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- Guy Garrick - 10/43 -


collar up over his neck and chin, his cap pulled forward over his eyes, goggles covering the rest of his face, and shrouded in what seemed to be a black coat, absolutely as unrecognizable as if he had been a phantom bandit, or death itself. He was steering with one hand, and in the other he held what must have been a revolver."

"And then?" prompted Garrick.

"I had stopped with my heart in my mouth at the narrowness of my own escape from the rushing black death. Pursuit was impossible. My car was capable of no such burst of speed as his. And then, too, there was a groaning man down in the ravine below. I got out, clambered over the fence, and down in the shrubbery into the pitch darkness.

"Fortunately, the man had been catapulted out before his car turned over. I found him, and with all the strength I could muster and as gently as I was able carried him up to the road. When I held him under the light of my lamps, I saw at once that there was not a moment to lose. I fixed him in the rear of my car as comfortably as I could and then began a race to get him home here where I have almost a private hospital of my own, as quickly as possible."

Cards in his pocket had identified Warrington and Dr. Mead remembered having heard the name. The prompt attention of the doctor had undoubtedly saved the young man's life.

Over and over again, Dr. Mead said, in his delirium Warrington had repeated the name, "Violet--Violet!" It was as Garrick had surmised, his desire to stand well in her eyes that had prompted the midnight journey. Yet who the assailant might be, neither Dr. Mead nor the broken raving of Warrington seemed to afford even the slightest clew. That he was a desperate character, without doubt in desperate straits over something, required no great acumen to deduce.

Toward morning in a fleeting moment of lucidity, Warrington had mentioned Garrick's name in such a way that Dr. Mead had looked it up in the telephone directory and then at the earliest moment had called up.

"Exactly the right thing," reassured Garrick. "Can't you think of anything else that would identify the driver of that other car?"

"Only that he was a wonderful driver, that fellow," pursued the doctor, admiration getting the better of his horror now that the thing was over. "I couldn't describe the car, except that it was a big one and seemed to be of a foreign make. He was crowding Warrington as much as he dared with safety to himself--and not a light on his own car, too, remember."

Garrick's face was puckered in thought.

"And the most remarkable thing of all about it," added the doctor, rising and going over to a white enameled cabinet in the corner of his office, "was that wound from the pistol."

The doctor paused to emphasize the point he was about to make. "Apparently it put Warrington out," he resumed. "And yet, after all, I find that it is only a very superficial flesh wound of the shoulder. Warrington's condition is really due to the contusions he received owing to his being thrown from the car. His car wasn't going very fast at the time, for it had slowed down for me. In one way that was fortunate--although one might say it was the cause of everything, since his slowing down gave the car behind a chance to creep up on him the few feet necessary.

"Really I am sure that even the shock of such a wound wasn't enough to make an experienced driver like Warrington lose control of the machine. It is a fairly wide curve, after all, and--well, my contention is proved by the fact that I examined the wreck of the car this morning and found that he had had time to shut off the gas and cut out the engine. He had time to think of and do that before he lost absolute control of the car."

Dr. Mead had been standing by the cabinet as he talked. Now he opened it and took from it the bullet which he had probed out of the wound. He looked at it a minute himself, then handed it to Garrick. I bent over also and examined it as it lay in Guy's hand.

At first I thought it was an ordinary bullet. But the more I examined it the more I was convinced that there was something peculiar about it. In the nose, which was steel-jacketed, were several little round depressions, just the least fraction of an inch in depth.

"It is no wonder Warrington was put out, even by that superficial wound," remarked Garrick at last. "His assailant's aim may have been bad, as it must necessarily have been from one rapidly approaching car at a person in another rapidly moving car, also. But the motor bandit, whoever he is, provided against that. That bullet is what is known as an anesthetic bullet."

"An anesthetic bullet?" repeated both Dr. Mead and myself. "What is that?"

"A narcotic bullet," Garrick explained, "a sleep-producing bullet, if you please, a sedative bullet that lulls its victim into almost instant slumber. It was invented quite recently by a Pittsburgh scientist. The anesthetic bullet provides the poor marksman with all the advantages of the expert gunman of unerring aim."

I marvelled at the ingenuity of the man who could figure out how to overcome the seeming impossibility of accurate shooting from a car racing at high speed. Surely, he must be a desperate fellow.

While we were talking, the doctor's wife who had been attending Warrington until a nurse arrived, came to inform him that the effect of the sedative, which he had administered while Warrington was restless and groaning, was wearing off. We waited a little while, and then Dr. Mead himself informed us that we might see our friend for a minute.

Even in his half-drowsy state of pain Warrington appeared to recognise Garrick and assume that he had come in response to his own summons. Garrick bent down, and I could just distinguish what Warrington was trying to say to him.

"Wh--where's Violet?" he whispered huskily, "Does she know? Don't let her get--frightened--I'll be--all right."

Garrick laid his hand on Warrington's unbandaged shoulder, but said nothing.

"The--the letter," he murmured ramblingly. "I have it--in my apartment--in the little safe. I was going to Tuxedo--to see Violet--explain slander--tell her closing place--didn't know it was mine before. Good thing to close it--Forbes is a heavy loser. She doesn't know that."

Warrington lapsed back on his pillow and Dr. Mead beckoned to us to withdraw without exciting him any further.

"What difference does it make whether she knows about Forbes or not?" I queried as we tiptoed down the hall.

Garrick shook his head doubtfully. "Can't say," he replied succinctly. "It may be that Forbes, too, has aspirations."

The idea sent me off into a maze of speculations, but it did not enlighten me much. At any rate, I felt, Warrington had said enough to explain his presence in that part of the country. On one thing, as I have said, Garrick had guessed right. The blackmailing letter and what we had seen the night before at the crooked gambling joint had been too much for him. He had not been able to rest as long as he was under a cloud with Miss Winslow until he had had a chance to set himself right in her eyes.

There seemed to be nothing that we could do for him just then. He was in excellent hands, and now that the doctor knew who he was, a trained nurse had even been sent for from the city and arrived on the train following our own, thus relieving Mrs. Mead of her faithful care of him.

Garrick gave the nurse strict instructions to make exact notes of anything that Warrington might say, and then requested the doctor to take us to the scene of the tragedy. We were about to start, when Garrick excused himself and hurried back into the house, reappearing in a few minutes.

"I thought perhaps, after all, it would be best to let Miss Winslow know of the accident, as long as it isn't likely to turn out seriously in the end for Warrington," he explained, joining us again in Dr. Mead's car which was waiting in front of the house. "So I called up her aunt's at Tuxedo and when Miss Winslow answered the telephone I broke the news to her as gently as I could. Warrington need have no fear about that girl," he added.

The wrecked car, we found, had not yet been moved, nor had the broken fence been repaired. It was, in fact, an accident worth studying topographically. That part of the road itself near the fence seemed to interest Garrick greatly. Two or three cars passed while we waited and he noted how carefully each of them seemed to avoid that side toward the broken fence, as though it were haunted.

"I hope they've all done that," Garrick remarked, as he continued to examine the road, which was a trifle damp under the high trees that shaded it.

As he worked, I could not believe that it was wholly fancy that caused me to think of him as searching with dilated nostrils, like a scientific human bloodhound. For, it was not long before I began to realize what he was looking for in the marks of cars left on the oiled roadway.

During perhaps half an hour he continued studying the road, above and below the exact point of the accident. At length a low exclamation from him brought me to his side. He had dropped down in the grease, regardless of his knees and was peering at some rather deep imprints in the surface dressing. There, for a few feet, were plainly the marks of the outside tires of a car, still unobliterated.

Garrick had pulled out copies of the photographs he had made of the tire marks that had been left at the scene of the finding of the unfortunate Rena Taylor's body, and was busy comparing them with the marks that were before him.


Guy Garrick - 10/43

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