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This dancing girl was beautiful—and perhaps he loved her because she looked lie the girl he had killed. But she wanted too much... the thing he must carve out of the gray stone she worshipped!

THE MOON-GOD TAKES

By ROBERT LESLIE BELLEM

JOHN SALVER watched her dancing in the moonlight; watched her dancing naked before the great grey stone.

And when he saw her face there came a cancer-gnawing fear; a suppurating terror seethed in John Salver's heart. For the dancing woman's face was a face long dead, and it struck like a poisoned dagger through his dark, lost soul.

Then, as he watched, he knew he had been wrong. It was not Helen Pemberton who danced in the moonlight, nude and lithe and eerie in the grey stone's shadow. The lovely, lost Helen was long, long dead; and ghosts cannot dance by the shores of the sea. The moonlight had tricked him, Salver told himself. Moonlight, and conscience, and soul- consuming fear.

His fists were clenched as he watched; and his sweat was frigid though the night was warm. Grimly, he forced himself to calmness. His eyes were wide as the blonde girl danced....

High overhead rode the moon's swollen whiteness, dappling the surf with a thousand silver coins. John Salver shivered in the pallid, silent night; but his eyes held a feral glow of new-born desire. Hungry he was for the lovely dancing-girl; and he watched her dancing before the great grey stone.

Strange, weird, unearthly was the girl's dance. And unearthly was the perfection of her slender body, young and supple and firm. She flung out her arms to the great grey stone, bowed before its misshapen bulk, caressed it with the tips of her stroking fingers. And once she embraced it, pressed herself upon it, so that its rough surface bit into the mounds of her breasts. And her eyes were closed as she fused her flesh upon the grey stone's hardness, and a wanton's scarlet smile was on her red, red lips...

Again John Salver caught a glimpse of her face; and again he knew the bitter taste of terror in his heart. Helen Pemberton's face...! The face of a woman dead these many, many years...!

SILENTLY he crept closer, drawn by magnets more powerful than his will. And once more he realized that the moon's white light had tricked him. Now that he was nearer, he knew he had been wrong. The lithe, dancing-girl resembled Helen Pemberton; but she was younger, more beautiful with a weird, transcendent sweetness. And besides, Helen Pemberton was long, long dead....

No; this dancing-girl was not Helen Pemberton. Nor was she wraith or spirit, for her body cast a shadow. And her lips were crimson poppies, smiling in the moon-glow. God, she was lovely, John Salver thought.

He eyed her hungrily, drinking in her contours, feasting on her sweet, soft curves. Her breasts were tiny hemispheres, taut and firm and milk-white; her hips were slender lyres as she danced... and danced... and danced....

The scene was like a dimly-remembered nightmare. There by the sea's edge the sand was molten silver, velvet underfoot like finely-sifted dawn. It was strange, Salver told himself, that he had never seen the great grey stone before.

Where had it come from? Salver had lived in his cottage on the cliff for more than a year now; yet the great grey stone was new to him, as if it had been recently deposited by some giant hand. And who was the strange girl who danced before the stone, nude, young and lovely like a moon- priestess?

And why was her face like the face of the long-dead Helen?

Like the face of Helen Pemberton, yet more beautiful, more ethereal, more unearthly....

There was something fascinating, hypnotic, in the way she danced; in the way she bowed before the great grey stone. It was almost as if she were offering her body to the gross, inanimate, shapeless thing of grey; as if it were a dark god to whom she made oblation!

FOR a long while, Salver had been watching her. At midnight he had first come upon her, dancing under the moon; and now his wrist-watch told him that the hour was past one. And still the girl danced....

He could stand ...

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