The Abandoned Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 226 pages of information about The Abandoned Room.
had done, and this time someone had been in the room and suffered the appalling change.  Bobby’s fingers still responded to the charnel feeling of cold, inactive flesh suddenly become alive and potent beneath his touch.  And a reason for the apparent miracle offered itself.  Between the extinction of his candle and the commencement of that movement!—­only a second or so—­the evidence had disappeared from the detective’s pocket.

Bobby relaxed.  He stumbled across the room and into the corridor.  He went with hands outstretched through the blackness, for no candle burned in the upper hall, but he knew that Katherine was on guard there.  When he left the passage he saw her, an unnatural figure herself, in the yellowish, unhealthy twilight which sifted through the stair well from the lamp in the hall below.

She must have sensed something out of the way immediately, for she hurried to meet him and her whisper held no assurance.

“You got the cast and the handkerchief, Bobby?”

And when he didn’t answer at once she asked with a sharp rush of fear: 

“What’s the matter?  What’s happened?”

He shuddered.  At last he managed to speak.

“Katherine!  I have felt death cease to be death.”

Later he was to recall that phrase with a sicker horror than he experienced now.

“You saw something!” she said.  “But your candle is out.  There is no light in the room.”

He took her hand.  He pressed it.

“You’re real!” he said with a nervous laugh.  “Something I can understand.  Everything is unreal.  This light—­”

He strode to the table, found a match, and lighted his candle.  Katherine, as she saw his face, drew back.

“Bobby!”

“My candle went out,” he said dully, “and he moved through the darkness.  I tell you he moved beneath my hand.”

She drew farther away, staring at him.

“You were frightened—­”

“No.  If we go there with a light now,” he said with the same dull conviction, “we will find him as we found my grandfather this afternoon.”

The monotonous voices of the three men in the lower hall weaved a background for their whispers.  The normal, familiar sound was like a tonic.  Bobby straightened.  Katherine threw off the spell of his announcement.

“But the evidence!  You got—­”

She stared at his empty hands.  He fancied that he saw contempt in her eyes.

“In spite of everything you must go back.  You must get that.”

“Even if I had the courage,” he said wearily, “it would be no use, for the evidence is gone.”

“But I saw it.  At least I saw his pocket—­”

“It was there,” he answered, “when my light went out.  I did put my hand in his pocket.  In that second it had gone.”

“There was no one there,” she said, “no one but you, because I watched.”

He leaned heavily against the wall.

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Project Gutenberg
The Abandoned Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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