Darker Than You Think

BOOK: Darker Than You Think
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"BUT
I AM A WITCH"

Barbee
had not believed April Bell when she had said that, half mockingly,
over drinks.

But
now, feeling himself flow and change, assuming the lithe, powerful
shape of a wolf and loping through the night, he could believe her.

For
ahead of him glimmered the white shape of a running wolf bitch—who
called to him with the voice of April Bell.

DARKER

THAN
YOU THINK

JACK
WILLIAMSON

A
DELL BOOK
Published
by Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza New York, New
York 10017

Copyright
1948 by Jack Williamson Copyright 1940 by Street & Smith
Publications, Inc., for
Unknown.

Illustrations
copyright 1940 by Street & Smith Publications, Inc. Illustrations
reprinted by permission of the artist, Edd Cartier

All
rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher,
except where permitted by law.

Dell
® TM 681510, Dell Publishing Co., Inc.

ISBN:
0-440-11746-1

Printed
in the United States of America Reprinted by arrangement with the
author. First Dell printing—July 1979

CONTENTS

Chapter

I
The
Girl
in
White
Fur

II
The
Kitten
Killing

  1. The
    White
    Jade
    Wolf

  2. The
    Witch
    Child

V
The
Thing
Behind
the
Veil

VI
As
a
Wolf
Runs—

VII
The
Trap
in
the
Study

VIII
The
Huntress
in
the
Dark

IX
Nightmare's
Aftermath

X
A
Friend
of
April
Bell

XI
As
a
Saber-Tooth
Slays—

XII
Hair
of
the
Tiger

XIII
Private
Hell

XIV
As
a
Serpent
Strikes—

XV
The
Human
Side

XVI
The
Most
Frightful
Shape

XVII
Not
All
Human

XVIII
Rebirth
of
the
Witch
Folk

XIX
On
Sardis
Hill

XX
The
Child
of
Night

XXI
Into
the
Shadows

CHAPTER
ONE

The
Girl in White Fur

The
girl came up to Will Barbee while he stood outside of the
glass-and-stucco terminal building at Trojan Field, Clarendon's new
municipal airport, hopefully watching the leaden sky for a glimpse of
the incoming planes. There was no reason for the sudden shiver that
grated his teeth together—unless it was a fresh blast of the
damp east wind. She looked as trimly cool and beautiful as a
streamlined electric icebox.

She
had a million dollars' worth of flame-red hair. White, soft, sweetly
serious, her face confirmed his first dazzled impression—that
she was something very wonderful and rare. She met his eyes, and her
rather large mouth drew into a quick pleasant quirk.

Barbee
turned to face her, breathless. He looked again into her gravely
smiling eyes—they were really green. He searched her for the
cause of that cold shudder of intuitive alarm, and became aware of an
equally illogical attraction—life had turned Barbee a little
cynical toward women, and he liked to consider himself totally
immune.

Her
green gabardine business suit was modishly severe, plainly expensive,
and cunningly chosen to accent the color of her eyes. Against the
windy chill of this overcast October afternoon, she wore a short coat
of some heavy white fur that he decided must be Arctic wolf—bleached,
perhaps, or albino.

But
the kitten
was
unusual.

She
carried a snakeskin novelty bag, with the double handle over her arm,
like two thick coils of a diamondback. The bag was open, like a
flattened basket, and the kitten peered contentedly out of it. It was
a perfectly darling little black kitten, less than half grown. It
wore a wide red silk ribbon, neatly tied in a double bow.

They
made a striking picture, but the kitten, blinking peacefully at the
lights coming on in the cloudy dusk, just didn't seem to fit. The
girl didn't look quite the type to shriek with delight over such a
clever pet. And the slick chick she appeared to be, the chic young
businesswoman, simply wouldn't include even the very cutest black
kitten in her street ensemble.

He
tried to forget that odd little shiver of alarm, and wondered how she
knew him. Clarendon was not a large city, and reporters get around.
That red hair was something you wouldn't forget. He looked again, to
be sure her disturbing eyes were really fixed on him. They were.

"Barbee?"

Her
voice was crisp and vigorous. The soft, throaty vitality of it was as
exciting, somehow, as her hair and her eyes. Her manner remained
casually impersonal.

"Will
Barbee," he admitted. "Leg man for the
Clarendon
Star."

More
than ever interested, he enlarged upon that modest fact. Perhaps he
hoped to discover the cause of his brief shiver. He didn't want her
to go away.

"My
editor wants two birds with one stone tonight," he told her.
"The first is Colonel Walraven—twenty years since he wore
the uniform, but still he likes the title. He has just quit a cushy
berth in the Washington bureaucracy and come home to run for the
senate. But he won't have much to say for the papers. Not till he
sees Preston Troy."

The
girl was still listening. The black kitten yawned at the lights
flashing on, and the little crowd of waiting relatives and friends
clustered along the steel-mesh barrier that kept the public off the
field, and the white-clad attendants beyond, busy preparing to
service the planes. But the girl's intense green eyes still watched
his face, and her magical voice murmured softly: "Who is your
other bird?"

BOOK: Darker Than You Think
7.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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