فصل 21

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فصل 21

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER TWENTY ONE

The Attack on Kemp’s House

Kemp was reading a strange letter, written in pencil on a dirty sheet of paper.

You have been very clever, though what you gain by it I cannot think. You are against me. For a whole day you have hunted me - you have tried to rob me of a night’s rest. But I have had food, I have slept, and we are only beginning. We are only beginning. There is nothing to be done but to start the Terror. This is the first day of the Terror. Port Burdock is no longer under the Queen. Tell your police, and the rest of them; it is under me - the Terror! I am Invisible Man the First. We shall begin with the death of a man named Kemp. He will die today. He may hide himself away, and collect guards around him; Death, the unseen Death, is coming. The game begins. Death starts. If you help him, my people, Death may fall on you too. Today Kemp is to die.

Kemp read this letter twice. ‘That’s his voice!’ he said, ‘and he means it.’

He got up slowly, leaving his lunch unfinished - the letter had come by the one o’clock post - and went into his study. He rang the bell for his servant, and told her to go round the house immediately, and see that all the windows were shut. He closed the study windows himself. From a locked drawer in his bedroom he took a little revolver, examined it carefully, and put it into his pocket. He wrote a number of short notes, one to Colonel Adye, and gave them to his servant to take.

‘There is no danger to you,’ he said. He thought for a time and then returned to his meal.

Finally he struck the table. ‘We will have him!’ he said. ‘He’ll go too far.’

He went up to his room, carefully shutting every door after him. ‘It’s a game,’ he said, ‘a strange game - but I shall win, Mr Griffin,’ he said.

He stood at the window staring at the hot hillside. ‘He must get food every day. Did he really sleep last night? Out in the open somewhere? I wish we could get some good cold, wet weather instead of the heat. He may be watching me now.’

He went close to the window. Something hit the wall above the window.

‘I’m getting worried,’ said Kemp. But it was five minutes before he went to the window again. ‘It must have been a bird,’ he said.

Soon he heard the front-door bell ringing and hurried downstairs. He unchained and unlocked the door, and opened it without showing himself. It was Adye.

‘Your servant’s been attacked, Kemp,’ he said round the door.

‘What!’ exclaimed Kemp.

‘She had that note of yours taken away from her. He’s very near. Let me in.’

Kemp opened the door a few inches, and Adye came in. He stood in the hall, looking at Kemp locking the door.

Kemp swore. ‘What a fool I was!’ he said. ‘I might have known. Already!’

‘What’s the matter?’ said Adye.

‘Look here!’ said Kemp, and led the way towards his study. He handed Adye the Invisible Man’s letter.

Adye read it, ‘And you-?’ said Adye.

The sound of a breaking window came from upstairs. Adye saw the little revolver half out of Kemp’s pocket. ‘It’s a window upstairs!’ said Kemp, and led the way up. There came a second noise while they were still on the staircase. When they reached the study they found two of the three windows broken, the floor covered with broken glass, and one big stone lying on the writing table. The two men stopped in the doorway. Kemp swore again, and as he did so the third window broke with a crack like a gunshot, and the broken glass fell into the room.

‘What’s this for?’ said Adye.

‘It’s beginning,’ said Kemp.

‘There’s no way of climbing up here?’

‘Not even for a cat,’ said Kemp.

Stones came flying in and then it sounded as if someone was banging on the windows downstairs. The two men stood outside the study, not knowing what to do.

‘I know!’ said Adye. ‘Let me have a stick or something, and I’ll go down to the station and get the man with the bloodhounds. They’ll find him.’

Another window broke.

‘You haven’t got a revolver?’ asked Adye.

Kemp’s hand went to his pocket. Then he paused. ‘I haven’t one - at least, none that I want to part with.’

‘I’ll bring it back,’ said Adye. ‘You’ll be safe here.’

Kemp gave him the weapon.

‘Now for the door,’ said Adye.

As they stood waiting in the hall, they heard one of the bedroom windows crack. Kemp went to the door and began to turn the key as silently as he could. His face was a little paler than usual.

‘You must step straight out,’ he said.

In another moment Adye was on the doorstep and the door was shut. He waited for a moment, feeling more comfortable with his back against the door. Then he marched down the steps. He crossed the grass and had almost reached the gate when something moved near him.

‘Stop a bit,’ said a Voice, and Adye stopped, with his hand on the revolver.

‘Well?’ said Adye.

‘Please go back to the house,’ said the Voice.

‘No,’ said Adye. He thought of trying a shot in the direction of the Voice.

‘What are you going to do?’ said the Voice.

‘What I do is my own business,’ said Adye.

The words were still on his lips when an arm came round his neck, he felt a knee in his back, and his head was forced backward. He fired the gun wildly, and in another moment he was struck in the mouth and the weapon was taken from his hand. He tried to struggle, and was thrown on his back.

‘You devil!’ said Adye.

The Voice laughed. ‘I would kill you now if it wasn’t a waste of a shot,’ it said. Adye saw the revolver in the air, 6 feet off, pointing at him.

‘Well?’ said Adye, sitting up.

‘Get up,’ said the Voice.

Adye stood up.

‘Stand still,’ said the Voice, and then firmly. ‘Don’t try any tricks. Remember I can see your face, if you can’t see mine. You’ve got to go back to the house.’

‘He won’t let me in,’ said Adye.

‘That’s a pity,’ said the Invisible Man. ‘It isn’t you I want to kill.’

Adye glanced away from the revolver and saw the sea far off, very blue and dark under the bright sun. He saw the smooth green hill, the white rocks of the coast, and the spreading town, and suddenly he knew that life was very sweet. His eyes came back to this little metal thing hanging between heaven and earth, six feet away. ‘What must I do?’ he asked.

‘What must I do?’ asked the Invisible Man. ‘If I let you go, you’ll get help. The only thing is for you to go back to the house.’

‘I’ll try. If he lets me in, will you promise not to charge the door?’

‘I don’t want to fight you,’ said the Voice.

Kemp had hurried upstairs after letting Adye out, and now, looking through a broken window, he saw Adye stand talking with the unseen enemy. ‘Why doesn’t he fire?’ said Kemp to himself. Then the revolver moved a little.

‘That’s strange!’ he said. ‘Adye has given up the revolver.’

‘Promise not to charge the door,’ Adye was saying. ‘Give me a chance.’

‘Just go back to the house. I tell you I’ll promise nothing.’

Adye seemed to decide suddenly. He turned towards the house, and walked slowly with his hands behind him. Kemp watched him. The revolver appeared, a small dark object, following Adye. Then things happened very quickly. Adye jumped at the small object, missed it, threw up his hands and fell forward on his face. A little ball of blue smoke rose into the air! Kemp did not hear the sound of the shot. Adye raised himself on one arm, fell forward, and lay still.

For a time Kemp remained looking at Adye as he lay peacefully on the grass. The day was very hot and still. Nothing seemed to move. Adye lay on the grass near the gate. The curtains of all the houses down the hill road were drawn, but in one little green garden hut was a white figure, rather like an old man asleep. Kemp’s eyes returned to Adye - the game was not beginning well!

Then came a ringing and a knocking at the front door, but nobody opened it. Silence followed. Kemp sat listening and then began to look carefully out of the three windows, one after another. He went to the stairs and stood listening anxiously. What was his enemy doing?

Suddenly there was a banging from below. He waited and went down the stairs again. The house was filled with the sound of heavy blows and breaking wood. He went into the kitchen. The door was being broken down with an axe.

Kemp went back into the passage, trying to think. In a moment the Invisible Man would be in the kitchen. This door would not keep him a moment, and then the front-door bell rang again and Kemp heard voices. It was the policemen with the servant. He ran into the hall, opened the door, and three people fell into the house in a pile. Kemp shut the door again.

‘The Invisible Man!’ said Kemp. ‘He has a revolver - with two shots left. He’s killed Adye. At least, he’s shot him. Didn’t you see him on the grass? He’s lying there.’

‘Who?’ said one of the policemen.

‘Adye,’ said Kemp.

‘We came round the back way,’ said the girl.

‘What’s that banging?’ asked one of the policemen.

‘He’s in the kitchen - or will be. He’s found an axe-‘

Suddenly the house was full of the sound of the Invisible Man’s blows on the kitchen door. The girl stared towards the kitchen and stepped into the dining room. Kemp tried to explain in broken sentences. They heard the kitchen door breaking open.

‘This way,’ cried Kemp, and he pushed the policemen into the dining room doorway.

‘The pokers,’ said Kemp, and rushed to the fire.

He handed a poker to each of the policemen.

He suddenly threw himself backwards. ‘Whup!’ said one policeman, jumped to one side and caught the axe on his poker.

The revolver cracked and shot a hole in a picture. The second policeman brought his poker down on the little weapon and sent it to the floor.

The axe went back into the passage. They could hear the Invisible Man breathing.

‘Stand away, you two,’ he said. ‘I want that man Kemp.’

‘We want you,’ said the first policeman, taking a quick step forward and striking with his poker at the Voice. The Invisible Man must have stepped back and fallen over a chair.

Then, as the policeman went after him, the Invisible Man returned and struck him down.

But the second policeman, aiming behind the axe with his poker, hit something soft that cracked. There was a sharp cry of pain, and then the axe fell to the ground. The policeman struck again at emptiness and hit nothing; he put his foot on the axe and struck again. Then he stood, holding the poker, listening for the slightest movement.

He heard a window open, and a quick rush of feet outside. His companion rolled over and sat up, with blood running down between his eye and ear.

‘Where is he?’ asked the man on the floor.

‘I don’t know. I’ve hit him. He’s standing somewhere in the hall unless he’s slipped past you. Dr Kemp - sir!’

‘Dr Kemp,’ cried the policeman again.

The second policeman began struggling to his feet. He stood up. Suddenly the faint sound of bare feet could be heard. ‘Whup!’ cried the first policeman, and threw his poker.

He started to go after the Invisible Man. Then he changed his mind and stepped into the dining room.

‘Dr Kemp-‘ he began.

The dining-room window was wide open, and neither servant nor Kemp was to be seen.

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