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Sinister Paradise   By: (1907-1977)

Sinister Paradise by Robert Moore Williams

First Page:

Transcriber's note:

This etext was produced from If Worlds of Science Fiction September 1952. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

It was like a mirage in reverse, this strange island off the California coast it couldn't always be seen, but it was there in Time.

[Illustration]

Sinister Paradise

By Robert Moore Williams

"There's the island, Parker!" Retch called.

Bill Parker shifted the controls of the 'copter and the big craft swung in the direction Retch was pointing. Squinting his eyes against the sun glare rising from the Pacific, Parker clearly saw the island. It was miles away as yet but it swam like a mirage suspended just above the surface of the sea.

[Illustration]

The island was not large Parker guessed it as probably being less than two miles in circumference but he could make out a fringe of trees along the shore and a central peak rising like a cliff in the center.

"I've found it again!" Retch spoke with fierce satisfaction clenched fists. Parker heard the indrawn hiss of breath following the words; a hiss that seemed to hold a promise for the future. Revenge, vengeance, triumph, or something else? Parker could not determine what emotional overtone had found expression in Retch's words. But the emotional overtone was there. Out of the corner of his eyes, Parker glanced at the man sitting in the seat next to him. What he saw did not please him.

Retch was big. He had the muscular build of a prize fighter. The scar over his left cheekbone did not add to the attractiveness of his appearance. He did not, in Parker's opinion, look like the scientist he had claimed to be.

Parker shrugged such thoughts aside. What difference did it make what Retch was, or the nature of his business here? He had paid charter charges on the big helicopter.

"There it is, Parker!" Retch almost screamed the words. As he pointed again toward the island in the far distance, Parker caught a glimpse of a pistol in a shoulder holster under the man's arm.

The sight of the gun caused a split second of alarm in the big pilot. He had not known that Retch was armed. Then the alarm subsided. Parker pressed his left arm down against his body, assuring himself that his own gun was where it belonged.

The woman, Mercedes Valdar, seemed to catch some of Retch's excitement. She leaned forward across Retch's shoulder to stare at the island. Parker caught another whiff of the musky perfume that she used. He noticed again what he had realized the first time he met her that in any man's language she was a beauty. Aquiline face, smouldering black eyes, high cheek bones, a delicate brown complexion that hinted at Indian blood back several generations in the past, she looked like something out of an exotic movie. The slacks and sport coat that she wore accentuated the fact that she was a woman.

Parker was aware again of the enigma of her presence. Retch had introduced her as his secretary. Parker, accepting the man's statement, had asked no questions. Asking questions in a matter such as this was a fine way to get a bust in the snoot.

"It ees the island!" Her whisper was sharp. A glow appeared on her face. "Soon we will be reech!" She slapped Parker heartily on the shoulder. "Beel, is not that wonderful!"

"It sure is," Parker answered. He was as astonished by the statement as he was by the slap on the shoulder.

"Shut up, Mercedes!" Retch spoke. "Parker, turn some juice into this thing."

"She's cruising at about her best speed," Parker answered.

"Then get her faster than cruising speed. We've found the island." His manner indicated that finding the island was very important but that something else perhaps of equal importance remained to be done.

"What's the big rush!" Parker countered. "You don't think it will vanish before we get there, do you?"

A startled look appeared on Retch's face... Continue reading book >>




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