The Monster Men HTML version

Chapter 1. The Rift
As he dropped the last grisly fragment of the dismembered and mutilated body into the
small vat of nitric acid that was to devour every trace of the horrid evidence which might
easily send him to the gallows, the man sank weakly into a chair and throwing his body
forward upon his great, teak desk buried his face in his arms, breaking into dry, moaning
Beads of perspiration followed the seams of his high, wrinkled forehead, replacing the
tears which might have lessened the pressure upon his overwrought nerves. His slender
frame shook, as with ague, and at times was racked by a convulsive shudder. A sudden
step upon the stairway leading to his workshop brought him trembling and wide eyed to
his feet, staring fearfully at the locked and bolted door.
Although he knew perfectly well whose the advancing footfalls were, he was all but
overcome by the madness of apprehension as they came softly nearer and nearer to the
barred door. At last they halted before it, to be followed by a gentle knock.
"Daddy!" came the sweet tones of a girl's voice.
The man made an effort to take a firm grasp upon himself that no tell-tale evidence of his
emotion might be betrayed in his speech.
"Daddy!" called the girl again, a trace of anxiety in her voice this time. "What IS the
matter with you, and what ARE you doing? You've been shut up in that hateful old room
for three days now without a morsel to eat, and in all likelihood without a wink of sleep.
You'll kill yourself with your stuffy old experiments."
The man's face softened.
"Don't worry about me, sweetheart," he replied in a well controlled voice. "I'll soon be
through now--soon be through--and then we'll go away for a long vacation-- for a long
"I'll give you until noon, Daddy," said the girl in a voice which carried a more strongly
defined tone of authority than her father's soft drawl, "and then I shall come into that
room, if I have to use an axe, and bring you out--do you understand?"
Professor Maxon smiled wanly. He knew that his daughter was equal to her threat.
"All right, sweetheart, I'll be through by noon for sure--by noon for sure. Run along and
play now, like a good little girl."
Virginia Maxon shrugged her shapely shoulders and shook her head hopelessly at the
forbidding panels of the door.