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Title: Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930" ***

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  [Transcriber's Note: Initial ads moved below main text.
   The Beetle Horde concludes a story begun in the Jan, 1930 edition.
   Minor spelling and typographical errors corrected.
   Variable Spelling and Hyphenations standardized.
   Full list of changes at end of text.
   Passages in italics indicated by underscore _italics_.
   Passages in bold indicated by equals =bold=.]


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_More Than Two Million Copies Required to Supply the Monthly Demand for
Clayton Magazines._

  VOL. I, No. 2               CONTENTS                    FEBRUARY, 1930

  COVER DESIGN                          H. W. WESSOLOWSKI
  _Painted in Water-colors from a Scene in "Spawn of the Stars."_

  OLD CROMPTON'S SECRET                 HARL VINCENT                 153
  _Tom's Extraordinary Machine Glowed--and the Years Were Banished
  from Old Crompton's Body. But There Still Remained, Deep-seated in
  His Century-old Mind, the Memory of His Crime._

  SPAWN OF THE STARS                    CHARLES WILLARD DIFFIN       166
  _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 Ashes._

  THE CORPSE ON THE GRATING             HUGH B. CAVE                 187
  _In the Gloomy Depths of the 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          196
  _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             221
  _What Was the Extraordinary Connection Between Dr. Livermore's
  Sudden Disappearance and the Coming of a New Satellite to the

  THE BEETLE HORDE                      VICTOR ROUSSEAU              229
  _Bullets, Shrapnel, Shell--Nothing Can Stop the Trillions of
  Famished, Man-sized Beetles Which, Led by a Madman, Sweep Down
  Over the Human Race._

  MAD MUSIC                             ANTHONY PELCHER              248
  _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 Violin?_

  THE THIEF OF TIME                     CAPTAIN S. P. MEEK           259
  _The Teller Turned to the Stacked Pile of Bills. They Were Gone!
  And No One Had Been Near!_

       *       *       *       *       *

  Single Copies, 20 Cents (In Canada, 25 Cents)
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Issued monthly by Publishers' Fiscal Corporation, 80 Lafayette St., New
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Group--Men's List. For advertising rates address E. R. Crowe & Co.,
Inc., 25 Vanderbilt Ave., New York; or 225 North Michigan Ave.,

       *       *       *       *       *

Old Crompton's Secret

_By Harl Vincent_

    Tom's extraordinary machine glowed--and the years were banished
    from Old Crompton's body. But there still remained, deep-seated
    in his century-old mind, the memory of his crime.

[Illustration: _Tom tripped on a wire and fell, with his ferocious
adversary on top._]

Two miles west of the village of Laketon there lived an aged recluse who
was known only as Old Crompton. As far back as the villagers could
remember he had visited the town regularly twice a month, each time
tottering his lonely way homeward with a load of provisions. He appeared
to be well supplied with funds, but purchased sparingly as became a
miserly hermit. And so vicious was his tongue that few cared to converse
with him, even the young hoodlums of the town hesitating to harass him
with the banter usually accorded the other bizarre characters of the

The oldest inhabitants knew nothing of his past history, and they had
long since lost their curiosity in the matter. He was a fixture, as was
the old town hall with its surrounding park. His lonely cabin was
shunned 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 matter of books, and the village book
store profited considerably by his purchases. But, at the instigation of
Cass Harmon, the bookseller, it was whispered about that Old 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 astrologers and
philosophers of the dark ages.

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

But there came a day when the hermit 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
Forsythe, Laketon's wealthiest resident--hundreds of acres of scrubby
woodland that he considered well nigh worthless. But Tom Forsythe, the
only son, had returned from college and his ambitions were of a nature
strange to his townspeople and utterly incomprehensible to his father.
Something vague about biology and chemical experiments and 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 laboratory 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 somewhat of a successful debater himself. The fire that flashed from
his cold gray eyes matched that from the pale blue ones of the elderly
anchorite. And the law was on his side.

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

For more than a year the hermit studiously avoided his neighbor, though,
truth to tell, this required very little effort. For Tom Forsythe became
almost as much of a recluse as his predecessor, remaining indoors for
days at a time and visiting the home of his people scarcely oftener than
Old Crompton visited the village. He too became the target of village
gossip and his name was ere long linked with that of the old man in
similar animadversion. But he cared naught for the opinions of his
townspeople nor for the dark looks of suspicion that greeted him on his
rare appearances in the public places. His chosen work engrossed him so
deeply that all else counted for nothing. His parents remonstrated with
him in vain. Tom laughed away their recriminations and fears, continuing
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 his property, peering
wonderingly at the many rabbit hutches, chicken 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
toothless grin of conciliation.

"Just looking over your place, Forsythe," he said. "Sorry about the fuss
I made when you built 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,
but I came here for seclusion and I'll not have anyone bothering me in
my work."

"I'll not bother you, young man. But I'm fond of pets and I see you have
many of them here; guinea pigs, chickens, pigeons, and rabbits. Would
you mind if I make friends with some of them?"

"They're not pets," answered Tom dryly, "they are material for use in my
experiments. But you may amuse yourself with them 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
them to become of huge size, sometimes produce pigmy offspring of normal

"Don't they suffer?"

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

       *       *       *       *       *

Old Crompton regarded him dubiously. "You are trying to find?" he

"The secret of life!" 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
perfectly, and he bitterly envied the younger man's knowledge and
ability that enabled him to delve into the mysteries 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 accomplishing the impossible.

During the winter months that followed, the strange acquaintance
progressed but little. Tom did not invite his neighbor to visit him,
nor did Old 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 encountered one another more frequently,
and Tom found considerable of interest 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 permission to see them. He hid his
real feelings extremely well and was apparently 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 accident served to draw
the two men closer together, and Old Crompton's long-sought opportunity

He was starting for the village when, from down the road, there came a
series of tremendous squawkings, then a bellow of dismay in the voice of
his young neighbor. He turned quickly and was astonished at the sight of
a monstrous rooster which had escaped and was headed straight for him
with head down and wings fluttering wildly. Tom followed close behind,
but was unable to 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
comparatively simple matter to effect his capture, and the old man rose
to his feet triumphant with the bag securely closed over the struggling

"Thanks," panted Tom, when he drew 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

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 awakened by a vigorous thumping at his door,
something that had never before occurred during his nearly sixty years
occupancy of the tumbledown hut. The moon was high and he cautiously
peeped from the window and 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 in the scanty raiment he wore
during the warm months, but he could hear Tom muttering and impatiently
pacing the flagstones before his door.

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

"Success!" breathed Tom excitedly. "I have produced growing, living
matter synthetically. More than this, I have learned the secret of the
vital force--the spark of life. Immortality is within easy reach. Come
and see for yourself."

They quickly traversed the short distance 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 faces, and with huge glass bulbs of peculiar
shape with coils of wire connecting 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 supermen, men and women who will always
retain the vigor and strength of their youth and who can not die
excepting by actual destruction of their bodies. Under the influence of
the rays all bodily ailments vanish as if by magic, and organic defects
are quickly corrected. Watch this now."

       *       *       *       *       *

He stepped to one of the many cages at the side of the room and returned
with a wriggling cottontail in his hands. Old Compton watched anxiously
as he picked a nickeled instrument from a tray of surgical appliances
and requested his visitor to hold the protesting animal while he covered
its head with a handkerchief.

"Ethyl chloride," explained Tom, noting with amusement the look of
distaste 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
handkerchief and the anaesthetic took effect. With a shining scalpel and
a surgical saw, Tom speedily removed one of the forelegs of the animal
and then he placed the limp body in the center of the table, removing
the handkerchief 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 ensuing hum of a
motor-generator from a corner of the room, the four bulbs adjacent 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

"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 effects 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--it seemed to elongate as one watched. A new limb was
growing on to replace the old! Then the animal struggled once more, this
time to regain 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tom Forsythe laughed. "Never knew what happened," he exulted, "and
excepting for the 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, "this is wonderful. How do you
accomplish it?"

"Ha! Don't think I'll reveal my secret. But this much I will tell you:
the life force generated by my apparatus stimulates a certain gland
that's normally inactive in warm blooded animals. This gland, when
active, possesses the function of growing new members to the body to
replace lost ones in much the same manner as this is done in case of the
lobster and certain other crustaceans. Of course, the process is
extremely rapid when the gland 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 remarkable."

He took from a large 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."


"Yes. But quite painlessly, I assure you. I merely removed the air from
the jar with a vacuum pump and the little creature passed out of the
picture very quickly. Now we'll revive it."

Old Crompton stretched forth a skinny 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. Again his visitor watched carefully
as he manipulated the controls of the apparatus.

With the glow of the tubes and the ensuing haze of eery light that
surrounded the little body, a marked change was apparent. The inanimate
form relaxed suddenly and it seemed that the muscles pulsated with an
accession of energy. Then one leg was stretched forth spasmodically.
There was a convulsive heave as the lungs drew in a first long breath,
and, with that, an astonished and very much alive rodent scrambled to
its feet, blinking wondering eyes 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
beggars 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 fear the glitter 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 Forsythe gloried in the success of
his efforts. Then he was struck with an idea and he affected his most
ingratiating manner.

"It is a marvelous thing, Tom," he said, "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 person by these means?"

"Positively!" Tom did not catch the eager note in the old man's voice.
Rather he took the question as an inquiry into the further marvels of
his process. "Here," he continued, enthusiastically, "I'll prove that to
you also. My dog 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 whistled. There was an answering yelp from
above and the pad of uncertain paws on the bare wooden steps. A dejected
old beagle blundered into the room, dragging a crippled hind leg as he
fawned upon his master, who stretched forth a hand to pat the unsteady

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

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 his husky asthmatic breathing.

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

And Old Crompton watched in fascinated anticipation as the ethereal
luminosity bathed the dog's body in response 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 triumphantly as Spot's
breathing became more regular and the rasp gradually left it. Then the
dog whined in pleasure 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
under the restraining hands and jumped to the floor in a lithe-muscled
leap 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--tell me--what is this remarkable force?"

       *       *       *       *       *

His host laughed gleefully. "You probably wouldn't understand it anyway,
but I'll tell you. It is as simple as the nose on your face. The spark
of life, the vital force, is merely an extremely complicated electrical
manifestation which I have been able to duplicate artificially. This
spark or force is all that distinguishes living from inanimate matter,
and in living beings the force gradually decreases in power as the years
pass, causing loss of health and strength. The chemical composition 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 degree of vigor can be
maintained indefinitely. Mankind will become immortal. That is why I say
I am to be master of the world."

For the moment Old Crompton forgot his jealous hatred in the enthusiasm
with which he was 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
different 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 only stared at him in open

"What? You?" he sneered, unfeelingly. "Why, you old fossil! I told you I
would choose my subjects carefully. They are to be people of standing
and wealth, who can contribute to the fame and fortune of one Thomas

"But Tom, I have money," Old Crompton begged. But when he saw the hard
mirth in the younger man's eyes, his old animosity flamed anew and he
sprang from his position and shook a skinny forefinger in Tom's face.

"Don't do that to me, you old fool!" shouted Tom, "and get out of here.
Think I'd waste current on an old cadger 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 his host,
who backed away from the furious onslaught in surprise. Then Tom tripped
over a wire and fell to the floor with a force that rattled the windows,
his ferocious little adversary on top. The younger man lay still where
he had fallen, a trickle of blood showing at his temple.

"My God! I've killed him!" gasped the old man.

With trembling fingers he opened Tom's shirt and listened for his
heartbeats. 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 Crompton 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 Crompton
had left him, and the dog growled menacingly.

Averting his gaze and circling wide of the body, Old Crompton 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
incredible results he had witnessed. Not a moment was to be wasted now.
Already he had hesitated too long, for soon would come the dawn and
possible discovery of his crime. But the invention of his victim would
save him from the long arm of the law, for, with youth restored, Old
Crompton 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 vigor 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 Crompton, the murderer of Tom Forsythe! He
deposited his small traveling bag on the floor and fingered the controls
of Tom's apparatus.

He threw the starting switch confidently and grinned in satisfaction as
the answering whine of the motor-generator came to his ears. One by one
he carefully made the adjustments in exactly 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 movements carefully, and now he rejoiced in the fact that his
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 struggle 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

The dog growled continuously from his position at the head of his
master, but did not move to interfere with the intruder. And Old
Crompton, in the excitement of the momentous experience, paid him 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
influence 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 vibration from those glowing tubes that bathed him in an
ever-spreading radiance. 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 really uncomfortable. But then--and he
consoled himself with the thought--nothing is brought into being without
a certain amount of pain. Besides, he was confident that his discomfort
would soon be over.

He examined his hand, and found that the joints of two fingers long
crippled with rheumatism now moved freely 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 amazement. 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 countenance and the
eyes looked out clearly and steadily from under brows as thick and 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
prepossessing 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 exceptional
intelligence and strength of character.

"What a disguise!" 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 discovery 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 mechanisms
beyond recognition. Now he was absolutely secure! No meddling experts
could possibly discover the secret of Tom's invention. All evidence
would show that the young experimenter 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 toward the main highway where, instead
of turning east into the village, he would turn west and walk to
Kernsburg, 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
difference in the appearance of the village. The old town hall and the
little park were the same, the dingy brick building among the trees
being just a little dingier and its wooden steps more worn and sagged.
The main street showed evidence of recent repaving, and, in consequence
of the resulting increase in through automobile traffic; there were two
new gasoline filling stations 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 there 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. Justice
of the peace, sheriff, attorney-at-law, and three times Mayor of
Laketon, he was still a controlling factor in local politics and
government. And many a knotty legal problem was settled in that gloomy
little office. Many a dispute in the town council was dependent 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 appraised 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 the
battered desk top.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

"I wish to give myself up for murder," answered the amazing visitor,
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 recognize me now, and you will probably
consider my story incredible when you 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 Laketon. That is why I came to

"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 expression of horror in the features of his
listener, but there was none. Instead 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 Culkin betray his disbelief, but the
stranger 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 his laboratory out there
in West Laketon twelve years ago to-night. It was his marvelous
invention that transformed the old hermit into the apparently 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, rejuvenated in some mysterious
manner, and that you killed Tom Forsythe on that night twelve years ago?
Do I understand that you wish now to go to trial for that crime and to
pay the penalty?"

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

"Hm-m--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

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 impatient 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 across 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 remarks 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 his victim's father.

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

"Lord, man, not that!" interrupted the judge's visitor. "I can hardly
bear to visit the scene of my crime--and in 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 right, Alton. We'll pick you up at your office in five minutes."

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

"All right, Judge." The visitor resigned 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
Alton 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 screeching 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 features. 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 turned
the knob and stepped within. Voight shrank from entering, but soon
mastered his feelings 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 he had destroyed once more in place,
stood Tom Forsythe! Considerably older and with hair prematurely gray,
he was 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 wondering young man,
Alton Forsythe and Asa Culkin watching silently from just inside the

"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 fingers to touch the body of the young man
to assure himself that it was not all a dream.

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

"Mean?" The stranger's voice rose now; he was growing excited. "Why,
Tom, I am Old Crompton. Remember the struggle, here in this very room?
You refused to rejuvenate an unhappy old man with your marvelous
apparatus, a temporarily insane old 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 me now. Detection was
impossible, for I 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!"

Tom Forsythe advanced on this remarkable visitor with clenched fists.
Staring him in the eyes with cold appraisal, his wrath was all too
apparent. The dog Spot, young as ever, entered the room and, upon
observing the stranger, set up an ominous growling and snarling. At
least the dog recognized him!

"What are you trying to do, catechise me? Are you another of these
alienists my father has been bringing around?" The young inventor was
furious. "If you are," he continued, "you can get out of here--now! I'll
have no more of this meddling with my affairs. I'm as sane as any of you
and I refuse to submit to this continual persecution."

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 Forsythe 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? Remember the rabbit whose leg you
amputated and re-grew? The poor guinea pig 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 stranger, there
stood before them a bent, withered old man--Old Crompton beyond a doubt.
The effects of Tom's process were spent.

"Well I'm damned!" ejaculated Alton 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 not wise enough to see

"We!" exclaimed the judge. "You, Alton Forsythe! I have always upheld
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 aristocratic pride forgotten, Alton
Forsythe 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

"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 you know 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 despicable. Young Tom here
was the 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 invention I thought I saw happiness, a new life for
myself. I got what I wanted, though not in the way I had expected. And I
want to tell you gentlemen that there is nothing in it. With
developments of modern science you may be able to restore a man's
youthful vigor of body, 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 successful 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 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!"

       *       *       *       *       *

He paused for breath, looking beseechingly at Tom Forsythe. "Tom," he
said, "I suppose you have nothing for me in your heart but hatred. And I
don't blame you. But I wish--I wish you would try and forgive me. Can

The years had brought increased understanding and tolerance to young
Tom. He stared at Old Crompton and the long-nursed anger over the
destruction of his equipment melted into 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 insane--even my father wished to have me committed to
an asylum. And, until now, I have been unsuccessful. Only to-day has it
seemed for the first time that the experiments will again succeed. 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,
convinces me that immortality may not be as desirable as I thought. But
there are great possibilities in the way of relieving 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 I ask you to remain here with me to assist in the work that
is to come. What do you say to the idea?"

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--mightily.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

Spawn of the Stars

_By Charles Willard Diffin_

    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 ashes.

[Illustration: _The sky was alive with winged shapes, and high in the
air shone the glittering menace, trailing five plumes of gas._]

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 wanted to join that jaunty group who spoke so easily of hopping
off for Los Angeles.

And what Cyrus Thurston wanted he usually obtained. But if that young
millionaire-sportsman had 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.

They were roaring through the starlit, calm night, three thousand 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

"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 motor 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

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

Slim Riley made no reply. His eyes were riveted to an undulating,
ghastly something that oozed and crawled in the pale light not far from
the bulb. His hand was reaching, reaching.... It found what he sought;
he leaned toward 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
blinding whiteness made the more loathsome the sickening yellow of the
flabby flowing thing that writhed frantically in the glare. It was
formless, shapeless, a heaving mound of nauseous matter. Yet even in its
agonized writhing distortions they sensed the beating pulsations 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

       *       *       *       *       *

The thing poured itself across the sand. Before the staring gaze of the
speechless men an excrescence appeared--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 opening 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 the 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 vaporous cloud. It drove at
them, a swirling blast of snow and sand. Some buried memory of gas
attacks 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
I see an engine with an exhaust like that." He was pounding himself with
his arms to force up the chilled circulation.

"But the beast--the--the _thing_!" exclaimed Thurston. "It's monstrous;
indecent! It thought--no question of that--but no body! Horrible! Just a
raw, naked, thinking protoplasm!"

It was here that he 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!"

"Exactly," Thurston 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
stream. And people! Sane, sober people, living in a sane world. Newsboys
were shouting; the life of the city was flowing.

"Riley!" Thurston turned to the man across the table. His voice was
curiously 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 Angeles
newspaper. He passed one 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 were

"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 Thurston. 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, blowing this stuff like steam from underneath.
Airplanes investigated--an army plane drove into the vapor--terrific
explosion--plane down in flames--others wrecked. The machine ascended
with meteor speed, trailing blue flame. Come on, boy, where's that old
bus? Thought I never wanted to fly a plane again. Now I don't want to do
anything but."

"Where to?" Slim inquired.

"Headquarters," Thurston told him. "Washington--let's go!"

       *       *       *       *       *

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. Thurston's 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 incredible," the Secretary was saying,
"or would be if General Lozier here had not reported personally on
the occurrence 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

"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

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

"You left Los Angeles early yesterday; have you seen the papers?"

Thurston shook his head.

"They are back," said the Secretary. "Reported over London--Paris--the
West Coast. Even China has seen them. Shanghai cabled an hour ago."

"Them? How many are there?"

"Nobody knows. There were five 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 vanishing speck in the
Arizona sky. "They could," he asserted. "They're faster than anything on
earth. Though what drives them ... that gas--steam--whatever it is...."

"Hydrogen," stated General Lozier. "I saw the New York show when poor
Davis got his. He flew into the exhaust; it went off like a million
bombs. Characteristic hydrogen flame trailed the damn thing up out of
sight--a tail of blue fire."

"And cold," stated Thurston.

"Hot as a Bunsen burner," the General contradicted. "Davis' plane almost

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

"Ha!" The General spoke explosively. "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 Secretary reminded him. "With the
information Mr. Thurston and Mr. Riley have given us, the whole affair
is beyond any gage our past experience might supply. We start from the
impossible, and we go--where? What is to be done?"

"With your permission, sir, a number 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."

       *       *       *       *       *

"No," said the Secretary of War, "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 told me," he directed
Thurston. "Lord knows their surmises are wild enough now. And for you,
General, 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 think ... and perhaps their mission is friendly."

"Friendly!" The two flyers exchanged 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

"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! What does a thing like that think of? What
beastly thoughts could that--that _thing_ conceive?"

"If I got the 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 be
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," Thurston 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 speculation. There were dispatches from all
corners of the earth, interviews with scientists and near scientists.
The machines 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 appeared came the sense of being
watched, of a menace being calmly withheld. And at thought of the
obscene monsters inside those spheres, Thurston's lips were compressed
and his eyes hardened. He threw the papers aside.

"They are here," he said, "and 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 these swivel-chair fighters. 'Tis the boys in the cockpits
with one hand on the stick and one on the guns that will have the

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

The question was unanswered, unless the quick ringing of the phone was a

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

The windows of the War Department Building were all alight as they
approached. Cars were coming and going; men in uniform, as the Secretary
had said, "on the jump." Soldiers with bayonets stopped them, then
passed Thurston and his companion 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 Standards. The Secretary handed
Thurston some papers.

"Radio," he explained. "They are over the Pacific coast. Hit near
Vancouver; Associated Press says city destroyed. 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 Vancouver and little damage done--" A message was laid before

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

"Gentlemen," said the Secretary, "I believe I speak 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 menace 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 occupied by a monster so incredible that the report would
receive no attention from me did I not know Mr. Thurston personally.

"Where have they come from? What does it mean--what is their mission?
Only God knows.

"Gentlemen, I feel that I must see them. I want General Lozier to
accompany me, also Doctor MacGregor, 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. "General," he ordered, "will you kindly
arrange for a plane? Take an escort or not as you think 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
motorcycles preceded them from the city. Within an hour, motors roaring
wide open, propellers ripping into the summer night, lights slipping
eastward three thousand feet below, the Secretary 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 could roar into action at a moment's notice, stood
waiting; battle planes hidden in hangars would roll forth at the
word--the Navy was cooperating--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: they 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. Repeating 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 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 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 Secretary. A flash of silver countermanded
the order.

It hung there before them, a great gleaming globe, keeping always its
distance ahead. It was 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 realized their peril, so interested was he in the
strange machine ahead.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then: "Dodge that vapor," ordered General Lozier. The plane wavered in
signal to the others and swung sharply to the left. Each man 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," said Riley, "giving us the once over, the slimy
devil. Ain't there a gun on this ship?"

The General addressed his superior. Even above the roar of the motors
his voice seemed quiet, assured. "We must not land now," he said. "We
can't land at North Island. It would focus their attention upon our
defenses. That thing--whatever it is--is looking for a vulnerable spot.
We must.... Hold on--there he goes!"

The big bulb shot upward. It slanted above them, and hovered there.

"I think he is about to attack," said the General quietly. And, to the
commander 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 object was falling from the cloud. It
passed close to their ship.

"Half-pint size," said Cyrus Thurston, 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 second. Yet in that brief time his eyes
registered the chaotic sweep in advance of the cloud. There came a
crashing of buildings in some monster whirlwind, a white cloud engulfing
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.

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.

       *       *       *       *       *

He drew himself to his knees to look slowly about, rubbed stupidly 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 forward. 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 slowly, 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 below them. There were planes
taxiing out; he heard the roar of their motors. He tried the controls.
The plane answered 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 more 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 even managed 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 followed 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

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

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

If his remarks were part of his professional training in removing a
patient's thoughts from his pain, 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

Above them the sky was alive with winged shapes. And from all the
disorder there was order appearing. Squadron after squadron swept to
battle formation. Like 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 five plumes of gas.

A deeper detonation was merging into the uproar. It came from the ships,
Thurston knew, where anti-aircraft 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 again they retreated.

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

He groaned as a long curving arc of speed showed that the big bulb was
under control. Over the ships it paused, to balance and swing, then shot
to the zenith as one of the great boats exploded in a cloud of vapor.

The following blast swept the airdrome. 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 stupor; 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
scientist was studying intently the mammoth reaction. "But the volume,"
he marveled, "the volume! From that small container! Impossible!"

"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 exclamation the only
adequate reply.

Each man stared aghast into the pallid faces of his companions. "I think
we have underestimated the opposition," said the Secretary of War
quietly. "Look--the fog is coming in, but it's too late to save them."

       *       *       *       *       *

The big ships were vanishing in the oncoming fog. Whirls of vapor were
eddying toward them in the flame-blaster air. Above them 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 toward the enemy. An armada of big
planes drove in from beyond. Formations 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 terror above. They were riven and
torn. And through them black objects were falling. Some blazed as they
fell. They slipped into unthought maneuvers--they darted to earth
trailing yellow 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 motors. The air-force of the San Diego area swept in silence
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 his face
in the sheltering earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Only the driving necessity of work to be done saved the sanity of the
survivors. The commercial broadcasting stations were demolished, a part
of the fuel for 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 commission 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 needed to forecast the doom and
destruction that awaited the earth.

Civilization was helpless. What of armies and cannon, of navies, of
aircraft, 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 melted the twisted framework 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 improvised cot when Thurston and the
representative of the Bureau of Standards joined him. Four walls of a
room still gave shelter in a half-wrecked building. 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
our 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 direct information the world possesses of this
menace. I have seen their machines in operation. You have seen more--you
have looked at the monsters themselves. At one of them, anyway."

       *       *       *       *       *

The man's voice was quiet, methodical. Mr. MacGregor was attacking 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: they were soon to make a laboratory experiment.

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

"Lights out!" 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 under each of his, and the three men
stumbled from the room.

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 hidden 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

The watchers were spellbound. To Thurston there came a fury of impotent
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 control. 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--"your pistol, man, quick! We're going after it!" He caught the
tossed gun and hurried the others into the car.

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

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

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

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
explained. "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 followed 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 sand. 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 existence that made naught of
the red havoc of men or of monsters. It shone 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 uncertain flight of the stricken enemy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thurston drove like a maniac; the road carried them straight toward
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 tide was out. They tore madly along the smooth sand,
breakers 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 refuge. 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 sand. 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 theory. "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
Thurston sensed the pulse and throb of life in the monstrous mass.

       *       *       *       *       *

He saw again in his rage the streaming rain of black airplanes; saw,
too, the bodies, blackened and charred as they saw them when first they
tried rescue from the crashed ships; 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 sheltering shadow; the moon was low in the
west. In the blackness a phosphorescence 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 encircling 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 irresistibly; 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
Arizona desert....

To be drawn to the smothering embrace 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 mass 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

"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 blaze 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

He got back of the wheel and slammed the door of 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 brighter. The thing was approaching. Thurston
let in his clutch, but the scientist checked him.

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

"We know less than nothing of these creatures, in what part
of the universe they are spawned, how they live, where they
live--Saturn!--Mars!--the Moon! But--we shall soon know how one dies!"

The thing was coming from the cliff. In the dim grayness it seemed less
yellow, less fluid. A membrane enclosed 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; it quivered and beat.
Then, sensing its danger, it darted like some headless serpent for its

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 golden arrows through the distant peaks.

The struggling mass released its burden to stretch its vile length
toward the dark caves under the cliffs. The last sheltering fog-veil
parted. The thing was halfway 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 tortured 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
trembled 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,
unbearable. Their heads swam in the evil breath.... Thurston ripped the
gears into reverse, nor stopped until they were far away on the clean

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

"We'll have to work fast," said MacGregor. "I must know, I must learn."
He drew himself up and into the shattered shell.

It was of metal, some forty feet across, its framework a maze of
latticed struts. The central part was clear. Here in a wide, shallow pan
the monster had rested. Below this was tubing, intricate coils, massive,
heavy and strong. MacGregor lowered himself upon it, Thurston was
beside him. They went down into the dim bowels of the deadly instrument.

"Hydrogen," the physicist was stating. "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 had followed the other's analysis of the diffusion
process. "The light that would finally reach that slot would be hardly

"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
feverish 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 framework itself, filled
most of the space. Some of the ribs were thicker, he noticed. 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 propellers. They worked through the shells on long
slender rods. Each was threaded finely--an adjustable arm engaged the
thread. Thurston called excitedly to the other.

"Here they are," he said. "Look! Here are the shells. Here's what blew
us up!"

       *       *       *       *       *

He pointed to the slim shafts with their little propellerlike fans.
"Adjustable, see? Unwind in their fall ... 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 propellers; they had fins to hold them
nose downward. On each nose was a small rounded cap.

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

The scientist stared at it amazed. "Specific gravity," he exclaimed,
"beyond anything known! There's nothing on earth ... there is no such
substance ... no form of matter...." His eyes were incredulous.

"Lots to learn," Thurston answered grimly. "We've yet to learn how to
fight off 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 remove 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 shells were placed led to it; it was a port for
launching the projectiles. He moved it, opened it. 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," said Thurston quietly. "They got
theirs." He stopped for a broken fragment of steel. "Try one with a fan
on; it hasn't a detonator."

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 beginning 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 terrified,
waiting world. There would be no temporizing now on the part of the
invaders. 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
protect the darkness of the interior, essential to life for the horrible
occupant, 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 obliterated 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 arrangement of mirrors that he and MacGregor 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 established for official business. The whole
nation-wide system, for that matter, was under military control. The
Secretary of War had flown back to Washington. The whole world was on a
war basis. War! And none knew where they should defend themselves, nor

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 saying, "and come up here on the jump."

The phrase brought a grim smile to Thurston's tired lips. "Hell's
popping!" 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. "You may be the whole works--may
have to carry on--but I'll tell you it all later. Meet me at the

"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 automobile
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
yesterday. The news was kept quiet: I got the last report a half-hour
ago. They pretty well wiped out Berlin. No air-force there. France and
England sent a swarm of planes, from the reports. Poor devils! No need
to tell you what they got. We've seen it first hand. They headed west
over the Atlantic, the four machines. Gave England 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 I am making.
Four days. Remember that!

"And we knew they were down in the Argentine five days ago--that's
another item kept from an hysterical public. They slaughtered some
thousands of cattle; there were scores of them found where the
devils--I'll borrow 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
knowledge 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
attack. 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 divided, 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

       *       *       *       *       *

"Our theory is this: the hydrogen atom has been split, resolved into
components, not of electrons and the proton centers, but held at some
halfway point of decomposition. Matter 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 gas
under normal pressure. 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 reconstruction of the atom ... for a million
billions 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 explosion, the entire absence of
heat--which is to say, its terrific cold--when it expands."

Slim Riley was looking bewildered but game. "Sure, I saw it snow," he
affirmed, "so I guess the rest must be 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
million shots. But there are other forms of radiant energy that do
penetrate steel...."

       *       *       *       *       *

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 MacGregor's face: Riley was not the only one
who needed encouragement. But the gray eyes were suddenly tired and

"You ask what I believe," said the scientist slowly. "I believe we are
witnessing the end of the world, our world of humans, their struggles,
their grave hopes and happiness and aspirations...."

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

"Men will struggle and fight with their puny weapons, but these monsters
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 intend 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 prepared. I have given instructions
through hours of phoning. They are working night and day. It will
contain a huge generator for producing my ray. Nothing new! Just the
product 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 that plane. You
may be of service to the world--you may find you are utterly powerless.
You surely will die. But you know the machines and the monsters; your
knowledge may be of value in an attack." He waited. The silence lasted
for only a moment.

"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 beautiful
place. A lingering death, MacGregor had intimated--and horrible....
"Why, sure," he repeated steadily.

Slim Riley shoved him firmly aside to stand facing MacGregor.

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

"What do you know about flying?" he asked Cyrus Thurston. "You're
good--for a beginner. But men like you two have got brains, and I'm
thinkin' the world 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
suddenly 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 beside some of them in France.... I belong!"

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

"Now I'm going over the hill. If 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
valley beyond rocked them like an earthquake. 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
snowflakes to whirl in the churning mass, 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 tight to the
struggling figure of Slim Riley.

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

Slowly the gas retreated, 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

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 speed. 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 telephone. Of the Secretary of War he implored

"Send your planes," 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!"

There were airplanes roaring overhead. 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! 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 your millions of dollars, 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 quavering 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 coping; 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

The bulbs came slantingly down. They were separating. Thurston wondered

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
explosion. Four bombs dropped at the same instant while they shot up to
safety in the thin air. How did they communicate? 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. They were 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 gain altitude. They
drove down from the heights--the enemy had drifted--they were over the

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

Again 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 Washington passed overhead.

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

"Now!" said Cyrus Thurston aloud.

       *       *       *       *       *

The big bulbs were back. They floated 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 south, 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 screaming at the top of his
voice--"Back--back--you poor, damned, decent Irishman!"

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 second. The soft roar of gas from the machines drowned the sound of
his engine. The plane passed them in silence to bank sharply toward the
third corner of the forming square.

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

Thurston's mind was solely on the fate of the lone voyager--until the
impossible 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! The ray...." Thurston saw as if straining eyes had pierced
through the distance to see the invisible. 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
companions, failed to hear them in reply to his mental call? The shining
pear shape shot violently upward; the attacking 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 the
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 rolled 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

"He fired its bombs," whispered Thurston in a shaking voice. "He killed
the other devils where they lay--he destroyed this with its own
explosive. He flew upside down to shoot up with the ray, to set off its

His mind was fumbling with the miracle of it. "Clever pilot, Riley, in a
dog-fight...." And then he realized.

Cyrus Thurston, millionaire sportsman, 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 sudden,
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

       *       *       *       *       *

The Corpse on the Grating

_By Hugh B. Cave_

    In the gloomy depths of the 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!

[Illustration: _It was a corpse, standing before me like some propped-up
thing from the grave._]

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 acquainted with M. S.
His name appears constantly in the pages of the Illustrated News, in
conjunction with some very technical article on psycho-analysis or with
some extensive study of the human 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
investigation. Lovely pursuit!

For some twenty years I have mocked him, in a friendly, half-hearted
fashion. I am a medical man, and my own profession is one that does not
sympathize with radicals.

As for Professor Daimler, the third member of our triangle--perhaps, if
I take a moment to outline the events of that evening, the Professor's
part in what follows will be less obscure. We had called on him, M. S.
and I, at his urgent request. 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 London, are the only persons who know the nature of my recent
experiments. 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 did so. Quietly he dragged me to the table that
stood against the farther wall. In the same even, unemotional tone of a
man completely 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 revealed themselves, and I
distinguished a motley collection of test tubes, each filled with some
fluid. The tubes were attached to each other by some ingenious
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 certain
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 conclusion, you, Dale, as
a medical man, will be sceptical. And you"--turning to M. S.--"as a
scientist you will be amazed. I, being neither 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 ... I 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 achievement! You know, Dale, that heat, if a man is not truly
dead, will sometimes resurrect him. In a case of epilepsy, 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 manner? The motor of your car
dies--do you bury it? You do not; you locate the faulty part, correct
it, and infuse new life. And so, gentlemen, after remedying the ruptured
heart of this dead man, by operation, I proceeded to bring him back to

"I used heat. Terrific heat will sometimes originate a spark of new life
in something long dead. Gentlemen, on the fourth day of my tests,
following a continued application of electric and acid heat, the

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

"The patient turned suddenly over and drew his arm 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

       *       *       *       *       *

He shook his head silently.

"You would find it interesting sport," I told him. "Take a common dry
cell battery with enough voltage to render a sharp shock. Then apply
your wires to various parts of the frog's anatomy. If you are lucky, and
strike the right set of muscles, you will have the pleasure of seeing a
dead frog leap suddenly forward. Understand, he will not regain life.
You have merely released his dead muscles by shock, and sent him

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 contradiction was not over welcome.

"You are cynical, Dale," said M. S. coldly, "because you do not

"Understand? I am a doctor--not a ghost!"

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

"Where is this body--this experiment?" he demanded.

Daimler shook his head. Evidently he had acknowledged failure and did
not intend to drag his dead man before our 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 insisted in making a matter of
fact thing out of our experiment. You understand, 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 contained 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
I 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. "Daimler
is a man of science. He is no child, experimenting with a toy; he is a
grown man who has the courage to believe in his powers. One of these

He had intended to say that some day I should respect the Professor's
efforts. One of these days! The interval 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
beside us seemed to be unbroken by door or window--that it appeared to
be a single gigantic building, black and forbidding. 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 watchman's light in one of the upper

At his words, I glanced up. True enough, the higher part of the grim
structure was punctured by narrow, barred openings. Safety vaults,
probably. But the light, unless its tiny gleam was somewhere in the
inner recesses of the warehouse, was dead. The great building was like
an immense 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
pavement. 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 immense
chains, immovable.

This much I saw as my intent gaze swept the wall before me. This huge
tomb of silence held for me a peculiar fascination, and as I paced along
beside 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

       *       *       *       *       *

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 face--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 horrible 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 an exclamation came harshly from my
companion's lips, I was pulled forward roughly. 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 overwhelming 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
horribly. Note the expression of his mouth, the evident struggle to
force these bars apart and escape. Something has driven fear to his
soul, killed him."

       *       *       *       *       *

I remember the words vaguely. When M. S. had finished speaking, I did
not reply. Not until he had stepped forward and bent over the distorted
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
evidently 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

"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 fellow's mind. Yet if I tell
you, you will return to your old skepticism--your damnable habit of

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 indistinct boxes and crates, and
with an open door bearing the black number 4167. And in that open
doorway, coming 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--_alive_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

M. S. turned slowly and pointed with upraised hand to the corpse on the

"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 late 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 thundered. "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 will
wager you, man, that your laughter is not backed by courage!"

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 as I retreated from his temper, he
reached forward to seize my arm. I could not help but feel impressed at
his grim intentness.

"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 the dead man, at the face of fear and
the clutching, twisted hands, and a cold dread filled me. But to refuse
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

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

It was nearly midnight when I found myself alone, climbing a musty,
winding 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 moment.
The stairs were black and difficult, and I mounted them slowly, groping
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--upward--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 stumbled 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 yellow with age and hardly
legible. In the drab light of the match I had difficulty in reading
it--but, as far as I can remember, the notice went something like this:


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

    2. No person shall be admitted to rooms or corridors unless
    accompanied 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
structure. I must confess that the knowledge did not bring any renewed
burst of courage! The top floor! 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 end 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 gloom of the street, M. S. was waiting, waiting with
that fiendish glare of triumph that would brand me a man without
courage. I could not return to face him, not though all the horrors of
hell inhabited this gruesome place of mystery. 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 _unknown_ 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,
cautiously along the corridor of the upper floor, searching each closed
door for the indistinct number 4167. The place was like the center of a
huge labyrinth, a spider-web of black, repelling passages, leading into
some central chamber 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 warehouse. 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 dead
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 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 sidewise from its holdings. A shudder took hold of
me as I looked at it. A living person, sitting on the stool before me,
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 awful terror must have gripped
the fellow 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,
directing 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
phosphorescent 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 between
his rounds.

But I had no desire to 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, turning the cover, I began to
glance through the thing which the man before me had evidently been

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 reverberations through the dead corridors of the building.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a book of horror, of fantasy. A collection of weird, terrifying,
supernatural tales with grotesque illustrations 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, standing 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 picture of a corpse standing in the doorway of room 4167!

I glanced at that doorway and laughed. No doubt of it, it was that awful
description in M. S.'s untempered 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 duration. A six-hour siege awaited me
before I could hear the sound of human 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 they 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
suggestion 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 scuffling noise--the sound of hidden
rodents 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 an eternity, the prisoner lay rigid,
staring at the 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

       *       *       *       *       *

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
falling, I heard that fearful sound--the shuffle of a living foot! I sat
motionless, 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, approaching along the black corridor without_!

I got to my feet like an automaton, swaying heavily. Every drop of
courage 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 courage.
Like a cowed beast I crept back to my place and slumped down on the
stool, my eyes still transfixed in a mute stare of terror.

I waited. For more than half an hour I waited, motionless. Not a sound
stirred in the passage 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 than 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 conformed precisely with my own.

"Fulton's head had fallen to his chest," the script read. "For an
endless 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, extended
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 grind 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
moving, 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 soul. 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 toward 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 nightmare of
fear. I remember that I stumbled, 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-tortured man--who had--come

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

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the afternoon of the following 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 previous night.

"You deserved it, Dale," he said quietly. "You are a medical man,
nothing more, and yet you mock the beliefs 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
leaning 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 acknowledged failure too soon,
and got rid of the body." He paused.

"When the Professor stored his patient 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
corridor from 4167."

       *       *       *       *       *

Creatures of the Light

_By 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.


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 dramatic game.

First, he was aware that the singularly ugly and deformed man at the
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 behind a broad column, with rude elbows on the table,
gawking first at Northwood and then at the deformed, almost hideous

[Illustration: _The projector, belching forth its stinking breath of
corruption, swung in a mad arc over the ceiling, over the walls._]

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,
magnificent and compelling. Furthermore, he had been in the public eye
for years, first as a precocious child and, later, as a brilliant young
scientist. Yet, for all his experience with hero worshippers to put an
adamantine crust on his sensibilities, he grew warm-eared under 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 himself, chilled
the blood queerly with the cold perfection of his godlike masculine

       *       *       *       *       *

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 altogether
unknown to him, nor could Northwood look into the mournful, near-sighted
black eyes without trying to recall when and where he had last seen

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 repugnance that he felt for this handsome,
boldly staring fellow, Northwood decided: "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
university 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, too,
intended to follow.

Northwood was out in the dusky street about thirty seconds, when the
hunchback came from the foyer. Without 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 hunchback stepped into the waiting taxi.

But the man did not falter. In a moment, Northwood lost sight of him as
the taxi moved away.

       *       *       *       *       *

He debated with himself whether or not he should attempt to follow. And
while he stood thus in indecision, the handsome stranger approached him.

"Good evening to you," he said curtly. 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 newness.

"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 café. 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?"

"If 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
violence. "If he knew that I saw everything that happened in there--that
I am talking to you at this moment--he would tremble with fear."

"But you can'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, he vanished; vanished as though he
had turned suddenly to air and floated away.

       *       *       *       *       *

The street was not crowded at that time, and there was no pressing group
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, expecting another
demonstration of the abnormal, but nothing else occurred. At last,
trembling 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 handkerchief, he muttered:

"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 his 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, parted slightly in a
smile that seemed to linger in 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 engaged 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 detested his own masculine beauty sincerely.

He tried to grasp a mental picture of Mary Burns, who had never stirred
in him the emotion that this smiling picture invoked. But, gazing at the
picture, he could not remember how his fiancée looked.

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 his jealous

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 address were written by the same
hand that had penned the inscription on the picture.

  Emil Mundson, Ph. D.,
  44-1/2 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 hunchback's intelligent, ugly face was
familiar to him. He had seen it pictured 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 graduated from the university where he now
taught, he had been avidly interested 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 article 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 Light."

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

"Run through 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

Northwood 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 ancestor was a fish creature
    composed of a few cells, was the guiding 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 him _man_ even in the rudimentary stages
    of his development. He was man when he wallowed in the slime of
    the new world and yearned for the air above. He will still be
    man when he has evolved into that glorious creature of the
    future whose body is deathless and whose mind rules the

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

"_Man always has been man_," he droned emphatically. "That's not
original 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

Northwood continued:

    Since the human body is chemical and electrical, increased
    knowledge of its powers and limitations will enable us to work
    with Nature in her sublime but infinitely slow processes of
    human evolution. We need not wait another fifty thousand years
    to be godlike creatures. Perhaps even now we may be standing at
    the beginning of the splendid bridge that will take us to that
    state of perfected 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 hand.
"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 nearer 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.
"Instinct, Northwood. We Creatures of the Light know that our race shall
reach that point in evolution when, as perfect creatures, we shall rule
all matter and live forever." He punctuated the last words with blows
on the table.

Northwood laughed dryly. "How many thousands of years are you looking
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 race, perhaps in a few
hundred years. It seems as though your profound 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 overcome Nature's fixed laws?"

"We don't know! We don't know!" The professor slapped the magazine with
an emphatic hand. "Emil Mundson hasn't written this article for nothing.
He's paving the way for some announcement that will startle the
scientific world. I know him. In the same manner he gave out veiled
hints of his various brilliant discoveries and inventions long before he
offered them to the world."

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

"Why not?" The professor's wizened face screwed up wisely. "A year ago,
when he was back from one of those mysterious long excursions he takes
in that weirdly different aircraft of his, about which he is so
secretive, he told me that he was conducting experiments 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 possible. Perfect
man, he says, will perform mental feats which will give him complete
mental domination over the physical."

       *       *       *       *       *

Northwood finished reading and turned thoughtfully to the window. His
profile in repose had the straight-nosed, full-lipped perfection of a
Greek coin. Old, wizened Professor Michael, gazing at him covertly,
smothered a sigh.

"I wish you knew Dr. Mundson," he said. "He, the ugliest man 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 holding Dr. Mundson's card and the wallet
which the scientist had so mysteriously dropped at his feet.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here was high adventure, perhaps, for which he had been singled 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

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

He took a taxi, which soon turned from the well-lighted streets into a
section 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 and evil smelling.

The chauffeur stopped at the entrance 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 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 disappeared. 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."

Northwood cleared his throat awkwardly. "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 hunchback 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 to me, I
should have sought elsewhere for my man. Come in."

       *       *       *       *       *

Northwood followed him into a living room evidently recently furnished
in a somewhat hurried manner. The furniture, although rich, was not
placed to best advantage. The new rug was a trifle crooked on the floor,
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 developing race!" His huge fist gesticulated madly.
"Fools! Fools! They need me and perfect men like you."


"Because you can help me in my plan to populate the earth with a new
race of godlike people. But don't question me too closely now. Even 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 scientist 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

Northwood opened his card case and placed the picture inside, facing
Mary's photograph. Again the warning words of the mysterious stranger
rang in his memory: "_The thing inside 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
arranged with Professor Michael for you to go."

       *       *       *       *       *

Northwood 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 just a little eccentricity of mine,"
explained Dr. Mundson. "I need people in my work, people whom I must
select through swift, sure tests. The apartment comes in handy, as

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
flying machine only by the propellers mounted on the top of the huge
ball-shaped body. There were no wings, no birdlike hull, no tail.

"It looks almost like a little world ready to fly off into space," he

"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 reproduction of a bird. It is--but, climb in, young friend."

       *       *       *       *       *

Northwood followed Dr. Mundson into the aircraft. The moment the
scientist closed the metal door behind them, Northwood was instantly
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 interior of the aircraft,
divided into four wedge-shaped apartments.

Dr. Mundson also paused at the door, puzzled, hesitant.

"Someone has been here!" he exclaimed. "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 watching 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 someone 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 levers. 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

"The vertical rising aircraft perfected," 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 electrical genius would seek for a less
obsolete 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
Northwood, are one of the very few to fly in a machine operated solely
by electrical energy from the sun's rays."

"Are you telling me that this airship is operated with power from the

"Yes. And I cannot take the credit for its invention." He sighed. "The
dream was mine, but a greater brain 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

"Perhaps!" Dr. Mundson worked with the controls. "Here, I've cut her
down to the average speed of the ordinary 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 realize 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 continuous 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 behind 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,
discovered why his mind and body 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 magnetism of her beautiful eyes. Never
had Mary Burns stirred emotion like this in him. He hung over Mary's
picture, wistfully, hoping almost prayerfully that he could react to her
as he did to Athalia; but her pale, over-intellectual face left him

"Cad!" he ground out between his teeth. "Forgetting her so soon!"

The two pictures were lying side by side on a little table. Suddenly an
obscure noise in the room caught his attention. 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

Athalia's picture was gone.

He searched for it everywhere in the room, in his own pockets, 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 covered with broken floes of
ice and small, ragged icebergs. He seized a telescope and focused 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.
Mundson; "and there, just showing on the horizon, is the Great Ice
Barrier." His characteristic smile lighted the morose 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 enter 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

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 thundered 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 scientist 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

Both men screamed and cursed and flung up their arms despairingly. A
penguin, attracted by their cries, waddled solemnly over to them and
regarded them with manlike curiosity.

"Stranded in the coldest spot on earth!" groaned the scientist.

"Why did it start itself, Dr. Mundson!" Northwood narrowed his eyes as
he spoke.

"It didn't!" The scientist's huge face, red from cold, quivered with
helpless rage. "Human hands started it."

"What! Whose hands?"

"_Ach!_ Do I know?" His Teutonic accent grew more pronounced, as it
always did when he was under emotional stress. "Somebody whose brain is
better than mine. Somebody who found a way to hide away from our eyes.
_Ach, Gott!_ Don't let me 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? You
have not seen him, won't see him until we arrive at our destination."

"But I have seen him. He was sitting 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 then--" Northwood stopped. How could he let the insane
words pass his lips?

"Then, what? Speak up!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Northwood laughed nervously. "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 continued:

"Then it is true, as he said. He has crossed the bridge. He has reached
the Light. And now he comes to see the world he will conquer--came
unseen when I refused my permission."

He was silent for a long time, pondering. Then he turned passionately to

"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 godlike 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

"Are there more like him?" Northwood struggled with a smile of unbelief.

"I don't know. I did not know that Adam had reached a point so near the
ultimate. But you have seen. Already he is 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 pulling 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 grayish-blue polar sky. In another
moment it had swooped down, eaglewise, scarcely fifty feet from the ice

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
himself 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 Northwood strode forward until he was within
three feet of 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 actions? What a fool you were to let me,
whom you forced into life thousands of years too soon, grow more
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, because, 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 on the voice. "I am watching you
both. You cannot even hide your thoughts from me."

And thus began the strange continuation of the journey. Not once, in
that wild half-hour's rush over the polar ice clouds, did 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 ghostly
voice hurling threats and insults at them.

Once the scientist whispered: "Don't cross him; it is useless. John
Northwood, 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 below. 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 encircling mountain range was a green
valley of tropical luxuriance. Stretches of dense forest swept half up
the mountains and filled the valley cup with tangled verdure. In the
center, surrounded by a broad field and a narrow ring of woods, towered
a group of buildings. From the largest, which was circular, came the
auroralike radiance that formed an umbrella of light over the entire

"Do I guess right," said Northwood, "that the light is responsible for
this oasis in the ice?"

"Yes," said Dr. Mundson. "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 the radiance given off by
certain flowers, which many naturalists say is trapped sunshine. 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
ascendency over the powers of destruction."

At Northwood's sudden start, the scientist laughed and continued: "Is it
not a pity that Nature, left alone, requires twenty years to make a man
who begins to die in another ten years? Such waste is not tolerated in
New Eden, 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 in 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 tingled against Northwood's skin
refreshingly. Almost instantly he had the sensation of perfect well
being, and this feeling of physical perfection was part of the ecstasy
that seemed to pervade the entire valley. Grass and breeze and golden
skylight were saturated with a strange ether of joyousness.

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,
whose flesh and eyes had the sinister newness of Adam's. Even before
they came close enough to speak, Northwood 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 surrounded Adam. The woman drew Adam's head down and kissed him
affectionately on both cheeks.

Adam, from his towering height, patted her shoulder impatiently and
said: "Run on back to the laboratory, grandmother. We're following
soon. You have some new human embryos, I believe you told me this

"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 needn't
try to leave 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 brought forth in the laboratory, and is no different
from you or I, except that, at the age of five years, she is 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. Remember, 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,
narrow-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 freshness of
young girlhood, her skin and eyes did not have the horrible newness of

When she was still twenty feet distant, Northwood met her eyes and she
smiled shyly. The rich, red blood ran through her face; and he, too,

She went to Dr. Mundson and, placing 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 morning, 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, how 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 follow 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 utmost 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 civilization. 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 him and Athalia. Adam was pale, and all
the iciness 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 manhood and womanhood.

"Fast work, Athalia!" The new vibrant voice was strained. "I was hoping
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. Dismiss 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 golden 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 overlord 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?

But her answer, given with faltering voice, was the old, simple one: "I
have promised him, Adam. I love him." Tears trembled on her thick

"So! I cannot get you in the ancient manner. Now I'll use my own."

He seized her in his arms crushed her against him, and, laughing over
her head at Northwood, bent his glistening head and kissed her on the

There was a blinding flash of blue electric sparks--and nothing else.
Both Adam and Athalia had vanished.

       *       *       *       *       *

Adam's voice came in a last mocking 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 I want you again."

White-lipped and trembling, Northwood groaned: "What has he done now?"

Dr. Mundson's great head drooped. "I don't know. Our bodies are electric
and chemical machines; and a super intelligence has discovered new laws
of which you and I are ignorant."

"But Athalia...."

"She is safe; he loves her."

"Loves 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 creatures like Adam into the world?"
Northwood flung at him. "You have tampered with life enough, Dr.
Mundson. But, although Adam has my sympathy, I'm not willing to turn
Athalia over to him."

"Well said! Now come to the laboratory for chemical nourishment and rest
under the Life Ray."

They went to the great circular building from whose highest tower issued
the golden radiance that shamed the light of the sun, hanging low in the

"John Northwood," said Dr. Mundson, "with that laboratory, which is the
center of all life in New Eden, we'll have to whip Adam. 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 us."

       *       *       *       *       *

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 basking in the deep orange flood of light which
poured from individual lamps set above each cot.

"It is the Life Ray!" said Dr. Mundson 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 increases the shoot into a giant
tree. It is the same power that enables the fertilized ovum to develop
into an animal. It creates and recreates cells almost instantly;
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 drowsiness fell upon him, producing a spell of
perfect peace which the cells of his being 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, switching off the Ray. "After three minutes
of rejuvenation, you are commencing again with perfect cells. All
ravages from disease and wear have been corrected."

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
laboratory for recuperation and nourishment. We'll have almost
twenty-four hours a day for work and play."

       *       *       *       *       *

He stretched out on the bed contentedly. "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 perfect, I should cease to be so
overwhelmingly conscious of the importance 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
followed Dr. Mundson down a long corridor, 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 disappointed not to see her
walking by his side. Was she with him, unseen? The thought was sweet.

Before Dr. Mundson opened the massive bronze door at the end of the
corridor, he said:

"Don't be surprised or shocked over anything you see here, John
Northwood. 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 projector. 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 shall have to show you through a window. Should you and I
enter, we might be changed in a most extraordinary manner." He laughed
mischievously. "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 outdoor arena,
its only carpet the fine-bladed grass, its roof the blue sky cut in the
middle by an enormous disc from which shot the aurora of trapped
sunshine which made a golden umbrella over the valley. Through openings
in the bottom of the disc poured a fine rain of rays which fell
constantly upon groups of children, youths and young girls, all clad in
the merest scraps of clothing. Some were dancing, 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 development 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 making its miraculous
changes under the Life Ray. Watch those gorgeous purple 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 literally enshrouded the entire bush with their royal
glory. At first glance it seemed as though a violent wind were
snatching at flower and bush, but closer inspection proved that the
agitation was part of the plant itself. And then he saw that the
movements 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 touched the ground than they sent up tiny green
shoots that grew larger each moment. Within ten minutes 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 scientist. "Development is going on as
rapidly 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, "Nature's forces of
destruction, of tearing down, are as powerful as her creative powers.
You have discovered the ultimate in creation and upbuilding. But
perhaps--oh, Lord, it is too awful to think!"

"Speak, Northwood!" The scientist's voice was impatient.

"It is nothing!" The pale young man attempted a smile. "I was only
imagining some of the horror that could be thrust on the world if a
supermind 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now come and see the Leyden 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. Northwood 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 marriages sprang the first children that
passed through the laboratory. I had hoped," he hesitated and looked
sideways 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 over Northwood.

"Thanks," he said tartly. "When I marry Athalia, I intend to have an
old-fashioned home and a Black Age family. I don't relish having my
children turned into--experiments."

"But wait until you see all the wonders 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, experimenting with human life."

"Nonsense! Can you say that all life--all matter--is not the result of
scientific experiment? Can you?" His black gaze made Northwood
uncomfortable. "Buck up, young friend, for now I am going to show you a
marvelous improvement on Nature's bungling ways--the Leyden jar mother."
He raised his voice and called, "Lilith!"

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,
connected 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 underneath 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
scientists realized. The human mother's body does nothing but nourish
and protect 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 processes of development
taking place under the Life Ray, for babies develop very fast."

Northwood buried his face in his hands. "Lord! This is awful. No
childhood; 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
awkwardness of childhood."

       *       *       *       *       *

He led Northwood to a magnificent building whose façade of white marble
was as simply beautiful as a Greek temple. The side walls, built almost
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 manner 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 devouring "Paradise Lost."

Dr. Mundson whispered to him: "If you do not believe that Ruth here is
getting her Euclid, which she probably never saw before to-day, 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
completely dumbfounded him with her pedantic 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 probably
prove her scholarly appreciation of 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, and quoted copiously and correctly.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dr. Mundson gloated triumphantly 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 splendid mentality.

"These children, through selective breeding, have brains that make
everlasting 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 conversation. 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 masterpiece or to guide their fingers
and their brains through the intricacies of a difficult musical

"No?" His dark eyes glowed. "Come see!"

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 coordinating means in the human body are
purely 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 parts of the body.
Accordingly, musicians 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 repeated the score she
had played.

"That is Eve," whispered Dr. Mundson. "I had selected her as Adam's
wife. But he does not want her, the most brilliant woman of the New

Northwood gave the woman an appraising look. "Who wants a perfect woman?
I don't blame Adam for preferring Athalia. But how is she teaching her

"Through thought vibration, which these perfect people have developed
until they can record permanently the radioactive waves of the brains of

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 hands.

"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. Mundson 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 televisioned 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 furiously. 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 appealingly. "I can bring you amorous
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 slightly, 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 lips 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 spiritual 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 thousand years."

White-lipped and trembling, he demanded: "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
Perception--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 instinct. 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 Destroyer? 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 into 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 dimension."

       *       *       *       *       *

Her red mouth reached closer to him, her blue eyes touched hidden forces
that slept in remote cells of his being. "You are going into Eternal
Time, John Northwood, Eternity 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 asunder. Black chaos held him
for a frightful moment before he felt sanity return.

He was back on the terrace again, with Eve by his side. They were
standing now. The world about him looked the same, yet there 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 everything 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

"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

       *       *       *       *       *

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,

"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, we 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
laboratory, following Adam and Athalia down a long corridor. Athalia was
crying 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 Northwood'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

Striding forward like an avenging goddess, she pulled Northwood after

"Hurry!" she whispered. "Remember, you and I are five minutes in the
future, and Adam is only one. We are witnessing what will occur four
minutes from now. We yet have time 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. Ah!"

Fierce joy burned in her flashing blue eyes, and her slender nostrils
quivered delicately. Northwood, peeping 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 laboratory, a huge apartment filled with queer
apparatus and cages of live animals. The room was a strange paradox.
Part of the equipment, the walls, and the floor was glistening with
newness, 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 mouldiness, as though it had been lifted from an
ancient graveyard where it had lain in the festering ground for
unwholesome centuries.

Between cracks in this stained and decayed section of stone grew fetid
moss that quivered with the microscopic 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, overwhelmingly 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 mustiness, Northwood 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 prey hides corruption no less
shocking. Nature's forces of creation and destruction forever work in
partnership. Never satisfied with her composition, she destroys and
starts again, building, building towards the ultimate of perfection.
Thus, it is natural that if Dr. Mundson isolated the Life Ray, Nature'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 toward her. "Quick!" she said. "We'll
have to go back to the third dimension. 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 shoulder.

"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,
squealing animals, and threw a lever. Instantly 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 shocking,
instant decay. The very cage which imprisoned them shriveled and
retreated from the hellish, devouring breath that struck its noisome rot
into the heart of the wood and the metal, reducing both to revolting

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--and to
me!" Her full bosom strained under the passion beneath.

"Listen!" She raised her hand warningly. "He comes! The destroyer

       *       *       *       *       *

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?"

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 laboratory 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, lying
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 then 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 disappeared,
bringing down upon him dust more foul than any obscenity the bowels of
the earth might yield. In an instant the black cone ate through the
outer parts of the building, where crashing stone and screams that were
more horrible because of their shortness 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 behind 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

"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 except 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, Athalia," he said sadly. "Let's get out
before more stones fall."

       *       *       *       *       *

In a moment 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 Athalia. "Dark and cold!"

"The sunshine projector!" gasped Northwood. "It must have been
destroyed. Look, dearest! The golden light has disappeared."

"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 survivors; then we'll save

Even a cursory examination of the mouldy piles of stone and dust
convinced them that there could be no survivors. 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 débris, staggering 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 generalship, 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 danced. "He might have gone to the

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 unprotected 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 gravely. "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 débris, 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 several 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

"It won't be long," said Athalia faintly. "Freezing doesn't hurt, John,

"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.

Northwood's freezing lips translated some of the futile words that
crowded against them. "I love you because you are not perfect. I hate

"Yes. Perfection is the only hopeless 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

"That sounds almost like the sun-ship," said Athalia drowsily.

"It's only the wind. Hold your face down so it won't 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!" 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 the sun-ship, which had
landed only a few feet away. In a few minutes he had hot brandy for

While they sipped greedily, he talked, between working the sun-ship's

"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. And what is a hunch but a mental
penetration into the Fourth Dimension?" 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

"And so at last you confess that it is not well to tamper with human
life?" Northwood, warmed with hot brandy, 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.

"And who can say to what extent you have thus furthered natural
evolution?" 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Appears on Newsstands_

       *       *       *       *       *

Into Space

_By Sterner St. Paul_

    What was the extraordinary connection between Dr. Livermore's
    sudden disappearance and the coming of a new satellite to the

[Illustration: _A loud hum filled the air, and suddenly the projectile
rose, gaining speed rapidly._]

Many of my readers will remember the mysterious radio messages which
were heard by both amateur and professional short wave operators during
the nights of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of last September, and
even more will remember the astounding discovery made by Professor
Montescue of the Lick Observatory on 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 evidence that the new planetoid was inhabited and that the
messages were attempts on the part of the inhabitants to communicate
with us.

The fact that the messages were on a lower wave length than any receiver
then in existence could receive with any degree of clarity, and the
additional fact that they appeared to come from an immense distance lent
a certain air of plausibility to these ebullitions in the Sunday
magazine sections. For some weeks the feature writers harped on the
subject, but the hurried construction of new receivers which would work
on a lower wave length yielded no results, and the solemn pronouncements
of astronomers to the effect that the new celestial body could by no
possibility 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 remember the two events I have noted, I
doubt whether there are five hundred people alive who will remember
anything at all about the disappearance of Dr. Livermore of the
University of Calvada on September twenty-third. He was a man of some
local prominence, but he had no more than a local fame, and few papers
outside of California even noted the event in their columns. I do not
think that anyone ever tried to connect up his disappearance with the
radio messages or the discovery of the new earthly satellite; yet the
three events were closely bound up together, and but for the Doctor's
disappearance, 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 everyone who took his courses and so, of course, they
were always crowded. The University authorities used to remonstrate with
him, but his ability as a research worker was so well known and
recognized that he was allowed to go about as he pleased. He was a
bachelor who lived alone and who had no interests in life, so far as
anyone 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 engineering while I
clandestinely pursued my hobby, literature. Dr. Livermore'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 the campus 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 I graduated from Calvada I was theoretically an electrical
engineer. 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. However, 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-second, in the second

       *       *       *       *       *

The morning of the twenty-second the City Editor called me in and asked
me if I knew "Old Liverpills."

"He says that he has a good story ready to break but he won't talk to
anyone but you," went on Barnes. "I offered 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 better take a run out to Calvada and see what he has to
say. I can have a good man rewrite your drivel when you get back."

I was more or less used to that sort of talk from Barnes so I paid no
attention to it. I drove my flivver down to Calvada and asked for the

"Dr. Livermore?" said the bursar. "Why, he hasn't been around here for
the last ten months. This is his sabbatical 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 back 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 Livermore's, are you?" asked the Postmaster,
my informant. "Have you got an invitation?"

I assured him that I had.

"It's a good thing," he replied, "because 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 express 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 working for him and he don't let a
white man on the place."

Forced to be satisfied with this meager information, I started old
Lizzie 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 building, 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 Winchester rifle stood
behind it, and when I stopped he came up and asked my business.

"My business is with Dr. Livermore," I said tartly.

"You got letter?" he inquired.

"No," I answered.

"No ketchum letter, no ketchum Doctor," 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 Doctor," 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 was 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?"

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 an Indian here who started to murder me when
I tried to get past your barricade."

"Good for him," chuckled the Doctor. "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 heartily. "So you had trouble with my guard,
did you?"

"I nearly got murdered," I said ruefully.

"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 fool I talked to in
your office would send you or some one else. If anyone else had been
sent, he 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 toothbrush, and I guess you can
make out with that. Come in."

       *       *       *       *       *

I followed him into the house, and he showed me 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
excellent cigars. "And why did you pick me to tell it to?"

"For several reasons," he replied, ignoring 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 craziness is not of
the usual type. Mine is the insanity of genius."

       *       *       *       *       *

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 familiar 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 joined with him in his laughter.

"It won't require a very deep knowledge to follow the thread of my
argument," he went on. "You know, of course, that the force of magnetic
attraction 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
manifestations of one force. The parallel between the two grows closer
with each succeeding experiment. You know, for example, that each
magnetized particle 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
commonly known phenomena of gravity or weight."

"I can prove the fallacy of that in a moment," I retorted.

"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."

       *       *       *       *       *

"If two magnets are placed so that the north pole of one is in
juxtaposition 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 opposite, they will repel. If your theory were
correct, a man standing on his head would fall off the earth."

"Exactly what I expected," he replied. "Now let me ask you a question.
Have you ever seen 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 pointed 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 reversed!" I 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 magnet 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 attracted, 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 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 interplanetary travel is at
hand! Suppose that I construct an airship and then render it neutral to
gravity. It would weigh nothing, _absolutely nothing_! 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
repelled from the earth with the same force with which it is now
attracted, and it would rise with the same acceleration as a body falls
toward the earth. It would travel to the moon in two hours and forty

"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 hours later. There are two things which would interfere with that.
One is the fact that the propelling force, the gravity 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 decelerate 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 device?" 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 first glance to be a huge artillery shell, but of a size
larger than any ever made. It was constructed 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 one hundred and forty feet high,
the Doctor informed me. A ladder led from 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," explained the Doctor, "is filled with
batteries 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 be 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 over the details of the air
purifying and such matters," he 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 constant renovating. Have you any question you wish to

"One objection I have seen frequently 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. To-day 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 acceleration due to gravity and is the rate at which a body
increases speed when it falls. This is the acceleration which I will

"Remember that the space traveled by a falling body in a vacuum is equal
to one half the 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 second, 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
arrived. 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 communication 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 me to grasp the simple manipulations which
I would 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
inside and he climbed the ladder.

"When I shut the door, go back to the house and test the radio," he

The door clanged shut and I hastened 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 receiver.
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 Doctor through one of the windows.

"I have passed beyond the range of the atmosphere, Tom," came his voice
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

       *       *       *       *       *

For the rest of the afternoon and all of that night I received his
messages 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 receiving my messages," his voice
said faintly. "I have no idea of whether you can hear me or not, but I
will keep on repeating this message every hour while my battery holds
out. It is now thirty hours since I left the earth and I should be on
the moon, according to my calculations. But I am not, and never will be.
I am caught at the neutral 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 left the earth, both the
earth and the moon repel me. If I reverse 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 endlessly circle the earth as a
satellite until the end of time. There is no hope for me, for long
before a duplicate of my device equipped with rockets could be
constructed and come to my rescue, my air would be exhausted. 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 o'clock the message was repeated. At eleven it
started again 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 Montescue announced his discovery of the
world's new satellite.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _An Extraordinary Four-Part Novel_


       *       *       *       *       *

The Beetle Horde

_By Victor Rousseau_

    Bullets, shrapnel, shell--nothing can stop the trillions of
    famished, man-sized beetles which, led by a madman, sweep down
    over the human race.

[Illustration: _The hideous monsters leaped into the cockpits and began
their abominable meal._]


Tommy Travers and James Dodd, of the Travers Antarctic Expedition, crash
in their plane somewhere near the South Pole, and are seized by a swarm
of man-sized beetles. They are carried down to Submundia, a world under
the earth's crust, where the beetles have developed their civilization
to an amazing point, using a wretched race of degenerated humans, whom
they breed as cattle, for food.

The insect horde is ruled by a human 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 dead by a
world he had hated because it refused to accept his radical scientific
theories. His fiendish mind now plans the horrible revenge of leading
his unconquerable horde of monster insects forth to ravage the world,
destroy the human race and establish a new era--the era of the insect.

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. Before he
has time to act, the monster springs at them!


_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 stream. Instantly the water
was alive with leaping things with faces of such grotesque horror that
Tommy sat paralyzed in his rocking shell, unable to avert his eyes.

Things no more than a foot or two in length, to judge from the slender,
eel-like bodies that leaped into the air, but things with catfish heads
and tentacles, 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 precipitated themselves upon the struggling mantis, whose
enormous form, extending halfway from shore to shore, was covered with
the river monsters, gnawing, rending, tearing.

Luckily the struggles of the dying monster carried it downstream instead
of up. In a few moments the immediate danger was past. And suddenly
Haidia awoke, sat up.

"Where are we?" she cried. "Oh, I can see! 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.
We 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
coming 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 Travers," he bellowed, as the trained beetles
hovered 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
submit 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
marsupial 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
dangling 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 actinically much more powerful than the
brighter phosphorescence of the fungi behind them. The beetle-cloud
overhead parted. The strident sound was broken into a confused buzzing
as the terrified, blinded beetles plopped into the stream.

None of them, fortunately, fell into either of the three shells, but the
mass of struggling monsters in the water was hardly less formidable to
the safety of the occupants than that menacing 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

"How about your marsupial lion now, Bram?" yelled Dodd. "No monotremes
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 waving
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

       *       *       *       *       *

And then once more fate intervened. 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 instant 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 couch. 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
mantises, and that Bram was engaged in regaining his control over it.
But neither of them believed that 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 from a tree.

Incidents there were, nevertheless, during those days. For hours their
shells were followed by a school of the luminous river monsters, which,
nevertheless, 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, 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 of 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 entering a region of almost total
darkness, 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 possessed, in common with birds, had been
burned away. Haidia could see as well as ever in the dark, but she could
bear more light than formerly as well. Unobtrusively 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 strange to him. Civilization 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 their 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 side 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 a
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 degrees.

       *       *       *       *       *

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 emerge as a
stream somewhere in the upper world, Dodd. I wonder where the road

"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 as that?" demanded Dodd 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 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 the surface, 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
leading 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 continuously.

Suddenly Haidia uttered a fearful cry. Her ears had caught what became
apparent to 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 impression is that we are coming out
through the interior of an extinct volcano."

"But where are there volcanoes in the south polar regions?" inquired

"There are Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, in South Victoria Land, active
volcanoes discovered by Sir James Ross in 1841, and again by
Borchgrevink, 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.

"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! Perhaps in
the darkness he had not known which way they had gone after leaving the

That thought encouraged them to a last effort. They pushed their
flagging limbs up, upward through an inferno 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.



"Where are we?" each demanded of the other, as they staggered 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 themselves 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
elevation of not more than two or three hundred feet, and evidently the
volcano that had thrown it up had been extinct for millennia.

"Water!" gasped Dodd.

They looked all about them. They could see no signs of a spring
anywhere, 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 waiting for us up there!"

"No, no, Haidia," Dodd explained. "Those are stars. They are
worlds--places where people live."

"Will you take 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 Jimmydodd 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

       *       *       *       *       *

The three scrambled over the soft sand, which sucked in their feet to
the ankle at every step. It was with the greatest difficulty that they
succeeded 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 information, 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 intense 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."


"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!"

She screwed her eyelids tightly together 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," whispered Dodd to Tommy. "Somewhere where
it's dark, before the sun rises. Let's go back to the entrance of the

But Haidia, her arm extended, persisted, "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.
Between 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,
shouting in their language. In another minute 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 blackfellows 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

Suddenly the edge of the sun appeared 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 convulsively. 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
suffering somewhat. Meanwhile the blackfellows 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

"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
curiosity. 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 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 anybody to fit out an expedition into Submundia.
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 to-day. And, speaking of that, we must get those blacks to carry
those shells for us. I tell you, nobody will believe--"

"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 stabbed and drew back, all the while approaching the party,
which watched them, petrified with terror.

It was evident that the monsters had no conception of the presence of
humans. 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I don't think that necessarily means that the swarm is on our trail,"
said Tommy, a little later, as the three stood beside the shells that
they had discarded. "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
accustomed to the sunlight, though she still 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
managed 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 a 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 how to get water, for, just as it began to grow
dark, when the three were already tormented 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 were 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 familiar rasping sound far in the

"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 boomerangs in their hands, looking

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 rasping was audible, but it did not increase 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
themselves 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
phenomenon. 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 upward 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 whining shriek. A score of enormous
beetles, the advance guards of the army, zoomed out of the darkness into
a ray of straggling moonlight. Shrieking, the blacks, who had watched
the approaching swarm perfectly immobile, threw away the two shells and

"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 behind! 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
clustering 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 continuous, 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 repulsive 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 appeared--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 vicious 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
equipment of your plane undamaged after you crashed at the entrance to
Submundia. 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
million years ago, and you were a speck of protoplasm--in that
pre-pleistocene age--swimming among the invertebrate crustaceans that
characterized that epoch."

"Invertebrates and monotremes, Dodd," said Bram, almost wistfully. "The
mammals were already existent on the earth, as you know--" Suddenly he
broke off, as he realized that Dodd was spoofing him. A yell of
execration broke from his lips. He uttered a high whistle, and instantly
the whiplike lashes of a hundred beetles whizzed through the darkness
and remained 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!"


_The Trail of Death_

"There's sure some sort of hoodoo on these Antarctic expeditions,
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 Dodd, too! There'll be woe
and wailing 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 prehistoric beetles found by Tommy and Dodd! That'll make good
copy, Wilson. Let's play that up. Hand it to Jones, and tell him to
scare up a catching 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 contemptuous laugh.

"Well, it won't do the I. P. much good to play those tricks on their
subscribers," 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 Travers's 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
certain 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
    Station, signed by Thomas Travers, member of Travers Antarctic
    Expedition, who claims to have penetrated 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 impenetrable by rifle
    bullets, now besieging Settler's Station, where he and Dodd and
    Haidia, woman of subterranean race whom they brought away, are
    shut up in telegraph office. Bram, former member of Greystoke
    Expedition, said to be in charge of swarm, with intention of
    obliterating human race. Every living thing at Settler's Station
    destroyed, and swarm moving south.

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 anything, an under-estimate of the fearful
things that were happening "down under."

       *       *       *       *       *

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 numbers
were incalculable. Wimbush, the aviator, who was attempting to cross the
continent from east to west, reported afterward that he had flown 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
totally 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
estimated that the voracious monsters had carried them away bodily,
devoured them in the air, and dropped the remains 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
everywhere on the deserted beaches, in positions 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 little 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 invulnerable against rifle fire, sallied forth boldly with
knives and choppers, and laid down a life for a life.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the second day after their appearance, the main swarm, a trillion 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 borders 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
particular objective, moving in a solid cohort two hundred miles in
length, and devouring game, stock, and humans indiscriminately. It was
the southern division, numbering perhaps a trillion, that was under
command of Bram, and aimed at destroying Melbourne as Adelaide had been

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 Revelations.

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. Mantises, 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 assemble at Broken Hill, New South
Wales, a strategic point commanding the approaches to Sydney and
Melbourne. 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 Handley-Pages--anything 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 formidable than with their sight. They existed only to
devour, and their numbers 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 hundred planes, each armed with machine
guns, dashed into the serried hosts, drumming out volleys of lead. In a
long line, extending nearly to the limits 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 range, 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 weaving tentacles through the
air--but that was all. On the main body of the invaders no impression
was made whatever.

The second terror was the realization that the swarm, driven down here
and there from an altitude of several hundred feet, merely resumed their
progress on the ground, in a succession of gigantic leaps. Within a few
minutes, instead of presenting an inflexible barrier, the line of
airplanes was badly broken, each plane surrounded by swarms of the

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

Some thought afterward that it was by thought transference he effected
this maneuver, for instantly the beetles, which had hitherto flown 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 abominable 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 insignificant results. Their
skeletons were found not twenty paces from their guns--where the
Gunners' Monument now stands.

Half an hour after the flight had first been sighted the news was being
radioed to Sydney, Melbourne, and all other Australian cities, advising
instant flight to sea as the only chance of safety. That radio message
was cut short--and men listened and shuddered. After that came the
crowding aboard all craft in the harbors, the tragedies of the _Eustis_,
the _All Australia_, the _Sepphoris_, sunk at their moorings. The
innumerable sea tragedies. 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 resistless 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 outside
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 advance
was stayed.

Volunteers who went out from 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 become a shambles.

And then the cry went up, not only from Australia, but from all the
world, "Get Travers!"


_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
appeared out of the throng. Their tentacles went out, and the two men
and the girl found themselves hoisted separately 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 toward the horizon. Tommy knew
that the moon would set about the hour of dawn. And the stars were
already beginning to pale when he saw a line of telegraph poles, then
two lines of shining metals, then a small settlement of stone and brick

Tommy was not familiar with the geography of Australia, but he knew this
must be the transcontinental line.

Whirling onward, the cloud of beetles suddenly swooped downward. For a
moment Tommy could see the frightened 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.
For out of the cloud dropped what seemed to be a phalanx of beetle
guards, the military police of beetledom, and, lashing fiercely with
their tentacles, they drove back all the swarm that sought to join their
companions 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 presumed, 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, flinging 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. 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 understood and shouted something that was
lost in the furious buzz of the beetles' 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 super-human efforts,
dragged the large iron stove against it. He rushed to the window, 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 demolished. 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 doubtfully. 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 of their prey. There
were as yet no signs of attack. Suddenly Tommy grasped Dodd's arm.

"Look!" he shouted, pointing to a corner which had been in gloom a
moment 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 suddenly outside a furious hum, and the impact
of beetle bodies against the front door.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tommy 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
beetles to force an entrance. But the very tensile strength of the
beetle-shells, which rendered them impervious to bullets, required a
laminate construction which rendered them powerless against brick or

Desperately the swarm dashed itself against the walls, until the ground
outside was piled high with stunned beetles. 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 instrument. Tommy ran to the table again.
Dash--dot went back. For five minutes Tommy labored, while the beetles
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."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Dodd! Travers! For the last 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
invisible; probably he thought it likely that the defenders had obtained

"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 before 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 quarrel
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

"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 America."

"You've been taking too many of those pellets, Bram," Dodd answered.
"Stand back now! Stand back, wherever 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 another
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
clattering of stage thunder.

All through the darkness Dodd could hear the unhurried clicking of the

At last the rattling ceased. The sun shone in again. The ground all
around the house was packed with fallen beetles, six feet high, a
writhing mass that creaked and clattered as it strove to disengage

Bram's voice once more: "I'm leaving 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 marsupial
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
beetles' legs began again. For hours the three heard it; it was not
until nightfall that it died away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bram had made good his threat, for all around the house, extending 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
whole 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?" demanded Dodd.

"The beetles are finish," Haidia repeated 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 halfway 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. "I'm getting nothing."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the moonlight they could see the huge compound eyes of the beetle
guards glittering like enormous diamonds 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 paramount.

"Tommy, there must be water in the station," said 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 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 significance of an interrogation. She only repeated
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 scurrying 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 conduct sapping 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 hour, 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 monsters 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 told 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
courage, 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
moments, 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

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!

It had moulted because the bodies, gorged with food, had grown too large
for the shells. In time, if left alone, the monsters would grow larger
shells, become invincible again. But just now they were defenseless as
new-born babes--and knew it.

Deep underneath the empty shells they had burrowed into the ground.
Everywhere at the bottom of the deep trenches were the naked, bestial
creatures, waving helpless tentacles and squirming over one another as
they strove to find shelter and security.

A sudden madness came over Tommy 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!


_The World Set Free_

They waited two days at Settler's Station. To push along the line into
the desert would have been useless, 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 incoherent.

His was the last plane on the Australian 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

"Has any one been out on reconnaissance?" 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tommy and Dodd led him to the piles of smoking, stinking débris and told

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 destroy 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 situation 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's
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
hundred planes had already 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. Newspapers
all over the world offered prizes for the most suitable form of death.
Ingenious Oriental tortures were rediscovered.

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.

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 Extermination.

       *       *       *       *       *

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 shells, and the news had excited a fresh
wave of apprehension. The airplanes had concentrated for an attack upon
them, and Tommy and Dodd were riding together, Tommy at the controls,
and Dodd observing.

Dodd called through the tube to Tommy, and indicated a mass that was
moving through the scrub--some 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 minutes the beetles were ringed
with a wall of fire. Presently the whole terrain 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 thorough job," said Tommy. "Let's get
back, Jim."

"What's that?" cried Dodd, pointing. Then, "My God, Tommy, it's one of
our men!"

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a man, but it was not one of their men, that creeping, maimed,
half-cinder and half-human thing that was trying to crawl into the
hollow of a rock. It was Bram, and recognition was mutual.

Bram dropping, moaning; he was only the shell of a man, and it was
incredible how he had managed to survive that ordeal of fire. The
remainder of his life, which only his indomitable will had held in that
shattered body, was evidently a matter of minutes, but he looked up at
Dodd and laughed.

"So--you're--here, damn you!" he snarled. "And--you think--you've won.
I've--another card--another invasion of the world--beside which this is
child's play. It's an invasion--"

Bram was going, but he pulled himself together with a supreme effort.

"Invasion by--new species of--monotremes," he croaked. "Deep
down in--earth. Was saving to--prove you the liar you are.
Monotremes--egg-laying platypus big as an elephant--existent long
before pleistocene epoch--make you recant, you lying fool!"

Bram died, an outburst of bitter laughter on his lips. Dodd stood silent
for a while; then reverently he removed his hat.

"He was a madman and a devil, but he had the potentialities of a god,
Tommy," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Murray Leinster, Ray Cummings, Victor Rousseau, R. F. Starzl, A.
  T. Locke, Capt. S. P. Meek and Arthur J. Burks

  Write for


       *       *       *       *       *

Mad Music

_By 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 violin?

[Illustration: _In an inner room they found a diabolical machine._]

To the accompaniment of a crashing roar, not unlike rumbling thunder,
the proud Colossus Building, which a few minutes before had reared its
sixty stories of artistic architecture towards the blue dome of the sky,
crashed in a rugged, dusty heap of stone, brick, cement and mortar. The
steel framework, like the skeleton of some prehistoric monster, still
reared to dizzy heights but in a bent and twisted shape of grotesque

No one knew how many lives were snuffed out in the avalanche.

As the collapse occurred in the early dawn it was not believed the
death list would be large. It was admitted, however, that autos, cabs
and surface cars may have been caught under the falling rock. One train
was known to have been wrecked in the subway due to a cave-in from the
surface under the ragged mountain of debris.

The litter fairly filled a part of Times Square, the most congested
cross-roads on God's footstool. Straggling brick and rock had rolled
across the street to the west and had crashed into windows and doors 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 Penn 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
morning grew older and the news of the disaster spread, more milling
thousands tried to crowd into the square. Many were craning necks
hopelessly on the outskirts of the throng, blocks away, trying vainly to
get a view of what lay beyond.

The fire department and finally several companies of militia joined the
police 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
happened. 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 watchman 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 boss," 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 windows 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, so I lit out
and ran. 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 building?"

"Nobody got out but me, I guess. There weren't many tenants. The
building is all rented, but not everybody had moved in yet and those as
had didn't spend their nights there. There was a watchman for every five
stories. An engineer and his crew. Three elevator 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 absolute
consternation. That was in the offices of the Muller Construction
Company, the builders of the Colossus. Jason V. Linane, chief engineer
of the company, was in conference with its president, James J. Muller.

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

In the other offices the entire force from manager to office boys was
hushed and awed, for they had seen the expressions on the faces of the
heads of the concern when they stalked into the inner office that

Muller finally looked up, rather hopelessly, at Linane.

"Unless we can 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 Linane, "but I can swear that the Colossus
went up according to specifications and that every ounce and splinter of
material was of the best. 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 an earthquake. No other building in the section was
even jarred. No other earthquake was ever localized to one half block of
the 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

"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

"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 man and I would also bank my life and reputation on his
engineering 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 extent, and threw them
on the floor. Then he dropped to his knees and began poring over them.

"This is a hell of a time for you to begin getting around," exploded
Muller. "What were you doing, cabareting all night?"

"It sure is terrible--awful," said Jenks, half to himself.

"Answer me," thundered Muller.

"Oh yes," said Jenks, looking up. He saw the look of anguish on his
boss's face and forgot his own excitement 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 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 building was as strong as Gibraltar

"You were the last to inspect it," accused Muller, with a break in his

"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 always 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 better 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," confessed Muller. "But that one, believe
me, has been visited by an act of God. Some form of earthquake or some
unlooked for, uncontrolled, almost unbelievable catastrophe has
happened. The Muller company stands back of its work to its 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 was finished. He is at your

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 construction, is doing all he
can. We believe we are blameless. If it is proven otherwise we will
acknowledge our fault, assume financial responsibility, and take our
medicine. Believe me, that building was perfection plus, like all our
buildings. That covers the entire 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 sciences. 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
plaudits 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

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 contention?"

"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 according to temperature," explained Linane. "At the freezing
point the rate is 1,090 feet per second and increases 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!" shouted the completely exasperated

       *       *       *       *       *

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 quarter of a mile away and his watch showed a second and a

All hands agreed that Jenks had won the bet fairly. Linane never exactly
liked Jenks after that.

Then Jenks rather aggravated matters 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 somewhat.

Linane never completely forgave Jenks for putting over this "fast one."
Socially they were always more or less at loggerheads, but neither let
this feeling 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 would tie responsibility
for the disaster 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
responsibility, began a hue and cry for the arrest of all parties in any
way concerned with the direction of the building 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, Linane 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 criminal 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 calling the "Colossal

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, however, 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 began
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 electric lights:


  _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
evening 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 plaudits which greeted
him. His long nervous fingers began to caress the instrument and his
lips began to move.

Jenks was aware that he was saying something, but was not at all
interested. 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 chust happy."

Jenks' attention was drawn to him. He noted his wild appearance.

"He sure looks mad enough," mused Jenks.

       *       *       *       *       *

The violinist flipped the fiddle up under his chin. He drew the bow over
the strings and began 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 continued falling from the strings of the

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 canary 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 chirping 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

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
place to abject howls, suggesting the lamentations of the damned.

The hands of the boy and girl gripped tensely. They could not help

The violin began to produce notes of a leering, jeering character,
growing more horrible with each measure until they burst in a loud
guffaw of maniacal 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.

       *       *       *       *       *

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 were 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 to 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
assistant--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. She chuckled. She had
heard the way Jenks had "sounded" her father out.

Jenks was speechless. The girl continued:

"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 resent being treated like a
child, but he is the soul of goodness and fatherly care."

"I know that," said Jenks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every engineer knows his mathematics. It was this fact, coupled with
what the world calls a "lucky break," that solved the Colossus mystery.
Nobody can get around the fact that two and two make four.

Jenks had happened on accomplishment to advance in the engineering
profession, and it was well for him that he had reached a crisis. He had
never believed in luck or in hunches, so it was good for him to be
brought face to face with the fact that sometimes the footsteps 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 intimacy 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 uncanny 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 Musician 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 glassware 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
together. 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 vibrations 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 breaking glassware with a vibratory wave
or vibration, how much more of a thrill would he get by crashing a

"Wild, but unanswerable," said Linane.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jenks had been calling on the Mad Musician at his country place. "He had
a studio in the Colossus," he reminded Linane. "He must have re-opened
somewhere else in town. I wonder where."

"Musicians are great union men," said Linane. "Phone the union."

Teddy Jenks did, but the union gave the last known town address as the

"He would remain in the same district around Times Square," reasoned
Jenks. "Let's page out the big buildings 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 canvass of the big buildings in the
theatrical 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 floor, just half
way up in the big structure.

They went to the manager of the building and frankly stated their
suspicions. "We want to enter that suite when the tenant is not there,"
they explained, "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 infernal 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 searchers. It
was as Jenks had thought. In an inner room they found a diabolical
machine--a single string stretched across two bridges, one of brass and
one of wood. A big horsehair bow attached to a shaft operated by a motor
was automatically sawing across the string. The note resulting was
evidently higher than the range of the human ear, because no audible
sound resulted. It was later estimated that the destructive note was
several octaves higher than the highest note on a piano.

The entire machine was enclosed 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 building suddenly began to sway
perceptibly. Jenks jumped forward to stop the machine but could not find
a switch.

"See if the machine plugs in anywhere in a wall socket!" he shouted to
Linane, who promptly began examining the walls. Jenks shouted to the
building manager to phone the police to clear the streets around the big

"Tell the police that the Acme Theater 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 muttering: "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 dangerously.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jenks looked from a window. An enormous crowd was collecting, watching
the big building swinging a foot out of plumb like a giant pendulum. 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 with
thousands of workers, for all floors above the third were offices.

Teddy Jenks 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 madman turned, saw Jenks, and started to run. Jenks took after him.
Up the staircase the madman rushed toward 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 after story without getting sight of the
madman. Finally he reached the roof. It was waving like swells on a lake
before 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 mouse. Both men were breathing heavily as a result
of their 15-story climb.

The madman tried to throw Teddy Jenks to 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 narrow 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
engineering knowledge came to his rescue. 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 construction above the 24th floor.

"If we fall," he reasoned, "we can only fall one story." Then he
deliberately 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 painful impact. Teddy had fallen
underneath, 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 unconscious Teddy. He painfully withdrew 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. 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."

It proved that he was dead.

No engineering firm is responsible for the actions of a madman. So the
Muller Construction Company was given 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 you, Elaine, this dates back to the fall of 1927."

"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 and one makes one," said Teddy Jenks.

Every engineer knows his mathematics.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Have you written in to_


  _Yet, to Tell the Editors Just What Kind of Stories You Would
  Like Them to Secure for You?_

       *       *       *       *       *

The Thief of Time

_By Captain S. P. Meek_

    The teller turned to the stacked pile of bills. They were gone!
    And no one had been near!

[Illustration: "_That man never entered and stole that money as the
picture shows, unless he managed to make himself invisible._"]

Harvey Winston, paying teller of 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 hundred and thirty-one tens," he read from the payroll change
slip before him. The paymaster of the Cramer Packing Company nodded an
assent and Winston turned to the stacked bills in his rear currency
rack. He picked up a handful of bundles 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.

"Got them? Of course not, how could I?" replied the paymaster. "There
they are...."

His voice trailed off into nothingness as he looked at the empty

"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

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 entering 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 robbed!" 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 paymaster. "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 twenties 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. "I'll let them

       *       *       *       *       *

The smaller of the two men who had followed the cashier from his office
when 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
inconspicuousness 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. Carnes?" asked the cashier.

"I can't supersede the local authorities in a case like this," replied
Carnes. "The secret service is primarily interested in the suppression
of counterfeiting 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 demanding 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 admitted.
If the patrolmen are allowed to wipe their hands over Mr. Winston's
counter they may destroy valuable evidence."

"You are right, Mr. Carnes," exclaimed 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 interested, 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 hair 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 told 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 instrumental 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 reason 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 stammered. "Have you
any idea of who did it, or how it was done?"

"Possibly I 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 questions 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 summoned 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,"
protested 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 attempt of this nature and
thus accumulate 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
hullabaloo 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 position out of the press reports."

The cashier hastened up to them.

"Detective-Captain Sturtevant will be here in a few minutes with a
photographer 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 assistant 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

Carnes indicated Dr. Bird.

"This gentleman is Mr. Berger, my assistant," he said. "Do you

"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 acknowledged 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!" 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," replied the detective. "Where did you hide the

"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 hiding
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 paymaster. "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
demanded of the guard.

"Nothing that I am sure of," answered 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

"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_

"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 vision?"
went on the doctor.

"Not that I am conscious of. It was just a breath of air such as a
person might cause by passing very rapidly."

"What made you ask Trier if he had 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 examination 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 place. We have had a good
deal of experience along these lines and we are merely anxious to aid

Sturtevant examined Carnes' credentials 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 than with apprehending
robbers 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
possible 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 without interfering, but in the meantime remember that this is a
National Bank, and that our questions will be answered. 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 allow no one in or out until I have the evidence
I desire. Do you understand?"

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
report to Washington that you are interfering with the course of justice
and using your authority to aid the getaway of a criminal."

"That is your privilege," replied Carnes quietly. "Mr. Winston, will you
answer Mr. Berger's question?"

"Why, I asked 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,

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

"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 no further questions to ask, perhaps
you will let me ask a few," said Sturtevant.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Go ahead, ask all you wish," replied Dr. Bird with a laugh. "I have all
the information I desire here for the present. I may want to ask other
questions later, but just now I think we'll be going."

"If you find any strange finger-prints on Winston's counter, I'll be
glad to have them compared with our files," said Carnes.

"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 slightest doubt that this is an
inside case and I have the men I want right here. Mr. Rogers, your bank
is closed for to-day. 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 confederate 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 of them."

"Are you going to arrest me?" demanded Trier in surprise.

"Yes, dearie," answered the detective. "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

"Time enough for that when I am through with you," replied the

He turned to Carnes.

"Have I your gracious permission to arrest these three criminals?" he

"Yes indeed, Captain," replied Carnes sweetly. "You have my gracious
permission to make just as big an ass of yourself as you wish. We're
going now."

       *       *       *       *       *

"By the way, Captain," said Dr. Bird as he followed Carnes out. "When
you get through playing with your prisoners and start to look for the
thief, here is a tip. Look for a left-handed man who has a thorough
knowledge of chemistry and especially toxicology."

"It's easy enough to see that he was left-handed if he pulled that money
out through the grill from the positions occupied by Trier and his
guard, but what the dickens led you to suspect that he is a chemist and
a toxicologist?" 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?" demanded 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 without 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 entered."

"There may be something in what you say, Carnes, but I am inclined to
have a different idea. I don'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 specialized 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
papers. If you get bored, I would recommend that you pay a visit to the
Art Institute and admire the graceful lions which adorn the steps.
Artistic contemplations may well improve your culture."

"All right," replied Carnes. "I'll assume 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 Maywood 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

"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 "Inflammable" 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," replied Dr. Bird, "and Casey here goes
with them. You know Casey, don't you, Carnes? He is the best
photographer in the Bureau."

"Shall I go along too?" asked Carnes as he acknowledged the

"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

"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, during 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 maintain 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," replied the doctor with a judicial air,
"is that you have no idea of the importance 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 performs for the Illinois
Athletic Club this afternoon, and it would not surprise 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 afternoon 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 I have a deep abiding interest, and that is Mr. Ladd. Have you
your binoculars with you?"


"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. The big demand was for seats near the finish line."

"The start will be much more interesting, Carnes. I was somewhat of a
minor star in track myself in my college 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 barking 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 the new star.

"On your mark!" cried the starter. "Get set!"

"Ah!" cried Dr. Bird. "Did you see that Carnes?"

The 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 suddenly 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

"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," replied 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 him carefully for the next heat and see if he puts anything into
his 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 dash was called. 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.

"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 which 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
hear 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, 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
impression, 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 athlete in his
college days and can talk the jargon of the champion's particular sport.
Henry Ladd promptly capitulated to the charm of the doctor and allowed
himself to be led away to supper at Bird's club. The supper passed off
pleasantly, and when the doctor requested an interview with the young
athlete in a private room, he gladly consented. They entered the room
together, 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
doctor made from the booth in his club, he hurried over to the First
National Bank. His badge secured him an entrance and he found Casey
busily engaged 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 keep on the job all night if necessary,"
he told Casey. "He thinks he will need your machine to-morrow."

"I'll have it ready to turn on the power at four A.M.," replied Casey.

Carnes watched him curiously for a while as he soldered together the
electrical connections and assembled an apparatus which looked like a
motion picture projector.

"What are you setting up?" he asked at length.

"It is a high speed motion picture camera," replied Casey, "with a
telescopic 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 had 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 fifty-six
exposures per second, and then shown at sixteen. This affair will take
half a million pictures per second."

"I didn't know that a film would register with that short an exposure."

       *       *       *       *       *

"That's slow," replied Casey with a laugh. "It all depends on the light.
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 photography 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

"At that speed, it must take a million miles of film before you get up

"It would, if the film were being exposed. 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 shutter working on an electric
principle which remains closed. When the switch is tripped, the shutter
opens in about two thirty-thousandths of a second, 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
complicated, but it works all right."

"Where is your switch?"

       *       *       *       *       *

"That is the trick part of it. It 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 half 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 second, 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

"The camera is equipped with a special 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
something has to be sacrificed to science, as Dr. Bird is always telling

"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."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well, Carnes, did you have an 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
machine ready on time anyway, and I'm no machinist."

"Well, frankly, Carnes, I didn't expect 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 suppose that everything is

"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 permanent 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
Winston, the bank got a message that the robbery would be repeated this
morning and dared them to prevent it. Rogers thought it was a hoax, but
he telephoned 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
the 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 precautions?"

"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 day?"

"Then he would rob a different one and we would have no way of
photographing 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
everything all right?"

"As sweet as chocolate candy, Doctor. 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 dodo, and I haven't been called that yet."

"Good work, Casey. Keep the bearings 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 window to take some bills from his
rack and had found several dozens of bundles missing. As the gongs
sounded, Dr. Bird and Casey leaped to the camera.

"She snapped, Doctor!" cried Casey as he threw two switches. "It'll take
an hour to stop and half a day to develop the film, but I ought to be
able to show you what we got by to-night."

"Good enough!" cried Dr. Bird. "Go ahead while I try to calm down the
bank officials. Will you have everything ready by eight o'clock?"

"Easy, Doctor," replied Casey as he turned 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 physicians 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
pictures which will, I am sure, astonish you. It marks the advent of a
new departure 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 the 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 followed 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 paying teller's cage of the First National
Bank. Winston's successor was standing motionless at the wicket, his
lips parted in a smile, but the attention of all was riveted on a figure
who moved 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 as he did so
he faced the camera full for a moment. He picked up other bundles of
bills, filled the suitcase, fastened 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 ringing tones, "allow me to present to
you Professor James Kirkwood of the faculty of the Richton University,
formerly known as James Collier of the Bureau of Standards, and robber
of the First National Bank."

Detective-Captain Sturtevant jumped to his feet 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

"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, Doctor?" 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 himself invisible."

       *       *       *       *       *

"You're closer to the truth than 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 cashier.

"Not cats, Mr. Rogers, catalysts. Catalysts is the name of a chemical
reaction consisting essentially of a decomposition and a new combination
effected by means of a catalyst which acts on the compound bodies in
question, but which goes through the reaction 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 manufacture of sulphuric acid. I will not burden
you with the details of the 'contact' process, as it is known, but the
combination is effected by means of finely divided 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 magnesium is concerned, the commonest are the metals of
the platinum group.

"Less is known of the action of catalysts in the organic reactions, but
it has been the subject of intensive study by Dr. Knolles of the Bureau
of Standards 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 effect on
hothouse forcing of plants and promise to revolutionize the truck
gardening industry. He has speeded up the rate of growth to as high as
ten times the normal rate in some cases.

"A few years ago, he and his assistant, James Collier, turned their
attention toward discovering a catalyst which would do for the metabolic
reactions in animal life what his light rays did for plants. What his
method 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
entire normal life span, and die of old age in six months."

       *       *       *       *       *

"That is very interesting, Doctor, 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


"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
increased six fold. You would eat a meal and in one hour you would be
hungry again. Having no timepiece, and assuming that you were in a
light-proof room, you would judge that some five hours had passed, would
you not?"

"I expect so."

"Very well. Now suppose that this accelerated rate of digestion and
expenditure of energy continued. You would be sleepy in perhaps three
hours, would sleep about an hour and a quarter, 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 would, 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 expenditure 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

"Naturally, and you would live a year in about seventeen and one-half
minutes, and a normal lifespan of seventy years in about twenty hours.
You would be as badly off as any common may-fly."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Agreed, but suppose that you could so regulate the dose of your
catalyst that its effect would last for only one one-hundredth of a
second. 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 leisurely 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 picture, 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 Bureau 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 experimented on young Ladd. I was a track man myself in my
college days and when I saw an account of his running, 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 photographing you at work. That is all I
have to say. Captain Sturtevant, you can take your prisoner whenever you
want him."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I reckoned without you, Dr. 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 Carnes. "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 ambidextrous."

"What about Winston's confession?" asked Rogers suddenly.

"Detective-Captain Sturtevant can explain that to a court when Mr.
Winston brings suit against him for false arrest and brutal treatment,"
replied Carnes.

"A very interesting case, Carnes," remarked 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."

       *       *       *       *       *


  _Beginning an Amazing Four-part Interplanetary Novel_

  _A Thrilling Novelette of the Substitution of Personality_

  _An Extraordinary Scientific Mystery_


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "_She is Yours, Master!_"]

Sick at heart, the trembling girl shuddered at the words that delivered
her to this terrible fate of the East. How could she escape from this
Oriental monster into whose hands she had been given--this mysterious
man of mighty power whose face none had yet seen?

    Here is an _extraordinary situation_. What was to be the fate of
    this beautiful girl? Who was this strange emissary whom no one
    really knew?

_To know the answer to this and the most exciting tales of Oriental
adventure and mystery ever told, read on through the most thrilling,
absorbing, entertaining and fascinating pages ever written._

  Masterpieces of Oriental Mystery
  11 Superb Volumes by SAX ROHMER
  Written with his uncanny knowledge of things Oriental

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _New!_ _Patented_]

Just A Twist Of The Wrist

Banishes Old-Style Can Openers to the Scrap Heap and BRINGS AGENTS $5 to

Women universally detest the old-style can opener. Yet in every home in
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  June 13,   60 Speedos;
  June 20,   84 Speedos;
  June 30,  192 Speedos;
  July  6,  288 Speedos.

Speedo sells to 9 out of 10 prospects."

M. Ornoff, Va.

  14 sales in 2 hours

J. J. Corwin, Ariz., says: "Send more order books. I sold first 14
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  Big Money Spare Time

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"Was only out a few evenings, and got 20 orders."

  4500 Mary Ave. (Est. over 20 years) St. Louis, Mo.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Central States Mfg. Co.,
  4500 Mary Ave. Dept. B-2403
  St. Louis, Mo.

Yes, rush me the facts and details of your FREE OFFER.

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........
  [ ] Check here if interested only in one for your home.

       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

Half a Million People

_have learned music this easy way_


You, too, Can Learn to Play Your Favorite Instrument Without a Teacher

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  Banjo, (Plectrum 5-String or Tenor)
  Hawaiian Steel Guitar
  Drums and Traps
  Sight Singing
  Voice and Speech Culture
  Harmony and Composition
  Automatic Finger Control
  Italian and German Accordion

       *       *       *       *       *

  3692 Brunswick Bldg., New York City.

Please send me your free book, "Music Lessons in Your Own Home," with
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particulars of your easy payment plan. I am interested in the following

              Have you an instrument: .........

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

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

[Illustration: _Works in Shoe Factory_]

W. T. Carson was forced to leave school at an early age. His help was
needed at home. He took a "job" in a shoe factory in Huntington, W. Va.,
at $12 a week.

[Illustration: _Starts Studying at Home_]

Carson determined to make something of himself before it was too late,
so he took up a course with the International Correspondence Schools and
studied in spare time.

[Illustration: _Now Owns Big Business_]

Today W. T. Carson is the owner of one of the largest battery service
stations in West Virginia, with an income of $15,000 a year. And he is
only 28 years old!

[Illustration: _Lectures at College_]

Just a few months ago a large college asked Carson to lecture before a
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[Illustration: _How to Earn More Money_]

If the I. C. S. can smooth the path to success for men like W. T. Carson
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[Illustration: _The Boss is Watching You_]

Show him you are ambitious and are really trying to get ahead. Decide
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Without cost or obligation, please send me a copy of your booklet, "=Who
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have marked X in the list below:


  [ ] Business Management
  [ ] Industrial Management
  [ ] Personnel Management
  [ ] Traffic Management
  [ ] Accounting and C.P.A. Coaching
  [ ] Cost Accounting
  [ ] Bookkeeping
  [ ] Secretarial Work
  [ ] Spanish
  [ ] French
  [ ] Salesmanship
  [ ] Advertising
  [ ] Business Correspondence
  [ ] Show Card and Sign Lettering
  [ ] Stenography and Typing
  [ ] English
  [ ] Civil Service
  [ ] Railway Mail Clerk
  [ ] Mail Carrier
  [ ] Grade School Subjects
  [ ] High School Subjects
  [ ] Cartooning
  [ ] Illustrating
  [ ] Lumber Dealer


  [ ] Architect
  [ ] Architectural Draftsman
  [ ] Building Foreman
  [ ] Concrete Builder
  [ ] Contractor and Builder
  [ ] Structural Draftsman
  [ ] Structural Engineer
  [ ] Electrical Engineer
  [ ] Electrical Contractor
  [ ] Electric Wiring
  [ ] Electric Lighting
  [ ] Electric Car Running
  [ ] Telegraph Engineer
  [ ] Telephone Work
  [ ] Mechanical Engineer
  [ ] Mechanical Draftsman
  [ ] Machine Shop Practice
  [ ] Toolmaker
  [ ] Patternmaker
  [ ] Civil Engineer
  [ ] Surveying and Mapping
  [ ] Bridge Engineer
  [ ] Gas Engine Operating
  [ ] Automobile Work
  [ ] Aviation Engines
  [ ] Plumber and Steam Fitter
  [ ] Plumbing Inspector
  [ ] Foreman Plumber
  [ ] Heating and Ventilation
  [ ] Sheet-Metal Worker
  [ ] Steam Engineer
  [ ] Marine Engineer
  [ ] Refrigeration Engineer
  [ ] R.R. Positions
  [ ] Highway Engineer
  [ ] Chemistry
  [ ] Pharmacy
  [ ] Mining Engineer
  [ ] Navigation
  [ ] Assayer
  [ ] Iron and Steel Worker
  [ ] Textile Overseer or Supt.
  [ ] Cotton Manufacturing
  [ ] Woolen Manufacturing
  [ ] Agriculture
  [ ] Fruit Growing
  [ ] Poultry Farming
  [ ] Mathematics
  [ ] Radio

  Name ................. Address ..............

  City ...................... State ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Radio-Mechanic and Inspector $1800 to $4000 a Year.]

[Illustration: Broadcast Station Mechanic $1800 to $3600 a Year.]

[Illustration: Land Station Operator $1800 to $4000 a Year.]

[Illustration: Broadcast Operators $1800 to $4800 a Year.]

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  Newark, N.J.            560 Broad St.

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  Radio Institute of America

[Illustration: RCA]

       *       *       *       *       *

  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 describes your laboratory-method of
instruction at home!

  Name ........................................

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       *       *       *       *       *


_High Spots in the Life of a Big Game Photographer_



"Into the African Blue" is Africa--the land of romance--of adventure.

African big game is rapidly being shot off; the end is in sight, and it
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=This thrilling serial, profusely illustrated with photographs by the
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share their adventures=--

  Forest and Stream
  80 Lafayette Street, New York, N.Y.


In addition to this thrilling serial, which in book form would cost not
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Send in the coupon--"_DO IT NOW!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

Department C

Here's my $1.00. I want the 6 issues beginning with the December number,
and Vols. 1 and 2 of the Sportsmen's Encyclopedia.




       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

I Will Train You at Home to Fill a Big-Pay Radio Job

_Here's the_ PROOF

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  San Angelo, Tex.


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  National Radio Institute
  Washington, D.C.

Employment Service to all Graduates

Originators of Radio Home Study Training

       *       *       *       *       *

Mail This FREE COUPON Today

  J. E. Smith, President,
  Dept. OBM, National Radio Institute,
  Washington, D.C.

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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. Protect yourself now.

_Get Cash instead of Sympathy_

=Don't Wait for Misfortune to Overtake You=

_Mail the Coupon today!_

Mail the Coupon before it's too late to protect yourself against the
chances of fate picking you out as its next victim.


  $10 A Year Entire Costs. No Dues. No Assessments.

  16 to 70 Years Accepted.

  Principal Sum.

  Loss of hands, feet or eyesight.

  =$25 Weekly Benefits=
  for stated accidents or sicknesses.

Doctor's Bills, Hospital Benefit, Emergency Benefit and other liberal
features to help in time of need--all clearly shown in policy.

This is a simple and understandable policy--without complicated or
misleading clauses. You know exactly what every word means--and every
word means exactly what it says.

=Largest and Oldest Exclusive Health and Accident Insurance Company in

_Under Supervision of All State Insurance Departments_


       *       *       *       *       *

  North American Accident Insurance Co., [of Chicago]
  388 Wallach Building, Newark, New Jersey.

Gentlemen: At no cost to me send details of New $10,000 Premier $10

  _Name_ ............................

  _Address_ .........................

  _City_ ............................

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *


Pledge to the Public on Used Car Sales

1 Every used car is conspicuously marked with its lowest price in plain
figures, and that price, just as the price of our new cars, is rigidly

2 All Studebaker automobiles which are marked as CERTIFIED CARS have
been properly reconditioned, and carry a 30-day guarantee for
replacement of defective parts and free service on adjustments.

3 Every purchaser of a used car may drive it for five days, and then, if
not satisfied for any reason, bring it back and apply the money paid as
a credit on the purchase of any other car in stock--new or used. (It is
assumed that the car has not been damaged in the meantime.)

© 1929 The Studebaker Corporation of America.

You can save money and get a better motor car

_if you buy according to the Studebaker Pledge plan_


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, Erskines and other makes--which have been driven
only a few thousand miles.

Reconditioning 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--which offers 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.

_Invest 2¢--you may save $200_

Mail the coupon below for the free booklet.--The 2¢ stamp is an
investment which may save you as much as $200 in buying a motorcar!

[Illustration: How to judge a used car]


_Builder of Champions_

  The Studebaker Corporation of America
  Dept. 232, South Bend, Indiana

  Please send me copy of "How to Judge a Used Car"

  _Name_ ..........................................

  _Street_ ........................................

  _City_ ...................... _State_ ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Amazingly Easy Way to Get Into ELECTRICITY]

Don't spend your life waiting for $5 raises in a dull, hopeless job. Now
... and forever ... say good-bye to 25 and 35 dollars a week. Let me
teach you how to prepare for positions that lead to $50, $64, and on up
to $200 a week in Electricity--NOT by correspondence, but by an amazing
way to teach =right here in the great Coyne Shops= that makes you a
practical expert in 90 days! Getting into electricity is far easier than
you imagine!

LEARN WITHOUT BOOKS--In 90 Days _By Actual Work--in the Great Coyne

Lack of experience--age, or advanced education bars no one. I don't care
if you don't know an armature from an air brake--I don't expect you to!
It makes no difference! Don't let lack of money stop you. Most of the
men at Coyne have no more money than you have. That's why I have worked
out my astonishing offers.

_Earn While Learning_

If you need part-time work to help pay your living expenses I'll help
you get it and when you graduate I'll give you lifetime employment
service. And, in 12 brief weeks, =in the great roaring shops of Coyne=,
I train you as you never dreamed you could be trained ... on one of the
greatest outlays of electrical apparatus ever assembled ... real
dynamos, engines, power plants, autos, switchboards, transmitting
stations ... everything from door bells to farm power and lighting ...
full sized ... in full operation every day!

_No Books--No Lessons_

No dull books, no baffling charts, no classes, you get individual
training ... all real actual work ... building real batteries ...
winding real armatures, operating real motors, dynamos and generators,
wiring houses, etc.

=GET THE FACTS= Coyne is your one great chance to get into electricity.
Every obstacle is removed. This school is 30 years old--Coyne training
is tested--proven beyond all doubt--endorsed by many large electrical
concerns. You can find out everything absolutely free. Simply mail the
coupon and let me send you the big, free Coyne book of 150 photographs
... facts ... jobs ... salaries ... opportunities. Tells you how many
earn expenses while training and how we assist our graduates in the
field. This does not obligate you. So act at once. Just mail coupon.


Send for my big book containing 150 photographs telling complete
story--absolutely FREE

  500 S. Paulina St., Dept. 20-66, Chicago, Ill.

       *       *       *       *       *

  500 S. Paulina Street,
  Dept. 20-66,
  Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Lewis: Without obligation send me your big, free catalog and
all details of Free Employment Service, Radio, Airplane, and Automotive
Electrical Courses, and how I may "earn while learning."

  _Name_ ..........................................

  _Street_ ........................................

  _City_ ...................... _State_ ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Buy a Watch the Modern Way]

This 21 Jewel--Santa Fe Special Sent You On-Approval Wear 30 Days

Thank you for making it possible for me to own a 21-jewel Santa Fe
Special, write thousands of our customers.

Buy Direct

Our catalogue is our showroom. Any watch will be sent for you to see
without one penny down. No obligation to buy.

Save 1/3 to 1/2

on the price you pay for a similar watch made by other Manufacturers.
Most liberal offer. Our "Direct to You" offer and Extra Special
Distribution Plan is fully explained in the New Santa Fe Special Booklet
just off the press. The "Santa Fe Special" Plan means a big saving of
money to you and you get the best watch value on the market today.

Railroad Accuracy Beauty Unsurpassed Life-long Dependability

--all are combined in the highest degree in the famous "Santa Fe
Special" Watch.

These watches are now in service on practically every railroad in the
United States and in every branch of the Army and Naval service.
Thousands of them are distributed around the world. You will never miss
the few cents a day that will make you own one of these watches.

Just Out!

Send coupon for our New Watch Book--just off the press. All the newest
watch case designs in white or green gold, fancy shapes and thin models
are shown. Read our easy payment offer. Wear the watch 30 days FREE.

  Dept. 255
  Thomas Bldg.
  Topeka, Kans.

       *       *       *       *       *

SANTA FE WATCH CO., Dept. 255, Thomas Bldg., Topeka, Kansas.

Please send me absolutely Free your New Watch Book [ ] Diamond Book [ ].

  Name ........................................

  Address ...................... State ........

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COOLS while you shave and the coolness lingers! Listerine
Shaving Cream]

"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? Why do 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

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 Listerine kills even such resistant
organisms as the Staphylococcus Aureus (pus) and 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
satisfaction 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,
increase the frequency of the gargle. You will be amazed to see how
quickly the condition disappears. Lambert Pharmacal Co., St. Louis, Mo.


_Kills 200,000,000 germs in 15 seconds_

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

Go to School at Home!

[Illustration: High School Course in Two Years!]

You Want to Earn Big Money!

=And you will not be satisfied unless you earn steady promotion.= But
are you prepared for the job ahead of you? Do you measure up to the
standard that insures success? For a more responsible position a fairly
good education is necessary. To write a sensible business letter, to
prepare estimates, to figure cost and to compute interest, you must have
a certain amount of preparation. All this you must be able to do before
you will earn promotion.

Many business houses hire no men whose general knowledge is not equal to
a high school course. Why? Because big business refuses to burden itself
with men who are barred from promotion by the lack of elementary

Can You Qualify for a Better Position

We have a plan whereby you can. We can give you a complete but
simplified high school course in two years, giving you all the
essentials that form the foundation of practical business. It will
prepare you to hold your own where competition is keen and exacting. Do
not doubt your ability, but make up your mind to it and you will soon
have the requirements that will bring you success and big money. YOU CAN

Let us show you how to get on the road to success. It will not cost you
a single working hour. Write today. It costs you nothing but a stamp.

American School

  Dept. H-237
  Drexel Ave. and 58th St., Chicago

       *       *       *       *       *

  =American School=
  Dept. H-237
  Drexel Ave. and 58th St., Chicago

Send me full information on the subject checked and how you will help me
win success.

  ....Building Contractor
  ....Automobile Engineer
  ....Automobile Repairman
  ....Civil Engineer
  ....Structural Engineer
  ....Business Manager
  ....Cert. Public Accountant
  ....Accountant and Auditor
  ....Draftsman and Designer
  ....Electrical Engineer
  ....Electric Light & Power
  ....General Education
  ....Vocational Guidance
  ....Business Law
  ....Machine Shop Practice
  ....Mechanical Engineer
  ....Shop Superintendent
  ....Employment Manager
  ....Steam Engineer
  ....Sanitary Engineer
  ....Surveyor (& Mapping)
  ....Telephone Engineer
  ....Telegraph Engineer
  ....High School Graduate
  ....Wireless Radio

  Name .....................................

  Address ..................................

       *       *       *       *       *


Catalog Free



  5 Gallon  $6.50
  7          8.85
  10        11.90
  15        14.20
  20        18.50
  25        22.50
  30        27.50

SAVE 20% _NOW_!

Most Practical Boiler & Cooker

Made with large 5-inch Improved Cap and Spout. Safe, practical and
simple. Nothing to get out of order, most substantial and durable on the
market. Will last a lifetime, gives real service and satisfaction.

Easily Cleaned

Cap removed in a second; no burning of hands. An ideal low
pressure-boiler and pasteurizer for home and farm.

=Save 20%= by ordering direct from factory. No article of such high
quality and utility ever sold at such amazingly low prices. Prices
quoted are each with order or one-fourth cash, balance C.O.D. Send check
or money order: prompt shipment made in plain strong box. The only
boiler worth having. Large Catalog Free.

  Dept. 5850
  18 E. Kinzie St.
  Chicago, Illinois

       *       *       *       *       *

Agents! Sell Shirts

[Illustration: Bostonian]

Start =without investment= in a profitable shirt business of your own.
Take orders in your district for nationally known Bostonian Shirts.
=$1.50 commission= for you on sale of 3 shirts for $6.95--=Postage
Paid=. $9 value, guaranteed fast colors. No experience needed. Complete
selling equipment =FREE=!

=Good Pay for Honest Workers=

Big earnings for ambitious workers. Genuine Broadcloth in four fast
colors. Write for money-making plan, free outfit, with actual cloth
samples and everything need to start. Name and address on postal will
do. =Write TODAY! SURE!=

BOSTONIAN MFG. CO., B-300, 89 Bickford St., Boston, Mass.

       *       *       *       *       *


Multitudes of persons with defective hearing and Head Noises enjoy
conversation, go to Theatre and Church because they Use Leonard
Invisible Ear Drums which resemble Tiny Megaphones fitting in the Ear
entirely out of sight. No wires, batteries or head piece. They are
inexpensive. Write for booklet and sworn statement of the inventor who
was himself deaf.

=A. O. LEONARD, Inc., Suite 683, 70 5th Ave., New York=

       *       *       *       *       *

Denison's Plays

_54 Years of Hits_

We supply all entertainment needs for dramatic clubs, schools, lodges,
etc., and for every occasion.

  Musical Comedies
  Vaudeville Acts
  Blackface Skits

_Catalogue Free_

=T. S. Denison & Co. 623 S. Wabash, Dept. 130 Chicago=

       *       *       *       *       *

Don't Stop Tobacco

Without precautions against injurious effects. Baco-Cure gives the
necessary assistance. Use tobacco while you take it. Has aided hundreds.
Complete $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

       *       *       *       *       *

Easy, Quick Way To Get Into Aviation


_Let_ Major Rockwell Train You AT HOME

My new, practical, amazing, Home Study Course prepares you quickly to
fill any of the fascinating Aviation jobs, either on the ground or as a
skilled flyer, paying $50 to $150 a week. I train you to succeed
quickly, to fill one of the thousands of air and ground jobs now open,
and I help you find your right place in Aviation.

=I'll Help You Get Your Job=

[Illustration: FREE BOOK WRITE!]

Learn at home in your spare hours. In 12 short weeks you can be ready to
take your flying instructions at greatly reduced rates at any airport
near your home, or right here in Dayton. Or you can step into any
aviation ground job with my help. Experience or advanced education not
necessary. Aviation--the fastest growing industry is calling you! You
risk nothing. If you are not satisfied after completing my course, I'll
refund your tuition. Take the first step by writing NOW for my big FREE
Book and Tuition offer. State age.


  _The Dayton School of Aviation_
  =Desk B-6=
  =Dayton, Ohio=

       *       *       *       *       *


  Easy to Play
  Easy To Pay

Simplified Key Arrangement

Fingers fall naturally into playing position. Makes it extremely easy to
play rapidly on the Buescher.


The Buescher True-Tone Saxophone is the easiest of all wind instruments
to play and one of the most beautiful. You can learn the scale in an
hour, and in a few weeks be playing popular music. First 3 lessons free,
with each new Saxophone. For home entertainment--church--lodge--school
or for Orchestra Dance Music, the Saxophone is the ideal instrument.

=FREE TRIAL=--We allow 6 days' free trial on any Buescher Saxophone in
your own home and arrange easy payments so you can pay while you play.
Write for Saxophone Catalog.

  2980 Buescher Block (553)

       *       *       *       *       *


Nearest their homes--everywhere--to train for Firemen, Brakemen; average
wages $150-$200 monthly. Promoted to Conductor or Engineer--highest
wages on railroads. Also clerks. Railway Educational Association, Dept.
D-30, Brooklyn, New York.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: How to RAISE POULTRY for PROFIT]

If you want a real job--at real pay or if you want to start profitable
business of your own--become a trained Poultryman. It's interesting,
healthful, profitable. Our famous home study Course gives short cuts to
success. Write for Free Book, "How to Raise Poultry for Profit."

=National Poultry Institute, Dept. 415-F, Washington, D.C.=

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Model shown is the popular "45" Twin_]

EAGER power under instant control--speed that leaves the car-parades
behind--lightning response to throttle and brakes--these are just a few
of the thousand thrills of motorcycling. Ask any Harley-Davidson
rider--he'll tell you of dozens more. And they are all yours at low
cost, in a Harley-Davidson "45"--the wonderful Twin at a popular price.

    Let your dealer show you the 1930 features of this
    motorcycle--try the comfortable, low-swung saddle--get the
    "feel" of this wonder Twin. Ask about his Pay-As-You-Ride Plan.

_Mail the Coupon!_

_for literature showing our full line of Singles, Twins, and Sidecars.
Motorcycle prices range from $235 f. o. b. factory_.


       *       *       *       *       *

  Dept. N. S. G., Milwaukee, Wis.

  Interested in your motorcycles. Send literature.

  Name .....................................

  Address ..................................

  My age is [ ] 16-19 years, [ ] 20-30 years, [ ] 31 years and
  up, [ ] under 16 years. Check your age group.

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

"How I Licked Wretched Old Age at 63"

    I Quit Getting up Nights--Banished Foot and Leg Pains ... Got
    Rid of Rheumatic Pains and Constipation ... Improved My Health
    Generally ... Found Renewed Strength.

"At 61, I thought I was through. I blamed old age, but it never occurred
to me to actually fight back. I was only half-living, getting up nights
... constipated ... constantly tormented by aches and pains. At 62 my
condition became almost intolerable. I had about given up hope when a
doctor recommended your treatment. Then at 63, it seemed that I shook
off 20 years almost overnight."

_Forty_--The Danger Age

These are the facts, just as I learned them. In 65% of all men, the
vital prostate gland shows up soon after all. No pain is experienced,
but as this distressing condition continues, sciatica, backache, severe
bladder weakness, constipation, etc., often develop.



These are frequently the signs of prostate trouble. Now thousands suffer
these handicaps needlessly! For a prominent American Scientist after
seven years of research, discovered a new, safe way to stimulate the
prostate gland to normal health and activity in many cases. This new
hygiene is worthy to be called a notable achievement of the age.

A National Institution for Men Past 40

Its success has been startling, its growth rapid. This new hygiene is
rapidly gaining in national prominence. The institution in Steubenville
has now reached large proportions. Scores and even hundreds of letters
pour in every day, and in many cases reported results have been little
short of amazing. In case after case, men have reported that they have
felt ten years younger in six days. Now physicians in every part of the
country are using and recommending this treatment.

Quick as is the response to this new hygiene, it is actually a pleasant,
natural relaxation, involving no drugs, medicine or electric rays
whatever. The scientist explains this discovery and tells why many men
are old at forty in a new book now sent free, in 24-page, illustrated
form. Send for it. Every man past forty should know the true meaning of
three frank facts. No cost or obligation is incurred. But act at once
before this free edition is exhausted. Simply fill in your name below,
tear off and mail.

  4826 Morris Avenue
  Steubenville, Ohio

    If you live West of the Rockies, address The Electro Thermal
    Co., 303 Van Nuys Building, Dept. 48-C, Los Angeles, Calif. In
    Canada, address The Electro Thermal Co., Desk 48-C, 53 Yonge
    St., Toronto, Can.

  4826 Morris Ave., Steubenville, Ohio.

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

How To Secure A Government Position

Why worry about strikes, layoffs, hard times? Get a Government job!
Increased salaries, steady work, travel, good pay. Examinations coming.
I'll help you become a Custom House Clerk, Railway Postal Clerk, Post
Office Clerk, City Mail Carrier, Rural Carrier--or get into any other
Government job you want. I was a Secretary-Examiner of Civil Service
Commission for 8 years. Have helped thousands.


My 32-page book tells about the jobs open--and how I can help you get
one. Write TODAY. ARTHUR R. PATTERSON. Civil Service Expert. PATTERSON
SCHOOL, 1082 Wisner Building, Rochester. N.Y.

       *       *       *       *       *


Size 16x20 inches


Same price for full length or best form groups, landscapes, or pet
animals, etc., enlargements of any part of group picture. Safe return of
your own original photo guaranteed.


=SEND NO MONEY= Just mail photo or snapshot (any size) and within a week
you will receive your beautiful life-like enlargement size 16x20 in.
guaranteed fadeless. Pay postman 98¢ plus postage or send $1.00 with
order and we pay postage. With each enlargement we will send FREE a
hand-tinted miniature reproduction of photo sent. Take advantage now of
this amazing offer--send your photo today.

  1652 Ogden Ave. Dept. B-590, Chicago, Ill.

       *       *       *       *       *


This well made and effective pistol is modelled on the pattern of the
latest type of Revolver, the appearance of which alone is enough to
scare a burglar, whilst, when loaded, it will probably prove just as
effective as a revolver with real bullets without the danger to life. It
takes the standard .22 Calibre Blank Cartridges, that are obtainable
most everywhere. Special cash with order offer: 1 superior quality Blank
Cartridge Pistol. 100 Blank Cartridges, and our new 550-page DeLuxe
Catalog of latest novelties all for =ONLY $1.50=. Shipped by express
only. Cannot go by parcel post. Extra Blank Cartridges =50¢ per 100=.
Remember it is quite harmless, as it will not accommodate loaded
cartridges. Special Holster (Cowboy Type) for pistol 50¢. No C.O.D.

=Special Offer=

1 Blank Cartridge Pistol, 100 Blank Cartridges, 1 550-page Novelty
Catalog =ONLY $1.50=

The Lot Shipped by Express Only Cash with Order Only

=JOHNSON SMITH & COMPANY.= Dept 212, Racine, Wisconsin

       *       *       *       *       *


EARN UP TO $250 Per Month Expenses Paid

[Illustration: No Hunting For a Position]

Unusual opportunities for men 19 to 55 in this uncrowded profession.
Travel or remain near home. Pleasant, fascinating work. Advancement
rapid. Prepare in 3 months' spare time, home instruction. We assist you
to a position upon completion, paying $120 to $135 per month, plus
expenses or refund your tuition. Learn about Traffic Inspection now. Our
free booklet shows how it can make your future a certainty. Write for it

  =Standard Business Training Institute=
  =DIV. 13=
  =Buffalo, N.Y.=

       *       *       *       *       *

Sleep Disturbed?

If irritating kidney excretions frequently disturb your sleep or cause
backache, leg pains and make you feel tired, achy, depressed and
discouraged, why not try the Cystex 48 Hour Test? No dopes or
habit-forming drugs. List of pure ingredients in each package. Get
Cystex (pronounced Siss-tex) at your drug store for only 60¢. Use all of
it. See how it works. Money back if it doesn't satisfy you completely.

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *


Easy Cash--Sure and Quick

An opportunity to earn $15 a day or more taking orders from your friends
and neighbors for our fine tailoring. Orders come easy when you show our
swell samples and smart styles. =We Show You How=--you don't need to
know anything about tailoring--simply follow our directions--we make it


Make a few sales to your friends and get it finely tailored to your
order suit, in any style, absolutely FREE, in addition to your cash

  New, Big Sample

New style convenient carrying outfit, large all-wool samples--all
supplies necessary to start at once--furnished =FREE=. =Write at once.=

=PROGRESS TAILORING CO., Dept. P-204, Chicago=

       *       *       *       *       *



_Earn big money right from the start. Let Quaker help you. Wonderful
free Sample outfit gets orders everywhere. Men's Shirts, Ties,
Underwear, Hosiery. Unmatchable values. Unique Selling features.
Ironclad guarantee. You can't fail with Quaker. Write for your Free
outfit NOW._

  Dept. K-2
  1107 Broadway, N.Y.

       *       *       *       *       *


An enchanting exotic perfume of irresistible charm, clinging for hours
like lovers loath to part. Just a few drops are enough. Full size bottle
98¢ prepaid or $1.39 C.O.D. plus postage. Directions with every order.
FREE: 1 full size bottle if you order 2 vials.

  =D'ORO CO.=
  =Box 90, Varick Station, New York=
  =Dept NSG 2=

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Medicated Ear Drum]

I make myself hear, after being deaf for 25 years, with these Artificial
Ear Drums. I wear them day and night. They stop head noises and ringing
ears. They are perfectly comfortable. No one sees them. Write me and I
will tell you a true story, how I got deaf and how I make you hear.

  GEO. P. WAY, Artificial Ear Drum Co. (Inc.)
  300 Hoffman Bldg.
  Detroit, Mich.

       *       *       *       *       *

Be A Detective

_Make Secret Investigations_

Earn Big Money. Work home or travel. Fascinating work. Experience
unnecessary. =DETECTIVE= Particulars FREE, Write NOW to =GEO. N. WAGNER,
2190 Broadway, New York=

       *       *       *       *       *


Habit Overcome Or No Pay

Over 500,000 men and women used Superba Remedy to help stop Cigarettes,
Cigars, Pipe, Chewing or Snuff. Write for full treatment on trial.
Contains no dope or habit forming drugs. Costs $2.00 if successful,
nothing if not. SUPERBA CO., A-11, Baltimore, Md.

       *       *       *       *       *

Get Strong WITH

These Improved Muscle Builders

_All for $5.00_

[Illustration: Save $20.00 with this OFFER]

_Send no money_


Why pay an extravagant price for strength--here's an opportunity to get
all the equipment you require along with an excellent course of
instructions for only $5.00. Realize your ambition and develop muscles
of a super-man. Get strong and amaze your friends. We show you how to
easily master feats which now seem difficult--or if you just want
physical culture for your health's sake, this equipment is just what you
need. With this special offer you save at least $20.00. We furnish a ten
cable chest expander which is adjustable to give resistance up to 200
lbs. It is made of new live extra strength, springy rubber so as to
ensure long wear and give the resistance you need for real muscle
development. You also get a pair of patented hand grips for developing
powerful grip and forearms.

We include wall exercising parts which permit you to develop your back,
arms and legs--a real muscle necessity. You know that business men and
athletes, too, first show their age in their legs. Develop your leg
muscles with the foot strap which we furnish. This will give you speed
and endurance--but that isn't all that you get. In addition we include a
specially written course which contains pictures and diagrams showing
you how to develop any part of your body so that you will quickly get on
with these exercises and gain the greatest advantage from their use. Act
now while you can get in on this special offer. It might be withdrawn,
so rush the coupon.


All of the items pictured on this page are included in this big special
reduction offer. Sign your name and address to the coupon below and rush
it to us. We will send your ten cable chest developer, the wall parts, a
pair of hand grips, foot strap and the course by return mail. Pay the
postman only $5.00, plus the few cents postage on arrival. (If you
desire to send check or money order in advance, we pay postage.)


All Crusader products are guaranteed to give entire satisfaction or
money back.

  Dept. 2002, 44 Parker Ave., Maplewood, N.J.

I accept your offer. Send me everything described in your advertisement
by return mail. I will pay postman $5.00 plus postage on arrival. It is
understood if I am not entirely satisfied after examination I can return
the goods and you will refund my money.

Note:--No C.O.D. Orders to Foreign Countries or Canada.

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

Win $3,500.00

Prizes from $1800.00 to $4245.00 each have been won through our unique
advertising plan. In our last, an old man of 69, out of work, won over
$5000.00. A boy, only 15, won $900.00. In next 3 or 4 months thousands
of dollars will be awarded to fortunate persons who solve our puzzles
and win our prizes.


Watch out! These twelve pictures of a famous woman flyer all look
alike--BUT--two, and only two, are exactly alike. Find these twin
flyers! Some pictures are different in the collar, helmet, goggles, or
tie. Remember, only two of the twelve are exactly alike. Find them, and
send the numbers of the twin flyers on a post card or letter today. If
correct, your answer will qualify you for this opportunity.


Over 25 prizes, and duplicate prizes in case of ties. It's up to the
winner whether he or she chooses $2875.00 in cash or a new Waco
airplane, a big automobile, or a new home. A gorgeous prize list! ANYONE


Be prompt! It pays. Find the real twin flyers, and I will send
Certificate which will be good for $625.00 if you are prompt and win
first prize. Imagine, a first prize of $3500.00!

NO MORE PUZZLES TO SOLVE. Any man, woman, boy, or girl in the
U.S.A.--anyone at all, except residents of Chicago, Illinois, and former
major prize winners. 25 of the people who take up this offer are going
to win these wonderful prizes. Be one of them. Send the numbers of the
twin flyers. Send no money, but be prompt.

=J. D. SNYDER, Dept. 36, 54 W. Illinois St., Chicago, Ill.=

       *       *       *       *       *


Hundreds of men are already training for big-pay Aviation jobs through
Lt. Hinton's practical home-study course. This thorough training is just
the foundation you need to enter Aviation in any of its many branches,
for the course covers Terms and Definitions, Principles of Flight,
Rigging, Repairing, Construction, Instruments, Aerology, Engines,
Ignition, Carburetion, Airports; _Aviation from A to Z_. After
graduation Hinton's Employment Department puts you in touch with real
jobs, or, if you want to be a pilot, Hinton arranges special flying
rates at an accredited Air College near your home. Hinton-trained men
are in demand and they are making good. His Big Free Book explains
everything. Send for your copy at once!



  WALTER HINTON, President, 316-D
  Aviation Institute of U.S.A.
  1115 Conn. Ave., Washington, D.C.

  Name .......................... Age .........
                                 (Must be 18)
  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........

       *       *       *       *       *

$8 often made in one day by many of our sales Agents


Sell finest line new guaranteed hosiery you ever saw, for men, women,
children. Written guarantee to wear and satisfy or replaced. 126 styles,
colors. Finest silks. All at lowest prices.


We offer our agents a =new Ford Car= when earned under our plan. Your
commission daily. Credit given. Extra bonus. We deliver or you
deliver--suit yourself.


Our new plan gives you =fine silk hosiery= for your own use. I want men
and women to act as Local Sales Agents. Spare time is satisfactory.
Write quick. A post card will do.

  =No. 2807 Greenfield, Ohio=

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.]

=PRICE 10¢ 3-25¢ no stamps=


=BOYS= You apparently see thru Clothes, Wood, Stone, any object. See
Bones in Flesh. FREE Pkg. radio picture films, takes pictures without
camera. You'll like 'em. (1 pkg. with each 25¢ order.)


       *       *       *       *       *




$1700 to $3400 a Year for Life

No "layoffs" because of strikes, poor business, etc.--sure pay--rapid
advancement. Many other U.S. Government Jobs. City and country residents
stand same chance. Common sense education usually sufficient.


Cut coupon and mail it before turning the page

=MEN--BOYS 18 to 45=

=Use Coupon Before You Lose It=

       *       *       *       *       *


FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, Dept. E267, Rochester, N.Y.

Rush to me, free of charge. (1) A full description of the positions
checked below. (2) 32-page book with list of positions obtainable. (3)
Tell me how to get the positions checked.

  [ ] Railway Postal Clerk ($1900 to $2700)
  [ ] Postoffice Clerk ($1700 to $2300)
  [ ] City Mail Carrier ($1700 to $2100)
  [ ] General Clerk ($1200 to $2100)
  [ ] Customs Inspector ($2100 up)
  [ ] Rural Mail Carrier ($2100 to $3300)

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

Get Strong QUICKLY

Giant Chest Expander

ONLY $2.00

Here's an opportunity for everyone to develop big muscles and obtain
great strength by using this heavy-tensioned PROGRESSIVE EXERCISER,
adjustable from 20 to 200 lbs. resistance. Complete instructions with
each exerciser.

Get rid of those aches and pains, indigestion, constipation, headaches,
etc. Build up your body and look like a real He-man.


Simply pay the postman $2.00, plus a few cents postage, for five-cabled
exerciser or $4.00 plus a few cents postage, for ten-cabled exerciser.
_Money back in five days if dissatisfied._

  Progressive Exerciser Co.
  Dept. 5002, Langdon Building
  Duane Street and Broadway
  New York City


       *       *       *       *       *



Become a lawyer. Legally trained men win high positions and big success
in business and public life. Be independent. Greater opportunities now
than ever before. Big corporations are headed by men with legal
training. Earn

=$5,000 to $10,000 Annually=

We guide you step by step. You can train at home during spare time.
Degree of LL. B. conferred. LaSalle students found among practicing
attorneys of every state. We furnish all text material, including
fourteen-volume Law Library. Low cost, easy terms. Get our valuable
64-page "Law Guide" and "Evidence" books FREE. Send for them NOW.

  LaSalle Extension University, Dept. 275-L, Chicago
  The World's Largest Business Training Institution

       *       *       *       *       *


Did you have trouble shaving this morning? If your razor blade scraped
and pulled you will appreciate this remarkable new discovery.... Gold
Nugget Strop Dressing ... can be used satisfactorily on all stropping
devices ... puts keen cutting edge on any razor blade.... Easy to apply
... results assured. Makes you feel like singing when you shave. $1

  3124 California St.
  Omaha, Nebraska

       *       *       *       *       *


Time counts in applying for patents. Don't risk delay in protecting your
ideas. Send sketch or model for instructions or write for FREE book.
"How to Obtain a Patent" and "Record of Invention" form. No charge for
information on how to proceed. Communications strictly confidential.
Prompt, careful, efficient service. Clarence A. O'Brien, Registered
Patent Attorney, 1876 Security Savings and Comm'l Bank Building
(directly across street from Patent Office) Washington, D.C.

       *       *       *       *       *

STOP Tobacco

No human being can escape the harmful effects of tobacco. Don't try to
quit without assistance. Let our simple inexpensive remedy help you. A
complete treatment costs but $2.00. Every penny promptly refunded if you
do not get desired results.

Ours is a harmless preparation, carefully compounded to overcome the
condition, that will make quitting of tobacco pleasant, and easy. It
comes with a money back guarantee.

  =Anti-Tobacco League=
  P.O. Box H-2

       *       *       *       *       *



SUBSTANTIAL ADVANCE ROYALTIES are paid on work found acceptable for
publication. Anyone wishing to write _either the words_ or music for
songs may submit work for free examination and advice. _Past experience
unnecessary_. New demand created by "Talking Pictures" fully described
in our free book. Write for it Today.

  723 Earle Building, New York

       *       *       *       *       *


We quickly teach you by mail, or at school. In spare time. Enormous
demand. Big future. Interesting work. Oldest and foremost school.


Otto Wiegand, Md., home-study graduate, made $12,000 from his business
in one year. John Vassoe, N.Y., gets $25 for a show card. Crawford,
B.C., writes: "Earned $200 while taking course." Write for complete

  Est. 1889
  180 Stimson Ave.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Here's a New, Easy Way to Make_ $15 a Day]

YES--here's a wonderful opportunity to start right in making $15 in a
day. You can have plenty of money to pay your bills, to spend 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

Just send me your name and address and I'll give you some facts that
will open your eyes. I'll show you how L. C. Van Allen, of Illinois,
quit a $23-a-week job, took hold of my proposition, and made better than
$100 a week! Then there's Gustav Karnath, of Minnesota, who cleared
$20.35 the first five hours, and Mrs. B. L. Hodges, of New York, who
says she never fails to make a profit of $18 to $20 a day. I have
letters from men and women everywhere that tell about profits of $10,
$15, $20 and as high as $25 and $30 in a single day.

Start Right In

You don't need any experience or capital to make big money my way. No
course of training is necessary. You simply act as my Representative in
your locality and look after my business there. All you have to do is
call on your friends and my established 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 I never sell through
stores. Last year my Representatives made nearly two million dollars.
When I get the coupon from you I send full details by return mail. You
can quickly be making money just like I said. I will also supply you
with Groceries and other Household Necessities at lowest, wholesale


If you want ready cash--a chance to make $15 or more a day starting at
once--and Groceries at wholesale--just 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 $18 profit in 2-1/2 hours' spare time. So you see there's
everything to gain. Simply mail the coupon. _I_ will give you full
details of my plan without cost or obligation to you. I'll give you the
big opportunity you've been waiting for. So don't lose a moment. Mail
the coupon NOW.


[Illustration: New Ford Tudor Sedan]

NOT a contest. I offer a brand-new car free to producers as an extra
reward or bonus--in addition to their large cash profits. Mail coupon
for particulars.

       *       *       *       *       *


  =ALBERT MILLS, Pres., American Products Co.,=
  =5441 Monmouth Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio.=

Send me, without cost or obligation, all the facts about your new
proposition that offers a wonderful opportunity to make quick profits of
$15 or more a day and Groceries at wholesale.

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

  © A. P. Co.        (Print or Write Plainly)

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

What's Wrong With This Picture?

See If You Can Find the Mistakes in This Picture


We will spend over $167,000.00 this year for the purpose of conducting
free prize offers to advertise and expand our business. Thousands of
persons are going to receive valuable prizes or cash awards and
compensations this year through our offers. The sky is the limit! Anyone
living in the United States outside of Chicago, except employees of this
company, members of their families, or our previous auto or first prize
winners, or members of their families, may enter an answer to this

$7,346 In Prizes Given in This One Offer

Seven Big New 6-Cylinder Sedans and Other Valuable Prizes

Try your skill--it costs you nothing. Study the picture shown here, but
look carefully. The artist has purposely made many mistakes. Can you
find four or more of them? These mistakes can be found in various
objects is the picture--that's all the hint we can give you. If you
think you can find four or more mistakes, answer at once. Just mark the
mistakes in pencil on the picture, or tell me what they are in a letter
or on a post card. Only four mistakes are required for a perfect answer.

Anyone Who Answers This Puzzle Correctly May Receive Prizes or Cash!

Man, woman, boy, or girl--it doesn't matter who or what you are. Seven
of the people who take up this offer are going to win wonderful
automobiles. You can be among them. Answer today! Duplicate prizes
awarded in case of ties.

=Additional $500.00 for Promptness= $500.00 extra will be awarded in
addition to first prize if you are prompt. If your answer is judged to
be perfect, I will tell you without delay about winning the prizes.
Hurry now! Address your answer to G. W. ALDERTON, Advertising Manager,
Dept. 143, 510 North Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill.

       *       *       *       *       *

AGENTS--Represent THE Carlton LINE--_America's Best Paying Proposition_!



Shirts, Neckwear and Underwear.

No substitutions. 4 Hour Shipping Service. Highest Commissions Bonuses.
Profit Sharing. Biggest Company. Mail Coupon.

  _Send me your Famous Sample Outfit_

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................


  114 FIFTH AVE.
  =Dept. 186-6=


$1000 LIFE Insurance Policy Free

       *       *       *       *       *


Play Piano By Ear

[Illustration: Niagara School Free Book]

Play popular song hits perfectly. Name the tune, play it by ear. No
teacher--self-instruction. No tedious ding-dong daily practice--just 20
brief, entertaining lessons, easily mastered.

At Home in Your Spare Time

Send for FREE BOOK. Learn many styles of bass and syncopation--trick
endings. If 10¢ (coin or stamps) is enclosed, you also receive wonderful
booklet "_How to Entertain at Piano_"--and many new tricks, stunts, etc.

  _Niagara School of Music_
  Dept. 350 Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Send for this Free Book

       *       *       *       *       *

Learn How to BOX

=$2.98= brings you the famous boxing course by mail of Jimmy DeForest,
=World's Greatest Trainer=, the system that trained Dempsey and great
champions. Covers everything in scientific boxing from fundamentals to
ring generalship. Twenty weeks makes you a finished DeForest trained
boxer. Hundreds of DeForest trained men are making good in the ring
today. Complete course sent in one mailing. Send $2.98 or C.O.D order
paying postman $2.98 plus actual postage.


  =Jimmy DeForest Boxing Course=
  =347 Madison Ave., Box 42, New York City=

       *       *       *       *       *

Radium Is Restoring Health to Thousands

No medicine, drugs or dieting. Just a light, small, comfortable
inexpensive Radio-Active Pad, worn on the back by day and over the
stomach at night. Sold on trial. You can be sure it is helping you
before you buy it. Over 150,000 sold on this plan. 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's Radio-Active Solar Pad at our risk. Write
today for Trial offer and descriptive literature. Radium Appliance Co.,
2833 Bradbury Bldg., Los Angeles, Cal.

       *       *       *       *       *



25 Lessons in Hypnotism, Mind Reading and Magnetic Healing. Tells how
experts hypnotize at a glance, make others obey their commands. How to
overcome bad habits, how to give a home performance, get on the stage,
etc. Helpful to every man and woman, executives, salesmen, doctors,
mothers, etc. Simple, easy. Learn at home. Only $1.10, including the
"Hypnotic Eye," a new aid for amateurs. Send stamps or M.O. (or pay
C.O.D. plus postage). Guaranteed. =Educator Press, 19 Park Row, New
York. Dept. H-41=

       *       *       *       *       *


Send us your name and address for full information regarding the
Aviation and Airplane business. Find out about the many great
opportunities now open and how we prepare you at home, during spare
time, to qualify. Our new book, _Opportunities in the Airplane industry_
also sent free if you answer at once.

  Dept. 1182 3601 Michigan Ave. CHICAGO

       *       *       *       *       *


  [Love's Desire]


This exotic perfume goes straight to the heart like Cupid's arrows. Its
strength and mystic aroma thrills and delights young and old. Triple
strength full size vial 98 cents prepaid or $1.32 C.O.D. plus shipping
charges. Directions free. One bottle GRATIS if you order three vials.
MAGNUS WORKS, Box 12, Varick Sta., New York, N.Y., Dept. NSG-2.

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: On your feet--_In a good Paying Business_]

We start you in the shoe and hosiery business. Inexperienced workers
earn Big Money yearly. Direct-to-Wearer plan. Just show Tanners Famous
Line of Footwear.

    We tell how and where to sell. Perfect fit through Patented
    System. Collect your pay daily. We furnish $40.00 Sample Outfit
    of actual shoes and hosiery. 83 styles.

=Send for free book "Getting Ahead" and full particulars.= No

  892 C Street, Boston, Mass.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Play the Hawaiian Guitar like the Hawaiians!=

=Only 4 Motions= used in playing this fascinating instrument Our native
Hawaiian instructors teach you to master them quickly. Pictures show
how. Everything explained clearly.


Play in Half Hour

After you get the four easy motions you play harmonious chords with very
little practice. No previous musical knowledge needed.

Easy Lessons

Even if you don't know one note from another, the 52 printed lessons and
clear pictures make it easy to learn quickly. Pay as you play.

GIVEN _when you enroll_--a sweet toned HAWAIIAN GUITAR, Carrying Case
and Playing Outfit--Value $18 to $20

_No extras--everything included_

=WRITE AT ONCE= for attractive offer and easy terms. You have
everything to gain. A postcard will do. =ACT!=


Tenor Banjo, Violin, Tiple, Tenor Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo Ukulele. Under
well known instructors.

  9th Floor, Woolworth Bldg, Dept. 269 New York, N.Y.

_Approved as a Correspondence School Under the Laws of the State of New
York--Member National Home Study Council_

       *       *       *       *       *


_Make Steady Money_


Showing Samples

Men's Shirts Ties, Underwear brings you big cash commissions. One Year
Guarantee. No substitutions. Free silk initials. More exclusive
Rosecliff features establish leadership. Write for your FREE Outfit NOW!

  Dept. J-2
  1237 Broadway, N.Y.

_Outfit Free_

       *       *       *       *       *


  $35 TO $75 WEEKLY
  AGE 18 to 55

  ( ) By. Mail Clerk
  ( ) P. O. Laborer
  ( ) R. F. D. Carrier
  ( ) Special Agent (investigator)
  ( ) City Mail Carrier
  ( ) Meat Inspector
  ( ) P. O. Clerk
  ( ) File Clerk
  ( ) General Clerk
  ( ) Matron
  ( ) Steno-Typist
  ( ) Immigrant Inspector
  ( ) Seamstress
  ( ) Auditor
  ( ) Steno-Secretary
  ( ) U.S. Border Patrol
  ( ) Chauffeur-Carrier
  ( ) Watchman
  ( ) Skilled Laborer
  ( ) Postmaster
  ( ) Typist


Send me FREE particulars How To Qualify for positions marked "X."
Salaries, locations, opportunities, etc. ALL SENT FREE.

  Name ............................................

  Address .........................................

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FREE! Body Chart]

If you will mail the coupon below, this Anatomical and Physiological
Chart will be mailed to you without one cent of expense. It shows the
location of the Organs, Bones of the Body, Muscles of the Body, 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?

It may be in the neck, back, hips, stomach, liver, legs or arms.
Wherever it is, the chart will help to show you the location and cause
of your ailment. For instance, this chart will help you locate vermiform
appendix pains. Hundreds of lives might have been saved if people had
known the location and character of the pain and had received proper

Stop that Pain

  _By Relieving the Cause with_
  Violet Ray--Vibration
  Ozone--Medical Electricity
  _The Four Greatest Curative Powers Generated by This_
  =Great New Invention!=


Elco Health Generators at last are ready for you! If you want more
health--greater power to enjoy the pleasures and delights about you, or
if more beauty is your desire--_write_! Ask for the book on these
inventions which has just been prepared. It will be sent to you without
cost. It tells you how Elco Health Generators aid you in leaving the
lethargy and hopelessness of bad health and weakness behind forever.
Re-vitalize yourself. Bring back energy. Be wholly alive. Write today!

   Electric Health Generators

Here's What Elco Users Say--

    "Wouldn't Take $1000 for my Elco."
    "Has done me more good in 2 weeks than doctors did in three years."
    "Cured my Rheumatism."
    "My Eczema gone."
    "Cured my stomach trouble."
    "Cured my weakness."
    "Now I sleep soundly all night."
    "Thanks to Elco my strength and vigor are back."
    "No more pain." "Colds never bother me now."
    "Chronic Constipation banished."

Free Trial

These great new inventions generate Violet Ray, Vibration, Electricity
and Ozone--combined or separate. They operate on the electric light in
your home or on their own motive power at less than 50 cents per year.
Elco Health Generators are positively the only instruments which can
give you in one outfit Electricity, Violet Ray--Vibration and Ozone--the
four greatest curative agents. Send the coupon below. Get the Free Book


[Illustration: Health Power Beauty]

Do not put this paper down without sending the coupon. Don't go on as
you are with pains and with almost no life and energy. You owe it to
yourself to be a better man or woman. You were put here to enjoy
life--not just to drag through it. So do not rest another day until you
have put your name on the coupon here. That will bring the whole story
of these great new inventions. Do it today--now.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Lindstrom & Co.
  _Makers of Therapeutic Apparatus since 1892_.
  2322 Indiana Avenue
  Dept. 15-62

Please send me your free book, "Heal--Power--Beauty" and full
information of your 10-day Free Trial Offer.

  _Name_ ........................................

  _Address_ .....................................

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *

Who Wants an Auto FREE?

STUDEBAKER--BUICK--NASH! Your choice! OR $2000.00 CASH

[Illustration: MARK YOUR STAR


Thousands of dollars in new autos and grand prizes will positively be
given free to advertise and make new friends for my firm. Choice of
Studebaker or Buick or Nash new 4-door sedan delivered free, or $2000.00
cash. Also Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Fords, diamonds, other fine
prizes and cash will be given free. No problems to do. No fine writing
required. No words to make. No figures to add. Bank guarantees all

Pick Your Lucky Star!

All the stars in the circle are exactly alike except one. That star is
different to all the others and it may be a lucky star for you. Can you
pick it out? If you can, mark the different star and send the circle to
me at once along with your name and address. A prompt answer can start
you on the way to win the great $2000.00 free prize.


Someone like you who will write me at once can get $650.00 cash fast for
being prompt, so you may thank your lucky stars if you send your answer
right off. No risk. Nothing to buy. Nothing hard to do. Over $7000.00 in
valuable prizes will be given free of cost. Send today and I will show
you just how you can get your free choice of these splendid new sedans
or $2000.00 cash, without cost or obligation of any kind. All win plan!
A reward for everybody! SEND NO MONEY. Answer AT ONCE.


       *       *       *       *       *


Your physician will tell you that hernia (rupture) is a muscular
weakness in the abdominal wall.--Do not be satisfied with merely bracing
these weakened muscles, with your condition probably growing worse every
day!--Strike at the real cause of the trouble, and


    The weakened muscles recover their strength and elasticity,

    The unsightly, unnatural protrusion disappears, and--

    You recover your vim, vigor and vitality,--your strength and
    energy,--and you look and feel better in every way,--and your
    friends notice the difference,--


    You'll know your rupture is gone, and

    You'll know why for almost a quarter of a century numerous sworn
    statements report complete recovery and freedom from
    uncomfortable mechanical supports, without delay from work.


A Test of the scientific self-treatment mentioned in coupon below is now
available to you, whether you are young or old, man or woman. It costs
you nothing to make this test.--For your own good mail the coupon

       *       *       *       *       *


Plapao Laboratories, 692 Stuart Bldg., St. Louis, Mo.

Send me a Free 10-day test supply of the remedial factor Plapao and 48
page illustrated book on Rupture; no charge for this now or later.

  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

       *       *       *       *       *



We prove it to you, =FREE=. =SEND NO MONEY.= Write today for =PROOF=
and full details of our liberal prepaid FULL SIZE TRIAL PACKAGE.


Quickly ends Pimples, Blackheads, Whiteheads, Coarse Pores, Wrinkles,
Oily Shiny Skin, Freckles, Chronic Eczema, Stubborn Psoriasis, Scales,
Crusts, Pustules, Barbers Itch, Itching Skin, Scabbies, softens and
whitens the skin. =Just send us your name and address.=

ANDRE & CO., 751 E. 42nd St., Suite 77, Chicago

       *       *       *       *       *


  _By_ Helene Reynolds Moffatt

  _By_ Achmed Abdullah and Faith Baldwin

  _By_ Hector Hawton

  _By_ Roy Vickers

  _By_ Virginia Swain

  _By_ Jan Cruze

  _By_ Evelyn Campbell

  _By_ James French Dorrance

  _By_ Frank C. Robertson

These complete novels, each one a story of unusual significance, are now
being offered to you at the special price of

  25 cents each
  or five for $1.00, postpaid


       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Free Trial]

World's best makes--Underwood, Remington, Royal--also portables--prices
smashed to below half. (_Easy terms._)


All late models completely rebuilt and refinished brand new. _Guaranteed
for ten years._ Send no money--big _Free_ catalog shows actual machines
in full colors. Get our direct-to-you easy payment plan and 10 day free
trial offer. Amazing values--send at once.

  International Typewriter Exch.,
  231 W. Monroe St.
  Dept. 272, Chicago

       *       *       *       *       *




=DON'T DISCARD YOUR OLD SUIT.= Wear the coat and vest another year by
getting new trousers to match. Tailored to your measure. With over
100,000 patterns to select from we can match almost any pattern. Send
vest or sample of cloth today, and we will submit _FREE_ best match

  Dept D. N. 6 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Ill.

       *       *       *       *       *

Please mention NEWSSTAND GROUP--MEN'S LIST, when answering

       *       *       *       *       *



No man or woman can escape the harmful effects of tobacco. Don't try to
banish unaided the hold tobacco has upon you. Join the thousands of
inveterate tobacco users that have found it easy to quit with the aid of
the Keeley Treatment.


  Treatment For
  _Tobacco Habit_
  Successful For
  Over 50 Years

Quickly banishes all craving for tobacco. Write today for Free Book
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Men or women can earn $15 to $25 weekly in spare time at home making
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  1032 Elwood Bldg.

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[Illustration: _I train you at home!_]

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  =Engineer Dobe=
  =1951 Lawrence Ave., Div. 15-62=

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[Illustration: Trade Mark

C. K. Brooks, Inventor]

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       *       *       *       *       *

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--And the Best Fiction in any


  MISS 1930
  80 Lafayette Street, New York City


       *       *       *       *       *

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[Illustration: FOR THOUSANDS OF MEN]

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  Dept. 793
  Clayton Station
  St. Louis, Mo.=

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Landon & Warner, Dept. C-71, 332 S. LaSalle, Chicago

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  Name ........................................

  Address .....................................

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WANTED--for murder!]

$1,000 Reward!

In a dirty, forelorn shack by the river's edge they found the mutilated
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  =Institute of Applied Science=
  =Dept. 15-62=
  =1920 Sunnyside Avenue, Chicago=

       *       *       *       *       *

  =Dept. 15-62 1920 Sunnyside Avenue, Chicago, Ill.=

Gentlemen: Without any obligation whatever, send me your new, fully
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Muscles 5¢ apiece!

Wouldn't it be great if we could buy muscles by the bag--take them home
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was never meant for you.

[Illustration: =EARLE LIEDERMAN, The Muscle Builder=]

_Author of "Muscle Building," "Science of Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu,"
"Secrets of Strength," "Here's Health," "Endurance," Etc._


I've been making big men out of little ones for over fifteen years. I've
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  DEPT. 1702

       *       *       *       *       *

  =Dept. 1702, 305 Broadway, New York City=

Dear Sir:--Please send me without any obligation on my part whatever, a
copy of your latest book "Muscular Development." (Please write or print

  Name ......................... Age ..........

  Address .....................................

  City ...................... State ...........

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  change to
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Transcriber Corrections:

He turned quickly and was astonished at the sight of [added 'the']

shook a skinny forefinger [standardized 'fore-finger'] in Tom's face.

I was successful [was 'successsful'] in business

His eyes were riveted [standardized 'rivetted'] to an undulating,

One is that it would be [was 'would me']

propellers [standardized 'propellors'] ripping into the summer night

The thing was halfway [standardized 'half-way'] to the high bank

On some were propellers [standardized 'propellors'].

the slim shafts with their little propellerlike [standardized
'propellorlike'] fans.

There were others without the propellers; [standardized 'propellors']

He saw from below the swift plane, [added comma] the streaming,
intangible ray

does not sympathize [was 'symphathize'] with radicals.

and took up a cigarette. Lighting [was 'Lightning'] it

The light of the match died, plunging me into a pit of gloom. [was ,]

more comfort than [was 'that'] a room of grotesque shadows

familiar [was 'familar'] to him. He had seen it pictured

throughout the sun-ship, [standardized 'sun ship'] Northwood, going
into the cabin for fur coats,

Athalia's [was 'Athania's'] picture was gone.

He seized a telescope and focused [was 'focusd'] it

Northwood [was 'Norwood'] narrowed his eyes as

"Do I guess right," said Northwood, [was ;] "that the light is

"Yes," said Dr. Mundson. [was 'Munson'] "In your American slang,

New Eden, [was 'Elden'] where supermen are younger than babes

while she possessed the freshness of young girlhood, [changed from ;]
her skin and eyes

the iciness [was 'icyness'] was gone from his blue eyes

you would be disappointed in him, [added ,] especially after having

which she probably never saw before to-day, [standardized 'today']

I don't blame Adam for preferring [was 'prefering'] Athalia.

the atoms of his body seemed to fly asunder. [was 'assunder']

Every grave that has yawned to receive its prey hides [was 'pray']

thrust him into Future Time, where the laboratory [was hyphenated
between lines as 'labor-ratory']

there could be no survivors. [standardized 'survivers']

could receive with any [was 'and'] degree of clarity,

always passed everyone [standardized 'every one'] who took his

that he was allowed to go [was 'do'] about as he pleased.

I can have a good man rewrite [standardized 're-write'] your drivel

isn't to-day [standardized 'today'] to that Indian.

would be necessary to decelerate [was 'decellerate']

what looked at first [was 'fist'] glance to be a huge artillery shell

To-day [standardized 'Today'] the human body stands a speed

A few minutes was enough for [removed duplicate 'for'] me to grasp

Suppose I was laughed [was 'to laughed'] at when I get back,

in the chairs of science to-day. [standardized 'today']

pre-pleistocene [was 'pre-pleistocence'] age--swimming among the

and, with almost super-human [standardized 'superhuman'] efforts,

"The swarm's halfway [standardized 'half-way'] to Adelaide," he said.

"Tommy, there must be water in the station," said [was 'and'] Dodd.

The entire machine was enclosed [standardized 'inclosed'] in a

inconspicuousness [was 'inconspicuous'] of his voice and manner

replied the detective. "Where did you hide the loot?" [was ,]

a person might [was 'mighty'] cause by passing very rapidly.

more experience with robberies than [was 'that'] with apprehending

is closed for to-day. [standardized 'today']

replied the doctor with a judicial [was 'judical'] air,

"Are we going to waste the whole afternoon [was 'afternon']

showed you to be ambidextrous." [was 'ambidexterous']


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930" ***

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