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Weird Tales

FEBRUARY, 1935

Anything Could Happen

By KURT BARLE

 A strange little story with a startling climax 

THE fog lay grayly in the shallow canyon of Payson Place. Now and then, caught by a sullen stray breath of the night wind, wraith-like fingers curled dismally upward about the snug windows of the substantial residences, only to vanish into the void above. The street lamps glowed dimly down on wet pavements, and the thoroughfare, save for a rare nightfarer groping through the vapor, or an occasional cab driving blindly into obscurity, was deserted.

Anything could happen....

A bright fire crackling on a stolid hearth dispelled the bleakness of the evening in a room at 21 Payson Place. Obviously the quarters of a gentleman in comfortable circumstances, the furnishings of the softly lighted room were unpretentious, but in excellent taste. Bookcases, filled with rich and ponderous tomes, flanked the large windows looking out on the fog-ridden world, and countless trophies and mementoes told mute tales of former victories and bygone travels. A fine old clock beat solemnly in a darkened corner.

It was growing late; scant seconds before, this ancient clock had tolled eleven times in tired, somber tones. Scarcely had the knell faded, when a bell somewhere in the remote confines of the brownstone building began an insistent tinkling.

A door slammed, its reverberations echoing dully through the quiet study. Voices were in the hall, and two men appeared in the massive oak doorway.

"Right in here, sir. I've had your den in readiness all evening."

Hie younger and taller of the two glanced about him appreciatively as he took off his mist-damped apparel. "It's good to be back, Clyde!"

"It's good to have -you bade again, sir." The bent servant's parchment-yellow features glowed with an expression almost pat...

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