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The Dream Doctor

15. The Vampire
As we sped out to the little mill-town on the last train, after Kennedy had insisted on
taking us all to a quiet little restaurant, he placed us so that Miss Winslow was furthest
from him and her father nearest. I could hear now and then scraps of their conversation as
he resumed his questioning, and knew that Mr. Winslow was proving to be a good
observer.
"Cushing used to hire a young fellow of some scientific experience, named Strong," said
Mr. Winslow as he endeavoured to piece the facts together as logically as it was possible
to do. "Strong used to open his laboratory for him in the morning, clean up the dirty
apparatus, and often assist him in some of his experiments. This morning when Strong
approached the laboratory at the usual time he was surprised to see that though it was
broad daylight there was a light burning. He was alarmed and before going in looked
through the window. The sight that he saw froze him. There lay Cushing on a workbench
and beside him and around him pools of coagulating blood. The door was not locked, as
we found afterward, but the young man did not stop to enter. He ran to me and,
fortunately, I met him at our door. I went back.
"We opened the unlocked door. The first thing, as I recall it, that greeted me was an
unmistakable odour of oranges. It was a very penetrating and very peculiar odour. I didn't
understand it, for there seemed to be something else in it besides the orange smell.
However, I soon found out what it was, or at least Strong did. I don't know whether you
know anything about it, but it seems that when you melt real rubber in the effort to reduce
it to carbon and hydrogen, you get a liquid substance which is known as isoprene. Well,
isoprene, according to Strong, gives out an odour something like ether. Cushing, or some
one else, had apparently been heating isoprene. As soon as Strong mentioned the smell of
ether I recognised that that was what made the smell of oranges so peculiar.
"However, that's not the point. There lay Cushing on his back on the workbench, just as
Strong had said. I bent over him, and in his arm, which was bare, I saw a little gash made
by some sharp instrument and laying bare an artery, I think, which was cut. Long spurts
of blood covered the floor for some distance around and from the veins in his arm, which
had also been severed, a long stream of blood led to a hollow in the cement floor where it
had collected. I believe that he bled to death."
"And the motive for such a terrible crime?" queried Craig.
Mr. Winslow shook his head helplessly. "I suppose there are plenty of motives," he
answered slowly, "as many motives as there are big investments in rubber-producing
ventures in Goodyear."
"But have you any idea who would go so far to protect his investments as to kill?"
persisted Kennedy.
 
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