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Midnight Part 39

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Hazel Gresham nodded. She advanced toward Carroll. Every drop of color had been drained from her cheeks. Her manner indicated intense nervous strain. Her eyes were wide and fixed--

"I would like to speak to you alone, Mr. Carroll."

"Yes--This is Chief Leverage, Miss Gresham."

Leverage acknowledged the introduction and would have left but the girl stopped him. "On second thought, Mr. Leverage--you might remain."

Eric paused. His eyes sought Carroll's face. Both men knew that something vitally unexpected was about to be disclosed. They waited for the girl to speak--and when she did her voice was so low as to be almost unintelligible.

"About a half hour ago, gentlemen--I read the story in The Star.

I--I--" she faltered for a moment, then went bravely on--"I came right down--to save you the trouble of sending for me!"

Silence: tense--expectant. "You did _what?"_ queried Carroll.

"I came down--to save you the trouble--the embarra.s.sment--of sending for me." She looked at them eagerly. "I have come to give myself up!"

Carroll frowned. "For what?"

"For--for the murder of--Roland Warren!"

The detective shook his head. "I don't understand, Miss Gresham. Really I don't. Do you mean to tell me that _you_ were the woman in the taxicab?"

She was biting her lips nervously. "Yes."

"And that you shot Roland Warren?"

"Y-yes--And when I read in the paper that you knew who did it--I came right down here. I didn't want to--to--to be brought down--in a patrol wagon."

"I see--" Wild thoughts were chasing one another through Carroll's brain. He was beginning to see light. "You are quite _sure_ that you killed Mr. Warren?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Why do you doubt me? Don't you suppose that I know whether I killed him? Don't you suppose I can prove that I did it--"

"Yes--I suppose you can. I wonder, Miss Gresham," and Carroll's voice was very, very gentle, "if you would wait in that room yonder for a few minutes?"

"Certainly--" She raised her head pleadingly: "You _do_ believe me, don't you?"

Carroll dodged the issue. "I want to think."

Alone with Leverage, Carroll clenched his fist--"If that isn't the most peculiar--"

"She's not telling the truth, is she, David?"

"Certainly not. She couldn't smash her own alibi if she tried a million years."

He paced the room, walking in quick, jerky steps. Finally his face cleared and he stopped before Leverage's chair.

"I've got it!" he announced triumphantly.

"Got what?"

"Never mind," Carroll was surcharged with suppressed excitement. "I want you to do something for me, Leverage--and do it promptly."

"Sure--"

"Send Cartwright and bring Garry Gresham here."

"Garry Gresham?"

"Yes--the young lady's brother."

Leverage was bewildered. "What in the world do you want with him?"

"I want him," explained Carroll confidently--"because _Garry Gresham is the man who shot Warren!"_

CHAPTER XXII

THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED

Within an hour Garry Gresham appeared at headquarters in the company of Cartwright. The officer left the room and the three men were alone.

Gresham's manner was nervous, but he showed no fright. Leverage, regarding him keenly, found reason to doubt Carroll's positive statement that Gresham was the person they sought. The young man stood facing them bravely, waiting--

"Gresham," said Carroll softly, "Your sister is in that room yonder. She read the afternoon paper--the report that I knew who killed Roland Warren. She immediately came here to give herself up."

An expression of utter bewilderment crossed young Gresham's face. Then he started forward angrily: "Why are you lying to me--"

"Easy, Gresham--easy there. I am not lying to you."

He saw Garry's eyes dart to the door behind which the sister was seated.

"What did she give herself up for, Carroll?"

"For killing Roland Warren."

Gresham took a firm grip on himself. "She didn't do it," he stated positively.

"Of course not," returned Carroll with equal a.s.surance. "_You_ did! And so that you will be quite convinced that I am not trying to trick you into the confession which I am sure you will make--" He crossed the room and flung open the door. "Come in, please, Miss Gresham."

The girl entered quietly--then saw her brother. Instantly her manner softened. She stepped swiftly to his side and took his hand in hers.

"Please, Garry--"

Gresham smiled; a tender, affectionate smile.

"Good scout, aren't you, Sis? But tell me," his tone was conversational, "how did you know that I shot Roland Warren?"

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Midnight Part 39 summary

You're reading Midnight. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Octavus Roy Cohen. Already has 573 views.

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