The Avenger 29 - The Nightwitch Devil

BOOK: The Avenger 29 - The Nightwitch Devil
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THE GREATEST CRIME FIGHTER
OF THE FORTIES RETURNS!

IN THE ROARING HEART OF THE CRUCIBLE, STEEL IS MADE. IN THE RAGING FLAME OF PERSONAL TRAGEDY, MEN ARE SOMETIMES FORGED INTO SOMETHING MORE THAN HUMAN.

IT WAS SO WITH DICK BENSON. HE HAD BEEN A MAN. AFTER THE DREAD LOSS INFLICTED ON HIM BY AN INHUMAN CRIME RING, HE BECAME A MACHINE OF VENGEANCE DEDICATED TO THE EXTERMINATION OF ALL OTHER CRIME RINGS.

HE TURNED INTO THE PERSON WE KNOW NOW: A FIGURE OF ICE AND STEEL, MORE PITILESS THAN BOTH; A MECHANISM OF WHIPCORD AND FLAME; A SYMBOL TO CROOKS AND KILLERS; A TERRIBLE, ALMOST IMPERSONAL FORCE, MASKING CHILL GENIUS AND SUPER NORMAL POWER BEHIND A FACE AS WHITE AND DEAD AS A MASK FROM THE GRAVE. ONLY HIS PALE EYES, LIKE ICE IN A POLAR DAWN, HINT AT THE DEADLINESS OF THE SCOURGE THE UNDERWORLD HEEDLESSLY INVOKED AGAINST ITSELF WHEN CRIME’S GREED TURNED MILLIONAIRE ADVENTURER RICHARD BENSON INTO—THE AVENGER.

THE NIGHTWITCH DEVIL

HAS THE DEVIL RETURNED TO THE SINISTER OLD TOWN OF NIGHTWITCH IN MASSACHUSETTS? IF NOT, WHY HAS MACMURDIE VANISHED THERE WITHOUT A TRACE . . . AND WHO IS THE PERSON IN THE DEVIL MASK? IF SO, CAN EVEN THE AVENGER DEFEAT THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS?

“IT’S NOT A FACE . . . ONLY A MASK!”

Anne told herself, repeating it; yet the face frightened her. It was a dark mahagony color, parts of which did indeed seem to be made of wood. There was hair, coarse matted grizzled hair, growing out of the face. The hair made a halo around the grimacing face, like a lion’s mane. Sprouting from the forehead were two twisted black horns. The face seemed to be smiling, eternally smiling, a horrible evil smile.

“Who is your Master?” bellowed the masked figure.

“You, you are the Master,” cried the kneeling hooded figures.

“And who am I?”

“The Devil, the Devil himself!”

Anne had found the NIGHTWITCH DEVIL, but she did not guess what the Devil’s work was to be—a satanic exploit that would endanger the world, a plan only the Avenger could foil.

Also In This Series

By Kenneth Robeson

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WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY EDITION
F
IRST
P
RINTING
: O
CTOBER
, 1974

C
OPYRIGHT
© 1974
BY
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
A
LL
R
IGHTS
R
ESERVED

T
HIS
W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
E
DITION
IS
P
UBLISHED
BY
A
RRANGEMENT WITH
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
. I
NC
.

C
OVER
I
LLUSTRATION
BY
G
EORGE
G
ROSS

W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
IS A
D
IVISION
OF
W
ARNER
B
OOKS
, I
NC
.
75 R
OCKERFELLER
P
LAZA
, N.Y. 10019.

A Warner Communications Company
ISBN: 0-446-75672-2

Printed in the United States of America

THE
NIGHTWITCH
DEVIL

CHAPTER I
A Quiet New England Town

MacMurdie didn’t know his friend had seen the Devil.

Not at first, not on that chill, rainy morning when he stepped off the train in the quiet New England town of Nightwitch, Massachusetts.

The station, a small and forlorn brown shingle building, was inland from the little Nightwitch harbor which had brought the town its brief spell of prosperity in the last century. There were a few gulls here, though, as brown and forlorn-looking as the ancient station. They sat on its slant roof, huddled.

Mac walked into the little station, which was dim and musty. He carried two medium-sized suitcases. Setting these down, he surveyed the place.

There were two leaks in the roof. A tarnished tin pie pan caught the dripping from one; the other was making a rust-colored pool on the worn wood floor.

Hearing a dry cough, Mac turned. “Morning to ye,” he said toward the barred counter window.

An ancient white-haired man was hunched there, a station master’s cap sitting too far down on his thin head. “Come in on the 10:27, did you?”

“Aye, and now I’d like ta hire a ride.”

“Won’t,” said the very old station master.

“Why is that?”

“Only taxi we had is up on blocks in Nat Hawthorne’s garage for the duration,” explained the old man. “Any place you want to go, mister, you’re more than likely going to have to walk.”

As Mac understood it, the friend he’d come to visit lived several miles out of town. Since Mac hadn’t been sure what train he’d be able to catch, he had told his friend not to meet him. “Maybe I better make a phone call,” he said.

“You can step around here and use the one on the wall,” invited the station master. “If you got a nickel to give me.”

Mac stepped through the narrow doorway into the old man’s office. After locating a coin in his jacket pocket and placing it on the man’s rolltop desk, he picked up the phone.

“Who you want to talk to, Eb?”

“ ’Tis not Eb speaking,” Mac told the operator. “And I’d like you to put me through to Dr. John Ruyle.”

After a few seconds the operator said, “What was that name?”

“Ruyle, John Ruyle. He lives out on Stonewall Road.”

“I’m afraid we don’t have him listed, sir.” The phone went dead.

Mac frowned around at the old man. “Do ye know Dr. Ruyle?”

The station master’s small pale blue eyes looked away. “Name’s vaguely familiar, but, nope, I can’t say as how I do.”

“I know he’s got a phone. He told me so in his last letter.”

“You figuring to make any more calls, mister?”

Continuing to frown, Mac said, “No, that’ll be all, thank ye.” He returned to the waiting room and picked up his suitcases. “Is there a hotel in town?”

“There’s the Colonial Inn, two blocks north on State Street.” The old man, eyes still not meeting Mac’s, cleared his throat. “Might be a good idea to take a room there, mister, but . . .”

“But what?”

“Don’t mention as how you’re here to see that friend of yours.”

Mac went striding over to him. “What is it ye know, mon?”

“Nothing, nothing.” He backed away from the bars that protected him from Mac.

Shaking his head, the Scot went out into the rain. “ ’Tis most odd,” he said to himself. “I’ll leave my luggage at the inn, since it looks like I’ll be hiking out to John’s place.”

BOOK: The Avenger 29 - The Nightwitch Devil
4.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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