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Page:Weird Tales volume 30 number 01.djvu/109

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107
THE CREEPER IN THE CRYPT

"No, boss," he begged. "You no stay down here."

"Why not?" rasped Regetti, harshly. "What's the matter with you, Polack—turning yellow on me, eh?"

"I'm not," whined the man. "But you know what was happen here before, boss—how they find Tony Fellippo's leg lyin' on floor with no body left."

"Lay off the bedtime stories," Regetti chuckled. "You yokels make me sick with that stuff."

"But dot's true, boss. They never was for to find any more of old Tony Fellippo—just his leg on cellar floor. Dot why his mob go 'way so quick. They no want for to die, too."

"What do you mean, die?" snarled Regetti, testily.

The Pole's face paled, and his voice sank to a hushed whisper that blended with the cellar's darkness; a shadow voice in a shadow world.

"Dot what everyone say, boss. Dot house is witched—like haunted one, maybe. Nobody put Tony Fellippo on spot—dot feller, he too dam' smart guy. But he sit all alone here one night, and somet'ing come up from earth and swallow him, all but leg."

"Will you shut up?" Regetti cut in. "That's a lot of hooey. Some wise guy put the heat on Fellippo and got rid of the body. Only his leg was left to scare off the rest of his mob. Are you trying to tell me a ghost killed him, sap?"

"Yah, sure," insisted the Pole. "No man kill Tony. Not like you say, anyhow. Find leg, all right, but all over is lot blood on floor, and little pieces skin. No feller kill man like dot—only spirit. Vampire, maybe."

"Nuts!" Regetti was scornfully biting his cigar.

"Maybe so... But look — here is blood." And the Pole pointed a stubby finger at the floor and cellar wall to the left. Regetti followed it with his gaze.

There was blood, all right—great, rusty blobs of blood, spattered all over the floor and wall like the pigments on the palette of a mad painter.

"No man kill odder feller like dot," the Pole muttered. "Not even ax make such mess. And you know what fellers they say about Fellippo's leg—was all full of tooth-marks."

"Right," mused the other, thoughtfully. "And the rest of his gang did get out of here pretty fast after it happened. Didn't try to hide the body, or do anything about it." He frowned. "But that doesn't prove any balony about ghosts, or vampires. You been reading too many bum magazines lately, Polack."

He laughed.

"What about iron door?" grumbled the Pole, accusingly, his red face flushing. "What about iron door back of coal in coal-pile, huh? You know what fellers down by Black Jim's place say about house with iron door in cellar."

"Yeah." Regetti's face clouded.

"You no look by iron door yet, boss," the man continued. "Maybe you find somet'ing behind door yet, like fellers say—dot where t'ing dot got Fellippo come from; dot where it hide. Police they not find door either, when they come. Just find leg, and blood, and shut up house. But fellers know. They tell me plenty about house with iron door in cellar; say it bad place from old days when witch-fellers live here. It lead to hill back of house; cemetery, maybe. Perhaps dot's why nobody live here so long—afraid of what hides on other side of door; what come out and kill Tony Fellippo. I know about house with iron door in cellar, all right."