Black Light can be found in






"Look out," he warned. A click sounded as the two carhons drew apart, and a turquoise light filled the room.


HENRY LEVERAGE is one of the most famous scientific fiction writers of the decade. He is the author of "Whispering Wires," the famous book which was afterwards produced as a play and which enjoyed an unusually long and successful run in New York before touring the country. In addition to his many popular novels, he has written more than two hundred short stories.

Soon after the success of his first book, he wrote "The White Cypher," "Where Dead Men Walk," "The Shepherd of the Sea," "The Ice Pilot," the "Phantom Alibi," "Purple Limited," producing a first-class novel nearly every year of his writing career. He is the inventor of various electrical devices for magnetic transmission on automobiles, and an E.E. graduate of the University of Colorado. (1916)

In this story he gives us a fast-moving tale founded on logical scientific principles.


A crook has a fortune within his reach when an old, old weakness threatens to take it from him. What does "Big Scar" do?

BLACK LIGHT

By HENRY LEVERAGE
Author of "Whispering Wires"

TWO men sat in the back room at McGann's. One was a big man with a scar. The other was Rake Delaney.

The big man leaned over the table and coiled three powderstained fingers about a shell-glass of whiskey.

Delancy glanced down his long lashes and stared into a bubbling circle of imported ginger ale.

"Here's tu crime," said the big man who was sometimes called Big Scar, alias Illinois Pete.

Rake Delaney, otherwise Edwin Letchmere, more often known as Sir Arthur Stephney, frowned swiftly, as he did most things, and eyed the whiskey disapprovingly.

"A man never opened a safe on that stuff, Scar." Big Scar flushed with a livid V showing through the stubble upon his jaw. "I'm takin' a vacation, Rake!"

Rake tilted a plaid cap from his forehead and leaned back. He roamed the room with a dart of his light-grey eyes. He crossed one leg over the other and drew out from an inner pocket a platinum and gold cigarette case from which he removed a cigarette that was neither monogrammed or branded.

Lighting this cigarette with a scratch of a match on his heel, he said, between intakes of smoke:

"Speakin' of cribs and crimes—strong boxes and repositories of wealth—have you noticed the news items on the green glow?"

"Green Wot?" Big Scar shelved forward a bushy pair of iron-grey brows. He eyed Rake. "Come clean!" he rumbled. "Talk down tu me. None ov that highbrow patter."

Rake doubled the fingers of his right hand and gazed at his polished nails. They were as slender and as almond-shaped as a woman's.

He lifted his stare and locked glances with the big man. "The Green Ray, or Glow, Scar," he said, "is the very newest thing out in the field of electricity and research. It has been promised for some time. A British review foretold the discovery. It remained for Professor Pascal of Ossining to supply the missing link—a prism made of a rare crystal found only in Boulder, Colorado."

"Wot's that got to do wid us?"

"You remember how we took the big box in Frisco with thermite?"

"That was hell's own stuff. I burnt my earth-pieces." Big Scar called his feet "earth-pieces" or "dogs."

"And the cannon-ball safe in Salt Lake City? Do you recall how we cracked that?"

"With soup, dinny an' nitro after yu had painted a back-curtain tu th' jewelry store wot was so real I bumped into it."

Rake rubbed his nails on the palm of his left hand.

"The Green Ray," he said, "is the last word in camouflage—a much-worked term. It was discovered too late to be used in the war."

"Wot is it?"

"Absence of most light. Polarized light. A cold light that's green as grass. A vibration from a common center that acts. just opposite to the rays of ordinary light."

"I don't get yu."

"You will. Suppose light is caused by heat. Then what would you get by subjecting the same light-forming filament to extreme cold down to a degree or so above absolute zero?"

"You'd get nothin'."

The Green Ray

"OH, yes, you would! You'd get almost negative-light. I understand that Professor Pascal has been working twenty years on the invention. He holds that his discovery would have revolutionized methods of warfare—that men would have fought in the darkness of their own making—that day would have been turned into night within a radius limited by the power of the Green Ray apparatus."

"Wot good would it be tu us?"

"What good was thermite, or the oxy-acetylene blow-pipe or the electric-arc or freezing a strongbox after filling it full of water so that the door will come off when the ice expands?"

"They helped make th' coppers wild?"

"Yes! And the Green Ray will make wilder, Scar. See the game? A Green Ray outfit set down by the door of a bank in the daytime. The switch turned on. The place becomes greenish-a pit where striking a match is like putting it in ink. Nobody can see anybody. We put the cleaner on the vault and go out through a window."

"How far does this green thing glow?"

"Professor Pascal announced at the meeting of the Illuminating Engineers of America that he already had succeeded in getting almost complete darkness within a radius of seventy feet. The darkness thins out then for another thirty feet. That was with the energy necessary to run a quarterhorse-power motor—the same size as was in that electric drill you threw into the Chicago Drainage Canal when we got that Post Office on LaSalle Street."

A steely glitter showed in the yegg's eyes. He upended his whiskey glass and wiped his mouth with his left hand.

"You're a clever brain-worker," he said, "but this green thing is tu damn deep fer me. How can we get one ov 'em?"

Rake glanced around the room and then drew a newspaper clipping from his pocket. He slanted it toward the light which came from a cluster overhead.

"Planet," he said incisively. "Ad in the Planet this morning. Professor Alonzo Pascal—'A.P. of Ossining'—wants a staid reliable butler with references from former employers. English preferred. Happened to see it, connected his initials with his name, connected the name with green darkness and the meeting of the Illuminating Engineers where he spoke. All follows clear."

"Clear as mud!"

"Easy, easy," Rake whispered without moving his lips. "Deduction works for us as well as the police. You are going to Ossining tomorrow and get that job. I'll fix up your references—one from England—one from Canada and one on Plaza stationery."

"Hell no!"

"Oh, yes, you are." The cracksman's voice changed to a metallic command. "You're going up there and be Professor Alonzo's butler. You'll locate his drawings and blue-prints on the green glow apparatus. Perhaps he has a laboratory in the house. We'll steal his idea and rip the country wide open from New York to 'Frisco. We'll make a million in twenty days!"

Big Scar's eyes gleamed with prospects of sudden wealth.

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