A Rogue By Compulsion (18)
August 1, 2016
Victor Bridges’ 1915 hunted-man adventure, A Rogue by Compulsion: An Affair of the Secret Service, was one of the prolific British crime and fantasy writer’s first efforts. It was adapted, that same year, by director Harold M. Shaw as the silent thriller Mr. Lyndon at Liberty — the title under which the book was subsequently reissued. HiLoBooks is pleased to serialize A Rogue by Compulsion — in 25 chapters — here at HILOBROW.
It was exactly half-past ten on Tuesday morning when I sat down on the rough wooden bench in my workshop with a little gasp of relief and exhaustion. Before me, on the lead slab, was a small pile of dark brown powder, which an innocent stranger would in all probability have taken for finely ground coffee. It was not coffee, however; it was the fruit of four days and nights of about the most unremitting toil that any human being has ever accomplished. Unless I was wrong — utterly and hopelessly wrong — I had enough of the new explosive in front of me to blow this particular bit of marsh and salting into the middle of next week.
I leaned forward, and picking up a fistful, allowed it to trickle slowly through my fingers. The stuff was quite safe to handle; that was one of its beauties. I could have put a lighted match to it or thrown it on the fire without the faintest risk; the only possible method of releasing its appalling power being the explosion of a few grains of gunpowder or dynamite in its immediate vicinity. I had no intention of allowing that interesting event to occur until I had made certain necessary preparations.
I was still contemplating my handiwork with a sort of fatigued pride, when a sudden sound outside attracted my attention. Getting up and looking through the shed window, I discovered a telegraph-boy standing by the hut, apparently engaged in hunting for the bell.
“All right, sonny,” I called out. “Bring it along here.”
I walked to the door, and the next minute I was being handed an envelope addressed to me at the Tilbury Post-Office in Joyce’s handwriting.
“It came the last post yesterday,” explained the lad. “We couldn’t let you have it until this morning because there wasn’t any one to send.”
“Well, sit down a moment, Charles,” I said; “and I’ll just see if there’s any answer.”
He seated himself on the bench, staring round at everything with obvious interest. With a pleasant feeling of anticipation I slit open the envelope and pulled out its contents.
“It looks rather nice written — doesn’t it! I am coming down tomorrow by the train which gets into Tilbury at 2.15. I shall walk across to the Betty and sit there peacefully till you turn up. Whatever stage the work is at, don’t be later than 7.30. I shall have supper ready by then — and it will be a supper worth eating. My poor darling, you must be simply starved. I’ve lots to tell you, James, but it will keep till tomorrow.
“With all my love,
I read this through (it was so like Joyce I could almost fancy I heard her speaking), and then I turned to the telegraph-boy, who was still occupied in taking stock of his surroundings.
“There’s no answer, thank you, Charles,” I said. “How much do I owe you?”
He pulled himself together abruptly. “It will be two shillings, the post-office fee, sir.”
“Well, there it is,” I said; “and there’s another shilling for yourself.”
He jumped up and pocketed the coins with an expression of gratitude. Then he paused irresolutely. “Beg pardon, sir,” he observed, “but ain’t you a gentleman who makes things?”
I laughed. “We most of us do that, Charles,” I said, “if they’re only mistakes.”
He looked round the shed with an expression of slight awe. “Can you make fireworks?” he asked.
I glanced instinctively at the little heap of powder. “Of a kind,” I admitted modestly. “Why?”
He gave an envious sigh. “I only wondered if it was hard, sir. I’d rather be able to make fireworks than do anything.”
“It’s not very hard,” I said consolingly. “You go on bringing my letters and telegrams for me like a good boy directly they arrive, and before I leave here I’ll show you how to do it. Only you mustn’t talk about it to anybody, or I shall have everyone asking me the same thing.”
His face brightened, and stammering out his thanks and his determination to keep the bargain a profound secret, he reluctantly took his departure. I felt that in future, whatever happened, I was pretty certain to get anything which turned up for me at the post-office without undue delay.
For the next half-hour or so I amused myself by constructing a kind of amateur magazine outside the hut in which to store my precious powder. It was safe enough in a way above ground, as I have already mentioned, but with inquisitive strangers like Mr. Latimer prowling around, I certainly didn’t mean to leave a grain of it about while I was absent from the shed. I packed it all away in a waterproof iron box, which I had specially ordered for the purpose, and buried it in the hole that I had dug outside. Then I covered the latter over with a couple of pieces of turf, and carefully removed all traces of my handiwork.
It was not until I had finished this little job that I suddenly realized how tired I was. For the last four days I had scarcely stirred outside the shed, and I don’t suppose I had averaged more than three hours’ sleep a night the whole time. The excitement and interest of my work had kept me going, and now that it was over I found that I was almost dropping with fatigue.
I locked up the place, and walking across to the hut, opened myself one of the bottles of champagne which I had so thoughtfully purchased at the Off-Licence. It was not exactly a vintage wine, but I was in no mood to be over-critical, and I drank off a couple of glasses with the utmost appreciation. Then I lay down on the bed, and in less than five minutes I was sleeping like a log.
I woke up at exactly half-past four. However tired I am, a few hours’ sleep always puts me right again, and by the time I had had a wash and changed into a clean shirt, I felt as fresh as a daisy.
I decided to walk straight over to the Betty. I knew that by this time Joyce would be on board, and as there was nothing else to be done in the shed, I thought I might just as well join her now as later. I had been too busy to miss any one very much the last four days, but now that the strain was over I felt curiously hungry to see her again. Besides, I was longing to hear what news she had brought about Tommy and George.
With a view to contributing some modest item towards the supper programme, I shoved the other bottle of champagne into my pocket, and then lighting a cigar, locked up the place, and set off for the creek by my usual route. The tide was very high, and on several occasions I had to scramble up and make my way along the sea-wall in full view of the marsh and the roadway. Fortunately, however, there seemed, as usual, to be no one about, and I reached the mouth of the creek without much fear of having been watched or followed.
The Betty was there all right, but I could see no sign of any one on board. I walked up the creek until I was exactly opposite where she was lying, and then putting my hands to my lips I gave her a gentle hail.
In an instant Joyce’s head appeared out of the cabin, and the next moment she was on deck waving me a joyous welcome with the frying-pan.
“Oh, it’s you!” she cried. “How lovely! Half a second, and I’ll come over and fetch you.”
“Where’s Mr. Gow?” I called out.
“He’s gone home. I sent him off for a holiday. There’s no one on board but me.”
She scrambled aft, and unshipping the dinghy, came sculling towards me across the intervening water. She was wearing a white jersey, and with her arms bare and her hair shining in the sunlight, she made a picture that only a blind man would have failed to find inspiring.
She brought up right against the bank where I was standing, and leaning over, caught hold of the grass.
“Jump,” she said. “I’ll hang on.”
I jumped, and the next moment I was beside her in the boat, and we were hugging each other as cheerfully and naturally as two children.
“You dear, to come so soon!” she said. “I wasn’t expecting you for ages.”
I kissed her again, and then, picking up the oars, pushed off from the bank. “Joyce,” I said, “I’ve done it! I’ve made enough of the blessed stuff to blow up half Tilbury.”
She clapped her hands joyfully. “How splendid! I knew you would. Have you tried it?”
I shook my head. “Not yet,” I said. “We’ll do it early tomorrow morning, before any one’s about.” Then, digging in my scull to avoid a desolate-looking beacon, I added anxiously: “What about Tommy? Is he coming?”
Joyce nodded. “He’ll be down tomorrow. I’ve got a letter for you from him. He saw Mr. Latimer last night.”
“Did he!” said I. “Things are moving with a vengeance. What about the gentle George?”
Joyce laughed softly. “Oh,” she said; “I’ve such lots to tell you, I hardly know where to start.”
I ran the boat alongside the Betty, and we both climbed on board.
“Suppose we start by having some tea,” I suggested. “I’m dying for a cup.”
“You poor dear,” said Joyce. “Of course you shall have one. You can read what Tommy says while I’m getting it ready.”
She fetched the letter out of the cabin, and sitting in the well I proceeded to decipher the three foolscap pages of hieroglyphics which Tommy is pleased to describe as his handwriting. As far as I could make out they ran as follows:
“MY DEAR NEIL,
“I suppose I oughtn’t to begin like that, in case somebody else got hold of the letter. It doesn’t matter really, however, because Joyce is bringing it down, and you can tear the damn thing up as soon as you’ve read it.
“Well, I’ve seen Latimer. I wrote to him directly I got back, reminded him who I was, and told him I wanted to have a chat with him about some very special private business. He asked me to come round to his rooms in Jermyn Street last night at ten o’clock, and I was there till pretty near midnight.
“I thought I was bound to find out something, but good Lord, Neil, it came off in a way I’d never dared hope for. Practically speaking, I’ve got to the bottom of the whole business — at least so far as Latimer’s concerned. You see he either had to explain or else tell me to go to the devil, and as he thought I was a perfectly safe sort of chap to be honest with, he decided to make a clean breast of it.
“To start with, it’s very much what we suspected. Latimer is a Secret Service man, and that’s how he comes to be mixed up in the job. It seems that some little while ago the Admiralty or one of the other Government departments got it into their heads that there were a number of Germans over in England spying out the land in view of a possible row over this Servian business. Latimer was told off amongst others to look into the matter. He had been sniffing around for some weeks without much luck, when more or less by chance he dropped across the track of those two very identical beauties who ran down Gow’s boat in the Thames last Friday.
“Somehow or other they must have got wind of the fact that he was after them, and they evidently made up their minds to get rid of him. They seem to have set about it rather neatly. The man with the scar, who is either one of them or else in with them, introduced himself to Latimer as a member of the French Secret Service. He pretended that he had some special information about the case in hand, and although Latimer was a bit suspicious, he agreed to dine at Parelli’s and hear what the fellow had to say.
“Well, you know the rest of that little incident. If it hadn’t been for you there’s not the faintest doubt that Latimer would have copped it all right, and I can tell you he’s by way of being rather particularly grateful. I was specially instructed to send you a message to that effect next time I was writing.
“What the connection is between your crowd and these Germans I can’t exactly make out. Of course if you’re right in your idea about the chap with the scar spying on you in London it’s perfectly obvious they’re working together in some way. At the same time I’m quite sure that Latimer knows nothing about it. The reason he came down to look at the hut on Friday was because a report about it had been sent to him by one of his men—he has two fellows working under him—and he thought it might have something to do with the Germans. He described the way you had caught him quite frankly, and told me how he’d had to invent a lie about the Surveyor in order to get out of it.
“Exactly what he means to do next I don’t know. He has got some plan on, and I’ve a notion he wants me to help him—at least he sounded me pretty plainly last night as to whether I’d be game to lend him a hand. I need hardly tell you I jumped at the idea. It seems to me our only possible chance of finding out anything. I am to see him or hear from him tomorrow, and directly I know what’s in the wind I’ll either write to you or come and look you up.
“Joyce will tell you all about George and McMurtrie. If they aren’t both up to some kind of particularly dirty mischief I’ll eat my whole wardrobe. We must talk it over thoroughly when we meet.
“I’m longing to see you again, and hear all about the work and what’s been going on down there.
“So long, old son,
“Yours as ever,
I was just making out the last words, when Joyce emerged from the cabin, carrying some tea on a tray.
“Here you are, Neil,” she said. “I have cut you only two slices of bread and butter, because I don’t want you to spoil your supper. There’s cold pheasant and peas and new potatoes.”
I pulled out the bottle of champagne from my pocket. “If they’re as new as this wine,” I observed, “they ought to be delicious.”
Joyce accepted my contribution, and after reading the label, placed it carefully on the floor of the well. “Sarcon et fils,” she repeated. “I always thought they made vinegar.”
“Perhaps they do,” I replied. “We shall know when we drink it.”
Joyce laughed, and sitting down beside me, poured me out a cup of tea.
“You’ve read Tommy’s letter,” she said. “What do you think about it?”
I took a long drink. “From the little I’ve seen of Mr. Bruce Latimer,” I said, “I should put him down as being one of the most accomplished liars in England.” I paused. “At the same time,” I added, “I think he’s a fine fellow. I like his face.”
Joyce nodded her head. “But you don’t believe his story?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “It may be true,” I said. “Tommy seems to think so anyhow. If it is, things are a bit simpler than I imagined — that’s all.”
“And if it isn’t?” said Joyce.
“Ah!” said I, “if it isn’t —”
I left the sentence unfinished, and helped myself to a second bit of bread and butter.
There was a short silence.
“Tell me about George, Joyce,” I went on. “What are these particular dark doings that Tommy’s hinting about?”
Joyce leaned forward with her chin on her hands, her blue eyes fixed on mine.
“Neil,” she said slowly, “I’ve found out something at last — something I thought I was never going to. I know who the man was in Marks’s rooms on the day that he was murdered.”
I was so surprised that I gulped down a mouthful of nearly boiling tea.
“I wish you’d break these things more gently, Joyce,” I said. “Who was it?”
“It was Dr. McMurtrie.”
I put down the teacup and stared at her in the blankest amazement.
“Dr. McMurtrie!” I repeated incredulously.
She nodded. “Listen, and I’ll tell you exactly how it all happened. I dined with George, as you know, at the Savoy on Friday, and we went into the whole business of my going away with him. He has got that twelve thousand pounds, Neil; there’s no doubt about it. He showed me the entry in his pass-book and the acknowledgment from the bank, and he even offered to write me a cheque for a couple of hundred right away, to buy clothes with for the trip.”
“From what I remember of George,” I said, “he must be desperately in love with you.”
Joyce gave a little shiver of disgust. “Of course I let him think I was giving way. I wanted to find out where the money had come from, but try as I would, I couldn’t get him to tell me. That makes me feel so certain there’s something wrong about it. In the end I arranged to dine with him again tomorrow night, when I said I’d give him my final answer. On Saturday morning, however, I changed my mind, and wrote him a note to say I’d come Thursday instead. I didn’t mean to tie myself to be back tomorrow, in case you wanted me here.”
“I had to go up Victoria Street, so I thought I’d leave the letter at his office. I’d just got there, and I was standing outside the door opening my bag, when a man came down the steps. I looked up as he passed, and — oh Neil! — it was all I could do to stop myself from screaming. I knew him at once; I knew his cold wicked face just as well as if it had been only three days instead of three years. It was the man I’d seen in Marks’s rooms on the afternoon of the murder.”
She stopped again, and took a deep breath.
“I was horribly excited, and yet at the same time I felt quite cool. I let him get about ten yards away down the street, and then I started off after him. He walked as far as the Stores. Then he called an empty taxi that was coming past, and I heard him tell the driver to go to the Hotel Russell. I thought about how you’d followed the man with the scar, and I made up my mind I’d do the same thing. I had to wait for several seconds before another taxi came by, but directly it did I jumped in and told the man to drive me to the corner of Russell Square.
“I got there just as the other taxi was drawing up in front of the hotel. A porter came forward and opened the door, and I saw the man get out and go up the steps. I waited for one moment, and then I walked along to the entrance myself. The porter was still standing there, so I went straight up to him and asked him quite simply what the name of the gentleman was who had just gone inside. He sort of hesitated, and then he said to me: ‘That gentleman, Miss? — that’s Dr. McMurtrie.'”
Once more she paused, and, pushing away the tray, I lit myself a cigar. “It’s lucky you’ve had some practice in surprises,” I observed.
Joyce nodded. “Of course I was absolutely flabbergasted, but I don’t think I showed anything. I sort of rummaged in my bag for a minute till I’d recovered; then I gave the man half a crown and asked him if he knew how long Dr. McMurtrie was staying. I think he was in doubt as to whether I was a female detective or a lady reporter; anyhow he took the money and said he was very sorry he didn’t know, but that if I wanted an interview at any time he had no doubt it might be arranged. I thanked him, and said it didn’t matter for the moment, and there I thought it best to leave things. You see I knew that whether McMurtrie stayed on at the Russell or not you were bound to see him again, and there was nothing to be gained by asking questions which the porter would probably repeat to him. It would only have helped to put him on his guard—wouldn’t it?”
“My dear Joyce,” I said, “I think you did splendidly. Sherlock Holmes couldn’t have done better.” I got up and walked to the end of the cockpit. “But good Lord!” I added, “this does complicate matters. You’re absolutely certain it was McMurtrie you saw at Marks’s flat?”
“Absolutely,” repeated Joyce with emphasis. “I should remember his face if I lived to be a hundred.”
I clenched my fists in a sudden spasm of anger. “There’s some damned villainy underneath all this, Joyce,” I said. “If McMurtrie was there that afternoon the odds are that he knows who committed the murder.”
“He did it himself,” said Joyce calmly. “I’m as sure of it as I am that I’m sitting here.”
“But why?” I demanded — “why? Who on earth was Marks? Nobody in Chelsea seemed to know anything about him, and nothing came out at the trial. Why should any one have wanted to kill him except me?”
Joyce shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said stubbornly; “but I’m quite certain it was McMurtrie. I feel it inside me.”
“And in any case,” I continued, “what the devil is he doing messing about with George? I’m the only connecting-link between them, and he can’t possibly mean to betray me — at all events, until he’s got the secret of the powder. He knows George would give me up tomorrow.”
Joyce made a gesture of perplexity. “I know,” she said. “It’s an absolute mystery to me too. I’ve been puzzling and puzzling over it till my head aches, and I can’t see any sort of explanation at all.”
“The only thing that’s quite plain,” I said, “is the fact that McMurtrie and Savaroff have been lying to me from the start. They are no more powder-merchants than you are. They want to get hold of my invention for some reason — to make money out of it, I suppos e— and then they’re prepared to clear out and leave me to George and the police. At least, that’s what it’s beginning to look like.”
“Well, anyhow,” said Joyce, “you’re not tied to them any longer by your promise.”
“No,” I said; “it takes two to keep a bargain. Besides,” I added rather bitterly, “I can afford the privilege of breaking my word. It’s only what you’d expect from a convict.”
Joyce got up, and coming to where I was sitting, slipped her arm through mine and softly stroked my hand. “Don’t, Neil,” she said. “I hate you to say anything that isn’t fine and generous. It’s like hearing music out of tune.”
I drew her to me, and half closing her eyes, she laid her cheek against mine. We remained silent for a moment or two, and then, giving her a little hug, I sat up and took hold of her hands.
“Look here, Joyce,” I said, “we won’t just bother about anything for the rest of the day. We’ll be cheerful and jolly and foolish, like we were on Friday. God knows how all this infernal tangle is going to pan out, but we may as well snatch one evening’s happiness out of it while we’ve got the chance.”
Joyce kissed me, and then jumping lightly from the seat, pulled me up with her. “We will,” she said. “After all, we’ve got a boat and a lovely evening and a cold pheasant and a bottle of champagne — what more can any one want?”
“Well,” I said, “it may sound greedy, but as a matter of fact I want some of those peas and new potatoes you were talking about just now.”
She let go my hands, and opening one of the lockers, took out a large basin with a couple of bags in it. “There you are,” she laughed. “You can skin them and shell them while I wash up the tea-things and lay the table. It’s a man’s duty to do the dangerous work.”
Joyce had always had the gift of scattering a kind of infectious gaiety around her, and that night she seemed to be in her most bewitching and delightful mood. I think she made up her mind to try and wipe out from my memory for the time being all thoughts of the somewhat harassed state of existence in which it had pleased Providence to land me. If so, she succeeded admirably.
We cooked the supper between us. I boiled the peas and potatoes, and then, when we had done the first course, Joyce got up and made a brilliantly successful French omelette out of some fresh eggs which she had brought down for that inspired purpose.
It was very charming in the little low-ceilinged cabin, with the lamp swinging overhead and no sound outside but the soft lapping of the tide upon the sides of the boat. We lay and talked for some time after we had finished, while I smoked a cigar, and Joyce, stretched out luxuriously on the other bunk, indulged in a couple of cigarettes.
“We won’t wash up,” I said. “I’ll just shove everything through into the fo’c’s’le, and we’ll leave them there for Mr. Gow. A certain amount of exercise will be good for him after his holiday.”
“Do,” said Joyce sleepily. “And then come and sit over here, Neil. I want to stroke your hair.”
I cleared away the things, and shutting up the table, which worked on a hinge, spread out my own cushions on the floor alongside of Joyce’s bunk. The latter was just low enough to let me rest my head comfortably on her shoulder.
How long we lay like that I really don’t know. My whole body and mind were steeped in a strange, delightful sense of peace and contentment, and I began to realize, I think for the first time, how utterly necessary and dear to me Joyce had become. I slid my arm underneath her — she lay close up against me, her hair, which she had loosened from its fastenings, half covering us both in its soft beauty.
The lamp flickered and died down, but we didn’t trouble to relight it. Outside the night grew darker and darker, and through the open hatch we could just see a solitary star shining down on us from between two banks of cloud. Cool and sweet, a faint breeze drifted in from the silent marshes.
Then, quite suddenly, it seemed to me, a strange madness and music filled the night for both of us. I only knew that Joyce was in my arms and that we were kissing each other with fierce, unheeding passion. There were tears on her cheeks — little sweet, salt tears of love and happiness that felt all wet against my lips.
It was only a moment — just one brief moment of unutterable beauty — and then I remembered. With a groan I half raised myself in the darkness.
“I must go, Joyce,” I whispered. “I can’t stay here. I daren’t.”
She slipped her soft bare arms round my neck, and drew my face down to hers.
“Don’t go,” she whispered back. “Not if you don’t want to. What does it matter? I am all yours, Neil, anyway.”
For a moment I felt her warm fragrant breath upon my face, and her heart beating quickly against mine. Then, with an effort — a big effort — I tore myself away.
“Joyce dear,” I said, “it would only make things worse. Oh, my dear sweet Joyce, I want you like the night wants the dawn, but we can’t cheat life. Suppose we fail — suppose there’s only death or prison in front of me. It will be hard enough now, but if —”
I broke off, and with a little sob Joyce sat up and felt for my hand.
“You’re right, darling,” she said; “but oh, my dear, my dear!” She lifted up my hand and passed it softly backwards and forwards across her eyes. Then, with a little laugh that had tears close behind it, she added: “Do you know, my Neil, I’m conceited enough to think you’re rather wonderful.”
I bent down and kissed her with infinite tenderness.
“I am, Joyce,” I said. “Exactly how wonderful you’ll never know.”
Then I lifted her up in my arms, and we went out of the cabin into the cool darkness of the night.
“I’ll row myself ashore,” I said, “and leave the dinghy on the beach. I shall be back about four o’clock, if that’s not too early for you. We ought to get our explosion over before there’s any one about.”
Joyce nodded. “I don’t mind how early you come. The sooner the better.”
“Try and get some sleep,” I added; “you’ll be tired out tomorrow if you don’t.”
“I’ll try,” said Joyce simply; “but I don’t think I shall. I’m not even sure I want to.”
I kissed her once more, and slipping down into the dinghy, pulled off for the shore. Everything around was dark and silent — the faint splash of my oars alone breaking the utter stillness. Landing at my usual spot, more by luck than judgment, I tugged the boat up out of reach of the tide, and then, turning round, waved good-night to the Betty.
It was too dark to see anything, but I think Joyce sent me back my message.
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SERIALIZED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | Helen MacInnes’s The Unconquerable |
Geoffrey Household’s Watcher in the Shadows | William Haggard’s The High Wire | Hammond Innes’s Air Bridge | James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen | John Buchan’s “No Man’s Land” | John Russell’s “The Fourth Man” | E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” | John Buchan’s Huntingtower | Arthur Conan Doyle’s When the World Screamed | Victor Bridges’ A Rogue By Compulsion | Jack London’s The Iron Heel | H. De Vere Stacpoole’s The Man Who Lost Himself | P.G. Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith | Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” | Houdini and Lovecraft’s “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” | Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sussex Vampire”.