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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1929

Chapter II

Chapter II.

Certain masculine qualities in Miss Benzoline Bernarr's make-up must have been apparent to the eyes of Urban Drift, the latest and youngest Deputy Divisional Detective Superintendent of the C.I.D. as he watched her glide to the sideboard. Her limbs moved with the suppleness of the tiger. Slim though she was—and she was very slim—her Arto-Sylk hose barely concealed (if concealed be an appropriate word) her muscles of whipcord. The grace with which she rapidly mixed six oyster cocktails and as rapidly tossed them off. more than suggested the movements of a boxer. A certain beauty, not entirely artificial, distinguished her face, despite its almost hatchet-like thinness. Beneath the exquisite artistry of her complexion could be discerned an engaging pallor, relieved by her lambent eyes—pools of mystery, in whose fathomless depths strange green flickers seemed to come and go. Her frock—a daring creation—was of page 23 diaphanous buckram of a deep ultramontaine white that matched the delicate art shades of her closely-tangled hair.

Urban Drift was somewhat akin to her in appearance. A beholder who beheld him beholding her would have leaped to the conclusion that they were brother and sister. Indeed, had either been attired as the other, or conversely, it would have been impossible to tell them apart. The Fates, however, had been content merely to make them affinities.

Benzoline turned from her spiritual exercises with a sigh and faced the young man.

"Can't be did," she said gently, but not unbrutally.

Urban Drift's face clouded.

"Look here," Benz," he entreated. "My preferment guarantees me more of this world's goods than I can possibly use. I must share them with somebody—why not with you?"

"My dear man," said the girl, "you have strange notions of my standard of life, but that is not the point. I simply cannot."

"Won't you tell me why?" he urged.

No, Urb," she answered, "I cannot. Our lies way apart; isn't that enough? You are a D.D.D.S.C.I.D.; I am a—what?"

"Yes—a what." he murmured despondently. "I often wonder, Benzoline, why you come and go so often and so mysteriously as you do, and where you go when you do go." He sighed.

"Urban," she evaded, "you travel a little yourself. You were in China yesterday, in Patagonia the day before, and in Glaxoslovakia the day before that."

"My work carries me afar," he said, shortly. "How do you come to know so much of my movements?"

She laughed mysteriously. "Woman's intuition. Urban," she smiled. "You look into my eyes so much that I can see everything in yours."

He regarded her queerly.

"Do you know, Benzoline," he said slowly, "these green eyes of yours remind me of somebody."

Her frame imperceptibly grew taut.

"Somebody," he went on, his voice gathering in slowness as it proceeded, "whose eyes are green. Somebody whose green eyes look everywhere and see everything— who is everywhere and is seldom seen, yet is known to all. Somebody—"

She stayed him with a gesture.

"You mean—" she whispered.

"Yes," he said, harshly.

She broke the tension with a laugh

"Why. Urban." she cried. "Your own eyes are green. Look at them!"

Her mocking finger seemed to work a curious change in him. Not a muscle of his face moved, yet for a moment it might have been a different being that looked from behind it at the taunting girl. If she had been of a shrinkable type, she might have shrunk. But she merely laid her hand on his arm and returned look for look.

"Urban," she said. "I do not understand your moods, but you looked page 24 then as if you might have killed me without compunction. Have you ever killed a human being. Urban?"

His eyes (already mentioned) glittered, but he said nothing. She removed her hand.

"Never mind, then." she said. "Tell me another time. But I would like you to tell me this. Urban—"

"Well?" came from him as if he were speaking from afar. A sinister expression flitted across his thin face.

"Would you," she asked, and as she spoke her manner was that of a tigress about to spring, "would—you—ever—kill—me?"

The reply of Urban Drift. D.D.D.S.C.I.D., was to dash incontinently from the room. A moment later his motor-cycle could be heard chugging into the distance.

As the sound died away, the girl did a strange thing.

With a strength that many men could not have equalled, she lifted the massive Eorgian sideboard away from the wall. Her fingers explored the panelling behind until they encountered a button. She pressed it. The panelling swung open like a door.

Through the aperture twenty-six corpses tumbled forward into the room and lay in distorted postures upon the carpet!

Over the corpses leaped a man who was very much alive. A thin man with green eyes!