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- The War Terror - 5/65 -


Quickly now Craig completed his arrangements for the visit to the headquarters of the real anarchist leader. Burke telephoned for a high-powered car, while Miss Lowe told frankly of the habits of Annenberg and the chances of finding his place unguarded, which were good in the daytime. Kennedy's only equipment for the excursion consisted in a small package which he took from a cabinet at the end of the room, and, with a parting reassurance to Paula Lowe, we were soon speeding over the bridge to the borough across the river.

We realized that it might prove a desperate undertaking, but the crisis was such that it called for any risk.

Our quest took us to a rather dilapidated old house on the outskirts of the little Long Island town. The house stood alone, not far from the tracks of a trolley that ran at infrequent intervals. Even a hasty reconnoitering showed that to stop our motor at even a reasonable distance from it was in itself to arouse suspicion.

Although the house seemed deserted, Craig took no chances, but directed the car to turn at the next crossroad and then run back along a road back of and parallel to that on which Annenberg's was situated. It was perhaps a quarter of a mile away, across an open field, that we stopped and ran the car up along the side of the road in some bushes. Annenberg's was plainly visible and it was not at all likely that anyone there would suspect trouble from that quarter.

A hasty conference with Burke followed, in which Kennedy unwrapped his small package, leaving part of its contents with him, and adding careful instructions.

Then Kennedy and I retraced our steps down the road, across by the crossroad, and at last back to the mysterious house.

To all appearance there had been no need of such excessive caution. Not a sound or motion greeted us as we entered the gate and made our way around to the rear of the house. The very isolation of the house was now our protection, for we had no inquisitive neighbors to watch us for the instant when Kennedy, with the dexterity of a yeggman, inserted his knife between the sashes of the kitchen window and turned the catch which admitted us.

We made our way on cautious tiptoe through a dining room to a living room, and, finding nothing, proceeded upstairs. There was not a soul, apparently, in the house, nor in fact anything to indicate that it was different from most small suburban homes, until at last we mounted to the attic.

It was finished off in one large room across the back of the house and two in front. As we opened the door to the larger room, we could only gaze about in surprise. This was the rendezvous, the arsenal, literary, explosive and toxicological of the "Group." Ranged on a table were all the materials for bomb-making, while in a cabinet I fancied there were poisons enough to decimate a city.

On the walls were pictures, mostly newspaper prints, of the assassins of McKinley, of King Humbert, of the King of Greece, of King Carlos and others, interspersed with portraits of anarchist and anti-militarist leaders of all lands.

Kennedy sniffed. Over all I, too, could catch the faint odor of stale tobacco. No time was to be lost, however, and while Craig set to work rapidly going through the contents of a desk in the corner, I glanced over the contents of a drawer of a heavy mission table.

"Here's some of Annenberg's literature," I remarked, coming across a small pile of manuscript, entitled "The Human Slaughter House."

"Read it," panted Kennedy, seeing that I had about completed my part of the job. "It may give a clue."

Hastily I scanned the mad, frantic indictment of war, while Craig continued in his search:

"I see wild beasts all around me, distorted unnaturally, in a life and death struggle, with bloodshot eyes, with foaming, gnashing mouths. They attack and kill one another and try to mangle each other. I leap to my feet. I race out into the night and tread on quaking flesh, step on hard heads, and stumble over weapons and helmets. Something is clutching at my feet like hands, so that I race away like a hunted deer with the hounds at his heels--and ever over more bodies--breathless... out of one field into another. Horror is crooning over my head. Horror is crooning beneath my feet. And nothing but dying, mangled flesh!

"Of a sudden I see nothing but blood before me. The heavens have opened and the red blood pours in through the windows. Blood wells up on an altar. The walls run blood from the ceiling to the floor and... a giant of blood stands before me. His beard and his hair drip blood. He seats himself on the altar and laughs from thick lips. The black executioner raises his sword and whirls it above my head. Another moment and my head will roll down on the floor. Another moment and the red jet will spurt from my neck.

"Murderers! Murderers! None other than murderers!"

I paused in the reading. "There's nothing here," I remarked, glancing over the curious document for a clue, but finding none.

"Well," remarked Craig contemplatively, "one can at least easily understand how sensitive and imaginative people who have fallen under the influence of one who writes in that way can feel justified in killing those responsible for bringing such horrors on the human race. Hello--what's this?"

He had discovered a false back of one of the drawers in the desk and had jimmied it open. On the top of innumerable papers lay a large linen envelope. On its face it bore in typewriting, just like the card on the drawer at Fortescue's, "E-M GUN."

"It is the original envelope that contained the final plans of the electro-magnetic gun," he explained, opening it.

The envelope was empty. We looked at each other a moment in silence. What had been done with the plans?

Suddenly a bell rang, startling me beyond measure. It was, however, only the telephone, of which an extension reached up into the attic-arsenal. Some one, who did not know that we were there, was evidently calling up.

Kennedy quickly unhooked the receiver with a hasty motion to me to be silent.

"Hello," I heard him answer. "Yes, this is it."

He had disguised his voice. I waited anxiously and watched his face to gather what response he received.

"The deuce!" he exclaimed, with his hand over the transmitter so that his voice would not be heard at the other end of the line.

"What's the matter?" I asked eagerly.

"It was Mrs. Annenberg--I am sure. But she was too keen for me. She caught on. There must be some password or form of expression that they use, which we don't know, for she hung up the receiver almost as soon as she heard me."

Kennedy waited a minute or so. Then he whistled into the transmitter. It was done apparently to see whether there was anyone listening. But there was no answer.

"Operator, operator!" he called insistently, moving the hook up and down. "Yes, operator. Can you tell me what number that was which just called?"

He waited impatiently.

"Bleecker--7l80," he repeated after the girl. "Thank you. Information, please."

Again we waited, as Craig tried to trace the call up.

"What is the street address of Bleecker, 7180?" he asked. "Five hundred and one East Fifth--a tenement. Thank you."

"A tenement?" I repeated blankly.

"Yes," he cried, now for the first time excited. "Don't you begin to see the scheme? I'll wager that Baron Kreiger has been lured to New York to purchase the electro-magnetic gun which they have stolen from Fortescue and the British. That is the bait that is held out to him by the woman. Call up Miss Lowe at the laboratory and see if she knows the place."

I gave central the number, while he fell to at the little secret drawer of the desk again. The grinding of the wheels of a passing trolley interfered somewhat with giving the number and I had to wait a moment.

"Ah--Walter--here's the list!" almost shouted Kennedy, as he broke open a black-japanned dispatch box in the desk.

I bent over it, as far as the slack of the telephone wire of the receiver at my ear would permit. Annenberg had worked with amazing care and neatness on the list, even going so far as to draw at the top, in black, a death's head. The rest of it was elaborately prepared in flaming red ink.

Craig gasped to observe the list of world-famous men marked for destruction in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and even in New York and Washington.

"What is the date set?" I asked, still with my ear glued to the receiver.

"To-night and to-morrow," he replied, stuffing the fateful sheet into his pocket.

Rummaging about in the drawer of the table, I had come to a package of gold-tipped cigarettes which had interested me and I had left them out. Kennedy was now looking at them curiously.

"What is to be the method, do you suppose?" I asked.


The War Terror - 5/65

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