The Eye of Allah can be found in




ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



The Eye of Allah

By C. D. Willard

On the fatal seventh of September a certain Secret Service man sat in the President's chair and-looked back into the Eye of Allah.

BLINKY COLLINS' part in this matter was very brief. Blinky lasted just long enough to make a great discovery, to brag about it as was Blinky's way, and then pass on to find his reward in whatever hereafter is set apart for weak-minded crooks whose heads are not hard enough to withstand the crushing impact of a lead-filled pacifier.

The photograph studio of Blinky Collins was on the third Boor of a disreputable building in an equally unsavory part of Chicago. There were no tinted pictures of beautiful blondes nor of stem, square-jawed men of affairs in Blinky's reception room. His clients, who came furtively there, were strongly opposed to having their pictures taken—they came for other purposes. For the photo graphic work of Mr. Collins was strictly commercial—and peculiar. There were fingerprints to be photographed and identified for purpose of private revenge, photographs of people to be merged and re-pictured in compromising closeness for reasons of blackmail. And even X-Ray photography was included in the scope of his work.

THE great discovery came when a box was brought to the dingy room and Mr. Collins was asked to show what was inside it without the bother and inconvenience of disturbing lock and seals. The X-Ray machine sizzled above it, and a photographic plate below was developed to show a string of round discs that could easily have been pearls.

The temporary possessor of the box was pleased with the result—but Blinky was puzzled. For the developer had brought out an odd result. There were the pearls as expected, but, too, there was a small picture superimposed—a picture of a bald head and a body beneath seated beside a desk. The picture had been taken from above looking straight down, and head and desk were familiar.

Blinky knew them both. The odd part was that he knew also that both of them were at that instant on the ground floor of the same disreputable building, directly under and two floors below his workshop.

Like many great discoveries, this of Blinky's came as the result of an accident. He had monkeyed with the X-Ray generator and had made certain substitutions. And here was the result—a bald head and a desk, photographed plainly through two heavy wood floors. Blinky scratched his own head in deep thought. And then he repeated the operation.

This time there was a blonde head close to the bald one, and two people were close to the desk and to each other. Blinky knew then that there were financial possibilities in this new line of portrait work.

It was some time before the rat eyes of the inventor were able to see exactly what they wanted through this strange device, but Blinky learned. And he fitted a telescope back of the ray and found that he could look along it and see as if through a great funnel what was transpiring blocks and blocks away; he looked where he would, and brick walls or stone were like glass when the new ray struck through them.

Blinky never knew what he had—never dreamed of the tremendous potentialities in his oscillating ethereal ray that had a range and penetration beyond anything known. But he knew, in a vague way, that this ray was a channel for light waves to follow, and he learned that he could vary the range of the ray and that whatever light was shown at the end of that range came to him as clear and distinct as if he were there in the room.

He sat for hours, staring through the telescope. He would train the device upon a building across the street, then cut down the current until the unseen vibration penetrated inside the building. If there was nothing there of interest he would gradually increase the power, and the ray would extend out and still out into other rooms and beyond them to still others. Blinky had a lot of fun, but he never forgot the practical application of the device —practical, that is, from the distorted viewpoint of a warped mind.

"I'VE heard about your machine," said a pasty-faced man one day, as he sat in Blinky's room, "and I think it's a lot of hooey. But I'd give just one grand to know who is with the district attorney this minute."

"Where is he?" asked Blinky.

"Two blocks down the street, in the station house... and if Pokey Barnard is with him, the lousy stool-pigeon—"

Blinky paid no attention to the other's opinion of one Pokey Barnard; he was busy with a sputtering blue light and a telescope behind a shield of heavy lead.

"Put your money on the table," he said, finally: "there's the dicks... and there's Pokey. Take a look—"

It was some few minutes later that Blinky learned of another valuable feature in his ray. He was watching the district attorney when the pasty-faced man brushed against a hanging incandescent light. There was a bit of bare wire exposed, and as it swung into the ray the fuses in the Collins studio blew out instantly.

But the squinting eyes at the telescope had seen something first. They had seen the spare form of the district attorney throw itself from the chair as if it had been dealt a blow—or had received an electric shock.

Blinky put in new fuses—heavier ones—and tried it again on another subject. And again the man at the receiving end got a shot of current that sent him sprawling.

"Now what the devil—" demanded Blinky. He stood off and looked at the machine, the wire with its 110 volts, the invisible ray that was streaming out.

"It's insulated, the machine is," he told his caller, "so the juice won't shoot back if I keep my hands off; but why," he demanded profanely, "don't it short on the first thing it touches?"

HE was picturing vaguely a ray like a big insulated cable, with light and current both traveling along a core at its center, cut off, insulated by the ray, so that only the bare end where the ray stopped could make contact.

"Some more of them damn electrons," he hazarded; then demanded of his caller: "But am I one hell of a smart guy? Or am I?"

There was no denying this fact. The pasty-faced man told Blinky with lurid emphasis just how smart. He had seen with his own eyes and this was too good to keep.

He paid his one grand and departed, first to make certain necessary arrangements for the untimely end of one Pokey Barnard, squealer, louse, et cetera, et cetera, and then to spread the glad news through the underworld of Collins' invention.

That was Blinky's big mistake, as was shown a few days later. Not many had taken seriously the account of the photographer's experiments, but there was one who had, as was evident. A bearded man, whose eyes stared somewhat wildly from beneath a shock of frowzy hair, entered the Collins workroom and locked the door behind him. His English was imperfect, but the heavy automatic in his hand could not be misunderstoo...

This is only a preview of this story. The site administrator is evaluating methods to bring it to you.