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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/147

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FLORINE TO THE RESCUE

gleam peeping beneath a cloak as from a hidden lanthorn; I bethought me I would catch the tiny wanderer from the floor and hold it in my hand. It came crawling and crawling, on and on, wavering to my feet. So many times that night had I manned myself valiantly to fight a shadow, I only laughed in silence and contempt at this.

Behold the folly of a madman's thought. Yet the creation of it all gave me exquisite pleasure, as a child might find delight in some strange toy from which it could call weird shapes at will. On it moved with a noiseless, gliding motion; now inside the door, now coming, coming, coming—nearly to me. Now it let fall a timorous blade of light along the floor. It reached Broussard's body. Its foot struck him. It stooped, threw the light full upon him. Open fell the concealing mantle, showing the barren stones, the corpse, the ghastly upturned face of the strangled man.

The woman—for it was a woman—dropped to her knees beside him, called him, felt of his clammy head, and suffered but a single scream of swift affright to leave her lips. From the unhooded lanthorn burst out a spreading yellow glow. Her scream awoke me to a consciousness of reality. From my own unlocked tongue of terror came its answer. I joined my voice to hers, defied the hush of slumbering centuries and filled that quaking room with a perfect deluge of reverberating shrieks. Many others, men, with cloaks, some having lights, some none, rushed in behind the woman. From that time I knew nothing