The Valley of Silent Men eBook

James Oliver Curwood
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about The Valley of Silent Men.

She did not wait for his reply.  Her own door closed behind her, and Kent, striking a match, stooped low and entered his hiding-place.  In a moment he saw directly ahead of him a lamp on a box.  He lighted this, and his first movement then was to close the door and turn the key that was in the lock.  After that he looked about him.  The storeroom was not more than ten feet square, and the roof was so close over his head that he could not stand upright.  It was not the smallness of the place that struck him first, but the preparations which Marette had made for him.  In a corner was a bed of blankets, and the rough floor of the place was carpeted with blankets, except for a two-or-three-foot space around the edge of it.  Beyond the box was a table and a chair, and it was the burden of this table that made his pulse jump quickest.  Marette had not forgotten that he might grow hungry.  It was laid sumptuously, with a plate for one, but with food for half a dozen.  There were a brace of roasted grouse, brown as nuts; a cold roast of moose meat or beef; a dish piled high with golden potato salad; olives, pickles, an open can of cherries, a loaf of bread, butter, cheese —­and one of Kedsty’s treasured thermos bottles, which undoubtedly held hot coffee or tea.  And then he noticed what was on the chair —­a belt and holster and a Colt automatic forty-five!  Marette had not figured on securing a gun in the affair at barracks, and her foresight had not forgotten a weapon.  She had placed it conspicuously where he could not fail to see it at once.  And just beyond the chair, on the floor, was a shoulder-pack.  It was of the regulation service sort, partly filled.  Resting against the pack was a Winchester.  He recognized the gun.  He had seen it hanging in Dirty Fingers’ shack.

For a matter of five minutes he scarcely moved from where he stood beside the table.  Nothing but an unplastered roof was between him and the storm, and over his head the thunder crashed, and the rain beat in torrents.  He saw where the window was, carefully covered with a blanket.  Even through the blanket he caught faintly the illumination of lightning.  This window overlooked the entrance to Kedsty’s bungalow, and the idea came to him of turning out the light and opening it.  In darkness he took down the blanket.  But the window itself was not movable, and after assuring himself of this fact he flattened his face against it, peering out into the chaos of the night.

In that instant came a flare of lightning, and to Kent, looking down, was revealed a sight that tightened every muscle in his body.  More vividly than if it had been day he saw a man standing below in the deluge.  It was not Mooie.  It was not Kedsty.  It was no one that he had ever seen.  Even more like a ghost than a man was that apparition of the lightning flare.  A great, gaunt giant of a ghost, bare-headed, with long, dripping hair and a long, storm-twisted beard.  The picture shot to his brain with the swiftness of the lightning itself.  It was like the sudden throwing of a cinema picture on a screen.  Then blackness shut it out.  Kent stared harder.  He waited.

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The Valley of Silent Men from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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