The Oakdale Affair

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 32

went down again just before you regained
consciousness. I imagine we shall hear some interesting developments
from below."

"It's The Sky Pilot and his gang," whispered The Oskaloosa Kid.

"It's The Oskaloosa Kid," came a voice from below.

"But wot was that light upstairs then?" queried another.

"An' wot croaked this guy here?" asked a third. "It wasn't nothin'
nice--did you get the expression on his mug an' the red foam on his
lips? I tell youse there's something in this house beside human bein's.
I know the joint--it's hanted--they's spooks in it. Gawd! there it is
now," as the clanking rose to the head of the cellar stairs; and those
above heard a sudden rush of footsteps as the men broke for the open
air--all but the two upon the stairway. They had remained too long and
now, their retreat cut off, they scrambled, cursing and screaming, to
the second floor.

Along the hallway they rushed to the closed door at the end--the door
of the room in which the three listened breathlessly--hurling themselves
against it in violent effort to gain admission.

"Who are you and what do you want?" cried Bridge.

"Let us in! Let us in!" screamed two voices. "Fer God's sake let us in.
Can't you hear IT? It'll be comin' up here in a minute."

The sound of the dragging chain could be heard at intervals upon the
floor below. It seemed to the tense listeners above to pause beside the
dead man as though hovering in gloating exultation above its gruesome
prey and then it moved again, this time toward the stairway where
they all heard it ascending with a creepy slowness which wrought more
terribly upon tense nerves than would a sudden rush.

"The mills of the Gods grind slowly," quoted Bridge.

"Oh, don't!" pleaded The Oskaloosa Kid.

"Let us in," screamed the men without. "Fer the luv o' Mike have a
heart! Don't leave us out here! IT's comin'! IT's comin'!"

"Oh, let the poor things in," pleaded the girl on the bed. She was,
herself, trembling with terror.

"No funny business, now, if I let you in," commanded Bridge.

"On the square," came the quick and earnest reply.

The THING had reached the head of the stairs when Bridge dragged the bed
aside and drew the bolt. Instantly two figures hurled themselves into
the room but turned immediately to help Bridge resecure the doorway.

Just as it had done before, when Bridge and The Oskaloosa Kid had taken
refuge there with the girl, the THING moved down the hallway to the
closed door. The dragging chain marked each foot of its

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