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The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929

Chapter V

Chapter V.

Left to himself in the hidden room from which the mystery lady, the masculine-feminine Mr. Miss Benzoline Bernarr Bogginson. had made a furtive exit, the thin gentleman with the green eyes turned his attention to the page 43 ingenious article of furniture which stood in the middle of the room. Several sections of deal boarding had been joined together so as to form a level platform of rectangular shape. To the under surface of this platform were affixed, one at each corner, slim, tapering lengths of wood, the purpose of which obviously was to raise the platform to a distance from the floor that would enable a person of average height to place his hands upon it without stooping. That this admirably designed structure could be used also as a rest for inanimate objects was evident from the fact that there now lay upon its surface two things possessing no capacity for locomotion.

The two things were a decapitated human head and an eyeball that glowed with a strange, uncanny light!

Approaching the table (for such was the nature of the structure) the thin man with the green eyes surveyed with interest the grisly relics lying thereon. He took the head into his hands and tenderly regarded it.

"Alas, poor Kruschen Kant," he soliloquised, caressing the gruesome object. " So this is what you have come to, old bean. What a head. What a head."

He turned it over and over, then peered at it more closely. At the base of the neck, in the region of the cervical vertebrae, appeared the tiny letters " D.R.G.M."

"Made in Germany," mused the man. "Czecho-slovakia still has far to go."

He laid the head down with a sigh.

"Now for the dirty deeds," he muttered. Rolling up his sleeves, he reached backward over his shoulder and from a concealed scabbard lying along his spine he extracted a murderous-looking carving knife.

Approaching the nearest corpse, he bent down over it and listened.

"Still ticking, old top," he murmured affectionately. "Excuse me, won't you."

The blade rose, and fell. The man grinned with savage satisfaction as a tremor passed through the recumbent figure.

"A crime a day keeps the blues away," he remarked. "Next, please."

With grim relish, the thin man with the green eyes repeated the performance on corpse after corpse until only one remained.

"The lucky last," he gloated, wiping his brow. His eyes widened as he looked down. "I say," he protested, "this is not part of the consignment."

He bent down and listened intently. Then he laid the carving knife on the floor and proceeded to turn out the pockets of the remaining object of his attentions.

"One pair of handcuffs. One knuckleduster. One thumbscrew. One Manual of the Third Degree. One How to Catch Things. One tin of Palm Grease. Two bottles of Nose Bleach. Three phials of Anti-Phat. Four hip-pocket flasks. Five packets of Send-me-to-sleep. Twenty betting charts."

The thin man paused in his inventory to examine the figure's boots.

"By gum," he breathed, in awed tones. "I do believe he's a john. Where's his warrant card?"

page 44

Further search brought a paper to light. The thin man rose and walked to the other side of the room to examine it.

"To whom It may Disconcert," he read. "The bearer, being too heavy for work, has been appointed a Deputy Divisional Detective Superintendent of the Blundon Metropolitan Police Force. Name: Ardshott Dagg—"

A sudden sound in the room made him turn hastily. He gasped.

The last corpse was rising to its feet and reaching for the knife that lay on the floor!

The thin man with the green eyes darted forward. He was too late. The corpse of Ardshott stood upright, carving knife in hand. The eyes of Dagg stared at the man with dreadful intensity. The man backed away from him.

"Dagg," he snapped, "don't you know me?"

Dagg seemed suddenly to recover the full possession of his consciousness. A look of savage delight spread over his face.

"Know you?" he gloated. "Yes, I know you."

His voice rose to a yell as he sprang forward with upraised knife.

"Hands up," he bellowed, "Kruschen Kant—The Mucker!"

Kant, his back to the wall, felt his fumbling hand make contact with a button.