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The Infra-Medians   By: (1897-1970)

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THE INFRA MEDIANS

by

SEWELL PEASLEE WRIGHT

[Illustration: The others fell back instantly. ]

Into a land of shadows and lost souls goes Pete Grahame in search of his hapless friends.

There was no sense to the note. There was no sense to anything that Vic Butler did, for that matter. Where he hid away his vast scientific knowledge in that rattle brained, red haired head of his has always been a mystery to me. The note read:

Dear Pete:

If you get this, I'm in a jam that promises some action.

Drive out, if plane peddling is palling on you, and bust into the lab. I'm leaving another note there for you, old son, and after you read it you can let your conscience be your guide.

Bring a gat along, and plenty of ammo. Hope's away, at Aunt Cleo's, so don't get in touch with her and spoil her visit.

Vic

I had a hot prospect lined up for a demonstration that morning, but I didn't even stop to give him a ring. Vic and I had been buddies ever since we were kids and, besides, he was Hope's brother.

Vic's place was out on the river, about ten miles from town, and that little tan roadster of mine made it in just about ten minutes. The traffic in the business district slowed me up a bit.

There was nothing at all pretentious about the place; it was a rambling, lazy looking house built largely of native stone, stretching its length comfortably in the shade of the big maples. Perrin, Vic's man of all work, came hurrying out of the house to greet me as I locked my wheels on the drive before the door.

"I'm glad you're here, sir!" he exclaimed breathlessly. "I was just about to phone for the police; I was for certain, sir. Such goings on, I don't know what to think!"

"What's the matter, Perrin? Where's Mr. Butler?"

"That's it, sir! That's exactly it. Where's Mr. Butler? And "

"Just a moment, please! Cut it short, Perrin. What's happened?"

"I don't know. Yesterday afternoon Mr. Butler leaves a letter for me, which I'm to mail early this morning, special delivery. It's to you. I reckon you got it, sir?"

"That's why I'm here. Go on."

"Well, after that, he locks himself up in his workroom, so Mrs. Perrin says, she being housekeeper, as you know, sir, leaving word not to disturb him for dinner.

"We don't think so much of that, Mr. Butler being took with streaks of working at all hours, as you know. But when Miss Hope came home unexpected this morning "

"What?"

"She cut her visit a few days short, her aunt having other house guests turn up unexpected like, and Miss Hope arrives first thing this morning, being here when I return from town after mailing the letter to you, sir.

"Mrs. Perrin had just told her about the master, and Miss Hope looks into his room. He isn't there, and the bed hasn't been slept in. 'The poor dear,' she says, 'he's worked himself half to death, and dropped off on that horrible cot he keeps in his laboratory,' says Miss Hope. 'I'll let him sleep.'

"But just a few minutes ago, just before you arrived, sir, she became nervous like, and rapped on the door. There wasn't a sound. So she went up to the master's room and found a key, and went in. And now she don't answer, and we were just about ready to call the police!"

"Let's go inside!" I hurried by Perrin and through the cool, quiet hall to the broad door that opened into the big room at the back of the house, which was Vic's laboratory.

"Vic! Hope!" I pounded as hard as I could, shouting their names. There was no response.

"Is there another key, Perrin?" I snapped.

"No, sir; none that I know of. The master was mighty fussy about his workroom."

"Can we get in through the windows?"

"No. They're barred, if you remember rightly, and fitted with this frosted glass, so you can't see in, even... Continue reading book >>




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