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The Gold of the Gods

20. The Pulmotor
I went directly to our apartment after Craig left me and for a little while sat up,
speculating on the probabilities of the case.
Senora de Moche had told us of her ancestor who had been intrusted with the engraved
dagger, of how it had been handed down, of the death of her brother; she had told us of
the murder of the ancestor of Inez Mendoza, of the curse of Mansiche. Was this, after all,
but a reincarnation of the bloody history of the Gold of the Gods?
There were the shoe-prints in the mummy case. They were Lockwood's. How about
them? Was he telling the truth? Now had come the poisoned cigarettes. All had followed
the threats:
BEWARE THE CURSE OF MANSICHE ON THE GOLD OF THE GODS.
Several times I had been forced already to revise my theories of the case. At first I had
felt that it pointed straight toward Lockwood. But did it seem to do so now?
Suppose Lockwood had stolen the dagger from the Museum, although he denied even
that. Did that mean, necessarily that he committed the murder with it, that he now had it?
Might he not have lost it? Might not some one else--the Senora, or Alfonso, or both--have
obtained it? Might not Mendoza have been murdered with it by some other hand to obtain
or to hide the secret on its bloody blade?
I went to bed, still thinking, no nearer a conclusion than before, prepared to dream over it.
That is the last I remember.
When I regained consciousness, I was lying on the bed still, but Craig was bending over
me. He had just taken a rubber cap off my face, to which was attached a rubber tube that
ran to a box perhaps as large as a suitcase, containing a pump of some kind.
I was too weak to notice these things right away, too weak to care much about them, or
about anything else.
"Are you all right now, old man?" he asked, bending over me.
"Y-Yes," I gasped, clutching at the choking sensation in my throat. "What has
happened?"
Perhaps I had best tell it as though I were not the chief actor; for it came to me in such
disjointed fragmentary form, that it was some time before I could piece it together.
 
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