The Avenger 6 - The Blood Ring

BOOK: The Avenger 6 - The Blood Ring
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By Kenneth Robeson

#1: J
USTICE
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#2: T
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H
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#3: T
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#4: T
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#5: T
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WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY EDITION
F
IRST
P
RINTING
: N
OVEMBER
, 1972

C
OPYRIGHT
© 1940
BY
S
TREET
& S
MITH
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
C
OPYRIGHT
R
ENEWED
1969
BY
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
A
LL
R
IGHTS
R
ESERVED

T
HIS
W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
E
DITION
IS
P
UBLISHED
BY
A
RRANGEMENT
W
ITH
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
. I
NC
.

C
OVER
I
LLUSTRATION
BY
P
ETER
C
ARAS

W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
IS A
D
IVISION
OF
W
ARNER
B
OOKS,
75 R
OCKERFELLER
P
LAZA
, N.Y. 10019.

A Warner Communications Company
ISBN: 0-446-64-963-5

Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS

THE BLOOD RING

CHAPTER I: Shades of the Past

CHAPTER II: The Amulets

CHAPTER III: High Priestess

CHAPTER IV: Bloody Cornelian

CHAPTER V: Strange Headache

CHAPTER VI: The Copper Dagger

CHAPTER VII: “Doctor, Lawyer—”

CHAPTER VIII: Temple Rites

CHAPTER IX: The Mummy Walks

CHAPTER X: “Chief—”

CHAPTER XI: Out of the Tomb

CHAPTER XII: Dead Radio

CHAPTER XIII: Death From Above

CHAPTER XIV: Taros and the Ring

CHAPTER XV: Two Hours To Go!

CHAPTER XVI: Vengeance of Taros

CHAPTER XVII: The Golden Egg

CHAPTER XVIII: The Egg Hatches

THE
BLOOD RING

CHAPTER I
Shades of the Past

Just off Massachusetts Avenue, in Washington, D.C., squatted the great, dark-red bulk of the Braintree Museum. It had plenty of grounds around it, shaded by huge old trees.

It was beautiful in daylight. But at night, with none too many street lamps around there anyway, it looked pitch-dark, grim, filled with whispering shadows.

On this particular night, it was darker than ever around Braintree Museum. The big trees seemed actually to droop their full branches till they touched the ground, making little tents with the trunks of the trees as the center poles. It looked as if an army could hide in the museum grounds.

From all the stationary shadows, at just a few minutes after midnight, suddenly appeared one that moved.

It was very tall, thin, and had a human look. And yet, if anyone had been around to see, he would have had the impression that the moving shadow, somehow, was
not
human.

However, there was no one around to see.

The museum was like most public buildings. Open only during daytime, at night it and its surroundings were completely deserted. No one had any business around there, late at night; so few people ever came.

The tall figure disappeared suddenly in the shadow of a great maple tree, to reappear again on the other side, nearer the museum. It seemed to glide rather than walk. And now for a brief instant it was in the direct rays of a distant street light. And more could be seen of it.

The figure seemed covered with a flowing white robe that melted into nothingness at the fringes. The garment had a distinctive look. It reminded you of something. At first, exactly what, could not be told. Then visions of old schoolbooks would have been specified—had there been a spectator.

The robe was that of a priest. Going on from there, the person with old history lessons in his mind would have been more specific. It was that of an Egyptian priest.

Six thousand years ago the high priests of Egypt had garbed themselves like that.

And there were more details in the dim light. The head and face atop the flowing white robe could be seen.

The face was so thin that it seemed to be the fleshless countenance of a skull. It was lank, lantern-jawed. There was a great, high beak of a nose, as arrogant as a kingly scepter. The cranium was completely bald. There was no more hair on it than on a vulture’s bare and repulsive dome.

The great-nosed, bald figure in the incredible garb of a priesthood thousands of years dead, floated serenely toward the museum. It got almost to the pitch-black shadow of the east wall. Then it disappeared once more.

It did not reappear.

Inside Braintree Museum, Bill Casey moved at his nightly duties.

Casey was an ex-cop, now over sixty and retired to this job as night watchman and caretaker of the big museum. The job was no cinch. There was stuff in that sprawling building worth millions of dollars. True, it was junk that couldn’t be readily sold, but it could tempt a thief just the same. Collectors exist who are glad to pay big sums for museum pieces along the lines of their collections.

Casey had a .45 swinging solidly at his left hip, and he could use it expertly. Casey feared few things on earth after forty-one years as a harness bull. Casey was nearly six feet in height, weighed close to two hundred, and still had a florid face that was only just beginning to line a bit with years.

He was in the Egyptian wing of the building at the moment. He had none too much imagination; was a good, solid, practical ex-cop. But this room could always give him the willies late at night.

The room was enormous—fifty by ninety, and about thirty feet high. The height was to accommodate the Egyptian statutes brought here from the Upper and Lower Nile temples.

The ceiling had to be high because the statues were high. The tallest almost scraped the stone roof as it was.

They were ringed around the great room like giants cast in stone. They stood there, motionless, with eyes staring straight ahead at nothing. But staring hard, as if the stone orbs could actually see something, a million miles off, straight ahead. If you’ve ever been in an Egyptian room you know the eerie feeling which that straight, dreamy, impersonal gaze gives you.

At the feet of the old statues were dozens of mummy cases, with linen-wrapped bones in them in more or less good repair. Some of them were rotted so that the bones showed through the wrappings; some were almost perfect.

Among the latter was the latest acquisition of the Braintree Museum. That was a mummy, complete with stone coffin—or sarcophagus—of the son of a high priest named Taros. The son’s name was unknown. But Taros was on register, all right. He had been the high priest under Rameses.

The son of Taros stood upright in linen swathing that had darkened with centuries till it was about the color of coffee with a lot of cream in it, but it was sound in every stitch. Over the mummy case had been fitted a cabinet with a glass lid, so that the public could see in. The glass was sealed into the edges of the lid with a sort of plastic wax, which made the interior air-tight.

Through the glass, the mummy of the high priest’s son seemed to stare, through linen bands over the skull, at his own sarcophagus, lying ponderously near his skeletal feet.

BOOK: The Avenger 6 - The Blood Ring
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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