Satan's Faceless Henchmen
by Steve Fisher
Those hideous, faceless monks stole
corpses and brought them back to life.
And when Enid Spencer's sweetheart
could not meet their impossible
demands for the return of her brother's
living corpse, they both were fated to
share his hellish doom.
THE fetid room in the crumbling mansion was lit with only a ghastly
blue globe which gave it a dire, deathly effect. Cobwebs climbed
slitheringly about the ceiling. A chilled, clammy atmosphere hung about
the place. The floor beneath was ground that was covered with moss and
slime and squirming little bugs.
But I could think not of the room, nor where I was standing. I was
thinking of the horror that I felt creeping into my soul just now—
the horror of hearing the voice of a man I had seen die a few hours
It sent wild, shuddery chills racing crazily up and down my spine.
But it was all too true—all too maddeningly ghastly. The dead man was
Enid's brother. She had hold of my arm; was gripping it with terror
that was uncontrollable. I glanced into her gray eyes and saw them
staring as if she had suddenly gone insane. The milky white of her
beautiful complexion was drawn, greenish.
“Bill,” she gasped, “it can't be true!”
What was there for me to say? We both knew that such a thing as a
dead man returning to life is not possible in a world of realities;
yet, here was the real thing in front of our eyes. I could only hold
Enid closer to me.
We were to have been married yesterday; but yesterday her brother
had died after a sudden, mysterious illness. We had postponed the
wedding ceremony. But one short hour after his death, the corpse had
been kidnapped. We were given instructions for finding it—instructions
signed by “The Monks” that had led us up this mountainside and into
this creepy old mansion, to see Harry Spencer return to life!
When Enid and her other brother George, who was standing with us
now, had read the “Monks's”
note, we had disbelieved its contents. We'd had to enter this
ancient house to fully appreciate the terror of the situation. Each
word that was penned in that note was still burning across my mind. I
saw it the same as I had the hour the corpse had disappeared:
To the Relatives of Harry Spencer:
We, who are gifted with powers uncanny to most humans, realize that
you love your dead relation deeply.
Though we do not pretend to bring such endless joy to all who are
unfortunately visited by death, we have decided to bring your
dead relative back to life.
Had we came to you with such a proposition you would have doubted
our powers. We have therefore taken the liberty of removing the corpse
to our mountain laboratory. Follow the enclosed instructions and you
will see Harry Spencer alive. You will then return to the
village and draw from the bank a financial token of thanks for our
work. When you return with it, we will return Mr. Spencer to you.
Police interference will cancel these plans. Come alone. Other
details will be discussed when you reach the laboratory.
WE were now actually staring at Harry. How yellow and pasty his face
looked as he sat there in that chair. How drawn and weak too. But he
was smiling. Did you ever see a corpse smile? I hope I never do again.
It's hideous. It makes you sick to your stomach; makes you want to run.
Poor George, staring at his corpse-brother, felt that way too. His
hands were shaking, and his eyes were bulging. George, Enid and I had
been instructed to go no closer than ten feet from Harry.
Harry's dead, colorless lips were moving. A flat, eerie tone issued
“I—I don't know how they did it—” his throat caught, his words
were raspy— “but I do know that I'm alive. You must
believe that I am.” He looked at me, his eyes pleading. “You'll tell
them that I am, won't you, Bill?”
“But I—” I became hopelessly confused. “How do you feel?” I blurted
“Weak. Awfully damn' weak,” Harry Spencer muttered, “but I've
returned from the place where men never return—and I'm sound and
normal. I can think. I can feel. But my heart—” his words began
trailing— “my heart is beating awfully fast. Too fast, I think. Later,
they say, it'll slow to a regular speed.” He went on talking but his
tone dropped to a whisper which I couldn't quite catch.
George looked at me, then stared back at his brother. George's hair
and eyes were dark; he was broad, had a muscular build.
“You're—you're really alive, Harry?” he asked
“Sure,” a husky, throaty voice came from Harry Spencer this time. He
moved his lifeless-looking face toward us, and kept smiling that
terrorizing smile. “Sure I am. Go get the money they ask you to get;
take me out of here. A few days in bed and—”
I nodded. “We'll do that, all right.”
Enid moved closer to me. “I don't know what to say, Bill,” she
whispered. “It's horrible, and yet if he's alive—”
To see the girl I loved worked up in this frenzied pitch, drove me
almost mad. Even in this awful situation, she was as radiantly
beautiful as a blushing rose in the dawn. Large eyes—clear and
penetrating. A neat, cleanly cut figure, her brown, silky hair hung in
a cluster about her neck.
“I'm so terribly afraid,” she went on, moving closer to me.
George, a panic seemingly taking him, was violating the rule we had
been given, and was going toward Harry. I stepped forward to stop him
when a door at the other end of the room suddenly creaked open.
Talk of horror and hideous humans! The man who entered was garbed in
black monk's robes. He didn't look particularly old, but his face was
It was snarled with searing scars; they looked like burns. Just a
mass of breathtaking ugliness. A slit for a mouth; blotches for eyes;
and a nose that was just a stump of a thing. There wasn't a visible
hair or whisker on him.
“Be quiet, please,” he said.
He came further into the room, his brown robes sweeping across the
dusty floor. The heavy oak door behind him started to creak shut, when
there was a shrill screaming noise. A small monkey leaped in after him.
The little animal was gibbering madly. It ran into a corner and sat
there, its beady eyes leveled on us, and its little fingers in its
mouth. The robed figure spoke again:
“You three are no doubt convinced that Mr. Harry Spencer is alive.
It is necessary that we charge for this resurrection. We can not allow
you to take him until you have paid.”
George was glaring at the man. Harry, his face still a horrible
yellow pallor, moved in his chair and tried to speak, but he choked on
his words. Enid had lost control of her voice. It was up to me.
“You mean that you're holding him for ransom?”
The monk shook his head. The little monkey in the corner started
“We will return him to you in the same state he was in when we took
him—dead—if you wish that. We charge only for our operation.” He
shrugged. It appeared that he had no control over his facial muscles.
Only the movement of his slit-like mouth indicated whatever feeling he
might have had.
“I think that if all you tell us—” I glanced back at poor Harry. He
was still sitting, slumped, in his chair, taking everything in— “is
true, we are willing to meet your cash demand. What is it?”
I RECEIVED no immediate answer. The man with the twisted, snarled
face was staring at Enid. Her body a rigid statue, she stood staring
back at him.
“Stop looking at her that way!” I shouted furiously.
The monk turned his eyes back to me; but he did it with a slow,
mocking resentment. “Yes—you were saying?”
“I asked how much money you wanted!”
Again he looked at Enid. Tears came into her eyes; she was quivering
with terror. “Take me out of here. I can't stand the sight of him!”
The thin slit that was his mouth twitched downward. At last he
turned back to me.
“We want—” he hesitated— “two hundred and fifty thousand dollars!”
For a moment I was too stunned to speak.
George shot a quick glance to his dead-looking corpse of a brother,
then jerked out:
“A quarter of a million! What do you mean?”
“You perhaps understand only too well what we mean,” the monk
Harry moved from side to side in his chair: “I think George is—my
“We can't pay a quarter of a million,” George broke in.
“Keep still!” I snapped. “What did you want to say, Harry?”
“That—that,” the revived corpse gasped out, “somehow George can get
the money. You must get it. Don't leave me here any longer than you
George's eyes were shifty. “I don't know how you think
I can get it,” he barked; then tenderly: “But we'll try, Harry. We'll
It was time to get out of this evil den, and I knew it. Somehow I
resented George's flat statements about not being able to obtain the
money. It seemed to me that he should have had more consideration for
“Bring the money by midnight,” the monk said in a brittle tone, “in
currency. Then you may have Harry Spencer.”
I wanted to say a lot, but Enid was clinging to me and shaking so
badly that I felt it best to get her out. “We'll bring it,” I said.
The words were no sooner out of my mouth than the huge door at the
entrance of the mansion swung back. The open road and daylight lay
outside. It was a welcome sight. The monk with the seared face gazed at
the light of day as if he were displeased. He had had no control over
the door's movement; some one listening had operated it when I spoke.
A voice issued from a hidden loud speaker. It was the same voice we
had heard when we entered:
“Go now. Return with the money.”
“Before midnight,” the monk with the burned face added.
As we were departing Harry tried to get up from his chair. I was
guiding Enid through the door when I heard him call after us; his voice
was so faint that I couldn't be sure, but it sounded like:
“Hurry back! I can't stand to stay with these monsters any
longer. Hurry. . . .“
A shudder jolted through my body. Enid was too horrified to even be
able to hear. I was glad for that.
My last glimpse into the ghastly blue room revealed the awful,
snarl-faced figure in the black robes, standing in the middle of the
dirt floor with his arms crossed, and the gibbering monkey perched on
his shoulder. His thin mouth was drawn back in a hideous, toothless
THE way Enid sat, the light shone directly in her face; though
blanched white from the horror of the afternoon, she had regained her
composure. Her pretty lips were firm and even, her eyes darkly somber.
“So you see, Mr. Jason, we just must have the money. We can't leave
Harry with those men any longer.” She sucked in her breath. “You will
loan it to us, won't you?”
“It's an awful lot to ask for,” George Spencer said huskily, “and
it's not a very good loan for your bank; but I'm sure you understand,
I watched Charles Jason's face as he cleared his throat to speak. He
was a large man, over fifty years of age; his hair was gray; lines of
worry had creased his rugged face. There was a kindly yet sad
expression about his thick lips.
“I don't know what you people are going to think of me,” he said,
“but the bank's money is tied up. That is, though I am president, I
haven't the authority to invest in a personal loan of this kind.
Nor, since my misfortune of two years past, have I even half that
amount in my own name.” He seemed nervous; kept glancing down at his
“I think we understand,” I said.
Relief flushed across his countenance, yet some hidden anxiety
within him appeared to be growing.
“Thank you,” he answered tersely, his voice hushed to a whisper.
“I'd like to help you. God knows I would—but—but I can't.” This time
his eyes dropped and remained staring downward.
I looked at Enid. Her face was without expression. George was
bewildered. Glancing back at banker Jason, I said:
“There's something on your mind—something you aren't telling us?”
“I—I,” he faltered.
“If it has something to do with Harry,” Enid interposed, “you must
HE gazed at her intently, then suddenly he broke down. “It's about
those monks,” he explained. “I lied to you when I said I hadn't heard
of them. I have.” He held his hands to his temples and rocked
dramatically on his heels. “After my daughter Barbara died of scarlet
fever, two years ago, they stole her corpse. They wrote me the same
sort of letter, told me to bring the money before midnight and I could
have her back—alive.”
He cleared his throat, continued: “I was frantic.
I thought of getting in touch with the police, but realized it would
be useless. I had that much money then, so I took it, put it in a
suitcase and arrived at the mansion at half an hour after midnight. An
accident had delayed me on the road. They relieved me of the currency
and told me Barbara would be home in the morning.”
His face turned ashen. He looked away, spoke bitterly: “She returned
all right—in the same coffin she had been in when they took her. She
For a moment there was heavy silence. I thought I saw a tear trickle
across Charles Jason's cheek.
George was embarrassed. I knew that Enid was at a loss as to what to
do or say. I felt that it was my place to change the subject, but was
uneasy about doing so.
“So—” I hesitated— “it would be impossible for you to let us have
He nodded, said in a low tone: “Yes. I'm sorry.”
There was nothing to do but go. We left the room as quietly as
possible. I felt a cloak of doom descend over us. Jason had been our
last hope for the ransom money. Closing my eyes, I saw again that
leering monk with the seared face and I saw, too, his little monkey
running about the room, screaming. I heard Harry's hoarse, pleading
voice— “I can't stay with these monsters any longer. . . .”
When we were on the street Enid turned to me; her voice was frantic.
“What are we going to do? We must do something!”
“It's after nine,” George said. “If we started driving now, we would
just about make it there by midnight.”
I steeled myself. “It means only,” I said, “that you and I, George,
will have to return for Harry without the money.”
“But you can't do that,” Enid protested.
“It's all we can do,” George told her, agreeing with me, though in
speaking the words I was aware that he wasn't too anxious.
Enid was trembling. “What about the police?”
“The monks would kill Harry if we brought them,” I said. “And since
he was dead when they kidnapped him, the only crime would be
“Then we'll all three have to go back,” Enid declared decisively.
“Remember, Mr. Jason arrived a half an hour late, and they killed
“But Enid,” I cried in alarm, “you can't go!”
She looked at me with an expression which signified her decision was
final. From past experience I knew the uselessness of trying to
dissuade her from an idea. George argued, but to no avail. As she put
“He is my brother!”
We stood, awkwardly silent for a moment.
Suddenly an idea struck me. There was some answer to
this hideous riddle, and if I could find what it was before we
returned, perhaps we could bluff and have a better chance.
“George,” I said excitedly, “we can start in a half hour, and if we
drive like hell, we'll still make it in time.”
“I've got to go some place. You and Enid fill the car with gas and
pick me up in front of the newspaper office in thirty minutes.”
I waved away their protests, and started off in a run. The office of
the Clarion was only a block down. Roger Symes, the
editor, lived next door.
Ten minutes later Roger and I had the lights on in the office. The
editor was an obliging old fellow, and showed me his files concerning
fires and explosions. I had an idea which seemed entirely sane and
I found the dates I wanted on yellowed clippings. My trembling
fingers were thumbing through them; my eyes swept quickly over the
captions: “STUDENTS KILLED IN TRAIN EXPLOSION” read one, “HOSPITAL FIRE
CAUSES PANIC, NINE DEAD” another said. I went through them rapidly.
Then I came across one which read: “UNIVERSITY LABORATORY EXPLODES;
FAMOUS SCIENTISTS KILLED!”
I commenced to read further, but at that moment the shrill tooting
of an automobile horn outside announced that the half hour had flown
only too swiftly. I hesitated, then the horn blasted again.
Thanking Roger Symes for his trouble, I made a hurried exit.
THE road that went up the mountainside was a long, winding one. It
had rained recently and the wheels of our machine made a low, swishing
sound as they drove through the slush and clay. A thick fog was
settling down over the mountain, so that objects were only vague
outlines shrouded in a gray cloak.
I drove. Enid was between George and me. She couldn't have been very
cold with the warmth of our bodies on either side of her, but I felt
her shivering. Every few minutes she sucked in her breath and sat
straight, as if steeling herself against the terror that was ahead.
We had a difficult time. At each turn branches of weeping willows
reached out at us, as if wanting to pull us into their treacherous
bosoms. Even before our arrival at the mansion the atmosphere seemed
pressing in on us. The closer we came the more eerie it was.
My hands froze to the wheel as the crumbled abode hove into view.
High in a tower of it, a gruesome blue light was glowing. It gave
ghastly illumination to the entire front of the place:
silhouetted it in sharp, ugly shadows. I turned off the motor and
put on the brakes.
For a moment we sat there. George was the first to move. He opened
the door and got out. His voice was thick.
Our arrival had been watched, for we were not within fifteen feet of
the broad front door when it swung slowly open, scraping and creaking.
And the monstrous sight that was revealed in the archway made me go
cold with horror.
It was another monk. He was taller than the one we had met this
afternoon, and his ugliness was twice that of his brother
corpse-worker. He had no nose at all. Huge, hideous gray eyes; no hair
on his head. There was really no way of telling his features, for they
were all one blot of scars. A white monkey, on a chain, was beside him,
staring at us.
“You've brought the money?” the tall figure inquired.
“Give it to me,” the monk demanded, “and Harry Spencer will be
returned in the morning.”
“Yes, returned—” Enid blurted, unable to control herself— “like
Barbara Jason was. Dead! Where is my brother? Show him to us!”
“Indeed,” the monk said. We were still walking forward. He halted us
at the entrance. “But where is the money?”
George was tense. He could hold off no longer.
“We haven't got it.”
The words were no sooner out of his mouth than the automatic I had
brought was in my hand. I leaped forward and jammed it into the monk's
stomach. His monkey jumped to his shoulder, squealing.
“Where is Harry Spencer?” I demanded. “We want him. And we want him
alive. One false move, and—”
The hideous, satanic figure glared into my face.
“So this is your appreciation for returning him to life, is it?” he
demanded in a voice that was more like the snarl of an ape. “Follow me,
then; you shall have Harry Spencer.”
HE turned. I kept the gun in his back and followed him. Enid stayed
by my side, and George followed her. We entered the same dank, eerily
lighted room that we had been in before.
Suddenly, the tall monk stopped, cocked his head. Slowly, he began
“Twelve o'clock, and the dead shall return to life.” He said it in a
strange, faraway voice. As he did so, chimes began to ring—a slow,
ominous stroke that echoed throughout the tumbledown mansion. “Twelve
o'clock, and the dead rise from their graves.”
Enid screamed: “Look out!” Her piercing cry filled the room; split
the dense atmosphere of gloom.
George leaped forward. A flash of orange; a roaring explosion. I saw
George crumple to the floor, a hole in his head, and the blue light
suddenly dimmed. I could no longer see the monk, but I shot blindly at
the place he had been.
For a moment, after I had wasted my third shot, there was a pause of
silence. I felt Enid close to me.
Putting my arm about her waist, we slowly began backing.
“They've—they've killed George,” she whispered.
“They're ruthless,” I told her. “We didn't dream it'd be like this;
expected a scuffle, but—well, cold-blooded murder is another thing.”
The last of the midnight chimes rang. A hoarse voice called out:
“Twelve o'clock is past. The dead have risen!“
I fired at the sound. The hollow noise made by the bullet told me
that I had cracked the loud speaker. Enid and I backed to the wall.
I heard the gibbering of a monkey in one corner of the room.
Thinking it possible that the animal could be on the shoulder of one of
the monks, I fired. I heard a blood-chilling squeal. I was furious with
myself, for I had been too good a shot. I had killed only the monkey!
Five shots gone—one bullet left. “Enid,” I gasped, “is the door
“No,” she whispered breathlessly, “they have closed it.”
“Then we're trapped,” I told her.
Suddenly the blue light began to glow again. I saw a figure in black
at the doorway that led farther into the mansion. It was hooded. Though
it was still in the flickering shadows of the blue light, I fired.
The hooded figure fell forward.
Quickly I ran to where it had fallen; jerked off the hood. Enid saw
at the same time as I did. She screamed. It had been a ruse to get our
last bullet, for the hooded figure was only the corpse of poor George.
They had picked him up, thrown the robes over him, and propped him
where I would see him when the lights went on.
The door where George's body had been propped began to open. I held
Enid close to me and waited. Several monkeys rushed into the room.
They were all gibbering like mad; none of them touched us.
Presently the tall monk returned. A snub-nosed black automatic was
gripped in his right hand. He stood silently, holding us under threat
of the gun. In a moment two other monks came up behind him.
They went past him and came toward us. I recognized one of them as
the younger monk whom we had seen during the afternoon. He stared at
Enid when he got close to her. Then his talon fingers reached out and
touched her shoulder.
“Keep away from her!” I barked.
He laughed; it was a deep, burned-out laughter that made me shudder.
Enid could scarcely stand, even with me to support her. Her body shook
The young monk put his other hand toward Enid. I jerked toward him.
At that moment something landed on the back of my head.
Blackness—a sinking pool of it—drenched my mind.
WHEN I opened my eyes I was strangely enough standing on my feet. My
wrists were tied behind me, and I was strapped to a large brace in the
corner of a room in the tower of the mansion.
I knew that, for I could see out the wide, French windows.
Unlike the rest of the rooms, this one was fairly clean. It
resembled a modern operating ward in a hospital. There were basins,
various kinds of doctor's tools lying on a white-clothed table, and a
bowl with running-water faucets. I had been conscious only a few
minutes when the door opened and the youngest monk entered.
“Do you want to save your sweetheart?” he demanded suddenly.
“Of course,” I gasped.
“They want to kill her, then bring her back to life for ransom. Tell
them you won't pay unless they let her live.”
For a moment I was too horrified to speak, then it was unnecessary.
The second monk appeared in the door. The snub-nosed automatic was
still in his hand.
“Just as I thought, Adler,” he said tonelessly. “Allowing sentiment
to mix with business again. Because you think the girl is beautiful and
want her for yourself, you betray us to this stranger.”
“You lie, Hopkins,” the young monk raged, moving across the room.
“We've put up with enough from you,” Hopkins said. “This is the
A gunshot roared out. The young monk clutched his breast, then fell
forward. Hopkins, his robes swishing, walked over to the French
windows, opened them, then rolled the dead monk's corpse over and
pushed it out. He turned to me, his scarred face horrible.
“There's quick-lime down there. Remember it in case you think of
He turned then, and clapped his hands. One of those hideous monks
dragged Enid's limp figure into the room. Then I saw the rose-tinted
body of the girl who was to become my wife tied to an operating table.
She was unconscious. The other monk was pushing it.
“Enid—Enid!” I shouted, straining at the ropes that held me. Then:
“Damn you, you swine!”
“We are going to kill her in front of you,” Hopkins said grimly. His
twisted face contained a look of sheer madness. “Then we are going to
demonstrate how to bring her to life. After that—”
The other monk took up the message. He was medium built, chunkier
than Hopkins, but his face was also seared and burned.
“. . . we shall release you to get the money. Perhaps you won't
doublecross and return without it this time. If you do, we'll kill
I shouted in fury: “Don't touch her. Don't kill her. I'll never
bring you money!”
“Won't you?” Hopkins said, “I wonder.”
The names of Hopkins and Adler were burning in my mind. I remembered
the headline: FAMOUS SCIENTISTS KILLED, and I thought I saw through the
whole scheme now; knew the reason for the monkeys and how the corpses
could return to life.
Hopkins went to a shelf and picked up a long, gleaming knife.
“Blood will flow; warm, young blood. That of your sweetheart. And
next time you go for money—”
I jerked, strained. Sweat was pouring down my face. My heart was
pounding madly. Terror jerked through my veins. They were going to kill
Kill the girl that I loved. How helpless she lay there in this tower
of terror, her figure so perfect; like a statue, each curving line the
essence of loveliness. They were going to mar that!
THE monster in the black robe swung the knife down close to Enid's
throat. Closer the knife came—within an inch of her loveliness. Then
the blade touched. A stream of warm blood trickled down the hollow of
“Wait!” I screamed hoarsely. Mad desperation had inspired a wild
idea; wild, yet feasible. My only hope to save Enid.
Hopkins hesitated. The other monk looked up.
“Let me—” my throat was raw— “kiss her, before— At least you can
Hopkins shook his head. The knife started down again.
“Please!” I pleaded.
The medium-sized monk was at the far end of the cart, his back to
the French doors. “Shall I push it forward and let him have one kiss?”
A sadistic smile was on his lips. “He'll be missing more then—”
Hopkins lifted his knife for a moment. “All right,” he said, “push
it up there. He can't use his hands.” To me: “Just bend over and kiss
I nodded my thanks. I was straining, pulling, jerking at the cords
that were about my wrists. Yet I knew that in the moment I had, I
wouldn't be able to get them loose. I had my trick. My one little
trick, and if it failed . . . There was a window just to the right of
my back. I tried to edge toward it.
The cart came up even with my chest. I bent forward, stared up a
moment at the medium-sized monk at the other end; then to Hopkins who
was standing by the side.
Suddenly I kicked the operating cart. It slid forward with all the
force that I could muster. It crashed through the French doors, pushing
the little monk out with it. Hopkins grabbed it before it fell. He
struggled to pull it back into the room. But his brother monk had
already gone—to the quick-lime . . .
However, Hopkins struggled with the cart. I had known he would do
that. But risking the chance of Enid's falling out into that lime had
been my only chance. I punched my wrists through the window that was
behind me. Jagged cuts spurted blood in my arms; but I was beyond
caring about anything.
Sweating, my heart pounding, I pulled and twisted until the ropes
were free. I turned toward Hopkins just as he finished getting the cart
safely back in the room. He had dropped his knife in the excitement. I
scooped it up and rushed at him.
He backed, his snarled face writhing with hatred. “Back—keep back!”
I shouted at him. “I am going to kill you.”
He hit the wall and half-turned. In that moment I rushed him.
Dropping the knife, I swung his shoulders about. I lifted my
foot—kicked him out through the broken glass of the French doors.
His shrill scream resounded back up into the room as he fell toward
I went to Enid, picked her up into my arms.
Tears streaming down my face, I pressed her to me, kissing her face.
I left her then to get a cloth from the shelf. I applied water to her
forehead. In a few minutes she was showing signs of consciousness.
She opened her eyes, staring timidly about.
Then she saw me. “Oh, Bill,” she called. I held her and kissed her
“We'll have to get out of here,” I told her. “I don't like the
place. First, though, we've got to find Harry. I'm afraid he won't be
alive,” I added.
Enid was too weak to walk. I carried her out of the ominous room in
the tower, and down the steps to the second floor. Here we searched the
various decrepit rooms together. They were fetid with the smell of
fresh corpses. Sick at heart, we stared into one dead face after
another. We found Harry Spencer in a room by himself. He was in the
coffin we had put him in when he died. He was dead.
Enid could stand no more. “Take me out of here,” she said.
WINDING down the narrow road of the mountain I explained what I had
Enid sat in the car listening to me, her eyes staring at the bleak
landscape ahead, moving uncomfortably under some rough sacking with
which I had covered her before leaving that loathsome stone mansion.
“Adler, Hopkins and Smith,” I told her, “were three scientists who
were caught in a fire of the laboratory of a large university; people
thought they were dead. Somehow they escaped, and I guess it was
because their faces were so horrible that they never reported
themselves alive. At the time of the fire, they had been experimenting
with monkeys; bringing them back to life—after death. Together they
schemed a way to make money by operating on humans.
“They stole a corpse immediately after death, wrote a note to the
family, and then before the family's arrival, plunged the heart
stimulant into the body. This revived the victim for about an hour.
The elated family would return with the money demanded, but like
Jason, get only a corpse. The three monks, as they called themselves,
could not keep a human being alive more than an hour, but they made use
of that hour in a grim way.”
Enid spoke softly: “They kept the monkeys for experiments?”
I nodded, drawing her close to me and slipping my arm about her.
“But the monkeys will probably run free now. And there won't be any
more corpses coming back to life, at midnight or any other time.”
She sucked in a breath of fresh air. The fog had lifted, there were
stars in the sky, and the night was beautifully clear. But I couldn't
shake the terror that was in my heart, because the mad monkeys were
still seeming to gibber and squeal in my ears.