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Clues in the Dark

By Norman A. Daniels

All the pent-up hatred of seven unjust years in stir pounded in the blood of Terry Lane, He fought to conquer that festering evil, for a friend had placed him on his honor. But when Death's grisly fingers plucked life from a man, Terry shuddered at the...

CAPTAIN GEORGE KELLY rose and cleared his throat as the big steel door clanged shut Kelly had felt embarrassed in his twenty-odd years of police life, but never more so than at this moment.

He looked queerly at the well-built man who stood outside the big door now. Kelly strode forward, right hand outstretched.

"Sergeant Kelly," the young man looked up with a pair of clear blue eyes. "God, it's good to see you. I've never forgotten the kindness you showed me on my trip up here."

"Nerts," Kelly reddened. "That was nothing. I'm damned glad it's me who's bringing you back, lad. I brought you to this place and I'm taking you back—and I want you to know I've believed in you every minute."

"If it were not for you, sergeant," the young man wrung the out-stretched hand, "I'd have given up hope long ago. I'm going to repay you if I can, but as for the others—"

A hard look that Kelly had never seen in those smiling eyes before grew quickly. The grip on Kelly's hand tightened unbelievably. Seven years of prison life hadn't softened this man. Rather, it had hardened him physically. Kelly wondered if the same thing were true with his mind. Had the seven years behind those gray walls made of his brain a concrete thing set only on thoughts of revenge? It seemed so, and Terry Lane's next words proved it.

"I've spent seven years in hell, sergeant, because of the thick-headedness of certain cops. There are a lot of others mixed up in this thing, too, and every one of 'em is going to pay. Right through the nose."

Kelly didn't want to hear that and he promptly changed the subject. "You're still technically under arrest, Terry," he said. "I've come after you and you'll have to be my prisoner until the court says you're free. Now will you be a good lad—or shall I handcuff you?"

Terry grinned. "Oh, no," he said, "nothing like that. Any thoughts I have for revenge, I'll not carry out until this is all over. You didn't cuff me when you brought me here, sergeant. Do you think I'll make a break now—on the verge of freedom?"

"Of course not," Kelly laughed. "Well, unless you like this dump, we'll move. Say, you don't look so bad for being seven years in this joint. They treat you good?"

A certain grimness came over Terry's mouth. He looked up at Kelly. "At first they didn't. Somebody on the outside—some of the rats that sent me here—put in the works for me. I spent two years in solitary before the warden changed. I got a break then. That's just one of the few things that happened to me because I knew too much."

"Forget it, Terry," Kelly said. "Let's get going."

The train carried them swiftly toward the great city. Terry sat as one in a new world. Seven years of monotony hadn't broken him, but it did make him appreciate the things he had missed. His first train ride in seven years. His first glimpse of humanity not worried by the care and strife of prison life.

"I'm supposed to lock you up, Terry," Kelly told him as the train began shaking to a halt. "I'm not gonna do it though. Not on your life! You and I are going to my hotel. I've got a nice room next to mine reserved for you. There'll be better clothes there, too. The stuff you had when you were sent up is no good any more. I looked it up and say—it looks like the stuff men wore when women had bustles. It's just a little walk to the hotel. Want a ride?"

"No, sir," Terry shook his head vigorously. "If you've got the time, let's walk—slow. There's ten million things I want to see and then I want the story of how you worked me out of the pen. I don't know very much. They tell you just a little up there."

"Okay, we'll talk as we walk. You can act like a rube at the same time. There's lots of big new buildings here since you—ah—left."

"And now I'm back. You took me to the pen and you came after me. If it hadn't been for you, sergeant, I'd have rotted there for all any one cared. I'll never forget it."

"Aw hell," Kelly replied, "I never did think you bumped those two dames. A lad like you couldn't have done that job even though everything pointed toward you. One of th...

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