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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/146

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gods, a knightly feat and most bravely done! And I laughed at my former fear, not loud, but such as laughed the fiends of hell when Lucifer rose against his Prince. Low I chuckled, then shivered at my own unnatural voice.

Dead now to every sense of physical loathing I advanced steadfastly towards where he lay. Shorn of human companions my wretchedness sought a lonely comradeship with the piece of mortal clay. Turning now and again to beat back some skinny hand which snatched my garments, to slap in the face some evil sprite which thrust its sneer upon me, I walked in resolution across the floor. I fancied again I heard the tread of men in the passage. Pleased at the babble of the children of my own imagination, I stood to listen. Yes, by the wit of a fool, I'll indulge the jest, a joyous jibe and a merry.

The low shuffle of cautious feet came again. The latch clanked ever so softly as if some hand without lifted it gently, oh so gently raised it. "Ha! here you are, seeking to frighten me again, but I know you well. No, no, you'll scare me no more; I'll play a merry game with you." So I hid myself in the dark, and thought to play a prank upon the evil Thing. Held my breath.

Elated to find I owned so wondrously fertile a brain I saw the door open little by little without a creak. A current of liberated air brushed by my cheek. So real it was, I smiled. The door swung wider and wider yet, in the dark I saw it. Verily the sight of a madman is sharp. The wind blew more chill and strong. I saw a