The Purple Light - J.U. Giesy, Junius B Smith - ebook

The Purple Light ebook

J.U. Giesy, Junius B. Smith

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Opis

Semi Dual was an embodied mind rather than a human in the usual sense. He was a man of outstanding mental abilities, who applied his knowledge to straighten out the excesses and confusions of mortal life on earth. Many people would call him a mystic; in fact, he was a representative of the highest universal laws that few recognize. Another impressive story about Semi Dual, which reveals the new features of the main character.

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Liczba stron: 135

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Contents

I. SUICIDE OR MURDER?

II. INCRIMINATING ADMISSIONS

III. THE MARK ON THE BOTTLE

IV. A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW

V. THE MISSING KEY

VI. ANOTHER THUMB-MARK

VII. A NOTE TO THE DOCTOR

VIII. WHAT THE HANDWRITING TOLD

IX. UNDER THE PURPLE LIGHT

I. SUICIDE OR MURDER?

IT was picking up a medical magazine in a street car which sent me to Semi Dual that night. I suppose some doctor must have dropped it on the seat. I was on my way to the Record office, and chanced to see the book where it lay. I picked it up and idly turned its pages, and then all at once I stopped, as a title caught my eye: “Use of Fruit Juices in Typhoid.”

I read the article, and as I read I grinned. So the profession was coming around to an agreement with Dual. I remembered the peculiar beverage with which he had refreshed me on my first visit. He had told me it was a mixture of preserved juices of fruits.

Natural association of ideas made me think it would be a pleasure to show him this article. I looked at my watch. I still had time; I had been out on an assignment which might take one or five hours, according to circumstance. I decided that I would call upon my friend.

To you who have followed the adventures of Semi Dual, this will convey all that is necessary. But for the benefit of those who are not acquainted with the wonderful intelligence which we knew as the “occult detector,” let me state he was a man of remarkable mental attainments, who applied his knowledge of what is commonly called esoteric philosophy to the straightening out of the kinks and tangles of mortal mundane life. Many people would have called him a mystic; in reality he was an exponent of the higher universal laws, which few of us recognize, let alone use.

He dwelt on the roof of one of our largest office buildings, in the tower of which he had fitted up sumptuous quarters. Here he had made himself a wonderful garden of flowers, potted shrubs, and climbing vines, the whole roofed in winter by a curved dome of glass and steel. Thus he dwelt apart from man, yet in touch with his every activity. To me Semi Dual seemed to be rather incarnated mind than man in the ordinary sense.

I left the car at the next corner and turned toward the Urania Building, where Semi had his unusual abode. I was glad of the chance of a few minutes with him. Since the affair of the Wistaria Scarf I had not seen much of the man, save at long intervals. It had been a hard, hot season, with little spare time for me. I looked up to the dark heights of the building.

Passing into the marble corridor, I waited beside the bronze grill of the shaft for a car. It came, and I went up to the top floor, turned up the great staircase, which led to Dual’s domain, and was soon treading my way across the prismatic surface of the illuminated annunciator plate, sniffing the odor of cool growing things from the plants and flowers of the garden, which Semi kept ever green. The chimes of the annunciator bells broke on the night soft and low, and a moment later Semi’s own voice, itself bell-like, reached my ear:

“This way, friend Glace.”

I turned aside at the sound and saw him at some distance, reclining upon a bench beneath a small flowering shrub. There was a small, shaded reading-lamp affixed to one end of the bench or couch. The concentrated light from this struck down upon his face and the book which now lay in his lap. I say lap, because he was clad in a flowing robe of peculiar texture and purest white color, save for a purple edging on collar, hem, and cuffs, which enveloped him from head to heels.

As I approached he looked up and smiled, then swung his feet to the floor.

“There is something in the rhythm of Persian poetry which accords with the night and the moon,” he remarked, apropos of the book in his lap. “And the light of interest is in your eyes.”

I drew up a small footstool, got out my magazine, and explained.

Semi Dual put out a hand and took the pamphlet, glancing over the indicated page. He handed it back with another smile.

“Little by little the children of men shall learn the truth,” said he.

“I thought it would interest you,” I suggested.

“It does,” said Semi Dual. “Any advance of man interests me, my friend.”

“Also,” I went on, “while I do not fancy that I’m getting typhoid, still–”

“Prevention is a good thing,” smiled Semi. “Henri has several bottles on ice. Wait.”

He put out a hand and pressed some unseen button, and presently Henri appeared coming down the path with a tray in his hands.

“I have things rather convenient here,” Dual observed in answer to my unspoken question. “I can get anything I want by pressing the button in the back of the bench a certain number of times.”

Henri approached, and in a few minutes I sat with a glass of the delicious beverage in my hand, the ice in the tall crystal tinkling musically against the sides. Dual sipped at his own glass slowly.

“It’s a good while since you have favored me,” he accused.

“I’ve been busy, Dual–on the go.”

“You will be again,” said Semi Dual, holding his glass up to the moon.

“Of course. In the newspaper game one expects to be.”

“To-night, I think,” my friend went on. “There’s violence of some sort in the air. I can often sense such things.”

“And it affects me?” I questioned, remembering that other time when he had told me that I was to be sent on a case, the first time we had ever met.

“Indirectly,” said Dual. “Suppose we find out.” He set down his glass, reached up, and switched off the light above his head.

So for a time we sat in silence, Dual lying relaxed against the back of the seat, eyes closed, seeming hardly to breathe; myself, sitting rigidly erect, with my eyes on the face of my strange companion, marveling how he got his results, which seemed to be infallibly correct.

The roof was shrouded in dusk, save for the faint light of a moon which flitted back of some black clouds. There was an electric something in the air which accorded well with Dual’s statement that violence was abroad. Gradually I became aware of a peculiar sensation tickling its way up my spine and of a marked contraction of my scalp. The whole situation was beginning to get badly on my nerves when, without warning, Semi suddenly came back to life, and, straightening, rose to his feet.

“I was right,” he announced. “Come! You must go to the tower and call your office on my wire. Unless I mistake, Smithson wants you badly, and there is no time to lose.”

“What’s–“ I began, but Semi shook his head and moved off.

I followed meekly, as he walked with rapid strides to the tower and led me across the reception-room to his office. He went immediately to his desk, opened a door in one end, and dragged out a phone, which he handed to me.

I lifted the receiver from the hook. In a moment I had the Record office and asked for Smithson himself.

“Hello! What–” came his voice to my ear.

“Glace,” I threw back.

“Thank the Lord!” cried Smithson. “I’ve been wishing you were here.”

“What’s up?” I interrupted.

“Plenty,” snapped my city editor. “There’s a murder or suicide at the Virginia Apartments–middle-aged woman, name of Matilda Greenig. I sent Grant down; but you get on the case as soon as you can. Where are you now?”

“At the Urania, but I’m off,” I returned, as I jammed the receiver back on the hook and set down the phone.

“You sure were right,” I told Dual as I turned for the door. “It’s violence, all right, and I’ll be busy I expect. Maybe I’ll see you pretty soon again.”

“You will,” smiled Semi. “One moment. Did you get the name of the deceased?” There was a twinkle in his eye.

Once more he was at his trick of reading my thoughts, and I grinned as I turned away. “It was–“ I began, and then paused deliberately.

“Thanks,” said my friend, still smiling, “I merely wanted to concentrate your mind on the name, Gordon. You had better hurry along. Mrs. Matilda Greenig may prove an interesting case.

His ability was uncanny. I turned away without a word and hurried forth into the darkness of the roof.

I lost no time in getting to the Virginia. It was an up-to-date pile of apartments, located some little way from the center of town, near a small park. Well-to-do people dwelled there, and a rather exclusive atmosphere was maintained. In view of the fact that I was getting a late start and could expect to find the detectives and police already on the field, I took a taxi and was whirled to the scene of the tragedy as fast as the chauffeur would consent to go.

At the Virginia I dismissed my driver and, turning to the chauffeur of the motor patrol which was standing at the curb, I asked him the number of the apartment I was to seek.

He knew me well and replied promptly: “Ground floor, front.”

As I pushed into the entrance-hall, the sound of heavy voices came from behind the door on my right. Without waiting I tried the door of the suite on that side, found it unlocked, and in a moment had entered the apartment.

The room where I stood was a sort of parlor. Back of this was a dining-room from which opened a number of doors. One of these was open, and I could see the backs of several men as I crossed toward it from the front. On reaching the doorway I could look into a fairly large bedroom and size up the condition of affairs.

Several policemen and detectives, an inspector, and a few newspapermen, Grant among them, first caught my eye. My next glance fell upon the figure of a girl in a nurse’s uniform, sitting upon a chair near an open window, through which fanned a slight breeze. What attracted my attention mainly was a look of unmistakable horror graven upon the woman’s face. The next moment Grant caught sight of me and beckoned me to approach. I crossed the floor and shouldered my way among the men.

On the bed in one corner of the room was stretched the body of a woman of perhaps fifty-five, to judge by appearances. She had been a frail little woman, and sickness seemed to have wasted her greatly of late. Her face was sunken, and her hands shriveled almost into claws. But the thing which drew and held my eyes with a morbid fascination was a dark splotch on the white sheets–a splotch which came from under her arm and dwindled into an irregular triangle as it crept to the edge of the bed and over its side to widen again upon the floor. I knew that splotch was blood. In making it, the frail life of the little woman had been used. It began to look to me as if, after all, this was a case of suicide.

Grant started to whisper in my ear. “They found a knife–one the nurse says was the woman’s own penknife–on the bed beside her other hand, the right one. It was open, and the little blade was blood-stained, as were the fingers of that hand. It looks like she did it herself, Glace.”

I nodded. “How long have you been here?” I asked.

“Not over five minutes,” he answered. “Smithson must have found you almost as soon as I left.”

“What are they waiting for?” I inquired, struck by the inactivity of all in the room.

“For the doctor,” said Grant. “They’ve sent for her own physician, or rather the nurse did before I arrived.”

Dean, of the Dispatch, pushed his way to my side. “Hello,” he greeted. “I guess the old girl did for herself while the nurse was out. I’ve been talking to the girl, and she says she went for a walk, and found things like this when she got back. What do you think?”

I shook my head. I had been looking at the quiet, refined face of the figure on the bed. Somehow it seemed hard to connect it with any preconceived notions of self-murder, for even in death it was strong. I edged in closer and spoke to Bryce, the inspector, who stood near the bed: “Found anything besides the knife?”

He glanced up, and made a negative sign. “Nothing, Glace. At present we’re waiting for a doctor and the coroner, who have been sent for, before making any systematic search.”

I nodded, and leaned still closer to the bed and the thin, pale face. Now I could see the red in the dark splotch on the sheet, in the middle of which lay the slender arm of the woman. Back in the corner of the room the air from the open window was scarcely felt because of the clustering figures, and as I bent over the quiet body it seemed that I sensed a difference–a subtle something in the atmosphere.

Bending even closer, I scanned her face, and all at once I noticed what seemed a slight unnaturalness in the color of the skin about the tip of the nose and the lips. I motioned the inspector to my side and pointed. “Looks like it had been almost blistered,” I said.

Bryce stooped low and scrutinized the skin carefully. “That’s right,” he admitted, with interest. “Now, what do you suppose could have done that?”

I did not offer any attempted explanation; but as we leaned above the bed it seemed to me that I again sensed the difference in the air of that part of the room. I sniffed slightly. “Notice anything in the air–any odor?” I questioned Bryce.

He shook his head. “Don’t get it,” he replied.

I was standing nearer the head of the bed than he, and we were both leaning forward with our hands on the edge. Now as we straightened there came a little thud, as though some light object had dropped to the floor.

Stooping, I glanced under the edge of the bed. Almost at once a small glass vial caught my eye. It was the size supposed to hold two ounces, and lay in full sight upon the rug, where it had evidently just fallen from above. I got down and fished it out.

All at once the strange, illusive odor grew stronger, became recognizable. Instinctively I raised the open end to my nose.

Then I was sure what it was.

The bottle had held chloroform!

II. INCRIMINATING ADMISSIONS

AS luck would have it, I had picked the thing up by the neck; though I confess I did not think of that at the time. Still holding it, I turned and thrust it under Bryce’s nose.

His eyes widened in surprise, and after his first involuntary start he sniffed excitedly at the narrow neck. Then he lifted his head and looked me full in the eye.

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This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.