The Thief of Souls

I sprinted to the basement window and got down on all fours to get a look.  Craning my neck, I was finally able to make out a room and confirm the shadows from within.  Then, I heard a woman’s voice.  I thought it posed the question with some alarm:  “What are you doing?”

Then there was a thump, followed by a humming sound coming from the room, the start of an electric motor.  The girl’s voice became muffled, as if she had just been gagged.   Nothing much happened for the next minute or so.   There was only the hum of the motor.  I patted the outside of my jacket, felt the revolver, and broke into action.

I hugged the thick, granite wall of the mansion until I came upon a small, innocuous window that looked easy enough to break into, security system be damned.  I took off my jacket, rolled it around my right arm and hand and threw a punch.  To my relief, the window smashed easily.  After clearing the shards from the wood frame, I pulled myself up and rolled around through the window landing feet first into the room.

I found myself in some kind of sitting room, furnished with an antique couch and several high-backed chairs, tables, and a rather imposing grandfather clock.  I quickly exited the dimly lit room and negotiated a hallway in the silent, apparently deserted upper part of the mansion.  Finally, I came upon a portico attached to the back kitchen and found a door.  As I cracked it open, I realized it led to the basement.

There was a light on down there, and I could hear the hum of a motor I had heard from outside.   Taking the revolver out of the pocket of my jacket, I started a slow, careful descent down the narrow stairway.

It did not take me long to find the room where the blonde girl was imprisoned.  My concern about the security system had apparently been misplaced because Lane and the chauffeur were standing with their backs to me at a gurney upon which laid the blonde.  The room was glaringly lit, and there was an odd, squat contraption filling up almost the entire far wall beyond the gurney.  Several wires streamed from it, attached to a crown-like gadget which itself was set like a hat on the head of the girl.  The annoying electric hum had been coming from that contraption.





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