The Bat HTML version
A Shot In The Dark
A key clicked in the terrace door - a voice swore muffledly at the rain. Dale lowered her
revolver slowly. It was Richard Fleming - come to meet her here, instead of down by the
She had telephoned him on an impulse. But now, as she looked at him in the light of her
single candle, she wondered if this rather dissipated, rather foppish young man about
town, in his early thirties, could possibly understand and appreciate the motives that had
driven her to seek his aid. Still, it was for Jack! She clenched her teeth and resolved to go
through with the plan mapped out in her mind. It might be a desperate expedient but she
had nowhere else to turn!
Fleming shut the terrace door behind him and moved down from the alcove, trying to
shake the rain from his coat.
"Did I frighten you?"
"Oh, Mr. Fleming - yes!" Dale laid her aunt's revolver down on the table. Fleming
perceived her nervousness and made a gesture of apology.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I rapped but nobody seemed to hear me, so I used my key."
"You're wet through - I'm sorry," said Dale with mechanical politeness.
He smiled. "Oh, no." He stripped off his cap and raincoat and placed them on a chair,
brushing himself off as he did so with finicky little movements of his hands.
"Reggie Beresford brought me over in his car," he said. "He's waiting down the drive."
Dale decided not to waste words in the usual commonplaces of social greeting.
"Mr. Fleming, I'm in dreadful trouble!" she said, facing him squarely, with a courageous
appeal in her eyes.
He made a polite movement. "Oh, I say! That's too bad."
She plunged on. "You know the Union Bank closed today."
He laughed lightly.
"Yes, I know it! I didn't have anything in it - or any other bank for that matter," he
admitted ruefully, "but I hate to see the old thing go to smash."
Dale wondered which angle was best from which to present her appeal.