Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Brink of Madness   By: (1917-)

Brink of Madness by Walter J. Sheldon

First Page:


By Walt Sheldon

Illustrated by KELLY FREAS

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from If Worlds of Science Fiction July 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: C.I.B. Agent Pell used his head, even if he did rely on hunches more than on the computer. In fact, when the game got rough, he found that to use his head, he first had to keep it.... ]

Chapter I

The night the visitors came Richard Pell worked late among the great banks of criminological computers. He whistled to himself, knowing that he was way off key but not caring. Ciel, his wife, was still in his mind's eye; he'd seen her on the viewer and talked with her not ten minutes ago.

"Be home shortly, baby," he'd said, "soon as I fill in a form or two."

"All right, dear. I'll wait," she'd answered, with just the slightest tone of doubt.

It was an important night. It was at once their second anniversary and the beginning of their second honeymoon. Just how Pell knobby, more or less homely, and easygoing had won himself a lovely, long limbed blonde like Ciel was something of a mystery to many of their friends. She could hardly have married him for his money. Central Investigation Bureau agents were lucky if all their extras and bonuses brought them up to a thousand credits a year.

Pell had unquestionably caught her in a romantic moment. Maybe that was part of the trouble part of the reason they needed this second honeymoon, this period of re acquaintance so badly. Being the wife of a C.I.B. agent meant sitting at home nine tenths of the time while he was working on a case, and then not hearing about the case for security reasons during the one tenth of the time he was with her.

Four times now Pell had been ready to take his vacation; four times last minute business had come up. No more, though, by golly. Tonight he'd get out of here just as quickly as....

The Identifier, beyond the door, began to hum. That meant somebody was putting his hand to the opaque screen, and if the scanner recognized the fingerprints the door would open. Pell scowled at the bulky shadows outside.

"Go away, whoever you are," he muttered to himself.

Some of the other agents were out there, no doubt; they were always getting sudden inspirations late at night and returning to use the computers again. In fact, it had been tactfully suggested to Agent Richard Pell that he might use the computers a little more himself instead of relying on hunches as he so often did. "Investigation's a cold science, not a fancy art," Chief Larkin was fond of saying to the group with his eyes on Pell.

Well, whoever it was, Pell was definitely through. No time wasting conversation for him! He was ready for six glorious weeks of saved up vacation time. He and Ciel, early tomorrow, would grab a rocket for one of the Moon resorts, and there they'd just loaf and relax and pay attention to each other. Try to regain whatever it was they'd had....

The door opened and Chief Larkin walked in.

Chief Eustace J. Larkin was tall, in his forties, but still boyishly handsome. He dressed expensively and well. He was dynamic and confident and he always had about him just the faintest aroma of very expensive shaving cologne. He had a Master's degree in criminology and his rise to the post of Director, C.I.B., had been sudden, dramatic and impressive. Not the least of his talents was a keen sense of public relations.

"I uh was on my way out," said Pell. He reached for his hat. Funny about hats: few people traveled topside anymore, and in the climate conditioned tunnels you didn't need a hat. But C.I.B. agents had to be neat and dignified; regulations required hats and ties and cuffs and lapels. Thus, you could always spot a C... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books