Page:Weird Tales volume 31 number 02.djvu/131

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COMING NEXT MONTH

PLACING his two enormous shapeless hands on the table, Dmitri heaved himself to his feet, and a tremendous bellow issued from his barrel-like chest. That summons, though the words were lost in a gulf of sound, was unmistakable, and presently the door opened and the little man, prim and neat and wholly a colorless personality, entered.

"Yes, Master."

Dmitri stood beside the table, his right hand resting heavily on the polished oak.

"Sit down, little Stepan."

The small man, the ghost of a pleased smile on his peasant face, sat down primly in the oaken chair and looked about the room with child-like pleasure. Obviously he was enjoying to the uttermost his small moment.

"You would prefer the sleep, little one? It is not necessary; we have been through this experiment many times together, you and I."

"I would prefer the sleep, Master," the little man said, with a slight shudder. "Despite myself my eyes flinch from the flame——"

"Very well." Dmitri's voice was casual and low. "Relax, little one, and sleep. Sleep soundly——!

He turned from his servant and picked up the fifty-cent piece. Turning it over and over in the fingers of his left hand he began to speak, slowly.

"I have told this subject's subconscious that its body is invulnerable to physical injury. Watch!"

The little man was sitting erect in the massive chair. His eyes were closed, his hace immobile. Dmitri stooped, lifted an arm, let it fall, then straightened triumphantly and surveyed his silent audience. Suddenly, then, a roaring streamer of bluish flame lanced across the room. Dmitri had set the gasoline torch alight.

A woman was babbling hysterically. But above the steady moan of the flame Dmitri said loudly, "There is no cause for alarm. Now, observe closely. I am going to go far beyond the ordinary hypnotist's procedure——"

He carefully picked up, with the pliers, the fifty-cent piece. For a long moment he let the moaning flame play on the coin, until both coin and plier-tips glowed angrily.

Calmly, without warning, he dropped the burning coin on his servant's naked wrist!

A woman screamed. But, then, gasps of relief eddied from the tense audience. For, although the glowing whiteness of the coin had scarcely begun to fade into cherry-red, the man Stepan had shown no sign that he felt pain! There was no stench of burning flesh in the room. Even the fine hairs on the back of the servant's wrist, hairs that touched and curled delicately above the burning coin, showed no the slightest sign of singeing!. . .

You will not want to miss this strange story of an unscrupulous hypnotist and the frightful thing he called Stepan, who was immune to destruction while his master lived. This story will be printed complete in the March issue of Weird Tales:

THE THING ON THE FLOOR
By Thorp McClusky
———Also———

A daring story of Devil-worship, the Black Mass,
strange suicides, and the salvation of one who had
sinned greatly but was truly repentant.
A tale of Jules de Grandin.
A thrilling tale, a romantic and tragic tale of
weird-scientific story of the awakening of the fearsome
beings that lay in dreadful slumber under the
anarctic ice, and the strange doom that befell the world.

What strange, splendid yet terrible experiences
came to the poor mountaineer in the hours of sleep
–a story of a supernal being from Algol,
the Demon-Star.
A weird story of Hollywood, and the grisly horror
that cast its dreadful shadow across the silver
screen as an incredible motion-picture was run off.

March Issue WEIRD TALES - - - - Out April 1