, November 1938
Death Stalks Grimly Across the Mongolian Lowlands as a Lone White
Girl Faces Sinister Peril
HAL LAWSON shuddered as he heard the eerie death cries rising from
the street. That had been going on for hours. Asia was always a land of
strange adventuresbut what was happening here in this little village
back in the Savanski mountains was more horrible than anything Lawson
had ever encountered.
Listen to them, Hal!
Sue Trent stood close to the window, dangerously close. For if these
beasts that roamed the streets, looting, torturing, killing, caught a
glimpse of the slender American girl there would be more trouble.
We've got to get away! she cried. Why, they are like hungry
Worse. Lawson's tone was grim, his lean jaw set, and his eyes hard.
Those men down there are not human. Every one of them is an
imbecilea Mongolian cretin who escaped from the insane asylum near
here not five hours ago.
I know. Sue's voice was low, weary. She was so tiredand afraid.
But they are not so crazy that they don't know how tomurder!
Lawson couldn't tell her that just a half-hour ago he had seen her
father and the other two men who had come with them on this exploring
expedition go down beneath the fury of the insane mob. It was better
for her not to knownow. She would need all her courage before this
Gradually the sounds in the street grew fainter, but they still
lingered in the hot, dry night air. Lawson went to the window and
They've gone? Sue asked. He did not blame her for not looking down.
Twisted shapes were scattered about down there; queer-looking,
grotesque dead people half-hidden in the shadows.
Yes, gone for the moment. Some part of Lawson's brain answered the
question the girl had asked, but suddenly he found himself more afraid.
Those people down there who had been murdered and tortured by the
cretins were mostly natives. And as far as Lawson knew Sue Trent was
the only white woman within fifty miles. What those fiends would do to
her if they caught her . . . Lawson could not even think about that.
Shall we try to make a break for it? he asked. You mean try and
reach Father and the others? asked Sue.
They've already made a break for it, Lawson said slowly. Got away
all right, I guess.
Oh! Relief was in her tone. Then perhaps we can find them if we go
the way they did.
We won't go the way they did, Lawson said grimly.
His hand lingered against the cold steel of the automatic in the side
pocket of his coat as they descended the stairs. Strange smells came to
them; pungent odors that were part of the Far East. This two-story
lodging place, the Khan, where the camel caravans might rest for the
nightboth were deserted now.
There were still camels and goats close to the low stone wall that
surrounded the place, but the men who had owned themand their women
were among those torn, motionless forms in the street.
Lawson and Sue could still hear thesounds of the raidersand the
screams of the dying. Above the towering blackness of the mountains the
cold placidness of the stars was a mockery.
Which way? Sue's voice was a whisper as they left the Khan and made
their way through the open courtyard toward the gate. She caught his
arm, slender fingers digging into the flesh. Listen, they are coming
Run! Lawson flung open the gate and rushed her onto the road.
We'll head for the nearest mountainit's our only chance.
Sue ran, her flimsy red low-necked dress fluttering, the short brown
hair rippling about her neck.
Down the street Lawson spied the glare of flying torches. Figures
were moving in the weird light of the fire brands. Horrible, evil faces
that looked like those of walking cadaversall with bulging eyes and
the imbecilic expressions of the insane.
He cursed as he caught a glimpse of one figure that towered above the
rest. That shaggy brown hair and rugged face did not belong to a
Mongolian. That was a white man. A white man marching with the
cretins, apparently one of them! In that instant, hate for that man
burned in Lawson's soul like the consuming fires of hell.
A shout told him that someone in that seething mob had spied them.
They were on the trail like those hungry wolves that Sue had called
them a little while ago.
The mountain was not more than a quarter of a mile down the road.
Speeding for their lives, Sue and Lawson reached it, stumbling through
the darkness. For an instant they paused, panting, breathless. Behind
them came the bobbing lights of the torchesthe swiftly approaching
fires of death.
We've got to hide! From the first Lawson's fear had all been for
the girl. His own life did not matter. He had risked it many times
before. That was his breedthe breed of the adventurer. Looking
swiftly about him, relief swept over him as he spied the gaping black
mouth of a huge cave.
Quickinside the cave! he cried. We may escape them there.
THEY plunged into the darkness beyond the opening. And then from the
blackness that engulfed them claw-like hands reached out. Sue screamed
as she felt their clammy clutch upon the bare flesh of her arms. One of
the cretins was hiding there.
Lawson had his automatic half-drawn with his right hand while he
lashed out blindly with his left. But hands were clawing at him. Then
something hard crashed down on his head and he dropped to the ground
He regained his senses some time afterward his head seemed on
fireand when he opened his eyes he felt as though he were part of
some fantastic scene that was part of Dante's Inferno. Close to him two
torches had been thrust into the walls of the huge cave. In their eerie
glow he first grew conscious of row upon row of evil, beast-like faces.
The cretins! But why were they mumbling, some of them shouting and
holding up their dirty hands with sometimes two, three and even five
What do you bid for her? The voice that spoke was deep and harsh.
The swift thought came to Lawson that if a buzzard could speak its tone
would be like that. What do you bid?
The words were in English but the man who had voiced them immediately
lapsed into a Mongolian tongue.
Lawson managed to turn his headand felt sick. The shaggy-haired man
he'd seen with the cretin mob was standing on a rock platform. An
automatic was in one hand, and with the other he clutched Sue Trent's
arm. Her dress had been half- torn off, and her wrists were held by
God! muttered Lawson. He's auctioning her off to these fiends!
For the first time he realized that he was tied. His wrists were
bound behind himbut his feet were free. He had to do something to aid
the girl had to! Once she was sold to the highest bidder among the
cretins she would die, though God alone knew what tortures she would
He managed to stand erect. The cretins and the shaggy-haired man were
so intent on their auction that they did not notice him.
What do you bid for her? It seemed to amuse the shaggy-haired man
to ask questions in English so that the girl might understand. Gar
Jasill will turn her over to the one among you who makes the highest
Then the same thing was repeated in the strange tongue.
The heat from the nearest torch was searing Lawson's back. It had
been placed in a crack low in the wall of the cave. He glanced back.
Here was his chance for freedom! Hastily backing up, he thrust his
bound hands close to the torch. The flame seared his wristsbut the
rope finally gave. He was free!
But a swift glance showed him that one of the cretins had seen him.
The Mongolian devil was edging toward him, a sinister leer on his face.
The others all had their backs to him as they listened to the
The cretin leaped at Lawsonbut the strong hands of the adventurer
caught the insane Mongolian by the throat, tightened like a vise. There
was no pity in Lawson's heart for this creature. He kept choking until
the man was unconscious. Only then did he release his grip.
Picking up the limp form, Lawson held it close in front of him as he
edged his way around the outskirts of the crowd. If one of the cretins
glanced back over his shoulder he would merely see one of his own kind
moving about in search of a better position in the throng.
Lawson reached the entrance of the cave. He had decided that it might
be best to wait until some one of the fiends had actually bought the
girl and taken her away. Then there might be an opportunity for Lawson
to save her, an attempt that would be far less futile than his trying
to fight them all.
He put down his burden when he reached the outside of the cave.
Scattered about the entrance were all sorts of things that the insane
men had picked up in their looting of the town and dropped for the time
Boxes, chairs, foodstuff and, to Lawson's amazement, a submachine-gun
that had been part of his own expedition! It was still in its case, and
so had meant nothing to the cretins in its dismantled form.
SWIFTLY he put it together, and as hastily shoved a belt of bullets
in the drum.
When he had finished he again examined the spoils about him. A heavy
box caught his gaze, and he went closer. It was loaded with dynamite.
Hastily he picked it up and staggered with it to the mouth of the cave.
He placed it at the side of the entrance, unseen by those inside, and
returned to the machine-gun.
Just as he reached the gun one of the cretins came hurrying out of
the cave, carrying Sue in his arms. But others were close behind him,
and Lawson did not dare reveal himself as yet. If he started firing
with the machine-gun he might kill the girl.
Gar Jasill, as the renegade white man had called himself, appeared
and issued an order to the cretins. Gleefully they started picking up
their spoils and carrying them into the cave.
Lawson waited until they were nearly all inside, then started firing
with the machine-gun. The cretins screamed in surprise and terror. They
did not like it when they were the ones to suffer.
Cursing, Jasill raised his automatic as he saw Lawson with the
machine-gun. Just as the shaggy- haired man fired, Lawson aimed the
machine-gun at the box of dynamiteand fired! There was a deafening
roar. Lawson found himself flung to the ground as the box exploded, and
then the entrance of the cave collapsed. Dirt and rock poured down,
burying Jasill and the cretins inside.
THE cretin who had bought Sue at the auction had put her down, and
run back to see what happened, when he heard the explosion. A burst
from the machine-gun finished the insane Mongolian then and there as
Lawson swung the gun around.
And then Sue was running toward Lawson, stumbling through the
darkness, knowing that she would only feel safe when he was close by
It's over, said Lawson as he went to meet her. They'll never be
able to get out of that cave. But a white man He shook his head in
Jasill let them free, said Sue. Helped them to escape! He knew
they would raid and killand he planned to get the best of the loot
for himself. He boasted about it to me before the auction. She
shuddered. He was worse than the cretins.
Far worse, said Lawson. For they really had no minds, and he did.
For a moment they were silent. Lawson knew that soon he would have to
tell her about her father. That wouldn't be easybut she was brave.
The kind of a girl who might mean all the world to a man.
Hell! muttered Lawson. Which was the normal reaction for an
adventurer upon finding he was in love.
EText from pulpgen.com - 2007 Blackmask Online.