Page:Weird Tales volume 31 number 02.djvu/108

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the lieutenant calmly fished a typed confession from his pocket and gave it to Rumster to sign. But Rumster whimpered, "You can't f-fool me like that."

"This is no joke, Rumster," Professor Du Bois said very gravely. "We made a phonographic recording of what happened last night, when the strange music of the Bhutanese piper lured the soul of Richford Mason, your late partner, back to his dead body. I know, Rumster, I spoke to Mason!"

One thing I can't take away from Professor Du Bois; he is a master of suggestion, and he demonstrated it that night. Rumster forced a laugh, but fooled nobody. He was scared; still he would not sign the confession.

At Professor Du Bois' signal, I walked to the phonograph on the table; and after a few more questions, the professor said, "Go ahead."

You should have seen Rumster's eyes pop as the record started. The music started faintly, the piping gaining strength and abruptly breaking into a wild interblending of notes and octaves utterly bewildering in its harmony. Over and over the haunting music repeated, sad, wailing, mysteriously appealing–and then a new note lilted into it, and the music faded off a bit and suddenly there sounded–a voice!

Hollow, throaty, the groan of one awakening uneasily from deep slumber. Sonorously it spoke:

"Who calls me? Why do you wake me? What do you want?"

"M-Mason!" Rumster wheezed. And from the phonograph came the voice of Professor Du Bois, quivering:

"It is I, John Du Bois."

"Oh," came the monotonously dull voice, "why am I called back?"

"A matter of justice, Richford. A question to ask."

Then silence, save for the weird wail of the pipe.

Again the voice of Du Bois:

"Please, Richford, do not sleep, just for a while. Please. Do you hear me?"

"I do. I hear you. But this pains…. What do you want?"

"Tell me–who killed you?"

"I am not dead."

"I know–"

"You do not know. Not until you are where I now am will you know. Now I know the meaning of what men fear. Merely the body–"

"Yes, Richford, who killed your body?"

"Him I pity, not hate. What a fool! Did he know what I now know, what I now see, never would he have done it. But here all things are clear; into the innermost heart and thoughts of those left behind does one see, and I know the anguish and torture that possess his guilt-burdened soul–"

"Who, Richford, who was it?"

"Rumster, Marvin Rumster. The moment I took that medicine he mixed for me, I knew. For my cough, he said. That terrible choking cough; but now, of all that I am now free–"

The record ended abruptly. I halted the machine, and Lieutenant Crane pushed the confession into Rumster's lap. I got a wink from Professor Du Bois because it was certain that Rumster couldn't stand much more. He sighed and gulped and played with the confession, but at length he stiffened and started denying all over again.

"I didn't, I didn't, I didn't, I tell you!"

Lieutenant Crane came back at him: "All right, then, you tell that to him. We didn't want to hurt him, but I see we got to do it."

That was the cue for Professor Du Bois' ace. The lieutenant and I wheeled the cadaver into the room, right next to