He stood up. He heard the detachment office door close, and silence followed. The watch in his hand seemed ticking off the seconds with frantic noise. He shoved it into his pocket and stood staring out into the prison alcove. A few minutes later the office door opened again. This time it was not closed. He heard distinctly a few light, hesitating footsteps, and his heart seemed to stop its beating. They came to the head of the lighted alcove, and for perhaps the space of a dozen seconds there was silence again. Then they advanced.
Another moment, and Kent was staring through the bars into the glorious eyes of Marette Radisson!
In that moment Kent did not speak. He made no sound. He gave no sign of welcome, but stood in the middle of his cell, staring. If life had hung upon speech in those few seconds, he would have died, but everything he would have said, and more, was in his face. The girl must have seen it. With her two hands she was gripping at the bars of the cell and looking through at him. Kent saw that her face was pale in the lamp glow. In that pallor her violet eyes were like pools of black. The hood of her dripping raincoat was thrown partly back, and against the whiteness of her cheeks her hair glistened wet, and her long lashes were heavy with the rain.
Kent, without moving over the narrow space between them, reached out his hands and found his voice. “Marette!”
Her hands had tightened about the bars until they were bloodless. Her lips were parted. She was breathing quickly, but she did not smile; she made no response to his greeting, gave no sign even of recognition. What happened after that was so sudden and amazing that his heart stopped dead still. Without warning she stepped back from the cell and began to scream and then drew away from him, still facing him and still screaming, as if something had terrified her.
Kent heard the crash of a chair in the detachment office, excited voices, and the running of feet. Marette Radisson had withdrawn to the far corner of the alcove, and as Carter and Pelly ran toward her, she stood, a picture of horror, pointing at Kent’s cell. The two constables rushed past her. Close behind them followed the special officer detailed to take Kent to Edmonton.
Kent had not moved. He was like one petrified. Close up against the bars came the faces of Pelly, Carter, and the special constable, filled with the expressions of men who had expected to look in upon tragedy. And then, behind their backs, Kent saw the other thing happen. Swift as a flash Marette Radisson’s hand went in and out of her raincoat, and at the backs of the three men she was leveling a revolver! Not only did Kent see that swift change, but the still swifter change that came into her face. Her eyes shot to his just once, and they were filled with a laughing, exultant fire. With one mighty throb Kent’s heart seemed to leap out through the bars of his prison, and at the look in his face and eyes Carter swung suddenly around.