don’t get it, all power goes off tomorrow at midnight.”
Blake’s gasp could be heard loudly in the room as he stared at the gorilla-like figure. The other men suddenly buzzed excited whispers at each other. There was an air of tremendous relief in the room.
Five million. It was a huge sum. But it was so much less than the men had feared would be demanded that it plainly seemed almost reasonable to them.
Ryan, by concerted whispers and nods, became spokesman. He had reconsidered his resolve to pay no blackmail.
“We’ll meet that demand, Nevlo. You will get your five million dollars before tomorrow night. But in return we shall expect you to show us how you are able to shut off power in such a wholesale manner. We must know, so that we can guard against it in the future. We can’t face such demands as this every few months—”
The butler stuck his head in the door again. Blake glared at him. But the glare was wasted. The butler wasn’t even looking at his master. He eyed all of them, helplessly, fearfully, and bleated:
“I . . . sirs . . . good heavens! There is another Nevlo here!”
A chair crashed as Blake sprang up, mouth open with amazement and terror.
“Pearson, you’re mad! Another Nevlo—”
The butler was shoved violently aside, and into the room waddled a second monstrous gorilla figure.
Line for line, its face was the same as the first Nevlo’s face. In posture, movement, and in every other way, here were twin monstrosities.
Ryan’s profane exclamation ripped out:
“Here’s a fine one! Which is which? What the hell is this, anyhow?”
A scream of rage and fright came from the writhing lips of the second visitor. He turned and fled away down the hall.
And after him went the first one.
As The Avenger pursued the misshapen being who had come to Blake’s home just a few minutes too soon, he took from his eyeballs the tinted eye cups that made black eyes of his colorless orbs. He couldn’t see very well through them, and there was, in addition, the risk of their being broken in any violent struggle and impairing his sight.
But there was not, it seemed, to be violence. At least not the hand-to-hand kind. The racing, crouching figure before him had come with a bodyguard.
As Benson leaped from the front door and crossed the porch in a single lithe stride, shots burst out from both ends of the house.
The Avenger’s body jerked as two slugs hit him. They were stopped by his bulletproof undergarments, but the impact of a .45 bullet is very heavy. The rest of the shots missed their flickering target.
At the curb was a sedan that sagged on its tires in a way to indicate that it was armored. The fleeing figure ahead of The Avenger leaped into this. The car started away.
Out of its leg holster leaped the little special .22, Mike. It whispered twice as The Avenger raced toward the car. A bullet went into each rear tire; but, as Benson had thought, they were filled with petroleum jelly and immune to bullets. The car sped on.
A dozen men were running after Dick Benson, now, shooting as they came. With so many, some one bullet would be bound, in a few seconds, to get him either in the head or the legs, where his celluglass garment did not extend to shield him from slugs.
Down the street, a little distance from where the sedan had been, were two other cars, used also by this gang when they came with their crippled, mad leader. Dick reached the first of these and sprang in.
Bullets ripped through windshield and windows. This was an ordinary stolen car, not bullet-proofed.
The Avenger slid out the other side and went back to the second car. White spots appeared on glass, but the slugs making them did not penetrate. This car was bulletproof. He slammed into gear and rolled after the vanished sedan, with the men behind yelling their fury and fruitlessly emptying their guns at him.
In his made-up face, The Avenger’s eyes were like glacial ice under a polar dawn. He had gotten clear of a death