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The Whispering Spheres   By: (1904-1971)

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Comet, July 1941. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration: Something like an inner eye glowed for just a moment as the sphere advanced. ]

The Whispering Spheres

An alien life form metallic sinister threatening all mankind with annihilation.




The factory saw toothed the horizon with its hideous profile as the moon rose in the east. The red glow of the furnaces bathed the tall buildings, the gigantic scaffolds, the cord like elevated pipelines and the columnar smokestacks in the crimson of anger. Even the moon seemed to fade as the long fingered smokestacks reached toward it belching their pollution. The air, which should have been clean, was filled with the reek of unfamiliar odors.

From the machine shop, where giant cannon were forged into smooth, sleek instruments of death, came noise: unchecked, unmuffled, blasphemous din. But something odd was afoot. There was a sudden hush. It seemed as if a giant hand had covered the metal city to muffle its screams.

In the nearby city of box like houses, where the workers lived, there was an echoing stir. Lights glowed in the windows of the tiny homes. People were awakened in the night by the sudden cessation of din.

Something was wrong in the factory.

But there couldn't be anything wrong. The factory was enclosed by a high, electrified fence. There were guards on duty night and day, armed to the teeth and ready to shoot an intruder who failed to give an account of himself. There were wars and rumors of wars on the face of the earth and there was need for the uninterrupted production of sleek cannon.

But, if something were wrong, why didn't the whistle blow? There were signals: three short blasts, repeated many times, meant fire; one long blast meant a breakdown; five toots meant a layoff. But now the whistle was silent.

Heads popped from the windows of the houses in the city. They listened. Was it a whistle that the workers heard? No. It was a whispering, barely audible at first, then louder. It was the whisper of tongues of flame. But no flames were visible. Only the red glow of the furnaces lighted up the factory's profile.

One by one the lights of the city went out as workers went back to bed, to toss restlessly. Without noise there could be no sleep.

The tongues of flame still whispered.

A car moved rapidly through the streets of the city. At the wheel was a man dressed in a captain's uniform. The machine whirled onto the highway that led toward the factory. A barricade, lighted by torch lanterns, barred his path. A sentry with a bayoneted gun stood to one side, signaling a halt.

The car slowed.

"Captain Ted Taylor, ordnance department!" the captain said, extending his pass toward the sentry.

The sentry signaled him on.

The car came within a stone's throw of the factory, where it turned into a parking lot. The officer climbed out, noiselessly, and moved into the shadows.

Once Captain Taylor had been a scientist, but that was long ago, before wars had made biology very unexciting.

Out of the shadows a second figure moved. He was a short, stocky man, compared with the slender, graceful figure of the captain.

"Ps st! Captain!"


"You got my short wave call, I see. I was afraid you would be asleep. He came late, but he's in the tunnel now."

"Who is it?"

"The fellow we've suspected all along. Poses as an ignorant laborer, but he's not ignorant by a long shot. His name is Hank Norden."

Masters pointed toward a clump of bushes. As he did, he caught the captain's arm with his left hand... Continue reading book >>

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