Wednesday, December 7, 2016

games, part 23

by harold p sternhagen writing as "ralph desmond"

being a sequel to fun

illustrated by konrad kraus

originally appeared in the july through october 1952 issues of walloping midnight stories magazine

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

“my name is garver, george garver. i understand you have my bride here. i’ve come to claim her.

edna hesitated. she kept the door open just enough that she could see the man and his angry face, without letting too much wind and rain in.

“do you mean, sir.” she finally asked, “a woman who is actually married to you? i don’t believe i know a mrs garver.”

as edna spoke, she suddenly felt a blast of cold wind at her back.

followed by the sound of a window being slammed shut.

“what was that?” garver exclaimed.

“just the wind,” edna replied evenly. “as you can see, it is blowing rather fiercely.”

“don’t trifle with me, missus. i am wise to your sneaky ways. i know my bride is in here, and i mean to have her.”

“i hope you are not threatening me,sir.”

“threatening you, missus?" garver laughed. "you mean laying a hand on you? oh, no, george garver is not such a fool as that. but i have the law on my side, and i mean to claim my rights. i know my rights, and i also know bill d. miller - you may have heard of him - the sharpest lawyer in the county. and between us, we know how to deal with folks who would deny me my rights.”

“yes, i am sure you do,sir.” edna started to close the door in garver’s face.

“you will be hearing from me, missus! and from lawyer miller!” edna got the door closed.

she rushed back into the living room, but as she suspected, julie was gone. her coat was gone too.

a puddle of water under the window told the tale. julie had indeed escaped through the window.

was garver waiting outside? did he know, or suspect, that julie had left the house? would he search for her?

edna hurried back to the living room. she pressed her face to the glass of the window.

she did not see a car outside, but it was hard to tell for sure n the darkness and rain.

she opened the front door a crack. she saw no sign of garver or a car. she did see a set of red taillights heading down the street, back towards the town.

she hurriedly got her hat and coat and purse and went out to her own car.


julie ran.

there was a house behind edna’s, separated from it by a few scrubby hedges, but no fence or wall.

julie ran between two of the hedges and across the neighbor’s lawn into a dark street.

there was another house across the street from the neighbor’s. there was a light on, but being seen, in the storm, was not something she was going to worry about.

she ran across the lawn of the house with the light on. there was a fence, separating it from another house - this one completely dark. the fence was not very high. julie got over it, but slipped and landed flat on her face in mud.

she got up quickly and ran across the lawn of the darkened house into yet another street.

she was now two blocks away from edna’s house. it had only taken a few minutes.

julie stopped to catch her breath. she looked around.

most of the street she was now on was dark. but there was a big house at one end of it that was all lit up.

every window in it was lit up brightly. yellow light streamed out into the driving rain.

julie stared at it, mesmerized.


when bob had gotten off the deserted road and seen some signs of human habitation, he , too, had seen the brightly lit up house.

somebody must be having a party, he thought. they must be filled with good cheer.

surely they would take in a wet and weary traveler.

and even if they didn’t, maybe somehow he could sneak in, and not be noticed in the crowd!

he approached the house.

strangely, despite being all it up, there were no sounds coming from it - of revelry or partying or anything else.

and although it was a big house, bigger than any of its neighbors, it was actually pretty shabby and run down. a couple of the shutters were hanging crooked on their hinges.

as he stared at the house, bob felt someone behind him.

he turned. it was a girl, young, maybe just a teenager.

she was almost as wet as he was. her clothes were covered with mud, but the rain seemed to be washing mud off her face. she had no hat, and the rain was plastering her hair to the sides of her face.

she ignored bob, or maybe did not see him, and looked up at the house.

“looks like someone is having a party,” bob said.

“a party?” the girl answered. “i don’t hear anything.”

“you aren’t wearing s hat,” bob said.

“what?” the girl looked at bob.

“you aren’t wearing a hat,” bob said, “just like me. a guy with no hat, a girl with no hat. standing here in the rain. it makes you stop and think.”

“there has to be somebody in there,” julie said. “maybe they will let us in.”

“maybe,” bob agreed. “let’s find out.”

bob felt that he had been waiting for this moment all his life, that his destiny was about to be fulfilled.

julie’s mind was a blank.

part 24

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