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Mask of Death   By: (1899-1985)

Mask of Death by Paul Ernst

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Mask of Death


[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Weird Tales August September 1936. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: A weird and uncanny tale about a strange criminal who called himself Doctor Satan, and the terrible doom with which he struck down his enemies ]

1. The Dread Paralysis

On one of the most beautiful bays of the Maine coast rested the town that fourteen months before had existed only on an architect's drawing board.

Around the almost landlocked harbor were beautiful homes, bathing beaches, parks. On the single Main Street were model stores. Small hotels and inns were scattered on the outskirts. Streets were laid, radiating from the big hotel in the center of town like spokes from a hub. There was a waterworks and a landing field; a power house and a library.

It looked like a year round town, but it wasn't. Blue Bay, it was called; and it was only a summer resort....

Only? It was the last word in summer resorts! The millionaires backing it had spent eighteen million dollars on it. They had placed it on a fine road to New York. They ran planes and busses to it. They were going to clean up five hundred per cent on their investment, in real estate deals and rentals.

On this, its formal opening night, the place was wide open. In every beautiful summer home all lights were on, whether the home in question was tenanted or not. The stores were open, whether or not customers were available. The inns and small hotels were gay with decorations.

But it was at the big hotel at the hub of the town that the gayeties attendant on such a stupendous opening night were at their most complete.

Every room and suite was occupied. The lobby was crowded. Formally dressed guests strolled the promenade, and tried fruitlessly to gain admission to the already overcrowded roof garden.

Here, with tables crowded to capacity and emergency waiters trying to give all the de luxe service required, the second act of the famous Blue Bay floor show was going on.

In the small dance floor at the center of the tables was a dancer. She was doing a slave dance, trying to free herself from chains. The spotlight was on; the full moon, pouring its silver down on the open roof, added its blue beams.

The dancer was excellent. The spectators were enthralled. One elderly man, partially bald, a little too stout, seemed particularly engrossed. He sat alone at a ringside table, and had been shown marked deference all during the evening. For he was Mathew Weems, owner of a large block of stock in the Blue Bay summer resort development, and a very wealthy man.

Weems was leaning forward over his table, staring at the dancer with sensual lips parted. And she, quite aware of his attention and his wealth, was outdoing herself.

A prosaic scene, one would have said. Opening night of a resort de luxe; wealthy widower concentrating on a dancer's whirling bare body; people applauding carelessly. But the scene was to become far indeed from prosaic and the cause of its change was to be Weems.

Among the people standing at the roof garden entrance and wishing they could crowd in, there was a stir. A woman walked among them.

She was tall, slender but delicately voluptuous, with a small, shapely head on a slender, exquisite throat. The pallor of her clear skin and the largeness of her intensely dark eyes made her face look like a flower on an ivory stalk. She was gowned in cream yellow, with the curves of a perfect body revealed as her graceful walk molded her frock against her.

Many people looked at her, and then, questioningly, at one another. She had been registered at the hotel only since late afternoon, but already she was an object of speculation. The register gave her name as Madame Sin, and the knowing ones had hazarded the opinion that she, and her name, were publicity features to help along with the resort opening news... Continue reading book >>

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