He freed a hand to push up his mask. His pale face with its heavy-lidded eyes stared, supremely contemptuous, into Brandon’s suffused countenance. His composure was somehow disconcerting.
“Suppose you get out,” he suggested. “I can talk to you then in a language you will understand.”
“Curse you!” bawled Brandon. “Where’s Fricker?”
Caryl shrugged his shoulders.
“You have seen him since I have. Are you going to get out? Ah, I thought you would.”
He stood aside to allow him to do so, and then stepped back to shut the door. He did not utter a word to the girl cowering within, but that action of his was a mute command. She crouched in the dark and listened, but she did not dare to follow or to flee.
THE MAN AT THE WHEEL
When Caryl came back to the motor his handkerchief was bound about the knuckles of his right hand, and his face wore a faint smile that had in it more of grimness than humour.
He paused at the open window and looked in on Doris without opening the door. The sound of the rain pattering heavily upon his shoulders filled in a silence that she found terrible. He spoke at length:
“You had better shut the window, the rain is coming in.”
That was all, spoken in his customary drawl without a hint of anger or reproach. They cut her hard, those few words of his. It was as if he deemed her unworthy even of his contempt.
She raised her white face.
“What—are you going to do?” she managed to ask through her quivering lips.
“I am going to take you to the nearest town—to Bramfield to spend the rest of the night. It is getting late, you know—past midnight already.”
“Bramfield!” she echoed with a start. “Then—then we have been going north all this time?”
“We have been going north,” he said.
She glanced around. Her eyes were hunted.
“No,” said Caryl. “I haven’t killed him. He is sitting under the hedge about fifty yards up the road, thinking things over.”
He opened the door then abruptly, and she held her breath and became still and tense with apprehension. But he only pulled up the window, closed the door again with a sharp click, and left her. When she dared to breathe again the car was in motion.
She took no interest in her surroundings. Her destination had become a matter of such secondary importance that she gave it no consideration whatever. What mattered, all that mattered, was that she was now in the hands and absolutely at the mercy of the man whom she feared as she feared no one else on earth, the man with whom in her mad coquetry she had dared to trifle.
The car was stopping. It came to a standstill almost imperceptibly, and Caryl stepped into the road. Tensely she watched him; but he did not so much as glance her way. He turned aside to a little gate in a high hedge of laurel, and passed within, leaving her alone in the night.