton Forsythe blew--' 
his nose noisily. The little judge 
smiled benevolently and shook his head 
as if to say, "I told you so." Tom and 
Old Crompton gripped hands — mighti- 
ly. 



COMING, NE$CT MONTH 

BRIGANDS OF THE MOON 
By RAY CUMMINGS 




The sky was alive with winged shapes 
and high in the air 'shone the glitter- 
m* menace, t rati in g five plumes •/ gas. 



Spawn of the Stars 

By Charl** WHlaid Biffin . 



\ 



WHEN Cyrus R. Thurston 
bought himself a single- 
motored Stoughton job he 
was looking for new thrills. 
Flying around the east coast had lost 
its zest: he want- 
ed to join that 
jaunty group who 
spoke so easily of 
hopping off for 
Los Angeles. , 

And what Cy- 
rus Thurston 

wanted he , usually obtained. But if 
that young millionaire-sportsman had 



The Earth lay powerteai beneath those 
loathsome, yellowish monsters that, 

sheathed irt co mietHi.lt e globes, sprang from 
the skies to annihilate man and reduce 

hU citisw to **h«*. 



been told that on his first flight this 
blocky, bulletlike ship was to pitch him 
headlong into the exact center of the 
wildest, strangest war this earth had 
ever seen— well, it is still probable that 
the Stoughton 
company would 
not have lost the 
sale. 

T he y were 
roaring through 
the starlit, calm 
night, three thou- 
sand feet above a sage sprinkled desert, 
when the trip, ended. Slim Riley .had 




the stick when the first blast of hot oil 
ripped slashingly across the pilot's 
window. "There goes your old trip!" 
he yelled. "Why don't they try putting 
engines in these ships?" 

He jammed over the throttle and, 
with motor idling^ swept down toward 



the endless miles of moonlit waste- 
Wind? They had been boring into it. 
Through the opened window he 
spotted a likely stretch of ground. 
Setting down the ship on a nice piece 
of Arizona desert was a mere detail for 
Slim. , 



168 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Let off a flare," he ordered, "when 
I give the word." 

THE white glare of it faded the 
stars as he sideslipped, then 
straightened out on his hand-picked 
field. The plane rolled down a clear 
space and stopped. The bright glare 
persisted while he stared curiously 
from' the quiet cabin. Cutting the mo- 
tor he opened both windows, then 
grabbed Thurston by the shoulder. 

"Tis a curious thing, that," he said 
unsteadily. His hand pointed straight 
ahead. The flare died, but the bright 
stars of the desert country still shone 
on a glistening, shining bulb. 

It was some two hundred feet away. 
The lower part was lost in shadow, but 
its upper surfaces shone rounded and 
silvery like a giant bubble. It towered 
in the air, scores of feet above the 
chapparal beside it. There was a 
round spot of black on its side, which 
looked absurdly like a door. ... 

"I saw something moving," said 
Thurston slowly. "On the ground I 
sttw. . . . Qb, good Lord, Slim, it isn't 
real !" "'*'.' 

Slim Riley made no reply. His eyes 
were rivetted to an undulating, ghatst- 
ly something that oozed and crawled 
in the pale light not far from the bulb. 
His hand was reaching, reaching. , . . 
It found what ne sought; he leaned to- 
ward the window; In his hand was the 
Very pistol for discharging the flares. 
He aimed forward and up. 

The second flare hung close^before 
it settled on the sandy floor. Its blind- 
ing whiteness made the; more loath- 
some the sickening yellow of the flabby 
flowing thing that writhed frantically 
in the glare. It was formless, shape- 
less, a heaving mound of nauseous mat- 
ter. Yet even in. its agonized writhing 
distortions they sensed the beating pul- 
sations that marked it a living thing. 

There were unending ripplings 
crossing and recrossing through the 
convolutions. To Thurston there was 
suddenly a sickening likeness : the 
thing was a brain from a gigantic skull 



— it was naked— was suffering. . . . 

THE thing poured itself across the 
sand, before the staring gaze of 
the speechless men an excrescence ap- 
peared — a thick bulb on the mass — that 
protruded itself into a tentacle. At the 
end there grew instantly a hooked 
hand. It reached for the black open- 
ing in the great shell, found it, and the 
whole loathsome shapelessness poured 
itself up and through the hole. 

Only at the last was it still. In the 
dark opening tile last slippery mass held 
quiet for endless seconds. It formed, 
as they watched, to- a head— -frightful- 
menacing. Eyes appeared in the head ; 
eyes flat and round and black save for 
a cross slit in each; eyes that stared 
horribly and unchangingly into theirs; 
Below them a gaping mouth opened 
and closed. . . . The head melted — was 
gone. ... 

And with its going came a rushing 
roar of sound, \ 

From under the metallic mass 
shrieked a vaporou? cloud. It drove at 
them, a swirling blast of snow and 
sand. Some buried memory of gas at- 
tacks woke Riley from his stupor. He 
slammed shut the windows an instant 
before the cloud struck, but not before 
they had seen, in the moonlight, a 
gleaming, gigantic, elongated bulb rise 
swiftly — screamingly — into the upper 
air. 

The blast tore at their plane. And 
the cold in their tight compartment 
was like the cold of-outer -space. — The" 
men stared, speechless, panting.^ Their 
breath froze in that frigid room into 
steam clouds. 

"It— it. . :. .*' Thurston gasped — and 
slumped helpless upon the floor. 

IT was an hour before they dared 
open the door of their cabin. An 
hour of biting, numbing cold. Zero — 
on a warm summer night on the.desert ! 
Snow in the hurricane that had struck 
them ! 

" 'Twas the blast from the thing," 
guessed the pilot ; "though never did 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



163 



I see an engine with an exhaust like 
that." He was pounding himself with 
his arms to force up the chilled circu- 
lation. 

"But the beast — the — the thing!" ex- 
claimed Thurston. "It'a^monstrous ; 
indecent ! It thought— no question of 
that — but no body! Horrible! Just a 
raw, naked, thinking protoplasm!" 

It was here that be flung open the 
door. They sniffed cautiously of the 
air. It was warm again — clean — save 
for a hint of some nauseous odor. They 
walked forward; Riley carried a flash. 

The odor grew to a stench as they 
came where the great mass had lain. 
On the ground was a fleshy mound. 
There were bones showing, and horns 
on a skull. Riley held the light close 
to show the body of a steer. A body 
of raw bleeding meat. Half of it had 
been absorbed. . . . 

"The damned thing," said Riley, and 
paused vainly for adequate words. "The 
damned thing was eating. . . .Like a 
jelly-fish, it was V* 

"Exactly," Thurs ton agreed . He 
pointed about. There were other heaps 
scattered among the low sage. 

"Smothered," guessed Thurston, 
"with that frozen exhaust. Then the 
filthy thing landed and came out to 
eat." 

"Hold the light for me," the pilot 
commanded. "I'm goin' to fix that 
busted oil line. And I'm goin' to do 
it-right now. Maybe the creature's still 
hungry." 

THEY sat in their room. About 
them was the luxury of a modern 
hotel. Cyrus Thurston stared vacantly 

at the breakfast he was forgetting to 
eat. He wiped his hands mechanically 
on a snowy napkin. He looked from 
the window. There were palm trees 
in the park, and autos in a ceaseless 
jtreaaV— Arid people ! Sane, sober 
people, living in a sane world. News- 
boys were shouting ; the life of the city 
was flowing. 

"Riley!" Thurston turned to the man 
across the table. His voice was curi- 



ously toneless; and his face haggard. 
"Riley, I haven't slept for three nights. 
Neither have you. We've got to get 
this thing straight. We didn't both 
become absolute maniacs at the same 
instant, but — it was not there, it was 
never there — not that . . ." He was 
lost in unpleasant recollections. "There 
are other records of hallucinations." 

"Hallucinations — hell !" said Slim 
Riley. He was looking at a Los An- 
geles newspaper. He passed %ne hand 
wearily across his eyes, but his face 
was happier than it had been in days. 

"We didn't imagine it, we aren't 
crazy — it's real ! Would you read that 
now!" He passed the paper across to 
Thurston., The headlines t were start- 
ling. 

"Pilot Killed by Mysterious Airship-. 
Silvery Bubble Hangs Over New York. 
Downs Army Plane in Burst of Flame. 
Vanishes at Terrific Speed." 

"It's our little friend," said Thurs- 
ton. And on his face, too, the lines 
were vanishing; to find this horror a 
reality was positive relief "Here's the 
same cloud of vapor— drifted slowly 
across the city, the accounts says, blow- 
ing this stuff like steam from under- 
neath. Airplanes investigated — an army 
plane drove into the vapor — terrific ex- 
plosion — plane down in flames — others 
wrecked. The machine ascended with 
meteor speed, trailing blue flame. 
Come on, boy, whcre's that old bus? 
^Thought I never wanted to fly a plane 
again. Now I don't want to do any- 
thing but." -. * ■ 

"Where to?" Slim inquired. 

"Headquarters," Thurston told him. 
"Washington— let's go I" 

FROM Los Angeles to Washington 
is not far, as the plane flies. There 
was a stop or two for gasoline, but it 
was only a day later that they were 
seated in the War Office. ThurBton'a 
card had gained immediate admittance. 
"Got the low-down," he had written on 
the back of his card, "on the mystery 
airship." 

"What you have told me is incred- 



170 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



ible," the Secretary was paying, "or 
would be if General Lozier here had 
not reported personally on the occur- 
rence at .New York. But the monster, 
the thing you have described. . . . Cy, 
if I didn't know you as I do I would 
have you locked up." 

"It's true," said Thurston, simply. 
"It's damnable, but it's true. Now what 
does it mean?" 

"Heaven knows," was the, response. 
"That's where it came from — out of 
the heavens." 

"Not what we saw," Slim Riley broke 
in. "That thing came straight out of 
Hell." And in his voice was no sug- 
gestion of levity. 

"You left Los Angeles early yester- 
day; have you seen the papers?" 

Thurston shook his head. 
-^TThry are back," said the Secretary. 
"Reported over London—Paris — the 
West Coast". , Ev%n China has seen ( 
them. Shanghai cabled an hour ago." 

"Them? How many are there?" 

"Nobody knows. There were 6ve 
seen at one time. There are more — 
unless the same ones go around the 
world in a matter of minutes." 

THURSTON remembered that 
whirlwind of vapor and a vanish- 
ing speck in the Arizona sky? "They 
could," he asserted. "They're faster 
than -anything on earth. Though what 
drives them . . . that gas— ^-steam— -what- 
ever it is. . . ." 

"Hydrogen," stated General Lozier. 
"I saw the New York show when poor 
Davis gftt his. He flew into the ex- 
haust ; it .w"teyt off ..like a million bombs. 
"'Characteli^ic^hydfogen flame trailed 
the damn thing up\put of sight— a tail 
of blue firer'; 

"And cold," stated Tttuxstort 

"Hot as a Bunsen burner," the Gen- 
eral contradicted. # "Davis' plane almost 
m,elted." " '/"■'" 

"Before it ignited," said the other. 
He told of the cold in their plane. 

"Ha!" The General spoke explosive^ 
ly. "That's, expansion. That's a tip on 
their motive power. Expansion of gas. 



That accounts for the cold and the 
vapor. Suddenly expanded it would be 
intensely cold. The moisture of the 
air would condense, freeze. But how 
could they carry it? Or" — he frowned 
for a moment, brows drawn over deep- 
set gray eyes— "or generate it? But 
that's crazy— that's impossible !" 

"So is the whole matter," the Secre- 
tary reminded him. "With the infor- 
mation Mr. Thurston and Mr. Riley 
have given 14s, the whole affair is^>e- 
yond any gage our past expense 
might supply. We start from the im- 
possible, and we go— where ? What is 
to be done?" 

"With your permission, sir, a num- 
ber of things shall be done. It would 
be interesting to see what a squadron 
of planes might accomplish, diving on 
them from above. Or anti-aircraft 
fire." \ 

"M^'' said the Secretary of War, 

J.N "not yet. They, have" looked us 
over, but they have not attacked. For 
the present we do not know what they 
are. All of us have our suspicions- 
thoughts of interplanetary travel — 
thoughts too wild for serious utterance 
— but we know nothing. 

"Say nothing to the papers of what 
you have t&ld me," he directed Thurs- 
ton. "Lord knows their surmises are 
wild enough now. And for you, Gen- 
eral, in the event of any hostile move, 
you will resist." \ . 

"Your order was anticipated*! sir." 
The General permitted himself a slight 
smile. "The air force is ready." 

"Of course," the Secretary of War 
nodded. "Meet me here to-night — nine 
o'clock." He included Thurston and 
Riley in the command. "We need to 
think ... to thinlc"*, . . and perhaps their 
mission is friendly." 

"Friendly!" The two flyers ex- 
changed glances as they went, to the 
door. And each knew what the other 
was seeing — a viscous ocherous mass 
that formed into a head where eyes 
devilish in their hate stared coldly into 
theirs. ...'.-*' 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



171 



"Think, we need to think," repeated 
Thurston later. "A creature that is just 
one big hideous brain, that can think 
an arm into existence — think a head 
where It wishes I What does a thing 
like that think of ? What beastly 
thoughts could that — that thing con- 
ceive ?" 

"If I got th* sights of a Lewis gun 
on it," said Riley vindictively, "I'd 
make it think." 

"And my guess is that is all you 
would accomplish," Thurston told him. 
"I am forming a few theories about our 
visitors. One is that it would me quite 
impossible to find a vital spot in that 
big homogeneous mass." 

The pilot dispensed with theories: 
his was a more literal mind. "Where 
on earth did they come from, do you 
suppose, Mr. Thurston?" 

THEY were walking to their hotel. 
Thurston raised his eyes to the 
summer heavens. Faint stars were 
beginning to twinkle ; there was one 
that glowed steadily. 

"Nowhere on earth/VThurston stated 
softly, "nowhere on earth." 

"Maybe so," said the pilot, "maybe 
so. We've thought about it and talked 
about it . . . and they've gone ahead and 
done it." He called to a newsboy ; they 
took the latest editions to their room. 

The papers were ablaze with specu- 
lation. There were dispatches from all 
corners of the earth, interviews with 
scientists and near scientists. The ma- 
chines were a Soviet invention — they 
were beyond anything human — they 
were harmless — they "would wipe out 
civilization — poison gas— blasts of fire 
like that which had enveloped the army 
flyer. ... 

And through it all Thurston read an 
ill-concealed fear, a reflection of panic 
that was gripping the nation — the 
whole world. These great machines 
were sinister. Wherever they ap- 
peared came the sense of being 
watched, of a menace being calmly 
withheld. And at thought of the ob- 
scene monsters inside those spheres. 



Thurston's lips were compres&ed and 
his eyes hardened. He threw the pa- 
pers aside. * 

"They are here," he said, Yand that's 
all that we know. I hope the Secretary 
of War gets some good men together. 
And I hope someone is inspired with 
an answer." 

"An answer is it?" said Riley. "I'm 
thinkin' that the answer will come, but 
not from ^hese swivel-chair fighters. 
'Tis the boys in the cockpits with one 
hand on the stick and one on the guns 
that will have the answer." 

But Thurston shook his head. "Their 
speed," he said, "and the gas ! Remem- 
ber that cold. How much of it can they 
lay over a city?" 

The question was unanswered, un- 
less the quick ringing of the phone was 
a reply. 

"War Department," said a voice. 
"Hold the wire." The voice of the Sec- 
retary of War came on immediately. 

"Thurston?" he asked. "Come over 
at once on the jump, old man. Hell's 
popping." 

THE windows of the War De- 
partment Building were all alight 
as they approached. Cars were com- 
ing and going; men in uniform, as the 
Secretary had said, "on the jump." 
Soldiers with bayonets stopped them, 
then passed Thurston and his compan- 
ion on. Bells were ringing from all 
sides. But in the Secretary's office 
was perfect quiet. 

General Lozier was there, Thurston 
saw, and an imposing array of gold- 
braided men with a sprinkling of those 
in civilian clothes. One he recognized: 
MacGregor from the Bureau of Stand- 
ards. The Secretary handed Thurston 
some papers. 

"Radio," he explained. "They are 
over the Pacific coast. Hit near Van- 
couver; Associated Press says city de- 
stroyed. They are working down the 
coast. Same story — blast of hydrogen 
from their funnel shaped base. Colder 
than Greenland below them ; snow fell 
in Seattle. No real attack since Van- 



172 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



couver and little damage done — " A 
message was laid before him. 

"Portland.," he said. "Five mystery 
ships over city. Dart repeatedly to- 
ward earth, deliver blast of gas and then 
retreat. Doing no damage. Apparently 
inviting attack. All commercial planes 
ordered grounded. Awaiting instruc- 
tions. 

"Gentlemen," said the Secretary, "I 
believe I apeak for all present when, I 
say that, in the absence of first hand 
information, we are utterly unable to 
arrive at any definite conclusion or 
make a definite plan. There is a men- 
ace in this, undeniably. Mr. Thurston 
and Mr. Riley have been good enough 
to report to me. They have seen one 
machine at close range. It was occu- 
pied by a monster so incredible that the 
report would receive no attention from 
me did I not know Mr. Thurston per- 
sonally. 

"Where have they come from? What 
does—Kmean — what is their mission? 
Only G6d knows. 

"Gentlemen, I feel that I must see 
them. I want General Lozier to accom- 
pany me, also Doctor MacGregpr, to 
advise me from the scientific angle. I 
am going to the Pacific Coast. They 
may "not wait— that is true— but they 
appear to be going slowly south. I will 
leave to-night for San Diego. I hope 
to intercept them. We have strong 
air- forces there; the Navy Department 
is cooperating." 

HE waited for no comment. "Gen- 
eral," he ordered, "will you kindly 
arrange for a plane ? Take an escort 
or not as you thjnk best. 

"Mr. Thurston and Mr. Riley will 
also accompany us. We want all the 
authoritative data we can get. This on 
my return will be placed before you, 
gentlemen, for your consideration." 
He rose from his chair. "I hope they 
wait for us," he said. 

Time was when a commander called 
loudly for a horse, but in this day a 
Secretary of War is not kept waiting 
for transportation. Sirening motor- 



cycles preceded them from the city. 
Within an hour, motors roaring wide 
open, propellors ripping into the sum- 
mer night, lights slipping eastward 
three thousand feet; below, the Secre- 
tary of War for the United States was 
on his way. And on either side from 
their plane stretched the arms of a V. 
Like a flight of gigantic wild geese, 
fast fighting planes of the Army air 
service bored steadily into the night, 
guarantors of safe convoy. 

"The Air Service is ready," General 
Lozier had said. And Thurston and 
his pilot knew that from East coast to 
West, swift scout planes, whose idling 
engines co#!d roar into action at a mo- 
ment's notice, stood waiting ; battle 
planes hidden in hangars would roll 
forth at the word — the Navy was co- 
operating — and at San Diego there 
were strong naval units, Army units, 
and Marine Corps. 

"They don't know what we can do, 
what we have up our sleeve: tbey are 
feeling us out," said the Secretary.' 
They had stopped more than once for 
gas and for wireless reports. He held 
a sheaf of typewritten briefs. 

"Going slowly south. They have 
taken their time. Hours over San 
Francisco and the bay district. Re- 
peating same tactics ; fall with terrific 
speed to cushion against their blast of 
gas. Trying to draw us out, provoke 
an attack, make us show our strength. 
Well, we shall beat them to San Diego 
at ^this rate. We'll be there in a few 
hours." 

THE afternoon sun was dropping 
ahead of them when they sighted 
the water. "Eckener Pass," the pilot 
told s them, "where the Graf Zeppelin 
came through. Wonder what these 
birds would think of a Zepp! 

"There's the ocean," he added after, 
a time. San Diego glistened against 
the bare hills. "There's North Island 
— the Army field." He stared intently 
ahead, then shouted : "And there they 
are ! Look there !" 

Over the city a cluster of meteors 



SPAWN OK THE STARS 



173 



was falling. Dark underneath, their 
tops shone like pure silver in the sun's 
slanting glare. They fell toward the 
city, then buried themselves in a dense 
cloud of steam, rebounding at once to 
the upper air, vapor trailing behind 
them. 

The cloud billowed slowly. It 
struck the hills of the city, then lifted 
and vanished. 

"Land at once," requested the Secre- 
tary. A flash of silver countermanded 
the order. 

It hung there before them, a great 
gleaming globe, keeping always its dis- 
tance ahead. It wm elongated at the 
base, Thurston observed. From that 
base shot the familiar blast that turned- 
steamy a hundred" feet below as it 
chilled the warm air. There were round 
orifices, like ports, ranged around the 
top, where an occasional jet of vapor 
showed this to be a method of control. 
Other spots shone dark and glassy. 
Were they windows? He hardly re- 
alized their peril, so interested was he 
in the strange machine ahead. 

I 

THEN: "Dodge that vapor," or- 
dered General Lozier. The plane 

wavered in signal to the others and 

swung sharply to the left. Each man 
I knew the flaming death that was theirs 
\ if the fire of their exhaust touched that 
; explosive mixture of hydrogen and air. 
■ The great bubble turned with them and 

paralleled their course. 
"He's watching us," aaid Riley, "giv- 
- ing us the once over, the slimy devil. 

Ain't there a gun on this ship ?** 

The General addressed his superior. 

1 Even above the roar of the motors his 

I voice seemed quiet, assured. "We must 

I not land now," he said. "We can't land 

at North Island. It would focus their 
r attention upon our defenses. That 

thing — whatever it is — is looking for a 
r vulnerable spot. We must. . . . Hold 

on — there he goes!" 
r The big bulb shot upward. It slanted 
I above them, and hovered there. 

"I think he is' about to attack," said 

the General quietly. And, to the com-" 



mander of their squadron : "It's in your 
hands now, Captain. It's your fight." 

The Captain nodded and squinted 
above. "He's got to throw heavier stuff 
than that," he remarked. A small ob- 
ject was falling from the cloud. It 
passed close to their ship. 

"Half-pint size," said Cyrus Thdt#- 
ton, and laughed in derision. There 
was something ludicrous in the futility 
of the attack. He stuck his head from 
a window into the gale they created. 
He sheltered his eyes to try to follow 
the missile in its fall. 

THEY were over the city. The 
criss-cross of streets made a grill- 
work of lines ; tall buildings were 
dwarfed from this three thousand foot 
altitude. The sun slanted across a 
projecting promontory to make golden 
ripples on a blue sea and. the city 
sparkled back in the clear air. Tiny 
white faces were massed in the streets, 
huddled in. clusters where the futile 
black missile had vanished. 

And then — then the city was 
gone. . . . 

A white cloud-bank billowed and 
mushroomed. Slowly, it seemed to the 
watcher — so slowly. 

It was done in the fraction of a sec- 
ond. Yet in that brief time his eyes 
registered the chaotic sweep in ad- 
vance of the cloud. There came a 
crashing of buildings in some monster 
whirlwind, a white cloud ertgulfing^it 
all. ... It was rising — was on them. 

"God," thought Thurston, "why can't 
I move!" The plane lifted and lurched. 
A thunder of sound crashed against 
them, an intolerable force. They were 
crushed to the floor as the plane was 
hurled over and upward. 

Out of the mad whirling tangle of 
flying bodies, Thurston glimpsed one 
clear picture. The face of the pilot 
hung battered and blood-covered before 
him, and over the limp body the hand 
of Slim Riley clutched at the switch. 

"Bully boy," he said dazedly, "he's 
cutting the motors. . . ." The_ thought 
ended in blackness. 



174 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



f There was no sound of engines or 

*beating propellers when he came to 

his senses. Something lay heavy upon 

him. He pushed it to one side. -It was 

the body of General Lozier. 

V'" 

HE drew himself to his knees to 
look slowly about, rubbed stupid- 
ly at his eyes to quiet the whirl, then 
stared at the blood on his hand. It 
was so quiet — the motors — what was it 
that happened? Slim had reached for 
the switch. . . . 

The whirling subsided. Before him 
he saw Slim Riley at the controls. He 
got to his feet and went unsteadily for- 
ward. It was a battered face that was 
lifted to his. 

"She was spinning," the puffed lips 
were muttering slowly. "I brought her 

out there's the field. . . ." His Voice 

was thick; he formed the words slow- 
ly, painfully. "Got to land . . . can 
you take it? I'm — I'm-*-" He slumped 
limply in his seat. 

Thurston's arms were uninjured. He 
dragged the pilot to the floor and got 
back of the wheel. The field was be- 
low them. There were planes taxiing 
out ; he beard the roar of their motors. 
He tried the controls. The plane an- 
swered stiffly, but he managed to level 
off "as the brown field approached. 

Thurston never remembered that 
landing. He was trying to drag Riley 
from the battered plane when the first 
man got to him. 

"Secretary of War?" he gasped. "In 
there. . . . Take Riley; I can walk." 

"We'll get them," an officer assured 
him. "Knew you were coming. They 
sure gave you hell ! But look at the 
city!" 

Arms carried him stumbling from the 
field. Above the low hangars he saw 
smoke clouds over the bay. These and 
red rolling flames marked what had 
been an American city. Far in .the 
heavens moved five glinting specks. 

His head reeled with the thunder of 
engines. There were planes standing 
in lines and tmore erupting from 
hangars, where khaki-clad men, faces 



tense *Under leather helmets, rushed 
swiftly about. 

"General Lozier is dead,", said a , 
voice. Thurston turned to the man. 
They were bringing the others. "The 
rest are smashed up some," the" officer 
told him, "but I think they'll pull 
through." 

THE Secretary of War for the 
United States lay beside him. Men 
with red on their sleeves were, slitting 
his coat. Through one good eye he 
squinted at -Thurston. He «ven man- 
aged a smile. 

"Well, I wanted to see them up 
close," he said. "They say you saved 
us, old man." 

Thurston waved that aside. "Thank 
Riley — "he began, but the words ended 
in the roar of an exhaust. A plane 
darted swiftly away to shoot vertically 
a hundred feet in the air. Another fol- 
lowed and another. In a cloud of brown 
dust they streamed endlessly out, 
zooming up like angry hornets^ eager 
to get into the fight. 

"Fast little devils!" the ambulance 
man observed. "Here come the big 
boys." ■ ;'"■; 

A leviathan went deafeningly past. 
And again others came on in quick suc- 
cession. Farther up the .field, silvery 
gray planes with rudders flaunting 
their red, white and blue rose circling 
to the heights. » y 

"That's the Navy," was the explana- 
tion. The surgeon straightened the 
Secretary's arm. "See them come off 
the big airplane carriers!" 

If his remarks were part of his pro- 
fessional training in removing a pa- 
tient's thoughts from his pairs, they 
were effective. The Secretary stared 
out to sea, where two' great flat-decked 
craft were shooting planes with the 
regularity of a rapid fire gun. They 
stood out sharply against a bank of 
gray fog. ' Cyrus Thurston forgot his 
bruised body, forgot his own peril — 
even the inferno that raged back across 
the bay: he was lost in the sheer thrill 
of the spectacle. 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



175 



ABOVE them the sky was alive 
with winged shapes. And from 
all the disorder there was order appear- 
ing. , Squadron after squadron swept 
to battle formation, tike flights of 
wild ducks the true sharp-pointed Vs 
soared off into the sky. Far above and 
beyond, rows of dots marked the race 
of swift scouts for the upper levels. 
And high in the clear air shone the 
.glittering menace trailing their 6ve 
plumes of gas. ^ 

A deeper detonation was merging 
into the uproar. It came from the 
ships, Thurston knew, where anti-air- 
craft guns poured a rain of shells into 
the sky. About the invaders they 
bloomed into clusters of smoke balls. 
The globes shot a thousand feet into- 
the air. Again the shells found them, 
and a Tain they retreated. 

"Look!" said Thurston. "They got 
one!" 

He groaned as a long curving arc of 
speecL^howed that the big bulb was un- 
der control. Over the ships 'it paused, 
to balance and swing, then shot to the 
zenith as one of the great boats ex- 
ploded in a cloud of vapor. 
- The following blast swept the air- 
drome. Planes yet on the ground went 
like dry autumn leaves. The hangars 
were flattened. 

Thurston cowered in awe. They were 
sheltered, he saw, by a slope of the 
ground. No ridicule now for the 
bombs ! * 

A second blast marked when the gas- 
cloud ignited. The billowing flames 
were blue. They writhed in tortured 
convulsions through the air. Endless 
explosions merged into one rumbling 
roar. 

MacGregor had roused from his stu- 
por ; he raised to a sitting position. 

"Hydrogen," he stated positively, 
and pointed where great volumes of 
flame were sent whirling aloft. "It 
burns as it mixes with air." The scien- 
tist was studying intently, the mam- 
moth reaction. "But the volume/' he 
marveled, "the volume! From that 
small container! Impossible!" m 



"Impossible," the Secretary agreed, 
"but. . . ." He pointed with his one good 
arm toward the Pacific. Two great 
ships of Steel, blackened and battered 
in that fiery breath, tossed helplessly 
upon the pitching, heaving sea. They 
furnished to the scientist's exclama- 
tion the only adequate reply. 

Each man stared aghast into the pal- 
lid faces of his companions. "I think 
we have underestimated the opposi- 
tion," said the Secretary of War quiet- 
ly. "Look — the fog is coming in, but 
it's too late to save them." 

THE big ships were vanishing in the 
oncoming f»g. Whirls of vapor 
were eddying toward them in the flame- 
blaster air. Above ther™ the watchers, 
saw dimly the five gleaming bulbs. 
There were airplanes attacking : the 
tapping of machine-gun fire came to 
them faintly. 

Fast planes circled and swooped to- 
ward the enemy. An armada of big 
planes drove in from beyond. Forma- 
tions were blocking space above. . . . 
Every branch of the service was there, 
Thurston , exulted, the army, Marine 
Corps, the Navy. He gripped hard at 
the dry ground in a paralysis of taut 
nerves. The battle was on, and in the 
balance hung the fate of the world. 

The fog. drove in fast. Through 
straining eyes he tried in vain to 
glimpse the drama spread above. The 
world grew dark and gray. He buried 
his face in his hands. 

And again came the thunder. The 
-men on the ground forced their gaze 
to the clouds, though they knew some 
fresh horror awaited. 

The fog-clouds reflected the blue ter- 
ror above. They were riven and torn. 
And through them black objects were 
falling. Some blazed as they fell. 
They slipped into unthought maneu- 
vers — they darted to earth trailing yel- 
low and black of gasoline fires. The 
air was filled with the dread rain of 
death that was spewed from the gray 
clouds. Gone was the roaring of mo- 
tors. The air-force of the San Diego 



176 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



area swept in siltfnce to the earth, 
whose impact alone could give kindly 
concealment to their flame-stricken 
burden. 

Thurston's last control snapped. He 
flung himself flat to bury hra face in 
the sheltering earth. 

ONLY the driving necessity of work 
to be done saved the sanity of the 
survivors. The commercial broadcast- 
ing stations were demolished, a part of 
the fueMor the terrible furnace across 
the bay. . But the Naval radio station 
was beyond on an outlying hill. The 
Secretary of War was in charge. An 
hour's work and this was again in com- 
mission to flash to the world the story 
of disaster. It told the world also of 
what lay ahead. The writing was 
plain. No prophet was heeded to fore- 
cast the doom and' destruction that 
awaited the earth. 

Civilization was helpless. What of 
armies and cannon, of navies, of air- 
craft, when from some unreachable 
height these monsters within their 
bulbous machines could drop coldly — 
methodically— their diminutive bombs. 
And when each bomb meant shattering 
destruction ; each explosion blasting all 
within a radius of miles; each followed 
by the blue blast of fire that meltedVthe 
twisted iramework of buildings and 
powdered the stones to make of a proud 
city a desolation of wreckage," black 
and silent beneath the cold stars. 
There was no crumb of comfort for the 
world in the terror the radio told. 

Slim Riley was lying on an impro- 
vised, cot when Thurston and the rep- 
resentative of the Bureau of Standards 
joined him. Four walls of a room still 
gave ', shelter in a half-wrecked build- 
ing. There were candles burning: the 
dark was unbearable. 

"Sit down," said MacGregor quietly; 
"we must think. . . ." 

"Think!" Thurston's voice had an 
hysterical note. "I can't think! I 
mustn't think! I'll go raving crazy. 

"Yes, think," said the scientist. "Had 



it occurred to you that that is»pur only 

weapon left? -,, 

"We must think, we must analyze. 
Have these devils a vulnerable spot? 
Is there any known means of attack? 
We do not know. We must learn. 
Here in this room we have all the di- 
rect information the world possesses of 
this menace. I have seen their ma- \ 
chines in operation. You have seen 
more— you have looked at the monsters 
themselves. At one of them, anyway." 

THE man's voice was quiet, method- 
ical. Mr. MacQfegor was attack- 
ing a problem. Problems called for; 
concentration; not hysterics. He could 
have poured. the contents from a beaker 
without spilling a drop. His poise was 
needed : tbey were soon to make a lab- 
oratory experiment. 

The door burst open to admit a wild- 
eyed figure, that snatched up their can- 
dles and dashed them to the floor. 

"Lights outl" he screamed at them. 
"There's one of 'em coming back." He> 
was gone from the room. 

The men sprang for the door, then 
turned to where Riley was clumsily 
crawling from his couch. An arm un- 
der each of his, and the three men 
stumbled from* the fobm. 

They looked about them in the night. 
The fog-banks were high, drifting in 
from the ocean. Beneath them the air 
was clear ; from somewhere above a hid- 
den moon forced a pale light through 
the clouds. And over the ocean, close 
to the water, drifted a familiar shape. 
Familiar in its huge sleek roundness, 
in its funnel-shaped base where a soft 
roar made vaporous clouds upon the 
water. Familiar, too, in the wild dread 
it inspired. 

The watchers were spellbound. To 
Thurston ther* came a fury of impo- 
tent frenzy. It was so near ! His 
hands trembled to tear at that door, 
to rip at that foul mass he knew was 
within. . . . The great bulb drifted 
past. It was nearing the shore. But 
its action! Its motion! 

Gone was the swift certainty of con- 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



177 



trol. The thing settled and sank, to 
rise weakly with a fresh blast of gas 
from its exhaust. It settled again, and 
passed waveringly on in the night. 

THURSTON was throbbingly alive 
with hope that was certainty. "It's 
been hit," he exulted; "it's been hit. 
Quick! After it, follow it!" He 
dashed for a car. There were some 
that had been salvaged from the less 
ruined buildings. He swung it quickly 
"around where the others were waiting. 

"Get a gun," he commanded. "Hey, 
you," — to an officer who appeared — 
'*ycmr pistol, man, quick! We're go- 
ing after it!" He caught the tossed 
gun and hurried the others into the 
car. - s 

"Wait," MacGregor commanded. 
"Would you hunt elephants with a pop- 
gun? Or these things?" % 

"Yes," the other told him, "or my 
bare hands 1 Are you coming, or aren't 
you?" 

The | physicist was unmoved, "The 
creature you saw — you said that it 
writhed in a bright light — you said it 
seemed almost in agony. There's an 
idea there! Yes, I'm going with you, 
but keep your shirt on, and think." 

He turned again to the officer. "We 
need lights," he explained, "bright 
lights. What is there? Magnesium? 
Lights of any kind?" 

"Wait." The man rushed off into 
the dark.- 

He was back in a moment to thrust 
a pistol into the car. "Flares,'' he ex- 
plained. "Here's a flashlight, if you 
need it." The car tore at the ground 
as Thurston opened it wide. He drove 
recklessly toward the highway that fol- 
lowed the shore. 

The high fog had thinned to a mist. 
A full moon was breaking through to 
touch with silver the white breakers 
hissing on the Band. It spread its full 
glory on dunes and sea: one more of 
the countless soft nights where peace 
and calm beauty told of an ageless ex- 
istence that made naught of the red 
havoc of men or of monsters. It shone 
*«.. 8t. *"* 



on the ceaseless surf that had beaten 
these shores before there were men, 
that would thunder there still when 
men were no more. But to the tense 
crouching men in the car it shone only 
ahead on a distant, glittering speck. A 
wavering reflection marked the uncer- 
tain flight of the stricken enemy. 
\ 

THURSTON drove like a maniac; 
the road carried them straight to- 
ward their quarry. What could he do 
when he overtook it? He neither knew 
nor- cared. There was only the blind 
fury forcing him on within reach of 
the thing. He cursed as the lights of 
the car showed, a bend in the road; It 
was leaving the shore. 

He slackened their speed to drive 
cautiously into the sand. It dragged 
at the car, but he fought through to 
the beach, 'where he hoped for firm 
footing. The fid* was out. They tore 
madly along the smooth sand, break- 
ers clutching at the flying wheels. 

The strange aircraft was nearer; it 
was plainly over the shore, they saw. 
Thurston groaned as it shot high in the 
air in an effort to clear the cliffs ahead. 
But the heights were no longer a ref- 
uge. Again it settled. It struck on 
the cliff to rebound in a last futile leap. 
The great pear shape tilted, then shot 
end over end to crash hard on' the firm 
Band. The lights of the car struck the 
wreck, and they saw the shell roll over 
once. A ragged break was opening — 
the spherical top fell slowly to one 
side. It was still rocking as they 
brought the car to a stop. Filling the 
lower shell, they saw dimly, was a 
mucouslike mass that seethed and 
struggled in the brilliance of their 
lights. 

MacGregor was persisting in his the- 
ory. "Keep the lights on it!" he 
shouted. "It can't stand the light." 

While they watched, the hideous, 
bubbling beast oozed over the side of 
the broken shell to shelter itself in 
the shadow beneath. And again Thurs- 
ton sensed the pulse and/throb of lifs 
in the monstrous mass. 



178 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



HE saw again in his rage the 
streaming rain of black air- 
planes ; saw, too, the bodies, blackened 
and charred as they saw them when 
first they tried rescue from the crashed 
ahips; the smoke clouds and flames 
from the blasted city, where people — 
his people, men and women and little 
children — had met terrible death. He 
sprang from the car. Yet he faltered 
with a revulsion that was almost a 
nausea. His gun was gripped in his 
hand as he ran toward the monster. 

"Come back !" shouted MacGregor. 
"Come back! Have you gone mad?" 
He was jerking at the door of the car. 

Beyond the white funnel of their 
lights '-a. yellow thing was moving. It 
twisted and flowed with incredible 
speed a hundred feet back to the base 
of the cliff. It drew itself together in 
a quivering heap. 

An out-thrusting rock threw a "shel- 
tering shadow; the moon was low in 
the west. In the blackness a phosphor- 
escence was apparent. It rippled and 
rose in the dark with the pulsing beat 
of the jellylike mass. And through it 
were showing two discs. Gray at first, 
they formed to black, staring eyes. 

Thurston had followed. His gun was 
raised as he neared it. Then out of 
the mass shot a serpentine arm. It 
whipped about him, soft, sticky, viscid 
—utterly loathsome. He screamed once 
when it clung to his face, then tore 
savagely and in silence at the encir- 
cling folds. 

THE .gun! He ripped a blinding 
mass from his face and emptied 
the automatic in a stream of shots 
straight toward the eyes. And he 
knew as he fired that the effort was 
useless; to have shot at the milky surf 
would have been as vain. 

The thing was pulling him irresisti- 
bly; he sank to his knees; it dragged 
him over the sand. "He clutched at a 
rock. A vision was before him: the 
carcass of a steer, half absorbed and 
still bleeding on the sand of an Ari- 
zona desert. . . . 



To be drawn to the ■mothering em- 
brace of that glutinous mass . *. . for 
that monstrous appetite. . . . He tore 
afresh at the unyielding folds, then 
knew MacGregor was beside him. $ 

In the man's hand was a flashlight. 
The scientist risked his life on a guess. 
He thrust the powerful light into the 
clinging serpent. It was like the touch 
of hot iron to human flesh. The arm 
struggled and flailed in a paroxysm of 
pain. , 

Thurston was free. He lay gasping 
on the sand. But MacGregor! . . . 
He looked up to see him vanish in the 
clinging ooze. Another thick tentacle 
had been projected from the main man 
to sweep like a whip about the man. 
It hissed as it whirled about him in 
the still air. 

The flashlight was gone ; Thurston's 
hand touched it in the sand. He sprang 
to his feet and pressed the switch. No 
light responded; the flashlight was out 
— broken. 

A thick arm slashed and wrapped 
about him. ... It beat him to the 
ground. The sand was moving beneath 
him ; he was being dragged swiftly, 
helplessly, toward what waited in the 
shadow. He was smothering. ... A 
blinding glare filled his eyes. . . . 

THE flares were still burning when 
he dared look about. MacGregor 
was pulling frantically at his arm. 
"Quick — quick!" he was shouting. 
Thurston scrambled to his feet. 

One glimpse he caught of a heaving 
yellow mass in the white light ; it 
twisted in horrible convulsions. They 
ran stumblingly — drunkenly — toward 
the car. 

Riley was half out of the machine. 
He had tried to drag himself to their 
assistance. "I couldn't make it," he 
said : "then I thought of the flares." 

"Thank Heaven," said MacGregor 
with emphasis, "it was your legs that/' 
were paralyzed, Riley, not your brain." 

Thurston found his voice. "Let me 
have that Very pistol. If light hurts 
that' damn thing, I am going to put a 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



379 



biaze of magnesium into the middle 
of it if I die for it." 

"They're all gone," said Riley. 

"Then let's get out of here. I've had 
enough. We can come back later on." 

He got back of the wheel and 
slammed the door oT the sedan. The 
moonlight was gone. The darkness 
was velvet just tinged with the gray 
that precedes the dawn. Back in the 
deeper blackness at the cliff -base a 
phosphorescent something wavered and 
glowed. The light rippled and flowed 
in all directions over the mass. 
Thurston felt, vaguely, its mystery — 
the bulk was a vast, naked brain; its 
quiverings were like visible thought 
waves. . . . 

THE phosphorescence grew bright- 
er. The thing was approaching. 
Thurston let in his clutch, but the sci- 
entist checked ^him. 

"Wait," he . implored, "wait! I 
wouldn't miss this for the world." He 
waved toward the east, where far dis- 
tant ranges were etched in palest rose. 

"We know less than nothing of these 
creatures, in what part of the universe 
they are Bpawned, how they live, where 
they live — Saturn!— Ma*rs!-r~the Moon! 
But — we shall soon know how one 
dies!" „, 

The thing was coming from the cliff. 
In the dim grayriess it seemed less 
yellow, less fluid. A membrane en- 
closed it. It was close to the car. Was 
it hunger that drove it, or cold rage 
for these puny opponents? The hollow 
eyes were glaring; a thick arm formed 
quickly to dart out toward the car. A 
cloud, high above, caught the color of 
approaching day. . . . 

Before their eyes the vile mass 
pulsed visibly; ,'t quivered and beat. 
Then, sensing its danger, it darted like 
some headless serpent for its machine. 

It massed itself about the-^shattered 
top to heave convulsively. The top was 
lifted, carried toward the rest of the 
great metal egg. The sun's first rays 
made polden arrows through the dis- 
tant peaks. 



The struggling mass released its bur- 
den to stretch its vile length toward 
the dark caves under the cliffs. The 
last sheltering fbg-veil parted. The 
thing was half-way to the high bank 
when the first bright shaft of direct 
sunlight shot through. 

Incredible in the concealment of 
night, the vast protoplasmic pod was 
doubly so in the glare of day. But it 
was there before them, not a hundred 
feet distant. And it boiled in vast tor- 
tured' convulsions. The clean sunshine 
struck it, and the mass heaved itself 
into the air in a nauseous eruption, 
then fell limply to the earth. 

THE yellow membrane turned 
paler. Once more the staring 
black eyes formed to turn hopelessly 
toward the sheltering globe. Then the 
bulk flattened out on the sand. It was 
a jellylike mound, through which trem- 
bled endless quivering palpitations. 

The sun struck hot,, and before the 
eyes of the watching, speechless men 
was a sickening, horrible sight — a 
festering mass of corruption. 

The sickening yellow was liquid. It 
seethed and bubbled with liberated 
gases; it decomposed to purplish fluid 
streams. A breath of wind blew in 
their direction. The stench from the 
hideous pool was overpowering, un- 
bearable. . Their heads swam in the evil 
breath. . . . Thurston ripped the gears 
into reverse, nor stopped until they 
were far away on the clean sand. 

The tide was coming in when they 
returned. Gone was the vile putres- 
cence. The waves were lapping at the 
base of the gleaming machine. 

"We'll have to work fast," .said Mac- 
Gregor. "I must know, I must learn." 
He drew himself up and into the shat- 
tered shell. 

It was of metal, some forty feet 
across, its framework a maze of lat- 
ticed struts. . The central part was 
clear. Here in a wide, shallow pan the 
monster had rested. Below this was 
tubing, intricate coils, massive, heavy 
£nd strong. MacGregor lowered him- 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



% 



self upola it, Thurston was beside him. 
They went down into the dim bowels 
of the deadly instrument. 

"Hydrogen," the physicist was stat- 
ing. "Hydrogen — there's, our starting 
point. A generator, obviously, forming 
the gas — from what? They couldn't 
compress it! They couldn't carry it 
or make it, not the volume that they 
evolved. But they did it, they did it!" 

CLOSE to the coils a dim light was 
glowing. It was a pin-point of 
radiance in the half-darkness about 
them. The two men bent closer. 

"See," directed MacGregor, '"it 
strikes on this mirror — bright metal 
and parabolic. It disperses the light, 
doesn't, concentrate it! Ah! Here is 
another, and another. This one is bent 
— broken. They are adjustable. Hm! 
Micrometer accuracy for reducing the 
light. The last one could reflect 
through this slot. It's light that does 
it, Thurston, it's light that does it!" 

"Does what?" Thurston haof fol- 
lowed the other's analysis of the diffu- 
sion process. "The light that would 
finally reach that slot would be hardly 
perceptible." 

"It's the agent," said MacGregor, 
"the activator — the catalyst! What 
does it strike upon? I must know — I 
must !" 

The waves" were splashing outside 
the shell. ThurSton turned in a fever- 
ish search of the unexplored depths. 
There was a surprising simplicity, an 
absence of complicated mechanism. 
The generator, with its tremendous 
braces to carry its .thrust to the frame- 
work itself, filled most of the ,space. 
Some of the ribs were thicker, he no- 
ticed. Solid metal, as if they might 
carry great weights. Resting upon 
them were ranged numbers of objects. 
They were like eggs, slender, and 
inches in length. On some were pro- 
pellers. They worked through the 
shells on long slender rods. Each was 
threaded finely — an adjustable arm en- 
gaged the thread. Thurston called ex- 
citedly to the other. 



he said. "Look I 
Here's what blew 



"Here they are," 
Here are the shells, 
us up!" 



HE pointed to the slim shafts with 
their little propellorlike fans. 
"Adjustable, see? Unwind in their 
fa41 ... set 'em for any length of travel 
. . . fires the charge in the air. That's 
how they wiped out our air fleet." 

There were others without the pro- 
pellors; they had fins to hold them nose 
downward. On each nose was a small 
rounded cap. 

"Detonators of some sort," said Mac- 
Gregor. "We've got to have one. We 
must get it out quick; the, tide's coming 
in." He iaid his hands upon one of 
the slim, egg-shaped things. He lifted, 
then strained mightily. But the pbject 
did not rise ; it only rolled sluggishly. 

The scientist stared at it amazed. 
"Specific gravity," he exclaimed, "be- 
yond anything known! -There's noth- 
ing on earth . . . there is no such sub- 
stance ... no form of matter. . . ." His 
eyes were incredulous. 

"Lots to learn," Thurston answered 
grimly. "We've yet to learn how to 
fight oft" the other four." 
■.. The other nodded. "Here's the 
secret," he said. "These shells liberate 
the same gas that drives the machine. 
Solve one and we solve both — then we 
learn how to combat it. But how to re- 
move it — that is the problem. You and 
I can never lift this out of here." 

His glance darted about. There was 
a small door in the metal' beam. The 
groove in which the shelli were placed 
led to it ; it was a port for launching 
the projectiles. He moved it, opened 
k. A dash of spray struck him in the 
face. He glanced inquiringly at his 
companion. , '■ 

"Dare we do it?" he asked. "Slide 
one of them out?" 

Each man looked long into the eyes 
of the other. Was this, then, the, end 
of their terrible night? One shell to 
be dropped — then a bursting volcano 
to blast them to eternity 

"The boys in the planes risked it," 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



181 



said Thurston quietly. "They got 
theirs." . He stopped for a broken frag- 
ment of steel. "Try one with a fan on ; 
it hasn't a detonator." s 

The men pried at the slim thing. It 
slid slowly toward the open port. One 
heave and it balanced on the edge, then 
vanished abruptly. The spray was cold 
on their faces. They breathed heavily 
with the realization that they still 
lived* 

THERE were days of horror that 
followed, horror tempered by a 
numbing paralysis of all emotions. 
There were bodies by thousands to be 
heaped in the pit where San Diego had 
stood, to be buried beneath countless 
tons of debris and dirt. Trains brought 
an army of helpers; airplanes came 
with doctors and nurses and the begin- 
ning of a mountain of supplies. The 
need was there; it must be met, Yet 
the whole world was waiting while it 
helped, waiting for the next blow to 
fall. 

Telegraph service was improvised, 
and radio receivers rushed in. The 
news of the world was theirs once 
more. And it told of a terrifiedi wait- 
ing world. There would be no tem- 
porizing now on the part of the in- 
vaders. They had seen the airplanes 
swarming from the ground — they 
would know an airdrome next time 
from the air. Thurston had noted the 
windows in the great shell,' windows 
of dull-colored glass which would pro- 
tect the' darkness of the interior, es- 
sential to life for the horrible occu- 
pant, but through which it could see. 
It could watch all directions at once. 

THE great shell had vanished from 
the shore. Pounding waves and 
the shifting sands of high tide had ob- 
literated all trace. More than once had 
Thurston uttered devout thanks for the 
chance shell from an anti-aircraft gun 
that had entered the funnel beneath the 
machine, had bent and twisted the ar- 
rangement of mirrors that he and Mac- 
Gregor had seen, and, exploding, had 



cracked and broken the domed roof of 
the bulb. They had learned little, but 
MacGregor was. up north within reach 
of Los Angeles laboratories. And he 
had with him the slim cylinder of 
death. He was studying, thinking. 

Telephone service had been estab- 
lished for official business. The whole 
nation-wide system, for that matter, 
was under military control. The Sec- 
retary of War had flown back to Wash- 
ington. The whole world was on a war 
basis. War! And none knew where 
they should defend themselves, nor 
how. 

An orderly, rushed Thurston to the 
telephone. "You are wanted at once; 
Los Angeles calling." 

The voice of MacGregor was cool 
and unhurried as Thurston listened. 
"Grab a plane, old man," he was say- 
ing, "and come up here on the jump." 

The phrase brought a grim smile to 
Thurston's tired lips. "Hell's pop- 
ping!" the Secretary of War had added 
on that evening those long ages before. 
Did MacGregor have something? Was 
a different kind of hell preparing to 
pop? The thoughts flashed through the 
listener's mind. 

"I need a good deputy," MacGregor 
said. "Xou may be the whole works — 
may have to carry on — but I'll tell you 
it all later. Meet me at the Biltmore." 

"In less than two hours," Thurston 
assured him. 

A PLANE was at his disposal. 
Riley's legs were functioning 
again, after a fashion. They kept the 
appointment with minutes to spare. 

"Come on," said MacGregor, "I'll 
talk to you in the car." The automo- 
bile whirled them out of the city to 
race off upon a winding highway that 
climbed into far hills. There was 
twenty miles of this; MacGregor had 
time for his talk. 

"They've struck," he told the two 
men, "They were over Germany yes- 
terday. The news was kept quiet; I 
got the last report a half-hour ago. 
They prelty well wiped out Berlin. No 



182 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



air-force ithere. France and England 
sent a swarm of planes, from the re- 
ports. Poor devils'! No need to tell 
you what they got. We've Been it first 
hand. They headed west over the At- 
lantic, the four machines. Gave Eng- 
land a burst or two from high up, 
paused over New York, then went on. 
But they're here somewhere, we think. 
Now listen : 

''How long was it from the time when 
you saw the first monster until we 
heard from them again?" 

THURSTON forced his mind back 
to those days that seemed so far 
in the past. He tried to remember, 

"Four days," broke in Riley. "It was 
the fourth day after we found the devil 
feeding." 

"Feeding!" interrupted the scientist. 
"That's the point- 1 am making. Four 
days. Remember that ! 

"And we knew they were down in 
the Argentine five days ago — that's an- 
other item kept from an hysterical 
public. They slaughtered some thou- 
sands of cattle; there were scores of 
them found where the devils—- I'll bor- 
row Riley's word — where the devils 
had fed. Nothing left but hide and 
bones. 

"And^— mark this — that was four days 
before they appeared over Berlin. 

"Why? Don't ask me. Do they have 
to lie quiet for that period miles up 
there in space? God knows. Perhaps! 
These things seem outside the knowl- 
edge of a deity. But enough of that ! 
Remember: four days! Let us assume 
that there is this four days waiting 
period. It will help us to time them. 
I'll come back to that later. 

"Here is what I have been doing. 
We know that light is a means of at- 
tack. I believe that the. detonators we 
•saw on those bombs merely opened a 
seal in the shell and forced in a flash 
of some sort. I believe that radiant 
energy is what fires the blast. 

"What is it that explodes? Nobody 
knows. We have opened the shell, 
working in the absolute blackness of a 



room a hundred feet underground. We 
found in it a powder — two powders, to 
be exact. * 

"They are mixed. One is finely di- 
vided, the other rather granular. Their 
specific gravity is enormous, beyond 
anything known to physical science 
unless it would be the hypothetical 
neutron masses we think are in certain 
stars. But this is*not matter as we 
know' matter; it is something new. 

U /^VUR theory is this? the hydrogen 
V*/ atom has been split, resolved 
into components, not of electrons and 
the proton centers, but held at some 
halfway point of decomposition. Mat- 
ter composed only of neutrons would 
be heavy beyond belief. This fits the 
theory in that respect. But the point is 
this; When these solids are formed— 
they are^ dense — they represent in a 
cubic centimeter possibly a cubic mile 
of hydrogen gar under normal pres- 
sure. That's a guess, but it will give 
you the idea. 

"Not compressed, you understand, 
but all the elements present in other 
than elemental form for the reconstruc- 
tion of the atom . . . for a million bil- 
lions of atoms. 

"Then the light strikes it. These 
dense solids become instantly a gas — 
miles of it held in that small space. 

"There you have it : the gas, the ex- 
plosion, the entire absence of heat — 
which is to say, its terrific cold — when 
it expands." 

SHm Riley was looking bewildered 
but game. "Sure, I saw it snow," he 
affirmed, "so I guess the rest must he 
O. K. But what are we going to do 
about it? You say light kills 'em, and 
fires their bombs.^ But how can we let 
light into those big steel shells, or the 
little ones either?" 

"Not through those thick walls," said 
MacGregor. "Not light. One of our 
anti-aircraft shells made a direct hit. 
That might not happen again in a mil- 
lion shots. But there are other forms 
of radiant energy that do penetrate 
steel. . , .** 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



183 



THE car had stopped beside a 
grove of eucalyptus. A barren, 
sun-baked hillside stretched beyond. 
MacGregor motioned them to alight. 

Riley was afire with optimism. "And 
do you believe it?" he asked eagerly. 
"Do you believe that we've got 'em 
licked?" 

Thurston, too, looked into Mac- 
Gregor's face : Riley was not the only 
one who needed encouragement. But 
the gray eyes were suddenly tired and 
hopeless. 

"You ask what I believe," said the 
scientist slowly. "I believe we are wit- 
nessing the end of the world, our 
world of humans, their struggles, their 
grave hopes and happiness and aspira- 
tions. ..." 

He was not looking at them. His 
gaze was far off in space. 

"Men will struggle and fight with 
their puny weapons, but these mon- 
sters will win, and they will have their 
way with us. Then more of them will 
come. The world, I believe, is 
doomed. ..." 

He straightened his shoulders. "But 
we can die fighting," he added, and 
pointed over the hill. 

"Over there," he said, "in the valley 
beyond, is a charge of their explosive 
and a little apparatus of mine. I in- 
tend to fire the charge from a distance 
of three hundred yards. I expect to be 
safe, perfectly safe. But accidents 
happen. 

"In Washington a plane is being pre- 
pared. I have given instructions 
through hours of phoning. They are 
working night and day- It will con- 
tain a huge generator for producing 
my ray. Nothing new ! Just the prod- 
uct of our knowledge of radiant energy 
up to date. But the man who flies that 
plane will die— horribly. No time to 
experiment with protection. The rays 
will destroy him, though he may live a 
month. 

"I am asking you," he told Cyrus 
Thurston, "to handle thai plane. You 
may be of service to ,:^he world — you 
mav find vou are utterly powerless. 



You surely will die. But you know 
the machines and the monsters; your 
knowledge may be of value in an at- 
tack."- He waited. The silence lasted 
for only a mbment. 
"Why, sure," said Cyrus Thurston. 

HE looked at the eucalyptus grove 
with earnest appraisal. The sun 
made lovely shadows among their 
stripped trunks : the world was a beau- 
tiful place. A lingering death, Mac- 
Gregor had intimated — and horrible. 
. .' . "Why, sure," he repeated steadily. 

Slim Riley shoved him firmly aside 
to stand racing MacGregor. 

"Sure, hell!" he said. "I'm your man, 
Mr. MacGregor. # 

"What do you know about flying?!* 
he asked Cyrus Thurston. "You'r» 
good — for a beginner. But men like 
you two haye got brains, and I'm think- 
in' the worid will be needin' them. 
Now me, all I'm good for is»holdin' a 
shtick" — his brogue had returned to 
his speech, and was evidence of his 
earnestness. 

"And, besides" — the smile faded 
from his lips, and his voice was sud- 
denly soft — "them boys we saw take 
their last flip was just pilots to you, 
just a bunch of good fighters. Well, 
they're buddies of mine. I fought be- 
side some of them in France. ... I be- 
long !" 

He grinned happily at Thurston. 
"Besides," he said, "what do you know 
about dog-fights?" 

MacGregor gripped him by the hand. 
"You win," he said. "Report to Wash- 
ington. The Secretary of War has all 
the dope." 

HE turned to Thurston. "Now for 
you! Get this! The enemy 
machines almost attacked New York. 
One of them came low, then went back, 
and the four flashed out of sight to- 
ward the west. It is my belief that 
New York is next, but the devils are 
hungry. The beast that attacked us 
was ravenous, remember. They need 
food and lots of it. You will hear of 



184 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



their feeding, and you can count on 
four days. Keep Riley informed— 
that's your job. 

"Now I'm going over the . hill. I£ 
this experiment works, there's a chance ' 
we can repeat it on a larger scale. No 
certainty, but a chance ! I'll be back. 
Full instructions at the hotel in 
case. . . ." He vanished into the scrub 
growth. 

"Not exactly encouraging," Thurston 
pondered, ''but he's a good man, Mac, 
a good egg! Not as big a brain as the 
one we saw, but perhaps it's' a better 
one— cleaner — and it's working !*' 

They were sheltered under the brow 
of the hill, but the blast from the val- 
ley beyond rocked them like an earth- 
quake. They rushed to the top of the 
knoll. MacGregor was standing in the 
valley; he waved them a greeting and 
shouted something unintelligible. 

The gas had mushroomed into a 
cloud of steamy vapor. From above 
came snownakes to whirl in the churn- 
ing maqs, then fall to the ground. A 
wind came howling about them to beat 
upon the cloud. It swirled slowly back 
and down the valley. The figure of 
MacGregor vanished in its smothering 
embrace. 

"Exit, MacGregor!" said Cyrus 
Thurston softly. He held ti|ht to the 
struggling figure of Slim RTTey, 

"He couldn't live a minute in that 
atmosphere of hydrogen," he ex- 
plained. "They can — the devils ! — but 
not a good egg like Mac. It's our job 
now — yours and mine." 

Slowly the gas wte treated, lifted to 
'permit their passage down the slope. 

MACGREGOR was a good 
prophet. Thurston admitted that 
when, four days later, he stood on the 
roof of the Equitable Building in 
lower New York. 

The monsters had fed as predicted. 
Out in Wyoming a desolate area 
marked the place of their meal, where 
a great herd of cattle lay smothered 
and frozen. There were ranch houses, 
too, in the circle of destruction, their 



occupants frozen stiff as the carcasses 
that dotted the plains. The country 
had stood tense for the following blow. 
Only Thurston had lived in certainty 
of a few days reprieve. And now "had 
come the fourth day. 

In Washington was Riley. Thurston 
had been in touch with him frequently. 

"Sure, it's a crazy machine," the pilot 
had told him, "and 'tis not much I 
think of it at all. Neither bullets nor 
guns, just this big glass contraption 
and speid. She's fast, man, she's fast 
. . . but it's little hope I have." And 
Thurston, remembering the scientist's 
words, was heartless and sick with 
dreadful certainty. 

There were aircraft ready near New 
York; it was generally felt that, here 
was the next objective. The enemy 
had looked it over carefully. And 
Washington, too, was guarded. The 
nation's capital must receive what little- 
help the aircraft could afford. 

There were other cities waiting for 
destruction. If not this time — -later! 
The horror hung over them all. 

THE fourth day! And Thurston 
was suddenly certain of the fate 
of New York. He hurried to a tele- 
phone. Of the Secretary of War he 

implored assistance. 

"Send your, planeB," he begged. 
"Here's where we will get it next. 
Send Riley. Let's make a last stand 
— win or lose." 

"I'll give you a squadron," was the 
concession. "What difference whether 
they die there or here ... ?" The voice 
was that of a Weary man, weary and 
sleepless and hopeless; 

"Good-by Cy, old man!" The click 
of the receiver sounded in Thurston's 
ear. He returned to the roof for his 
vigil. 

To wait, to stride nervously back 
and forth in impotent expectancy. He 
could leave, go out into open country, 
but what were a few days or months — 
or a year— with this horror upon them? 
It was the end. MacGregor was right. 
"Good old Mac!" 



SPAWN OF THE STARS 



185 



There were airplanes roaring over- 
head. It meant . . . Thurston abruptly 
was cold; a chill gripped at his heart. 

The. paroxysm passed. He was 
doubled with laughter — or was it he 
who was laughing? He was suddenly 
buoyantly carefree. Who was he that 
it mattered ? Cyrus Thurston — an ant 1 
And their ant-hill was about to be 
snuffed out. ... 

He walked over to a waiting group 
and clapped one man on the shoulder. 
"Well, how does it feel to be an ant?" 
he inquired and laughed loudly at the 
jest. "You and !yc«ur millions of dol- 
lars, your acres of factories, your 
steamships, railroads!" 

The man looked at him strangely and 
edged cautiously away. His eyes, like 
those of the others, had a dazed, 
stricken look. A woman was sobbing 
softly as she clung to her husband. 
From the streets far below came a qua- 
vering shrillness of sound. 

The planes gathered in climbing 
circles. Far on the horizon were four 
tiny glinting specks. ... 

THURSTON stared until his eyes 
were stinging. He was walking in 
a waking sleep as he made his way to 
the stone coping beyond which , was 
the street far below. He was dead — 
dead ! — right this minute. What were 
a few minutes more or less ? He could 
climb over the ooping; none of the 
huddled, fear-gripped group would 
stop him . He could step out into space 
and fool them, the devils. They could 
never kill him. ... ' 

What was it MacGregor had said? 
Good egg, MacGregor! "But we can 
die fighting. . . ." Yes, that was it — 
die fighting>/*But he couldn't fight ; he 
could only ?wait. Well, what were the 
others doing, down there in the streets 
—in their homes? He could wait with 
them, die with them. . . . 

He straightened slowly and drew one 
long breath. He looked steadily and 
unafraid at the advancing specks. 
They were larger now. He could see. 
their round forms. The planes were 



less noisy : they were far up in the 
heights — climbing — climbing. 

The bulbs came slantingly down. 
They were separating. Thurston won- 
dered vaguely. 

What "had they done in Berlin? Yes, 
he remembered. Placed themselves at 
the four corners of a great square and 
wiped out the whole city in one explo- 
sion. Four bombs dropped at the same 
instant while they shot up to safety in 
the thin air. How did they communi- 
cate? Thought transference, most 
likely. Telepathy between those great 
brains, one to another. A plane was 
falling. It curved and swooped in a 
'trail of flame, then fell straight toward 
the earth. Theywere fighting. . . . 

THURSTON stared above. There 
were clusters of planes diving 
down from on high. Machine-guns 
stuttered faintly. "Machine-guns- 
toys ! Brave, that was it ! 'We can die 
fighting.' " His thoughts were far off ; 
it was like listening to another's mind. 

The air was filled with swelling 
clouds. He saw them before the blast 
struck where he stood. The great 
building shuddered at the impact. 
-There were things falling from the 
clouds, wrecks of planes, blazing and 
shattered. Still came others; he saw 
them faintly through the clouds. «They 
came in from the West; they had gone 
far to t,ain altitude. They drove down 
from the heights — the enemy had drift- 
ed — they were over the bay. 

More clouds, and another blast thun- 
dering at the city. There were specks. 
Thurston saw, falling into the water. 

Ag a in the Invaders came down from 
the heights where they had escaped 
their own shattering attack. There was 
the faint roar of motors behind, from 
the south. The squadron from Wash- 
ington passed overhead. 

They surely had seen the fate that 
awaited. And they drove on to the at- 
tack, to strike at an enemy that shot 
instantly into the sky leaving crashing 
destruction about the torn dead. 

"Now!" said Cyrus Thurston aloud. 



186 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



THE big bulbs were back. They 
Boated easily in the air, a plume of 
vapor billowing beneath. They were 
ranging to the four corners of a great 
square. 

One plane only was left, coming in 
from the./$»uthj a lone straggler, late 
? for the fray. One plane ! Thurston's 
shoulders sagged heavily. All they had 
left! It went swiftly overhead. . . . 
It was fast — fast. Thurston suddenly 
knew. It was Riley in that plane. 

"Go back, you fool !"— he was scream- 
ing at the top of his voice— "Back — 
back — you poor, damned, decent Irish- 
man!" v . 

Tears were streaming down his face. 
"His buddies," Riley had said. And 
this was Riley, driving swiftly in, 
alone, to avenge them. ... 

He saw dimly as the swift plane sped 
over the first bulb, on and over the sec- 
ond. The soft roar of gas from the 
machines drowned the sound of his en- 
gine. The plane passed them in si- 
lence to bank sharply toward the third 
corner of the forming square. 

He was looking them over, Thurston 
thought. And the damn beasts disre- 
garded so contemptible an opponent. 
He could still leave. "For 0od's sake, 
Riley, beat it — escape!" 

Thurston's mind was solely on the 
fate of the lone voyager— until the im- 
possible was borne in upon him. 

The square was disrupted. Three 
great bulbs were now drifting. The 
wind was carrying them out toward the 
bay. They were coming down in a 
long, smooth descent. The plane shot 
like a winged rocket at the fourth 
great, shining ball. To the watcher, 
aghast with sudden hope, it seemed 
barely to crawl. 

"The ray! Tne ray, , .'."- Thurston 
saw as if straining eyes had pierced 
through the distance to see the invisi- 
ble. He saw from below the swift plane 
the streaming, intangible ray. That 
was why Riley had flown closely past 
and above them — the ray poured from 
below. His throat was choking him, 
strangling. ... 



THE last enemy took alarm. Had it 
seen the slow sinking of its com- 
panions, failed to hear them in reply 
to his mental call? The shining pear 
shape shot violently Upward ; the at- 
tacking plane rolled to a vertical bank 
as it missed the threatening clouds of 
exhaust. "What do you know about 
dog-fights?" And Riley had grinned 
. . . Riley belonged! 

The bulb swelled before Thurston's 
eyes in its swift descent. It canted to 
one side to head off the struggling 
plane that could never escape, did not 
try to escape. The steady wings held 
true upon their straight course. From 
above came the silver meteor; it seemed 
striking at tbx very plane itself. It was 
almost upon it before it belched forth 
the cushioning blast of gas. 

Through the forming clouds a plane 
bored in swiftly. It rplled slowly, was 
flying upside down. It was under the 
enemy ! Its ray. . . . Thurston was 
thrown a score of feet away to crash 
helpless into the stone coping^by the 
thunderous crash of the explosion. 

There were fragments falling from a . 
dense cloud — fragments of curved and 
silvery metal . . . the wing of a plane 
danced and fluttered in the air. . . . 

"He fired its bombs," whispered 
Thurston in a shaking voice. "He 
killed the other devils where they lay 
— he destroyed this with its own explo- 
sive. He flew upside down to shoot up 
with the ray, to set off its shells. . . ." 
. His mind was fumbling with the mir- 
acle of it. "Clever pilot, Riley, in a 
dog-fight. . . ." And then he/Malized. 

Cyrus Thurston, millionaire sports- 
man, sank slowly, numbly to the roof 
of the Equitable Building that still 
stood. And New York was still there 
. and the whole world. ... 

He sobbed weakly, brokenly. 
Through his dazed brain flashed a sud- 
den, mind-saving thought. He laughed 
foolishly through his sobs. 

"And you said he'd die horribly, Mac, 
a horrible death." His head dropped 
upon his arms, unconscious — and safe 
— with the rest of humanity. 




It was « corpse, standing before me like some prepped-np thine 
from the grove. 

The Corpse on the Grating 

By Hugh B. Cave 



IT was ten o'clock on the morning 
of December 5 when M. S. and I 
left the study of Professor 
Daimler. You are perhaps ac- 
quainted with M. 'S. His name appears 



fashion. I am a medical man, and my 
own profession is one that does not 
symphathize with radicals. 

As for Professor Daimler, the third 
member of our triangle — perhaps, if I 



constantly in the pages of the Illus/ take a moment to outline the events of 
trated News, in conjunction with some 
very technical ar- 
ticle on psycho- 
analysis or with 
some extensive 
study of the hu- 
man brain and its 
functions. He is 

a psycho-fanatic, more or less, and 
has spent an entire lifetime of some 
seventy-odd years in pulling apart 
human skulls for the purpose of in- 
vestigation. Lovely pursuit! 

For , some twenty years I have 
mocked him, in a friendly, half-hearted 



In the 


gloomy depth* of the o 


d ware- 


home 


Dale saw a thing that 


drew a 


(cream 


of horror to his dry lips 


It was 


a cor pi 


e — the mold of decay on 


its long- 


dead features — and yet it was 


alive! 



that evening, the Professor's part 

what follows will 
be less obscure. 
We had called on 
him, M. S. and I, 
at his urgent re- 
quest. His rooms 
were in a narrow, 
unlighted street just off the square, 
and Daimler himself opened the door 
to us. A tall, loosely built chap he 
was, standing in the doorway like a 
motionless ape, arms half extended. 

"I've summoned you. gentlemen," he 
said quietly, "because you two, of all 



188 



ASTOUNDING STORIES * 



London, are the only persons who 
know the nature of my recent experi- 
ments. I should like to acquaint you 
with the results!" 

He led the way to his study, then 
kicked the door shut with his foot, 
seizing my arm as he ^fid so.. Quietly 
he dragged me to the table that stood 
against the farther wall. In the same 
even, unemotional tone of a man com- 
pletely sure of himself, he commanded 
me to inspect it. 

For a moment, in the semi-gloom of 
the room, I saw nothing. At length, 
however,- the contents of the table re- 
vealed themselves, and I distinguished 
a motley collection of test tubes, each 
filled with some fluid. The tubes were 
attached to each other by some in- 
genious arrangement of thistles, and 
at the end of the table, where a chance 
blow could not brush it aside, lay a 
tiny phial of the resulting serum. 
From the appearance of the table, . 
Daimler had evidently drawn a cer- 
tain amount of gas from each of the 
smaller tubes, distilling them through 
acid into the minute phial at the end. 
Yet even now, as I stared down at the 
fantastic paraphernalia before me, I 
could sense no conclusive reason for 
its existence. 

I turned to the Professor with a 
quiet stare of bewilderment. He 
smiled. 

"The experiment is over," he said. 
"As to its^pnclusion, you, Dale, as a 
medical man, will be sceptical, And 
you" — turning to M. S. — "as a scien- 
tist you will be amazed.. I, being nei- 
ther physician nor scientist, am merely 
filled with wonder!" 

HE stepped "to, a long, square table- 
like structure in the center of 
the room. Standing over it, he glanced 
quizzically at M. S., then at me. 

"For a period of two weeks," he 
went on, "I have kept, on the table 
here, the body of a man who has been 
dead more than a month. I have tried, 
gentlemen, with acid combinations of 
my own origination, to bring that' body 



back to life. And . . '. 1 have— failed! 
"But," he added quickly, noting the 
smile that crept across my face, "that 
failure was in itself worth more than 
the average scientist's greatest achieve- 
ment ! You know, Dale, that heat, if 
a man is not truly dead, will some- 
times resurrect him. In a case of epi- 
lepsy, for instance, victims have been 
pronounced dead only to return to life 
— sometimes in the grave. 

"I say 'if a man be not truly dead.* 
But what if that man is truly dead? 
Does the cure alter itself in any man- 
ner? The motor of your car dies — 
do you bury it? You do not; you lo- 
cate the faulty part, correct it, and in- 
fuse new life. And so, gentlemen, 
after remedying the ruptured heart of 
this dead man, by operation, I pro- 
ceeded to bring him back to life. 

"I used heat. Terrific h%at will 
sometimes originate a spark of new Hie* 
in something long dead. Gentlemen, 
on the fourth day of my tests, follow- 
ing a continued application of electric 
and acid heat, the patient — M 

'Daimler leaned over the table and 
took up a cigarette. Lightning it, he 
dropped the match and resumed his 
monologue. 

"The patient turned suddenly over 
and drew his a^m weakly across his 
eyes. I rushed to his side. When I 
reached him, the body was once again 
stiff and lifeless. And— it has remained 
so." 

The Professor stared at us quietly* 
waiting for comment. I answered 
him, as carelessly as I could, with a 
shrug of my shoulders. 

"Professor, have you ever played 
with the dead body of a frog?" I said 
softly., 

HE shook his head silently. 
"You would find it interest- 
ing sport," I told him. "Take a com- 
mon dry. cell battery with enough volt- 
age to render a sharp shock. Then ap- 
ply your wires to various parts of the 
frog's anatomy. If you are lucky, and 
strike the right set of muscles, you 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



189 



will have the pleasure of seeing a dead 
frog leap suddenly forward. Under- 
stand, he will not regain 7life, - You 
have merely released his dead muscles, 
by shock, and sent him bolting." 

The Professor did not reply. I could 
feel his eyes on me, and had I turned, 
I should probably had found' M. S. 
glaring at me in honest hate. These 
men were students of mesmerism, of 
spiritualism, and my commonplace con- 
tradiction was not over welcome. 

"You are cynical, Dale," said M. S. 
coldly, "because you do not under- 
stand !" 

"Understand? I am a doctor— not a 
ghost (" 

But M. S. had turned eagerly to the 
Professor. . 

"Where is this body — this experi- 
ment?" he demanded. 

Daimler shook his head. Evidently 
he had acknowledged failure and did 
not iritend to drag his dead man be- 
fore pur eyes, unless he could bring 
that man forth alive, upright, and ready 
to join our conversation! 

"I've put it away," he said distantly. 
"There is nothing more to be done, 
now that our reverend doctor has in- 
sisted in making a matter of fact thing 
out of our experiment. You under- 
stand, I had not intended to go in for- 
wholesale resurrection, even if I had 
met with success. It was my belief 
that a dead body, like a dead piece of 
mechanism, can be brought to life 
again, provided we are intelligent 
enough to discover the secret. And by 
God, it is still my belief!" 

THAT was the situation, then, 
when M. S. and I paced slowly 
back along the narrow street that con- 
tained the Professor's dwelling-place. 
My companion was strangely silent. 
More than once I felt his eyes upon 
me in an uncomfortable stare, yet he 
said nothing. Nothing, that is, until 
T had opened the conversation with 
some casual remark about the lunacy 
of the man we had just left. 
'You are wrong in mocking him. 



Dale," M. S. replied bitterly. * s Daim- 
ler is a man o1|science. He is no child, 
experimenting "3 with a toy; he is a 
grb'wri" > ' , man who has the courage to 
believe in his powers. One of these 
days. ..." 

He had intended to say that some 
day I should respect the Professor's 
efforts. One of these days! The in- 
terval of time was far shorter than 
anything so indefinite. The first event, 
with its succeeding series of horrors, -._ 
came within the next three minutes. 

WE had reached a more deserted 
section of the square, a black, 
uninhabited street extending like a 
shadowed band of darkness between 
gaunt, high walls. I had noticed for 
some time that the stone structure be- 
side us seemed to be unbroken by door 
or window — that it appeared to be a 
single gigantic building, black and for- 
bidding. I mentioned the fact to M. S. 

"The warehouse," he said simply, "A 
lonely, God-forsaken place. We shall 
probably see the flicker of the watch- 
man's light in one of the upper chinks." 

At his words, I glanced up. True 
enough, the higher part of the grim 
structure was punctured by narrow, 
barred openings. Safety vaults, prob- 
ably. But the light, unless its tiny 
gleam was somewhere in the inner re- 
cesses of the warehouse, was dead. 
The great building was like an im- 
mense burial vault, a tomb— silent and 
lifeless. 

We had reached the most forbidding 
section of the narrow street, where a 
single arch-lamp overhead cast a halo 
of ghastly yellow light over the pave- 
ment. At the very rim of the circle 
of illumination, where the shadows 
were deeper and more silent, I could 
make out the black mouldings of a 
heavy iron grating. The bars of metal 
were designed, I believe, to seal the 
side entrance of the great warehouse 
from night marauders. It was bolted 
in place and secured with a set of im- 
mense chains, immovable. 

This much I saw as my intent gaze 



190 



ASTOUNDING STORIES. 



swept the wall before me. This huge 
tomb of silence held for me, a peculiar 
fascination, and as I paced along be- 
side my gloomy companion, I stared 
directly ahead of me into the darkness 
of the street. I wish to God my eyes 
had been closed or blinded! 

HE was hanging on the grating. 
Hanging there, with white, 
twisted hands clutching the rigid bars 
of iron, straining to force them apart. 
His whole distorted body was forced 
against the barrier, like the form of 
a madman struggling to escape from 
his cage. His iace — the image of, it 
still haunts me whenever I see iron 
bars in the darkness of a passage — was 
the face of a man who has died from 
utter, stark horror. It was frozen in 
a silent shriek of agony, staring out 
at me with fiendish maliciousness. Lips 
twisted apart. White teeth gleaming 
in the light. Bloody eyes, with a hor- 
rible glare of colorless pigment. And 
—dead. 

I believe M. S. saw him at the very 
instant I recoiled. I felt a sudden grip 
on my arm; and then, as ah exclama- 
tion came harshly from my' compan- 
ion's lips, I was pulled forward rough- 
ly. I found myself staring straight 
into the dead eyes of that fearful thing 
before me, found myself standing rigid, 
motionless, before the corpse that hung 
within reach of my arm. 

And then, through that overwhelm- 
ing sense of the horrible, came the 
quiet voice of my comrade' — the "voice 
of a man who looks upon death as 
nothing more than an opportunity for 
research. •: 

"The fellow has' been frightened, to 
death. Dale. Frightened most hor- 
ribly. Note the expression ; of his 
mouth, the evident struggle to force 
these bars apart and escape. Something 
has driven fear to his soul, killed, hirn." 

I REMEMBER the words vaguely. . 
When M. S. had finished speaking, 
I did not reply. N.ot until he had 
stepped forward and bent over the dis- 



torted face of the thing before me, did 
I attempt to speak. When I did, my 
thoughts were a jargon. 

"What, in God's name," I cried, 
"could have brought such horror to a 
strong man ? What — " 

"Loneliness, perhaps," suggested M. 
S. with a smile. "The fellow is evi- 
dently the watchman. He is alone, in 
a huge, deserted pit of darkness, for 
hours at a time. His light is merely 
a ghostly ray of illumination, hardly 
enough to do more than increase the 
darkness. I have heard of such cases 
before." 

He shrugged his shoulders. Even as 
he spoke, I sensed the evasion in his 
words. When I replied, he hardly 
heard my answer, for he had suddenly 
stepped forward, where he could look 
directly into those fear twisted eyes. 

"Dale," he said at "length, turning 
slowly to face me, "you ask for an 
explanation of this horror? There is 
an explanation. It is written with an 
almost fearful clearness on this fel- 
low's mind. Yet if I tell you, you will 
return to your old skepticism — your 
damnable habit of disbelief!" 

I looked at him quietly. I had heard 
M. S. claim, at other times, that he 
could read the thoughts of a dead man 
by the/ mental image that lay on that 
man's brain. I had laughed at him. 
Evidently, in the present moment, he 
recalled those laughs. Nevertheless, he 
faced me seriously. 

"I can see two things, Dale," he. said 
deliberately. "One of them is a dark, 
narrow room— a room piled with indis- 
tinct boxes and crates, and with, an 
_ open door bearing the black number 
4167. And in that open doorway, com- 
ing forward with slow steps — alive, 
-' with arms extended and a frightful 
face of passion — is a decayed human 
form. A corpse, Dale. A man who 
has been dead for many days, and is 
now— a/ive.'" 

MS. turned slowly and pointed 
■ with upraised hand to the 
corpse on the grating. * 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATIN0 



191 



"That is why," he said simply," "this 
fellow died from horror." 

His words died into emptiness. For 
a moment I stared at him. Then, in 
spite of our surroundings, in spite of 
the lite hour, the loneliness of the 
street, the awful thing beside us, I 
laughed. 

He turned upon me with a snarl. For 
the first time in my life I saw M.. S. 
convulsed with rage, His old, lined 
face had suddenly become savage with 
intensity. 

"You laugh at me, Dale," he thun- 
dered. "By God, you make a mockery 
out of a science that I have spent more 
than my life in studying! You call 
yourself a medical man — and you are 
not fit to carry the name I I will wager 
you, man, that your laughter is not 
backed by courage 1" 

I fell away from him. Had I stood 
within reach, I am sure he would have 
struck me. Struck me! And I have 
been nearer to M. S. for the past ten 
years than any man in London. And 
aa I retreated from his temper, he 
reached forward to seize my arm. I 
could not help but feel impressed at 
his grim intentneas. 

"Look here, Dale," he said bitterly, 
"I will wager you a hundred pounds 
that you will not spend the remainder 
of this night in the warehouse above 
you] I will wager a hundred pounds 
against your own courage that you will 
not back your ^laughter by going 
through what this fellow has gone 
through. That you will not prowl 
through the corridors of this great 
structure until you have found room 
4167 — and remain in that room until 
dawn!" 

THERE was no choice. I glanced 
at thp dead man, at the face of 
fear and the clutching, twisted hands, 
and a cold dread filled me. But to re- 
fuse my friend's wager would have 
been to brand myself an empty coward. 
I had mocked him. Now, whatever the 
cost, I must stand ready to pay for that 
mockery. 



"Room 4167?" I replied quietly, in a 
voice which I made every effort to con- 
trol, lest he should discover the tremor 
in it. "Very well, I will do it!" 

It was nearly midnight when I found 
myself alone, climbing a musty, wind- 
ing ramp between the first and second 
floors of the deserted building. Not a 
sound, except the sharp intake of my 
breath and the dismal creak of the 
wooden stairs, echoed through that 
tomb of death. There was no light, 
not even the usual dim glow that is left 
to illuminate an unused corridor. 
Moreover, I had brought no means of 
light with me — nothing but a half 
empty box of safety matches which, by 
some unholy premonition, I had forced 
myself to save for some future mo- 
ment. The stairs were black and diffi- 
cult, and I mounted them slowly, grop- 
ing with both hands along the rough 
wall. 

I had left M. S. some few moments 
before. In his usual decisive manner 
he had helped me to climb the iron 
grating and lower myself to the sealed 
alley-way on the farther side. Then, 
leaving him without a word, for I was 
bitter against the triumphant tone of 
his parting words, I proceeded into the 
darkness, fumbling forward until I had 
discovered the open door in the lower 
part of the warehouse. 

And then the ramp, winding crazily 
upward — upwards — upward, seemingly 
without end. I was seeking blindly 
for that particular room which was to 
be my destination. Room 4167, with 
its high number, could hardly be on 
the lower floors, and so I had stum- 
bled upward. ... 

IT was at the entrance of the second 
floor corridor that I struck the first 
of my desultory supply of matches, 
and by its light discovered a placard 
nailed to the wall. The thing was yel- 
low with age and hardly legible. In 
the drab light of the match I had diffi- 
culty in reading it — but, as far as I can 
remember, the notice went something 
like this: 



192 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



WAREHOUSE RULES 

1. No light shall be permitted in 
any room or corridor, as a pre- 
vention against fire. 

2. No person shall be admitted to 
rooms or corridors unless ac- 
companied by an employee. 

3. " A watchman shall be on the 

premises from 7 P. M. until 
•" 6 A. M. He shall -make the 
round of the corridors every 
hour during that interval, at a 
quarter past the hour. 

4. Rooms are located by their 
numbers : the first figure in the 
room number indicating its 
floor\location. 

I could read no further. . The match 
in my fingers burned to a black thread 
and dropped. Then, with the burnt 
stump still in my hand, I groped 
through the darkness to the .bottom of 
the second ramp. \ 

Room 4167, then, was on the fourth 
floor — the topmost floor of the struc- 
ture. I must confess that the knowl- 
edge did not bring any renewed burst 
of courage ! The top floor t Three 
black stair-pits would lie between me 
and the safety of escape. There would 
be no escape! No human being in the 
throes of fear could hope to discover 
that tortured outlet, could hope to 
grope his way through Stygian gloom 
down a triple ramp of black stairs. 
And even though he succeeded in 
reaching the lower corridors, there was 
still a blind alley-way, sealed at the 
outer ^nd by a high grating of iron 
bars. ..." 

ESCAPE! The mockery of it 
. caused me to stop suddenly in my 
ascent and stand rigid, my whole body 
trembling violently. 

But outside, in the glbom of the 
street, M. S. was waiting, waiting with 
that fiendish glare of triumph that 
would brand me 1 a man without cour- 
age. I could not return to face him, 
not though all the horrors of hell in- 
habited this gruesome place of mys- 



tery. And horrors must surely inhabit 
it, else how could one account for that 
fearful thing on the grating below? 
But I had been through horror before. 
I had seen a man, supposedly dead on 
the operating table, jerk suddenly to 
his feet and scream. I had seen a 
young girl, not long before, awake in 
the midst of an operation, with the 
knife already in her frail body. Surely, 
after those definite horrors, no un- 
known danger would send me cringing 
back to the man who was waiting so 
bitterly for me to return. 

Those were the thoughts pregnant 
in my mind as I groped slowly, cau- 
tiously along the corridor of the upper 
floor, searching each closed door for 
the indistinct number 416J. The place 
was like the center of a huge labyrinth, 
a spider-web of black, repelling pas- 
sages, leading into some central cham- 
ber of utter silence and blackness. I 
went forward with dragging steps, 
fighting back the dread that gripped 
me as I went farther and farther from 
the outlet of escape. And then, after 
losing myself completely in the gloom, 
I threw aside all thoughts of return 
and pushed on with a careless, surface 
bravado, and laughed aloud. 

SO, at length, I reached that room 
of horror, secreted high in the 
deeper recesses of the deserted ware- 
house. The number — God grant I 
never see it again ! — was scrawled in 
black-chalk on the door — 4167. I 
pushed the half-open barrier wide, and 
entered. 

It was a small room, even as M. S. 
had forewarned me — or as the Head 
mind of that thing on the grate had 
forewarned M. S. The glow of my 
out-thrust match revealed a great stack 
of dusty boxes and crates, piled against 
the farther wall. Revealed, too, the 
black corridor beyond the entrance, and 
a small, upright table before me. 

It was the table, and the stool beside 
it, that drew my attention and brought 
a muffled exclamation from my lips. 
The thing had been thrust out of its 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATTMO 



193 



usual place, pushed aside as if some 
frenzied shape had lunged against it. 
I could make out its former position 
by the marks on the dusty floor at my 
feet. Now it was nearer to the center 
of the room, and had been wrenched 
Bidewise from its holdings. A shud- 
der took hold of me as I looked at it. 
A living person, sitting on the stool 
before rhe, staring at the door, would 
have wrenched the table in just this 
manner in his frenzy to escape from 
the room ! 

THE light of the match died, 
plunging me into a pit of gloom, 
I struck another and stepped closer to 
the table. And there, on the floor, 
I found two more things that brought 
fear to my soul. One of them was a 
heavy flash-lamp — a watchman's lamp 
—where it had evidently been dropped. 
Been dropped in flight! But what aw- 
ful terror must have gripped the fel- 
low to make him forsake his only 
means of escape through those black 
passages? And the second thing — a 
worn copy of a leather-bound book, 
flung open on the boards below the 
stool ! 

The flash-lamp, thank God ! had not 
been shattered. I switched it on, di- 
recting its white circle of light over 
the room. This time, in the vivid glare, 
the room became even more unreal. 
Black walls, clumsy, distorted shadows 
on the wall, thrown by those huge piles 
of wooden boxes. Shadows that were 
like crouching men, groping toward 
me. And beyond, where the single 
door opened into a passage of Stygian 
darkness, that yawning entrance Was 
thrown into hideous detail. Had any 
upright figure been standing there; the 
light would have made an unholy phos- 
phorescent specter out of it. 
„ I summoned enough courage to cross 
the room and pull the door shut. There 
was no way of locking it. Had I been 
able to fasten it, I should surely have 
done so; but the room was evidently 
an unused chamber, filled with empty 
refuse. This was the reason, probably, 



why the watchman had made use of it 

as a retreat during the intervals be- 
tween his rounds. 

But I had no desire^tQ ponder over 
the sordidness of my surroundings. I 
returned to my stool in silence, and 
stooping, picked up the fallen book 
from the floor. Carefully I placed the 
lamp on the table, where its light would 
shine on the open page. Then, turn- 
ing the cover, I began to glance 
through the thing which the man be- 
fore me had, evidently been studying. 

And before I had read two lines, the 
explanation of the whole horrible thing 
struck me. I stared dumbly down at 
the little book and laughed. Laughed 
harshly, so that the sound of my mad 
cackle echoed in a thousand ghastly re- 
verberations through the dead corri- 
dors of the building. 

IT was a book of horror, of fantasy 
A collection of weird, terrifying, 
supernatural tales with grotesque il- 
lustrations in funereal black and white. 
And the very line I had turned to, the 
line which had probably struck terror 
to that unlucky devil's soul, explained 
M. S.'s "decayed human form, stand- 
ing in the doorway with arms extended 
and a frightful face of passion!" The 
description — the same description — lay 
before me, almost in my friend's words. 
Little wonder that the fellow on the 
grating below, after reading this orgy 
of horror, had suddenly gone mad with 
fright. Little wonder that the picture 
engraved on his dead mind was a pic- 
ture of a corpse standing in the door- 
way of room 4167! 

I glanced at that doorway and 
laughed. No doubt of it,\jt was that 
awful description in M. S.'s untem- 
pered language that had made me dread 
my surroundings, not the loneliness 
and silence of the corridors about me. 
Now, as I stared at the room, the closed 
door, the shadows on the wall, I could 
not repress a grin. 

But the grin was not long in dura- 
tion. A six-hour siege awaited me be- 
fore I could hear the sound of human 



194 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



voice again — six hours of silence and 
gloom. I did not relish it. Thank God 
the fellow before me had had foresight 
enough to leave his book of fantasy 
for my amusement! 

I TURNED to the beginning of the 
story. A lovely beginning it was, 
outlining in some detail how a certain 
Jack Fulton, English adventurer, had 
suddenly found himself imprisoned (by 
a mysterious black gang of monks, or 
something of the sort) in a forgotten 
cell at the monastery of El Toro. The 
cell, according to the pages before me, 
was located in the "empty, haunted pits 
below the stone floors of the structure. 
. . ," Lovely setting! And the brave 
Fulton had been secured firmly to a 
huge metal ring set in the farther wall, 
opposite the entrance. -\ 

I read the description twice. At the 
end of it I could not help but lift my 
head to stare at my own surroundings. 
Except for the location of the cell, I 
might have been in the, same setting. 
The same darkness, same' silence, same 
loneliness. Peculiar similarity! 

And then: "Fulton lay quietly, 
without attempt to struggle. In the 
dark, the stillness of the vaults became 
unbearable, terrifying. Not a sugges- 
tion of sound, except the scraping of 
unseen' rats — " 

I dropped the book with a start, 
From the opposite end of the room in 
which I sat came a half inaudible scuf- 
fling noise — the sound of hidden ro- 
dents scrambling through the great pile 
of boxes. Imagination ? I am not sure. 
At the moment, I would have sworn 
that the sound was a definite one, that 
I had heard it distinctly. . Now, as I 
recount this tale of horror, I am not 
sure. 

But I am sure of this. There was 
no smile on my lips as I picked up 
the book again with trembling fingers 
and continued. 

"The sound died into silence. For V 
an eternity, the prisoner lay-rigid, star- 
ing at t^e open door of his cell. The 
opening was black, deserted, like the 



mouth of a deep tunnel, leading to 
hell. And then, suddenly, from the 
gloom beyond that opening, came an 
almost noiseless, padded footfall!" 

THIS time there was no doubt of 
it. The book fell from my fingers, 
dropped to the floor with a clatter. 
Yet even through the sound of its, fall- 
ing, I heard that fearful . sound — the 
shuffle of a living foot ! I sat motion- 
less, staring with bloodless face at the 
door of room 4167. And as I stared, 
the sound came again, and again — the 
slow tread of dragging footsteps, ap- 
proaching along the black corridor 
without! 

I got to my feet like an automaton; 
swaying heavily. Every drop of cour- 
age ebbed from my soul as I stood 
there, one hand clutching the table, 
waiting. ... 

And then, with an effort, I moved 
forward. My hand was outstretched 
to grasp the wooden handle of the 
door. And— I did not have the cour- 
age. Like a cowed beast I crept back 
to my place and slumped down on the 
stool, my eyes stilltransfixed in a mute 
stare of terror. 

I waited. For more than half an 
hour I waited, motionless. Not a sound 
stirred in the p'assage beyond that 
closed barrier. Not a suggestion of 
any living presence came to me. Then, 
leaning back against the wall with a 
harsh laugh, I wiped away the cold 
moisture that had trickled over my 
forehead into my eyes. 

It was another five minutes- before I 
picked up the book again. You call me 
a fool for continuing it? A fool? I 
tell you, even a story of horror is more 
comfort that a room of grotesque 
shadows and silence. Even a printed 
page is better than grim reality! 

AND -so I read on. The story was 
one of suspense; madness. For 
the next two pages I read a cunning 
description of the prisoner's mental 
reaction. Strangely enough, it . con-: 
formed precisely with my own. 



THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING 



195 



"Fulton's head had fallen to his 
chest," the script read. "For an end- 
less while he did not stir, did not dare 
to lift his eyes. And then, after more 
than an hour of silent agony and 
suspense, the boy's head came up 
mechanically. Came up — and suddenly 
jerked rigid. A horrible scream burst 
from his dry lips as he stared' — stared 
like a dead man — at the black entrance 
to his cell. There, standing without 
motion in the opening, stood a 
shrouded figure of death. Empty eyes, 
glaring with awful hate, bored into his 
own. Great arms, bony and rotten, ex- 
tended toward him. Decayed flesh — " 

I read no more. Even as I lunged to 
my feet, with that mad book still 
gripped in my hand, I heard the door 
of my room grirjd open. I screamed, 
screamed in utter horror at the thing 
I saw there. Dead? Good God., I do 
not know. It was a corpse, a dead 
human body, standing before me like 
some propped-up thing from the grave. 
A face half eaten away, terrible in its 
leering grin. Twisted mouth, with 
only a suggestion of lips/ curled back 
over broken teeth. Hair — writhing, 
distorted — like a mass of moying, 
bloody coils. And its arms, ghastly 
white, bloodless, were extended toward 
me, with open, clutching hands. 

IT was alive! Alive! Even while I 
stood there, crouching against the 
wall, it stepped forward toward me. 
I saw a heavy shudder pass . over it, 
and the sound of its scraping feet 
burned * its way into my sou^, And 
then, with its second step, the fearful 
thing stumbled to its knees. The white, 
gleaming arms, thrown into streaks of 
living fire by the light of my lamp, 
flung violently upwards, twisting to- 
ward the ceiling. I saw the grin change 
to an expression of. agony, of torment. 
And then the thing crashed upon me— 
dead.. 

With a great cry of fear I stumbled 
to the door. I groped out of that room 
of horror, stumbled along the corridor. 
No light. I left it behind, on the table, 



to throw a circle of white glare over 
the decayed, living-dead intruder who 
had driven me mad. 

My return down those winding 
ramps to the lower floor was a night- 
mare of fear. I remember that I stum- 
bled, that I plunged through the 
darkness like a man gone mad. I. had 
no thought* of caution, no thought of 
anything except escape. 

And then the lower door, and the 
alley of gloom. I reached the grating, 
flung myself upon it and pressed my 
face against the bars in a futile effort 
to escape. The same — as the fear-tor- 
tured man — who had — come before — 
me. 

I felt strong hands lifting me up. A 
dash of cool air, and then the refresh- 
,ing patter of falling rain. 

IT was the afternoon of the follow- 
ing day, December 6, when M. S. 
sat across the table from me in my own 
study. I had made a rather hesitant 
attempt to tell him, without dramatics 
and without dwelling on my own lack 
of courage, of the events of the previ- 
ous night. 

"You deserved it, Dale," he said 
quietly. "You are a medical man, noth- 
ing more, and yet you mock the be- 
liefs of a scientist as great as Daimler. 
I wonder — do you still mock the 
Professor's beliefs?" 

"That, he can bring a dead man to 
life?" I smiled, a bit .doubtfully. 

"I will tell you something. Dale," 
said M. S. deliberately. He was lean- 
ing across the table, staring at me. "The 
Professor made only one mistake in, 
his great experiment. He did not wait'*: 
long enough for the effect of his 
strange ■ acids to work. He acknowl- 
edged failure too soon, and got rid of 
the body." He paused. 

"When the Professor stor^ his pa- 
tient away, Dale," he said quietly, "he 
stored it in room 4170, at/the great 
warehouse. If you are acquainted 
with the place, you will know that 
room 4170 is directly across the corri- 
dor from 4167." 



IN a night club, of many lights 
and much high-pitched laughter, 
where* he had come for an hour 
of forgetfulness and an execrable 
dinner, John Northwood was suddenly 
conscious that Fate had begun shuffling 
the cards of his 
destiny for a dra- 
matic game. 

First, he was 
aware that the 
singularly ugly 
and deformed 



He had striven to perfect the faultless 
man of the future, and had succeeded — 
too well. For in the pitilessly cold eyes 
of Adam, his super-human creation. Dr. 
Mundion isw only contempt- — and anni- 
hilation— for the human race. 



man at-rfhe next table was gazing at 
him with an intense, almost excited 
scrutiny. But, more disturbing than 
this, was the scowl of hate on the face 
of another man, as handsome as this 
other was hideous, who sat in a far 
corner hidden be- 
hind a broad col- 
umn, with rude 
elbows on the 
table, gawking 
first at North- 
wood and then 



By Sophie Wenzel Ellis 



The projector, belching jtfjk 
its stinking breath of corrup- 
tion, swung in a mad arc 
over the ceiling, over the 
walls. 



at the deformed, almost hideous man. 

Northwood's blood chilled over the 
expression on the handsome, fair-haired 
stranger's perfectly carved face. If a 
figure in marble could display a fierce, 
unnatural passion, it would seem no 
more eldritch than the hate in the icy 
blue eyes. 

It was not a new experience for 
Northwood to be stared at : he was not 
merely a good > looking young fellow 
of twenty-five, he was scenery, mag- 
nificent and compelling. Furthermore^ 



he had been in the public eye for years. 
first as a precocious child and, later, 
as a brilliant ydung scientist. Yet, for 
all his experience with hero worship- 
pers to put an adamantine crust on .his 
sensibilities, he grew warm-eared un- 
der the gaze of these two strangers — 
this hunchback with a face like a 
grotesque mask in a Greek play, this 
other who, even handsomer than him- 
self, chilled the blood queerly with the 
cold perfection of his godlike mascu- 
line beauty. 



198 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



$di: 



NORTHWOOD sensed something 
familiar about the hunchback. 
Somewhere he had seen that huge, 
round, intelligent face splattered with 
startling features. The very breadth 
of the man's massive brow was not al- 
together unknown to him, nor could 
Northwood look into the mournful, 
near-sightea black eyes without trying 
to recall when and where he had last 
seen them. 

But this other of the marble-perfect 
nose and jaw, the blond, thick-waved 
hair, was totally a stranger, whom 
Northwood fervently hoped he would 
never know too well. 

Trying to analyze the queer repug- 
nance that he felt for this handsome, 
boldly staring fellow, Northwood de- 
cided: "He's like a newly-made wax 
figure endowed with life." 

Shivering over his own fantastic 
thought, he again glanced swiftly at 
the hunchback, who he noticed was 
playing with his coffee, evidently to 
prolong the meal. 

One year of calm-headed scientific 
teaching in a famous old eastern uni- 
versity had not made him callous to 
mysteries. Thus, with a feeling of high 
adventure, he finished his supper and 
prepared to go. From the corner of his 
eye, he saw the hunchback leave his 
seat, while the handsome man behind 
the column rose furtively, as though 
he. top, intended to follow. 
• ^Northwood was out in the dusky 
street about thirty seconds, when the 
hunchback came from the foyer. With- 
out apparently noticing Northwood, 
he hailed a taxi. For a moment, he 
stood still, waiting for the taxi to pull 
up at the curb. Standing thus,, with the 
street light limning every unnatural 
angle of his twisted body and every 
queer abnormality of his huge features, 
he looked almost repulsive. 
. On his way to the taxi, his thick' 
shoulder jostled "the younger man. 
Northwood felt something strike his 
foot, and. stooping in the crowded 
street, picked up a black leather wallet. 
, "Wait!" he shouted as the hunch- 



back stepped into the waiting taxi. 
But the man di'd not falter. In a 
moment, Northwood lost sight of him 
as the taxi moved away. 



rE debated with himself whether 
>r not he should" attempt to * 



H 1 

follow. And while he stood thus 
indecision, the handsome stranger ap- 
proached him. 

"Good evening to you," he said curt- 
ly. His rich, musical voice, for all its,- 
deepness, held a faint hint of the 
tremulous, birdlike notes heard in the 
voice of a young child who has not 
used his vocal chords long enough for 
them to have lost their exquisite new- 
ness. < 

"Good evening," echoed Northwood, 
somewhat uncertainly. A sudden aura 
of repulsion swept coldly- over him. 
Seen close, with the brilliant light of 
the street directly on his too perfect 
face, the man was more sinister than in 
the cafe. Yet Northwood, struggling ' 
desperately for a reason to explain his 
violent dislike, could not discover why . 
he shrank from this splendid creature, 
whose eyes and flesh had a new, fresh 
appearance rarely seen except in very 
young boys. " ,■ 

"I want What you picked up,", went 
on the stranger. 

"It isn't yours!" Northwood flashed 
back. Ah ! that effluvium of hatred 
which seemed to weave a tangible net ; 
around him! 

"Nor is it yours. Give it to me !'* 

"You're insolent, aren't you?" 

"Jf you don't give it to me, you will 
be sorry." The man _ did not raise his 
voice in anger, yet the words whipped 
Northwood with almost physical vio- 
lence. "If he knew that I saw every- 
thing that happened in there — that I 
am talking to you at this moment — he 
would tremble with fear," 

"But you caa't intimidate me." 

"No?" For a long moment, the cold 
blue eyes held his contemptuously. 
"No? I can't frighten you — you worm 
of the Black Age?" 

Before Northwood's horrified sight, 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



19* 



he vanished; vanished as though he 
had turned suddenly to air and Abated 
away. 

THE street was not crowded at that 
time, and there was no pressing 
g-roup of bodies to hide the splendid 
creature. Northwood gawked stupidly, 
mouth half open, eyes searching wildly 
everywhere. The man was gone. He 
had simply disappeared, in this sane, 
electric-lighted street. 

Suddenly, close to Northwood's ear, 
grated a derisive laugh. "I can't 
frighten you?" From nowhere came 
that singularly young-old voice. 

As Northwood jerked . his head 
around to meet blank space, a blow 
struck the corner of his mouth. He felt 
the warm blood run over his chin. 

"I could take that wallet from you,- 
worm, but you may keep it, and see 
me later. But remember this — the thing 
inside never will. be yours." 

The words fell from empty air. 

For several minutes, Northwood 
waited at the spot, expelling another 
demonstration of the abnormal, but 
nothing else occurred. At last, trem- 
bling violently, he wiped the thick 
moisture from his forehead and dabbed 
at the blood which he still felt on his 
chin. 

But when he looked, at his handker- 
chief, hemuttered: 

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" . __-_. 

The handkerchief bore not the 
slightest trace of blood. 

UNDER the light in his bedroom, 
Northwood examined the wallet. 
It was made of alligator skin, clasped 
with a gold signet that bore the initial 
M. The first pocket was empty; the 
second yielded an object that sent a 
warm flush to hia face. 

It was the photograph of a gloriously 
beautiful girl, so seductively lovely 
that the picture seemed almost to be 
alive. The short, curved upper lip. the 
full, delicately voluptuous lower, 
patted slightly in a smile that seemed 
to linger irt every exquisite line of her 



face. She looked as though she had 
just spoken passionately, and the 
spirit of her words had inspired her 
sweet flesh and eyes. 

Northwood turned his head abruptly 
and groaned, "Good Heavens!" 

He had no right to palpitate over 
the picture of an unknown beauty. 
Only a month ago, he had become en- 
gaged to a young woman whose mind 
was as brilliant as her face was plain. 
Always he had vowed that he would 
never marry a pretty girl, for he de- 
tested his own masculine beauty sin- 
cerely.. . .^,- 1 

He tried to grasp a mental.j3icture of 
Mary Burnfj, who had never stirred in 
him the emotion that this smilirfg pic- 
ture invoked. But, gazing, at the pic- 
ture, he could not remember how his 
fiancee looked. ■ * . -y 

Suddenly the picture fell from his 
fingers and dropped to the floor on its 
face, revealing an inscription on the 
back. In a bold, masculine hand, he 
read: "Your future wife." 

"Some lucky fellow is headed for a 
life of bliss," was hia jealous thought. 

He frowned at the beautiful face. 
What was this girl to that hideous 
hunchback? Why did the handsome 
stranger warn him, "The thing inside 
never will be yours?" 

Again he turned eagerly to the 
wallet. 

In the last flap he found something 
that gave him another surprise : a plain 
white card on which a name and ad- 
dress were written by the same hand 
that had penned the inscription on the 
picture. 

Emil Mundson, Ph. D., 
44 z /2 Indian Court 

Emil Mundson, the electrical wizard 
and distinguished scientific writer, 
friend of the professor of science at 
the university where Northwood was 
an assistant professor; Emil Mundson, 
whom, a week ago, Northwood had 
yearned mightily to meet. 

Now Northwood knew why the 



200 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



hunchback's intelligent, ugly face was 
familar to him. He had seen it pic- 
tured as often as enterprising news 
photographers Could steal a likeness 
from the over-sensitive scientist, who 
would never sit for a formal portrait. 

EVEN/before Northwood had- grad- 
uated from the university where 
he now taught, he had been avidly in- 
terested in Emil Mundson's fantastic 
articles in scientific journals. Only a 
week ago, Professor Michael had come 
to him with the current issue of New 
■Science, shouting excitedly: 

"Did you read this, John, this ar- 
ticle by Emil Mundson?" His shaking, 
gnarled old fingers tapped the open 
magazine. 

Northwood seized the magazine and 
looked avidly at the title of the article, 
"Creatures of the tight." '/■'- 

"No, I haven't read it," he admitted. 
"My magazine hasn't come yet." 

"Run throifgh it- now briefly," will 
you? And note with especial care the 
passages I have marked. In fact, you 
needn't bother with anything else just 
now. Read this — and this—and; this." 
He pointed out penciled paragraphs. 
^orthwood read: 

' .Man always has been, always will 
.be a creature of the light. He is 
forever .reaching for some future 
point of perfected 'evolution which, 
even when his most remote an- 
cestor was a fish creature com- 
posed of a few cells, was the guid- . 
ing power, that brought him up 
■from the first stinking ' sea . and 
caused him to create gods in his 
own image.. ■ # 

It is this yearning for perfection 
which sets .'man apart^.from all 
other life, which made rtim man 
even in the rudimentary stages of 
his development. He was man when, 
he w'allowe'd in the v slime, :of the 
new world and yearned for the air. '• 
.ibove^ He will still be man when 
he has evolved into that glorious 
" creature of the future whose body 



is deathless and whose mind rule* 
the universe. 

Professor Michael, looking over 
Northwood's shoulder, interrupted the 
reading: 

"Man always has been man," he 
droned emphatically. "That's not orig- 
inal with friend Mundson, of course; 
yet it is a theory that has not received 
sufficient investigation." He indicated 
another marked paragraph. "Read this 
thoughtfully, John. It's the crux of 
Mundson's thought." 

Northwood continued: 

Since the human body is chem- 
ical and electrical,, increased 
knowledge of its powers and limi- 
tations will enable us to work with 
Nature in her sublime but infinite- 
ly slow processes of human evolu- 
tion. We need, not wait another 
fifty thousand years to be god- 
like creatures. Perhaps even now 
we may be standing at the begin- 
ning of -the splendid bridge that 
will take us to that state of per- 
fected evolution when we shall be 
Creatures who have reached the 
Light. 

Northwood looked questioningly at 
the professor. "Queer, fantastic 

thing, isn't it?" 

PROFESSOR MICHAEL smoothed 
his thin, gray hair with his 

dried-out barid.' "Fantastic?" .His 
intellectual eyes behind the thick 
glasses sought the ceiling. "Who can 
say? Haven't you ever wondered why 
.all parents, expect their, children to be 
qeare* perfection than themselves, and 
why is it a natural impulse for them 
to be willing to sacrifice themselves to 
better their offspring?" He paused and 
moistened'his pale, wrinkled lips. "In- 
stinct, Northwood; We Creatures of 
the Light know that our race shall 
Feach that .point in evolution when, as 
perfect creatures, we shall rule all mat- 
,ter and live forever." He punctuated 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



201 



the last words with blows on the table. 

Northwopd laughed dryly, "How 
many thousands of years are you look- 
ing forward, Professor?" 

The professor made an obscure noise 
that sounded like a smothered sniff. 
"You and I shall never agree on the 
point that mental advancement may 
wipe out physical limitations in the 
human ract, perhaps in a few hundred 
years. It seems as though your pro- 
found admiration for Dr. Mundson 
would win you over to this pet theory." 

"But what sane man can believe that 
even perfectly developed beings, 
through mental control, could over- 
come Nature's fixed laws?" 

"We don't know I We don't know!" 
The professor slapped the magazine 
with an emphatic hand. "Emil Mund- 
son hasn't written this^rticle for noth- 
ing. He's paving the way for some an- 
nouncement that will startle the scien- 
tific world. I know him. In the same 
manner he gave out veiled hints of his 
various brilliant discoveries and inven- 
tions long before he offered them to 
the world." 

"But Dr. Mundson is an electrical 
wizard. *He would not be delving seri- 
ously into the mysteries of evolution, 
would he?" 

"Why not?" The professor's wiz- 
ened face screwed up wisely. "A year 
ago, when he was back from one of 
those mysterious long excursions he 
fakes in that weirdly different aircraft 
of his, about which he is so secretive, 
he told me that he was conducting ex- 
periments to prove his belief that the 
human brain generates electric' current, 
and that the electrical impulses in the 
brain set up radioactive waves that 
some day, among other miracles, will 
make thought communication passible. 
Perfect man, he says, will perform 
mental feats which will give him com- 
plete mental domination over the phys- 
ical." 

NORTH WOOD finished reading 
and turned thoughtfully to the 
window. His profile in repose had the 



straight-riosed, full-lipped perfection 
of a Greelc coin. Old, wizened Pro- 
fessor Michael, gazing at him covertly, 
smothered a sigh. 

. "I wish you knew Dr. Mundson," he 
said. '■ "He, the ugliest roan in the 
world, delights in physical perfection. 
He would revel in your splendid body 
and brilliant mind." 

Northwood blushed hotly. "You'll 
have to arrange a meeting between us." 

"I have." The professor's thin, dry 
lips pursed comically. "He'll drop in 
to 'see you within a few days:" 

And now John Northwood sat hold- 
ing Dr. Mundson's card and the wallet 
jvhich the scientist had so mysterious- 
ly dropped at his feet. 

HERE was high adventure, per- 
haps, for which he had been sin- 
gled out by the famous electrical 
wizard. While excitement mounted in 
his blood, Northwood again examined 
the photograph. The girl's strange 
eyes, odd in expression rather than in 
size, or shape, seemed to hold him. The 
young man's breath came quicker. 

"It's a challenge," he said softly. "It 
won't hurt to see what it's all about." 

His watch showed eleven o'clock. He 
would return the wallet that night. 
Into his coat pocket he slipped a re- 
volver. One sometimes needed weap- 
ons in Indian Court. 

He took a taxi, which soon turned 
from the -well-lighted streets into a sec- 
tion where squalid ..houses crowded 
against each other, and dirty children 
swarmed in the streets in their last 
games of the day. 

Indian Court was little more than an 
alley, dark arid evil smelling. 

The chauffeur stopped at the en- 
trance and said: 

"If I drive in, I'll have to back out, 
sir. Number forty-four and a half is 
the end house, facing the entrance." 

"You've been here before?" asked 
,^Northwood, 

"Last week I drove the queerest bird 
here— a fellow as good-looking as you, 
who had me follow the taxi occupied 



202 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



by a hunchback with a face like Old 
Nick." The man hesitated and went on 
haltingly: "It might sound goofy, 
mister, but there was something funny 
about my fare. He jumped out, asked 
me the charge, and, in the moment I 
glanced at my taxi-meter, he disap- 
peared. Yes, sir. Vanished, owing me 
four dollars, six bits. It was almost 
ghostlike, mister." 

Northwood laughed nervously and 
dismissed him. He found his number 
and knocked at the dilapidated door. 
He heard a sudden movement in the 
lighted room beyond, and the door 
opened quickly. 

Dr. Mundson faced him. 

"I knew you'd come!" he said with 
a slight Teutonic accent. "Often I'm 
not wrong in sizing up my man. Come 
in." • v , 

Northwood cleared his throat awk- 
wardly. "You dropped your wallet at 
my feet, Dr. Mundson. I tried to stop 
you before you got away, but I guesS 
you did not hear me." 

He offered the wallet, but the hunch- 
back waved it aside. 

"A ruse, of course," he confessed. "It 
just was my. way of testing what your 
Professor Michael told about you—- that 
you are extraordinarily intelligent, 
virile, and imaginative. Had you sent 
the wallet tome, I should have sought 
elsewhere for my man. Come in." 

NORTHWOOD followed him into 
a living room evidently recently 
furnished in a somewhat hurried man- 
ner. The furniture, although rich, was 
not placed to best advantage. The new 
rug was a trifle crooked on the Moor, 
and the lamp shades clashed in color 
with the other furnishings. 

Dr. Mundson's intense eyes swept 
over Northwood's tall, slim body. 

"Ah, you're a man!" he said softly. 
"You are what all men would be if we 
followed Nature's plan" that only the fit 
shall survive. But modern science is 
permitting the unfit to live and to mix 
their defective beings with the de- 
veloping race!" His huge fist gesticu- 



lated madly. "Fools! Fools! They 
need me and perfect men like you." 

"Why?" 

"Because you can help me in my plan 
to populate the earth with a new race 
of godlike people. But dbn't question 
me too closely now. lEven if I should 
explain, you would call me insane. But 
watch; gradually I shall unfold the 
mystery before you, so that you will 
believe." 

He reached for the wallet that 
Northwood still held, opened it with a 
monstrous hand, and reached for the 
photograph. "She shall bring you love. 
She's more beautiful than a poet's 
dream." 

A warm flush crept over the young 
man's face. 

"I can easily understand," he said, 
"how a man could love her, but for me 
she comes too late." 

"Pooh ! Fiddlesticks !" The scien- 
tist snapped his fingers. "This girl was 
created for you. That other— you will 
forget her the moment you set eyes on 
the sweet flesh of this Athalia. She is 
an houri from Paradise — a maiden of 
musk and incense." He held the girl's 
photograph toward the young man. 
"Keep it. She is yours, if you are 
strong enough to hold her." 

Northwood opened his card case and 
placed the picture inside, facing 
Mary's photograph. Again the warn- 
ing words of the mysterious stranger 
rang in his memory: "The thing in- 
side never will be yours." 

"Where to," he said eagerly; "and 
when do we start?" 

"To the new Garden of Eden," said 
the scientist, with such a beatific 
smile that his face was less hideous. 
"We start immediately. I have ar- 
ranged with Professor Michael for you 
to go." 

NORTH WOOD followed Dr. 
Mundson to the street and walked 
with him a few blocks to a garage 
where the scientist's motor car 
waited. 
"The apartment, in Indian Court is 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



203 



just a little eccentricity of mine," ex- 
plained Dr. Mundson. "I need people 
in my work, people whom I must select 
through swift, sure tests. The apart- 
ment comes in handy, as to-night." 

Northwood scarcely noted where 
they were going, or how long they had 
been on the way. He was vaguely aware 
that they had left the city behind, and 
were now passing through farms 
bathed in moonlight'. 

At last they entered a path that led 
through a bit of woodland. For half a 
mile the path continued, and then 
ended at a small, enclosed field. In the 
middle of this rested a queer aircraft. 
Northwood knew it was a Hying ma- 
chine only by the propellers mounted 
on the top of the huge ball-shaped 
body. There were no wings, no bird- 
like hull, no tail. 

"It looks almost like a little world 
ready to fly off into space," he com- 
mented. 

"It is just about that." The scientist's 
squat, bunched-out body, settled 
squarely on long, thin, straddled legs, 
looked gnomelike in the moonlight. 
"One cannot copy flesh with steel and 
wood, but one can make metal perform 
magic of which flesh is not capable. My 
sun-ship is not a mechanical reproduc- 
tion of a bird. It is — but, climb in, 
young friend." 

NORTHWOOD followed Dr. 
Mundson into the airaraft. The 
moment the scientist closed the metal 
door behind them, Northwood was in- 
stantly aware of some concealed horror 
that vibrated through his nerves. For 
one dreadful moment, he expected 
some terrific agent of the shadows that 
escaped the electric lights to leap upon 
him. And this was odd, for nothing 
could be saner than the globular in- 
terior of the aircraft, divided into four 
wedge-shaped apartments. 

Dr. Mundson also paused at the door, 
puzzled, hesitant. 

"Someone has been here!" he ex- 
claimed. "Look, Northwood ! The 
bunk has been occupied — the one in 



this cabin I had set aside for you." 

He pointed to the disarranged bunk. 
where the impression of a head could 
still be seen on a pillow. 

"A tramp, perhaps." 

"No! The door was locked, and, as 
you saw, the fence around this field was 
protected with barbed wire. There's 
something wrong. I felt it on my trip 
here all the way, like someone watch- 
ing me in the dark. And don't laugh! I 
have stopped laughing at all things 
that seem unnatural. You don't know 
what is natural." 

Northwood shivered. , "Maybe some- 
one is concealed about the ship." 

"Impossible. Me, I thought so, too. 
But I looked and looked, and there was 
nothing." 

All evening Northwood had burned 

• to tell the scientist about the handsome 

stranger in the Mad Hatter Club. But 

even now he shrank from saying that a 

man had vanished before his eyes. 

Dr. Mundson was working with a 
succession of buttons and lexers. There 
was a slight jerk, and then the strange 
craft shot up, straight as a bullet from 
a gun, with scarcely a sound other than 
a continuous whistle. 

"The vertical rising aircraft per- 
fected," explained Dr. Mundson. "But 
what would you think if I told you that 
there is not an ounce of gasoline in my 
heavier-than-air craft?" 

"I shouldn't be surprised. An elec- 
trical genius would seek for a less ob- 
solete source of power." 

IN the bright flare of the electric 
lights, the scientist's ugly face 
flushed. "The man who harnesses the 
sun rules the world. He can make>the 
desert places bloom, the frozen poles 
balmy and verdant. You, John North- 
wood, are one of the very few to fly 
in a machine operated solely by elec- 
trical energy from the sun's rays." 

"Are you telling me that this airship 

is operated with power from the sun?" 

"Yes. And I cannot take the credit 

for its invention." He sighed. "The 

-\dream was mine, but a greater brain 



204 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



developed it — a brain that may be 
greater than I suspect." His face grew 
suddenly graver. 

A little later Northwood said: "It 
seems that we must be making fabulous 
speed." 

"Perhaps !" Dr. Mundson worked 
with the controls. "Here, I've cut her 
down to the average speed of the or- 
dinary airplane. Now you can see a 
bit of the night scenery." 

Northwood peeped out the thick 
'glass porthole. Far below, he saw two 
tiny streaks of light, one smooth and 
stationery, the other wavering as 
though it were a reflection in water. 

"That can't be a lighthouse \" he 
cried. 

The scientist glanced out. "It is. 
We're approaching the Florida Keys." 

"Impossible! We've been traveling 
less than an hour." 

"But, my young friend, do you real- 
ize that my sun-ship has a speed of 
over one thousand miles an hour, how 
much over I dare not tell you?" 

Throughout the night, Northwood 
sat beside Dr. Mundson, watching his 
deft fingers control the simple-looking 
buttons and levers. So fast was their 
flight now that, through the portholes, 
sky and earth looked the same: dark 
gray films of emptiness. The continu- 
ous weird whistle from the hidden 
mechanism of the sun-ship was like the 
drone of a monster insect, monotonous 
and soporific during the long intervals 
when the scientist was too busy with 
his controls to engage in conversation. 

For some reason that he could not 
explain, Northwood had an aversion to 
going into the sleeping apartment be- 
hind the control room. Then, towards 
morning, when the suddenly falling 
temperature struck a biting chill 
throughout the sun ship, Northwood, 
going into the cabin for fur coats, dis- , 
covered why his mind ahdbody shrank 
in horror from the cabin. 

AFTER he had procured the fur 
coats from a closet, he paused a 
moment, in the privacy of the cabin, to 



look at Athalia's picture. Every nerve 
in his body leaped to meet the mag- 
netism of her beautiful eyes. Never 
had Mary Burns stirred emotion like 
this in him. He hung over Mary's pic- 
ture, wistfully, hoping almost prayer- 
fully that he could react to her as he 
did to Athalia; but her pale, over-intel- 
lectual face left him cold. 

"Cad!" he ground out between his 
teeth. "Forgetting her so soon I" .** 

The two pictures were lying side by 
side on a little table. Suddenly an ob- 
scure noise in the room caught his at- 
tention. It was more vibration than 
noise, for small sounds could scarcely 
be heard above the whistle of the sun- 
ship. A slight compression of the air 
against his neck gave him the eery 
feeling that someone was standing 
close behind him. He wheeled and 
looked over his shoulder. Half 
ashamed of his startled gesture, he 
again turned to his pictures. Then a 
sharp cry broke from him. 

Athania's picture was gone. 

He searched for it everywhere in the 
room, in his own peckets, under the 
furniture. It was nowhere to be found. 

In sudden, overpowering horror, he 
seized the fur coats and returned to the 
control room. ; 

DR. MUNDSON was changing the 
speed. 

"Look out the window!" he called to 
Northwood. 

The young man looked and started 
violently. Day had come, and now that 
the sun-ship was flying at a moderate 
speed, the ocean beneath was plainly 
visible; and its entire surface was cov- 
ered with broken floes of ice and small, 
ragged icebergs. He seized a telescope 
and focusd it below. A typical polar 
scene met his eyes: penguins strutted 
about on cakes of ice, a whale blowing 
in the icy water. 

"A part of the Antarctic that has 
never been explored," said Dr. Mund- 
son; "and there, just showing on the 
horizon, is the Great Ice Barrier." His 
characteristic smile lighted the morose 



CREATURES OF THE* LIGHT 



205 



black eyes. "I am enough of the 
dramatist to wish you to be impressed 
with what I shall show you within less 
than an hour. Accordingly, I shall 
make a landing and let you feel polar 
ice under your feet." 

After less than a minute's search, Dr. 
Mundson found a suitable place on the 
ice for a landing, and, with a few deft 
manipulations of the controls, brought 
the sun-ship swooping down like an 
eagle on its prey. 

For a long moment after the scientist 
had stepped out on the ice, Northwood 
paused at the door. His feet were 
chained by a strange reluctance to en- 
ter this white, dead wilderness of ice. 
But Dr. Mundson's impatient, 
"Ready?" drew from him one last 
glance at the cozy interior of the sun- 
ship before he« too, went out into the 
frozen stillness. 

They left the sun-ship resting on the 
ice like a fallen silver moon, while they 
wandered to the edge of the Barrier 
and looked at the gray, narrow stretch 
of sea between the ice pack and the 
high cliffs of the Barrier. The sun of 
the commencing six-months' Antarctic 
day was a low, cold ball whose slanted 
rays struck the ice with blinding 
whiteness. There were constant falls 
of ice from the Barrier, which thun- 
dered into the ocean amid great clouds 
of ice smoke that lingered like wraiths 
around the edge. It was a scene of 
loneliness and waiting death. 

"What's that?" exclaimed the scien- 
tist suddenly. 

Out of the white silence shrilled a 
low whistle, a familiar whistle. Both 
men wheeled toward the sun-ship. 

Before their horrified eyes, the great 
sphere jerked and glided up, and 
swerved into the heavens. 

UP it soared; then, gaining speed, 
it swung into the blue distance 
until, in a moment, it was a tiny star 
that flickered out even as they watched. 
Both men screamed and cursed and 
flung up their arms despairingly. A 
penguin, attracted by their cries, wad- 



dled solemnly over to them and re- 
garded them with manlike curiosity. 

"Stranded in the coldest spot on 
earth !" groaned the scientist. 

"Why did it start itself, Dr. Mund- 
son!" Norwood narrowed his eyes as 
he spoke. 

"It didn't!" The scientist's huge 
face, red from cold, quivered with help- 
less rage. "Human hands started it." 

"What! Whose hands?" 

"Ach! Do I know?" His Teutonic 
accent grew more pronounced, as it al- 
ways did when he was under emotional 
stress. "Somebody whose brain is bet- 
ter than mine. Somebody who found a 
way to hide away from our eyes. Ach, 
Gott! Don't let ine think!" 

His great head sank between his 
shoulders, giving him, in his fur suit, 
the grotesque appearance of a friendly 
brown bear. 

"Doctor Mundson," said Northwood 
suddenly, "did you have an enemy, a 
man with the face and body of a pagan 
god — a great, blond creature with eyes 
as cold and cruel as the ice under our 
feet?" 

"Wait!" The huge round head 
jerked up. "How do you know about 
Adam? Y*ou have rot seen him, won't 
see him until we arrive at our destina- 
tion." 

"But I have seen him. He was sit- 
ting not thirty feet from you in the 
Mad Hatter's Club last night. Didn't 
you know ? He followed me to the 
street, spoke to me, and thea — " 
Northwood stopped. How could he let 
the insane words pass his lips? 

"Then, what? Speak up!" 

NORTHWOOD laughed nervous- 
ly. "It sounds foolish, but I saw 
him vanish like that." He snapped his 
fingers. 

"Ach, Gott!" All the ruddy color 
drained from the scientist's face. As 
though talking to himself, he con- 
tinued : 

"Then it is true, as he said. He h^s 
crossed the bridge, Me has reached 
the Light, And now he comes to see 



206 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



the world be will conquer— came un- 
seen when I refused my permission." 

He was silent for a long time, pon- 
dering. Then he turned passionately 
to Northwood. 

"John Northwood, kill me! I have 
brought a new horror into the world. 
From the unborn future, I have 
snatched a creature who has reached 
the Light too soon. Kill me!" He 
bowed his great, shaggy head. 

"What do you mean, Dr. Mundson: 
that this Adam has arrived at a point 
in evolution beyond this age?" 

"Yes. Think of it! I visioned god- 
like creatures with the souls of gods. 
But. Heaven help us, man always will 
be man ; always will lust for conquest. 
You and I, Northwood, and all others 
are barbarians to Adam. He and his 
kind will do what men always do to 
barbarians — conquer and kill." 

"Are there more like him?" North- 
wood struggled with a smile of unbe- 
lief. 

"I don't know. I did not know that 
Adam had reached a point so near the 
ultimate. But you have seen. Already 
he i$ able to set aside what we call 
natural laws." 

Northwood looked at the scientist 
closely. The man was surely mad — 
mad in this desert of white death. 

"Come!" he said cheerfully. "Let's 
build an Eskimo snow house. We can 
live on penguins for days. And who 
knows what may rescue us?" 

For three hours the two worked at 
cutting ice blocks. With snow for 
mortar, they built a crude shelter which 
enabled them to rest out of the cold 
breath of the spiral polar winds that 
blew from the south. * 

DR. MUNDSON was sitting at the 
door of their hut, moodily pull- 
ing at his strong, black pipe. As though 
a fit had seized him, he leaped up and 
let his pipe fall to the ice. 
"Look!" he shouted. "The sun-ship!" 
It seemed but a moment before the 
tiny speck on the horizon had swept 
overhead, a silver comet on the gray- 



ish-blue polar sky. In another moment 
it had swooped down, eaglewise, 
scarcely fifty feet from the ice hut. 

Dr. Mundson and Northwood ran 
forward. From the metal sphere 
stepped the stranger of the Mad Hatter 
Club. His tall, straight form, erect and 
slim, swung toward them over the ice. 

"Adam!" shouted Dr. Mundson. 
"What does this mean? How dare 
you!" 

Adam's laugh was like the happy 
demonstration of a boy. "So? You 
think you still are master? You think 
I returned because I reverenced you 
yet?" Hate shot viciously through the 
freezing blue eyes. "You worm of the 
Black Age!" 

Northwood shuddered. He had heard 
those strange words addressed to him- 
self scarcely more than twelve hours 
ago. 

Adam was still, speaking; "With a 
thought I could annihilate you where 
you are standing. But I have use for 
you. Get in." He swept his hand to 
the sun-ship. 

Both men hesitated. Then North- 
wood strode forward until he was with- 
in three feet oi Adam. They stood thus, 
eyeing each other, two splendid beings, 
one blond as a Viking, the other dark 
and vital. 

"Just what is your game ?" demanded 
Northwood. 

The icy eyes shot forth a gleam like 
lightning. "I needn't tell you, of 
course, but I may as well let you suffer 
over the knowledge." He curled his 
lips with superb scorn. "I have one 
human weakness. I want Athalia." The 
icy eyes warmed for a fleeting second. 
"She is anticipating her meeting with 
you-^-bah ! The taste of these women 
of the Black Age! I could kill you, of 
course ; but that would only inflame 
her. And so I take you to her, thrust 
you down her throat. When she^ sees 
you, she will fly to me." He spread his 
magnificent chest. 

"Adam!" Dr. Mundson's face was 
dark with anger. "What of Eve?" 

"Who are you to question my ac- 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



207 



tions ? What a fool you were to let me, 
whom you forced into life thousands of 
years too soon, grow moire powerful 
than you! Before I am through with 
all of you petty creatures of the Black 
Age, you will call me more terrible 
than your Jehovah ( For see what you 
have called forth from unborn time." 
He vanished. 

BEFORE the startled men could 
recover from the shock of it, the 
vibrant, too-new voice went on : 

"I am sorry for you, Mundson, be- 
cause, like you, I need specimens for 
my experiments. What a splendid 
specimen you will be!" His laugh was 
ugly with significance. "Get in, 
worms !" ■ ' 

Unseen hands cuffed and pushed 
them into the sun-ship. 

Inside, Dr. Mundson stumbled to the 
control room, white and drawn of face, 
his great brain seemingly paralyzed by 
the catastrophe. 

"You needn't attempt tricks," went 
oh the voice. "I am watching you both. 
You cannot even hide your thoughts 
from me." 

And thus began the strange con- 
tinuation of the jeurney. Not once, in 
that wild half-hour's rush over the 
polar ice clouds, dkl they see Adam. 
They saw and heard only the weird 
signs of his presence: a puffing cigar 
hanging in midair, a glass of water 
swinging to unseen lips, a ghqstly 
voice hurling threats and insults at 
them. 

Onc<e the scientist whispered : "Don't 
cross him; it is useless. John North- 
wood, you'll have to fight a demigod 
for your woman!" 

Because of the terrific speed of the 
sun-ship, Northwood could distinguish 
nothing of the topographical details be- 
low. At the end of half-an-hour, the 
scientist slowed-enough to point out a 
tall range of snow-covered mountains, 
over which hovered a play of colored 
lights like the aurora australis. 

"Behind those mountains," he said, 
"is our destination." 



ALMOST in a moment, the sun- 
ship had soared over the peaks. 
Dr. Mundson kept the speed low 
enough for Northwood to see the 
splendid view below. 

In the giant cup formed by the en- 
circling mountain range was a green 
valley of tropical luxuriance. Stretches 
of dense forest swept half up the moun- 
tains and filled the valley cup with tan- 
gled verdure. In the center, sur- 
rounded by a broad field and a narrow 
ring of wooers, towered a group of 
buildings. From the largest, which was 
circular, came the auroralike radiance 
that formed an umbrella of light over 
the entire valley. 

"Do I guess right," said Northwood: 
"that the light is responsible for this 
oasis in the ice?" 

"Yes," said Dr. Munson. "In your 
American slang, it is canned sunshine 
containing an overabundance of certain 
rays, especially the Life Ray, which I 
have isolated." He smiled proudly. 
"You needn't look startled, my friend. 
Some of the most common things store [ 
sunlight. On very dark nights, if you 
have sharp eyes, you can see th^radi- 
ance given off by certain flowers, which 
many naturalists say is trapped sun- 
shine. The familiar nasturtium and the 
marigold opened for me the way to 
hold sunshine against the long polar 
night, for they taught me how to apply 
the Einstein theory of bent light. 
Stated simply, during the polar night, 
when the sun is hidden over the rim of 
the world, we steal some of his rays; 
during the polar day we concentrate 
the light." 

"But could stored sunshine alone 
give enough warmth for the luxuriant 
growth of those jungles?" 

"An overabundance of the Life Ray 
is responsible for the miraculous 
growth of all life in New Eden. The 
Life Ray is Nature's most powerful 
force. Yet Nature is often niggardly 
and paradoxical in her use of her 
powers. In New Eden, we have forced 
the powers of creation to take ascen- 
dency over the powers oi destruction." 



208 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



At Northwood's sudden start, the 
scientist laughed and continued: "Is it 
not a pity that Nature, left alone, re- 
quires twenty years to make a man who 
begins to die in another ten years? 
Such waste is not tolerated in New 
Elden, where supermen are younger 
than babes and — " 

"Come, worms; let's land." 

It was Adam's voice. Suddenly he 
materialized, a blond god, whose eyes 
and flesh were too new. 

THEY were jjri, a world of golden 
skylight, warmth and tropical 
vegetation. The field on which they 
had landed was covered with a velvety 
green growth of very. soft, fine-bladed 
grass, sprinkled with tiny, star-shaped 
blue flowers. A balmy, sweet-scented 
wind, downy as the breeze of a dream, 
blew gently along the grass and tin- 
gled against Northwood's skin refresh- 
ingly. Almost instantly he had the 
sensation of perfect well being, and 
this feeling of physical perfection was 
part of the ecstasy that seemed to per- 
vade the entire valley. Grass and 
breeze and golden skylight were satu- 
rated with a strange ether of joyous- 
ness. 

At one end of the field was a dense 
jungle, cut through by a road that led 
to the towering building from which, 
while above in the sun-ship, they had 
seen the golden light issue. 

From the jungle road came a man 
and a woman, large, handsome people, 
v hose flesh and eyes had the sinister 
newness of Adam's. Even before they 
came close enough to speak, North- 
wood was aware that while they seemed 
of Adam's breed, they were yet unlike 
him. The difference was psychical 
rather than physical ; they lacked the 
aura of hate and horror that sur- 
rounded Adam. The woman drew 
Adam's head down and kissed him af- 
fectionately on 'both cheeks. 

Adam, '. from his towering height, 
patted her shoulder _ impatiently and 
■aid": "Run on back to the laboratory. 
grandmother. We're following soon. 



You have some new human embryos, I 
believe you told me this morning^' 

"Four fine specimens, two of them 
being your sister's twins." 

"Splendid! I was sure that creation 
had stopped" with my generation. I 
must see them." He turned to the 
scientist and Northwood. "You need- 
n't try tojeave this spot. Of course I 
shall know instantly and deal with you 
in my own way. Wait here." 

He strode over the emerald grass on 
the heels of the woman. 

Northwood asked : "Why does he call 
that girl grandmother?" 

"Because she is his ancestress." He 
stirred uneasily. "She is of the first 
generation biought forth in the lab- 
oratory, and is no different from you 
or I, except that, at the age of five 
years, she as the ancestress of twenty 
generations." 

"My God!" muttered Northwood. 

"Don't start being horrified, my 
friend. Forget about so-called natural 
laws while you are in New Eden. Re- 
member, here we have isolated the Life 
Ray. But look ! Here comes your 
Athalia!" 

NORTHWOOD gazed covertly at 
the beautiful girl approaching 
them with a rarely graceful walk. She 
was tall, slender, round-bosomed, nar- 
row-hipped, and she held her lovely 
body in the erect poise of splendid 
health. Northwood had a confused 
realization of uncovered bronzy hair, 
drawn to the back of a white neck in 
a bunch of short curls; of immense 
soft black eyes; lips the color of 
blood, and delicate, plump flesh on 
which the golden skylight lingered 
graciously. He was instantly glad to 

: see that while she possessed the fresh- 
ness of young girlhood; her skin and 
eyes did not have the horrible newness 

. of Adam's. 

When she was still twenty feet dis- 
tant. Northwood met her eyes and she 
smiled shyly. The rich, red blood ran 
through her face;' and he, too, flushed. 
She went to Dr. Mundson and, plac- 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 






ing her hands on his thick shoulders, 
kissed him affectionately. 

"I've been worried about you, Daddy 
Mundson." Her rich contralto voice 
matched her exotic beauty. "Since you 
and Adam had that quarrel the day you 
left, I did not see him until this morn- 
ing, when he landed the sun-ship 
alone." 

"And you pleaded with him to return 
for us?" 

"Yes." Her eyes drooped and a hot 
flush swept over her face. 

Dr. Mundson smiled. "But I'm back 
now, Athalia, and I've brought some 
one whom I hope you will be glad to 
know." 

Reaching for her hand, he placed it 
simply in Northwood's. 

"This is John, Athalia. Isn't he 
handsomer than the pictures of him 
which I televisioned to you? God 
bless both of you." 

He walked ahead and turned' his 
back. 

A MAGICAL half hour followed 
for Northwood and Athalia! -The 
girl told him of her past life, hpw Dr. 
Mundson had discovered her one year 
ago working in a New York sweat 
shop, half dead from consumption. 
Without friends, she was eager to fol- 
low the scientist to New Eden, where 
he promised she would recover her 
health immediately. 

"And he was right, John," she said 
shyly. "The Life Ray, that marvelous 
energy ray which penetrates to the ut- 
most depths of earth and ocean, giving 
to the cells of all living bodies the 
power to grow and remain animate, has 
been concentrated by Dr. Mundson in 
his stored sunshine. The Life Ray 
healed me almost immediately." 

Northwood looked down at the 
glorious girl beside him, whose eyes 
already fluttered away from his like 
shy black butterflies. Suddenly he 
squeezed the soft hand in his and said 
passionately : 

"Athalia ! Because Adam wants you 
and will get you if he can, let us set 



aside all' the artificialities of civiliza- 
tion. I have loved you madly ever since 
I saw your picture. If you can say the 
same to me, it will give me courage to 
face what I know lies before me." 

Athalia, her face suddenly tender, 
came closer to- him. 

"John Northwood, I love you." 

Her red lips came temptingly close ; 
but before he could touch them, Adam 
suddenly pushed his body between bim 
and Athalia. Adam was pale, and all 
the icynese was gone from his blue 
eyes, which were deep and dark and 
very human. He looked down at 
Athalia, and she looked up at him, two 
handsome specimens of perfect man- 
hood and womanhood. 

"Fast work, Athalia!" The new vi- 
brant voice was strained. "I was hop- 
ing you would be disappointed in him 
especially after having been wooed by 
me this morning. I could take you if 
I wished, of course; but I prefer to 
win you in the ancient manner. Dis- 
miss him!" He jerked his thumb over 
his shoulder in Northwood's direction. 

Athalia flushed vividly and looked at 
him almost compassionately. "I am not 
great enough for you, Adam. I dare 
not love you." 

ADAM laughed, and still oblivious 
of Northwood and Dr. Mundson, 
folded his arms over his breast. With 
the goldeft skylight on his burnished 
hair, he was a valiant, magnificent 
spectacle. 

"Since the beginning of time, gods 
and archangels have looked upon the 
daughters of men and found them fair. 
Mate with me, Athalia, and I, fifty 
thousand years beyond the creature 
Mundson has selected for you, will 
make you as I am, the deathless over- 
lord of life and all nature." 

He drew her hand to his bosom. 

For one dark moment, Northwood 
felt himself seared by jealousy, for, 
through the plump, sweet flesh of 
Athalia's face, he saw the red blood 
leap again. How could she withhold 
herself from this splendid superman? 



210 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



But her answer, given with faltering 
voice, was the old, simple one: "I have 
promised bhn, Adam. - I love him.'* 
Tears trembled on her thick lashes. 

"So! I cannot get you in the ancient 
manner. Now I'll use my own." 

He seized her in his armSj crushed 
her against him, and, laughing over her 
head at Northwood, bent his glistening 
head and kissed her on the mouth. 

TfesfS was a blinding flash of blue 
electric sparks— and nothing else. Both 
Adam and Athalia had vanished. 

ADAM'S voice came in a last mock- 
ing challenge: "I shall be what 
no other gods before me have been — a 
good sport. I'll leave you both to your 
own devices, until- 1 want you again." 

White-lipped and trembling, North- 
wood groaned: "What has he done 
iow?" j . 

. Dr. Mundson's great head drooped. 
,"I don't know.: Our bodies are electric 
and chemical machines ; and a super in- 
telligence has discovered new laws of 
which you and I are ignorant." 

"But Athalia. . . ." 

"She is safe; he loves her." =<*% 

"Love* her!" Northwood shivered. 
"I cannot believe that those freezing 
eyes could ever look with love on a 
woman." 

"Adam is a man. At heart he is as 
human as the first man-creature that 
wallowed in the new earth's slime." 
His voice dropped as though he were 
musing aloud. "It might be well to let 
him have Athalia. She will help to 
keep vigor in the new race, which 
would stop reproducing in another few 
generations without the injection of 
Black Age blood." 

"Do you want to bring more crea- 
tures like Adam into the world?" 
Northwood flung at him. "You have 
tampered with life enough, Dr. Mund- 
son. But, although Adam has my sym- 
pathy. I'm not willing to turn Athalia 
over to him." 

"Well said! Now come. to the labora- 
■! tory for chemical nourishment and rest 
; under the Life Ray." 



They went to the great circular 
building from whose highest tower is- 
sued the golden radiance that shamed 
the light of the sun, hanging low in the 
northeast. . * 

"John Northwood," said Dr. Mund- 
son, "with that laboratory, which is the 
center of all life -in New Eden, we'll 
have to whip Adara. He, gave us what 
he called a 'sporting chance' because he 
knew that he is able to send us and all 
mankind to a doom more terrible than 
hell. Even now we might be entering 
some hideous trap that he has set for 



THEY entered by a side entrance 
and went immediately to what Dr. 
Mundson called the Rest Ward. Here, 
in a large room, were ranged rows of 
cots, on many of which lay men bask- 
ing in the deep orange flood of light 
which poured from individual lamps 
set above each cot. 

"It is the Life Ray!" said Dr. Mund- 
son reverently. "The source of all 
growth and restoration in Nature. It 
is the power that bursts open the seed 
and brings forth the shoot, that in- 
creases the shoot into a giant tree. It. 
is the, same power that enables the fer- 
tilized ovum to develop into an animal. 
It creates and recreates cells almost in- 
stantly ; accordingly, it is the perfect 
substitute for sleep. Stretch out, enjoy 
its power ; and while you rest, eat these 
nourishing tablets." 

Northwood lay on a cot, and Dr. 
Mundson turned the Life Ray on him. 
For a few minutes a delicious drowsi- 
ness fell upon him, producing a spell of 
perfect peace which the cells of his be- 
ing seemed to drink in. For another 
delirious, fleeting space, every inch of 
him vibrated with a thrilling sensation 
of freshness. He took a deep, ecstatic 
breath and-opened his eyes. 

"Enough," said Dr. Mundson, switch- 
ing off the Ray. "After three minutes 
of rejuvenation, you are commencing 
again with perfect cells. All ravages 
from disease and wear have been cor- 
rected." ' 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



211 



Northwood leaped up joyously. His 
handsome eyes sparkled, his skin 
glowed. "I feel great ! Never felt so 
good since I was a kid." 

A pleased grin spread over the 
scientist's homely face. "See what my 
discovery will mean to the world! In 
the future we shall all go to the labora- 
tory for recuperation and nourishment. 
We'll have almost twenty*|our hours a 
day for work- and play." 

HE stretched out on the bed con- 
tentedly. "Some day, when my 
work is nearly done, I shall permit the 
Life Ray to cure my hump." 

"Why not now ?" 

Dr. Mundson sighed. "If I were per- 
fect, I should cease to be so over- 
whelmingly conscious of the impor- 
tance of perfection." He settled back 
to enjoyment of the Life Ray. 

A few minutes "later, he jumped up, 
alert as a boy. "Ach! That's fine. 
Now I'll show you how the Life Ray 
speeds up development and produces 
four generations of humans a year." 

With restored energy, Northwood 
began thinking of Athalia. As he fol- 
lowed Dr. Mundson down a long cor- 
ridor, he yearned to see her again-, to be 
certain that she was safe. Once he 
imagined he felt a gentle, soft-fleshed 
touch against his hand, and was disap- 
pointed not to see her walking by his 
side. Was- she with him, unseen? The 
thought was sweet. 

Before Dr. Mundson opened the mas- 
sive bronze door at the end of the cor- 
ridor, he said : , 

"Don't be surprised or shocked over 
anything you see here, John North- 
wood. This is the Baby Laboratory." 

They entered a room which seemed 
no different from a hospital ward. On 
little white beds lay naked children of 
various sizes, perfect, solemn-eyed 
youngsters and older children as 
beautiful as animated statues. Above 
each bed was a small Life Ray pro^ 
jector. A white-capped nurse went 
from bed to bed. ^ 

"They are recuperating from the 



daily educational period," said the 
scientist. "After a few minutes of this 
they will go'into the growing room, 
which I Bhall have to show you through 
a window. Should you and I enter, we 
might be changed in a most extraor- 
dinary manner." He laughed mis- 
chievously. "But, look, Northwood!" 

HE slid back a panel in the wall, 
and Northwood peered in 
through a thick pane of clear glass. 
The room was really an immense out- 
door arena, its only carpet the fine- 
hladed grass, its *oof the blue sky cut 
in the middle by an enormous disc 
from which shot the aurora of titapped 
sunshine which made a golden um- 
brella over the valley. Through open- 
ings. in the bottom of the disc poured 
a fine rain of rays which fell constantly 
upon groups of children, youths and 
young girls, ail clad in the merest 
scraps of clothing. Some were danc- 
ing, others were playing games, but all 
seemed as supremely happy as the 
birds and butterflies which fluttered 
about the shrubs and flowers edging 
the arena. 

*'I don't expect you to believe," said 
Dr. Mundson, "that the oldest young 
man in there is three months old. You 
cannot see visible changes in a body 
which grows as slowly as the human 
being, whose normal period of develop- 
ment is twenty years or more. But I 
can give you visible proof of how fast 
growth takes place under the full 
power of the Life Ray. Plant life, 
which, even when left to nature, often 
develops from seed to flower within a 
few weeks or months, can be seen mak- 
ing its miraculous changes under the 
Life'Ray. Watch those gorgeous pur- 
ple flowers over which the butterflies 
are hovering." 

Northwood followed his pointing 
finger. Near the glass window through 
which they looked grew an enormous 
bank of resplendent violet colored 
flowers, which literslly enshrouded the 
entire bush with their royal glory. At 
first glance It seemed as though a via* 



212 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



lent wind were snatching at flower and 
bush, but closer inspection proved that 
the agitation was part of the plant it- 
self. And then he saw that the move- 
ments were the -result of perpetual 
/composition and growth. . 

HE fastened his eyes on one huge 
bud. He saw it swell, burst, 
spread out its passionate purple velvet, 
lift the broad flower face to the light 
for a joyous minute. A few seconds 
later a butterfly lighted airily to 
sample its nectar and to brush the 
pollen from its yellow dusted wings. 
Scarcely had the winged visitor flown 
away, than the purple petals began to 
wither and fall away, leaving the seed 
pod on the* stem. The visible change 
Went on in this seed pod. It turned 
rapidly, brown, dried out, and then sent 
the released seeds in a shower to the 
rich black earth below. Scarcely had 
the seeds tojAied the ground than they 
sent up tiny green shoots that grew 
larger each moment. Within ten min- 
utes there was a new plant a foot high. 
Within half an hour, the plant budded, 
blossomed, and cast forth its own seed. 

"You understand?" asked the scien- 
tist. "Development is going on as rapid- 
ly among the children. Before the first 
year has passed, the youngest baby will 
have grandchildren ; that is, if the baby 
tests out fit to pass its seed down to 
the new generation. I know it sounds 
absurd. Yet you saw the plant." 

"But Doctor," Northwood rubbed his 
jaw thoughtfully, "Natures forces of 
destruction, of tearing down, are as 
powerful as her creative powers. You 
have discovered the ultimate in crea- 
tion and upbuilding. But perhaps— oh, 
.lord, it is too .awful to think''!*' 

"Speak, Northwood!" The scientist's 
voice was impatient. 

"It is hothing !" The pale young man 
attempted a smile. "I was only imagin- 
ing some of the horror that could be 
thrust on the world if a supermihd like 
Adam's should discover Nature's secret 
of death and destruction and speed it 
up as you have sped the life force." 



"Ach Gott!" Dr. Mundson's face was 
white. "He has his own laboratory, 

where he works every day. Don't talk 
so loud. He might be listening. And I 
believe he can do anything he sets out 
to accomplish." 

Close to Northwood's ear fell a faint, 
triumphant whisper: "Yes, he can do 
anything. How did you guess, worm?" 

It was Adam's voice. 

""^TOW come and see the Leyden 

AN jar mothers," said Dr. Mundson. 
"We do not wait for the child to be 
born to start our work." 

He took Northwood to a laboratory 
crowded with strange apparatus, where 
young men and women worked. North- 
wood knew instantly that these people, 
although unusually handsome and 
strong, were not of Adam's generation. 
None of them had the look of newness 
which marked those who had grown up 
under the Life Ray. 

"They are the perfect couples whom 
I combed the world to find," said the 
scientist. "From their eugenic mar- 
riages sprang the first children that 
passed through the laboratory. I had 
hoped," he hesitated and looked side- 
ways at Northwood, "I had dreamed of 
having the children of you and Athalia 
to help strengthen the New Race." 

A wave of sudden disgust passed 
ove'r Northwood. 

"Thanks," he said tartly. "When I 
marry Athalia, I intend to have an old- 
fashioned home and a Black Age fami- 
ly. I don't relish having my children 
turned into— experiments." 

"But wait until you see all the won- 
ders of the laboratory! That is why 
I am showing you all this." 

Northwood drew his handkerchief 
and mopped his brow. "It sickens me, 
Doctor ! The more I see, the more pity 
I have for Adam — and the less I blame 
him for his rebellion and his desire to 
kill and to rule. Heavens! What a 
terrible thing you have done, experi- 
menting with human life." 

"Nonsense ! Can you say that all life 
— all matter — is not the result of scien- 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



213 



tific experiment? Can you?" His black 
gaze made Northwood uncomfortable. 
"Buck up, young friend, for now I am 
going to show you a marvelous im- 
provement on Nature's *bunghng ways 
— the Leyden jar mother." fHe raised 
his voice and called, "<LiIithi" 

The woman whom they had met on 
the field came forward. 

"May , we take a peep at Lona's 
twins?" asked the scientist. "They are 
about ready to go to the growing dome, 
are they not?" 

"In five more minutes," said the 
woman. "Come see." 

SHE lifted one of the black velvet 
curtains that lined an entire side 
of the laboratory and thereby disclosed 
a globular jar of glass and metal, con- 
nected by wires to a dynamo. Above 
the jar was a Life Ray projector. 
Lilith slid aside a metal portion of the 
jar, disclosing through the glass under- 
neath the squirming, kicking body of a 
baby, resting on a bed of soft, spongy 
substance, to which it was connected 
by the navel cord. 

"The Leyden jar mother," said Dr. 
Mundson. "It is the dream of us scien- 
tists realized. The human mother's 
body does nothing but nourish and pro- 
tect her unborn child,, a job which 
science can do better. And so, in New 
Eden, we take the young embryo and 
place it in the Leyden jar mother, 
where the Life Ray, electricity, and 
chemical food shortens the period of 
gestation to a few days# 

At that moment a bell under the 
Leyden jar began to ring. Dr. Mundson 
uncovered the jar and lifted out the 
child, a beautiful, perfectly formed 
boy, who began to cry lustily. 

"Here is one baby who'll never be 
kissed," he said. "He'll be nourished 
chemically, and, at the end of the week, 
will no longer be a baby. If you are 
patient, you can actually see the proc 
esses of development taking place un 
der the Life Ray, for babies develop 
very fast." 

Northwood buried his face in his 



hands. "Lord ! This is awful. No child- 
hood ; no mother to mould his mind ! 
No parents to watch over him, to give 
him their tender care!" 

"Awful, fiddlesticks! Come see how 
children get their education, how they 
learn to use their hands and feet so 
they need not pass through the awk- 
wardness of childhood." 

HE led Northwood to a magnificent 
^building whose fajade of white 
marble* was a% simply beautiful as a 
Greek temple. The side walls, built al- 
most entirely of glass, permitted the 
synthetic 'sunshine to sweep from end 
to end. They first entered a library, 
where youths and young girls poured 
over books of all kinds. Their mannef 
of reading mystified Northwood. With 
a single sweep of -the eye, they seemed 
to devour a page, and then turned to 
the next. He stepped closer to peer over 
the shoulder of a beautiful girl. She 
'was reading "Euclid's Elements of 
Geometry,*' in Latin, and she turned 
the pages as swiftly as the other girl 
occupying her table, who was devour- 
ing "Paradise Lost." 

Dr. Mundson whispered *o him : '^f 
you do not believe that Ruth here is 
getting her Euclid, which she probably 
never saw before today, examine her 
from the book ; that is, if you are a 
good enough Latin scholar." 

Ruth stopped her reading to talk to 
him, and, in a few minutes, had com- 
pletely dumbfounded him with her pe- 
dantic replies, which fell from lips as 
luscious and unformed as an infant's. 

"Now," said Dr. Mundson, "test 
Rachael on her Milton. As far as she 
has read, she should not misquote a 
line, and her comments will probablyi 
prove her scholarly appreciation- o£ 
Milton."' 

Word for word, Rachael was able to 
give him "Paradise Lost" from memory, 
except the last four pages, which she 
* had not read. Then, taking the book 
from him, she swept her eyes over; 
these pages, returned the book to him, 
jand quoted copiously and correctly. 



214 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



DR. MUNDSON gloated trium- 
phantly over his astonishment. 
"There, my friend. Could you now be 
satisfied with old-fashioned children 
who spend long, expensive years in 
getting an education? Of course, your 
children will not have the perfect 
brains of these, yet, developed under 
the Life Ray, they should have splen- 
did mentality. 

"These children, through selective 
breeding, have brains that make ever- 
lasting records instantly. A page in a 
book, once, seen, is indelibly retained 
by them, and understood. The same is 
true of a lecture, of an explanation 
given by a teacher, of even idle con- 
versation. Any man or woman in this 
room should be able to repeat the most 
trivial conversation days old." 

"But what of the arts, Dr. Mundson? 
Surely even your supermen and women 
cannot instantly learn to paint a mas- 
terpiece or to guide their fingers and 
their- brains through the intricacies of 
a difficult musical composition." 

"No?" c His dark eyes glowed. "Come 
see I" 

Before they entered another wing of 
the building, they heard a violin being 
played masterfully. 

Dr. Mundson paused at the door. 

"So that you may understand what 
you shall see, let me remind you that 
the nerve impulses and the coordinat- 
ing means in the human body are pure- 
ly electrical. The world has not yet 
accepted my theory, but it will. Under 
superman's system of education, the 
instantaneous records made on the 
brain give immediate skill to the acting 
$>arts of the body. Accordingly, musi- 
cians are made over night." 

He threw open the door. Under a 
Life Ray projector, a beautiful, Juno- 
esque woman was playing a violin. 
Facing her, and with eyes fastened to 
hers, stood a young man, whose arms 
and slender fingers mimicked every 
motion she made. Presently she stopped 
playing and handed the violin to him. 
In her own masterly manner, he re- 
peated the score she had played. 



"That is Eve,"~whispered Dr. Mund- 
son. "I had selected her as Adam's 
wife. But he does not want her, the 
most brilliant woman of the New Race." 

Northwood gave the woman an ap- 
praising look. "Who wants a perfect 
woman? I don't blame Adam for pre- 
fering Athalia. But how is she teach- 
ing her pupil?" 

"Through thought vibration, which 
these perfect people have .developed 
until they can record permanently the 
radioactive waves of the brains of 
others." 

Eve turned, caught Northwood's eyes 
in her magnetic blue gaze, and smiled 
as only a goddess can smile upon a 
mortal she has marked as her own. She 
came toward him with outflung hand's. 

"So you have come!" Her vibrant 
contralto voice, like Adam's, held the 
birdlike, broken tremulo of a young 
child's. "I have been waiting for you, 
John Northwood." 

HER eyes, as blue and- icy as 
Adam's, lingered long on him, 
until he flinched from their steely 
magnetism. She slipped her arm 
through his and drew him gently but 
firmly from the room, while Dr. Mund- 
son stood gaping after them. 

They were on a flagged terrace 
arched with roses of gigantic size, 
which sent forth billows of sensuous 
fragrance. Eve led him to a white 
marble seat piled with silk cushions, 
on which she reclined her superb body, 
while she regarded him from narrowed 
lids. 

"I saw your picture that he tele- 
visioned to Athalia," she said. "What a 
botch Dr. Mundson has made of his -, 
mating." Her laugh rippled like falling 
water. "I want you, John Northwood!" 

Northwood started and blushed furi- 
ously. Smile dimples broke around her 
red, humid lips. 

"Ah, you're old-fashioned!" 

Her large, beautiful hand, fleshed 
more tenderly than any woman's hand 
he had ever seen, went out to him ap- 
pealingly. "I can bring you amorous 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



215 



delight that your Athalia never" could 
offer in her few years of youth. And 
I'll never grow old, John Northwood." 

She came closer until he could feel 
the fragrant warmth of her tawny, 
ribbon bound hair pulse against his 
face. In sudden panic he drew back. 

"But I am pledged to Athalia!" 
tumbled from him. "It is all a dreadful 
mistake, Eve. You and Adam were 
created for each other." 

"Hush!" The lightning that flashed 
from her blue eyes changed her from 
seductress to angry goddess. "Created 
for each other! Who wants a made-to- 
measure lover?" 

THE luscious lips trembled slight- 
ly, and into the vivid eyes crept 
a suspicion of moisture. Eternal Eve's 
weapons ! Northwood's handsome face 
relaxed with pity. 

"I want you, John Northwood," she 
continued shamelessly. "Our love will 
be sublime." She leaned heavily against 
him, and her Hps were like a blood red . 
flower pressed against white satin. 
"Come, beloved, kiss me!" ^ 

Northwood gasped and turned his 
head. "Don't, Eve!" 

"But a kiss from me will set you 
apart from all your generation, John 
Northwood, and you shall understand 
what no man of the Black Age could 
possibly fathom." 

Her hair had partly fallen from its 
ribbon bandage and poured its fragrant 
gold against his shoulder. , 

"For God's sake, don't tempt me !" he 
groaned. "What do you mean?" 

"That mental and physical and spiri- 
tual contact with me will temporarily 
give you, a three-dimension creature, 
the power of the new sense, which 
your race will not have for fifty thou- 
sand years." 

White-lipped and trembling, he de- 
manded : Explain !" 

Eve smiled. "Have you not guessed 
that Adam has developed an additional 
sense? You've seen him vanish. He and 
I have the sixth sense of Time Percep- 
tion — the new sense which enables us 



to penetrate what you of the Black Age 
call the Fourth Dimension. Even you 
whose mentalities are framed by three 
dimensions Have this sixth sense in- 
stinct. Your very religion is based on 
it, for you believe that in another life 
you shall step into Time, or, as you 
call it, eternity." She leaned closer so 
that her hair brushed his cheek. "What 
is eternity, John Northwood? Is it not 
keeping forever ahead of the Destroy- 
er? The future is eternal, for it is 
never reached. Adam and I, through 
our new sense which comprehends 
Time and Space, can vanish by stepping 
a few seconds into the future, the 
Fourth Dimension of Space. Death can 
never' reach us, not even accidental 
death, unless that which causes death 
could also slip int« the future, which 
is not yet possible." *. 

"But if the Fourth Dimension is 

future Time, why can one in the third 

dimension feel the touch of an unseen 

presence in the Fourth Dimension— 

, hear his voice, even?" 

"Thought vibration. The touch is not 
really felt nor the voice' heard: they 
are only imagined. The radioactive 
waves of the brain of even you Black 
Age people are swift enough to bridge 
Space and Time. And it is the mind 
that carries us beyond the third dimen- 
sion." 

HER red mouth reached closer to 
him, her blue eyes touched hid- 
den forces that slept in remote cells 
of his being. "You are going into 
Eternal Time, John Northwood, Eter- 
nity without beginning or end. You 
understand? You feel it? Comprehend 
it? Now for. the contact— kiss me !** 

Northwood had seen Athalia vanish 
under Adam's kiss. Suddenly, in one 
mad burst of understanding, he leaned 
over to his magnificent temptress. 

For ? a split second he felt the sweet 
pressure of baby-soft lips, and then 
the atoms of his body seemed to fly 
assunder. Black chaos held him for 
a frightful moment before he felt 
sanity return. 



216 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



He was back on the terrace again, 
with Eve by his side. They were stand- 
ing now. The world v&bout him looked 
the same, yet {here was a subtle change 
in* everything. 

Eve laughed softly. "It is puzzling, 
isn't it? You're seeing everything as 
in a mirror. What was left before is 
now right. Only you and I are real. 
All else is but a vision, a dream. For 
now you and I are existing one minute 
in future time, or, more simply, we are 
in the Fourth Dimension. To every- 
thing in the third dimension, we are 
invisible. Let me show you that Dr. 
Mundson cannot see you.'' 

They went back to the room beyond 
the terrace. Dr. Mundson was not 
present. 

"There he goes down the jungle 
path," said Eve, looking out a window. 
She laughed. "Poor old fellow. The 
children of his genius are worrying 
him." 

THEY were standing in the recess 
formed by a bay window. Eve 
picked up his hand and laid it against 
her face, giving him the full, blasting 
glory of her smiling blue eyes. 

Northwood, looking away miserably, 
uttered a low cry. Coming* over the 
field beyond were Adam and Athalia. 
By the trimming on the blue dress she 
wore, he could see that she was still 
in the Fourth Dimension, for he did 
not see her as a mirror image. 

A look of fear leaped to Eve's face. 
She clutched Northwood's arm, trem- ■ 
bling. 

"I don't want Adam' to see that I have 
passed you beyond," she gasped. "We 
are existing but one minute in the 
future. Always Adam and I have feared 
to pass too far beyond the sweetness of 
reality. But now, so that Adam may 
not see us, wc shall step five minutes 
into what-is-yet-to-be. And even he, 
with all his power, cannot see into a 
future that is more distant than that 
in which he exists." 

She raised her humid lips to his. 
"Come, beloved." 



Northwood kissed her. Again came 
the moment of confusion, of the awful 
vacancy that was like death, and then 
he found himself and Eve in the labo- 
ratory, following Adam and Athalia 
down a long corridor. Athalia was cry- 
ing and pleading frantically with 
Adam. Once she stopped and threw 
herself at his feet in a gesture of 
dramatic supplication, arms outflung, 
streaming eyes wide open with fear. 

Adam stooped and lifted her gently 
and continued on his way, supporting 
her against his side. 

EVE dug her fingers into North- 
wood's arm. Horror contorted 
her face, horror mixed with rage, 

"My mind hears what he is saying, 
understands the vile plan he has made; 
John Northwood. He is on his way to 
his laboratory to destroy not only you 
and most of these in New Eden, but 
me as well. He wants only Athalia." 

Striding forward like an avenging 
goddess, she pulled Northwood after 
her. 

"Hurry !" she whispered. "Remember, 
you and I are five minutes in the future, 
and Adam is only one. We are witness- 
ing what will occur four minutes from 
now. We yet have titne to reach the 
laboratory before him and be ready for 
him when he enters. And because he 
will have to go back to Present Time 
to do his work of destruction, I will 
be able to destroy him. AhT* 

Fierce joy burned in her flashing 
blue eyes, and her slender nostrils 
quivered delicately. Northwood, peep- 
ing at her in horror, knew that no 
mercy could be expected of her. And 
when she stopped at. a certain door and 
inserted a key, he remembered Athalia. 
What if she should enter with Adam 
in Present Time? 

THEY were inside Adam's labora- 
tory, a huge apartment filled with 
queer apparatus and cages of live ani- 
mals. The room was a strange paradox. 
Part of the equipment, the walls, and 
the floor was glistening with newness. 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



217 



and part was moulding with extreme 
age. The powers of disintegration that 
haunt a tropical forest seemed to be 
devouring certain spots of the room. 
Here, in the midst of bright marble, 
was a section of wall that seemed as 
old as the pyramids. The surface of the 
stone had an appalling mould'iness, as 
though it had been lifted from an an- 
cient graveyard where it had lain in the 
festering ground for unwholesome cen- 
turies. 

Between cracks in this stained and 
decayed section of stone grew fetid 
moss that quivered with -the micro- 
scopic organisms that infest age-rotten 
places. ' Sections of the flooring and 
woodwork also reeked with mustiness. 
In one dark, webby corner of the room 
lay a pile of bleached bones, still tinted 
with the ghastly grays and pinks of 
putrefaction. Northwood, overwhelm- 
ingly nauseated, withdrew his eyes 
from the bones, only to see, in another 
corner, a pile of worm-eaten clothing 
that lay on the floor in the outline of 
a man. 

Faint with the reek of ancient musti- 
ness, Nbrthwood retreated to the door, 
dizzy and staggering. 

"It sickens you," said Eve, "and it 
sickens me also, for death and decay 
are not pleasant. Yet Nature, left to 
herself, reduces all to this. Every grave 
that has yawned to receive its pray 
hides corruption no less shocking. 
Nature's forces of creation and de- 
struction forever work in partnership. 
Never satisfied with her composition, 
she destroys and starts again, building, 
building towards the ultimate of per- 
fection. Thus, it is natural that if Dr. 
Mundson isolated the Life Ray, Na- 
ture's supreme force of compensation, 
isolation of the Death Ray should 
closely follow. Adam, thirsting for 
power, has succeeded. A few sweeps 
of his unholy ray of decomposition 
will undo all Dr. Mundson's work in 
this valley and reduce it to a stinking 
holocaust of destruction. And the time 
for his striking has come!" 

She seized his face and drew it to- 



ward her, "Quick 1" she said. "We'll 
have to go back to the third dimention. 
I could leave you safe in the fourth, 
but if anything should happen to me, 
you would be stranded forever in future 
time." 

She kissed his lips. In a moment, he 
was back in the old familiar world, 
where right is right and left is left. 
Again the subtle change wrought by 
Eve's magic lips had taken place. 

EVE went to a machine standing in 
a corner of the room. 

"Come here and get behind me, John 
Northwood. I want to test it before he 
enters." 

Northwood stood behind her shoul- 
der. 

"Now watch!" she ordered. "I shall 
turn it on one of those cages of guinea 
pigs over there." 

She swung the projector around, 
pointed it at the cage of small, squeal- 
ing animals, and threw a lever. Instant- 
ly a cone of black mephitis shot forth, 
a loathsome, bituminous stream of 
putrefaction that reeked of the grave 
and the cesspool, of the utmost reaches 
of decay before the dust accepts the 
disintegrated atoms. The first touch of 
seething, pitchy destruction brought 
screams of sudden agony from the 
guinea pigs, but the screams were cut 
short as the little animals fell in shock- 
ing, instant decay. The very cage which 
imprisoned them shriveled and re- 
treated from the hellish, devouring 
breath that struck its noisome rot into 
the heart of the wood and the metal, 
reducing both to revolting ruin. 

Eve cut off the frightful power, and 
the black cone disappeared, leaving the 
room putrid with its defilement. 

"And Adam would do that to the 
world," she said, her blue eyes like 
electric-shot icicles. "He would do it 
to you, John Northwood— an <f^o me !" 
Her full bosom strained under the 
passion beneath. 

"Listen!" She raised her hand warn- 
ingly. "He comes! The destroyer 
comes!" 



218 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



A HAND was at the door. Eve 
reached for the lever, and, the 
same moment, Northwood leaned over 
her imploringly. 

"If. .Athalia is with him!" he gasped. 
"You will not harm her?" 
V A wild shriek at the door, a slight 
scuffle, and then the doorknob was 
wrenched as though two were fighting 
over it. 

"For God's sake, Eve !" implored 
Northwood. "Wait! Wait!" 
• "No! She shall die, too. You love 
her!" 

Icy, cruel eyes cut into him, and a 
new-fleshed hand tried to push him 
aside. The door was straining open. A 
beloved voice shrieked. - "John!" 

Eve and Northwood both leaped for 
the lever. Under her tender white flesh 
she was as strong as a man. In the 
midst of the struggle, her red, humid 
lips approached his — closer. Closer. 
Their merest pressure would thrust 
him into Future Time, where the labor- 
ratory and all it contained would be 
but a shadow, and where he would be 
helpless to -interfere with her terrible 
will. 

He saw the door open and Adam 
stride into the, room. Behind him, ly- 
ing prone in the hall where she had 
probably fainted, was Athalia. In a 
mad burst of Strength he touched the 
lever together with Eve. 

The projector, belching forth its 
stinking breath of corruption swung in 
a mad arc over the ceiling, over the 
walls — and th**n straight at Adam. 

Then, quicker than thought, came the 
accident. Eve, attempting to throw 
Northwood off, tripped, fell half over 
the machine, and, with a short scream 
of despair, dropped into the black 
path of destruction. 

NORTHWOOD paused, horrified. 
The Death Ray was pointed at 
an inner wall of the room, which, even 
as he looked, crumbled and disap- 
peared, bringing down upon him dust 
more foul than any obscenity the 
bowels of the earth might yield. In an 



instant trie black cone ate through th« 
outer parts of the building, where 
crashing stone and screams that were 
more horrible because of their short- 
ness followed the ruin that swept far 
into the fair reaches of the valley. 

The paralyzing odor of decay took 
his breath, numbed his muscles, until, 
of all that huge building, the wall be- 
hind him and one small section of the 
room by the doorway alone remained 
whole. He was 'trying to nerve himself 
to reach for the lever close to that 
quiet formless thing still partly draped 
over the machine, when a faint sound 
in the door electrified him. At first, he 
dared not look, but his own name, 
spoken almost in "a gasp, gave him 
courage. 

Athalia lay on the floor, apparently 
untouched. 

He jerked the lever violently before 
running to her, exultant with the 
knowledge that his own efforts -to keep 
the ray from the door had saved her. 

"And you're not hurt!" He gathered 
her close. ,- 

"John ! I saw it get Adam." She 
pointed to a new mound of mouldy 
clothes on the floor. "Oh, it is hideous 
for me to be so glad, but he was going 
to destroy everything and everyone ex- 
cept me. He made the ray projector 
for that one purpose.'^ 

Northwood looked over the pile of 
putrid ruins which a few minutes ago. 
had been a building. There was not a 
wall left intact. 

"His intention is accomplished, Atha- 
lia," he said sadly.- "Let's get out before 
more stones fall." 

IN a mornent they were in the open. 
An ominous stillness seemed to 
grip the very air — the awful silence of 
the polar wastes which lay not far 
beyond the mountains. 

"How dark it is, John!" cried Atha- 
lia. "Dark and cold!" „ 

"The sunshine projector !" gasped 
Northwood. "It must have been de- 
stroyed. Look, dearest ! The golden 
light has disappeared." 



CREATURES OF THE LIGHT 



219 



"And the warm air of the valley will 
lift immediately. That means a polar 
blizzard." She shuddered, and clung 
closer to him. "I've seen Antarctic 
storms, John. They're death." 

Northwood avoided her eyes. "There's 
the sun-ship. We'll give the ruins the 
once over in case there are any sur- 
vivors ; then we'll save ourselves." 

Even a cursory examination of the 
mouldy piles of stone and dust con- 
vinced them that there could be no 
survivers. The ruins looked as "though 
they had lain in those crumbling piles 
for centuries. Northwood, smothering 
his repugnance, stepped among them — 
among the green, slimy stones and the 
unspeakable revolting d6bris, stagger- 
ing back and faint and shocked when 
he came upon dust that was once 
human. 

"God!" he groaned, hands over eyes. 
"We're alone, Athalia! Alone in a 
charnal house. The laboratory housed 
the entire population, didn't it?" 

"Yes. Needing no sleep nor food, 
we did not need houses. We all worked 
here, under Dr. Mundson's general- 
ship, and, lately under Adam's, like a 
little band of soldiers fighting for a 
great cause." 

"Let's go to the. sun-ship, dearest." 

"But Daddy Mundson was in the 
library," sobbed Athalia. "Let's look 
for him a little longer." 

SUDDEN remembrance came to 
Northwood. "No, Athalia! He left 
the library. I saw him go down the 
jungle path several minutes before I 
and Eve went to Adam's laboratory." 

"Then he might be safe !" Her eyes 
dance*d. "He might have gone to the 
sun-ship." 

Shivering, she slumped against him. 
"Oh, John! I'm cold." 

Her face was blue. Northwood jerked 
off his coat and wrapped it around her, 
taking the intense cold against his un- 
protected shoulders. The low, gray sky 
was rapidly darkening, and the feeble 
light of the sun could scarcely pierce 
the clouds. It was disturbing to know 



that even the summer temperature in 
the Antarctic was far below zero. 

"Come, girl," said Northwood grave- 
ly. "Hurry! It's snowing." 

They started to run down the road 
through the narrow strip of jungle. 
The Death Ray had cut huge swathes 
in the tangle of trees and vines, and 
now areas of heaped debris, livid with 
the colors of recent decay, exhaled a 
mephitic humidity altogether alien to 
the snow that fell in soft, slow flakes. 
Each hesitated to voice the new fear: 
had the sun-ship been destroyed? 

By the time they reached the open 
field, the snow stung their flesh like 
sharp needles, but it was not yet thick 
enough to hide from them a hideous 
fact. 

The sun-ship was gone. 

IT might have occupied one^of sever- 
al black, foul areas on the green 
grass, where the searching Death Ray 
had made the very soil putrefy, and 
the rocks crumble into shocking dust. 

Northwood snatched Athalia to him, 
too full of despair to speak. A sudden 
terrific flurry of snow whirled around 
them, and they were almost blown from 
their feet by the icy wind that tore 
over the unprotected field. 

"It won't be long," said Athalia 
faintly. "Freezing doesn't hurt, John, 
dear." 

"It isn't fair, Athalia! There never 
would have been such a marriage as 
ours. Dr. Mundson searched the world 
to bring us together." 

"For scientific experiment!" she 
sobbed. "I'd rather die, John. I want 
an old-fashioned home, a Black Age 
family. I want to grow old with you 
and leave the earth to my children. 
Or else I want to die here now under 
the kind, white blanket the snow is 
already spreading over us." She 
drooped in his arms. 

Clinging together, they stood in the 
howling wind, looking at each other 
hungrily, as though they would snatch 
from death this one last picture of the 
other. 



220 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Northwood's freezing lips translated 
some of the futile words that crowded 
against them. "I love you because you 
are not perfect. I hate perfection!" 

"Yes. Perfection is the only hope- 
less state, John. That is why Adam 
wanted to destroy, so that he might 
build again." 

They were sitting in the snow now, 
for they were very tired. The storm. 
began whistling louder, as ' though it 
were only a few feet above their heads. 

"That sounds almost like the sun- 
ship," said Athalia drowsily. 

"It's only fhe wind. Hold your face 
down so it worrit strike your flesh so 
cruelly." 

"I'm not suffering. I'm getting warm 
again." She smiled at' him sleepily. 

LITTLE icicles began to form on 
their clothing, and the powdery 
snow frosted their uncovered hair. 

Suddenly came a familiar voice: 
"Ach Gott!" 

Dr. Mundson stood before them, 
covered with snow until he looked like 
a polar bear. 

"Get up I" he shouted. "Quick! To 
the sun-ship !" 

He seized Athalia and jerked her to 
her feet. She looked at him sleepily 
for a moment, and then threw herself 
at him and hugged him frantically. 

"You're not dead?" 

Taking each by the arm, he half 
dragged them to trie sun-ship, which 
had landed only a few feet away. In 
a few minutes he had hot brandy tor 
them. . 



While they sipped greedily, he 
talked, between working the sun-ship's 
controls. 

"No, I wouldn't say it was a lucky 
moment that drew me to the sun-ship. 
When I saw Eve trying to charm John, 
I had what you American, slangists 
call a hunch, which sent me to the 
sun-ship to get it off the ground so 
that Adam couldn't commandeer it. 
Anch what is a hunch but a mental 
penetration into the Fourth Dimen- 
sion?" For a long moment, he brooded, 
absent-minded. "I was in the air when 
the black ray, which I suppose is 
Adam's deviltry, began to destroy 
everything it touched. From a safe 
elevation I saw it wreck all my work." 
A sudden spasm crossed his face. "I've 
flown over the entire valley. We're the 
only survivors — thank God!" 

"And so at last you confess that it is 
not well to tamper with human life?" 
Northwood, warmed with hot brandy, r . 
was his old self again. 

"Oh, I have, not altogether wasted 
my efforts. I went to elaborate pains 
to bring together a perfect man and a 
perfect woman of what Adam called 
our Black Age." He smiled at them 
whimsically. 

"Arid who can say to what extent 
you have thus furthered natural evolu- 
tion?" Northwood slipped his arm 
around Athalia. "Our children might 
be more than geniuses, Doctor!" 

Dr. Mundson nodded his huge, 
shaggy head gravely. 

"The true instinct of a Creature of 
the Light," he declared. 



REMEMBER 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 

Appears on Newsstands 
THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EACH MONTH 



A loud hum filled the 
air, and suddenly the 
projectile rose, gain- 
ing speed rapidly: 



\ ■■ ■ 

MANY of my readers will re- 
member the mysterious ra- 
dio messages which were 
heard by both amateur and 
professional short wave operators dur- 
ing the nights of 
the twenty -third 
and twenty- 
fourth of last 
September, and 
even more will re- 
member the as- 
tounding discovery made by Professor 
Montescue of the Lick Observatory on 



Into Space 

By Sterner St. Paul 



What was the extraordinary connection 
between Dr. Liver more' a sudden dis- 
appearance^ and the coming of a new 
satellite to the Earth? 



the night of September twenty-fifth. 
At the time, some inspired writers tried 
to connect the two events, maintaining 
that the discovery of the fact that the 
earth had a new satellite coincident 
with the receipt 
of the mysterious 
messages was evi- 
dence that the 
new planetoid 
was inhabited and 
that the messages 
were' attempts on the part of the in- 
habitants to communicate with us. 



222 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The fact that the messages were on a 
lower wave length than any receiver 
then in existence could receive with 
and degree of clarity, and the additional 
fact that they appeared to come from 
jan immense distance lent a certain air 
of plausibility to these ebulitions in 
the Sunday magazine sections. For 
some weeks the feature writers harped 
on the subject, but the hurried con- 
struction of new receivers which would 
work on a lower wave length yielded no 
results, and the solemn pronounce- 
ments of astronomers to the effect that 
the new celestial body could by no pos- 
sibility have an atmosphere on account 
of its small size finally put an end to 
the talk. So the matter lapsed into 
oblivion. 

While quite a few people will re- 
member the two events. I have noted, I 
doubt whether there are five hundred 
people alive who will remember any- 
thing at all about the disappearance of 
Dr. Livermore of the University of 
Calvada on September twenty-third. 
He was a man of some local promi- 
nence, but he had no more than a local 
fame, and few papers outside of Cali- 
fornia even noted the event in their 
columns. I do not think that anyone 
ever tried to connect up his disapper- 
ance with the. radio messages or the dis- 
covery of the. new earthly satellite ; yet 
the three events were closely bound up 
together, and but for the Doctor's dis- 
appearance, the other two would never 
have happened. 

DR. LIVERMORE taught physics 
at Calvada, or at least he taught 
the subject when he remembered that 
he had a class and felt like teaching. 
His students never knew whether he 
would appear at class or not ; but he 
always passed every one who took his 
courses and so, of course, they were al- 
waysjerowded. The University author- 
ities used to remonstrate with him, but 
his ability 4s a research worker was so 
well known and recognized that he was 
allowed to do about as he pleased. He 
was a bachelor who lived alone and who 



had no interests in life, so far as any- 
one knew, other than his work. 

I first made contact with him when 
I was a freshman at Calvada, and for 
some unknown reason he took a liking 
to me. My father had insisted that I 
follow in his footsteps as an electrical 
engineer ; as he was paying my bills, I 
had to make a show at studying en- 
gineering while I clandestinely pur- 
sued my hobby, literature. Dr. Liver- 
more's courses were the easiest in the 
school and they counted as science, so 
I regularly registered for them, cut 
them, and attended a class in literature 
as an auditor. The Doctor used to meet 
me on thceampus and laughingly scold 
me for my absence, but he was really 
in sympathy with my ambition and he 
regularly gave me a passing, mark and 
my units of credit without regard to 
my attendance, or, rather, lack of it. 

When ^graduated frongfCalvada I 
was theoretically an ewefrJcal engi- 
neer. Practically I had a pretty good 
knowledge of contemporary literature 
and knew almost nothing about my so- 
called profession. I stalled around 
Dad's office for a few months until I 
landed a job as a cub reporter on the 
San Francisco Graphic and then I quit 
him cold. When the storm blew over, 
Dad admitted that you couldn't make 
a silk purse out of a sow's ear and 
agreed with a grunt to my new line of 
work. He said that I would probably 
be a better reporter than an engineer 
because I couldn't by any possibility be 
a worse one, and let it go at that. How- 
ever, all this has nothing, to do with 
the story. It just explains, how I came 
to be acquainted with Dr. Livermore, 
in the first place, and why he sent for 
me on September twenty-scond, in the 
second place. 

THE morning of the twenty-second 
the City Editor called me in andl 
asked me if I knew "Old Liver- 
pills." 

"He says that he has a good story 
ready to break but he won't talk to any- 
one but you," went on Barnes. "I of- 



INTO SPACE 



223 



fered to send out a good man, for when 
Old Liverpills starts a story it ought 
to be good, but all I got was a high 
powered bawling out. He said that he 
would talk to you or no one and would 
just as soon talk to no one as to me any 
longer. Then he hung up. You'd bet- 
ter take a run out to Calvada and see 
what he has to say. I can have^ a good 
man re-write your drivel when you get 
back." 

I was mflje or less used to that sort 
of talk from Barnes so I paid no atten- 
tion to it. I drove my flivver down to 
Calvada and asked for the Doctor. 

"Dr. Livermore ?" said the bursar. 
"Why, he hasn't been around here for 
the last ten months. This is his sab- 
batical year and he is^ spending it on 
a ranch he owns up at Hat Creek, near 
Mount Lassen. You'll have to go there 
if you want to see him." 

I knew better than to report baek to 
Barnes without the story, so there was 
nothing to it but to drive up to Hat 
Creek, and a long, hard drive it was. 
I made Redding late that night; the 
next day I drove on to Burney and 
asked for directions to the Doctor's 
ranch. 

"So you're going up to Doc Liver- 
more's, are you?" asked the Postmas- 
ter, my informant. "Have you got an 
invitation ?" 

I assured him that I had. 

"It's a good thing," he replied, "be- 
cause he don't allow anyone on his 
place without one. I'd like to go up 
there myself and see what's going on, 
but I don't want to get shot at like 
old Pete Johnson did when he tried 
to drop in on the Doc and pay him a 
little call. There's something mighty 
funny going on up there." 

NATURALLY I tried to find out 
what was going on but evidently 
the Postmaster, who was also the ex- 
press agent, didn't know. All he could 
tell me was that a "lot of junk" had 
come for the Doctor by express and 
that a lot 'more had been hauled in by 
truck from Redding. 



"What kind of junk?" I asked him. 

"Almost everything, Bub: sheet 
steel, machinery, batteries, cases of 
glass, and Lord knows what all. It's 
been going on ever since he landed 
there. He has a bunch of Indians work- 
ing for him and he don't let a white 
man on the place." 

Forced to be satisfied with this 
meager information, I started old Liz- 
zie and lit out for the ranch. After I 
had turned off the main trail I met 
no one until the ranch house was in 
sight. As I rounded a bend in the road 
which brought me in sight of the build- 
ing, I was forced to put on my brakes 
at top speed to avoid running into a 
chain which was- stretched across the 
road. An Indian armed with a Win- 
chester rifle stood behind it, and when 
I stopped he came up and askwl my 
business. 

"My business 'is with Dr. Liver- 
more," I said tartly. 

"You got letter?" he inquired. 

"No," I answered. 

"No ketchum letter, no ketchum Doc- 
tor," he replied, and walked stolidly 
back to his post. 

"This is absurd," I shouted, and 
drove Lizzie up to the chain. I saw 
that it was merely hooked to a ring 
at the end, and I climbed out and 
started to take it down, A thirty-thirty 
bullet embedded itself in the post an 
inch or two from my head, and I 
changed my mind about taking down 
that chain. 

"No ketchum letter, no ketchum Doc- 
tor," said the Indian laconically as he 
pumped another shell into his gun. 

I WAS balked, until I noticed a pair 
of telephone wires running from 

the house to the tree to which one end 

of the chain wa-s fastened. 

"Is that a telephone to the house?" 

I demanded. 
The Indian grunted an assent, 
"Dr. Livermore telephoned me to 

come and see him," I said. "Can't I 

call him up and see if he still wants to 

see me?" 



224 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The Indian debated the question 
with himself for a minute and then 
nodded a doubtful assent. I cranked 
the old coffee mill type of; telephone 
which I found, and presently heard the 
voice of Dr. Livermore. 

"This is Tom Faber, Doctor," I said. 
"The Graphic sent me up to get a story 
from you, but there's 'jan Indian here 
who started to murder me when I tried 
t4'^et past your barricade." 

"Good for him," chuckled the Doc- 
tor. "I heard the shot, but didn't know 
that he was shooting at you. Tell him 
to talk to me." 

The Indian took the telephone at 
my bidding and listened for a minute. 

"You go in," he agreed when he hung 
up the receiver. 

He took down the chain and I drove 
on up to the house, to find the Doctor 
waiting for me on the veranda. 

"Hello, Tom," he greeted me heart- 
ily. "So you had trouble with my 
guard, did you?" 

"I nearlv got murdered," I said rue- 
fully. 

"I expect that Joe would have drilled 
you if you had tried to force your way 
in," he remarked cheerfully. "I forgot 
to tell him that you were coming to- 
day. I told him you would be here 
yesterday, but yesterday isn't to-day to 
that Indian. I wasn't sure you would 
get here at all, in point of fact, for I 
didn't know whether that old foo^l I 
talked to in your office would send you 
or some one else. If anyone else had 
been sent, h* 1 would have never got by 
Joe, I can tell you. Come in. Where's 
your bag?" 

"I haven't one," I replied. "I went 
to Calvada yesterday to see you, and 
didn't know until I got there that you 
were up here." 

The Doctor chuckled. 

"I guess I forgot to tell where I 
' was," he said. "That man I talked to 
got me so mad that I hung up on him 
before I told him. It doesn't matter, 
though. I can dig you up a new tooth- 
brush, and I guess you can make out 
with that. Come in," 



I FOLLOWED him into the house, 
and he showed tne a room fitted 
with a crude bunk, a washstand, a bowl 
and a pitcher. 

"You won't have many luxuries 
here, Tom," he said, "but you won't 
need to stay here for more than a few 
days. My work is done : I am ready 
to start. In fact, I would have started 
yesterday instead of to-day, had you 
arrived. Now don't ask any questions; 
it's nearly lunch time." 

"What's the story, Doctor?" I asked 
after lunch as I puffed one of his ex- 
cellent cigars. "And why did you pick 
me to tell it to?" 

"Fqr several reasons," he replied, ig- 
noring- my first question. "In the first 
place, I like you and I think that you 
can keep your mouth shut until- you 
are told to open it. In the second place, 
I have always found that you had the 
gift of vision or imagination and have 
the ability to believe/ In the third 
place, you are the only man I know 
who had the literary ability to write up 
a good story and at the same time has 
the scientific background to grasp what 
it is all about. Understand that unless 
I have your promise not to write this 
story until I tell you that you can, not 
a word will I tell you." 

I reflected for a moment. The 
Graphic would expect the story when 
I got back, but on the other hand I 
knew that unless I gave the desired 
promise, the Doctor wouldn't talk. 

"All right," I assented, "I'll promise." 

"Good!" he replied. "In that case, 
I'll tell you all about it. No doubt you, 
like the rest of the world, think that 
I'm crazy?" 

"Why, not at all," I stammered. In 
point of fact, I had often harbored 
such a suspicion. 

"Oh, that's all right," he went on 
cheerfully. "I am crazy, crazy as a 
loon, which, by the way, is a highly 
sensible bird with a well balanced 
"mentality. There is no doubt that I 
am crazy, but my crazlness is not of 
the usual type. Mine is the insanity of 
genius." 



INTO SPACE 



225 



HE looked at me sharply as he 
spoke, but long sessions at poker 
in the San Francisco Press Club had 
taught me how to control my facial 
<muscles, and I never batted an eye. He 
seemed satisfied, and went on. 

"From your college work you are fa- 
miliar with the laws of magnetism," he 
said. "Perhaps, considering just what 
your college career really was, I might 
better say that you are supposed to be 
familiar with them." 

I jollied with him in his laughter. 

"It won't require a very deep knowl- 
edge to follow the thread of my argu- 
ment," he went on. "You know, of 
course, that the force of magnetic at- 
traction is inversely proportional to the 
square of- the distances separating the 
magnet and the attracted particles, and 
also that each magnetized particle had 
two poles, a positive and a negative 
pole, or a north pole and a south pole, 
as they are usually called ?" 

I nodded. ' 

"Consider for a moment that the laws 
of magnetism, insofar as concerns the 
relation between distance and power of 
attraction, are exactly matched by the 
laws of gravitation." 

"But there the similarity between the 
two forces ends," I interrupted. 

"But there the similarity does not 
end," he said sharply. "That is the 
crux of the discovery which I_have 
made : that magnetism and gravity are 
one and the same, or, rather, that the 
two are separate, but similar manifesta- 
tions of one force. The parallel be- 
tween the two grows closer with each 
succeeding experiment. You know, 
for example, that each magnetized par- 
ticle has two poles. Similarly each 
gravitized particle, to coin a new word, 
had two poles, one positive and one 
negative. Every particle, on the earth 
is so oriented that the negative poles 
point toward the positive center of the 
earth. This is what causes the com- 
monly known phenomena of gravity or 
weight." 

"I can prove the fallacy of that in a 
moment," I retorted. 

AM. Si. 



"There are none so blind as those 
who will not see," he quoted with an 
icy smile. "I can probably predict 
your puerile argument, but go ahead 
and present it." 

*'TF two magnets are placed so that 

X the north pole of one is in juxta- 
position to the south pole of the other, 
they attract one another," I said. "If 
the position of the magnets be reversed 
so that the two similar poles are oppo- 
site, they will repel. If your theory 
were correct, a man standing on his 
head would fall off the earth." 

"Exactly what I expected," he re- 
plied. "Now let me ask you a question. 
Have you ever *een a small bar magnet 
placed -within the field of attraction of 
a large electromagnet? Of course you 
have, and you have noticed that, when 
the north pole of the bar magnet was 
pointe,d toward the electromagnet, the 
bar was attracted. However, when the 
bar was reversed and the south pole 
pointed toward the electromagnet, the 
bar was still attracted. You doubtless 
remember that experiment." 

"But in that case the magnetism of 
the electromagnet was so large that the 
polarity of the small magnet was re- 
versed!".! cried. 

"Exactly, and the field of gravity of 
the earth is so great compared to the 
gravity of a man that when he stands 
on his head, his polarity is instantly 
reversed." 

I nodded. His explanation was too 
logical for me to pick a flaw in it. 

"If that same bar magnet were held 
in the field of the electromagnet with 
its north pole pointed toward the mag- 
net and then, by the action of some 
outside force of sufficient power, its 
polarity were reversed, the bar would 
be repelled. If the magnetism were 
neutralized and held exactly neutral, 
it would be neither repelled nor at- 
tracted, but would act only as the force 
of gravity impelled it. Is that clear?" 

"Perfectly," I assented. 

"That, then, paves the way for what 
I have to tell you. I have developed 



226 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



an electrical method of neutralizing the 
gravity of a body while it is within 
the field of the earth, and also, by a 
slight extension, a method of entirely 
reversing its polarity." 

I NODDED calmly. 
"Do you realize * what this 
means?" he cried. 

"No," I replied, puzzled by his great 
excitement. 

"Man alive," he cried, "it means that 
the problem of aerial flight is entirely 
revolutionized, and that the era of in- 
terplanetary travel is at hand ! Sup- 
pose that I construct an airship and 
then render it neutral to gravity. It 
would weigh nothing, absolutely noth- 
ing! The tiniest propeller would drive 
it at almost incalculable speed with a 
minimum consumption of power, for 
the only resistance to its motion would 
be the resistance of the air. If I were 
to reverse the polarity, it would be re- 
pelled from the earth with the same 
force wjth which it is now attracted, 
and it would rise with the same accel- 
eration as a body falls toward the 
earth. It would travel to the moon in 
two hours and forty minutes." 
1 "Air resistance would — " 

"There is no air a few miles from the 
earth. Of course, I do not mean that 
such a craft would take off from the 
earth and land on the moon three houfs 
later. There are two things which 
would interfere with that. One is the 
fact that the propelling force, the grav- 
ity of the earth, would diminish as the 
square of the distance from the center 
of the earth, and the other is that when 
the band of neutral attraction, or rather 
repulsion, between the earth and the 
moon had been reached, it would be 
necessary to decellerate so as to avoid 
a smash on landing. I have been over 
the whole thing and I find that it would 
take twenty-nine hours and fifty-two 
minutes to make the whole trip. The 
entire thing is perfectly possible. In 
fact, I have asked you'here to witness 
and report the first interplanetary trip 
to be made." 



"Have you constructed such a do- 
vice?" I cried. 

"My space ship is finished and ready 
for your inspection," he replied. "If 
you will come with me, I will show it 
to you." 

HARDLY knowing what to believe, 
I followed him from the house 
and to a huge barnlike structure, over 
a hundred feet high, which stood 
nearby. He opened the door and 
switched on a light, and there before 
me stood what looked at fist glance to 
be a huge artillery shell, but of a size 
larger than any ever made. It was con- 
structed of sheet steel, and while the 
lower part was solid, the upper sections 
had huge glass windows set in them. 
On the point was a mushroom shaped 
protuberance. It measured perhaps 
fifty feet in diameter and was onehun- 
dred and forty feet high, the Doctor 
informed me. A ladder led fr.om the 
floor to a door about fifty feet from the 
ground. 

I followed the Doctor up the ladder 
and into the space flier. The door led 
us into a comfortable living room 
through a double door arrangement. 

"The whole hull beneath us," ex- 
plained the Doctor, "is filled with bat- 
teries and machinery except for a space 
in the center, where a shaft leads to a 
glass window in the bottom so that I 
can see behind me, so to speak. The 
space above is filled with storerooms 
and the air purifying apparatus. On 
this level is my bedroom, kitchen, and 
other living rooms, together with a 
laboratory and an observatory. There 
is a central control room located on 
an upper level, but .it need seldom be 
entered, for the craft can oe controlled 
by a system of relays from this room or 
from any other room in the ship. I 
suppose that you are more .or less 
familiar with imaginative stories of 
interplanetary travel?" 

I NODDED an assent. 
"In* that case there is no use in 
going oyer the details of the air puri- 



. 



INTO SPACE 



227 



tying and such matters," be said. "The 
story writers have worked out all that 
sort of thing in great detail, and there 
is nothing novel in my arrangements. 
I carry food and water for six months 
and air enough for two months by con- 
stant renovating. Have you any ques- 
tion you wish to ask?" 

"One objection I have seen frequent- 
ly raised to the idea of interplanetary 
travel is that the human body could not 
stand the rapid acceleration which 
would be necessary to attain speed 
enough to ever get anywhere. How do 
you overcome this?" 

"My dear boy, who knows* what the 
human body can stand ? When the 
locomotive was first invented learned 
scientists predicted that the limit of 
speed was thirty miles an hour, as the 
human body could not stand a higher 
speed. Today the human body stands 
a speed of three hundred and sixty 
miles an hour without ill effects. At 
any rate, on my first trip I intend to 
take no chances. We know that the 
body can stand an acceleration of 
thirty-two feet per second without 
trouble. That is the rate of accelera- 
tion due to gravity and is the rate at 
which a body increases speed when it 
falls. This is the acceleration which I 
will use. 

"Remember that the space traveled 
by a falling body in a vacuum is equal 
to one half ^he acceleration multiplied 
by the square of the elapsed time. The 
moon, to which I intend to make my 
first trip, is only 280,000 miles, or 
1,478,400,000 feet, from us. With an 
acceleration of thirty-two feet per sec- 
ond, I would pass the moon two hours 
and forty minutes after leaving the 
earth. If I later take another trip, say 
to Mars, I will have to find a means of 
increasing my acceleration, possibly 
by the use of the rocket principle.. 
Then will be time enough to worry 
about what my body will stand." 

A short calculation verified the 
figures the Doctor had given me, and I 
stood convinced. 

"Are you really going?" I asked. 



"Most decidedly. To repeat, I would 
have started yesterday, had you ar- 
rived. As it is, I am ready to start 
at once. We will go back to the house 
for a few minutes while I show you the 
location of an excellent telescope 
through which you may watch my 
progress, and instruct you in the use 
of an ultra-short-wave receiver which 
I am confident will pierce the heaviest 
layer. With this I will keep in com- 
munication with you, although I have 
made no arrangements for you to send 
messages to me on this trip. I intend 
to go to the moon and land. I will 
take atmosphere samples through an 
air port and, if there is an atmosphere 
which will support life, I will step out 
on the surface. If there is not, I will 
return to the earth." 

A FEW minutes was enough for 
for me to grasp the simple 
manipulations which I wpuld have to 
perform, and I followed him again to 
the space flier. 

"How are you going to get it out?" I 
asked. 

''Watch," he said. 

He worked some levers and the roof 
of the barn folded back, leaving the 
way clear for. the departure of the 
huge projectile. I followed him in- 
side and he climbed the ladder. 

"When I shut the door, go back to 
the house and test the radio," he di- 
rected. 

The door clanged shut and I has- 
tened into the house. His voice came 
plainly enough. I went back to the 
flier and waved him a final farewell, 
which he acknowledged through a 
window ;. then I returned to the re- 
ceiver. A loud hum filled the air, and 
suddenly the projectile rose and flew 
out through the open roof, gaining 
speed rapidly until it was a mere speck 
in the sky. It vanished. I had no 
trouble in picking him up with the 
telescope. In fact, I could see the Doc- 
tor through one of the windows. 

"I have passed beyond the range of 
the atmosphere, Tom," came his voice 



228 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



over the receiver, "and I find that 
everything is going exactly as it 
should. I feel no discomfort, and my 
only regret is that I did not install a 
transmitter in the house so that you 
could talk to me; but there is no real 
necessity for it. I am. going to make 
some observations now, but I will call 
you again with a report of progress in 
half-an-hour." 

FOR the rest of the afternoon and 
all of that night I received his mes- 
sages regularly, but with the. coming 
of daylight they began to fade. By 
nine o'clock I could^get only a word 
here and there. By noon. I could hear 
nothing. I went to sleep hoping that 
the night would bring better, reception, 
nor was I disappointed. About eight 
o'clock I received a message, rather 
faintly, but none the less distinctly. 

"I regret more than ever that I did 
not: install a transmitter so that I could 
learn from you whether you are receiv- 
ing my messages," his voice said faint- 
ly. "I have no idea of whether you can 
hear me or not, but I will keep on re- 
peating this message every hour while 
my battery holds out. It i3 now thirty 
hours since I left the earth and I 
should be on the moon, according to 
nay calculations. But I am not, and 
never will be. I am caught at the neu- 
tral point where the gravity of the 
earth and the moon are exactly equal. 

"I had relied on my momentum to 
carry me. over this point. Once over 



it, I expected to reverse my polarity 
and fall on the moon. My momentum 
did not do so. If I keep my polarity 
as it was when Heft the earth, both the 
earth and the moon repel me. If I re- 
verse it, they both attract me, and 
again I cannot move. If I had 
equipped my space flier with a rocket 
so that I could move a few miles, or 
even a few feet, from the dead line, 
I could proceed, but I. did not do so, 
and I cannot move forward or back. 
Apparently I am doomed to stay here 
until my air gives out. Then my body, 
entombed in my space ship, will end- 
lessly circle the earth as a . satellite 
until the end of time. There is no 
hope for*me, for long before a dupli- 
cate of my device equipped with 
rockets could be constructed and come 
to my rescue, my air would be ex* 
hausted. Good-by, Tom. You may 
write your story as soon as you wish. 
I will repeat my message in one hour. 
Good-by!" 

At nine and at ten -&'eiock~~the mes- 
sage was xe^peated. At eleven it started 
agaiiv-but after a few sentences the 
sound suddenly ceased and the receiver 
went dead. I thought that the fault 
was with ! the receiver and I toiled 
feverishly the rest of the night, but 
without result. I learned later that 
the messages heard all over the world 
ceased at the same hour. 

The next morning Professor Mon- 
tescue announced his discovery of the 
world's new satellite. 



Coming — 

MURDER MADNESS 

An Extraordinary Four-Part Novel 
By MURRAY LEINSTER 




The Beetle Horde 



By Victor Rousseau 

CONCLUSION 



TOMMY TRAVERS and' ^fames 
Dodd, of the Travers Antarctic 
Expedition, crash in their plane some- 
where near the South Pole, and are 
seized by a swarm of man-sized beetles. 
They are carried 
down to Submun- 
dia, a world un- 
der the earth's 
crust, where the 
beetles have de- 
veloped their civilization to an amaz- 
ing point, using a wretched race of de- 
generated humans, whom they breed 
as cattl.e, for food. 

The insect horde is ruled by a hu- 



man from the outside world — a drug- 
doped madman. Dodd recognizes this 
man as Bram, the archaeologist who 
had been lost years before at the Pole 
and given up for deaiUby a world he 
had hated because 
it refused to ac- 
cept his radical 
scientific theo- 
ries. His fiendish 
mind now plans 
the horrible revenge of leading his un- 
conquerable horde of monster insects 
forth to ravage the world, destroy the 
human race and establish a new i 
the era of the insect. 
229 



Bullets, shrapnel, aheli — nothing can atop 

the trillion* of famished, man-siaed beetles 

which, led by a madman, sweep down 

over the human race. 



230 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The world has to be warned of the 
impending doom- The two, with 
Haidia, a girl of Submundia, escape, 
and pass through menacing dangers to 
within two miles of the exit. There, 
suddenly, Tommy sees towering over 
him a creature that turns his blood 
cold — a gigantic praying mantis. Be- 
fore he has time to act, the monster 
springs at them I 

CHAPTER VII 

Through the Inferno 

FORTUNATELY, the monster 
miscalculated its leap. The 
huge legs, whirling through the 
air', came within a few inches 
of Tommy's head, but passed over him, 
and the mantis plunged into the 
streams Instantly "the water was alive 
with leaping things with faces of such 
grotesque horror that Tommy sat para- 
lyzed in his rocking shell, unable to 
avert his eyes. 

Things no more than a foot or two 
in length, to judge from the slender, 
e«l-like bodies that leaped into the air, 
but things with catfish head? and ten- 
tacles, and eyes waving on stalks; 
things with clawlike appendages to 
their ventral fins, and mouths that 
widened to fearful size, so that the 
whole head seemed to disappear above 
them, disclosing fangs like wolves'. 
Instantly the water was churned into 
phosphorescent fire as they precipi- 
tated themselves upon the struggling 
mantis, whose enormous form, extend- 
ing halfway from shore to shore, was 
covered with the river monsters, gnaw- 
ing, rending, tearing. 

Luckily the struggle's of the dying 
monster carried it downstream instead 
of up. In a few moments the immedi- 
ate danger was past. And suddenly 
Haidia awoke, sat up. 

"Where are we?" she cried. "Oh, I 
can see I I can see ! Something has 
burned away from my eyes! I know 
this place. A wise man of my people 
once came here, and returned to tell of 
it. We must go on. Soon we shall be 



safe on the wide river. But there is 
another way that leads to here. Wo 
must go on! We must "go on!" 

Even as she spoke they heard the 
distant rasping of the beetle-legs. And 
before the shells were well in mid-, 
current they saw the beetle horde com- 
ing round the bend, in the front of 
them Bram, reclining on his shell 
couch, and drawn by the eight trained 
beetles. 

BRAM saw the fugitives, and a 
roar of ironic mirth broke from 
his lips, resounding high above the 
strident rasping of the beetle-legs, and 
roaring over the marshes. 

"I've got you, Dodd and Traverse" he 
bellowed, as the trained beetles hov- 
ered above the shell canoes. "You 
thought you were clever, but you're at 
my mercy. Now's your last chance, 
Dodd. I'll save you still if you'll bud- 
mit to me, if you'll admit that there 
were fossil monotremes before the 
pleistocene epoch. Come, it's so 
simple! Say it after me: 'The mar- 
supial lion — ' " 

"You go to hell!" yelled Dodd, 
nearly upsetting his shell as he shook 
his fist at his enemy. 

High above the rasping sound came 
Dodd's shrill whistle. Just audible to 
human ears, though probably sounding 
like the roar of thunder to those of the 
beetles, there was no need to wonder 
" what it was. 
. It was the call to slaughter. 

Like a black cloud the beetles shot 
forward. A serried phalanx covered 
the two men and the girl, hovering a 
few feet overhead, the long legs dang- 
ling to within arm's reach. And a 
terrible cry of fear broke from Haidia's 
lips. 

Suddenly Tommy remembered 
Bram's cigarette-lighter. He pulled it 
from his pocket and ignited it. 

Small as the flame was, it was ac- 
tinically much more powerful than the 
brighter phosphorescence of the fungi 
behind them. The beetle-cloud over- 
head parted. The strident sound was 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



231 



broken into a confused buzzing as the 
terrified, blinded beetles plopped into 
the stream. I 

None of them, fortunately, fell into 
either of the three shells, but the miss 
of struggling monsters in the -water 
was hardly less formidable to the 
safety of the occupants than that men- 
acing cloud overhead. 

"Get clear !" Tommy yelled to Dodd, 
trying to help the shell along with his 
hands. 

HE heard Bram's cry of baffled 
rage, and, looking backward, 
could not refrain from a laugh of 
triumph. Bram's trained steeds had 
taken fright and overset him. Bram 
had fallen into the red mud beside the 
stream, from which he was struggling 
up, plastered from head to feet, and 
shaking his fists and evidently cursing, 
though his words could not be heard. 

"How- about your marsupial lion 
now, Bram?" yelled Dodd. "No mono- 
tremes before the pleistocene! D'you 
get that? That's my slogan now and 
for ever more !*' 

Bram shrieked and raved, and 
seemed to be inciting the beetles to a 
renewed assault. The air was still 
thick with them, but Tommy was wav- 
ing the -cigarette-lighter in a flaming 
arc, which cleared the way for them. 

Then suddenly came disaster. The 
flame went out! Tommy closed the 
lighter with a snap and opened it. In 
vain. In his excitement he must have 
spilled all the contents, for it would 
not catch. 

Bram saw and yelled derision. The 
beetle-cloud was thickening. Tommy, 
now abreast of his companions on the 
widening stream, ■ saw the imminent 
end. 

AND then once more fate inter- 
vened. For, leaping through the 
air out of the places where they had 
lain concealed, six mantises launched 
themselves at their beetle prey. 

Those awful bounds of the long- 
legged monsters, the scourges of the 



insect world, carried them clear from 
one bank to the other — fortunately for 
the occupants of'the shells. In an in- 
Btant the beetle-cloud dissolved. And 
it had all happened in a few seconds. 
Before Dodd or Tommy had quite 
taken in the situation, the mantises, 
each carrying a victim in its grooved 
legs, had vanished like the beetles. 
There was no sign of Bram. The 
three were alone upon the face of the. 
stream, which went swirling upward 
into renewed darkness. 

Tommy saw Dodd bend toward 
Haidia as she lay on her shell cpuch. 
He heard the sound of a noisy kiss. 
And he lay back in the hollow of his 
shell, with the feeling that nothing 
that could happen in the future could 
be worse than what they had passed 
through. 

DAYS went by, days when the 
sense of dawning freedom filled 
their hearts with hope. Haidia told 
Dodd and Tommy that, according to 
the legends of her people, the river 
ran into the world from which they 
had been driven by the floods, ages 
before. 

There had been no further signs of 
Bram or the beetle horde, and Dodd 
and Tommy surmised that it had been 
disorganized by the attack of the man- 
tises, and that Bram was engaged in 
regaining his control over it. But 
neither of them believed thaC the 
respite would be a long one, and for 
that reason they rested ashore only for 
the briefest intervals, just long enough 
to snatch a little sleep, and to eat some 
of the shrimps that Haidia was adept 
at finding — or to pull some juicy fruit 
surreptitiously f*om a tree. 

Incidents there were, nevertheless, 
during those days. For hours their 
shells were followed by a school of the 
luminous river monsters, which, never- 
theless, made no attempt to attack 
them. And once, hearing a cry from 
Haidia, as she was gathering shrimps, 
Dodd ran forward, to see her battling 
furiously with a luminous scorpion, 



232 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



eight feet in length, that had sprung 
at her from its lurking place behind a 
pear shrub. 

DODD succeeded in stunning and 
dispatching the monster without 
suffering any injury from it, but the 
strain %f the period was beginning to 
tell on all of them. Worst of all, they 
seemed to have left all the luminous 
vegetation behind them, and were en- 
tering a region of almost total dark- 
ness, in which Haidia had to be their 
eyes. 

SOMETHING had happened to the 
girl's sight in the journey over 
the petrol spring. As a matter of fact, 
the third, or nictitating membrane, 
which the humans of Submundia pos- 
sessed, in common with birds, had been 
burned away. Haidia could see as well 
as ever in the dark, but she could bear 
more Hght than formerly as well. Un- 
obtrusively she assumed command of" 
the party. She anticipated their wants, 
dug shrimps in the darkness, and fed 
Tommy and Dodd with her own hands. 

"God, what a girl!" breathed Dodd 
to his friend. "I've always had the 
reputation of being a woman-hater, 
Tommy, but once' I get that girl to 
civilization I'm going to take her to 
the nearest Little Church Around the 
Corner in record time." 

"I wish you luck, old man, I'm 
sure," answered Tommy, Dodd's words 
did not seem atrange to him. Civiliza- 
tion was growing very remote to him, 
and Broadway seemed like a memory 
of some previous incarnation. 

The river was growing narrower 
again, and swifter, too. On the last 
day, or night, of thesr journey — though 
they did not know that it was to be 
their last — it swirled so fiercely that 
it threatened every moment to overset 
their beetle-shells. Suddenly Tommy 
began to feel giddy. He gripped the 
Bide of his shell with his hand. 

"Tommy, we're going round!" 
shouted Dodd in front of him. 

There was no longer any doubt of 



it. The shells were revolving in s 
vortex of rushing, foaming water. 

"Haidia!" they shouted. 

The girl's voice came back thickly 
across the roaring torrent. The circles 
grew, smaller. Tommy knew that he 
was being sucked nearer and nearer to 
the' edge of some terrific whirlpool in 
that inky blackness. Now he could no 
longer hear Dodd's shouts, and the 
shell was tipping so that he could feel 
the water rushing along the edge of 
it. But for the exercise of centrifugal 
force he would have been flung from 
his perilous seat, for he was leaning 
inward at an angle of forty-five de- 
grees. 

THEN suddenly his progress was 
arrested. He felt the shell being 
drawn to the shore. He leaped out, 
and Haidia's strong hands dragged the 
shell out of the torrent, while Tommy 
sank down, gasping. 

"What's the matter?" he heard Dodd 
demanding. 

"There is no more river," said Haidia 
calmly. "It goes into a hole in the 
ground. So much I have heard from 
the wise men of my people. They say 
that it is near such a place that they 
fled from the flood in years gone by." 

"Then we're near safety," shouted 
Tommy. "That river must emergens 
a stream somewhere in the upper 
world, Dodd. I wonder where the road 
lies." 

"There is a road here," came Haidia's 
calm voice. "Let us put on our shells 
again, since who knows whether there 
may not be beetles here." *' 

"Did you ever see such a girl a* 
that ?" demanded rjodd ecstatically, 
"First she saves our lives, and then she 
thinks of everything. Good lord,; she'll 
remember my meals, and to wind my 
watch for me, and — and — " 

But Haidia's voice, some distance 
ahead, interrupted Dodd's soliloquy, 
and, hoisting the beetle-shells upon 
their backs, they started along the 
rough trail that they could feel with 
their feet over the stony ground. It 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



233 



was. still as dark as pitch, but soon 
they found themselves traveling up, a 
sunken way that was evidently a dry 
watercourse. And now and again 
Haidia's reassuring voice would come 
from in front of them. 

THE road grew steeper. There 
could no longer be any doubt 
that they were ascending toward the 
surface of the earth. But even the 
weight of the beetle-shells and the 
steepness could not account for the 
feeling of intense weakness that took 
possession of them. Time and again 
they stopped, panting. 

"We must be very near trie sufface, 
Dodd," said Tommy. "We've surely 
passed the center of gravity- That's 
what makes it so difficult." 

"Come on," Haidia said in her quiet 
voice, stretching out her hand through 
the darkness. And for very shame 
they had to follow her. 

On and on, hour after hour, up the 
steep ascent, resting only long enough 
to make them realize their utter 
fatigue. On because Haidia was lead- 
ing them, and because in the belief 
that they were about to leave that 
awful land behind them their desires 
lent new strength to their limbs con- 
tinuously. 

Suddenly Haidia uttered a fearful 
cry. Her eafs had caught what became 
appareneiJo Dodd and Jimmy several 
seconds later. 

Far down in the hollow of the earth, 
increased by the echoes that came 
rumbling up, they heard the distant, 
strident rasp of the beetle swarm. 

Then it was Dodd's turn—to support 
Haidia and whisper consolation in her 
ears. No thought of resting* now. If 
they were to be overwhelmed at last 
by the monsters, they meant to be 
overwhelmed in the upper air. 

IT was .growing insufferably hot. 
Blasts of air, as if from a furnace, 
began to rush up and down past them. 
And the trail was growing steeper 
still, and slippery as glass. 



"What is it, Jim?" Tommy panted, 
as Dodd, leaving Haidia for a moment, 
came back to him. 

"I'd say lava," Dodd answered. "If 
only one could see something! I don't 
know how she finds her way. My im- 
pression is that we are coming out 
through the interior of an extinct 
volcano." 

"But where are there volcanoes in 
the south polar regions ?" inquired 
Tommy. 

"There are Mount Erebus and Mount 
Terror, in South Victoria Land, ac- 
tive volcanoes discovered by Sir James 
Ross in 1841, and again by Borch- 
grevink, in 1899. If that's where 
we're coming out — well, Tommy, we're 
doomed, because it's the heart of the 
polar continent. We might as well 
turn back." 

"But we won't turn back," said 
Tommy. "I'm damned if we do." 

"We're damned if we don't," said 
Dodd. v 

"Come along please!" sang Haidia's 
voice high up the slope. 

They struggled on, And now a 
faint luminosity was beginning to 
penetrate that infernal darkness. The 
rasping of the beetle-legs, too, was no 
longer audible. Perhaps they had" 
thrown Bram off their track! Per- 
haps in the darkness he had not known 
which way they had gone after leaving 
the whirlpool! 

That thought encouraged them to a 
last effort. They pushed their flag- 
ging limbs up, upward through an in- 
ferno of heated air. Suddenly Dodd 
uttered a yell and pointed upward. 

"God !" ejaculated Tommy. Then he 
seized Dodd in his arms and nearly 
crushed him. For high above them, 
a pin-point in the black void, they saw 
— a star! 

They were almost at the earth's 
surface! 

One more effort, and suddenly the 
ground seemed to give beneath them. 
They breathed the outer air, and went 
sliding down a chute of sand, and 
stopped, half buried, at the bottom. 



234 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



CHAPTER VIII 
Recaptured 

"XX 7 HERE are we ?" each de- 

VV manded of the other, as they 
•tagger ed out. 

It was' a moonless night, and the 
air was chill, but they were certainly 
nowhere near the polar regions, for 
there was no trace of snow to be seen 
anywhere. All about them was sand, 
with here and there a spiny shrub 
standing up stiff and erect and solitary. 

When they had disengaged them- 
selves from the clinging sand they 
could see that they were apparently in 
the hollow of a vast crater, that must 
have been half a mile in circumference. 
It was low and worn down to an eleva- 
tion of not more than two or three 
hundred feet, and evidently the vol : 
cano that had thrown it up had been ex- 
tinct for millennia. 

"Water!" gasped Dodd. 

They looked all about them. They 
could see no signs of a spring any- 
where, and both were parched with 
thirst after their terrific climb. 

"We must find water, Haidia," said 
Tommy. "Why, what's the matter?" 

Haidia was pointing upward at the 
'starry heaven, and shivering with fear. 
"Eyes!" she cried. "Big beetles wait- 
ing for us up there!" 

"No, no, Haidia," Dodd explained. 
"Those are stars. They are worlds — 
places where people live." 

"Will you f ake me, up there?" asked 
Haidia. 

"No, this is our world," said Dodd. 
"And by and by the sun will rise, that's 
a big ball of fire up there. He watches" 
over the world and gives us light and 
warmth. Don't be afraid. I'll take 
care of you." 

"Haidia is not afraid with Jimmy- 
dodd to take care of her," replied the 
girl with dignity. "Haidia smells water 
— over there." She pointed across one 
side of the crater. 

"There we'd better hurry," said 
Tommy, "because I can't hold out much 
longer." 



THE three scrambled over the soft 
sand, which sucked in their feeOo 
the ankle at every step. It was with 
the greatest difficulty that they suc- 
ceeded in reaching the crater's summit, 
low though it was. Then Dodd uttered 
a cry, and pointed. In front of them 
extended a long pool of water, with a 
scrubby growth around the edges. 

The ground was firmer here, and 
they hurried toward it. Tommy was 
the first to reach it. He lay down on 
his face and drank eagerly. He had 
taken in a quart before he discovered 
that the water was saline. 

At the^same time Dodd uttered an 
exclamation of disgust. Haidia, too, 
after sipping a little of the fluid, had 
stood up, chattering excitedly in her 
own language. 

But she was not chattering about the 
water. She was pointing toward the 
scrub. "Men there!" she cried. "Men 
like you and Tommy, Jimmydodd." 

Tommy and Dodd looked at each 
other, the water already forgotten in 
their excitement at Haidia's informa- 
tion, which neither of them doubted. 

Brave as she was, the girl now hung 
back behind Dodd, letting the two men 
take precedence of her. The water, 
saline as it was, had partly- quenched 
their thirst. They felt their strength 
reviving. 

And it was growing light. In the 
east the sky was already flecked with 
yellow pink. They felt a thrill of in- 
tense excitement at the prospect of 
meeting others of their kind. 

"Where do you think we are?" asked 
Tommy. 

DODD stopped to look at a shrub 
that was growing near the edge 
of the pool. "I don't think, I know, 
Tommy," he answered. "This is wattle." 

"Yes?" 

"We're somewhere in the interior 
regions of the Australian continent — 
and that's not going to help us much." 

"Over there — over there," panted 
Haidia. "Hold me, Jimmydodd. I 
can't see. Ah, this terrible light!" 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



235 



She screwed her eyelids tightly to- 
gether to shut out the pale light of 
dawn. The men had already discovered 
that the third membrane had been 
burned away. 

"We must get her out of here," whis- 
pered Dodd to Tommy. "Somewhere 
where it's dark, before the sun rises. 
Let's go back to the entrance of the 
crater." 

But Haidia, her arm extended, per- 
sisted, "Over there! Over there!" 

Suddenly a spear came whirling out 
of a growth of wattle beside the pool. 
It whizzed past Tommy's face and 
dropped into the sand behind. Be- 
tween the trunks of the wattles they 
could see the forms of a party of 
blackfellows, watching them intently. 

Tommy held up his arms and moved 
forward with a show of confidence that 
he was far from feeling. After what he 
had escaped in the underworld he was 
in no mood to be massacred now. 

BUT the blacks were evidently not 
hostile. It was probable that the 
spear had not been aimed to kill. At 
the sight of the two white men, and the 
white woman, they came forward 
doubtfully, then more fearlessly, shout- 
ing in their language. In another min- 
ute Tommy and Dodd were the center 
of a group of wondering savages. 

Especially Haidia. Three or four 
gins, or black women, had crept out of 
the scrub, and were already examining 
her with guttural cries, and fingering 
the hair garment that she wore. 

"Water!" said Tommy, pointing to 
his throat, and then to the pool, with a 
frown of disgust. 

The blacWp|llows grinned, and led 
the three a short distance to a place 
where a large hollow had been scooped 
in the sandy floor of the desert. It 
was full of water, perfectly sweet to 
the taste. The three drank gratefully. 

Suddenly the edge of the sun ap- 
peared above the horizon, gilding the 
sand with gold. The sunlight fell upon 
the three, and Haidia uttered a terrible 
cry of distress. She dropped upon the 



sand, her hands pressed to her eyes con- 
vulsively. Tommy and Dodd dragged 
her into the thickest part of the scrub, 
where she lay moaning. 

They contrived bandages from the 
remnants of their clothing, and these, 
damped with cold water, and bound 
over the girl's eyes, alleviated her suf- 
fering somewhat. Meanwhile the black- 
fellows had prepared a meal of roast 
opossum. After their long diet of 
shrimps, it tasted like ambrosia to the 
two men. 

MUCH to their surprise, Haidia 
seemed to enjoy it too. The 
three squatted in the scrub among the 
friendly blacks, discussing their situ- 
ation. 

"These fellows will save us," said 
Dodd. "It may be that we're quite 
near the coast, but, any way, they'll 
stick to us, even if only out of curios- 
ity. They'll take' us somewhere. But 
as soon as we get Haidia to safety we'll 
have to go back along our trail. We 
mustn't lose our direction. Suppose 
I was to laughed at when I get back, 
called a liar! I tell you, we've got to 
have something to show, to prove my 
statements, before I can persuade any- 
body to fit out an expedition into Sub- 
-mundia. Even those three beetle-shells 
that we dropped in the crater won't be 
conclusive evidence for the type of 
mind that sits in the chairs of science 
today. And, speaking of that, we must 
get those blacks to carry those shells 
for us. I tell you, nobody will be- 
lieve — " 

"What's that?" cried Tommy sharply, 
as a rasping sound rose above the cries 
of the frightened blacks. 

But there was no need to ask. Out 
of the crater two enormous beetles were 
winging their way toward them, two 
beetles larger than any that they had 
seen. 

Fully seven feet in length, they were 
circling about each other, apparently 
engaged in a vicious battle. 

The fearful beaks stabbed at the flesh 
beneath the shells, and they alternately 



236 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



stabbed and drew back, all the while 
approaching the party, which watched 
the%i, petrified with terror. 

It was evident that the monsters had 
no conception of the presence of hu- 
mans. Blinded by the sun, only one 
thing could have induced them "to leave 
the dark depths of Submundia. That 
was the mating instinct. The beetles 
were evidently rival leaders of some 
swarm, engaged in a duel to the death. 

Round and round they went in a 
dizzy maze, stabbing and thrusting, 
jaws closing on flesh, until they 
dropped, close-locked in battle, not 
more than twenty feet from the little 
party of blacks and whites, both 
squirming in the agonies of death. 

" T DON'T think that necessarily 

JL means that the swarm is on our 
trail," said Tommy, a little later, as the 
three stood beside the shells that they 
had dfscarded. "Those two were strays, 
lost from the swarm and maddened by 
the mating instinct. Still, it might be 
as well to wear these things for a 
while, in case they do follow us." 

"You're right," answered Dodd, as 
he placed one of the shells around 
Haidia. "We've got to get this little 
lady to civilization, and we've got to 
protect our lives in order to give this 
great new knowledge to the world. If 
we are attacked, you must sacrifice 
your life for me, Tommy, so that I can 
carry back the news." 

"Righto!" answered Tommy with 
alacrity. "You bet I will, Jim." 

The glaring sun of mid-afternoon 
was shining down upon the desert, but 
Haidia was no longer in pain. It was 
evident that she was fast becoming ac- 
customed to the sunlight, though she 
stiH kept her eyes screwed up tightly, 
and had to be helped along by Dodd 
and Jimmy. In high good humor the 
three reached the encampment, to find 
that the blacks were feasting on the 
dead beetles, while the two.- eldest 
members of the party had proudly 
donned the shells. 

It was near sunset before they finally 



started. Dodd and Tommy had man- 
aged to make it clear to them that they 
wished to reach civilization, but how 
near this was there was, of course, no 
means of determining. They noted, 
however, that the party started in t 
southerly direction. 

"I should say," said Dodd, "that we 
are in South Australia, probably three 
or four hundred miles from the coast. 
We've got a long journey before us, 
but these blackfellows will know how 
to procure food for us." 

THEY certainly knew hojw to get 
water, for, just as it began to grow 
dark, when the three were already tor- 
mented by thirst, they stopped at what 
seemed a mere hollow among the stones 
and boulders that strewed the face of 
the desert, and scooped away the sand, 
leaving a hole which quickly filled 
with clear, cold water of excellent 
taste. 

After which they made signs that 
they we're to camp there for the night. 
The moon was riding high in the sky. 
As it grew dark, Haidia opened her 
eyes, saw the luminary, and uttered an 
exclamation, this time not of fear, but 
of wonder. 

"Moon," said Dodd. "That's all 
right, girl. She watches over the night, 
as the sun does over the day." 

"Haidia likes the moon better than 
the sun," said the girl wistfully. "But 
the moon not strong enough to keep 
away the, beetles." , 

"If I was you, I'd forget about the 
beetles, Haidia," said Dodd. "They 
won't come out of that hole in the 
ground. You'll never see them again." 

And, as he spoke, they heard a fa- 
miliar rasping sound far in the dis- 
tance, s 

"How the wind blows," said Tommy, 
desperately resolved not to believe his 
ears. "I think a storm's coming up." 

But Haidia, with a scream of fear, 
was clinging to Dodd, and the blacks 
were on their feet, spears and boom- 
erangs in their hands, looking north- 
ward. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



237 



Out of that north a little black cloud 
was gathering. A ' cloud that spread 
gradually, as a thunder-cloud, until it 
covered a good part of the sky. And 
still more of the sky, and still more. 
All the while that faint, distant rasp- 
ing was audible, but it did not in- 
crease in volume. It was as if' the 
beetles had halted until the full number 
of the swarm had come up out of the 
crater. 

THEN the cloud, which by now 
covered half the sky, began to 
take geometric form. It grew square, 
the ragged edges seemed to trim them- 
selves away, streaks of light shot 
through it at right angles, as if it was 
marshaling itself into companies. 

The doomed men and the girl stood 
perfectly still, staring at that phe- 
nomenon. They knew that only a 
miracle could save them. They did 
not even speak, but Haidia clung more 
tightly to Dodd's arm. 

Then suddenly the cloud spread up- 
ward and covered the face of the moon. 

"Well, this" is good-by, Tommy." said 
Dodd, gripping his friend's hand. "God, 
I wish I had a revolver, or a knife!" 
He looked at Haidia. 

Suddenly the rasping became a whin- 
ing shriek. A score of enormous 
beetles, the advance guards of the 
army, zoomed out of the darkness into 
a ray of straggling moonlight. Shriek- 
ing, the blacks, who had watched the 
approaching swarm perfectly immobile, 
threw away the two shells and bolted. 

"Good Lord," Dodd shouted, "did 
you see the color of their shells, 
Tommy?" Even in that moment the 
scientific observer came uppermost in 
him. "Those red edges? They must 
be young ones, Tommy. It's the new 
brood! No wonder Bram stayed be- 
hind ! He was waiting for them to 
hatch! The new brood! We're doomed 
— doomed! All my work wasted!" 

The blackfellows did not get very 
far. A hundred yards from the place 
where they started to run they dropped, 
their bodies hidden beneath the clus- 



tering monsters, their screams cut 
short as those frightful beaks sought 
their throats, and those jaws crunched 
through flesh and bone. 

CIRCLING around Dodd, Tommy, 
and Haidia, as if puzzled by their 
appearance, the beetles kept up a con- 
tinuous, furious droning that sounded 
like the roar of Niagara mixed with the 
shrieking of a thousand sirens. The 
moon was completely hidden, and only 
a dim, nebulous light showed the re- 
pulsive monsters as they flew within a 
few. feet of the heads of the fugitives. 
The stench was overpowering. 

But suddenly a ray of white light 
shot through the darkness, and, with 
a changed note, just perceptible to the 
ears of the two men, but doubtless of 
the greatest significance to the beetles, 
the swarm fled apart to right and left, 
leaving a clear lane, through which ap- 
peared — Bram, reclining on his shell- 
couch above his eight trained beetle 
steeds ! 

Hovering overhead, the eight huge 
monsters dropped lightly to the ground 
beside the three. Bram sat up, a vici- 
ous grin upon his twisted face. In his 
hand he held a large electric bulb, its 
sides sheathed in a roughly carved 
wooden frame ; the wire was attached 
to a battery behind him. 

"Well met, my friends!" he shouted 
exultantly. "I owe you more thanks 
than I can- express for having so 
providentially left the electrical equip- 
ment of your plane undamaged after 
you crashed at the entrance to Sub- 
mundia. I had a hunch about it— and 
the hunch worked!" 

HE grinned more malevolently as 
he looked from one man to the 
other. 

"You've run your race," he said. "But 
I'm going to have a little fun with you 
before you die. I'm going to use you 
as an object lesson. You'll find it out 
in a little while." 

"Go ahead, go ahead, Bram," Dodd 
grinned back at him. "Just a few mil- 



238 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



lion years ago, and you were a speck of 
protoplasm— in that pre-pleistocence 
age—swimming among the invertebrate 
crustaceans that characterized that 
epoch." i 

"Invertebrates and monotremes, 
Dodd," said Bram, almost wistfully. 
"The mammals were already existent 
on the earth, as you know — " Sudden- 
ly he broke off, as he realized that 
Dodd was spoofing him. A yell of ex- 
ecration broke from his lips. He ut- 
tered a high whistle, and instantly the 
whiplike lashes of a hundred beetles 
whizzed through the darkness and re- 
mained poised over Dodd's head. 

"Not even the marsupial lion, Bram," 
grinned Dodd, undismayed. "Go ahead, 
go ahead, but I'll not die with a lie 
upon my lips!" 



JL ( 



CHAPTER IX 

The Trail of Death 

HERE'S 'sure some sort of hoo- 
doo on these Antarctic expedi- 
tions, Wilson," said the city editor of 
The Daily Record to the star rewrite 
man. He glanced through the hastily 
typed report that had come through on 
the wireless set erected on the thirty- 
sixth story of the Record Building. 
"Tommy Travers gone, eh? And James 
Dojid, too! There'll be woe and wail- 
ing along the Great White Way to- 
night when this news gets out. They 
say that half the chorus girls in town 
considered themselves engaged to 
Tommy. Nice fellow, too! Always 
did like him! 

"Queer, that curtain of fog that 
seems to lie on the actual site of the 
south pole," he continued, glancing 
over the report again. "So Storm thinks 
that Tommy crashed "in it, and that 
it's a million to one against their ever 
finding his remains. What's this about 
beetles? Shells of enormous prehis- 
toric beetles found by Tommy and 
Dodd! That'll make good copy, Wil- 
son. Let's play that up. Hand it to 
Jones, and tell him to scare up a catch- 
ing headline or two." 



HE beckoned to the boy who was 
hurrying toward his desk, a 
flimsy in his hand, glanced through it, 
and tossed it toward Wilson. 

"What do they think this is, April 
Fool's Day ?" he asked. "I'm surprised 
that the International Press should fall 
for such stuff as that !" 

"Why, to-morrow is the first of 
April!" exclaimed Wilson, tossing 
back the cable dispatch with a con- 
temptuous laugh. 

"Well, it won't do the I.P. much 
good to play those tricks on their sub- 
scribers," said the city editor testily. 
"I'm surprised, to say the least. I 
guess their Adelaide correspondent 
has gone off his head or something. 
Using poor Traverses name, too! Of 
course that fellow didn't know he was 
dead, but still. . . ." 

• That was how The Daily Record 
missed being the first to give out cer- 
tain information that was to stagger 
the world. The dispatch, which had 
evidently outrun an earlier one, was as 
follows: 

ADELAIDE, South Australia, 
March 31. — Further telegraphic 
communications arriving almost 
continuously from Settler's Sta- * 
tion, signed by Thomas Travers, 
member of Travers Antarctic Ex- 
pedition, whp claims to have pene- 
trated earth's interior at south 
pole and to have come out near 
Victoria Desert. Travers states 
that swarm of prehistoric beetles, 
estimated at two trillion, and as 
large as men, with shells impene- 
trable by rifle bullets, now be» 
sieging Settler's Station^ where he 
and Dodd and Haidia, woman of 
subterranean race whom they 
brought away, are shut up in tele- 
graph office. Bram, former menit 
ber of Greystoke Expedition, said 
to be in charge of swarm, with in- 
tention of obliterating human race. 
Every living thing at Settler's 
Station destroyed, and swarm mov- 
ing south. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



239 



It was a small-town paper a hundred 
miles from New York that took a* 
chance on publishing this report from 
the International Press, in* spite of 
frantic efforts on the parts of the head 
office to recall it after it had been 
transmitted. This paper published the 
account as an April Fool's Day joke, 
though later it took to itself the credit 
for having believed it. But by the time 
April Fool's Day dawned all the world 
knew that the account was, if any- 
thing, an under-estimate otthe fearful 
things that were happening "down un- 
der." 

IT was known now that the swarm 
of monsters had originated in the 
Great Victoria Desert, one of the worst 
stretches of desolation in the world, 
situated in the south-east corner of 
Western Australia. Their nunibers 
were incalculable. Wimbush, the avi- 
ator, who was attempting to cross the 
continent from east to west, reported 
afterward that he "had Mown for four 
days, skirting the edge of the swarm, 
and that the whole of that time they 
were moving in the same direction, a 
thick cloud that left a trail of dense 
darkness on earth beneath them, like 
the path of an eclipse. Wimbush 
escaped them only because he had a 
ceiling of twenty thousand feet, to 
which apparently the beetles could not 
soar. 

And this swarm was only about one- 
fourth of the whole number of the 
monsters. This was the swarm that was 
moving westward, and subsequently to- 
tally destroyed all living things in 
Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Perth, and all 
the coastal cities of Western Australia. 

Ships were found drifting in the 
Indian Ocean, totally destitute of 
crews and passengers; not even their 
skeletons were found, and it was esti- 
mated that the voracious monsters had 
carried them away bodily, devoured 
them in the air, and dropped the re- 
mains into the water. 

All the world knows now how the 
sea elephant herd on Kerguelen Island 



was totally destroyed, and of the giant 
shells that were found lying every- 
where on the deserted beaches, in po- 
sitions that showed the monsters had 
in the end devoured one another. . 

Mauritius was the most westerly 
point reached by a fraction of the 
swarm. A lijtle over twenty thousand 
of the beetles reached that lovely 
island, by count of the shells afterward, 
and all the world knows now of the 
desperate and successful fight that the 
inhabitants waged against them. Men 
and women, boys and girls, blacks and 
whites, finding that the devils were in- 
vulnerable against rifle fire, sallied 
forth boldly with knives and choppers, 
and laid down a life for a life. 

ON the second day after their ap- 
pearance, the main swarm, a tril- 
lion and a half strong, reached the line 
of the transcontinental railway, and 
moved eastward into South Australia, 
traveling, it was estimated, at the rate 
of two hundred miles an hour. By the 
next morning they were in Adelaide, 
a city of nearly a quarter of a million 
people. By nightfall every living thing 
in Adelaide and the suburbs had been 
eaten, except for a few who succeeded 
in hiding in walled-up cellars, or in the 
surrounding marshes. 

That night the swarm was on the bor- 
ders of New South Wales and Victoria, 
and moving in two divisions toward 
Melbourne and Sydney. 

The northern half, it was quickly 
seen, was flying "wild," with no partic- 
ular objective, moving in a solid co- 
hort two hundred miles in length, and 
devouring game, stock, and humans in- 
discriminately. It was the southern 
division, numbering perhaps a trillion, 
that was under command of Bram, and 
aimed at destroying Melbourne as Ade- 
laide had been destroyed. 

Bram, with his eight beetle steeds, 
was by this time known and execrated 
throughout the world. He was pictured 
as Anti-Christ, and the fulfilment of 
the prophecies of the Rock of Revela- 
tions. 



240 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



And all this while — or, rather, until 
the telegraph wires were cut— broken, 
it was discovered later, by perching 
beetles— Thomas Travers was sending 
out messages from his post at Settler's 
Station. 

SOON it was known that prodigious 
creatures were following in the 
wake of the devastating horde. Man- 
tises, fifteen feet in height, winged 
things like pterodactyls, longer than 
bombing airplanes, followed, preying 
on the stragglers. But the main bodies 
never halted, and the inroads that the 
destroyers made on their numbers were 
insignificant. 

Before the swarm reached Adelaide 
the Commonwealth Government had 
taken action. Troops had been called 
out, and all the available airplanes in 
the country had been ordered to as- 
semble at Broken Hill, New South 
Wales, a strategic point commanding 
the approaches to Sydney and Mel- 
bourne. Something like four hundred 
airplanes were assembled, with several 
batteries of anti-aircraft guns that had 
been used in the Great War. Every 
amateur aviator in Australia was on 
the spot, with machines ranging from 
tiny Moths to Hand ley- Pages— any- 
thing that could fly. 

Nocturnal though the beetles had 
been, they no longer feared the light of 
the sun. In fact, it- was ascertained 
later that they were blind. An opacity 
had formed over the crystalline lens of 
the eye. Blind, they were no less for- 
midable than with their sight. They 
existed only to devour, and their num- 
bers made them irresistible, no matter 
which way they turned. 

As soon as the vanguard of the dark 
cloud was sighted from Broken Hill, 
the airplanes went aloft. Four hun- 
dred planes, each armed with machine 
guns, dashed into the serried hosts, 
drumming out volleys of lead. In a 
long line, extending nearly to the lim- 
its of the beetle formation, thus giving 
each aviator all the room he needed, 
the planes gave battle. 



THE first terror that fell upon the 
airmen was the discovery that, 
even at close rarige, the machine gun 
bullets failed to penetrate the shells. 
The force of the impact whirled the 
beetles around, drove them together in 
bunches, sent them groping with weav- 
ing tentacles through the air — but that 
was all. On the main body of the in- 
vaders no impression was made what- 
ever. 

The second terror was the realization 
that the swarm, driven down here and 
there ffWf an altitude of several hun- 
dred feet, merely resumed their prog- 
ress on the ground, in a succession of 
gigantic leaps. Within a few minutes, 
instead of presenting an inflexible bar- 
rier, the line of airplanes was badly 
broken, each plane surrounded by 
swarms of the monsters. 

Then Bram was seen. And that was 
the third terror, the sight of the famous 
beetle steeds, four pairs abreast, with 
Bram reclining like a Roman emperor 
upon the surface of the shells. It is 
true, Bram had no inclination to risk 
his own life in battle. At the first 
sight of the aviators he dodged into the 
thick of the swarm, where no bullet 
could reach him. Bram managed to 
transmit an order, and the beetles drew 
together. 

Some thought afterward that it was 
by thought transference he effected 
this maneuver, for instantly the beetles, 
which had hitherto Mown in loose order, 
became a solid wall, a thousand feet in 
height, closing in on the planes. The 
propellers struck them and snapped 
short, and as the planes went weaving 
down, the hideous monsters leaped into 
the cockpits and began their abomi- 
nable meal. 

NOT a single plane came back. 
Planes and skeletons, and here 
and there a shell of a dead beetle, itself 
completely devoured, were all that was 
found afterward. 

The gunners stayed at their posts till 
the last moment, firing round after 
round of shell and shrapnel, with in- 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



241 



significant results. Their skeletons 
were found not twenty paces from 
their guns. — where the Gunners' Monu- 
ment now stands. 

Half an hour after the flight had first 
been sighted the news was being ra- 
dioed to Sydney, Melbourne, and all 
other Australian cities, advising in- 
stant flight to sea as the only chance 
of safety. That radio message was cut 
short — and men listened and shud- 
dered. After that came the crowding 
aboard all craft in the harbors, the 
tragedies of the Eustis, the All Aus- 
tralia, the Sepphoris, sunk at their 
moorings. The innumerable sea tra- 
gedies. The horde of fugitives that 
landed in New Zealand. The reign of 
terror when the mob got out of hand, 
the burning of Melbourne, the sack of 
Sydney. 

And south and eastward, like a re- 
sistless flood, the beetle swarm came 
pouring. Well had Bram boasted that 
he would make the earth a desert! 

A HUNDRED miles of poisoned 
carcasses of sheep, extended out- 
side Sydney's suburbs, gave the first 
promise of success. Long mounds of 
beetle shells testified to the results; 
moreover, the beetles that fed on the 
carcasses of their fellows, were in turn 
poisoned and died. ^But this was only 
a drop in the bucket. What counted 
was that the swift advance was slowing 
down. As if exhausted by their efforts, 
or else satiated with food, the beetles 
were doing what the soldiers did. . 

They were digging in! 

Twenty-four miles from Sydney, 
eighteen outside Melbourne, the ad- 
vance was staye 

Volunteers who .v~nt out front*those 
cities reported that the beetles seemed 
to be resting in long trenches that they 
had excavated, so that only their shells 
appeared above ground. Trees were 
covered with clinging beetles, every 
wall, every house was invisible beneath 
the beetle armor. 

Australia had a respite. Perhaps 
only for a night or day, but still time 



to draw breath, time to consider, time 
for the shiploads of fugitives to get 
farther from the continent that had be- 
come a shambles. 

And then the cry went up, not only 
from Australia, but from all the world, 
"Get Travers!" 

CHAPTER X 
At Bay 

BRAM put his fingers to his mouth 
and whistled, a shrill whistle, yet 
audible to Dodd, Tommy, and Haidia. 
Instantly three pairs of beetles ap- 
peared out of the throng. Their ten- 
tacles went out, and the twc men and 
the girl found themselves hoisted sepa- 
rately upon the backs of the pairs. Next 
moment they were flying side by side, 
high in the air above the surrounding 
swarm. 

They could see one another, but it 
was impossible for them to make their 
voices heard above the rasping of the 
beetles' legs. Hours went by, while the 
moon crossed the sky and dipped to- 
ward the horizon. Tommy knew that 
the moon would set about the hour of 
dawn. And the stars were already be- 
ginning to pale when he saw a line of 
telegraph poles, then two lines of shin- 
ing metals, then a small settlement of 
stone and brick houses. 

Tommy was not familiar with the ge- 
ography of Australia, but he knew this 
must be the transcontinental line. 

Whirling onward, the cloud of bee- 
tles suddenly swooped downward. For 
a moment Tommy could see the fright- 
ened occupants of the settlement 
crowding into the single street, then 
he shuddered with sick horror as he 
saw them obliterated by the swarm. 

There was no struggle, no attempt at 
flight or resistance. One moment those 
forty-odd men were there — the next 
minute they existed no longer. There 
was nothing but a swarm of beetles, 
walking about like men with shells 
upon their backs. 

And now Tommy saw evidences of 
Bram's devilish control of the swarm. 



242 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



For out of the cloud dropped what 
seemed to be a phalanx of beetle 
guards, the military police of beetle- 
dom, and, lashing fiercely with their 
tentacles, th#y drove back all the 
swarm that sought to join their com- 
panions in their ghoulish feast. There 
was just so much food and no more; 
the rest must seek theirs further. 

BUT even beetles, it may be pre- 
sumed, are not entirely under 
discipline at all times. The pair of 
beetles that bore Tommy, suddenly 
swooped apart, ten or a dozen feet from 
the ground, and dashed into the thick 
of the struggling, frenzied mass, fling- 
ing their rider to earth. 

Tommy struck the soft sand, sat up, 
half dazed, saw his shell lying a few 
feet away from him, and retrieved it 
just as a couple of the monsters came 
swooping down at him. 

He looked about him. 1 Not far away 
stood Dodd and Haidia," with their 
shells on their backs. They recognized 
Tommy and ran toward him. 

Not more than twenty yards away 
stood the railroad station, with several 
crates of goods on the platform. Next 
to it was a substantial house of stone, 
with the front door open. 

Tommy pointed to it, and, Dodd un- 
derstood and shouted something that 
was lost in the furious buzz of the bee- 
tles' wings as they devoured their prey. 
The three raced for the entrance, 
gained it unmolested, and closed the 
door. 

There was a key in the door, and it 
was light enough for them to see a 
chain, "which Dodd pulled into position. 
There was only one story, and there 
were three rooms, apparently, with the 
kitchen. Tommy rushed to the kitchen 
door, locked it, too, and, with almost 
superhuman efforts, dragged the large 
iron stove against it. He rushed to the 
v/indow, but it was a mere loophole, 
not large enough to admit a child. 
Nevertheless, he stood the heavy table 
on end so that it covered it. Then he 
ran back. 



DODD had already barricaded the 
window of the larger room, which 
was a bed-sitting room, with a heavy 
wardrobe, and the wooden bedstead, 
jamming the two pieces sidewise 
against the wall, so that they could not 
be forced apart without being demol- 
ished. He was now busy in the smaller 
room, which seemed to be the station- 
master's office, dragging an iron safe 
across the floor. But the window was 
criss-crossed with iron bars, and it was 
evident that the safe, which was 
locked, contained at times considerable 
money, for the window could hardly 
have been forced save by a charge of 
nitro-glycerine or dynamite. However, 
it was against the door that Dodd 
placed the safe, and he stood back, 
panting. 

"Good," said Haidia. "That will hold 
them." 

The two men looked at her doubtful- 
ly. Did Haidia know what she was 
talking about? 

The sun had risen. A long shaft shot 
into the room. Outside the beetles were 
still buzzing as they turned over the 
vestiges pf, their prey. There were as 
yet no signs of attack; Suddenly Tom- 
my grasped Dodd's arm. 

"Look!" he shouted, pointing to a 
corner which had been in gloom a mo- 
ment before. 

There was a table there, and on it a 
telegraphic instrument. Telegraphy 
had been one of Tommy's hobbies in 
boyhood. In a moment he was busy at 
the table. 

Dot — dash — dot— dash ! Then sud- 
denly outside a furious hum, and the 
impact of beetle bodies against the 
front door. 

IOMMY got up, grinning. That 
was the first, interrupted message 
from Tommy that was received: 

Through the barred window the three 
could see the furious efforts of the bee- 
tles to force an entrance. But the very 
tensile strength of the „ beetle-shells, 
which rendered them impervious to 
bullets, required '&« laminate construe- 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



243 



tion which rendered them powerless 
against 'brick or stone. 

Desperately the swarm dashed itself 
against the walls, until the ground out- 
side was piled high with stunned bee- 
tles. Not the faintest impression was 
made on the defenses. 

"Watch them, Jim," said Tom. "I'll 
go see if the rear's secure." 

That thought of his seemed to have 
been anticipated by the beetles, for as 
Tommy reached the kitchen the swarm 
came dashing against door and window, 
always recoiling. Tommy came back, 
grinning all over his face. 

"You were right, Haidia," he said. 
"We've held them all right, and the 
tables are turned on Bram. Also I got 
a message through, I think," he added 
to Dodd. 

Dash — dot — dash — dot from the in- 
strument. , Tommy ran to the table 
again. Dash — dot went back. For five 
minutes Tommy labored, while the bee- 
tles hammered now on one door, now 
on another, now on the windows. Then 
Tommy got up. 

"It was some station down the line," 
he said. "I've told them, and they're 
sending a man up here to replace the 
telegraphist, also a couple of cops. 
They think I'm crazy. I told them 
again. That's the best I could do." 

"T^VODD! Travers! For the last 
xJ time — let's talk!" 

The cloud of beetles seemed to have 
thinned, for the sun was shining into 
the room. Bram's voice was perfectly 
audible, though he himself was in- 
visible; probably he .thought it likely 
that the defenders had obtained fire- 
arms. " 

"Nothing to say to you, Bram," called 
Dodd. "We've finished our discussion 
on the monotremes." 

"I want you fellows to stand in with 
me," came Bram's plaintive tones. "It's 
so lonesome all by one's self, Dodd." 

"Ah, you're beginning to find that 
out, are you?" Dodd could not resist 
answering. "You'll be lonelier yet be- 
fore you're through." 



"Dodd, I didn't bring that swarm up 
here. I swear it. I've been trying to 
control them from the beginning. I 
saw what was coming. I believe I can 
avert this horror, drive them into the 
sea or something like that. Don't make 
me desperate, Dodd. 

"And listen, old man. About those 
monotremes — sensible men don't quar- 
■ rel over things like that. Why can't 
we agree to differ?" 

"Ah, now you're talking, Bram," 
Dodd answered. "Only you're too late. 
After what's happened here to-day, 
we'll have no truck with you. That's 
final." 

"Damn you," shrieked Bram. "I'll 
batter down this house. I'll — " 

"You'll do nothing, Bram, because 
you can't," Dodd answered. "Travers 
has wired full information about your 
devil-horde, and likewise about you, 
and all Australia will be prepared to 
give you a warm reception when you 
arrive." 

"I tell you I'm invincible," Bram 
screamed. "In three days Australia 
will be a ruin, a depopulated desert. 
In a week, all southern Asia, in three 
weeks Europe, in two months Amer- 
ica." 

"You've been taking too many of 
those pellets, Bram," Dodd answered. 
"Stand back now! Stand back, wher- 
ever you are, or I'll open the door and 
throw the slops over you." 

BRAM'S screech rose high above 
the droning of the wings. In an- 
other moment the interior of the room 
had grown as black as night. The rattle 
of the beetle shells against the four 
walls of the house was like the clatter- 
ing of stage thunder. 

All through the darkness Dodd could 
hear the unhurried clicking of the key. 

At last the rattling ceased. The sun 
shone in again. The ground all anfcnd 
the house was- packed with fallen bee- 
tles, six feet high, a writhing mass that 
creaked and clattered as it strove to dis- 
engage itself. 

Bram's voice once more: "I'm leav- 



244 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



ing a guard, Dodd. They'll get you if 
you try to leave. But they won't eat 
you. I'm going to have you three 
sliced into little pieces, the Thousand 
Deaths of the Chinese. The beetles 
will eat the parts that are sliced away 
— and you'll live to watch them. I'll be 
back with a stick or two of^ dynamite 
to-morrow." 

"Yeah, but listen, Bram," Dodd sang 
out. "Listen, you old ma.:supial tiger. 
When those pipe dreams clear away, 
I'm going to build a gallows of beetle- 
shells reaching to the moon, to hang 
you on!" 

Bram's screech of madness died 
away. The strident rasping of the bee- 
tles' legs began again. For hours the 
three heard it; it was not**mtil night- 
fall that it died away. 

BRAM had made good his threat, 
for all around the house, extend- 
ing as far as they could see, was the 
host of -beetle-guards. To venture out, 
even with their shells about them, was 
clearly a hazardous undertaking. There 
was neither food nor water in the place. 

"We'll just have to hold out," said 
Dodd, breaking one of the long periods 
of silence. 

Tommy did not answer; he did not 
hear him, for he was busy at the key. 
Suddenly he leaped to his feet. 

"God, Jimmy," he cried, "that devil's 
making good his threat ! The swarm's 
in South Australia, destroying every 
living thing, wiping out:whoIe towns 
.and villages! And they—they believe 
me now!" 

He sank into a chair. For the first 
time . the strain of the awful past 
seemed to grip him. Haidia came to 
his side. 

"The beetles are finish," she said in 
her soft voice. 

"How d'you know, Haidia ?" de- 
manded Dodd. 

"The beetles are finish," Haidia re- 
peated quietly, and that was all that 
Dodd could get out of her. But again 
the key began to click, and Tommy 
staggered to the table. Dot-dash-dash- 



dot. Presently he looked up once more. 

"The swarm's half-way to Adelaide,** 
he said. "They want to know if I can 
help them. Help them!" He burst 
into hysterical laughter. 

Toward evening he came back after 
an hour at the key. "Line must be 
broken," he said. ,'T'm getting noth- 
ing." 

IN the moonlight they could see the 
huge compound eyes of the beetle 
^guards glittering like enormous dia- 
monds outside. They had not been 
conscious of thirst during the day, but 
now, with the coming of the cool night 
their desire for water became para- 
mount. 

"Tommy, there must be water in the 
station," and Dodd. "I'm going to get 
a pitcher from the kitchen and risk it, 
Tommy. Take care of Haidia if — " he 
added. . ■' '-';■ 

But Haidia laid her hand upon his 
arm. "Do not 1 go, Jimmydodd," she 
said. "We can be thirsty to-night, and 
to-morrow the beetles will be finish." 

"How d'you know?" asked Dodd 
again. But now he realized that 
Haidia had never learned the signifi- 
cance of an interrogation. She only re- 
peated her statement, and again the 
two men had to remain content. 

The long night passed. Outside the 
many facets of the beetle eyes. Inside 
the two men, desperate with anxiety, 
not for themselves, but for the fate of 
the world, snatching a few moments' 
sleep from time to time, then looking 
up to see those glaring eyes from the 
silent watchers. 

Then dawn came stealing over the 
desert, and the two shook themselves 
free from sleep. And now the eyes 
were gone. 

But there was immense activity 
among the beetles. They were scur- 
rying to and fro, and, as they watched, 
Dodd and Tommy began to see some 
significance in their movements. 

"Why, they're digging trenches!" 
Tommy shouted. "That's horrible, 
Jimmy! Are they intending to con- 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



245 



duct lapping operations against us 
like engineers, or what?" 

Dodd did not reply, and Tommy 
hardly expected any answer. As the 
two men, now joined by Haidia, 
watched, they saw that the beetles 
were actually digging themselves into 
the sand. 

WITHIN the space of an honr, 
by the time the first shafts of 
sunlight began to stream into the 
room, there was to be seen only the 
massive, rounded shells of the mon- 
sters as they squatted in the sand. - . 

"Now you may fetch water," said 
Haidia, smiling at her lover. "No, you 
do not need the shells," she added. 
"The beetles are finish. It is as the wise 
men of my people toljd me." 

Wondering, hesitating, Tommy and 
Dodd unlocked the front door. They 
stood upon the threshold ready to bolt 
back again. But there was no stirring 
among the beetle hosts. 

Growing bolder, they advanced a few 
steps; then, shamed by Haidia's cour- 
age, they followed her, still cautiously 
to the station. 

Dodd shouted as he saw a water- 
tank, and a receptacle above it with a 
water-cock. They let Haidia drink;, 
then followed suit, and for a few mo- 
ments, as they appeased their - thirst, 
the beetles were forgotten. 

Then they turned back. There had 
been no movement in that line of shells 
that glinted in the morning sunlight. 

"Come, I shall show you," said 
Haidia confidently, advancing toward 
the trench. 

Dodd would have stopped her, but 
the, girl moved forward quickly, eluded 
him with a graceful, mirthful gesture, 
and stooped down over the trench. 

She rose up, raising in her arms an 
empty beetle-shell ! 

Dodd, who had reached the trench 
before Tommy, turned round and 
yelled to him excitedly. Tommy ran 
forward — and then he understood. 

The shells were empty. The swarm, 
whose life cycle Bram had admitted he 



did not understand, had just moulted t 

It had moulted because the bodies, 
gorged with food, had grown too large 
for the shells. In time, if left alone, 
the monsterJ^Kmld gsow larger shells, 
become «^H^ e again. But just now 
they were^pP(Pnseless as new-born 
babes — and mew it. 

Deep underneath the empty shells 
they had burrowed into the ground. 
Everywhere at the bottom of the deep 
trenches were the naked, bestial crea- 
tures, waving helpless tentacles and 
squirming over one another as they 
strove to find shelter and security. 

A sudden__madness came over Tom- 
my and Dodd. "Dynamite — there must 
be dynamite!" Dodd shouted, as he ran 
back to the station. 

"Something better than dynamite," 
shouted Tommy, holding up one of a 
score of drums of petrol ! 

. CHAPTER XI 
The World Set Free 

1"\ HEY waited two days at Settler's 
. Station. To push along the line 
into the desert would have been use- 
less, and both men' were convinced that 
an airplane would arrive for them. But 
it was not until the second afternoon 
that the aviator arrived, half-dead with 
thirst and fatigue, and almost incoher- 
ent. 

His was the last plane on the Aus- 
tralian continent. He brought the news 
of the destruction of Adelaide, and of 
the siege of Melbourne and Sydney, 
as he termed it. He told Dodd and 
Tommy that the two cities had been 
surrounded with trenches and barbed 
wire. Machine guns and artillery were 
bombarding the trenches in which the 
beetles had taken shelter. 

"Has any one been out on reconnais- 
sance?" asked Tommy. 

Nobody had been permitted to pass 
through the barbed wire, though there 
had been volunteers. It meant certain 
death. But, unless the beetles were 
sapping deep in the ground, what their 
purpose was, nobody knew. 



246 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



TOMMY and Dodd led him to the 
piles of smoking, stinking debris 
and told him. 

That was where the aviator fainted 
from sheer relief. , 

"The Commonwealth wants you to 
take supreme command against the 
beetles," he told Tommy, when he had 
recovered. "I'm, to bring you back. 
Not that they expect me back. But 
— God, what a piece of news! Forgive 
my swearing — I used to be a parson. 
Still am, for the matter of that." 

"How are you going to bring us 
three back in your plane?" asked 
Tommy. 

"I shall stay here with Jimmydodd," 
said Haidia suavely. "There is not the 
least danger any more. You must de- 
stroy the beetles before their shells 
have grown again, that's all." 

"Used to be a parson, you say? Still 
are?" shouted Dodd excitedly. "Thank 
God ! I mean, I'm glad to hear it. 
Come inside, and come quick. I want 
you too, Tommy!" 

Then Tommy understood. And it 
seemed as if Haidia understood, by 
some instinct that belongs exclusively 
to women, for her cheeks were flushed 
as she turned and smiled into Dodd's 
eyes. 

Ten minutes later Tommy hopped 
into the biplane, leaving the happy 
married couple at Settler's Station. 
His eyes grew misty as the plane took 
the air, and he saw them waving to 
him from, the ground. Dodd and 
Haidia and he had been through so 
many adventures,, and had reached 
safety. He must not fail. 

HE did not fail. He found himself 
at Sydney in command of thirty 
thousand men, all enthusiastic for the 
fight for the human race, soldiers and 
volunteers ready to fight until they 
dropped, When the news of the situa- 
tion was made public, an immense 
wave of hope ran through the world. 
National differences were forgotten, 
Color and creed and race grew more 
tolerant of one another. A new day 



had dawned— the day of humanity'! 
true liberation. - 

Tommy's first act was to call out the 
fire companies and have the beetles' 
trenches saturated with petrol from 
the fire hoses. Then incendiary'bullets, 
shot from guns from a safe distance, 
quickly converted them into blazing 
infernos. 

But even so only a tithe of the beetle 
army had been destroyed. Two hun- 
dred planes had alr&«dy been rushed 
from New Zealand, and their aviators 
went up and scoured the country far 
and wide. Everywhere they found 
trenches, and, where the soil was 
stony, millions of the beetles clustered 
helplessly beneath great mounds of 
discarded shells. 

An army of black trackers had been 
brought in planes from all parts of the 
country, and they searched out the 
beetle masses everywhere along the 
course that the invaders had taken. 
Then incendiary bombs were dropped 
from above. 

DAY after day the beetle massacre 
went on. By the end of a week 
the survivors of the invasion began to 
take heart again. It was certain that 
the greater portion of the horde had 
been destroyed. 

There was only one thing lacking. 
No trace of Bram had been seen since 
his appearance at the head of his 
beetle army in front of Broken Hill. 
And louder and more insistent grew 
the world clamor that he should be 
found, and put to death in some way 
more horrible than any yet devised. 

The ingenuity of a million minds 
worked upon this problem. News- 
papers all over the world offered prizes 
for the most suitable form of death. 
Ingenious Oriental tortures were re- 
discovered. 

The only thing lacking was Bram. 

A spy craze ran through Australia. 
Five hundred Brams were found, and 
all of them were in imminent danger 
of death before they were able to prove 
an alias. 



THE BEETLE HORDE 



247 



And, oddly enough, it was Tommy 
and Dodd who found Bram. For Dodd 
had been brought back east, together 
with his bride, and given an important 
command in the Army of Extermina- 
tion. 

/ 

DODD had joined Tommy not far 
from Broken Hill, where a swarm 
of a hundred thousand beetles had 
been found in a little known valley. 
The monsters had begun to grow new 
sheila, and the news had excited a 
fresh wave of apprehension. The air- 
planes had concentrated for an attack 
upon them, and Tommy and Dodd were 
riding together, Tommy at the con- 
trols, and Dodd observing. 

Dodd called through the tube to 
Tommy, and indicated a mass that wa»„ 
moving through the scrub-v^ome fifty 
thousand beetles, executing short hops 
and evidently regaining some vitality. 
Tommy nodded. 

He signalled, and the fleet of planes 
circled around and began to drop their 
incendiary bombs. Within a few min- 
utes the beetles were ringed with a 
wall of fire. Presently the whole ter- 
rain was a blazing furnace. 

Hours later, when the fires had died 
away. Tommy and Dodd went down to 
look at the destruction that had been 
wrought. The scene was horrible. 
Great masses of charred flesh and shell 
were piled up everywhere. 

"I guess that's been a pretty thor- 
ough job," said Tommy. "Let's get 
back, Jim." 



"What's that?" cried Dodd^pointing 
Then, "My God, Tommy, it's one of 
our men 1" 

IT was a maa^but it wm not one of 
their men, this, creeping, maimed, 
half-cinder and half^uman thing that 
was trying to crawl iri^o~the hollow of 
a rock. It was Bram, and recognition 
was mutafcl. 

Bram dropping, moaning; be was 
only the shell of a man, and it was in- 
credible how he had managed to sur- 
vive that ordeal of fire. The remainder 
of his life, which only his indomitable 
will had h*4d in that shattered body, 
was evidently a matter of minutes, but 
he looked up at Dodd and laughed. 

"So — you're — here, damn you t** be 
snarled. "And — you think — you've 
won- I've — another card — another in- 
vasion of the world — beside which this 
is child's pUy. It's an invasion — " 

Bram was going, but he pulled him- 
self together with a supreme effort 

"Invasion by — new specie* of — mon- 
otremes," he croaked. "Deep down in 
— earth. Was saving to— -prove you the 
liar you are. Monotreme* — egg-laying 
platypus big as an elephant — existent 
long before pleistocene epoch — make 
you recant, you lying fool!" 

Bram died, an outburst of bitter 
Taughter on his lips. Dodd stood silent 
for a while; then reverently he re- 
moved his hat. 

"He was a raadman and a devil, but 
he had the potentialities of a god. 
Tommy," he said. 



SUCH 


WELL-KNOW^ 


WRITERS 


AS 
















Murray Leinster, Ray 


Cummingi, 












Victor Rousseau, R. F. Starzl, A. T. 


Locke, 












Capt. S. P. M 


eek and Arthur J 


B 


irks 












Write for 
















A 


S 


TOUND 


I N G 


S T 





R 


I 


E 


S 




i inner room they found 
a diabolical machine. 



Mad Music 

By Anthony Pelcher 



TO the accompaniment of a 
crashing roar, not unlike rumb- 
ling thunder, the proud Colos- 
sus Building, whiclj a few mim 
utes before had reared its sixty stories 
of artistic archi- 
tecture towards 
the blue dome of 
the sky, crashed 
in a rugged, dusty 
heap of stone, 

248 



The sixty stories of the perfectly cob- 
•true ted Colossus building had mysteri- 
ously crashed! What warn the connection 
between th.it catastrophe and the weird 
strains of the Mad Musician's violin? 



brick, cement and mortar. The steri 
framework, like the skeleton of some 
prehistoric monster, still reared to 
dizzy heights but in a bent and twisted 
shape of grotesque outline. 

No one knew 
how many lives 
were snuffed out 
in the avalanche. 
As the collapse 
occurred in the 



MAD MUSIC 



249 



■early dawn it was not believed the 
death list would be large. It was ad- 
mitted, however, that autos, cabs and 
surface cars may have been caught un- 
der the falling rock. One train was 
known to have been wrecked in the 
«ubway due to a cave-in from the sur- 
face under the ragged mountain of 
"debris. 

The litter fairly 611ed a part of 
Times Square, the most congested 
cross-roads on God's footstool. Strag- 
gling brick and rock had rolled across 
the street to the west and had crashed 
into windows and door* of innocent 
small tradesmen's shops. 

A few minutes after the crash a mad 
crowd of people had piled from subway 
exits as far away as Perm Station and 
Columbus Circle and from cross streets. 
These milled about, gesticulating and 
shouting hysterically. All neighboring 
police stations were hard put to handle 
the growing mob. 

Hundreds of dead and maimed were 
being carried to the surface from the 
wrecked train in the subway. Trucks 
and cabs joined the ambulance crews 
in the work of transporting these to 
morgues and hospitals. As the morn- 
ing grew older and the news of the 
disasteripread, more milling thousands 
tried to crowd into the square. Many 
were craning necks hopelessly on the 7 
outskirts of the throng, blocks a' ay, 
trying vainly -to get a view of what 
lay beyond. 

The fire department and finally sever- 
al companies of militia joined the po- 
lice in handling the crowd. Newsies, 
never asleep, yowled their "Wuxtras" 
and made much small money. 

The newspapers devoted solid pages 
in attempting to describe what had hap- 
pened. Nervously, efficient reporters 
had written and written, using all their 
best adjectives and inventing new ones 
in attempts to picture the crash and the 
hysterics which followed. 

WHEN* the excitement was at its 
height a middle-aged man, 
bleeding at the head, clothes torn and 



dusty, staggered into the West 47th 
street police station. He found a lone 
sergeant at the desk. 

The police sergeant jumped to his 
feet as the bedraggled man entered and 
stumbled to a bench. 

"I'm Pat Brennan, street floor watch- 
man of the Colossus," he said. "I ran 
for it. I got caught in the edge of the 
wreck and a brick clipped me. I musta 
been out for some time. When I came 
around I looked back just once at the 
wreck and then I beat it over here. 
Phone my boss." 

""I'll let you phone your boas," said 
the sergeant, "but first tell me just what 
happened." — 

"Earthquake, I guess. I saw the floor 
heaving in waves. Glass was crashing 
and falling into the street. All win- 
dows in the arcade buckled, either in 
or out. I ran into the street and looked 
up. God, what a sight! The building 
from sidewalk to towers was rocking 
and waving and twisting and buckling 
and I saw it was bound to crumple, bo 
t lit out and raiu I heard a roar like 
all Hell broke loose and then something 
nicked me and my light went out." 

"How many got caught in the build- 
ihg?" 

^^Hobody got out but me, I guess. 
'There weren't many tenants. The 
building is all rented, but not every- 
body had moved in yet and those as had 
didn't spent! their nights there. There 
was a watchman for every five stories. 
An engineer and his crew. Three ele- 
vator operators had come in. There 
was no names of tenants in or out on 
my book after 4 A. M. The crash musta 
come about 6. That's all." * 

THROUGHOUT the country the 
news of the crash was received 
with great interest and wonderment, 
but in one small circle it caused abso- 
lute consternation. That was in the 
offices of the Muller Construction Coro- 
<pany, the builders c/ the Colossus. 
Jason V. Linane, chi ef engirfeer of the 
company, was in conference with itsy* 
president, James J. Muller. 



250 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



Muller sat with his head in his hands, 
and his face wore an expression of a 
man' in absolute anguish. Linane was 
pacing the floor, a wild expression in 
his eyes, and at times he muttered-; and 
mumbled under his breath. 

In .the other offices the entire force 
from manager to office boys was hushed 
and awed, for they had seen the ex- 
pressions on the faces of the heads of 
the concern when they stalked into the 
inner office that morning. 

Muller finally looked up, rather hope- 
lessly, at Linane. 

"Unless we car^prove that the crash 
was due to some circumstance over 
which we had no control, we are 
ruined," he said, and there actually 
were tears in his eyes. 

"No doubt about that," agreed Lin- 
ane, "but I can swear that the Colossus 
went up according to specifications and 
that every ounce arid splinter of mate- 
rial was of the bfst. The workmanship 
was faultless. We have built scores of 
the biggest blocks in the world and of 
them all this Colossus was the most 
perfect. I had prided myself on it. 
Muller, it was perfection. I simply 
cannot account for it. I cannot. It 
should have stood up for thousands 
of years. The foundation was solid 
rock. It positively was not ah earth- 
quake. No other building in the sec- 
tion was ev^n jarred. No other earth- 
quake was ever localized to one Half 
block of tht* earth's crust, and we can 
positively eliminate an earthquake, or 
an explosion as the possible cause. I 
am sure we are not to blame, but we 
will have to find the exact cause." 

"If there was some flaw?" questioned 
Muller, although he knew the answer. 

"If there was some flaw, then we're 
sunk. The newspapers are already 
clamoring for probes, of us, Of the 
building, of the owners and everybody 
and everything. We have got to have 
something damned plausible when we 
go to bat on this proposition or every 
dollar we have in the world will have 
to be paid out." 

"That is not all," said Muller: "not 



only will we be penniless, but we may 
have to go to jail and we will never 
be able to show our faces in reputable 
business circles again. Who was the 
last to go over that building?" 

"I sent Teddy Jenks. He is a cub 
and is swell headed and too big for his 
pants, but I would bank my life on 
his judgment. He has the judgment of 
a much older pan and I would alsp 
bank my life and reputation on his en- 
gineering skill and knowledge. He 
pronounced the building positively 
O. K. — 100 per cent." .» 

"Where is Jenks?" "* ^ 

"He will be here as soon as his car 
can drive down from Tarrytown. He' 
should be here now." 

AS they talked Jenks, the youngest 
member of the engineering force, 
entered. He entered like a whirlwind. 
He threw his hat on the floor and drew 
out a drawer of a cabinet. He pulled 
out the plans for the Colossus, big 
blue prints, some of them yards in ex- 
tent, and threw them on the floor. Then 
he dropped to his knees and began por- 
ing over„them. 

"ThisMs a hell of a time for you to 
begin getting around," exploded Mul- 
ler. "What were you doing, cabaret- 
ing all night?'' 

"It sure is terrible — awful," said 
Jenks, half to himself. 

"Answer me," thundered Muller. 

"Qh yes," said Jenks, looking up. 
He saw the look of anguish on his 
boss's face and forgot his own excite- 
ment in sympathy. He jumped to his 
feet, placed his arm about the shoulders 
of the older man and led him to a chair. 
Linane only scowled at the young man. 

"I was delayed because I stopped by 
to see the wreck. My God, Mr. Muller, 
it is awful." Jenks drew his hand 
across his eye as if to erase the scene 
of the wrecked building. Then patting 
the older man affectionately on the u 
back he said : 

"Buck up. I'm on the job, as usual. 
I'll find out about it. It could not have 
been our fault. Why man, that build- 



MAD MUSIC 



251 



ing was as strong as Gibraltar itself!" 

"You were the last to inspect it," 
accused Muller, with a break in his 
voice. 

"Nobody knows that better than I, 

and I can swear by all that's square 

, and honest that it was no fault of the 

material or the construction. It must 

have been—" 

"Must have been what?" 

"I'll be damned if I know." 

"That's like him," said Linane, who, 
while really kindly intentioned, had al- 
ways rather enjoyed prodding the 
young engineer. 

"Like .me, like the devil," shouted 
Jenks, glaring at Linane. "I suppose 
you know all about it, you're so blamed 
wise." 

"No, I don't know," admitted Linane. 
"But I do know that you don't like me 
to tell you anything. Nevertheless, I 
am going to tell you that you had bet- 
ter get busy and find out what caused 
it, or — " ' % 

"That's just what I'm doing," said 
Jenks, and he dived for his plans on 
the floor. 

Newspaper reporters, many of them, 
were fighting outside to get in. Muller 
looked at Linane when a stenographer 
had announced the reporters for the 
tenth time. 

'"We had better let them in," he said, 
'*it looks bad to crawl for cover." 

"What are you going to tell them?" 
asked Linane. 

"God only knows," said Muller. 

"Let me handle them," said Jenks, 
looking up confidently. 

THE newspapermen had rushed the 
office. They came in like a wild 
wave. Questions flew like feathers at 
a cock-fight. 

Muller held up his. hand and there 
was something in his grief-stricken 
eyes that held the gentlemen of the 
press in silence. They had time to 
look around. They saw the handsome, 
dark-haired, brown-eyed Jenks poring 
over the plans. Dust from the carpet 
smudged his knees, and he had rubbed 



some of it over a sweating forehead, 
but he still looked the picture of self- 
confident efficiency. 

"Gentlemen," said Muller slowly, "I 
can answer all your questions at once. 
Our firm is one of the oldest and 
staunchest in the trade. Our buildings 
stand as monuments to our integrity — " 

"All but one," said a young Irishman. 

"You are right. All but one," con- 
fessed Muller. "But that one, believe 
me, has been visited by an act of God. 
Some form of earthquake or some un- 
looked for, uncontrolled, almost unbe- 
lievable catastrophe has happened. 
The Muller company stands back of 
its work to Tts last dollar. Gentlemen, 
you know as much as we do. Mr. Jenks 
there, whose reputation as an engineer 
is quite sturdy, I assure you, was the 
last to inspect the building. He passed 
upon it when it waB finished. He is at 
your servleeT' - 

Jenks arose,. brushed some dust from 
his knees. ,_„-* 

"You look like you'd been praying," 
bandied the Irishman. 

"Maybe I have. Now let me talk. 
Don't broadside me with questions. I 
know what you want to know. Let me 
talk." 

The newspapermen were silent. 

"There has been talk of probing this 
disaster, naturally," began Jenks. "You 
all know, gentlemen, that we will aid 
any inquiry to our utmost. You want 
to know what we have to say about it — 
who is responsible. In a reasonable 
time I will have a statement to make 
that will be startling in the extreme. 
I am not sure of my ground now." 

"How about the ground under the 
Colossus?" said the Irishman. 

"Don't let's kid each other," pleaded 
Jenks. "Look at Mr. Muller: it is as 
if he had lost his whole family. We 
are good people. I am doing all I can. 
Mr. Linane, who had charge of the con- 
struction, is doing all he can. We be- 
lieve we are blameless. If it is proven 
otherwise we will acknowledge our 
fault, assume financial responsibility, 
and take our medicine. Believe me, 



152 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



that building was perfection plus, like 
all our buildings. That covers the en- 
tire situation." 

Hundreds of questions were parried 
and answered by the three engineers, 
and the reporters left convinced that 
if the Muller Construction Company 
was responsible, it was not through 
any fault of its own. 

THE fact that Jenks and Linane 
were not strong for each other, 
except to recognize each other's ability 
as engineers, was due to an incident 
of the past. This incident had caused 
a ripple of mirth in engineering circles 
when it happened, and the laugh was 
on the older man, Linane. 

It was when radio was new. Linane, 
a structural engineer, had paid little 
attention to radio. Jenks was the kind 
of an engineer who dabbled in all sci- 
ences. He knew his radio. 

When Jenks first came to work with 
a technical sheepskin and a few tons 
of brass, Linane accorded him only 
passing notice. Jenks craved the plau- 
dits of the older man and his palship. 
Linane treated him as a son, but did 
not warm to his social advances. 

"I'm as good an engineer as he is," 
mused Jenks, "and if he is going to 
high-hat me, I'll just put a swift one 
over on him and compel his notice." 

The., next day Jenks approached 
Linane in conference and said : 

"I've got a curious bet on, Mr. 
Linane. I am betting sound can travel 
a mile quicker than it travels a quarter 
of a mile." 

"What?" said Linane. 

"I'm betting, fifty that sound can 
travel a mile quicker than it can travel 
a quarter of a mile." 

"Oh no — -it can't," insisted Linane. 

"Oh yes — it can!" decided Jenks. 

"I'll take some of that fool money 
myself," said Linane. 

"How much?" asked Jenks. 

"As much as you-want." 

"All right — five hundred dollars." 

"How you going to prove your con- 
tention?" 



"By stop watches, and your men can 
hold the watches. We'll bet that a 
pistol shot can be heard two miles away 
quicker than it can be heard a quarter 
of a mile away." 

"Sound travels about a fifth of a mile 
a second. The rate varies slightly ac- 
cording to temperature," explained 
Linane. "At the freezing point the 
rate is 1,Q90 feet per second and in- 
creases a little over one foot for every 
degree Fahrenheit." 

"Hot or cold," breezed Jenks, "I am 
betting you five hundred dollars that 
sound can travel two miles quicker than 
a quarter-mile." 

"You're on, you damned idiot P' 
shouted the completely exasperated 
Linane. 3 

JENKS let Linane's friends hold the 
watches and his friend held the 
money. Jenks was to fire the shot. 

Jenks fired the shot in front of a 
microphone on a football field. One of 
Linane's friends picked the sound up 
instantaneously on a three-tube radio 
set two miles away. The other watch 
holder was'standing in the open a quar- 
ter of a mile away and his watch 
showed a second and a fraction. 

All hands agreed that Jenks had won 
the bet fairly. Linane never exactly 
liked Jenks after that. 

Then Jenks rather aggravated mat- 
ters by a habit. Whenever Linane 
would make a very positive statement 
Jenks would look owl-eyed and say: 
"Mr. Linane, I'll have to sound you out 
about that." The heavy accent on the 
word "sound" nettled Linane some- 
what. 

Linane never completely forgave 
Jenks for putting over this "fast one." 
Socially they were always more or less 
at loggerheads, but neither let this feel- 
ing interfere with their work. They 
worked together faithfully enough and 
each recognized the ability of the 
other. 

And so it was that Linane and Jenks, 
their heads together, worked all night 
in an attempt to find some cause that 



MAD MUSIC 



would tie responsibility for the dis- 
aster on mother nature. 

They failed to find it and, sleepy- 
eyed, they were forced to admit failure, 
so far. 

The newspapers, to whom Muller had 
said that he would not shirk any re- 
sponsibility, began a hue and cry for 
the arrest of all parties in any way con- 
cerned with the direction of the build- 
ing of the Colossus. 

When the death list from the crash 
and subway wreck reached 97, the 
press waxed nasty and demanded the 
arrest of Muller, Linarie and Jenks in 
no uncertain tones. 

Half dead from lack of sleep, the 
three men were taken by the police to 
the district attorney's offices and, after 
a strenuous grilling, were formally 
placed under arrest on charges of crim- 
inal negligence. They put up a $50,000 
bond in each case and were permitted 
to go and seek further to find the cause 
of what the newspapers now began call- 
ing the "Colossal Failure." 

Several days were spent by Linane 
and Jenks in examining the wreckage 
which was being removed from Times 
Square, truckload after truckload, to a 
point outside the city. Here it was 
again sorted and examined and piled 
for future disposal. 

So far as could be found every brick, 
stone and ounce of material used in the 
building was perfect. Attorneys, how- 
ever, assured Linane, Jenks and Muller 
that they would have to find the real 
cause of the disaster if they were to 
escape possible long prison sentences. 

Night after night Jenks courted 
sleep, but it would not come. He be- 
gan to grow wan and haggard. 

JENKS took to walking the streets 
at night, mile after mile, thinking, 
always thinking, and searching his 
mind for a solution of the mystery. 

It was evening. He had walked past 
the scene of the Colossus crash several 
times. He found himself on a side 
street. He looked up and saw in elec- 
tric lights: 



TOWN HALL 
Munsterbergen, the Mad Musician 
Concert Here To-night. \ 

He took five dollars from his pocket 
and bought a ticket. He entered with 
the crowd and was ushered to a seat. 
He looked neither to the right or left. 
His eyes were sunken, his face lined 
with worry. 

Something within Jenks caused him 
to turn slightly. He was curiously 
aware of a beautiful girl who sat beside 
him. She had a mass of golden hair 
which seemed to defy control. It was 
wild, positively tempestuous. Her eyes 
were deep blue and her skin as white 
as fleecy clouds in spring. He was 
dimly conscious that those glorious 
eyes were troubled. 

She glanced at him. She was aware 
that he was suffering. A great surge 
of sympathy welled in her heart. She 
could not explain the feeling. 

A great red plush curtain parted in 
the center and drew in graceful folds 
to the edges of the proscenium. A 
small stage was revealed. 

A tousle-headed man with glaring, 
beady black eyes, dressed in black even- 
ing clothes stepped forward and bowed. 
Under his arm was a violin. He brought 
the, violin forward. His nose, like the 
beak of some great bird, bobbed up and 
down in acknowledgment of the plau- 
dits which greeted him. His long ner- 
vous fingers began to caress the instru- 
ment and his lips began to move.^ 

Jenks was aware that he was saying 
something, but was not at all inter- 
ested. What he said was this: 

"Maybe, yes, I couldn't talk so good 
English, but you could understood it, 
yes? Und now I tell you dot I never 
play the compositions of any man. I 
axtemporize exgloosively. I chust 
blay und blay, und maybe you should 
listen, yes? If I bleeze you I am chuBt 
happy." 

Jenks' attention was drawn to him. 
He noted his wild appearance. 

"He sure looks mad enough," naused 
Jenks. 



2S4 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



THE violinist flipped the fiddle up 
under his chin. He drew the. bow 
bve.r the strings and began vt *a gentle 
melody that reminded. one of rain 
drops falling on calm^waters. 

Jenks forgot his troubles. He forgot 
everything. He slumped in his seat 
and his eyes closed. The rain con- 
tinued falling from the strings of the 
violin. 

Suddenly the melody changed to a 
glad little lilting measure, as sweet as 
love itself. The sun was coming out 
again and the birds began to sing. 
There was the trill of a c s anary with 
the sun on its cage. There was the 
song of the thrush, the mocking-bird 
and the meadow lark. These blended 
finally into a melodious burst of chirp- 
ing melody which seemed a chorus of 
the wild birds of the forest and'glen. 
Then the lilting love measure again. 
It tore at the heart strings, and brought 
tears to one's eyes. 

Unconsciously the girl next to Jenks 
leaned towards him. Involuntarily he 
leaned to meet her. Their shoulders 
touched. The cloud of her golden hair 
came to rest against his dark locks. 
Their hands found each other with 
gentle pressure. Both were lost to the 
world. 

Abruptly the music changed. There 
was a succession of broken treble notes 
that sounded like the crackling of 
flames. Moans deep and melancholy 
followed. These grew more strident 
and prolonged, giving 7 place to abject 
howls, suggesting the lamentations of 
the damned. 

The hands of the boy and girl 
gripped tensely. They could not help 
shuddering. 

The violin began to produce notesof 
a leering, jeering character, growing 
more horrible with each measure until 
they burst in a loud guffaw of maniac- 
al laughter. 

The whole performance was as if 
someone had taken a heaven and 
plunged it into a hell. 

The musician bowed jerkily, and was 
■gone. ■ v 



THERE was no applause, only wild 
exclamations. Half the house was 
on its feet. The other half sat as if 
glued to chairs. 

The boy and the girl wefe standing, 
their hands still gripping tensely. 

"Come, let's get out of here," said 
Jenks. The girl took her wrap and 
Jenks helped her into it. Hand in 
hand they fled the place. 

In the lobby their eyes met, and for 
the first time they realized they were 
strangers. Yet deep in their hearts 
was a feeling that their fates had been 
sealed. 

"My goodness!" burst from the girl. 

"It can't be helped now," said Jenks 
decisively. 

"What can't be helped?" asked the 
girl, although she knew in her heart. 

"Nothing can be helped," said Jenks. 
Then he added : "We should know each 
other by this time. We have been 
holding hands for an* hour." 

The girl's eyes flared. "You have no 
right to presume on that situation," 
she said. 

Jenks could have kicked himself. 
"Forgive me," he said. "It was only 
that I just wanted so to know you. 
Won't you let me see you home?" 

"You may," said the girl simply, and 
she led the way co her own car. 

They drove north. 

Their bodies seemed like magnets. 
They were again shoulder to shoulder, 
holding hands. 

"Will you tell me . your name?" 
pleaded Jenks. 

"Surely," replied the girl. "I am 
Elaine Linane." 

"What?" exploded Jenks. "Why, I 
work with a Linane, an engineer with 
the Muller Construction Company." 

"He is my father/' she said. 

"Why, we are great friends," said 
the boy. "I am Jenks, his assistants 
at least we work together." 

"Yes, I have heard of you," said the 
girl. "It is strange, the way we met.. 
My father admires your work, but I 
am afraid you are not great friends." 
The girl had forgotten her troubles. 



MAD MUSIC 



255 



She chuckled. She iiad heard the way 
Jenks had "sounded" her father out. 

Jenks was speechless. The girl con- 
tinued : , 

"I don't know whether to like you or 
to hate you. My father is an old dear. 
You were cruel to him." 

Jenks was abject. "I did not mean 
to be," he said. "He rather belittled 
me without realizing it. I had to make 
my stand. The difference in our years 
made him take me rather too lightly. 
I had to compel his notice, if I was to 
advance." 

"Oh !" said the. girl. 

"I am sorry — so sorry." 

"You might not have been altogether 
at fault," said the girl. "Father forgets 
at times that I have grown up. I re- 
sent being treated like a child, but he 
is the soul of goodness and fatherly 
care." 

"I know that," said Jenks. 

EVERY engineer knows his mathe- 
matics, It was this fact, coupled 
with what the world calls a "lucky 
break," that solved the Colossus mys- 
tery. Nobody can get around the fact 
that two and two make four. 

Jenks had happened on accomplish- 
ment to advance in the engineering pro- 
fession, and it was well for him that he 
had reached a crisis. He had never be- 
lieved in luck or in hunches, so it was 
good, for him to be brought face to face 
with the fict that sometimes the foot- 
steps of man are guided. It made him 
begin to look into, the engineering of 
the universe, to think more deeply, and 
to acknowledge a Higher Power. 

With Linane he had butted into a 
stone wall; They^ were coming to 
know what real trouble meant. The 
fact that they were innocent did not 
make the steel bars of a cage any more 
attractive. Their troubles began to 
wrap about them with the clammy in- 
timacy of a shroud. Then came the 
lucky break. 

Next to his troubles, Jenks' favorite 
topic was the Mad Musician. He tried 
to learn all he could about this un- 



canny character at whose concert he 
had met the girl of his life. He learned 
two facts that made him perk up and 
think. 

One was that the Mad Musican had 
had offices and a studio in the Colossus 
and was one of the first to move in. 
The other was that the Mad Musician 
took great delight in shattering glass- 
ware with notes of or vibrations from 
a violin. Nearly ^everyone knows that 
a glass tumbler can be shattered by the 
proper note sounded on a violin. The 
Mad Musician took delight in this 
trick. Jenks courted his acquaintance, 
and saw him shatter a row of glasses 
of different sizes by sounding different 
notes on his fiddle. The glasses 
crashed one after another like gelatine ' 
balls hit by the bullets of an expert 
rifleman. 

Then Jenks, the engineer who knew 
his mathematics, put two and two to- 
gether. It made four, of course. 

"Listen, Linane," he said to his co- ■ 
worker: "this fiddler is crazier than a 
flock of cuckoos. If he can crack 
crockery with violin sound vibrations, 
is it not possible, by carrying the vi- 
brations to a much higher power, that 
he could crack a pile of stone, steel, 
brick and cement, like the Colossus?" 

"Possible, but hardly probable. Still," 
Linane mused, "when you think about 
• it, and put two and two together. . . . 
Let's go after him and see what he is 
doing now." 

Both jumped for their coats and hats. 
As they fared forth, Jenks cinched his 
argument : ; * § 

"If a madman takes delight*in break- 
ing glassware with a vibratory wave or 
vibration, how much more of a thrill 
would he get by crashing a mountain?" 

"Wild, but unanswerable," said Lin- 



JENKS had been calling on the Mad 
Musican at his country place. "Hd 
had a studio in the Colossus," he re- 
minded Linane. "He must have re- 
opened somewhere else in town. I 
wonder where." 



256 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Musicians are great union men," 
said Linane. "Phone the union." 

Teddy Jenks did, but the union gave 
the last known town address as the 
Colossus. 

"He would remain in^the same dis- 
trict around Times Square," reasoned 
Jenks. "Let's page out the big build- 
ings and see if he is not preparing to 
crash another one." 
. "Fair enough," said Linane, who was 
too busy with the problem at hand to 
choose his words. 

Together the engineers started a can- 
vass of the big buildings in the theatri- 
cal district. After four or five had been 
searched without result they entered 
the 30-story Acme Theater building. 

Here 'they learned that the Mad 
Musician had leased a four-room suite 
just a few days before. This suite was 
on the fifteenth Moor, just half way up 
in the big structure. t 

They went to the manager of the 
building and frankly stated their sus- 
picions. "We want to enter that suite 
when the tenant is not there," they ex- 
plained, "and we want him forestalled 
from entering while we are examining 
the premises." 

"Hadn't we better notify the police?" 
asked the building manager, who had 
broken out in a sweat when he heard 
the dire disaster which might be in 
store for the stately Acme building. 

"Not yet," said Linane. "You see, 
we are not sure: we have just been 
putting two and two together. 

"We'll get the building detective, 
anyway," insisted the manager, 

"Let him come along, but do not let 
him know until we are sure. If we are 
right we will find; a most unusual in- 
fernal machine," said Linane. - 

THE three men entered the suite 
with a pass-key. The detective 
was left outside in the hall to halt 
anyone who might disturb the search- 
ers. It was as Jenks had thought. In 
an inner room they found a diabolical 
machine — a single string stretched 
across two bridges, one pf brass and 



one of wood. A big horsehair, bow at- 
tached to a shaft operated by a motor 
was automatically sawing across the 
string. The note resulting was evident- 
ly higher than the range of the human 
ear, becaiise no audible sound resulted. 
It was later estimated that the de- 
structive note was several octaves 
higher than the highest note on a 
piano. 

The entire machine was inclosed in a 
heavy wire-net cage, securely bolted to 
the floor; Neither the string or bow 
could be reached. It was evidently the 
Mad Musician's idea that the devilish 
contrivance should not be reached by 
hands other than his own. 

How long the infernal machine had 
been operating no one knew, but the 
visitors were startled when the build- 
ing suddenly began to sway percep- 
tibly. Jenks jumped forward to stop 
the machine but could not find a switch. 

"See if the machine plugs in any- 
where in a wall socket!" he shouted to 
Linane, who promptly began examin- 
ing the walls. Jenks shouted to the 
building manager to phone the police 
to clear the streets around the big 
building. 

'Tell the police that the Acme Thea- 
ter building may crash at any moment," 
he instructed. * 

The engineers were perfectly cool in 
face of the great peril, but the building 
manager lost his head completely and 
began to run around in circles mutter- 
ing : "Oh, my God, save me !*' and other 
words of supplication that blended into 
an incoherent babel. 

Jenks rushed to the man, trying to 
still his wild hysteria. 

The building continued to sway dan- 
gerously. 

JENKS looked from a window. An 
enormous crowd was collecting, 
watching the big building swinging a 
foot out of plumb like a giant pendu- 
lum. The crowd was growing. Should 
the building fall the loss of life would 
be appalling. It was mid-morning. 
The interior of the building teemed 



MAD MUSIC 



257 



/ 



with thousands of worker's, for all 
floors above the third were offices. 

Teddy Jehks turned suddenly. . He 
heard the watchman in the hall scream 
in terror. Then he heard a body fall. 
He rushed to the door to see the Mad 
Musician standing over the prostrate 
form of the detective, a devilish grin 
on his distorted countenance. 

The majflman turned 1 , saw Jenks,. and 
started to run. . Jenks took after him. 
Up the staircase the madman rushed to- 
ward the roof. Teddy followed him 
two floors and then rushed out to take 
the elevators. The building in its mad 
swaying had made it impossible for the 
lifts to be operated. Teddy realized 
this with a distraught gulp in his, 
throat. . He returned to the stairway 
and took up the pursuit of the madman. 

The corridors were beginning to fill 
with screaming men and wailing girls. 
It was a sight never to be forgotten. 

Laboriously Jenks climbed story' af-r 
ter story without getting sight of the 
madman. Finally he reached'the roof. 
It was waving like swells on a lake be- 
fore a breeze. He caught sight of the 
Mad Musician standing on the street 
wall, thirty stories from the street, a 
leer on his devilish visage. He jumped 
for him. 

The madman grasped him, and lifted 
him up to the top of the wall as a cat 
might have lifted a mpuse. Both men 
were breathing heavily as a result of 
their- 15-story climb. 

The madman tried to throw Teddy 
Jenks t» the street below. Teddy clung 
to him. The two battled desperately 
as the building swayed. 

The dense crowd in the street had 
caught sight of the two men fighting on 
the narrow coping, and the shout which 
rent the air reached the ears of Jenks. 

THE mind of the engineer was still 
working clearly, but a wild fear 
gripped his heart. His strength seemed 
to be leaving him. The madman pushed 
him back, bending his spine with brute 
strength. Teddy was forced to the nar- 
row ledge that had given the two men 



footing. The fingers of the madman 
gripped his throat. 

He- was dimly conscious that the 
swaying of the building was slowing 
down. His reason told him that Linane 
had found the wall socket and had 
stopped the sawing of the devil's bow 
on the engine of hell. 

He saw the madman draw a big knife. 
With his last remaining strength he 
reached out and grasped the wrist 
above the hand which held the weapon. 
In spite of all he could do he saw the 
madman inching the knife nearer and 
nearer his throat. 

Grim death was peering into the 
bulging eyes of Teddy Jenks, when his 
t engineering knowledge came to his res- 
cue. He remembered the top stories of 
the Acme building were constructed 
with a step of ten feet in from the 
street line, for every story of construc- 
tion above the 24th floor. 

"If we fall," he reasoned, "we. can 
only fall one story." Then he deliber- 
ately rolled his own body and the 
weight of the madman, who held him, 
over the edge of the coping. At the 
same time he twisted the madman's 
wrist so the point of the knife pointed 
to the madman's body. 

There was a dim consciousness of a 

fc painful impact. Teddy had fallen un- 

; derneath, but the force of the two 

bodies coming together had thrust the 

knife deep into the entrails of the Mad 

Musician. 

Clouds which had been collecting in 
the sky began a splattering downpour. 
The storm grew in fury and lightning 
tore the heavens, while thunder boomed 
and crackled. The rain began falling 
in sheets. 

THIS served to revive the uncon- 
scious Teddy. He painfully with- 
drew his body from under that of the 
madman. The falling rain, stained 
with the blood of the Mad Musician, 
trickled over the edge of the building. 
Teddy dragged himself through a 
window and passed his hand over his 
forehead, which was aching miserably. 



258 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



He tried to get to his feet and fell back, 
only to try again. Several times he 
tried and then, his strength returning, 
he was able to walk. 

He made his way to the studio where 
he had left Linane and found him there 
surrounded by police, reporters and 
others. The infernal machine had been 
rendered harmless, but was kept intact 
as evidence. 

Catching sight of Teddy, Linane 
shouted with Joy. "I stopped the 
damned thing," he chuckled, like a 
pleased schoolboy. Then, observing 
Teddy's exhausted condition he added : 
"Why, you look like you have been 
to a funeral !" 

"I have," said Teddy. "You'll find 
that crazy fiddler dead on the twenty- 
ninth story. Look out the window of 
the thirtieth story," he instructed the 
police, who had started to recover the 
body. "He stabbed himself. He is 
either dead or dying." 1 

It proved that he was dead. 
No engineering firm is responsible 
for the actions of a madman. So the 
Muller Construction Company was giv- 
en a clean bill of health. 



JENKS and Elaine Linane were with 
the girl's father in his study. They 
were asking for the paternal blessing. 

Linane was. pretending to be hard to 
convince. " '' ' * 

"Now, my daughter," he said, "this 
young man takes $500 of my good 
money by sounding me out, as he calls 
it. Then he comes along and tries to 
take my daughter away from me. It is 
positively high-handed. It dates back 
to the football game — " -' 

"Daddy, dear, don't be like that!" 
said Elaine, who was on the arm of his , 
chair with her own arms around him. 

"I tell yoa, Elaine, this dates back 
to the fall of 1927." 
i "It dates back to the fall of Eve," 
said Elaine. "When a girl finds her 
man, no power can keep him from her. 
If you won't give me to Teddy Jenks, 
I'll elope with him." 

"Well, all right then. Kiss me," said 
Linane as- he turned towards his radio 
set. 

"One arid one makes one," said Teddy 
Jenks. 

Every engineer knows his mathe- 
matics. *- - 



Have you written in to 

ASTOUNDING STORIES 

Yet 7 to Tell the Editors 
Just What Kind of 
Stories You Would Like 
Them to Secure for You? 



LttFV!^ 




"That man never entered and stole that money as the picture shows, 
unless he managed to make himself invisible," 

TRe Thief of Time 

By Captain S. P. Meek 



HARVEY WINSTON, paying 
teller 6f the First National 
Bank'of Chicago, stripped the 
band from a bundle of twenty 
dollar bills, counted out seventeen of 
them and added 
them to the pile 
on the counter 
before him. 

"Twelve hun- 
dred and thirty- 
one tens," he read from the payroll 
change slip before him. The paymaster 



The teller turned to the stacked pile of 

bills. They were gone! And no one had 

been near! 



of the Cramer Packing Company nod- 
ded an assent and Winston turned to 
the stacked bills in his rear currency 
rack. He picked ug a handful of bun- 
dles and turned back to the grill. His 

___^. ; gaze swept the 

counter where, a 
moment before, 
he had stacked 
the twenties, and 
his jaw dropped. 
"You got those twenties, Mr. Trier?" 
he asked. 



.260 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"Got them? Of course hot, how 
could I?" replied the paymaster. 
"There they are. . . ." 

His voice trailed off into nothing- 
ness as he looked at the empty counter. 

"I must have dropped them," said 
Winston as he turned. He glanced " 
back at the rear rack where his main 
stock of currency was piled. He stood 
paralyzed for a moment and then 
reached under the counter and pushed 
a button. 

The bank resounded instantly to the 
clangor of gongs and huge steel grills 
shot into place with a clang, sealing all 
doors and preventing anyone from en- 
tering or leaving the bank. The guards 
sprang to their stations with drawn 
weapons and from the inner offices the 
•bank officials came swarming out. The 
cashier, followed by two men, hurried 
to the paying teller's cage. 

"What is it, Mr. Winston?" he cried. 

"I've been Fobbed!" gasped the 
teller. 

"Who by? How?" demanded the 
cashier. 

"I — I don't know, sir," stammered 
the teller. "I was counting out Mr. 
.Trier's payroll, and_after I had stacked 
the twenties I turned to get the tens. 
When I turned back the twenties were - 
gone." '■ * *■ 

• "Where had they gone?" asked the 
cashier. 

"I don't know, sir. Mr. Trier was as 
surprised as I was, and then I turned 
back, thinking that I had knocked them 
off the counter, and. I saw at a glance 
that there was a big hole in my back 
racks. You can see yourself, sir." 

The cashier turned to the paymaster. 

"Is this a practical joke, Mr. Trier?" 
he demanded sharply. 

"Of course not," replied the paymas- 
ter. "Winston's grill was closed. It 
still is. Granted that I might have 
reached the twenties he had piled up, 
how could I have gone through a grill 
and taken the rest of the missing 
money without his seeing me? The 
money disappeared almost instantly. 
It was there a moment before, for I 



noticed when Winston took the twen- 
ties from his rack that it was full." 

"But ^someone must have taken it,** 
said the bewildered cashier. "Money 
doesn't walk off of its own accord or 
vanish into thin air — " 

A bell interrupted his speech. 

"There are the police," he said* with 
an air of relief. 'Tll*tet them in." 

THE smaller of the two men who 
had followed the cashier from his 
office £vhen the alarm had sounded 
stepped forward and spoke quietly. 
His voice was low and well pitched 
yet it carried a note of authority and 
power that held his auditors' attention 
while he spoke. The voice harmonized 
with the man. The most noticeable 
point about him was the inconspicuous 
of his voice and manner, yet there was 
a glint of steel in his gray eyes that 
told of enormous force in him. 

"I don't believe that I would let 
them in for a few moments, Mr. 
Rogers," he said. "I think that we are 
up against something a little different 
from the usual bank robbery." 

"But, Mr. Carnes," protested the 
cashier, "we must call in the police in 
a case like this, and the sooner they 
take charge the better chance there 
will be of apprehending the thief." ' 

"Suit yourself," replied the little 
man with a shrug of his shoulders. "I 
merely offered my advice." 

"Will you take charge, Mr. Carries?" 
asked the cashier. 

"I can't supersede the local authori- 
ties in a case like this," replied Carnes. 
"The secret service is primarily inter- 
ested in the suppression of counter- 
feiting and the. enforcement of certain 
federal statutes, but I will be glad to 
assist the local authorities to the best 
of my ability, provided they desire my 
help. My advice to you would be to 
keep out the patrolmen who are de- 
manding admittance and get in touch 
with the chief of police. I would ask 
that his best detective together with an 
expert finger-print photographer be 
sent here before anyone else is ad- 



THE THIEF OF TJME 



261 



mitted. If the patrolmen are allowed 
to wipe their hands over Mr. Winston's 
counter they may destroy valuable evi- 
dence." 

"You are right, Mr. Carnes," ex- 
claimed the cashier. "Mr. Jervis, will 
you tell the police that there is no 
violence threatening and ask them to 
wait for a few minutes? I'll telephone 
the chief of police at once." 

AS the cashier hurried away to his 
telephone Carnes turned to his 
companion who had stood an inter- 
ested, although silent spectator of the~ 
scene. His companion was a marked 
contrast to the secret service operator. 
He stood well over six feet in height, 
and his protruding jaw and shock of 
unruly black rfeir combined with his 
massive shoulders and chest to give 
him the appearance of a man who 
labored with his hands — until one 
looked at them. His hands were in 
strange contrast to the rest of him. 
Long, slim, mobile hands they were, 
with tapering nervous fingers — the 
hands of a thinker or of a musician. 
Telltale splotches of acid^old of hours 
spent in a laboratory, a tale that was 
confirmed by the almost imperceptible 
stoop of his shoulders. 

"Do you agree with my advice, Dr. 
Bird?" asked Carnes deferentially. 

The noted scientist, who from his 
laboratory in the Bureau of Standards 
had sent forth many new things in the 
realms of chemistry and physics, and 
who, incidentally, had been instrumen- 
tal in solving some of the most 
baffling mysteries which the secret 
service had been called upon to face, 
grunted. 

"It didn't do any harm," he said, "but 
it is rather a waste of time. The thief 
wore gloves." 

"How in thunder do you know that?" 
demanded Carnes. 

"It's merely common sense. A man 
who can do what he did had at least 
some rudiments of intelligence, and 
even the feeblest-minded crooks know 
enough to wear gloves nowadays." 



Carnes stepped a little closer to the 
doctor. 

"Another season why I didn't want 
patrolmen tramping around," he said 
in an undertone, "is this. If Winston 
gave the alarm quickly enough, the 
thief is probably still in the building." 

"He's a good many miles away by 
now," replied Dr. Bird with a shrug of 
his shoulders. 

CARNES' eyes opened widely. 
"Why ?— -how ? — who ?" he stam- 
mered. "Have you any idea of who 
did it, or how it was done?" 

"Possibly f- have an idea," replied 
Dr. Bird with a cryptic smile. "My 
advice to you, Carnes, is to keep away 
from the local authorities as much as 
possible. I want to be present when 
Winston and Trier are questioned and 
I may possibly wish to ask a few ques- 
tions myself. Use your authority that 
far, but no farther. Don't volunteer 
any information and especially don't 
let my name get out. We'll drop the 
counterfeiting case we were summoifyd 
here on for the present and look into 
this a little on our own hook. I will 
want your aid, so don't get tied up 
with the police." 

"At that, we don't want the police 
crossing our trail at every turn," pro- 
tested Carnes. 

"They won't," promised the doctor. 
"They will never get any evidence on 
this case, if I am right, and neither 
will we — for the present. Our stunt is 
to lie low and wait for the next at- 
tempt of this nature and thus accumu- 
late some evidence and some idea of 
where to look." 

"Will there be another attempt ?" 
asked Carnes. . 

"Surely. You don't expect a man 
who got away with a crime like this 
to quit operations just because a few 
flatfeet run around and make a hulla- 
baloo about it, do you ? I may be 
wrong in my assumption, but if I am 
right, the most important thing is to 
keep all reference to my name or posi- 
tion out of the press reports." 



262 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



The cashier hastened up to them. 

"Detective- Captain Sturtevant will 
be here in a few minutes with a pho- 
tographer and some other men," he 
said. "Is there anything that we can 
do in the meantime, Mr. Carnes?" 

"I would suggest that Mr. Trier and 
his guard and Mr. Winston go into 
your office," replied Carnes. "My as- 
sistant and I would like to be present 
during the questioning, if there are no 
objections." 

"I didn't know that you had an 
assistant with you," answered the 
cashier. 

Carnes indicated Dr. Bird. 

"This, gentleman is Mr. Berger, my 
assistant," he said. "Do you under- 
stand?'' 

. "Certainly. I am sure there will be 
no objection to your presence, Mr. 
Carnes," replied the cashier as he led 
the way to his office. 

A FEW minutes later Detective- 
Captain Sturtevant of the Chicago 
police was announced. He acknowl- 
edged the introductions gruffly and 
got down to business at once. 

"What were- the .circumstances of 
the robbery?" he asked. 

Winston told his story, Trier and 
the guard confirming it. 

"Pretty thin i" snorted the detective 
when they had finished. He whirled 
suddenly on Winston. 

"Where did you hide the loot?" he 
thundered. 

"Why — uh — er — what do you mean?" . 
gulped the teller. 

"Just what I said," replieM the detec- 
tive. "Where did you hide the loot," 

"I didn't hide it anywhere," said the 
teller. "It was stolen." 

"You had better think up a better 
one," sneered Sturtevant. '"If you think 
that you can make me believe that that 
money was stolen from you in broad 
daylight with two men in plain sight 
of you who didn't see it, you might 
just as well get over it. I know that 
you have some h'.ding place where you 
have slipped the stuff and the quicker 



you come clean and spill it, the better 
it will be for you. Where did you hide 
it?"' 

"I didn't hide it!" cried the teller, 
his voice trembling. "Mr. Trier can 
tell you that I didn't touch it from the 
time I laid it down until I turned 
back." 

"That's right," replied the paymas- 
ter. "He turned his back on me for 
a moment, and when he turned back, 
it was gone." 

"So you're in on it too, are you?" 
said Sturtevant. 

"What do you mean?" demanded 
the paymaster hotly. 

"Oh nothing, nothing at all," replied 
the detective. "Of course Winston 
didn't touch it and it disappeared and 
you neVer saw it go, although you 
were within three feet of it all the 
time. Did you see anything?" he de- 
manded of the guard. 

"Nothing that I am sure of," an- 
swered the guard. "I thought that a 
shadow passed .in front of me for an 
instant, but when I looked again, it 
was gone." 

DR. BIRD sat forward suddenly. 
"What did this shadow look 
like?" he asked. 

"It wasn't exactly a shadow," said 
the guard. "It was as if a person had 
passed suddenly before me so quickly 
that I couldn't see him. I seemed to 
feel that there was someone there, but 
I didn't rightly see anything." 

"Did you notice "anything of the 
sort?" demanded the doctor of Trier. 

"I don't know," replied Trier 
thoughtfully. "Now that Williams has 
mentioned it, I did seem to feel a 
breath of air or a motion as though 
something had passed in front of me. 
I, didn't think of it at the time." 

"Was this shadow opaque enough to 
even momentarily obscure your vi- 
sion?" went on the doctor. 

"Not that I am conscious of. It was 
just a breath of air such as a person 
mighty cause by passing very rapidly." 

"What made you ask Trier if he^had 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



263 



the money when you turned around?" 
asked the doctor of Winston. 

"Say-y-y," broke in the detective. 
"Who the devil are you, and what do 
you mean by breaking into my ex- 
amination and stopping it?" 

Carnes tossed a leather wallet on the 
table. 

"There are my credentials," he said 
in his quiet voice. "I am chief of one 
section of the United States Secret 
Service as you will see, and this is Mr. 
Berger, my assistant. We were in the 
bank, engaged on a counterfeiting case, 
when the -robbery took placi. We have 
had a good deal of experience along 
these lines and we are merely anxious 
to aid you." 

Sturtevant examined Carnes' creden- 
tials carefully and returned them. 

"This is a Chicago robbery," he said, 
"and we have had a little experience in 
robberies and in apprehending robbers 
ourselves. I think that we can get 
along without your help." 

"You have had more experience with 
robberies that with apprehending rob- 
bers if -the papers tell the truth," said 
Dr. Bird with a chuckle. 

THE detective's face flushed. 
"That will be enough from you, 
Mr. Sherlock Holmes," he said. "If 
you open your mouth again, I'll arrest 
you as a material witness and as a pos- 
sible accomplice." 

"That sounds like Chicago methods," 
said Carnes quietly. "Now listen to 
me, Captain. My assistant and I are 
merely trying to assist you in this 
case. If you don't desire our assistance 
we'll proceed along our own lines with- 
out interfering, but in the meantime 
remember that this is a National Bank, 
and that our questions will be an- 
swered. The United States is higher 
than even the Chicago police force, and 
I am here under orders to investigate 
a counterfeiting case. If I desire, I 
can seal the doors of this bank and al- 
low no one in or out until I have the 
evidence I desire. Do you under- 
stand ?" 



Sturtevant sprang to his feet with an 
oath, but the sight of the gold badge 
which Carnes displayed stopped him. 

"Oh well," he said ungraciously. "I 
suppose that no harm will come of 
letting Winston answer your fool^ 
questions, but I'll warn you that I'll re- 
port to Washington that you are inter- 
fering with the course of justice' and 
using your authority to aid the get- 
away of a criminal." 

"That is your privilege," replied 
Carnes quietly. "Mr. Winston, will 
you answer Mr. Berger's question?" 

"Why, I asjced him because he was 
right close to the money and I, thought 
that he might have reached through the 
wicket and picked it up. Then, too — " 

He hesitated for a moment and Dr. 
Bird smiled encouragingly. 

"What else?" he asked. 

"Why, I can't exactly tell. It just 
seemed to me that I had heard the 
rustle that bills make when they are 
pulled across a counter. When I saw 
them gone, I thought that he might 
have taken them. Then when I turned 
toward him, I seemed to hear the rustle 
of bills behind me, although I knew 
that I was alone in the cage. When I 
looked back the money was gone." 

"Did you see or hear anything like a 
shadow or a person moving?" 

"No — yes — I don't know. Just as I 
turned around it seemed to me that the 
rear door to my cage had moved and 
there may have been a shadow for an 
instant. I don't know. I hadn't 
thought of it before." 

"How long after that did you ring 
the alarm gongs?" 

"Not over a second or two." 

"That's all," said Dr. Bird. 

"If your high and mightiness has n<3 
further questions to ask, perhaps you 
will let me ask a few," said Sturtevant. 

"PO ahead, ask all you wish," re- 
VJT plied Dr. Bird with a laugh. "I 
have all the information I desire here 
for the present. 1 may want to ask 
other questions later, but just now I 
think we'll be going." >. 



254 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"If you find any strange finger-prints 
on Winston's counter, I'll be glad to 
nave them compared with our files," 
said Cames. 

"I am not bothering with finger- 
prints," snorted the detective. "This 
is an open and shut case. There would 
be lots of Winston's finger-prints there 
and no others. There isn't the slight- 
est doubt that this is an inside case 
and I have the men I want right here. 
Mr. Rogers, your bank is closed for 
today. Everyone in it will be searched 
and then all those not needed to close 
up will be sent away. I will get a 
squad of men here to go over your 
building and locate the hiding place. 
Your money is still on the premises 
unless these men slipped it to a con- 
federate who got out before the alarm 
was given. I'll question the guards 
about that. If that happened, a little 
sweating* will get it out pf them." 

"Are you going to arrest rae.?_" de- 
manded Trier in surprise. 

"Yes, dearie," answered the detec- 
tive. "I am going to arrest you and 
your two little playmates if these 
Washington experts will allow me to. 
You will save a lot of time and quite 
a few painful experiences if you will 
come clean now instead of later." 

"I demand to see my lawyer and to 
communicate with my firm," said the 
paymaster. 

"Time enough for that when I am 
through with you," replied the detec- 
tive. 

He turned to Carnes. 

"Have I your gracious permission to 
arrest these three criminals?" he 
asked. 

"Yes indeed, Captain," replied 
Carnes sweetly. "You have my gra- 
cious permission to make just as big 
an ass of yourself as you wish. We're 
going now." 

*'T"D V the way, Captain," said Dr. 

X3 Bird as he followed Carnes out. 
"When you get through playing with 
your prisoners and start t<J look for 
the thief, here is a tip. Look for a 



left-handed man who has a thorough 
knowledge of chemistry and especially, 
toxicology." •<>v : 

"It's easy enough to see that he was 
left-handed if he pulled that money 
out through the grill from the posi- 
tions occupied by Trier and his guard, 
but what the dickens led you to sus- 
pec\*tnat f he is a chemist and a toxi- 
cologist?" asked Carnes as he and the 
doctor left the bank. 

"Merely a shrewd guess, my dear 
Watson," replied the doctor with a 
chuckle. "I am likely to be wrong, but 
there is a good chance that I am right. 
I am judging solely from the method 
used." 

"Have you solved the method?" de- 
manded Carnes in amazement. "What 
on earth was it? The more I have 
thought about it, the more inclined I 
am to believe that Sturtevant is right 
and that it is an inside job. It seems 
to me impossible that a man could have 
entered in broad daylight and lifted 
that money in front of three men and 
within sight of a hundred more with- 
out some one getting a glimpse of him. 
He must have taken the money out in 
a grip or a sack or something like that, 
yet the bank record shows that no one 
but Trier entered with a grip and no 
one left with a package for ten minutes 
before Trier entereH 

"There may be something in what 
you say, Carnes, but I am inclined to 
have a different idea. I dan't think it 
is the usual run of bank robbery, and 
I would rather* not hazard a guess just 
now. I am going back to Washington 
to-night. Before I go any further into 
the matter, I need some rather special- 
ized knowledge that I don't possess 
and I want to consult with Dr. Knolles. 
I'll be back in a week or so and then 
we can look into that counterfeiting 
case after we get this disposed of." 

"What am I to do?" asked Carnes. 

"Sit around the lobby of your hotel, 
eat three meals a day, and read the pa- 
pers. If you get bored, I would rec- 
ommend that you pay a visit to the Art 
Institute and admire the graceful lions 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



265 



which adorn the steps. Artistic con- 
templations may well improve your 
culture." 

"All right," replied Carnes. "I'll as- 
sume a pensive air and moon at the 
lions, but I might do better if you told 
me what I was looking for." 

"You are looking for knowledge, my 
dear Carnes," said the doctor with a 
laugh. "Remember the saying of the 
sages : To the wise man, no knowledge 
is useless." 

A HUGE Martin bomber roared 
down to a landing at the May- 
wood airdrome, and a burly figure 
descended from the rear cockpit and 
waved his hand jovially to the waiting 
Carnes. The secret service man 
hastened over to greet his colleague. 

"Have you got that truck I wired 
you to have ready ?" demanded the 
doctor. 

"Waiting at the entrance; but say, 
I've got some news for you." 

"It can wait. Get a detail of men 
and help us to unload this ship. Some 
of the cases are pretty heavy." 

Carnes hurried off and returned with 
a gang of laborers, who took from the 
bomber a dozen heavy packing cases 
of various sizes, several of them 
labelled either "Fragile" or "Inflam- 
mable" in large type, 

"Where do they go, Doctor?" he 
asked when the last of them had been 
loaded onto the waiting truck. 
""To the First National Bank," re- 
plied Dr. Bird, "and Casey here goes 
with them. You know Casey, don't 
you, Carnes? He is the best photogra- 
pher in the Bureau." 

"Shall I go along too ?" asked 
Carnes as he acknowledged the intro- 
duction. 

"No need for it. I wired Rogers and 
he knows the stuff is coming and what 
to do with it. Unpack as soon as you 
get there, Casey, and start setting up 
as soon as the bank closes." 

"All right, Doctor," replied Casey as 
he mounted the truck beside the 
driver. 



"Where do we go, Doctor?" asked 
Carnes as the truck rolled off. 

"To the Blackstone Hotel for a bath 
and some clean clothes," replied the 
doctor. "And now^what is the news 
you have for me?" 

"The news is this, Doctor. I carried 
out your instructions diligently and, 
duri'ng the daylight hours, the lions 
have not moved." 

DR. BIRD looked contrite. 
"I beg your pardon, Carnes," he 
said. "I really didn't think when I 
left you so mystified how you must 
have felt. Believe me, I had my own 
reasons, excellent ones, for secrecy." 

"I have usually been able to main- 
tain silence when asked to," replied 
Carnes stiffly. 

"My dear fellow, I didn't mean to 
question your discretion. I know that 
whatever I tell you is safe, but there 
are angles to' this affair that are so 
weird and improbable that I don't dare 
to trust my own conclusions, let alone 
share them. I'll tell you all about it 
soon. Did you get those tickets I 
wired for?" 

"Of course I got them, but what have 
two tickets to the A. A. U. track meet 
this afternoon got to do with a bank 
robbery?" 

"One trouble with you, Carnes," re- 
plied the doctor with a judical air, "is 
that you have no idea of the im- 
portance of proper relaxation. Is it 
possible, that you have no desire to see 
Ladd, this new marvel who is smashing 
records right and left, run? He per- 
forms for the Illinois Athletic Club 
this afternoon, and it would not sur- 
prise me to see him lower the world's 
record again. He has already lowered 
the record for the hundred yard dash 
from nine and three-fifths to eight and 
four-fifths. There is no telling what 
he will do." 

"Are we going to waste the whole 
afternon just to watch a man run?" 
demanded Carnes in disgust. 

"We will see many men run, my dear 
fellow, but there is only one in whom 



266 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



I have, a deep abiding interest, and 
that is Mr. Ladd. Have you your-, 
binoculars with you?" 
"No." 

"Then by all means beg, borrow or 
steal two pairs before this afternoon. 
We might easily miss half the fun 
without them. Are our seats near the 
starting line for the sprints?" 

"Yes. TheJaig demand was for seats 
near the finish line." 

"The start will be much more inter- 
esting, Carnes. I was somewhat of a 
minor star in track myself in my col- 
lege days and it will be of the greatest 
interest to me to observe the starting 
form of this new speed artist. Now 
Carnes, don't ask any more questions. 
I may be bafking up the wrong tree 
and I don't want to give you a chance 
to laugh at me. I'll tell you what to 
watch for at the track."' 

THE sprinters lined up on the 
hundred yard mark and Dr. Bird 
and Carnes sat with their glasses 
glued to their eyes watching the slim 
figure in the colors of the Illinois 
Athletic Club, whose large "62" on his 
back identified him as 6 the new star. 

"On your mark!" cried the starter. 
"Get set!" 

"Ah!" cried Dr. Bird. "Did you see 
that, Carnes?" 

'^ne starting gun cracked and the 
runners were off on their short grind. 
Ladd leaped into the lead and rapidly 
distanced the field, his legs twinkling 
under him almost faster than the eye 
could follow. He was fully twenty 
yards in the : lead when his speed sud- 
denly' lessened and- the balance of the 
runners closed. .up. the gap he had 
opened. His lead was too great for 
them, and he was still a good ten yards 
in the lead when he crossed the tape. 
The official time was posted as eight 
and nine-tenths seconds. 

"Another thirty yards and he would 
have been beaten," said Carnes as he 
lowered his glasses. 

"That is the way he has won all of 
his races," repjied the doctor. "He 



piles up a huge lead at first and then 
loses a good deal at the finish. His 
speed doesn't hold up. Never mind 
that, though, it is only an additional 
point in my favor. Did you notice his 
jaws just before the gun went?" 

"They seemed to clench and then he 
swallowed, but most of them did some 
thing like that." 

"Watch hir|i carefully for the next 
heat and see if he puts anything into 
hisV mouth. That is the important 
thing." 

Dr. Bird sank into a brown study 
and paid no attention to the next few 
events, but he came to attention 
promptly when the final heat of the 
hundred yard clash was cajled. With 
his glasses he watched Ladd closely as 
the runner trotted up to the starting 
line. 

"There, Carnes!" he cried suddenly. 
"Did you see?" 

"I saw him wipe his mouth," said 
Carnes doubtfully. l 

"All right, now watch his jaws just 
before the gun goes." 

THE final heat was a duplicate of 
the first preliminary. - Ladd took 
an early lead^vhich he held for three- 
fourths of the distance to the tape, 
then his pace slackened and he finished 
only a bare ten yards ahead of the next 
runner. The time tied his previous 
world's record of eight and four-fifths 
seconds. 

"He crunched and swallowed all 
right. Doctor," said Carnes. 

"That is all I wanted to be sure of. 
Now Carnes, here is something for you 
to do. Get hold of the United States 
Commissioner and get a . John Doe 
warrant and go back to the hotel with 
it and wait for me. I may phone you - 
at any minute and I may not^ If I 
don't, wait in your room until you hea: 
. from me. Don't leave it for a minute." 

"Where are you going, Doctor?" 

"I'm going down and congratulate 
Mr. Ladd. An old track man like me 
can't let such an opportunity pass." 

"I don't know what this is all about, 



THE fHIEP^F TIME 



267 



Doctor," replied Carnes, "but I know 
you well enough to obey orders and to 
keep my mouth shut until it is my 
turn to speak." 

Few men could resist Dr. Bird when 
he set out to make a favorable impres- 
sion, and even a world's champion is 
apt to be flattered by the attention of 
one of the greatest scientists of his 
day,. especially when that scientist has 
made an enviable reputation as an ath- 
lete in his college days and can talk 
the jargon of the champion's particu- 
lar sport. Henry Ladd promptly capit- 
ulated to the charm of the doctor and 
allowed himself to be led away to sup- 
per at Bird's club. The supper passed 
off pleasantly, and when the doctor re- 
quested an interview with the young 
athlete in a private room, he gladly 
consented. They entered the room to- 
gether, remained for an hour and a 
half, and then came out. The smile 
had left Ladd's face and he appeared 
nervous and distracted. The doctor 
talked cheerfully with him but kept a 
firm grip on his arm as they descended 
the stairs together. They entered a 
telephone booth where the doctor made 
several calls, and then descended to the 
street, where they entered a taxi. 

"Maywood airdrome," the doctor told 
the driver. 

TWO hours later the big Martin 
bomber which had carried the 
doctor to Chicago roared away into the 
night, and Bird turned back, reentered 
the taxi, and headed for the city alone. 

When Carnes received the telephone 
call, which was one of those the doc- 
tor made from the booth in his club, 
he hurried over to the First National 
Bank. His badge secured him an en- 
trance and he found Casey busily en- 
gaged in rigging up an elaborate piece 
of apparatus on one of the balconies 
where guards were normally stationed , 
during banking hours. \ , ] 

"Dr. Bird said to tell you to keen .on 
the job all night if necessary," he told 
Casey. "He thinks he will need your 
machine to-morrow." 



"I'11/fiave it ready-to turn on the 
power at four A. M.," replied Casey. 

Carried watched him curiously for a 
whi«His he soldered together the elec- 
trical connections and assembled an ap- 
paratus which looked like a motion pic- 
ture projector. 

"What are you setting up?" hesasked 
at length. 

"It is a high speed motion picture 
camera," replied Casey, "with a tele- 
scopic lens. It is a piece of apparatus 
which Dr. Bird designed while he was 
in Washington last week and which I 
made from his sketches, using some 
apparatus we haeV on hand. It's a 
dandy, all right." 

"What is special about it?" 

"The speed. You know how fast an 
ordinary movie is taken, don't you? 
No? Well, it's sixteen exposures, per 
second. The slow pictures are taken 
sometimes at a hundred and twenty- 
eight or two hundred and fiftjg-six ex- 
posures per second, and then shovel at 
sixteen. This affair will take half a A , 
million pictures per second." 
" "I didn't know that a film would reg- 
ister with that short an exposure." 

"np HAT'S slow," replied Casey 
X with a laugh. "It all depends on 
thelight The best flash-light powder 
gives a flash about one ten-thousandth 
of a second in duration, but that is by 
no means the speed limit of the film.. 
The only trouble is enough light and 
sufficient shutter speed. Pictures have 
been taken by means of spark photog- 
raphy with an exposure of less than 
one three-millionth of a second. The 
whole secret of this machine lies in 
the shutter. This big disc with the 
slots in the edge is set up before the 
lens and run at such a speed that half 
a million slots per second pass before 
the lens. The film, which is sixteen 
-millimeter X-ray film, travels behind 
-the lens at a speed of nearly five miles 
per second. It has to be gradually . 
worked up to this speed, and after the 
whole thing is set up, it takes it nearly 
four hours to get to full speed." 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



"At that speed, it must take a mil- 
lion miles of film before you get up 
steam." 

"It would, if the film were being ex- 
posed. There is only about a hundred 
yards of film all told, which will run 
over these huge drums in an endless 
belt. There is a regular camera shut- 
ter working on an electric principle 
which remains closed. When the 
switch is tripped, the shutter opens in 
about two thirty-thousandths of a sec- 
ond, stays open just one one-hundredth 
of a second, and then closes. This time 
is enough to expose nearly all of our 
film. When we have our picture, I 
shut the current down, start applying 
a magnetic brake, and let it slow down. 
It takes over an hour to stop it without 
breaking the film. It sounds compli- 
cated, but it works all right." 

"Where is your switch?" 

">TAHAT is th£ tridjk part of it. It 
JL is a remote control affair. The 
shutter opens and starts the machine 
taking pictures when the back door 
of the paying teller's cage is opened 
lialf an inch. There is also a hand 
switch in the line that can be opened 
so that you can open the door without 
setting off the camera, if you. wish. 
When the hand switch, is closed and 
the door opened, this is what happens. 
The shutter on the camera opens, the 
machine "takes five thousand pictures 
during the next hundredth of a sec- 
ond, and then the shutter closes,. Those 
five thousand exposures will take about 
five minutes to show at the usual rate 
of sixteen per Second." 

"You said that you had to get plenty 
of light. How are you managing that?" 

"The camera is equipped with a spe- 
cial lens ground out of rock crystal. 
This lens lets in ultra-violet light 
which the ordinary lens shuts out, and 
X-ray film is especially sensitive to 
ultra-violet light. In order to be sure 
that we get enough illumination, I will 
set up these two ultra-violet floodlights 
to illumine the cage. The teller will 
have to wear glasses to protect his eyes 



and he'll get well sunburned, but some- 
thing has to be sacrificed to science, 
as Dr ; Bird is always telling me." 

"It's too deep for me," said Carnes 
with a sigh.^ "Can I do anything to 
help? The doctor told me to stand by 
and do anything I could." 

"I might be able to use you a little 
if you can use tools," said Casey with 
a grin. "You can start bolting-together 
that light proof shield if you want to." 

"T TC TELL, Carnes, did you have an 
W instructive night?" asked Dr. 
Bird cheerfully as he entered the First 
National Bank at "eight-thirty the next 
morning. ; 

"I don't see that I did <much good, 
Doctor. Casey would have had the ma- 
chine ready on time anyway, and I'm 
no machinist." 

"Well, frankly, Carnes, I didn't ex- 
pect you to be of much help to him, 
but I did want you to see what Casey 
was doing, and a little of it was pretty 
heavy for him to handle alone. I sup- 
pose that everything is ready?" 

"The motor reached full speed about 
fifteen minutes ago and Casey went 
out to get a cup of coffee. Would you 
mind telling me the object of the 
whole thing?" 

"Not at all. I plan to make a perma- 
nent record of the work of the most 
ingenious bank robber in the world. I 
hope he keeps his word." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Three days ago when Sturtevant 
sweated a 'confession' out of poor Win- 
ston, the bank got a message that the 
robbery would be repeated this morn- 
ing and dared them to prevent it. Rog- 
ers 'thought it was a hoax, but he tele- 
phoned me and I worked the Bureau 
men night and day to get my camera 
ready in time for him. I am afraid 
that I can't do much to prevent the 
robbery, but I may be able to take a 
picture- of it and thus prevent other 
cases of a like nature." 

"Was the warning written?" 

"No. It was telephoned from a pay 
station in the loop district, and by th« 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



269 



time it was traced and men got there, 
the telephoner was probably a mile 
away. He said that he would rob the 
same cage in the same manner as he 
did before." 

"Aren't you taking any special pre T 
cautions?" 

, "Oh, yes, the bank is putting on extra 
guards and making a lot of fuss of that 
-sort, probably to the great amusement 
of the robber." 

"Why not close the cage for the 
uay?" 

"Then he would rob a different one 
«nd we would have no way i)f photo- 
graphing his actions. ' To be sure, we 
will put dummy money there, bundles 
with bills on the outside and paper on 
the inside, so if I don't get a picture 
of him, he won't get much. Every bill 
in the cage will be marked as well." 

"Did he say at what time he would 
operate?" 

"No, he didn't, so we'll have to stand 
by all day. Oh, hello, Casey, is every- 
thing all right?" 

"As sweet as chocolate candy, Doc- 
tor. I have tested it out thoroughly, 
and unless we have to run it so long 
that the film wears out and breaks, we 
are sitting pretty. If we don't get the 
pictures you are looking for, I'm a 
vodo, and I haven't been called that 
yet." "" ' 

"Good work, Casey. Keep the bear- 
ings oiled and pray that the film doesn't 
break." 

THE bank had been opened only 
ten minutes when the clangor of 
gongs announced a robbery. It was 
practically a duplicate of the first: The 
paying teller had turned from his win- 
dow to take some bills from his rack 
and had found several dozens of bun- 
dles missing. As the gongs sounded, 
Dr. Bird and Casey leaped to the cam- 
era. 

"She snapped, Doctor !" cried j£asey 
as he threw two switches. "It'll take 
an hour to stop and half a day to de- 
velop the film, but I ought to be able 
to show you wS!9*we got by to-night." 



"Good enough!" cried Dr. Bird. "Go 
ahead while I try to calm down the 
bank officials. Will you have every- 
thing ready by eight o'clock?" 

"Easy, Doctor," replied Casey as he 
turned v to the magnetic brake. * 

By eight o'clock quite a crowd had 
assembled in a private room at the 
Blackstone Hotel. Besides Dr. Bird 
and Carnes, Rogers and several other 
officials of the First National Bank 
were present, together with Detective- 
Captain Sturtevant and a group of the 
most prominent scientists and physi- 
cians gathered from the schools of the 
city. ~ . 

"Gentlemen," said Dr. Bird when all 
had taken seats facing a miniature 
moving picture screen on one wall, "to- 
night I expect to show you some pic- 
tures which will, I am sure, astonish 
you. It marks the advent of a new de- 
parture in transcendental medicine. I 
will be glad to answer any questions 
you may wish to ask and to explain 
the pictures after they are shown, but 
before we start a discussion, I will ask 
that you examine what I have to show 
you. Lights out, please !" 

He stepped to the rear of trie room 
as the lights went, out. As his eyes 
grew used to the dimness of the room 
he moved forward and took a vacant 
seat. His hand fumbled in his pocket 
for a second. 

"Now!" he cried suddenly. 

In the momentary silence which fol- 
lowed his cry, two dull metallic clicks 
could be heard, and a quick cry that 
was suddenly strangled as Dr. Bird 
clamped his hand over the mouth of 
the man who sat between him and 
Carnes. 

"All right, Casey," called the doctor. 

THE whir of a projection machine 
could be heard and on the screen 
before them leaped a picture of the pay-' 
ing teller's cage of the First National 
Bank. Winston's successor was stand- 
ing motionless at the wicket, his lips 
parted in a smile, but the attention of 
all was riveted on a figure who moved 



270 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



at the back of the cage. As the picture 
started, the figure was bent over an 
opened suitcase, stuffing into it bundles 
of bills. He straightened up and 
reached to the rack for more bills, and 
an he did so he faced the camera full 
for a moment. He picked up other 
bundles of bills, filled the suitcase, fas- 
tened it in a leisurely manner, opened 
the rear door of the cage and walked 
out. 

"Again, please!" called Dr. Bird/, 
"And stop when he faces us full." 

The picture was repeated and 
stopped at the point indicated. 

"Lights, please!" cried the doctor. 

The lights, flashed on and Dr. Bird 
rose to his feet, pulling up after him 
the wilted figure of a middle-aged man. 

"Gentlemen," said the doctor in ring- 
ing tones, "allow me to present to you 
Professor James Kirkwood of the fac- 
ulty of the Richton University, for- 
merly known as James Collier of the 
Bureau of Standards, and robber of 
the First National Bank." - 

Detective-Captain Sturtevant jumped 
to his ieet and cast a searching glance 
at the captive. 

"He's the man all right," he cried. 
"Hang on to him until I get a wagon 
here!" 

"Oh, shut up!" said Carnes. "He's 
under federal arrest just now, charged 
with the possession of narcotics. When 
we are through with him, you can have 
him if you^want him." 

"How did you get that picture, Doc- 
tor?" cried the cashier. "I watched 
that cage every minute during the 
morning and I'll swear that man never 
entered and stole that money as the. 
picture shows, unless he managed to 
make himsel'f invisible.", 

"VTOU'RE closer to the truth than 
X you suspect, Mr. Rogers," said 
Dr-Bird. "It is not quite a matter* of 
invisibility, but something pretty close 
to it. It is a matter of catalysts," 

"What kind of cats ?" asked the cash- 
ier. 

"Not cats, Mr. Rogers, .catalysts. 



Catalysts is the name ul a chemical re- 
action consisting essentially of a de- 
composition and a new combination 
effected by means of a catalyst which 
acts on the compound bodies in ques- 
tion, but which goes through the reac- 
tion itself unchanged. There are a 
great many of them which are used in 
the arts and in manufacturing, and 
while their action is not always clearly 
understood, the results are well known 
and can be banked on. 

"One of the commonest instances of 
the use of a catalyst is the use of 
sponge platinum in the manufactu»e of 
sulphuric acid. I will not burden you 
with the details of the 'contact' proc- 
ess, as it is known, but the combina- 
tion is effected by means of finely di- 
vided platinum which is neither 
changed, consumed or wasted during 
the process. While there are a number 
of other catalysts known, for instance 
iron in reactions in which metallic mag- 
nesium is concerned, the commonest 
are the metals of the platinum group. 

"Less is known of the action of cata- 
lysts in the organic reactions, but it 
has been the subject of intensive study 
by Dr. Knolles of the Bureau of Stan- 
dards for several years. His Studies of 
the ( effects of different-colored lights, 
that is, rays of different wave-lengths, 
on the reactions which constitute 
growth in plants have had a great ef- 
fect on hothouse forcing of plants and 
promise to revolutionize the truck gar- 
dening industry. He has speeded up i 
the rate of growth to as high as ten 
times the normal rate in some cases. 

"A few years ago, he. and his assis- 
tant, James Collier, turned their atten- 
tion "'toward discovering a catalyst 
which would do for the metabolic re- 
actions in animal life what his light 
rays did for plants. What his rdethod 
was, I will not disclose for obvious 
reasons, but suffice it to say that he met 
with great success. He took a puppy 
and by treating it with his catalytic 
drugs, made it grow to maturity, pass 
through its e,ritire normal life span, 
and die of old age in six months." 



THE THIEF OF TIME 



Til 



.**TpHAT is very interesting, Doctor, 

X but I fail to see what bearing it 
has on the robbery." 

"Mr. Rogers, how, on a dark day and 
in the absence of a timepiece, would 
you judge the passage of time?" 

"Why, by my stomach, I guess." 

"Exactly. By your metabolic rate. 
You eat a meal, it digests, you expend 
the energy which you have taken into 
your system, your stomach becomes 
empty and your system demands more 
energy. You are hungry and you judge 
that some five or six hours must have 
passed since you last ate. Do you fol- 
low?" 

"Certainly." 

"Let us suppose that by means of 
some tonic, some catalytic drug, your 
rate of metabolism and also your rate 
of expenditure of energy has been in- 
creased six fold. You would eat a meal 
and in one hour you would be hungry 
again. Having no timepiece, and as- 
suming that you were in a light-proof 
room, you would judge that some five 
hours v had passed, would you not?" 

"I expect so." 

"Very well. Now suppose that this 
accelerated rate of digestion and ex- 
penditure of energy continued. You 
would be sleepy in perhaps three hours, 
would sleep about an hour and a quar- 
ter, and would then wake, ready for 
your breakfast. In other words, you 
would have lived through a day in four 
hours," 

"What advantage would there be in 
that?" 

"None,- from your standpoint. It 
wo<uld, however, increase the rate of 
reproduction of cattle greatly and 
might' be a great boom to agriculture, 
but we will not discuss this phase now. 
Suppose it were possible to increase 
your rate of metabolism and expendi- 
ture of energy, in other words, your 
rate of living, not- six times, but thirty 
thousand times. In such a case you 
would live five minutes in one one- 
hundredth of a second." 

"Naturally, and you would live a 
year in about seventeen and one-half 



minutes, and a normal lifespan of sev- 
enty years in about twenty hours. You 
would be as badly off as any common 

may-fly," 

" A G REED - but suppose that you 
XA could so regulate the dose of 
your catalyst that its effect would last 
for only one one-hundredth of a sec- 
ond. During that short period of time, 
you would be able to do the work that 
would ordinarily take you five minutes. 
In other words, you could enter a bank, 
pack a satchel with currency and walk 
out. You would be working in a lei- 
surely manner, yet your actions would 
have been so quick that no human eye 
could have detected them. This is my 
theory of what actually took place. 
For verification, I will turn to Dr. 
Kirkwood, as he prefers to be known 
now." 

"I don't know how you got that pic- 
ture, but what you have said is about 
right," replied the prisoner. 

"I got that picture by using a speed 
of thirty thousand times the normal 
sixteen exposures per second," replied 
Dr. Bird. "That figure I got from Dr. 
Knolles, the man who perfected the 
secret you stole when you left the Bu- 
reau three years ago. You secured only 
part of it and I suppose it took all your 
time since to perfect and complete it. 
You gave yourself away when you ex- 
perimented on young Ladd. I was a 
track man myself in my' college days 
and when I saw an account of his run- 
ning, I smelt a rat, so I came back and 
watched him,. As soon as I saw him 
crush and swallow a capsule just as the 
gun was fired, I was sure, and got hold 
of him. He was pretty stubborn, but 
he finally told me what name you were 
running under now, and the rest was 
easy. * I would have got you in time 
anyway, but your bravado in telling us 
when you would next operate gave me 
the idea of letting you do it and photo- 
graphing yoij, at work. That is all I 
have to say. Captain Sturtevant, you 
can take your prisdner whenever you 
want him." 



ASTOUNDING STORIES 



W T RECKONED without you, Dr. 

X Bird, but the end hasn't come yet. 
You may send me up for a few years, 
but you'll never find that money. I'm 
sure of that." 

"Tut, tut, Professor," laughed 
Carries. "Your safety deposit box in 
the Commercial National is already 
sealed until a court orders it opened. 
The bills you took this morning were 
all marked, so that is merely additional 
proof, if we needed it. You surely 
didn't think that such a transparent 
device as changing your name from 
'James Collier' to 'John Collyer' and 
signing with your left hand instead 
Of your right would fool the secret 



service, did you? Remember, your old 
Bureau records showed you to be am- 
bidexterous." 

"What about Winston's confession ?** 
asked Rogers suddenly. 

"Detective-Captain Sturtevant can 
explain that to a court when Mr. Win- 
ston brings suit against him for false 
arrest and brutal treatment," replied 
Carnes. 

"A very interesting case, Carnes," re- 
marked the doctor a few hours later. 
"It was an enjoyable interlude in the 
routine of most of the cases on which 
you consult me, but our play time is 
over. We'll have to get after that 
counterfeiting case to-morrow." 



IN THE NEXT ISSUE 



BRIGANDS OF THE MOON 

Beginning an Amazing Four-part Interplanetary Novel 
By RAY CUMMINGS 



THE SOUL MASTER 

A Thrilling Novelette of the Substitution of Personality 
By WILL SMITH- and R. J. ROBBINS 



COLD LIGHT 

An ICxtraordinary Scientific Mystery 

By CAPT. S. P. MEEK 



ER STl 



—AND MANY OTHER STORIES, OF COURSE 




You can save money 
and 'get a better motor car 

if you buy 
according to the Studebaker Pledge plan 

OVER I5I>,W0 THRIFTY AMERICAN 
CITIZENS DID LA3T YEAR! 



A well constructed car, sold at 40 or 50 per cent of 
its original price, offers maximum transportation 
value. Studebaker dealers offer many fine used cars — 
Studebakers, Erskirjes and other makes— which have 
been driven only a ffcwjjhousand miles. ((Recondition- 
ing of mechanical parts, refinishing of bodies give 
new car life to these cars at prices no greater than 
you must pay for a cheap new car. And as a final 
measure of protection, these cars are sold according to 
the Studebaker Pledge — whichofFers 5 days' driving trial 
on all cars and a 30-day guarantee on all certified cars. 
((Prices being plainly marked provides the same price 
for everyone. Millions of people buy "used" houses. 
Every car on the road is a used car the 
week after it is purchased. 



tnvtst2c—you may save $290 



STUDEBAKER 

Builder of Champions 




CflZail the coupon 
below for the free 
booklet. — The ic 
scamp is an inrett- 
noentwhich may sate 
you at much as $ 20a 
in buy i n g a nioc or car '. 



Tltl ST"OI*AKEB CoHPOHATlON Of AMERICA 

Dept. 232 , South Bend, Indiana 

Please send mc copy of "How to Judge a Used Car 



City... 



Please mention Newsstand GroW— Mum's List, when answering 




Amazingly Easy 
Way to Get Into 

ELECTRICITY 

Don't spend yonrbf ewaJtmar for K raises In a doll. hopeless job. 
Now ...simI forever ...i»y good-bye to 25 and 86 dollar* a week. 
Let me teach you how to prepare fee positions thai lead te $50, 
«♦, sael en up to (300 a weak 1- KUetricity — NOT by corres- 
pondence, but by an amaiing way to teach right lure I* the 
INM C«tm M if f that make* yon a practical expert In 90 
deyal Getting Into electricity la far eaaiar than you i magi iiei 

LEARN WITHOUT BOOKS - In 90 Dayi 

»y Artw*I W«rft— in tint Grewf Coyn« *Jwp* 

Leek of experience— age, or advanced education bars no one. 
I don't car* If yon don't know an armature from an air brake 
— f den't expect yon to! It make* no difference I Don't let lack 
of money atop you. Moot of the men at Coyne have no more 
money than yon have. That's why I have worked oat my *e- 
tonlabtng off ere. 

Earn Whll* l*amh\* 

If yon need part- time work to help pay your living expeneee m 
help you ret it and when you graduate I'll (five you lifetime 
employment service. And. m 12 brief weeka. la the great 
reevtec shape *■ Ceyate, I train you as yon never dreamed you 
coold be trained. ..on one of the greatest outlays of electrical 
apparatus aver assembled... real dynamos, engines, power 
plants, autos, switchboards, transmitting' stations . ... every- 
thing from door bells to («rm power and lighting . . . fall sized 
. . , Iniuil operation every day I 

No Books — No L*Mwon* 

NoetaQ books, no baffling charts, no classes, yougetinairldusl trslti tog. .. 
tores , ope rating real motora , d y nanioe and ge n^rato rs , .wiring bo^sea , etc . 
pBT mp 17AaT*2 Coyne isyonr one great chance toget. 
Wfil Ileal (Al>13 Into electricity. Every obstacle is re- 
moved. Thin school isSOyeara old — Coyne training is tested — proven 

■ -v 1 !'!;<■■■ i v ' '.<■>: ■■■,!.■- . ■ ■ ■■ '.■ ■-!,:-',!,:-! oneerna, Vou can 

- . : <■: ■. ,■ .-:::-:'.' :■::!-,.;-'.■'■' ;":-•?. ;-':v^-;v mail the coupon and let me 
■end yoa the big. :.-•■■ C ■■.-:■• ^b(..<:« :S :v; !-■'•. otosnrap'hs . . .facta . . . jobs 
■■-.'■■ . . '.>\v\--:\vf~. ■■'.■•: :■■•.■■ ■..■■!; £sp=iises while 

training and how we assist cur graduates in the fisld. This do*S not 
obligate you. So act at once. Jn»t mail coupon. 

BIG BOOK FREE! 

Send for my big book cor^issinE J Si photographs telling completa 
story— absolutely FREE 

rnVXTV ELECTRICAL SCHOOL 

Vi V JL £^ S!J 500 S. PwlriuSt., D«rt. 20-30 , CMufS. ML 

f 

J 



COYNE ELECTRICAL SCHOOL, H. C.J.ewis, Prw. f 

I 



is: Without obligation Mcul roc vovr bis.- 
:. ';: ; i- ./■ :■';■,■.■■ :•:■::;.■.:' /: ....-: '.:■.; 
Autcioiotive Electrical Uuunws, and I 



Name— 



.' .. ... — State a. 

•cntion Ni:\vssTA:. : i; Group — Men 




List, when ans-.vering advertisements 



"Pardon me, gentlemen" 

Business men gargle daily to check colds and sore throat 



Why is Listerine to be found in the offices of 
a majority of American business men? Whydo 
they use it at. the noon hour? Why do' they 
sometimes halt important meetings, to gargle 
with it? 

Simply because, like you, they recognize in 
this safe antiseptic a swift, effective enemy of 
sore throat and the common cold. Used at the 
first sign of trouble, it has prevented thousands 
of cases from becoming serious. 

Its effectiveness is due to its amazing power to 
destroy disease germs, millions of which lodge 
in the oral cavity. Though safe to use and 



pleasant to taste, full strength Listen ne k$Gs 
even such resistant organisms as the Staphy- 
lococcus Aureus ^P 1 * 8 ) *&& Bacillus Typhosus 
(typhoid) in counts ranging to 200,000,000 in 
15 seconds. We could not make this statement 
unless prepared to prove it to the entire satis- 
faction of the medical profession and the U. S. 
Government. * 

As a preventive of sore throat and colds use 
Listerine systematically every day. And at the 
first definite sign that either is developing, in- 
crease the frequency of the gargle. You will be 
amazed to see how quickly the condition disap- 
pears. Lambert Phannacal Co., St. Louis, Mo. 



LISTERINE for SORE THROAT 

Kills 200,000,000 germs in 15 seconds 

Please mention Newsstand Group — Hen's List, when answering advertisements 



High School 

Course in 
Two Years! 



Ym Want to Earn Big Money! 

■rill b<* be MthAwt ttlaaa you um tfudr pro- 
But are you prepared (or the lob ahead of you? 
n* aauie up to the standard that Insures aucceea? 
■or a rawe rawponaibte position a fairly good education ia 
naffeaaauy. To write a sensible bosinesa Tetter, Co prepare 
eetJtoatea, to figyre coat and to compute interest, you 
nwatbav* a certain amount of preparation. All thiajou 
mutt In able to do before you will earn promotion. 
Many buaineae houaeafair a no me n whose general know- 
Jadge la not equal to a"rilan school course, why? Because 
fata: baefneas refuses to burden itaelf with men who are 
barred f torn promot ion by the lack of elementary education. 

Cm Yon Qualify for a Better Peatroa 

We haye a plan whereby you can. Wecangiveyou a com- 
plete but simplified high achool course in two years, giving 
too all the essentials that form the foundation of practical 
business. It will prepare you to hold your own where 
competition la keen and exacting. Do not doubt your abili- 



YOU CAN DO F 



ty. w 

the r 



rt us ahow you how to get on the road to success. 
will not coat you a single working hour. Write today, 
coat* you nothing but a stamp. 

American School 

B*pt. H-237 Drtxcl Avf. and 5Sch St., Chicago 



'.American School 

D* P i. H-237 Drejtel At*. ™J 58th St., Chicago 

Send me full information on-the subject checked and how. 
joa will help me win success. 



Business Law 

Lawyer 

, Machine Shop Practice 

.Mechanical Engineer 

Shop Superintendent 

Employment Manager 



.Architect 

.Building Contractor 

.Automobile Engineer . 

. Autom ob il e Repa i rman 

.Civil Engineer 

.Structural Engineer 

.Business Manager * ....Steam EnL_.„ 

.Cert. Public Accountant , . , .Foremanahip 

.Accountant and Auditor . . . .Sanitary Engineer 

.Bookkeeper 

.Draftsman and Designer , 

.ElectricalEngineer . 

.Electric Light & Tower 

.General Education . 

.Vocational Guidance 



Name..,.. 
Address. 



•extra 1 

STRONG 

IMPROVED MODEL 

COPPER 



<£' 



kVE 

Moit Practical 
Boiler & Cooker 

H«l* wittluveS-lnch Tin- 
Eaally Cl.onoa 

C bGh ftorWo ooa) 
r?S^K 




SELL 

SHIRTS 




gtart w Wwt li»nf i .| hi tl 

l«oat»hJ»! shirt bqaluiaa of your ■ 

Ei, Taka orders in your dutrietfj 
nsdooslly known Bo*toni«n 
ra.flJOMMfMli " 
OBi»leof3.birt»for«.9t ._ 
f>«M. tsnloe, rif.r»nti!*>dl'Mtcolon 
No azpariaaea aaadad. Couplste ««in« 
GOOD PAT rOlt HONEST 

jWTWW 

DEAFNESS IS MISERY 

_„ • MuJtuadtt of pci-KMi wiih itltcUm bcu>« r . 
1^ R rewmble Tint MtaipSon*? *"H _ , 

**^ tht in«r,"r *Am°wuiJm*»tHd«.f; : 
a. 0. U MWM). be- tarta Mg, 7» 6gj tot. . Hew Tw* 




Bast. HO CWcagi 



DontStop lobacco 

Without precautions against injurious effects. 
Baco-Cure gives tha necessary assistance. Uae to- 
bacco while you take it. Haa aided hundreds. Com- 
plete $5.00 treatment guaranteed to get results or 
money refunded. Write for booklet. ■ 
Eureka Chemical Co., B- 26 Columbus. Ohio 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's -List, when answering advertisements 




AT HOME 



My new, practical, araasir 

pare* yoo. quickly to fin * 

)ab», either on the ground 

%C» to $150 a week. I w 

Kit one of the iho««W^ of air and grotind job* now 

open, and I heip yotj hod jour light [dace in Ariattcn. 



Hornc Stody Gwarac per- 
il the fascinating Asiatics 
is a skUkd flyer paring 
rocceed q«c£ly " 



■ 



1*11 Help You Get Tour Job 



wmrrxi D*«fc »-* 



MAJOR ft, L. ROCK WaXI. 

7"A, Dmyfn Stk»ol oj Avittism 



Smfl&tilejku mwrt 

Pincers faH naturally 

into playing poeitioQ 
Makes it extremely 
easy to play rapidly 
oatot' 




MEN WANTED FOR RAILROADS 

Nearest their homes— eTerywhere — to train for Firemen,. Biakemen; 
areraae waeei J150-J200 monthly. Promoted to Conductor of 
Enjineer— liijhest wacea on railroad*. Also uteris. Railway 
Educational Association, Dept. D-30, Brooklyn, New York. 



Bi°> 



MONEY/iV 
POVLTKYh 



If you want a real Job — at real par or if y 
want to start profitable- business of your own 
become a trained Poultry/man. It's interesting, 
healthful, profitable. Our famous home study 
Course gives short cuts to success. Write for 
Fie* Book. "How to liaise Poultry for Profit." 
Ntuwil Pwftij iMfittte, Deal. 415-F, WisUaffn. D.C 




SPORT OF A 

THOUSAND THRILLS 



u the pyt*i»' 



EaCER 
power un- 
der instant 
control — speed 
~~ tnaTleavek the car' 
parades behind — light- 
ning response to throttle 
and brakes 
— these arc just a few of the thou* 
sand thrills of nootorcycling. Ask 
any Harley-Davidson rider — hell 
tell you of dozens more. And they 
are all yours at low cost, in a 
Harley- Davidson "45"— the won- 
derful Twin at a popular price. 

Let your dealer show you the 1930 fea- 
ture* of this motorcycle — try the com- 
fortable, lowswune saddle — get the 
**feel" of this wonder Twin. Ask about 
his Pay-As-You-Ride Han. 

Mail the Coupon! 

«AC for literature showing out fuB 

i%.\» / *' ^A JtiM of Single*, Twin*, and Side 

^" ^ . ear*. Motorcycle pricei range 

fTOtn $23! J. o. (?■ factory. 

Harley-Davidson 



HARLEY- DAVIDSON MOTOR COMPANY 
Dept. N. 5. G-. Milwaukee, Wis. 

Interested in your motorcycles. Send literature. 

Address....- 

My age is Q 16-19 yeara, □ 20-30 years, □ 31 yea: 
• up, Q under 16 years. Check your age group. 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 




^How I Licked 
Wretched Old 
Age at 63" 

I Quit Cutting up Nlghta — BanUhed Foot and 
L«» Pain. . . . Got Rid of Rhaum»tic Palo, 
and Con*tip.tion . . . ImprovtH My Health 
Generally . . . Found R«n«w*d Strength. 

"■at'Si— ! ihotitht I itm -tJiioufa. 1 Mimed Old Has. but it 
nw<T f.i-urrpd :,. r.tr to mrMaiJy Ugh: btck. I w*» m)> half- 
li'tat. fetilnir uu niHin . . . ronssiparwi . . . ponsi.nK ly !our.i-niHt 

«»bie. J had iU-.'-i: ;:-,<■;: r,i hovfl when a Uortjjr 1 

your treatment. Then u 63, it seemed that I shook off- 30 ye*r« 

iimoil overnight." 

Forty— The Danger Age 

These ue the t»«s. fiist is 1 iearned them. In 45% ' of all 



c*il«d * notable aoiiievemerit of the *se. 
A »««•■*! briiraliM for M™ Fart « 

I'S >•.;'■'>■ -,3 hi' fif!«'n s;srr lin;;, ;;..: jirowih 
■At.iii. Ti.:-< !:<■•* i;v^:.--nft ■■; rabidly n^nir.* in 




THE ELECTRO THERMAL COMPANY 

ivIUe, Ohio 



T henna 
Angttti 

ma! 


ive West of ihe 
Co,, 303 Van N 
Calif. In'-Garia 

Co., neflt-48-C, 5 




Dili 
■ it 


,Tt. 

SS '1 

St.; 


r'css .The Elect ro 
Dept; mC: Los 
i FU n n r 
rbronto. Can.. . 


THE E 
4825 H 

Address 
.City— 


ECTRO 
jrrii Ave 


THERMAL 

, Steubeny 


CO 


Ohio 


















— 




— 


„ ; _ 


_..._ !■ 


"■'<■-.— -:— 



SowTo Secure A 
ovemment Position 



Woy worry about strikes, layoff*, hard 
timet? Get a Goterumont lob] In- 
crea-vd Miiriw, strati y with, triid. 
fi,.d ;jv. EjtaJiiinil ;<:":i rasming I'll 



i I'wtial UerK. .t'.xit DIB'-'' t 



mwit W) 



«*,! t 



NOW FRKI 

My SI -pais book tell* about th* fob* 
AJ'lTnV'K It. VAT- 




Mh .U..Mi»| 

SEND NO MONEY fe^.^ 



98- 

SttD NO MONEY iBMSSSSMtt 

. ..* ,...111 ihMi ,w» b—.ufal HI. Ilk. 
w.'.h ord«r uu] W4 par E"fl(a««. SI*EC1AL 

1U1 Owl*K««l. 




ILAXK CAItHDOI PISTOL 




A RAILWAY 

TRAFFIC INSPECTOR 



h Fw ■ Psaitiw 




atea^P 
















S U»4«r d Btuiaiw TraUtif laitiiata 
£HV. 11 SUFFALO, K. Y. 



Sleep Disturbed? 

If irritating kidney excretions frequently disturb your 
sleep or cause backache, leg pains and mate yoti feel 
tired, achy, depressed and discouraged, why not try 
the Cystex 48 Hour Test? No dopes or habit-form- 
ing drugs. List of pure ingredients in each package. 
Get Cystejf {pronounced Siss-tex) at your drug 
store for only 60c. Use all of it. See how it works. 
Money back if it doesn't satisfy you completely. 



Please mention Newsstand' Gkwp— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



§**: 



I toeaiEiIi5edi)F I 



mm] n*jg tibon tor oar I 

Order* ann« «*«y wh«o yoo • 

»wdi ntuapUa mad amort wtjrU*. W« j 



MmvTm H*w — youdon'LRMd ta> 

know triytbinf about uukwiag ■-■■itarjly j 

FMK siirf "* 

■ 



uBom) IB j-our older ante ta any 
Nate MO. la «M| floe «o ywa ca»i. E 

Funarsas 



MORS PAY with 



cv? 



ft Li* QMjb*f Spa roa. Woa- 
daa-fnl fnea Ink*. ootfit rata 
tgjajdr f r at y i rh w a~ mm'* ttflrta, 
Tlaa, UraierTra**'. Bo*W. Ua- 
.atchaMa Taftwa. OaJqaa BwiHsai 
*bjn». Irrme l»A gu ar*» t«a. Tan 
»'t fall witi Qaaiar. Writ* for 
J jour Fnee oo tfl t »J)W. 
QUAKER SHI RT CORPORATI Oft 

1MT f»M»iaa,M-V~ 



FRENCH 

LOVE DROPS 

An Mrthaattrn i«roUn perfsm* of irte- 
tlatible ttjarra. difidlM for boon Ilka 
lowc* loath Ca part. Jam a few 
drota an mwijh.. Full abta bottta 
Me. p repaid or 11 X C. 0. D. ptna 
Boatan. Dtraetiona with wary n»«. 
FliXK: 1 fuil naa bottle il jOu 
ortar J Wale. D'ORO CO. 
fie* M, Vartafc Watlaa. Haw Y«rk 



NO JOKE TO BE DEAF 

i KNOWS THAT 





Be A Detective 

Make Secret Investigations 

Earn Big Money. Work home or travel. 
Fascinating work. Experience unnecessary. 
DETECTIVE Particulars FREE, Write NOW to 

SEP. jj. WA6HER, 21 90 Brttatfw ay, New York 

TOBACCO 



i men and women used Superb* Remedy to help stop 

Cigarettes. Cigars, Pipe, Chewing or Snuff. Write for full treatment 
co trial Contains no dope or habit forming drugs. Costs *2£0 if 
successful, nothing if not SUPERBA CO. , AH, Bslfcrrw*, Ma. 




I CRI 



APPARATUS CO., 

W Parker Ate., Marie****". N. 

rur offer. S'rr.'l -j:'.- «rw.-h:rii. '■ 
by return mail, i wdH par »a 



H 



aeiUfied a/lw ei»--n ioatioa I nan r«um the goodi awl yu* 

will refund bit tnboajr. 

Note— No C. 0. D. Ordsn to Foreinn CennrHai *r Canada, 



i Ccty„ _ 






Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



a Win $350Qgg 



last, an old man of'fi9, out of work, won i 
months thousands of dollars will be awarded 

FIND THE TWIN FLYERS 

Watch out! These twelve pictures of a famous woman flyer all look alike— BUT— two, and only 
two, are eiactly alike. Find thaw twin flyari! Some pictures are different In the collar, helmet, 
goggles, or tip. Remember, only two of the twelve sre eiactly alike. Find them, and send the aumbora of 
' flyers on a post card or letter_today_. _ Ifcorrect, you r answ e r will q ualify you for this opportunity, 

$7X&0.fi>O IN FUZES GIVEN THIS TIME 

Over 25 prizes, and duplicate prizes Id case of tie*. It's up to the winner whether he or she 
chooses (2815,00 tn caah or a new Waco airplane, a tile" automobile, or a new home. A gorgeous prize 
list I ANYONE -, THiq P UZZLE CORK B Eb OR CASH. 

S*35.00 ADDITIONAL FOR PROMPTNESS 

Re prompt! It pays. Find the real twin flyers, and I will send Certlfleate which will be good 




IciB, Uhamt, and fwiwr malar priio wboen. 
I prlH*. Be one or than. Saod tno ntsnben oi 
• twin flyers. Send do money, _t be prims*. 



irise. Imagine, a first prize of 1850(1.00! / 

J. D. SNYOER, Oapt, *«, 14 W. Mnoa' ~ " ' 




fP^ 



THAW 
FOR 



AVIATION 




Hundreds of meo are already training for big-psr Avia- 
tion Jobs through Lt. Hinton's practical home-study course. 
This thorough training is Just the foundation you heed 
to enter Aviation ta any of Its many branches., for the 
course covers Terms and Deflniilona, .Principles of .Flight,-. 
Rifting, Repairing, Construction. Instruments, A.eroio*ry, 
Engines, Ignition. Carburetlon, Airports; AWatitm I'tm 
A to Z. After graduation Hinton's Baaployment Depart- 
ment puts you in touch vri(h real Jobs, or, if you. want 
to be & pilot, Illnton arranges special flying rates ar ' a» ,, 
accredited 'Air College near your home. Simon- trained 
men are in demand and they are mak- 
ing good. His Big Free Book explains 
k everything. Bend .for your copy at 

•bmd roK nnioot> 




WALTER HINTON, President, 316-0 
Aviatisn Institute *f U., S. A. -, 
HIS Conn. Ave., Washington, - D. C 



.....___; State..... 



-_l 



<£(~% often made in one 



, iymanyafowsaks. 



strai 



xi dally. Credit; 

bono*. We deliver or yon 



Sahve 



■salary for your own use, I want 




NEW SCIENTIFIC WONDER 




FKB* PkT radio 
camera. YM'II Ilka t 
MARVEL MF6. CO,. 



TRAVEL- for > UNCLES An; 



RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS 

MAIl CAAMZM— POaTOFVICE GUUI 

sensul cuut-mma mtneroas 
$1700 to $3400 a Tear tor Life 



> usually sufficient. / _ 

STEADY WORK 

Cut cojipbn and mall it before turning the T>*go 



\: 



MEN—BOYS 
18 to 45 

txmom Mm Y«i UN It | 



COUPON 

I FRANKLIN IN8TWUTE, Dast. EM7, Rochsifar, V. Y. 

«■ BimIiHm, fr«<ifitiiri>. 11) A f»ll d*.eHp*i<m o( U>* «<tt« 
oooiT-yiai »*, jtf isafflow ebtahiefi*! - (») T«" -■ 

| a***™ SlwSaf % (\vmwiM) □ Gtmni tm <mmo?W) 

" QHlim Clark (If7Wnrfr3ll^aEBj»*llttis«t" P»B_- 
I) .QCIrj Mil Csmef fSfit«t$:i«)G«ifliMl«CsrtirfS21lllaJij1l) 

• Address . *_'_. . , - — ___' -■ 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when' answering adyerti-s 



£laat (best Expander 



tunity for 
one to develop 
big muscles and 
obtain great strength 

using this heavy-tensk 

PBOQBESarVB EXER- 
CISER, adjustable from 20 
.. 2(H) lbs. resistance. Complete 
instructions with, each exerciser. 
Get rid of those aches and pains, indigestion, 
con sti pat ion. headaches, etc. Build up your body 
and look like a teal He-man. 
BEND NO MONEY! 

Sbnoly p»j tb 



.resuc- 



Vftoabttt 



Prafnuire ExercuerC*.-. 

Depfc 5602, Uageo- BaHeW 

Ihnm Street **4 Broadway 

MewTsrkCttr 





- gmartnnWia 

•-"WW 



Jffi"Sffi£S'SSSrsas!!£SSI B! 



HOW SHARP IS YOUR RAZORJ 



vices . . . puts teen cutting edge on any raw blade. . . . 
Easyto apply . . . result* assured. Makes, you feel like 
singing when you shave. $1 postpaid. 

NO-HONE COMPANY 
3124 California. St. Omaha, Nebraska 



PATENTS 

e counts in applying for patents. Don't risk delay in 

acting your ideas. Bend sketch or model for tnstruc- 

m or writ* for FREE book, "How to Obtain aTPatont" 

and "Record of Invention" form. No charge for Infonna- 
-'— m how to proceed. Communications strictly oonflden- 
Prompt, careful, efficient service. Clarence * 
eK, Registered Patent Attorney, 187" ~ 

and Camfii'l Bank Building (oirec 

| from PateniT Office) Washbagten, D. C. 

STOP Tobacco 

No human being can escape the harmful effects of tobacco 
Don't try to quit withoot assistance. Let our tirade inexpensive 
remedy help you. A complete treatment costs but fg. 09. Every 
penny oromptjy refunded if you do not get desired rosulta. 

Ours la a hanrtaai preparation, carefully compounder' to oyer- 
some the condition, that will make Quitting of tobacco pleasant, 
- back guarantee. 

) OMAMAr WEBB. 



SONG WRITERS/ 



SUBSTANTIAL ADVANCE ROYALTIES 
are paid on work found acceptable for publica- 
tion. Anyone wishing to write either the words or 
music for songs may submit work for free ex- 
amination ana advice:P«t«3*erienceBnneccjjary. 
New demand- created by "Talking Pictures' 
fully described in our free book. Write for ft 
Toljay. NEWCpMERjASSOCIATES 




733 Earle Building, New York 




STOP WORRYING 

about Money 




Here's a New, Easy 
Way to Make 

45aD<ty 



YES — here's a wonderful opportunity to 8tart right 
in making $15 in a day. You can have plenty of 
money tcf pay your hills, to Epend for new clothes, 
furniture, radio,, pleasure trips, or whatever you want. 
No more pinching pennies or counting the nickels and 
dimes. No more saying "We can't afford it." That's 
the biggest mistake any man or woman ever made. And 
I'll prove it. 

Van Allen Makes $100 a Week 

lust send me your name and address and I'll give yon some facts 
that will open your eyes. I'll show you how L. C. Van Allen, of 
Illinois, quit a 123-a-week Job, took bold of my proposition, and 
made better than tlQO a week! Then there's Gustav Kamath, of 
Minnesota, who cleared 120. 35 the first five Koun. and Mrs. B. L. 
Hodges, of New York, who says she never falls to .make a profit 
of 118 to (20 a day. I have letters from men aasTwomen every- 
where that tell about profits of 110, $15, $20 and as high as 126. 
and $30 In a staple day. 

Start Right In 

You don't need any experience or capital to make big money by 
way. No course of training is necessary. You simply act as 
my Representative in your locality and look after my business 
there.' Ail you have to do is call on your friends and my estab- 
lished customers and take care of their orders for my fast selling 
line of Groceries, Toilet Articles and other Household Necessities. 
I have thousands of customers in every section of every State, They 
must order from you because "1 never sell through stores. Last 

nr my Representatives made nearly two million dollars. When 
tet the' coupon from .you I said full details by return mail. 
You can quickly be making money lust like I said. I will also 
supply you with Groceries and 
other Household Necessities at low- 
est, wholesale prices. 



FREE! 

New Ford 

T«4frMUw 

NOT a contest. I offer 
a brand-new oar free to 
producers as an sotra re- 
ward or bonus — in addi- 
tion to their large cash 
profits. Mall coupon for 
particulars^ 



SEND NO MONET 

If you wait ready cash— a chance 

to make $15 or more a day starting 
at on m — and Groceries at whole- 
sale — lust send me your name and 
address on the coupon, it costs 
you nothing to investigate. Keep 
your present job and start in spare 
time if you want to. Oscar Stuart, 
of W. Virginia, reports *1S pro* 
in 2J4 hours' spare time. So you ! 
— there's everything to gain. Sim- 
ula!] the coupon. I trill give : 
full details of my plan without 
cost or obligation to you. , 
I'll give you the .Ha 

opportunity you've J. 

■ - ■-- tor. So dont 
moment. Mail 
NOW. 




ALBERT MILLS, Pre)., American Products Co., 
5441 Monmouth Ave., Cincinnati,- Ohio. 

| Send me, without cost or obligation, . all the facts about you 

I new proposition that offers a wonderful opportunity to matt' 
quick profits of 115 or more a day and Groceries, at wholesale 



©A. P. Co, (Printer Write Plainly) 



Please mention Newsstand Ghoup— Men's List, when .answering advertisements 



[What's Wrong With This Picture? 



II Ton Can Find the Mistakes 
in This Picture 

We "01 snenfl oyer J107.MA.eo this year Kir tbe parpose of conducting 
free priie OfTeri in sdrertlie and- eipirtrl our haiineu. TheuisndS of 
NMau are uulne to receive viluible prises or cssh awards and compensa- 
tions tWi yeir throtKh dot offers. 1*» sky li the limit t Aojons JlTint 
lb the United Stiles outside of Chi rata, eieept employees of tills company, 
members of their families, or oar prerioua >uta or lint prise winners, or 
members of their fentillee, may enter so imnr to thii punlo. 

$7,346 in Prises Given in 
This One Offer 

Siven Bla Kb* 6- Cylinder Sedist and Ota*".' VihaWe Prim 
Tit tout ifeill — It cmu yea nothing. Study the picture shown tun, 
bat look tirefuisy. The srtlrt hss purposely msde many mistakes. .Can 
you find four or more of ttiemf Theje mistakes can be found la various 
oojeeta Id the picture— that's til toe hint we can jlre you. If you think 
yon nil Hod four or more niistskss, answer at once. Juit mirk the ' mistakes 
In pencil on the picture, or tell m» what they ire In a letter or on a port 



card. ■ Only four mistakes 



s required for a perfect answer. 



^^^-A 


^SSif; 









Anyone Who Answers This Puzzle Correctly May Receive Prizes or Cash 1 



ml Address tout 



Q. W. ALDERTON. Admrtltlaa Msnitar, 




JAZZ MUSIC MASTER 




Hay Hum By 



.t Hom. in Y<«. Stmn Tarn 

"•war 



JfpfiogM, 

! mm>ma 



LearnHow toBQX 



»2.98 irtus; "tsss^safiftsaa 

Trainer, tfc* lyateni th«t trunsd E)«j)j»l-»- 
abvBptom. Co™i awftbin In iciwibRe boxfns from 
(mdinMnUli to rina cwwilArp. T»inn «•**« mii*. 
*M>flnM»d DaTMwl mjmd ■-■■■•■■■ 
Kni Sabwd man •to rnakitc g™*l In «» Ho* ' 
G«ipi«a -coon* taut In oaa ro«i ■>« .Jwi.i Is 
070.1>.»ilarpaHos poattnan t* "»• (• "• actaa. pr 




Radium Is Restoring 
Health to Thousands 

No medicine, drag* or dieting. Jost a light, small, 
comfortable inexpensive Radio-Active Fad, wont on the 
back by day and over the stomach at night. Sold on 
trial. Yon can be tore it is hel sing you before 70a 
bur it. Over 150,000 told on this plait; Thousands have 
written us that it healed them of Neuritis. Rheumatism* 
High Blood Pressure, Constipation, Nervous Prostration, 
Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidney and Bladder trouble, etc 
No matter what you have tried, or what your trouble 
may be., try Degnen'a Radio-Aetive Solar Pad at our 
riak. Write today for Trial offer and descriptive titera- 
tare, Radium Appliance Co., 2S33 Bradbury Bide., Loa 
Angeles, CaL 




V n lessons in Hypnotism. Bund Rsadlnr and 

r Haarwitis Healing. Telia how experts aypnotlte 

M a Uicce, make ethers obey their commands. 

How to orercom* bad habits. how\cT«lre a noma 

IMrforrnaaoe. net on the stage, etc. Helpful to every 

-•x and woman, executives, salesmen, doc tori, mothers. 

Simple, easy. Lean at home. Only J1.10. taclijd- 

"Hypootic Eye," » new aid foe — ■ 



.... ¥■ *i_ (or "'y C. O. D., plus postsmj. Guaran- 
Edaoatnr Press, It Park Raw, New Vara. Dear, H-41 



FREE 



In tor mat ion 



Send at yoor aaMs and addrtai tar ft... . .. 

Avisfion and Alratane bttiineat. Hnd out about the masy "-eat 
oitpot-turtJtis. new op.n and hew we srsnars yea at bams, dartaf 
spars tine, to saalify. Our new fcaok OafartaeNfN tm <*w 
Atrplmn* Msfawtry also sent trta It yoa ssiww at a***, 

AMEHiCAN SCHOOL OF AVIATION 
Pent MSg 3601 Mlehlean Ave. CH1CAM 



CnarniiaiB. 




Cemtlwatlng — Irrealstlkl* 

DESIR 0' AMOUR 

[lavl'l Piain] 

ThU ezotlo perfume aaes ttraltht to the 
heart like Cupid's arrows. Its straacUt and 

mystic aroma thrills and delishw youai and 
old. Triple strenstn full elxe TiaJ SI eeou 
prepaid or 11.32 C. O. D. Dlai ihiDpWt 
eharsea p ;«•-• >eu free. One bottle QR4TI3 
tf ymi order three I'.sii UAONUS WORKS. 
Wnr 12. Vsrlck Sta.. New Tortt, M. Y.. 

Dept. NSQ :. 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



On your feet- 



Una good Paying Business 

We start you^m the shoe and 
hosiery business. Inexperience^ 
workers earn Big Money yearly. 
Direct-to- Wearer plan. Just show 
Tanners Famous a Line of Footwear. 

We tell how and where to sell. Perfect 
fit through Patented System. Collect your 
pay daily We furnish $40.00 Sample Out- 
fit of actual shoes, and hosiery S3 styles. 
Send for free book "Getting, Ahead" 
and full particulars. No obligation *■* 
TANNERS SHOE CO. 

89S C Street. Boston, Mass. 



nnwfnwTwwpRwiraffW 



like the Hawaiians/ 



Only 4 Matlona used in playins this f sarins tiriK 

merit. Our native Hawaiian i«.*™.»™ ♦»*<*'». 

muter them quickly, Pictpi 

thine explained clearly, . . 

i Play in Half Hour Easy 

After you (tt tht (oar . Inn."" 

vtrr littla prittics. No tnd:CU_ ........ .■- 

■riTiaui nuifleil know)- it caarto l*arn qokklr. 

nta> n*td«d. Pk> m')™ pl*j". 

^IWM when jo« enraii . 

VlTfin — * sweet tosse* 
■AWAI1AM OmTA>yC «fryl«| «•* 

1 NTS AT ONCS r a c kitkiKi of or 1 W"3**€-S^? 



?."«' 




OTMCR 1 Tanor Banjo, •!•-..,.., 
COUIWel J Uanio Ukul.ti. Undtrwat 
FIRST HAWAIIAN CONSERVATORY *f MUSIC, In*. 
•ttc Fiacr, WaaCwarllt BWi. Deat. 2S9 W«» Voifc. «. Y. 

jiaaravcrfaaq CerrriimdtHt:! Sckamt VwUr tkt Law tf iht Si«(. «/ 
. . Wre Tar* "Kyt«- ggS««j Hmm g»S g*«tjt 



t LiSJi 2E033IJ3 JLi 3 11U 
Tflufa Steady IJlonu/ 



Showing Samples Men's Shirts 

Ties, Underwear bring* you Mr cwh 
commissions. One Yttt Guarantee. 
No substitutions. Ftm silk initials. 
More exclusive RoseclifT features es- 
tablish leadership. Write for your 
FREE Outfit NOW! 
IISECUFF SHIT. CM 1 . 

o»pt. j-a \$ 

1237 Broadway, H. Y. *" 



VOUR 
OWN 

SHIRTS 
■ n 4 

TIES 



con POSITIONS 

35 TO 75 WEEKLY 



< ) Br- MtU Clerk ( ) Steno-Typ!«l 

< ) P. O. Laborer ( ) Immlfrant Inipectoi 
{ ) B. F: D. Carrier ( ) SiMnitrni 

I ) Special Agent ( I Auditor 

(tme»tl((itorl ( ) Rteno-Recrotit? 

( ) City Kail Carrier ( ) U. S, Border Patrol 

( ) Meat Inspector ( (Chauffeur-Carrier 

( > P. O. Clerk ( ) Watchman 

( j Tile Clerk ( j Skilled Laborer 

( i General Clark ( 1 pcntmMter 

( ) Matron ( ) Tynlit 

rNajHUtrngN bureau. 






ILL SI 






> m 



"3TTT 



W Body Chart 



vWsm 



It you will mail the coupon below, this 
Anatomical and Physiological Chart will 
be mailed to you without one cent of ex- 
a. It shows the location of the Or- 
j. Bones of the Body, Muscles of the 

. ly. Head and Vertebra Column and 

tells you how the nerves radiate from 
your spinal cord to all organs of the body. 
This chart should be in every home, 

(Where Is That 

PAIN? 

lit may be tn the neck, back, bin, itomaek, 
iHyer. lags or arma. Wherarer It la. the chart 
■ will hattrto abow yoa the location and eaaaa 
■— „_._- ^__ ,__ ,_ thj. ebmrt wal 



Isffitii 



nrtatform appendix pain*. 
■ natght have been aavod If 
n Cha loeattoai ami eharaefcar 
■4 r* aar*aJ propac attanttoB. 

Stop that Pain 

By RtlUvmi th. Com with 

Violet Ray — Vibration 
OzOne— Medical Electricity 

Thm Fomr GimCm* Cantiv Avm GwwM *» Tktm 

Great New Invention! 

JDeo HeattB Generators « feat 

are ready tor you! It you want 
toore health — greater power to es- 
Joy the pleasures sad delights 




been prepared. It will be tt 

K without coat. It tells yoa 
EIoo Health Generators at} 
Pin leavlnc the letharnr ass] 
elessueas of bad health sal 

StSlttSS. 5tna£aS£ 
Writatodarl 

Kwe'.WttttEIccUterfSty— 

"W«Mn*l 




, GBla.* "Cnraa my w i 
ik° BCMftp«M*S ««a Tkor ar. k«k. F ;_"No M 

which oaa alv» roa b> onaeutflt B<«uiJiT,VjnlM »■/— __-=^^%l 

6«iil 1 tb« 1 KSi«a Wow, G*t°t£eS™ aookNOWl fr 55 ^ 5 ^* V 

MAIL COUPONlft**' 
for FREE BOOK 

Bo not put this paper down without sending 
the coupon. Don't go on as you are with palna 
and r.'itb almost no Sire and energy. You owo 

It to yoararffto G a bMhr mnn or .own Too i war* put 
hin 10 .nioy iifa— M»iiiil to <r« tlinmtli it. . So do noa 

l"».iruiitlstrom & Co. QJ 

E 23X2 Indiana Avaaws Da.pt. 1S-S2 

G pirane send me yom free boos, "Healtn — penrer— Beauty" and 
E luii lutormatlon oj your llMlay Freo Trial Offer. 







Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering a&yer'ti semen ts 



Who Wants an Auto FREE? 

5TUDEBARER- BVICK— NASH! Your ek&Utl 
OR $2000.00 CASH 

Thow»nd« of dollar* in att etttos and stand prise* wU po*iti"eJy be |h«g 
free to advert b* mad make new fneod* for tajr Ana. Choice of StudabaJur at 
Boiek or Naah Mr 4-door Ndan delivered free, or 000000 caah. Alao Oid*- 
mobile, Pontiac Chevrolet, Ford*, daamonda, other fine prises and cash wili be 
riven free- No problem* to do. Nc fine eiitea* reqinrod. No word! to 
make. , No figure* to add. Bank guar an te e* all prise*. 

Pick Your Lucky Star! 

AH tin i**w ia tin etrei* are exactly aLfka except on, The* Mar la ffitmut to *■ aW 
Mhm ud it mar bo * teak? etar for yea. Cm too pie* It out* If ran w, imA *W 
dilVnt itu and and tba dreW to nee at ana* aWnc ittnoi name and laddreae. A. 
1 una [it mi mi 1 ■ 11 pirn I inn mi I In na i 111 atii Ilia |i »af (IXft On f i w inliii. 

BE PROMPT-WIN 9650.00 EXTRA 

So*h«m Ilka r« who wOI writ* n* at oosaau trt$MMfmm fast for bain*; vnmoL 
en too in.* thank yaor lucky atari, if yon aaod roar a newer, ri*fet off. Mo rkk. Sath&a 
t« bar. Notbiac bard to do. Owr tffJOG.Of la vaiaeble pen™ wfH be t<w fna of ^oat* 
Seadtodayaadl wfil show too ftatt bow yon can pljwir fro* ahniaa of taaaa iiilaaiKil 
- I^jjl" 11" f-*"" aaah, without aaat or ebHaatioa of any kind. AB win nlanj A 
T&^TnHmml&i SS*D NO IfOMSTT. Anjww AT Ski I-aw a 

Addrea* GEO. WILSON, DJEPT. 27, AUGUSTA, MAINE 




RUPTURE IS 
NOT A TEAR 



Tour physician will tell you that hernia, (rapture) is 

weakDMB In the abdominal wall.— Do not be eatiafled with inmlf 

bracing these weakened m uncles, with sout cortdition probably 



Cm weakened mnscles recover their strength and elasticity. 

The unalrhtly. unnatural protrusion . disappears, and—; 

energy.— and d feel better in .e"ery way.— and- j our 

triendii notice tlie difference,— 

THEMf- 

Tott'H know your rapture la eoae, and 
You'll know why lor almost a quarter of a 

sworn statements report, conintete toootb 

from uneoffifortable mechanical wipnorta. wi 

SEND NO MONET 

below i 



FREB TEST COUPON 

PUpWXaWntortee, 692 Sin an Bldaj„ Si. Lou la, Ma. 

Send me a !->ee 10-day test supply of tb* .remedial factor 

i'fji.iio s.!,-.', ;■■ -,.i- •■■■.:."' an llupture; no charae 



NEW AND SIMPLK DISCOVRBY 

CLEARS-THE-SKIN 

We prow It to yon. FREB. SEND NO MONEY. 
Write today lor PROOF and full detail* of. oar liberal 
prepaid FULL SIZB TRIAL PACKAGB. 
OUARANTKRD FOR ALL SHIN TROUBLES 

Quickly end* Pimple*, Blackhead*. Whiteheads. Coarse 
Pores. Wrinkle*. Oily Shiny Skin, freckle*. Citron fc 
Eczema. Stubborn Psoriasis. Scale*. Croats. Pustules 
Barbers Itch, Itcbintr Skin. Scabbies. soften* and whiten* 
Ute skin. Jatnt aaail na jroar aia« and >ddr*«a. 

ANDRE «■ CO.. 751 E. 42*4 St, Saute 77, Cfci«*> 



HAVE YOU READ? 

"ONE WOMAN'S WAR" 

By Helena Reynold. HoftTaU 

"BROADWAY'S CHILDREN" 

By Aalinied Abdullah and Faith BaUxla 

"THE LOST DREAM" 

By Htstor ll.-i-.o 

"THE LIFE HE STOLE" 

By Roy Viekere 

"FOOLISH FIRE" 

By Virginia Swale 

"LIFE'S COMEBACKS" 

By Jan Croai 

"THE WHIRL OF YOUTH" 

By Erelya CaaapbeU , 

"FLAME OF FIRE WEED" 

By Jinei French Dorraee* 

"A PRAIRIE PRINCESS" 

By FraaUk C. Robortaoe. 

Tkeae eeanplete novel*, aeea •*« a atery of naaaua! 

.Itnlti imi , an sow belaa oCared la »ou at tba aeaelal 

25 cents each 
or five ,f or $1.00, postpaid 
THE READERS* GUILD, 



ana^&fc^nsrarsrsr — 

SEND NO MONEY! 

AD laM BwMf «atpi^^» nb«Ut 
■lift ull.Uaiil 15 3 nay , g wwa*-. 
-bi« rrm caudocrto^iKtuni tZ 
chl«. hi Ml colon. M oor dir*et-to 

X May pavawtK Dies and 10 day tr,« 
r. Anavva; Taeaai'^end at oaca. ,, - < 

hKernatfcHial Typewriter Exch, o«rt 



Yt Price 




PMTSHATCHE 

TO ANY SUIT-ft,^ 

oo«T mscAlto YOU, fM, 
OLD OUT. Worths M>t and < 

iiTtrlW MSftiMin in aolut fm— wa oaa 
match alrawtanr MtUn. S»»«l Toot ■■• •«■• 
flit at cloth today, and n wOt aulnaN ml 
boot malchohStinaRo, 

AIMI(!C*M kMTCH fWTI CO. 




Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisements 



QUIT 
TOBACCO 

Ho .nun or woman can empl _J 
tiki harmfu I effect* of tobacco. Ml 
Don't try to b*ni»h unaided ■■ 
the bold tobacco h«» upon TCt>. fKB 
Join the thooiand* ox inycter- *_■■ 

ate tobacco tuer* that have v*m_ — 

found it eaa j toquit with tho aid at tbeKoeleyTreaioien £. 

Treatment For 

Tobacco Habit 
Successful For 
Over 53 Years 

Quick!? banishes all e-avine fe* tobucco. Write today 
forFrss Book taltloar bow to qaickly Free soumelf from 
tha tobacco habit and our Money Back Guarantee. 



& 



HiaiwniaiYwvuniriuiuiBHMwi 

KEELEY 



is 

"■P I17.J1 
^T Caaalaa 



JtqUd On %4th tAvemu- \ 



TIES&SHIRTSPAYBIG 



MAKE STEADY MONEY. 



?»£»&£ 



MONEY FOR YOU 

MMwwOmMeH«NR|ISU»15«MUy 
in spare tine at borne iiatiai display cards. 
Light. pfc w MW t work. No ctaavuainf We 
instruct yon and supply yea with wofk, 
Write to-day for full particulars. , 

Th«,MENHENITT COMPANY Limited 
. «5 Dominion Bldg.. Toronto, Can. 



1 ■■■■■■■ I 



□aa 



bOnrt FS7CHG1 



PSYCHOLOGY 




LQVE ERSES 

A New CriaUia, u Bbchm tin*. pwwIM 



iriia" [Hi trued sat for 
«w Mi tatatiiw IS) 



aseSM&ts.-artSi 



FixAoktar u 
•J f PirSohH 



taa oriata-J f PirSoivctai uid SOc- 
. . , _Jd SOtHm th. tow or Hit on. nn tow. 

Won«Co.,Dept.N-13 ./■■. Bex 1250, Baaywwi Ciit 



tat C.P.A. K miiiatto aiara aaea BwaccaaaiWpa.Wao*. PraTfoai 

weBB-rp-Antrtsurwiarswi! 

*_.'■, InrlaciloB m«mbm of tb» Amtriein iMtttoto of A«wm*uta, 
WrttofgrfrHtmlc, "Aatwantaaer. th. f* ■■ 



"Mount Birds ** 



HxhntnSckairfTiiidaq "SJajrSS 




EMPLOYMENT 

In The** *ww* Other Croat Iwa f mf rl— 

Amomobile-EkctrWtr-MotorDai^AvUtioe-Bttaa. 



There are jobs for Draftsmen fa all Of t&«W Industrie* 
and in hundreds of others. 
Aviation is expanding to enormous proportions. 
Electricity is getting bigger every day. Motor Bui 
building is becoming a leading world Industry. 
Building of stores, homes, factories and office building* 
is going on all the time. No structure can be erected 
without pians drawn by a draftsman. No machinery 
can be built without plans drawn by a draftsman. 
I train you at home, in Drafting. Keep the job you have 
now while learning. 

Earn A* Yon Learn 

1 1^ you how to sUrt earning extra rnor^ a few weeks 
after beginning my training. 

I will train you in drafting right where you are in your 
spare time. I have trained men who are making $3,500.00 
tolS.OOO.OOayear. Get started now toward a better posi- 
tion. Paying a good, straight salary, the year around. 



t Service 



No Experience Necessary 

You do not need to be a college man nor high school 
graduate to learn by this method. No previous expe- 
rience necessary. I make a positive money back guar* 
antee with you before I begin to train you. 

If you are now earning less than 

•7©* a WEEK 

' Write For My FREE 
"Pay-Raising Plan" 

Kail this eoopon at once. Get "My Pay-Rakhw 

Plan". It certainly point* the way bo ■aaeaM. Yon 

owe It to yourself to send for tbf* book. Find Mt 

^ bow I helpyoo find bis opportanittes ta metkaSy 




Engineer Dobe- 

tf.1 Uwis b m Ave., Dt v.H-« Cktosfe 

Send me Free of *D cost, "Hy Pay-RaJalng- Plan". AIM clan 
_ to earn money while learning to be n draftsman end proof ol 
| bis money paying poeftiooi in great Industrie*. 
I " 
i Name.. ...—„——,.. ._-^.._ .„__..._„„. Ag». 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answering advertisements 



Clear-Tone 

Gears the Skin 

Clear-Tone is • penetrating purifying lotion, 
used at nigfac. with sswtos sa d ta sr sss cc es e to clear the 
•kin of r *■■!''■■■ btotenes, black-head, and other 
annoying, unsightly skin irritations due Co w- 
ceraa! twin. More than one-half million per- 
sons have cleared their skim with Clear-Tone in 
the last 22 years. "Complexion Tragedies with 
Happy Endings", filled with facts supplied iy 
Clear-Tone users sent Free on r esjn tiC . Clear- 
Tone can be had at your ds n gglsc — or direct 
from us. G1VENS CHEMICAL CO., 2557 
Sonthwest Boulevard* Kansas City, Mo. 



, »ELt- PIONEER 

fgt&F All wool 
pfcgr Tailoring 

Full or Part lime O 



*Ai, opportunity to make $12 a day - 
from the start, selling famous f 
I Pioneer taikwred-to-meaaure, I 

lall-wo*»l suits at $25. Commis- J 
' m paid -in advance. tktMt, 
_ own cMaac it M Ca*t.i 
rikirtg Big Outfit ot overs 



_ jt $30 and $35. We train the tnexperi- \ 
lenced. Men waling to work for smxesa 
■ wilt write for this big money -making ' 
I opportunity, todays 

\ PIONEER TAILORING: CO. 

I C^P^aa assaTfc rjPatta^PJgs. f 1 ^ h ^,,-| 



Ruptured? 

Be Comfortable— 

■ Three million of these comfortable 
sanitary appliances sold. -No ob- 
noxious springs or pads. Automatic 
Air Cushion gently assists nature in 
dratvihg together the broken parts". 
Durable. Cheap. Sen! on 10-day trial 
to prove its worth. Beware of imitations. Every appli- 
ance made to individual measurements and sent direct 
from Marshall. Full information and Rupture booklet 
sent iree in plain, sealed 'envelope. Write for all the' 
"tacts today. ... '-' - 

MBit ITTUUKl CQ.J71lltsUtt J s^,lisr,ssll,Mtr< . 

RRECT V 
Your NOSE f 





s their t'ppMnin. 3Jiap«« .fle* . 

cirtllsjfi) of th« rioBfr— nieir. t»inlps»ij. wfc 

jou »L«ep. llesulu sr» lastinaJ r>oetori > 

":. tt'iaer imri swarastsn. Gold M* 

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FREE BOOKLET. 
AHITA IKSTITUTt, 242 Aa 




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Ever Get Nervous 

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and wise, 

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SUBSCRIPTION $3.00 PER YEAR 



Please mention Newsstand Group — Men's List, when answering advertisement? 



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Muscles 5* apiece/ 

WOULDN'T it be great if we could buy muArles by the bag—take them home and paste them on our 
shoulders ? Then our rich friends with money to buy them, sure would be socking us all oye*r the 



lots. But they don't come that easy, fellows. If you 
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HERE'S WHAT I GUARANTEE 



nt muscle you have to work for it. That's 



In j 



ull inch. Yes, 



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d two inches to your 
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on your shoulders !ike baseballs, 
pen your cheat so that you -will, 
capacity. Each hrea ' 



■.ill loa: 



■ pu 



■ bl( 



vhh I 



vhr 



throughout 
i giveVyou arms 




of "Mut:.clv Building," "Science of Wrestling and Jiu 
"Secrets of Strength," '"Here's Health, "-Endurance:," Etc. - 



Send for my v 
new 64-iage 
book 

I EARI.E LIE! 



^nmc44BaA,J0eaei^mmt^ 



it is 

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, 305 Rroadwuj. New York City 

Vse send me without any obli-. 
fcuhr Development." (Please 



& 



:j 



It contains forty-eight full-page photographs of myseH and 
Some of the many prize-winning pupils I have trained. Some 
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the.ir present physiques. This book will prove an impetus "and 
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, through. Thij* will not obligate yon at all, but for tile' Ffik'- 
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today— -right pqw, before you turn this page. 

EARLE LIEDERMAN 

DEPT. 1702 305 BROADWAY, N. Y. CITY 



Please mention Newsstand Group— Men's List, when answerit 






change to 
Indness to your 

THROAT 



THE SMOKE SCREEN THAT « 
KEEPS OUT THROAT- SCRATCH 



COLD' WEATHER IS 
OLD GOLD WEATHER 



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In raw, ibmp.i.r Volil mjlhn. cluiliv 
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Bsttor lubfli-co* ;?iake thum smooth^ and betlfr . wilh "net a cough in a carlocd" 



\vm;\ cini k:\l smoki.ks 
a, i;r io<;i;i iiih 



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