The Diamond Cross Mystery by Chester K. Steele


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Page 2

The sound seemed to grow louder. It was not her heart!

"Hello! Come here, somebody! Amelia! what's the matter? Sallie!
Sallie Page! Wake up! Hello, somebody! She's dead! Killed! There's
been a murder! I must get the police!"

James Darcy started to cross the room to reach and fling open the front
door leading to the street, that he might call the alarm to others than
the deaf cook, who had not yet come downstairs. Mrs. Darcy's maid had
gone away the previous evening, and was not expected in until noon. It
was too early for any of the jewelry clerks to report. Yet Darcy felt
he must have some one with him.

To cross the store to reach the door meant stepping over the body--the
grotesquely twisted body, with the white, upturned face and the little
spot of red, near where the silver comb had fallen from the silvered
hair. And so Darcy changed his mind--he ran to the side door, fumbled
with the lock, flung back the portal, and then rushed out in the rain
and drizzle, the fog streaming after mm as he parted the mist like
long, white streamers of ribbon, such as they suspend at the door for
the very young or the aged.

"Hello! Hello!" shouted Darcy into the silent rain and mist of the
early morning street, now deserted save for himself.

The glistening asphalt, the gleaming trolley rails, the dark and damp
buildings seemed to echo back his words.

"Hello! Hello!"

"Police!" voiced James Darcy. "There's been a murder!"

"A murder!" echoed the mist.

There was silence after this, and Darcy looked up and down the street.
Not a person--not a vehicle--was in sight. No one looked from the
stores or houses on either side or across from the jewelry shop.

Then a rattling milk wagon swung around the corner. It was followed by
another.

"Hello! Hello! there--you!" called Darcy hoarsely.

"What's the matter?" asked the first man, as he swung down from his
vehicle with a wire carrier filled with bottles in his hand.

"Somebody's been hurt--killed--a relative of mine! I want to tell the
police. It's in that jewelry store," and he pointed back toward it,
for he had run down the street a little way.

"Oh, I see! Darcy's! She's killed you say?"

"I'm afraid so."

"Accident?"

"I don't know. Looks to me more like murder!"

The milkman whistled, set his collection of bottles back in his wagon,
and hurried with Darcy toward the store. The other man, bringing his
rattling vehicle to a stop, followed.

"Where is she?" whispered Casey, as soon as he reached the side of his
business rival, Tremlain.

"On the floor--right in the middle--between the showcases," answered
Darcy, and he, too, whispered. It seemed the right thing to do.
"There--see her!"

He pointed a trembling finger.

"Lord! Her head's smashed!" exclaimed Casey. "Look at the blood!"

"I--I don't want to look at it," murmured Darcy, faintly.

"Hark!" cautioned Tremlain. "What's that noise?"

They all listened--they all heard it.

"It's a watch ticking," answered Darcy. "First I thought it was her
heart beating--it sounded so. But it's only a watch."

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 15th Oct 2019, 21:29