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By HERBERT VAN THAL

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Extra info for 12th Pan Book of Horror

Example text

Bruce looked at Byron again. 'It's no concern of mine,' Byron said. 'No concern - are you crazy? ' He leaned on the bar, his thin face pointing at Byron. Byron placidly sipped his beer. 'Hazel Lake was killed last night,' Bruce said. 'Did you know her? She never harmed a soul, never did a bad thing in her life -' 'I expect she never did a thing. ' Bruce blinked. He looked like an angry badger. Blood flushed darkly into his face. 'I don't want your custom,' he said. ' Byron paused, the mug half raised.

But he saw nothing. At other moments, loathing his own fear, he would shout aloud as a challenge to the unseen beast and stand tense and strained, listening for an answer that did not come, listening to silence on those anechoic moors. Wetherby was not a man of fear. He had never taken deliberate chances as Byron did, but he had never declined a necessary risk. He had followed wounded lions into thick bush and faced charging buffalo with steady nerves, but this uncertainty ate at his courage, the sensation of being watched from the dark devoured his confidence, and he knew he would soon begin to make mistakes; knew he could afford no mistakes; began to believe that Byron had been right, that he had lost his skill and grown soft.

It was hatred of himself. He stared at that hand that was so willing to seek help, and he hated himself so much that it was unbearable, that the hatred had to be transferred to save his mind. He stepped out of the booth and let the door swing gently closed on Rose's leg, moved away from the lane and looked at the ground. The tracks were there. He followed them. He was not being cautious now. He was possessed, and caution was there because it was part of his possession; not because he was afraid, but because he must live to kill.

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12th Pan Book of Horror by HERBERT VAN THAL


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