By Robert Arthur
THE NIGHT WAS DARK, and violent with storm. Rain beat down as if from an angry heaven, and beneath its force all the noises of a metropolis blended oddly, so that to ]orman they sounded like the muted grumble of the city itself.
He himself was comfortable enough, however. The little box-sized newsstand beside the subway entrance was tight against the rain.
The window that he kept open to hear prospective customers, take in change, and pass out papers let in a wet chill, but a tiny oil heater in one corner gave out a glow of warmth that beat it back. A transistor. radio shrilled sweetly, and Foxﬁre, his toy wire-haired terrier, snored at his feet. Jorman reached up and switched the radio oft. There were times when it gave him pleasure. But more often he preferred to listen to life itself, as it poured past his newsstand like a river. Tonight, though, even Times Square was deserted to the storm gods. Jorman listened and could not hear a single footstep, though his inner time sense –re-enforced by a radio announcement a moment before—told him it was barely past midnight. He lit a’ pipe and puffed contentedly. After a moment he lifted his head. Footsteps were approaching: slow, measured, familiar footsteps. They paused in front of his stand, and he smiled. “Hello, Clancy,” he greeted the cop on the beat.
“A nice night for ducks.”
“If I only had web feet,” the big officer grumbled, “ ’twould suit me ﬁne. You’re a funny one, now, staying out so late on a night like this, and not a customer in sight.”
“I like it.” ]orman grinned. “Like to listen to the storm. Makes my imagination Work.” “Mine, too,” Clancy grunted. “But the only thing it can imagine is my own apartment, with a hot tub and a hot drink waitin’. Arrgh!”
He shook himself, and with a “good night” tramped onward.
]orman heard the officer’s footsteps diminish. There was silence for a while, save for the rush of the rain and the occasional splashing whir of a cab sloshing past. Then he heard more steps.
This time they came toward him from the side street, and he listened intently to them, head cocked a little to one side.
They were—he searched for the right Word—Well, odd. Shuffle-shuffle, as if made by large feet encased in sneakers, and that slid along the pavement for a few inches with each step. Shuffle-shuffle—shuffle-shuffle, they came toward him slowly, hesitantly, as if the walker were pausing every few feet to look about him.
Jorman wondered whether the approaching man could be a cripple. A club-foot, perhaps, dragging one foot with each step. For a moment he had the absurd thought that the sounds were made by four feet, not two; but he dismissed it with a smile and listened more closely.
The footprints were passing him now, and though the rain made it hard to distinguish clearly, he had the impression that each shuffling step was accompa-nied by a slight clicking noise.
As he ‘was trying to hear more distinctly, Foxﬁre Woke from his slumbers. Jorman felt the little dog move at his feet, then heard the animal growling deep in its chest. He reached down and found Foxﬁre huddled against his shoe, tail tucked under, hair bristling.
“Quiet, boy!” he whispered. ‘Tm trying to hear.” Foxﬁre quieted. Jorman held his muzzle and listened. The footsteps of the stranger had shuffled past him to the corner. There they paused, as if in indecision. Then they turned south on Seventh Avenue,“ and after a moment were engulfed in the storm noise.
Iorman released his hold on his dog and rubbed his chin, wondering what there could have been about the pedestrian’s scent to frighten Foxﬁre so. For a moment Jorman sat very still, his pipe clenched in his hand. Then with a rush of relief he heard Clancy’s returning steps. The cop came up and stopped, and Jorman did not wait for him to speak. He leaned out his little window. “Clancy,” he asked, trying to keep the excitement out of his voice, “what does that fellow look like down the block there—the one heading south on Seventh? He ought to be about in the middle of the block.” “Huh?” Clancy said. “I don’t see any guy. Some-body snitch a paper?”
“No.” Jorman shook his head. “I was just curious.You say there isn’t anyone—”
“Not in sight,” the cop told him. “Must have turned in some place.‘ You and me have this town to ourselves tonight. Well, be good. I got to try some more doors.” He sloshed away, the rain pattering audibly o-ff his broad, rubber-coated back, and Jorman settled back into his chair chuckling to himself. It was funny What tricks sounds played on you, especially in the rain. He relit his dead pipe and was thinking of shutting up for the night when his last customer of the evening approached. This time he recognized the steps. It was a source of pride to him—and of revenue as well—that he could call all of his regulars by name if they came up when the street wasn’t too crowded. This one, though he didn’t come often and had never come before at night, was easy. The step was a ﬁrm, decisive one. Click—that was the heel coming down—slap—that was the sole being planted ﬁrmly. Click-slap—the other foot. Simple. He could have distinguished it in a crowd.
“Good morning, Sir Andrew,” Jorman said as the steps came up to his stand. “Times?” “Thanks.” It was a typically British voice that answered. “Know me, do you?”
“Oh, yes.” Jorman grinned. It was usually a source of mystiﬁcation to his customers that he knew their names. But names were not too hard to learn, if the owners of them lived or worked near by. “A bellboy from your hotel was buying a paper last time you stopped. When you’d gone on, he told me who you were.”
“That easy, eh?” Sir Andrew Carraden exclaimed. “Don’t know as I like it so much, though, being kept track of. Prefer to lose myself these days. Had enough of notoriety in the past.”
“Had plenty of it four years ago, I suppose,” Jorman suggested. “I followed the newspaper accounts of your tomb-hunting expedition. Interesting Work, archaeology. Always Wished I could poke around in the past that way, sometime.”
“Don’t!” The word was sharp. “Take my advice and stay snug and cozy in the present. The past is an uncomfortable place. Sometimes you peer into it and then spend the rest of your life trying to get away from it. And——- But I mustn’t stop here chat-ting. Not in this storm. Here’s your money. No, here on the counter . .
And then, as Jorman fumbled for and found the coin, Sir Andrew Carraden exclaimed again. “I say!” he said. ‘Tm sorry.”
“Perfectly all right,” Jorman told him. “It pleases me when people don’t notice. A lot don’t, you know, in spite of the sign.”
“Blind newsdealer,” Sir Andrew Carraden read the little placard tacked to the stand. “I say———” “Wounded in the war,” Jorman told him. “Sight failed progressively. Went entirely a couple of years ago. So I took up this. But I don’t mind. Compensa-tions, you know. Amazing what a lot a man can hear when he listens. But you’re going to ask me how I knew you, aren’t you? By your footsteps. They’re very recognizable. Sort of a click-slap, click-slap.” His customer was silent for a moment. Jorman was about to ask Whether anything was wrong when the Englishman spoke.
“Look. I— and his tone took on an almost hungry eagerness—“I’ve got to talk to somebody, or blow my top. I mean, go barmy. Completely mad. Maybe I am, already. I don’t know. You—you might have a few minutes to spare? You might be willing to keep me company for an hour? I—it might not be too dull.”
Jorman hesitated in answering. Not because he in-tended to refuse—the urgency in the man’s voice was unmistakable—but there was something of a hunted tone in Sir Andrew Carraden’s voice that aroused ]orman’s curiosity.
It was absurd—but ]orman’s ears were seldom wrong. The Englishman, the archaeologist whose name had been so prominent a few years back, was a hunted man. Perhaps a desperate man. A fugitive—from what? Jorman did not try to guess. He nodded.
“I have time,” he agreed.
He bent down and picked up Foxﬁre, attached the leash, threw an old Ulster over his shoulders, and turned down his bright gasoline lantern. With Foxﬁre straining at the leash, he swung up his racks and padlocked the stand.
“This way,” Sir Andrew Carraden said at his side.
“Not half a block. Like to take my arm?” “Thanks.” Jorman touched the other’s elbow. The touch told him what he remembered from photographs in papers he had seen, years back. The Englishman was a big man. Not the kind to fear anything. Yet now he was afraid. In fact, he was very little short of terrified.
They bowed their heads to the somewhat lessened rain and Walked the short distance to the hotel. They turned into the lobby, their heels loud on marble. Jorman knew the place: the Hotel Russet. Respectable, but a bit run down.
As they passed the desk, a sleepy clerk called out.
“Oh, pardon me. There’s a message here for you. From the manager. Relative to some work We’ve been doing—-—” “Thanks, thanks,” ]orman’s companion answered im-patiently, and Jorman heard paper stuffed into a pocket. “Here’s the elevator. Step up just a bit.” They had been seated in easy chairs for some minutes, pipes going, hot drinks in front of them, be-fore Sir Andrew Carraden made any further reference to the thing that was obviously on his mind. The room they were in was fairly spacious, judging from the reverberations of their voices, and since it seemed to be a sitting room, probably was joined to a bedroom beyond. Foxﬁre slumbering at ]orman’s feet, they had been talking of inconsequentials when the Englishman interrupted himself abruptly. “Jorman,” he said, “I’m a desperate man. I’m being hunted.”
Jorman heard coffee splash as an unsteady hand let the cup rattle against the saucer.
“I guessed so,” he confessed. “It was in your voice.
The police?” .
Sir Andrew Carraden laughed, a harsh, explosive sound.
“Your ears are sharp,” he said. “The police? I wish it Were! No. By a—a personal enemy.” “Then couldn’t the police——-—” Jorman began. The other cut him short.
“No! They can’t help me. Nobody in this world can help me. And God have mercy on me, nobody in the next!”
Jorman passed over the emphatic exclamation.“But surely—–—”
“Take my Word for it, I’m on my own,” Sir Andrew Carraden told him, his voice grim. “This is a—a feud, you might say. And I’m the hunted one. I’ve done a lot of hunting in my day, and now I know the other side of it. It’s not pleasant.”
Jorman sipped at his drink.
“Y0u—this enemy. He’s been after you long?” “Three years.” The Englishman’s voice was low, a bit unsteady. In his mind Jorman could see the big man leaning forward, arm braced against knee, face set in grim lines.
“It began one night in London. A rainy night like this. I was running over some clay tablets that were waiting deciphering. Part of the loot from the tomb of Tut-Ankh-Tothet. The one the stories in the papers you referred to were about.
“I’d been working pretty hard. I knocked off for a pipe and stood at the window looking out. Then I heard it.”
“Heard him.” Carraden corrected himself. “Heard him hunting for me. Heard his footsteps—————” “Footsteps?”
“Yes. In the pitch-black night. Heard him tramping back and forth as he tried to locate me. Then he picked up my trail and came up the garden path.” Sir. Andrew paused, and Jorman heard the coffee cup being raised again.
“My dog, a great Dane, scented him. He was frightened, poor beast, and with reason. But he tried to attack. My—enemy—tore the dog to pieces on my own doorstep. I couldn’t see the ﬁght, but I could hear. The beast held him up long enough for me to run for it. Out the back door, into the storm. “There was a stream half a mile away. I made for that, plunged into it, ﬂoated two miles down, went ashore, picked up a ride to London. Next morning I left London on a freighter for Australia before he could pick up my trail again.”
Jorman heard the archaeologist draw a deep breath. “It took him six months to get on to me again, up in the Australian gold country. Again I heard him in time. I got away on a horse as he was forcing his Way into my cabin, caught a cargo plane for Melbourne, took a fast boat to Shanghai. But I didn’t stay there long.”
“Why not?” Jorman asked. He fancied that Carraden had shuddered slightly.
“Too much like his own country. Conditions were—favorable for him in the Orient. Unfavorable for me. I had a hunch. I hurried on to Manila and took a plane for the States there. Got a letter later from an old Chinese servant that he arrived the next night.” Iorman sipped slowly at his coffee, his brow knitted. He did not doubt the man’s sincerity, but the story was a bit puzzling.
“This fellow, this enemy of yours,” he commented slowly, “you said the Orient was too much like his own country. I assume you mean Egypt.” “Yes. He comes from Egypt. I incurred his—well, his enmity there.”
“He’s a native then? An Egyptian?”
Carraden hesitated, seeming to choose his words. “Well, yes,” he said ﬁnally. “In a way you might call him a native of Egypt. Though, strictly speaking, he comes from another—another country. One less well known.”
“But,” Jorman persisted, “I should think that you, a man of wealth, would have all kinds of recourse against a native, no matter where he might be from. After all, the man is bound to be conspicuous, and ought to be easy to pick up. I know you said the police could not help you, but have you tried? And how in the world does the fellow follow you so persistently? From London to Australia to Shanghai—that’s a thin trail to run down.”
“I know you’re puzzled,” the other told him. “But take my word for it, the police are no good. This chap—well, he just isn’t conspicuous, that’s all. He moves mostly by night. But even so he can go any-where.
“He has—well, methods. And as for following me, he has his own ways of doing that, too. He’s persistent. So awfully, awfully persistent. That’s the horror of it: that blind, stubborn persistence with which he keeps on my trail.”
Jorman was silent. Then he shook his head.
“I admit you’ve got me curious,” he told Carraden. “I can see easily enough there are some things you don’t want to tell me. I suppose the reason he’s hunting you so doggedly is one of them.”
“Right,” the Englishman admitted. “It was while the expedition was digging out old Tut-Ankh-Tothet. It was something I did. A law I violated. A law I was aware of, but—well, I went ahead anyway. “You see, there were some things we found buried with old Tothet the press didn’t hear of. Some papyri, some clay tablets. And off the main tomb a smaller one . . .
“Well, I can’t tell you more. I violated an ancient law, then got panicky and tried to escape the con-sequences. In doing so, I ran afoul of this—this fellow. And brought him down on my neck. If you don’t mind-——” There was a desperate note in his host’s voice. Jorman nodded.
“Certainly,” he agreed. ‘T11 drop the subject. After all, it’s your business. You’ve never tried to ambush the fellow and have it out with him, I suppose?” He imagined Carraden shaking his head. “No use,” the other said shortly. “My only safety is in ﬂight. So I’ve kept running. When I got to ’Frisco, I thought I was safe for la while. But this time he was on my heels almost at once. I heard him coming up the street for me late one foggy night. I got out the back door and ran for it. Got away to the Canadian plains.
“I planted myself out in the middle of nowhere, on a great, rolling grassy plain with no neighbor for miles. Where no one would even think of me, much less speak to me or utter my name. I was safe there almost a year. But in the end it was—well, almost a mistake.”
Carraden put down his cup with a clatter. Iorman imagined it was because the cup had almost slipped from shaking ﬁngers.
“You see, out there on the prairie there were no footsteps. This time he came at night, as usual, and he was almost on me before I was aware of it. And my horse was lame. I got away. But it was a near thing. Nearer than I like to remember . . . “So I came to New York. I’ve been here since, in the very heart of the city. It’s the best place of all to hide. Among people. So many millions crossing and recrossing my path muddy up the trail, confuse the scent!”
“Confuse the scent?” Jorman exclaimed. Carraden coughed. “Said more than I meant to, that time,” he admitted. “Yes, it’s true. He scents me out. In part, at least. It’s hard to explain. Call it the intangible evidences of my passage.” “I see.” The man’s voice pleaded so for belief that Jorman nodded, though he was far from seeing. “I’ve been here almost a year now,” the Englishman told him. “Almost twelve months with no sign of him. I’ve been cautious; man, how cautious I’ve been!
Lying in my burrow like a terrified rabbit. “Most of that time I’ve been right here, close to Times Square, where a million people a day cut my trail. I’ve huddled in my two rooms here—there’s a bedroom beyond—going out only by day. He is usually most active at night. In the day people confuse him. It’s the lonely reaches of the late night hours he likes best. And it’s during them I huddle here, listening wakefully . . .
“Except on stormy nights like this. Storms make his job more difficult. The rain washes away my scent, the confusion of the winds and the raging of the elements dissipate my more intangible trail. That’s why I ventured out tonight.
“Some day, even here, he’ll ﬁnd me,” Sir Andrew Carraden continued, his voice tight with strain. “I’m prepared. I’ll hear him coming—I hope—and as he forces this door, I’ll get out through the other one, the one in the bedroom, and get away. I early learned the folly of holing up in a burrow with only one exit. Now I always have at least one emergency doorway. “Believe me, man, it’s a ghastly existence. The lying awake in the quiet hours of the night, listening, listen-ing for him; the clutch at the heart, the sitting bolt upright, the constant and continuing terror—” Carraden did not ﬁnish his sentence. He was silent for several minutes, ﬁghting, Jorman imagined, for self-control. Then the springs of his easy chair squeaked as he leaned forward. I “Look,” the Englishman said then, in such desperate earnestness that his voice trembled a bit. “You must wonder whether I just brought you up here to tell you this tale. I didn’t. I had a purpose. I told you the story to see how you reacted. And I’m satisﬁed. Anyway, you didn’t openly disbelieve me; and if you think I’m crazy, maybe you’ll humor me anyway. I have a proposition to make.”
Jorman sat up a bit straighter. “Yes?” he asked, his face expressing uncertainty. “What—” “What kind of proposition?” Carraden ﬁnished the sentence for him. “This. That you help me out by listening for Jorman jerked his head up involuntarily, so that if he had not been blind he would have been staring into the other’s face.
“Listen for your enemy?”
“Yes,” the Englishman told him, voice hoarse. “Listen for his approach. Like a sentinel. An outpost. Look, man, you’re down there in your little stand every evening from six on, I’ve noticed. You stay until late at night. You’re posted there not ﬁfty yards from this hotel.
“When he comes, he’ll go by you. He’s bound to have to cast about a bit, to unravel the trail—double back and forth like a hunting dog, you know, until he gets it straightened out.
“He may go by three or four times before he’s sure. You have a keen ear. If he goes by while you’re on the job, you’re bound to hear him.” Carraden’s voice quickened, became desperately persuasive.
“And if you do, you can let me know. I’ll instruct the doorman to come over if you signal. Or you can leave your stand and come up here; you can make it easily enough, only ﬁfty paces. But somehow you must warn me. Say you will, man!”
Jorman hesitated in his answer. Sir Andrew mistook his silence.
“If you’re frightened,” he said, “there’s no need to be. He won’t attack you. Only me.” “That part’s all right,” Jorman told him honestly. “What you’ve told me isn’t altogether clear, and—I’ll be frank—I’m not absolutely sure whether you’re sane or not. But I Wouldn’t mind listening for you. Only, don’t you see, I wouldn’t have any way of recognizing your enemy’s step.”
Carraden gave a little whistling sigh that he checked at once.
“Good man!” The exclamation was quiet, but his voice showed relief. “Just so you’ll do it. That last bit is easy enough. I’ve heard him several times. I can imitate his step for you, I think. There’s only one thing worrying me.
“He—not everyone can hear him. But I’m counting on your blindness to give your ears the extra sensitivity. No matter. We have to have a go at it. Give me a moment.”
Jorman sat in silence and waited. The rain, beating against the panes of two windows, was distinctly lessen-ing. Somewhere distant a ﬁre siren wailed a banshee sound.
Carraden was making a few tentative scrapings, with his hands or his feet, on the floor. “Got it!” he announced. “I’ve put a bedroom slipper on each hand. It’s a noise like this.” With the soft-soled slippers, he made a noise like the shuffle of a large bare foot—a double sound, shuffle-shuffle, followed by a pause, then repeated. “If you’re extra keen,” he announced, “you can hear a faint click or scratch of claws at each step. But—” Then Jorman heard him sit up straight, knew Carraden was staring at his face.
“What is it, man?” the Englishman cried in alarm.
Jorman sat very tense, his ﬁngers gripping the arms of his chair.
“Sir Andrew,” he whispered, his lips stiff, “Sir An-drew! I’ve already heard those footsteps. An hour ago in the rain he went by my stand.” In the long silence that followed, Jorman could guess how the blood was draining from the other man’s face, how the knuckles of his hands clenched. “Tonight?” Carraden asked then, his voice harsh and so low that Jorman could hardly hear him. “Tonight, man?”
“Just a few minutes before you came by,” Jorman blurted. “I heard footsteps—his steps-—-shuffling by. The dog woke up and whimpered. They approached me slowly, pausing, then going on.” The Englishman breathed. “Go on, man! What then?”
“T hey turned. He went down Seventh Avenue, going south.”
Sir Andrew Carraden leaped to his feet, paced across the room, wheeled, came back.
”He’s tracked me down at last!” he said in a tight voice, from which a note of hysteria was not far absent. “I’ve got to go. Tonight. Now. You say he turned south?”
“But that means nothing,” Carraden spoke swiftly, as if thinking out loud. “He’ll ﬁnd he’s lost the track. He’ll turn back. And since he passed, I’ve made a fresh trail. The rain may not have washed it quite away. He may have picked it up. He may be coming up those stairs now. Where’s my bag? My passport? My money? All in my bureau. Excuse me. Sit tight.” Jorman heard a door ﬂung open, heard the man rush into the adjoining bedroom, heard a tight bureau drawer squeal.
Then Carraden’s footsteps again. A moment later, a bolt on a door was pulled back. Then the door itself rattled. A pause, and it rattled again, urgently. Once again, this time violently. Jorman could hear Carraden’s loud breathing in the silence that followed. “The door won’t open!” There was an edge of fear in the Englishman’s voice as he called out. “There’s a key or something in the lock. From the outside.” He came back into the sitting room with a rush, paused beside Jorman.
“That message!” The words came through Carraden’s teeth. “The one the clerk handed me. I wonder Paper ripped, rattled. Sir Andrew Carraden began to curse.
“The fool!” he almost sobbed. “Oh, the blasted, blasted fool. ‘Dear sir’ ”—Carraden’s voice was shaking now—“ ‘redecoration of the corridor on the north side of your suite necessitated our opening your door this afternoon to facilitate the painting of it. In closing and locking it, a key inadvertently jammed in the lock, and we could not at once extricate it. Our locksmith will repair your lock promptly in the morning. Trusting you will not -be inconvenienced’ “Heaven deliver us from fools!” Sir Andrew gasped. “Luckily there’s still time to get out this way. Come on, man, don’t sit there. _ I’ll show you down. But we must hurry, hurry.” A Jorman heard the other man’s teeth chattering faintly together in the excess of emotion that was shaking him, felt the muscular quivering of near-panic in the big man as he put out his hand and took Sir Andrew’s arm to help himself rise. And then, as he was about to lift himself, his ﬁngers clamped tight about the Englishman’s wrist.
“Carraden?” he whispered. “Carraden Listen!” The other asked no question. ]orman felt the quiver-ing muscles beneath his ﬁngers tense. And a silence that was like a hand squeezing them breathless seemed to envelop the room. There was not even the faint, distant sound of trafﬁc to break it. Then they both heard /it. In the hallway, coming toward the door. The faint padding sound of shuffling footsteps . . .
It was Foxﬁre, whimpering piteously at their feet, that broke the spell momentarily holding them. “He—” Carraden’s word was a gasp—“he’s out there!”
He left ]orman’s side. Jorman heard him shoving with desperate strength at something heavy. Castors squeaked. Some piece of furniture tipped over and fell with a crash against the inside of the door. “There!” Carraden groaned. “The desk. And the door’s bolted. That’ll hold him a moment. Sit tight, man. Hold the pup. He’ll ignore you. It’s me he Wants. I’ve got to get that other door open before he can come through.”
His footsteps raced away into the bedroom. Iorman sat where he was, Foxﬁre under his arm, so tense that his muscles ached from sheer fright. In the bedroom there was a crash, as of a man plunging against a closed door that stubbornly would not give. But above the noise from the bedroom, Jorman could hear the barricaded door-t—the door beyond which he was—start to give. Nails screamed as they came forth from wood. Hinges groaned. And the whole mass-—-door, linte-ls, desk—moved inward an inch or so. A pause, and then the terrible, inexorable pressure from the other side came again. With a vast rending the door gave Way and crashed inward over the barricading furniture. And in the echoes of the crash ]orman heard the shuffle-shuffle of feet crossing the room toward the bedroom. ‘
In the bedroom Sir Andrew Carraden’s efforts to force the jammed door ceased suddenly. Then the Englishman screamed, an animal cry of pure terror from which all intelligence was gone. The window in the bedroom crashed up with a violence that shattered the glass.
After that there was silence for a moment, until ]orman’s acute hearing caught, from the street outside and ﬁve floors down, the sound of an object striking the pavement.
Sir Andrew Carraden had jumped . . . Somehow Jorman found the strength to stumble to his feet. He dashed toward the door, and fell over the wreckage of it. Hurt, but not feeling it, he scrambled up again and stumbled into the hall and down the corridor. ‘
Somehow his questing hands found a door that was sheathed in metal, and he thrust it open. Beyond were banisters. Stairs. By the sense of feel he made his way down.
How many minutes it took to reach the lobby, to feel his way blindly past the startled desk clerk out to the street, he did not know. Or whether he had gotton down before he had—the totally inhuman thing that had been hunting Sir Andrew Carraden. Once outside on the wet pavement, cool night air on his cheek, he paused, his breath coming in sobbing gasps. And as he stood there, footsteps, shuffling foot-steps, passed close by him from behind and turned westward.
Then Jorman heard an astounding thing. He heard Sir Andrew Carraden’s footsteps also, a dozen yards distant, hurrying away from him.
Sir Andrew Carraden had leaped ﬁve ﬂoors.. And still could walk . . . ‘
No, run. For the tempo of the man’s steps was increasing. He was trotting now. Now running. And behind the running footsteps of Carraden were his steps, the enemy’s, moving more swiftly, too, something scratching loudly on the concrete each time he brought a foot down. Something that might be claws . . . “Sir Andrew!” Jorman called loudly, senselessly.“Sir An-—-”
Then he stumbled and almost fell, trying to follow. Behind him the desk clerk came hurrying up. He exclaimed something in shocked tones, but Jorman did not even hear him. He was bending down, his hand exploring the object over which he had stumbled. “Listen!” Jorman gasped to the desk clerk, jittering above him. “Tell me quickly! I have to know. What did the—the man look like who followed mo out of the hotel just now?”
“F-followed you?” the clerk stuttered. “Nobody f-followed you. Not a soul. Nobody but you has gone in or out in the last hu-half hour. Listen, why did he do it? Why did he jump?” I Jorman did not answer him.
“Dear heaven,” he was whispering, and in a way it was a prayer. “Oh, dear heaven!” ’ His hand was touching the dead body of Andrew Carraden, lying broken on the pavement. But his ears still heard those footsteps of pursued and pursuer, far down the block, racing away until not even he could make them out any longer. The hunted still ﬂeeing, the invisible hunter still following, even beyond the boundaries of death………….