The Sandman 3
Chapter One Nightmares and Dreams. 13
Chapter Two Dark Interval 33
Chapter Three Gathering Storm 45
Chapter Four Ritualised Murder. 52
Chapter Five A Clash of Ego's 60
Chapter Six Exposure. 71
Chapter Seven The Grains of Sand. 83
Chapter Eight To and Fro 94
Chapter Nine Signs of the Times 106
Chapter Ten Zero Hour. 121
Epilogue One The Fight. 133
Post Script 139
Blacklight and Lightening Flash 141
Where:- New Amsterdam. Earth Seven.
Date:- Monday 7th February 1938
Time. 7 O'clock pm
Place:- Apartment 331 on 52 Avenue.
Leon Watchmier sat in his over stuffed chair, whisky sour in one hand a cigar in the other, feeling pleased with himself.
He looked down at his newest acquisition a half hunter watch and sighed.
He looked up straight into the eyes of the image of death in a suit.
He started and raised his hand as if to ward off a blow.
The wide mouth pistol aimed at his head suddenly erupted in greenish yellow vapour.
Without a sound Leon slumped back in his chair.
The intruder caught sight of himself in the mirror and gave himself a quick self appraisal.
The figure was quite short standing around five foot four. He was dressed immaculately in a dark green double breasted suit with a sleeveless opera cape over the top. Dove grey gloves and a fedora pulled low at the front shading his face, and what a face. His face looked like that of a skeleton but on closer examination would reveal that it was a British gas mask.
The figure chuckled a moment as it turned to confront the slack jawed Leon who sat staring fearfully ahead.
He touch Leon's forehead and entered his dream, his nightmare.
Leon shook himself and reached for his gun that laid incongruously amongst the glasses and lighter.
"Do you think that will help you Leon?" The apparition hissed as smoke trickled out of the eye sockets. "You can not kill me here in my domain."
"Well see about that?" Leon fired at almost blank point range only to watch smoke curl out of the holes he had produced in the figures body. Shell after shell he pumped into the body with no effect. Leon even threw the pistol at the figure in panic.
The figure laughed.
"You have been a naughty boy Leon." The figure hissed as it thrust its skeletal face into his.
Leon could smell the brimstone on its breath.
"Sean Dixon has left you high and dry. He's going to let you take the rap! Where are the books Leon, where are the ledgers? You see I know you have been laundering his dirty money." The figure tipped back its head and gave a maniacal laugh as it gestured around them. "Welcome to your own version of hell!"
Around them had appeared several people, people Leon knew, on instruments of torture.
"Please no, no!" Leon began to babble. "Behind the picture in the safe."
Leon screamed in terror as a red skinned horned devil extended its incredibly long tongue toward him.
"And the combination?"
Leon told him as the devil drew its black nailed fingers down his face.
"Please, please save me!" Leon was weeping and shaking with terror.
The intruder drew back from Leon and looked at the mumbling twitching figure in the chair.
"Ah that wasn't that difficult was it." He sprayed another gas into Leon's face. He checked Leon's pulse and breathing satisfying himself no permanent harm had been done and that he was fully asleep.
He crossed over to the picture and swung it open to reveal the safe.
"Let's see, what were the numbers again. Oh yes." He muttered to himself.
Within moments he had two ledgers spread out on the table under the light of a desk lamp.
"Naughty, naughty Leon. Two ledgers one for inspection and the other the real one." He leaned across and picked up the phone.
Detective Sergeant Monroe lent back in his chair and tapped his teeth with his pencil.
Sean Monroe was a tall slightly ungainly figure dressed in what passed as a uniform for him of beige raincoat and tatty hat shoved to the back of his head.
His eyes were startling and no one felt comfortable under their gaze. One was an icy grey blue and the other a warm deep brown.
Sean once said that this allows him to play both bad cop good cop at the same time.
The phone began to ring.
He looked at it a moment before lazily picking it up.
"Monroe." He said with a yawn.
The next few words made him sit bolt upright with intense concentration.
"The sleeper awakes." The hoarse voice muttered.
"The waking ear hears." Monroe said equally quietly.
"Monroe go to the apartment of Leon Watchmier , Apartment 331 on 52nd Avenue. There are two ledgers under the lamp showing how he is laundering Sean's dirty money." The wheezing voice sent a shiver down Monroe's neck as he remembered how that voice had pulled a drunken bum of a policeman out of the gutter and gave him a second chance. "We need to find his brother Israel. Phone the following number and ask whoever answers to find him. Understood?"
Moments later he realised that the caller had gone and he put the phone back into its cradle. He sat with his fingers steeple together for a moment.
Around him the office went silent recognising his mood.
He nodded to himself.
"News sergeant?" Officer Benton asked tentatively.
"Hmm." Monroe looked up puzzled for a moment before smiling a broad grin.
"You could say that Ben." He turned to the others in the room. "I want a green and white down stairs in fifteen minutes. Ben, you and Toby with me. Michael I want an all points bulletin put out for Israel Watchmier. Approach with caution may be armed. Then take a team to 52nd avenue and knock on some doors. I want to know if he has so much as passed wind. Why are you still here? Go!"
To their credit they soon emptied the room.
Monroe looked at the phone a moment before picking it up and dialling the number he had been given.
"Hello." An oriental voice answered.
"The sleeper awakes." Monroe said.
"The waking ear hears." Came the reply.
"The boss wants you to put out a call to find Israel Watchmier. He is not to be approached as he may be armed."
"The boss. Usual method." Monroe twisted the black jet stoned ring on his finger.
"Thank you. It shall be done." The line went dead.
Monroe put the phone back on its cradle with a shiver.
He knew that the boss had agents all over the city like a spiders web ready to catch what ever fell into it. It made him feel cold that he didn't know who they were.
Pulling himself together he went downstairs to join the others.
The Green and White patrol car sat behind his sedan.
"No sirens and lights understand boys." he said to the uniformed officer behind the wheel.
"Ben you drive ours."
The burly officer nodded.
It didn't take them too long, winding through the traffic, to reach their destination. Once there he had the caretaker unlock Leon's apartment.
Monroe stood on the threshold a moment to assess the situation. He crossed to the ledgers that lay in the pool of light.
"Ben make Mr Watchmier a coffee and when he is fully awake read him his rights. Toby bag these up and anything in the safes."
"I think you might want to see this sergeant." Ben called as he propped the waking Leon up.
On the small table beside him was a tightly typed note and a scattering of fine white sand.
Even though he knew what it said Monroe still read it.
"There is nowhere that evil can hide, for in dreams that are my domain, they will face justice and shame.
As poetry go it wasn't any Will Shakespeare or Keats but it was good enough to put a icy chill down Monroe's neck.
Back at the precinct house Monroe sat nervously chewing on a nail as he reviewed his case notes.
"I don't know what you're so worried about Sarge old Leon is singing like a canary downstairs." Ben quipped handing Monroe a hot cup of coffee.
"That brief of his is as slippery as a snake oil salesman and could get him off on a technicality. To make this work we need his brother Israel." He took a scolding sip of coffee and sighed appreciatively.
"No sign I suppose?"
Ben shook his head.
"Not yet Sarge but we've only started knocking on doors."
The phone rang.
"The sleeper awakes." The oriental voice said.
Monroe looked up into Ben's face hoping he understood his need for privacy. Thankfully Ben nodded and walked away.
"The waking ear hears."
"Your target is in china town. Go to the Golden Pagoda to receive further instructions." Then the receiver went down.
"Ben!" Monroe called.
Ben came at the double.
"You got news Sergeant?" He asked breathlessly.
"Yes. My contact in China Town has located him. Do we have anyone that can speak Chinese?"
"No we haven't but there is a young officer in traffic who's of Chinese descent." Ben replied.
"Get him. I don't know how you do it but get him." Monroe shoved his hat on the back of his head. "I want a Green and White downstairs along with four of you. Ben and the rookie with me."
Thirty minutes later they pulled up a short distance from the Golden Pagoda.
"How good did you say your Mandarin was son?" Monroe asked.
"I can get by okay." The slim young oriental officer replied.
"You lot stay put."
Monroe got out of the car and slowly walked up toward the restaurant and then did something baffling as far as the officers left in the car were concerned.
Monroe instead of going up to the main door he turned toward the narrow alley beside it he then turned so his back was towards it. He nodded twice then returned to the car.
"Israel is in the store opposite. Its a front for a opium den and illegal gambling club." Monroe briefed his men. "Tony Li and I are going through the front door. I want Polish Mike to take the uniforms around the back should he bolt for it. Mike you guard the front. Ben you better come with me it'll look more realistic and a pair of extra hands may come in useful."
The main door had a hatch in it which flew backward in response to their knock.
A pair of almond shaped eyes studied them intently.
"Honourable master." Tony began in mandarin. "These white faces hired me to find them a good time then I heard of you. So I bring them."
"Who told you?"
"Israel." He got no further as the door opened to let them in.
They climbed to the second level becoming more aware of the sweet smell of drugged tobacco in the air.
The second floor was full of little curtained off cubicles where men and women lounged lost in their own drug induced dreams.
"He wants to know if you want to chase the dragon." Tony told Monroe.
"Tell him no not at the moment. I wish to join Israel in a game of chance, if he is here that is." The little man nodded before Tony Li translated making it obvious that he at least understood English even if he couldn't speak it.
"I hope all this is worth it." Ben grumbled. "You promised me a woman for the night."
Monroe appreciated his partners play acting.
"Oh believe me it will be." He said.
The third floor was full of curtained off cubicles like the first but here semi naked oriental woman lounged erotically waiting for a mark.
"No Ben save them for later I've money on the hip that's burning a hole in my pocket."
Ben nodded and gave the women a wave.
They entered the fourth floor and had to stop awhile in amazement. Before them was a perfect replica of a casino.
Men in tuxedos played craps, poker and roulette whilst stunning oriental women circulated with drinks and cigarettes or hung off a punters arm.
Israel was playing Black Jack near the rear door. He wasn't having much luck as with a curse he asked one of the women to get him more chips.
Monroe sat down beside Israel while Ben and Tony stood behind him.
Israel studied his cards a moment before making a sizeable bet.
He turned over his cards for the croupier to see.
The croupier turned over hers.
"Nine. The bank wins."
Israel swore heavily.
"Hello Israel. You're not having much luck are you." Monroe said quietly.
"Hah, I'll soon win that back friend I've got a photographic memory for the cards." Israel did a double take as he took in Monroe's warrant card.
"Now Israel don't make a scene. We'll walk out nice and peaceful like." Monroe took some of Israel's chips and played a hand.
He Placed his bet.
"Nine." her said turning over the card.
"Seven. Client wins."
Monroe pocketed the winnings and threw a chip to the croupier as a tip.
The two men got up and joining the two others as they made their way across the floor.
A Chinese man built the size of a wardrobe crossed over with a scowl on his face but he soon backed up as Monroe pulled back his coat just enough for him to see the hilt of his revolver.
"Pity about the girls." Ben said wistfully as they passed through the brothel.
"Shame on you Ben, you a married man and all." Monroe quipped back.
One of the girls, her eyes wide from drug use, slinked over to them, her bare breast waving hypnotically as she danced closer.
"You want good time. I'm very clean girl. Very skilled."
At the very moment she draped herself over Monroe Israel made a break for it.
He dashed down the corridor created by the partitions toward the fire escape only for a shadowy figure to step out from the smoky gloom and lay a haymaker to his chin.
Israel crumpled as the figure vanished back into the darkness.
The Sandman had struck again.
He was still grinning when they got back to the precinct house.
The Captain entered the bustling office and made a bee line for Monroe.
"So you managed to get Israel?" He said sourly.
"Yes Sir. They're down stairs singing like Canaries, the pair of them. We've enough to take Dixon down for a very long time."
"Go get him and do try and get there before the Sandman does. I'm getting highly sick of his interference." Turned and went to leave. "I'm trying to get him but the Chief won't hear of it. But rest assured I will get him."
A short while after the Captain had left the telephone rang.
"Monroe." Monroe suddenly sat upright as he listened intently to the voice at the other end. He put down the receiver.
"Ben, Polish Mike!" He called. "We can pick up Dixon on the junction of 23rd and main. Go get him will you."
As they left they could have sworn they heard Monroe singing under his breath.
"Oh Mr Sandman bring me a dream, make her the cutest one I've ever seen." Monroe smiled and chuckled. "Andrew sisters eat your heart out."Chapter One Nightmares and Dreams.
Morpheus had spread his wing over the land drawing the towns folk sleepily into his arms, but for one this is no time of rest.
His face is pale and soaked with sweat as he tossed and turned. Garbled sound and confused images assailed him threatening to drive him insane.
Wesley Dodds sat upright in his bed his eyes wide open but still in the grip of the night terror that was so real.
The young woman who shared his bed sat up and gently took his shaking form into her arms.
"It's alright Wes you're safe, everything is ok."
Dian Belmont, socialite and daughter of the District Attorney, was used to her lovers night terrors and quickly fell into the routine he had devised.
She picked up the writing pad and pencil off the bedside cabinet.
"When?" She asked starting to go down the check list.
"Two days ago."
"Various. Little Venice, China Town and Harlem."
"Women kidnapped. Tortured."
"Name's?" This point was critical as he rarely had a name.
"Elizabeth Lorriette. A debutant. A prostitute?"
"Anything else?" Dian asked as Wes got up and slipped into his expensive dressing gown.
"No nothing it's already fading." Wes told her as Dian similarly attired joined him.
As they entered the study the mantle clock struck three am.
The room was dimly lit save for a desk lamp that shone down on a pot of freshly made coffee and a plate of cookies.
Behind the desk stood a thickset man in his forties dressed in a threadbare tartan dressing gown and bright blue slippers.
"Thank you Murphy." Dian said as she poured Wes a cup.
"My pleasure Miss Dian." His voice carried a thick Irish accent. "Do you need me any further Master Wesley?"
"No thank you old friend. You have surpassed yourself as usual." Wes's voice had echoes of his middleclass English background.
Even now his younger brother Alexander, Zander to his friends, was back in England in a boarding school.
"Good night Miss, Sir."
"Goodnight Murphy." Dian said as she helped herself to a cookie.
"Goodnight Murphy." Wes took the brandy class that had been warming in its cradle and sat down in his old, worn, wing backed chair with the cognac he had poured.
After Wesley's butler had gone Dian settled into the other armchair and asked how Murphy knew they would be up at this ungodly hour, as she put it.
"It is not that difficult to predict as I have a run of bad nights waking up around the same time each night."
"I suppose so." Dian sat forward in her chair. "Are you going to see the good doctor tomorrow."
"Yes. I've an appointment with Charles at eleven at the Free."
Charles McNider was the foremost authority on illnesses and conditions of the eye as well as a close personal friend.
"I'm going back to Daddies for a few days but I can delay it if you want me to come with you." Dian took a bite of her cookie. "These are really nice what are they?"
"I get them ship over from England when I can. They are called Bath Oliver's." Wes smiled warmly at her. "No I'll be fine, it's not as if Charles is going to operate on me, were just going to have a chat."
"Okay if you are sure."
Dian was a slim, graceful, young woman standing at an imposing six foot with a shock of jet black hair and highly intelligent looking hazel eyes. Her Boston accented voice fell like music to Wes's ears.
"While at daddies I'll gently pump him for information just in case." She finished her coffee and yawned mightily. "I'm going back to bed are you coming?"
"Later perhaps but for the moment I'll sit here and get the night air."
"Don't stay up to long darling you've a busy day tomorrow." She kissed his forehead and went to bed understanding his need to be alone for awhile.
Wes sat back and stared out into the dark Italian garden.
Henry Belmont lived in a large mansion on the outskirts of town in the most affluent area where he rubbed shoulders with actors, politicians and oil barons. A fitting address for the District Attorney, or DA as he was called, to live in.
The drawing room was heavily adorned with oak panels and heroic frontier images.
It reflected Henries taste well, that of a no nonsense man.
Henry was tall, standing around six foot, and built like a quarterback. His hair, what was left of it, was a shiny steel grey, his eyes deep brown.
His demeanour was strict and business like to all except, except, when dealing with his daughter, then he was at six and eights.
"And what has you poor father done to deserve a visit from the cities leading socialite." He gave a grin. "More money for partying perhaps?"
He took his eyes off the myriad sheets of paper that were scattered over the desks surface.
Dian slinked over to the DA and sat on the corner of the desk, drawing small circles with a finger on the wood looking for all the world like a little girl trying to get her father to buy her an ice cream.
"That would be handy daddy you can't have enough in the party season." She gave him a winning smile. "But I've come for something more important."
"I'm intrigued. Don't tell me you've finally agreed to marry Wesley, the poor man doesn't know where he is?"
"No Daddy. It's not broken so why try and fix it."
"Have you ever wondered how it reflects on me in the publics eye." Henry said seriously.
"No Daddy. You're ugly enough to survive."
"Then what is this all about then."
Dian put a Black Russian cigarette into the long holder and lit it as she explained why she had come.
"The girls and I where at the new little nightclub just off Broadway. You know the one called the camel or some such thing. Well." She took a draw of the cigarette and blew a perfect smoke ring. "We got to talking and we started wondering what had happened to two of the girls, Elizabeth Lorriette and another one who to be honest I can't remember the name of." Dian secretly watched her fathers face. "Some of the girls think they have been kidnapped and sold to Arab princes for their harems as part of the white slave trade or kidnapped for ransom money."
"What a load of rubbish you girls do talk. Lorriette has probably run off with a boy have you ever thought of that?"
"Daddy can I have a job, I mean here with you." She pointed at her father with the cigarette holder . "I could answer the phone, remind you of appointments coming up, and help you investigate."
"No you can't I've staff that are perfectly capable to do all that. I know you you're thinking of investigating yourself. I don't want you to dealt with all this silliness and that goes for your friends too." Henry ranted.
Their was a knock at the door and a junior officer looked in.
"The Chief of Police wishes to see you sir." The young man seemed ill at ease.
"Very well. Dian go with." He paused searching for the mans name. "Harvey Dent isn't it."
The man nodded.
"Go with Harvey Dent here and fetch your uncle. And no badgering him over those silly idea's."
Richard Belmont, the chief of police, was a total antithesis from his brother. He was short and slim with a full head of golden blond hair.
He looked like some form of matinee idol as he stood there in his blue uniform waiting for Dian.
"Hello Uncle." She kissed his cheek.
The smile that was never far from his lips beamed out at her.
"Daddies in the office. The beast won't give me a job, I don't suppose you could convince him?"
"No I don't think so. You know how protective he is over you."
"Too protective it can be stifling sometimes."
"Have you accepted Wesley's proposal yet?"
"You're just as bad as daddy."
"Hardly surprising we are brothers after all."
She led him into the drawing room and while the two men greeted each other she secreted herself into the old winged arm chair by the fire. Curling herself up into a ball she settled to listen.
Henry glanced around and having no sight of Dian assumed she had taken herself off somewhere.
"Any news Dick?"
"None you'd want to hear Henry. I've men trawling through the missing persons records while others are pounding the street and still nothing." Dick accepted the Bourbon Henry had poured for him and sipped it gratefully. "We have nothing to go on except that there has been ten young women from the ages of eighteen to thirty who have gone missing. They are all from different social class and have all disappeared mysteriously. One disappeared while with eight of her friends going to a party. One moment she was there then she was gone."
"Dian was in earlier angling for a job so she could track down a couple of the girls she had heard had gone missing. Heaven help us they think they have been sold into white slavery." Henry told him. "We are not going to be able to keep it quiet for much longer."
"How did she hear about it we've had this sealed tighter than a drum?"
"She and her friends were talking about it at a nightclub in town."
"Well if it does come out into the open we are going to look sad sacks with nothing to give them. The press will have a field day." Dick grimaced as he took another drink of his whisky. "And for the record we can't even rule out white slavery."
"A serial killer?" Henry topped up his brothers glass.
"If there is I'd like to know where he's hidden the bodies, come to think of I'd like to know where he's holding them if they are still alive. Ten women together should show up on someone's radar." He walked to the fire making Dian cringe in her hiding place but thankfully he didn't see her.
The phone rang on the desk.
"Belmont?" He looked up into his brothers face with growing horror. "Right thank you. Touch nothing till we get there."
He put the phone back into its cradle.
"They've found one. God help us she's been strung up to a lamppost in China town by piano wire."
"So it begins." Dick shot back the whiskey in one and shook from the effect. "We could do with those so called mystery men about now."
"If they stick their heads over the parapet we arrest them?"
"Not on my shift they won't. I've a green and white with my personal driver outside we'll use that."
The DA put on his coat and followed his brother from the room frowning all the time.
Dian uncurled from the chair and stood a moment in shock from what she had heard, frozen by indecision.
She crossed to the phone and sent out a message.
A message that could save the city and she hoped the nine remaining lives of the women.
The Ritz tea room was quite busy for the time of day with waitresses scurrying back and forth like demented Magpies.
Wes sipped at his Earl Grey cup of tea as Dian sat down in front of him. He beckoned a waitress over.
"Could I have jug of coffee for my guest and a plate of fondant fancy cakes please."
The woman bobbed in front of him before bustling away to deal with Wes's order.
There was seldom a time they didn't feel comfortable in each others company but this was one of them.
"How did you get on seeing Charles?" She said finally screwing up the courage to ask.
"Not as well as I hoped." He replied at last as he poured out the newly arrived coffee into her cup.
The Royal Free hospital was run not from the health insurance of people but out of donations. This attitude meant they could tend to the poorer levels of society.
Wesley was sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the outer office of the respected eye expert, Doctor Charles Donald McNider, who as it happens was a close friend.
"He won't be long sir." Myra Manson, Charles's nurse, fellow researcher and companion, was a pretty blond made all the more ravishing buy her immaculate white nurses uniform.
The words were hardly out of her mouth when the inner door opened and the good Doctor lent out.
"Come in Wesley. Myra I don't want to be disturbed for the next hour." He swung his head around making the light reflect of his deep red tinted spectacles.
"Do you need me to take notes Charles?" Myra's voice was sweet like honey.
"No that's okay this is a personal meeting, but thank you anyway."
Charles McNider was around 5ft 8in to 5ft 9in tall with tightly cropped iron grey hair. His face was that of an artist as were his long fingers.
Hidden by the spectacles where two white filmed eyes surrounded by scars. Charles was blind.
Wesley followed Charles into the dimly lit office and sat down in a comfortable arm chair facing the roaring fire.
Charles, his cane in hand, negotiated the more clinical part of the room easily to join Wesley by the fire.
The story of how Charles had lost his sight was etched in history. The story of how the eminent eye surgeon had lost his sigh was the stuff of legend.
Charles, with Myra, were treating a Mafioso, who had agreed to turn states evidence, for a cataract when something smashed through the private rooms window. It was a hand grenade.
Charles reacted swiftly over turning the examination bed and dragging both Myra and the crook behind it. But he didn't get down swiftly enough. The grenade exploded and the shrapnel ripped into his eyes blinding him.
"Still loosing sleep Wes?" The Doctors voice was deep and warm.
"Yes sometimes. The disturbed nights come in groups of three or four then nothing for awhile."
"And you can't link it to any obvious source like cheese or something?"
"No they don't seemed to be linked to anything I've eaten or drank." He paused. "They seem to be related to news events." He paused again. "Normally before they have happened."
"How are you sure that is the case Wesley?" It is to Charles's credit that he didn't dismiss the idea out of hand.
"Dian writes it all down before I forget again."
As Wes sat back he reached for his glass but in the gloom he had misjudged it. Instead of successfully taking the class he catapulted it toward the tables edge. Charles caught it and replaced it accurately back on the table.
Charles took Wes pulse and blood pressure while he questioned him further.
"I'm reluctant to prescribe a sleeping draft as they prove quite addictive. But I have some herbal brews and relaxation breathing exercises that should help."
Wesley finished the cheese and cucumber sandwich, the last one on his plate.
"Is that all? Just some flower pills and teaching you how to breathe." Dian was incredulous.
"I shouldn't write it off if I were you you'll be needed to help me." Wesley smiled warmly. "Now what are you so desperate to tell me."
He lent forward and poured her another cup of coffee.
"Your dream was right. I over heard Uncle Dick telling daddy that ten women have vanished in unusual circumstances. There has been no ransom note.
We thought that they may have been kidnapped for the white slavery market."
"We?" Wes asked.
"The girls and I, from the club."
Wesley waved his hand as a request for her to carry on.
"Anyway that was what I thought until daddy got a call. They've found one of the women hung from a streetlight fitting in China Town."
Wes sighed once more.
"I wish I was wrong for once." He took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. "We've got the garden party to arrange for the war orphans charity I have set up."
"You think there'll be war then?" Dian squeezed his hand.
"I can't see how it can be avoided. And I don't need a prophetic dream to know that." He carefully put the glasses back on.
"Are you going to volunteer?" Dian asked trying to hide the worry from her voice.
"I don't think they would have me. Firstly because of my sight and secondly because dad's old industries could convert to do war work." Wesley replied. "How the American people will see that I honestly don't know. I've two factories retooling as we speak."
He signalled for the bill.
"I've a session at the 'Old Battery' booked so I won't be back till after six tonight. Murphy will rustle something up for you till I come home."
"I don't know why you go to that gym?" Dian sniffed.
"I know you like me as I am but I want to get rid of some of this paunch." Wes smiled at her winningly. "Don't go trying to investigate this with the girls. This person plays for keeps."
"Yes master." Dian mocked
The 'Old Battery' was a typical gym on the outskirts of the Bronx and Harlem, a place of hope for those who were desperate to flee the poverty.
The smell of liniment and honest sweat floated on the air.
Wesley was tucked into the corner bench pressing a bar bell. He lay on a beam with a barbell in a frame above him. Taking the barbell off its cradle he lowered it to his chest before pressing upward to straightened his arms.
Thus a rhythm was set up as Wesley punched iron.
"That's enough Wesley."
William 'Socko' Smith had had a reasonably profitable time as a middleweight and when he retired he had bought the gym and immersed himself into the role of trainer and promoter.
Socko helped Wesley put the barbell back and sit up.
Wesley noticed a couple of young men working the other side of the gym. Wes couldn't quite put his finger on it but there was something special about them.
They were chalk and cheese. The youngest was only five foot and slim while the other stood a good six foot six and was heavily muscled.
Wesley caught Socko's eye and nodded toward the young men.
"Two good prospects there. The little one is Alan Pratt a college student from Cal Tech. He's studying physical education and nuclear physics. He's a good light weight with some amateur bouts under his belt but I can't get him to step up to become a professional. " Socko shook his head with regret. "The tall one is Jim Harper, a police officer down in the Devils Kitchen. He's had several inter police and fire services bouts and has won them all. He's another who won't give up the day job."
"He's on Saturdays bill." A deep warm Canadian voice told them.
Wesley smiled a deep warm smile as he turned to embrace the newcomer in a friendly bear hug.
"Good to see you Ted."
"Good to see you Wes."
Ted Grant was a massive gentle giant of a man. His ebony black skin shinning in the low lighting.
"Are you coming to see the fight?" Ted asked.
"Yes of course I am. I've two tickets one for me the other for Dian." He smiled up at the man. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Ted loomed over the two men like a cliff his eyes bright and his humour displayed clearly. Ted had had a meteoric rise through the ranks of boxers and had won his first world title six months ago. Socko had managed to get Ted a crack at Rocky Marciano the present holder of the other two world belts.
If he was to win he would be allowed to call himself the undisputed champion of the world and more than that he would be the first black man to hold the title.
"I've a benefit garden party for War Child coming up. This Sunday actually. Consider yourself invited."
"I'll be there regardless of what happens at Fridays fight." Ted was a highly intelligent ex student who boosted his income by doing boxing articles for the Daily Planet when he wasn't making personal appearances for his numerous charities.
"Remember to bring your belts big man." Wesley clapped his hand on to Teds muscular shoulder.
"Socko won't let me forget. Is it a black tie event?"
"No it's outside in the grounds so smart casual will be fine. Remember to bring your cheque book as there is going to be an auction at the end."
Ted gave a deep rolling laugh.
"No one is going to buy you not with Dian around."
Monroe crossed over the road at the back of the station house and made his way toward the hot dog seller at the entrance to the small park.
"Good evening Sergeant." The old Italian vendor smiled at him his heavily lined face resembling a prune.
"Good evening Luigi." Monroe smiled at the old vendor.
Standing quietly but attentively was one of the old mans grandchildren.
"The boss wants a copy of the post mortem on the woman found hanged in china town."
Monroe looked sideways at the young man at the cart.
"Don't you worry about him he is going to take over the business when I retire this fall." The young man lifted his hand to display the jet ring on his finger. "The boss entered his dreams and approves."
"I can't get a copy of the post mortem but I can arrange for it to be left on my desk for him to look at. I'll take my officers across to John Jo's bar and diner for a drink to give him undisturbed access. Say about seven o'clock for an hour."
"I'll let the Boss know." Suddenly behind them the youngster burst into life.
"One Frankfurter with sauce." He said loudly.
A portly uniformed police officer was making his was down the side walk toward them.
As the officer arrived he found Monroe tucking into a hot hotdog.
"No let me guess officer. A chilli dog with everything." The young boy said.
"You better make that two I've a long night ahead." He nodded at Monroe. "You on the kidnaps too Sergeant?"
Monroe could only nod as his mouth was stuffed full of hot dog.
"We're down in china town knocking on doors to see if anyone saw the body being put up on the lamp post. If they did I doubt they will say anything for fear of the tongs." He collected his purchases and disappeared into the park to find a spot to eat his hot dogs.
Luigi shook his head.
"I do not know where he puts it or how he copes with its heat. We put the hottest chilli we can find in his hotdog and still he's unaffected. I will send your massage to the boss immediately."
"Thank you Luigi."
"Good night old friend."
When the time arrived Monroe threw down his pen.
"All right heads up people." All twelve of them went silent. "We've done good on the Dixons case so everyone to the John Jo's and I'm paying."
A ragged cheer went up before they followed him out of the office and across to the diner and bar that was opposite the front of the precinct house.
A few moments later the shape of the Sandman appeared from the shadows and began studying the documents on Monroe's desk. The figure paused to take micro film photographs with a tiny camera.
The door knob of the office turned and the Captain entered the office to find it totally empty.
"Wait till I get my hands on you Monroe." He muttered darkly.
"Monroe's not in there Captain the Chief has given him permission to treat his team for dealing with the Dixon case over at John Jo's for an hour." A passing officer told him.
The Captain shut the door and walked away with a growl.
Inside the Sandman put the finishing touches together before vanishing into the darkness.
Moments later a loud chattering group of officers returned to the office.
Monroe crossed to his desk and laid his hand on the neatly arranged document feeling the grains of sand that had been placed there.
"Right you lot back to work we've nine other women to find and quickly before another death lands at our feet." Monroe crossed to the large evidence board. "This is the post mortem of the first victim. A Sally Endville."
Field the notes had told him, a waitress in a diner across town.
Sandman eased the officer who's job it was to protect the mortuary back into his chair. He snorted when he heard what the officer was listening to on the radio.
"The dammed Redskins again."
The officer gave a contented snore.
Sandman was soon in the area where the fridges held the bodies of the deceased.
He pulled open the draw that contained Sally's body and began to examine her against the copy of the post mortem report in his hand.
'A fair headed woman of about nineteen or twenty, virgin. Body shows multiple bruises, cuts and burns. Evidence of some form of torture.'
The eye sockets were empty.
'The removal of the eyes was carried out by a blunt instrument while the patient was still alive.'
Strangely the body wasn't killed by hanging but curiously by drowning.
With a shudder he closed the draw and left.
The sweet scent of roses wafted under the guards nose rousing him enough to catch the football score.
"Not the dammed Redskins again." The guard grunted as he got to his feet and began his rounds. He had taken only a few steps when he realised that the Redskins were his team. Looking a little puzzled he continued his round.
A short distance away Dian sat in her red roadster fingering nervously her black Jet drop earrings.
She didn't need to look at the figure who slid into the passenger seat and settled back into the shadows to know who it was.
"Where to?" She asked Sandman.
"The corner of 331st and 10th." Sandman turned his head to look at her for a moment before appearing to go to sleep.
Dian was dressed in black slacks, a red silk blouse and her hair caught up in a red scarf. She looked beautiful.
Arch, Archibald, Peyton had a face only a mother could love and even then only after a few whiskies.
Arch was a career criminal working for one of the gangs on the south side. He was a runner, a go between and an escort for the high class hookers under his care.
He took a puff of his cigar as he lent forward into the only light in the room from the desk lamp. A quick check of his cards he dropped two poker chips onto the growing mound.
"I'll raise you two hundred." He said sure his royal flush would be the winner.
"That's to rich for my blood." One of the three other players said throwing in his cards. "I'm out."
"That goes for me too." Said the second.
"That just leaves you Sonny?" Arch said in his whining irritating way.
Nobody moved or spoke as a face loomed out of the darkness behind Arch.
"Cheating again Arch." The head said.
Arch started as the other three went for the pistols they wore.
A wide mouth pistol appeared in the darkness and gave a derisory phut.
Everyone save for Arch and The Sandman were still.
"What do you want?" Arch asked with all the bluster he could conjure up.
Arch looked at the other three shadows sitting silently in the gloom.
"Asleep?" He asked.
"Asleep." The voice confirmed.
"I don't suppose I have a choice over helping you?" He said sarcastically.
"No, not really."
"What's the information you need?"
"The whereabouts of a prostitute."
"I've tabs on all my girls and a, shall we say, professional interest in the other teams. What's her name?"
"She's not one of my girls or one of the Irish's streetwalkers. That leaves us with two possibilities one that she is a free lance working the docks area, doing cheap and fast. Not my world at all."
"Of course not Arch." Sandman gave a hoarse cough like laugh. "And the second possibility?"
"She one of Madam Helena Bell's girls. She is one hard baked cookie that one, she'd as soon as rip your head off than talk to you." Arch shivered. "I don't envy you that one."
"I can be very persuasive."
"I know you can be but even using the gas stuff your going to find it difficult. The bitch isn't afraid of anything."
"Where is she?"
"She's got a luxury pad in Lincoln Tower. You'll have trouble getting in its like Fort Knox." He couldn't believe the others were so still.
"Thank you." The gas masked face withdrew.
One of the men opposite took a deep breath and coughed.
Sunny dropped a few poker chips on to the pile.
"I'll see you."
Smugly Arch laid his cards on the table.
"I don't believe it you were bluffing!" One of his opponents cried.
Arch looked down at his cards with horror to see two pairs of cards, two aces and two two's.
Sonny with a startled expression on his face laid down his cards. A Royal Flush.
Arch swore. The Sandman had switched their cards.
He lent back with a sigh.
"Have any of you heard of a prostitute called Elizabeth Lorriette?" He asked as he scooped up the cards to shuffle and deal them.
"The names familiar." Sonny said still a little stunned by what had happened. "I think she's one of Helena's special girls. Why?"
"I was thinking of offering a job with us but she'll be out of my league."
"Thank you Arch." Sandman whispered into his ear and then he was gone.
"Come on Arch deal the cards."
Arch dealt out the cards wondering what it was all about.Chapter Two Dark Interval
The room was dank and stunk of old urine and sweat. The walls were damp and covered with lichen.
Though it wasn't cold the nine women shivered in their solitary metal barbed cells.
A shape appeared out of the gloom. A small man. A small man that struck terror into their hearts.
"I think its time to play." His voice was child like and had a child's register. He crossed to where one of the women shrunk away into her cell. "Naughty, naughty."
Within moments she was screaming and soon the other women were too from the horrors they could see.
Dian was sipping a dry martini when Wesley finally managed to get home.
They greeted each other with a kiss
"Sorry that I'm later than I said Dian but things just ran on."
Dian said nothing she just raised her glass in salute.
Murphy appeared at his shoulder.
"Would you like a drink before dinner sir?" He asked.
"A Mint Julep please Murphy?"
"What is for dinner anyway Murphy?" Dian asked taking a long pull on her cigarette.
"Master Wesley's choice of drink is most fitting as I have prepared two lamb loins in mint gravy on a bed of buttered cabbage." The butler smiled at them both with the pride of a father who is watching his children excel.
"After I left you I popped in to see daddy but he wasn't in, he was still out with uncle Richard." She gave Wes a sultry scheming smile. "Daddy hadn't shut the safe properly."
"I think you mean you opened it darling." Wes grinned back.
"Oh alright. I had spotted daddy opening it before and memorized the combination. He says the numbers out loud when he is doing it, bless him, and I just happen to have a good memory."
"So have elephants my darling." Wes chortled.
"Do you want to hear what I found out or not."
"I'm all ears." Wesley nodded his thanks as he took his glass from the tray that Murphy held out to him.
"The report had a list of ten women's names, the ten victims."
She passed over a sheet of paper. "I wrote them down."
In her neat hand where the names, ages and occupations of the missing women.
'Ann Darkling 28 Policewoman seconded home abuse squad.
Jenny Purling 18 Debutant.
Michelle Harding 17 Veterinary Student Cal Tech.
Elizabeth Rosenberg 19 Shop Keeper.
Elizabeth Carlton 22 High class Escort.
Mary Sainsbury 16 Daughter of Jewish Rabbi.
Anne Maxwell 16 Shop Assistant.
Connie Black 30 Singer with the Kentucky Blue Notes.
Elaine Hawk 19 Housewife.
And the victim lying in the Morgue Alison Bentley 23 Photographic model.'
"Our girls not on the list." Wesley stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"So I've noticed." Dian replied. "She could be the next victim."
"Possibly. Shall we go to dinner." Wesley said dismissively. "I have got us a pair of corker seats for Ted's fight. It looks like it going to be a good bill. The fight before Ted's is an amateur inter-forces bout with a police officer they call The Guardian against a fireman."
The dinner passed pleasantly enough but it was obvious that Dian wasn't going to let sleeping dogs lie over the kidnappers.
"Really Wes!" She exclaimed as they sat sipping their coffee liquors in the study. "What does it take to get you to take things seriously. Your dream prophesied the poor girls death and you wouldn't lift a finger to stop it. It is not as if we can just look her up in the phone book is it."
"I say that's a good idea. Murphy bring Dian the local phone books will you please?"
The butler bowed his head in acceptance before giving Wes a knowing look.
"While you're doing that I'll phone around to some of my old Alma Marta for donations for the garden party." Wes got up and crossed over to Murphy where the two men had a hurried whispered conversation.
Wes gave a shrug as if trying to shift a heavy load into a more comfortable position before leaving the room.
Murphy followed a few moments later after delivering the phone books to Dian.
Still irritated Dian began the trawl through the pages.
"Its not as if he told me which one to look up." A few minutes later Dian was excitedly scribbling down her findings.
The phone rang on the desk where she sat making her jump. She ignored it for a moment expecting either Murphy or Wes to answer it as normal but when it carried on she answered it.
"Dobbs residence." She said distractedly.
"The sleeper awakes." The eerie hoarse voice said.
Dian almost dropped the phone in shock.
"The waking ear hears." She looked around her expecting to see the Sandman standing in the shadows.
"I need you to pick me up at the normal place. In one hour, wear dark clothes." The line went dead.
Dian put the phone back into its cradle deep in thought.
"Who was that darling?" Wes said as he entered the room.
"Pardon?" Dian shook herself out of her reverie.
"Who was that on the phone darling?" Wes smiled at her leaning on the fire surround.
"Someone who will help those women instead of ignoring them." Dian was rarely angry but this time she was very irritated.
"And who would that be?" Wes smiled that insufferable smile of his.
"The Sandman. I'm his driver." She hadn't meant to blurt it out but couldn't help herself. "I've got to go I'm picking him up in an hour."
Dian collected her things ready to go to her cloak room and change.
"Yes you've got to pick me up in an hour."
"Yes I've got to... Pardon me, pick up you?" It took a second for her to realize what he had said.
Wes just nodded and pressed the hidden switch that opened the panel to the priest hole.
The door swung open to reveal the Sandman's clothes on a shop mannequin.
"I'm sorry I haven't told you before but I was convince that your ignorance would keep you safe." Wes said quietly. "I was wrong."
Dian raged at him for a moment pummeling his chest before melting into his arms in a loving embrace.
Murphy smiled happy that Wesley had taken his advice.
Murphy took out the clothes and neatly arranged them ready for his master.
"Oh I nearly forgot I've managed to find the possible address's of four of them. I've added them to our list." She said.
"Well done my love." Wes kissed her again tenderly. "I've a possible lead on Elizabeth Lorriette. After you drop me I want you to meet up with your girl friends and see if you can find out anything about Jenny Purling and Lorriette. Anything that could connect them. Murphy could you get this film developed, it's of the post mortem."
Wes took the miniature camera out of his pocket and threw it to Murphy who caught it deftly.
"I will contact Mr Wayne's man Alfred, I believe he has the necessary equipment to develop the microfiche sir."
"Thank you my friend" He turned to Dian and gave her a loving pat on the backside. "Go get changed and meet me with the car as normal."
"See you in an hour then."
After she had left he changed into his Sandman clothes before checking meticulously each of the four pistols he wore.
With a nod of satisfaction he closed the priest hole door and with another press of a button opened another that lead to an elevator down into the basement.
In moments the room was empty save for Murphy clearing away the glasses.
He paused by the phone to order his thoughts before picking it up and dialling the number.
"The Wayne residence." A fruity English voice said at the other end.
"Alfred its Murphy. Yes I'm fine and you. Oh that's great." The men swapped pleasantries for a few moments before Murphy could get to the real reason he had phoned. "Master Wesley needs a micro dot film processed is it possible you can do it?"
"Of course old chap. With Master Bruce and the family away it'll give me the chance to do it." Alfred paused. "Is their anything else you would like me to do for you."
"I don't think so but I'll let you know. I'll send the film by courier."
After the film had been sent Murphy scanned Dian's list before sitting by the desk and phoning up those that Dian had highlighted.
Dian was sitting in her red roadster her mind still reeling from what Wes had shown her. The car door opened and the car dipped slightly as the Sandman entered.
Dian wasn't sure what to say now that she knew so stuck to formality.
"Where to boss."
"Little Venice and 32 Vine Street." The voice hissed as he settled back into the shadows.
It was at times like this that Dian felt, strangely, the most at ease. She felt she was doing something worth while.
"Do you want me to wait?" She asked.
"No, go and meet the girls as planned."
Twenty minutes later she was motoring to the foot lights club having left Sandman in the shadows of an elite park.
Little Venice as opposed to Little Italy was a desirable place for the well to do to show off at but it also had its darker side it was here that the high paid escorts plied their trade.
Slipping through the dark alleys and over the roof tops in a style that would become known as free running in later years he made his way to where his quarry lived and worked from.
Perched on a narrow ledge he place a microphone against the glass and listened to what was occurring inside the room.
"What can you tell me about Elizabeth Carlon." He said to himself.
The woman inside was approaching middle age but some how seemed more desirable than the two elegantly dressed young women before her.
She was giving them a dressing down.
"Tonight your paired with the Admiral and the Banker." They obviously didn't use the men's names relying on a code instead. "For God sake get them to buy the Champagne and food. Your last outing was pathetic. How many times have I got to tell you girls that is where we can really sting them. The drunker they get the better for us to fleece them."
She looked down at her paperwork.
"You still here?" She said.
"Yes Madam, sorry Madam." The two women left with their tails between their legs.
"Stupid..." The phone rang insistently on the desk. "Hello. What! Can't you deal with it it's what I pay you for after all. Alright, alright I'm coming."
She slammed the phone down and swore like a dock worker.
Sandman carefully used the Swiss army knife Dian had bought him for Christmas to open the window.
On near silent feet he crossed to the metal cabinet he had seen her use to put away her paper work.
He took from his coat pocket a leather roll of skeleton keys and lock picks. Working methodically he eventually had the cabinet open.
Knocking people out with gas and entering their dreams had its uses but couldn't replace solid detective work.
He rapidly scanned each file locking the information away into his incredible memory.
Suddenly he heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs and raised voices.
The delightful Madam of the house, the formidable Helena Bell, was in full flow and was rapidly getting nearer.
The door swung open with a crash.
Helena stormed in and crossed to the cabinet with a weedy looking man trailing behind.
She swore at him heavily.
"Your supposed to watch out for card counters not let them win you moron." It was obvious that a team were working at the Black Jack table in the casino on the ground floor. She opened the safe and passed a considerable amount of cash to the man. "Who's working the table?" She asked.
"Maria. It was she who tipped me off but by then they had managed to win big." Alphonso wheezed.
Maria was one of her top croupiers so the team must have been good to last so long before she realised.
"Pay them out and show them the side door." Helena smiled cruelly.
After the nervous little man had gone Helena picked up the phone and dialled a number.
"Lennie?" There was a pause then a harsh voice answered. "Lennie I want you and Italian Tony outside the side door. I've a team of card counters coming out with to much of my money. Dispose of the bodies in the usual way. Oh and give Weed a
little reminder that he should concentrate more. Break his left arm and make it like he has had a fall. Yes I'll be down stairs at the bar. Make it clean boys."
She put down the phone and with an evil laugh left the room.
The room was silent for awhile before Sandman crawled out of the knee hole space of the desk hat in hand. He fanned himself with his hat.
"That was a little to close for my liking." Putting his hat back on his head he made a thorough sweep of the office before exiting as he had entered, through the window.
This was one occasion he didn't leave his calling card.
Monroe looked at the photographs and descriptions of the kidnapped women on the pin board in the hope that something would jump out at him. Some fact that could link the women.
The chief of police had dropped by into his office and congratulated him for closing so efficiently the Sean Dixon case.
Much to Monroe's embarrassment and his Captains chagrin the Chief had promoted him on the spot to acting Lieutenant till his promotion could be ratified.
Monroe and his team had then been tasked in creating complete life stories of the ten women and digging in the archives for any links.
Some of his men and women were out there interviewing the families now.
The Captain had snorted with derision when Monroe had asked for some female officers from the family and delinquent unit to help do the interviews. Thankfully the Captain was over ruled by the Chief resulting in four female officers joining the squad including a Sergeant Mary Hope.
Much to the women's surprise they weren't used as secretaries but sent out on their own to take statements.
"Thanks for trusting my girls Lieutenant." Mary said as she joined him at the board.
"I know they'll do a good job Mary and the names Monroe."
The petite officer nodded.
She held up her left hand displaying her black jet stoned ring.
"Do we contact him?" She asked.
"He's already on the case. It was him that told me to get you on board. I trust him and I trust you." Monroe didn't take his eyes of the board. "There is something that connects them. It's there in plain sight but I just can't see it."
"We're dealing with a wacko Monroe they don't need a connection."
"They're all blond normal women that were kidnapped in plain sight and you say they haven't a connection." He shook his head. "Officer Ann Darkling disappeared out of the Home Abuse Squad office operating out of the 17th Precinct house. Jenny Pearling from her birthday party at the Grange hotel. Michelle Harding vanished in the middle of a vet operation, and so on. All kidnapped in crowded areas as if they vanished into a mist."
Monroe gave a deep sigh and walked away with a shake of his head.
"And there was I thinking all Jews were dark haired." She said.
"Sorry?" Monroe stopped in his tracks.
"The Rabbi's daughter has obviously died her hair." Mary frowned.
"That's the connection. They are all blond. Get onto the morgue for me please Mary and see if our victim hair was died." Monroe's eyes opened wide in realisation.
Mary raised an eyebrow quizzically.
"That's a very obscure link Monroe. Are you asking me to believe that we're looking for a hairdresser with a grudge over women with died hair."
"As you put it we're dealing with a Wacko. Contact the morgue sergeant."
Mary nodded quickly registering the switch to formality.
"Yes Lieutenant." She hurried over to the phone.
Leaving Monroe staring at the photographs a moment before crossing to the window and looking out.
"Lieutenant the morgue attendant will get back to us over whether the hair was dyed."
"Good and while we wait how do you like your hotdogs Mary?" Monroe asked.
"With mustard why?"
"I just feel a little peckish before we find out where the women have their hair done."
Mary rolled her eyes and laughed.
"I think I'm going to like working with you Monroe."
Down on 24th and main officer McKenzie plodded his way whistling a happy tune tunelessly. McKenzie was tone deaf and didn't realise it. He often subject his fellow officers to a new tune he had learnt.
A block away he saw a sedan with its hood up. Well to be truthful it was the two shapely legs of the owner bending over the still running engine that caught his eye.
"Can I be of assistance madam?" He asked gallantly.
The woman didn't register that he'd even said anything.
Must be the noise of the engine McKenzie thought that made her deaf to him.
Deciding against touching her for fear of making her jump he lent in under the hood.
"What is the matter madam."
He jerked back in shock hitting his head hard on the hood.
The woman's scarf had tangled with a moving part of the still running engine choking her. Strangling her basically.
It was not that which had shocked McKenzie, he had seen death before, it was the fact that her head was facing 180 degrees from normal and that her open mouth had no tongue.Chapter Three Gathering Storm
The Ace of Spades club was an elite drinking spot of the rich and beautiful, a Mecca for starlets from the booming film industry.
Dian put another Black Russian cigarette into her holder and scrabbled for her lighter.
"Allow me. " A voice said at her shoulder.
"Thank you." Dian said as a lighter flicked into life.
Wesley came into the light and asked if he could join the girls.
Sally Anne giggled.
"Would you like a drink sir." A waitress asked him as he sat down with the girls.
"Yes please a Manhattan."
"We're having a scream trying to solve a crime." Sally Anne said breathlessly.
"Shush Sally, Wesley isn't interested in our gossip." Mary cautioned.
"We're trying to find out more about the two girls that have disappeared. We've been dropping hints to our friends to see if they know them." Dian said allowing the smoke to dribble out of her nose.
"Oh really. Do tell?" Wes said with a smile.
"Jenny Pearling is the daughter of John Pearling, a stock broker and millionaire." Mary told him.
"Elizabeth Lorriette has evaded us, know one has heard of her." Dian told him giving him a knowing look.
Wes was silent for a moment.
"I say that sounds like fun." He looked across at Dian. "Would you like to dance?"
Dian gave him a warm smile and held out her hand for him to take.
Soon they were gliding across the dance floor in a perfect waltz.
"Lorriette isn't her real name its what she uses when she's an escort." Wes told Dian when the music allowed.
"What is it then?" Dian asked.
Dian almost stopped in surprise.
"You know her?"
"Yes she's an old school friend from my time at the finishing school in France. Her father is a Diamond merchant worth billions."
After a few more trips around the dance floor she continued.
"He absolutely dotes on her. She has done a lot of charity work in Africa."
"Hmm." Wes lead her from the floor as the music came to an end.
Wes was at his most urbane and appeared at his most relaxed.
An hour came and went before Wes decided to call it a night.
"I've got my car in the lot down stairs Wes would you like a lift home?"
"If you're sure Dian. I don't want to spoil your night out with the girls."
"Don't be silly Wes." Mary said with a warm smile. "We wouldn't want to keep Dian from you."
"Ah sweet." Sally Anne added with a laugh.
During the drive Wes brought Dian up to speed about what he found out.
"Rose Mary Carpenter is being black mailed by the Madam of the ladies of horizontal pleasure over a past indiscretion. That's why she doesn't use her real name, in fact she isn't the only one trapped like that." He stroked his chin. "Pull over somewhere dark Dian I need to get changed. I've a few visits to make."
Dian turned down the road toward the river and pulled up at a spot used by lovers.
In the hidden compartment in the cars trunk Wes took out his costume. In the darkness of the wood Wes became The Sandman once again.
Two lovers sitting in their mustang were stunned to see Sandman vault over the hood.
Dian spun the car round with squealing brakes and roared off in a spray of grit.
"Before coming to the club I got a call from one of our agents another woman has been found." He said.
"Not alive I take it."
"No." He settled back into the darkness and became still.
Monroe and Mary stood in the semi darkness of the mortuary looking down at the body lying on the dissection table.
"Someone did a wonderful job on her." The doctor said with a muted appreciation. "See these marks on her torso and arms."
The two officers nodded.
"They were caused by an electrical charge. She was electrocuted several times."
"Before death?" Mary asked.
"Oh most certainly. Time of death about two hours ago." With relish the doctor removed the cloth covering the victims head. "A perfect spinal break enough to immobilise the victim with out killing her."
"The cause of death?" Monroe asked.
"Well the spinal break didn't kill her nor did the strangulation."
"Then what did?"
"Electrocution. A pair of wires were pushed up the nose and her brain was fried basically."
"So she wasn't alive when she was found."
"No, I shouldn't think so. Her tongue was taken while she was alive with great skill. It wasn't hacked out but removed with surgical skill."
"So we're dealing with someone with medical training?" Monroe asked.
"I would say so. She has been tortured by some one with great skill."
"Thank you doctor." Monroe said dismissively.
"Before you go Doctor can you tell me if her hair is died?" Mary asked.
"Oh yes most certainly, you can tell by the roots. That reminds me you asked if the other victim was blond. Why you think it's important I don't know but yes her hair was dyed too."
With that final remark she left the two detectives alone, well not quite alone.
A figure stepped out of the deeper shadow.
"Dyed hair?" Sandman wheezed.
"It's a theory of Monroe's but where that gets us I don't know." Mary replied.
"They are rejects." Sandman moved to examine the body. The officers remained quiet until his examination was complete.
"Why the strange set up for the bodies to be discovered? And why remove the eyes and tongue." Monroe sighed. "It doesn't make sense."
"See no evil, speak no evil." Sandman said.
"Sorry?" Mary didn't understand but Monroe did.
"There's going to be another one."
The Sandman nodded.
"The body will be found where their hobbies would site them."
"The first body, Alison Bentley, was found in China Town where she had worked in the soup kitchen feeding the poor in between modelling commitments. She had caused quite a fuss a year back over the press taking photographs of her in a swimming costume while on holiday. She campaigned under her stage name to bring the press under some sort of state control." The Sandman paused. "The press agency's said she was trying to throttle the press."
"That is why she was drowned and then strung up." Mary shivered at the thought.
"The second victim Connie Black was a country singer with the Kentucky Blue Grass. Most of their appearances were in the drinking clubs in the area where she was found. Her love of fast cars was the twist the enemy needed." The Sandman stopped to listen for a moment before continuing. "She was electrocuted because of an earlier incident with a mike stand being accidently live. She was lucky to survive.
We need to find out who else has died hair and then work out where the body is likely to be taken. You may be able to catch him in the act."
"I'd rather stop her being killed in the first place." Monroe said angrily.
"That's my job." The Sandman said calmly.
"I've just realised we know who the next victim is."
"Who?" The men asked simultaneously.
"Mary Sainsbury, the Jewish girl."
"Of course." Monroe exclaimed as his remembered what was said earlier.
"Try and work out where and how she was going to be presented. There's a reason why the women were placed where they were. That may give you a start." The Sandman told them. "I have just realised he will have to kidnap three more women if ten is a special number to him."
"Can the network help us on this?" Monroe asked.
"We can but try. Phone this number if you manage to work out where and when. It will put more bodies on the ground to stop him." Sandman passed over a strip of paper. "Their is an address where one of the future missing women was black mailed to being a high end escort. Her dossier is in the filing cabinet."
"What's the pimps name?" Monroe asked.
"Its a Madam called Helena Bell."
"I know her from my six months with the vice squad. She was a slippery character. We couldn't make anything stick." Mary told them.
"She had killed three card counters. Italian Tony was the hitman. When you have him in custody I'll pay him a visit." Sandman stopped and turned his head to listen.
The door swung open and the investigating doctor walked in.
Monroe did a quick double take but he needn't have worried. The Sandman had gone.
"Are you finished now Lieutenant?" She asked.
"Yes thank you doctor she has given us all the clues we will ever need."
"Monroe!" The Captain followed the doctor in his face suffused with blood.
"Yes Captain?" Monroe was polite even though he would have gladly knocked the man out.
"While you have down here doing God knows what the Sandman broke into my office and left this."
Captain Tomas thrust a neatly typed page into Monroe's hand.
"And he did it on my typewriter. I recognise the bit missing in the S's."
Trying to hide a smile the two detectives bowed their heads over the letter and examined it.
'There is nowhere that evil can rest its head and sleep
For the Sandman can enter in .
And in that realm that should be restful and deep
The Sandman will expose their sin.
Ten women have been taken and three may die
I will find the perpetrator and defeat him
So no more families mourn and cry.
I will take his peace from him.
Monroe hand the missive back to the Captain.
"I don't know what you want us to do sir. We are heavily committed in finding the women."
"What I expect you to do is your duty! Find him and arrest him!" Captain Tomas raged. "He is involved with all this, find him and you'll find the women."
"Have you spoken to the chief about this sir?" Mary asked.
"He is too busy dealing with the press now the story has broken to worry about every iota. I'll have a warrant for his arrest by nightfall."
A few fine grains of sand fell from the document on to the floor.
With a snort of high dungeon the captain turned and left.
"Will we have to find him?" Mary asked Monroe.
"Yes but we won't look to hard and I'm sure we can hinder any of the other precincts for a short while till we can get together to sort it out."
The officers turned to leave.
Monroe unconsciously took Mary's hand in his own and squeezed it gently in consolation, she did not protest in fact seemed quite happy to leave it there.Chapter Four Ritualised Murder.
The cells area smelt of stale urine and faeces, blood and sweat.
The women sat swaddled up in their tattered finery awake from fear. Several of them had been beaten and whipped showing the marks on their white skins.
Officer Ann Darkling sat with her back to the railings that separated the cells.
"Are you alright?" She asked the latest victim of torture.
The young woman lifted her tear stained face.
Her back was a bloody mess from the whips touch.
Her name was Michelle Harding, the veterinary Student from Cal Tech.
"We've got to get out before he kills another of us. I've been checking the walls at the back of the cage and its pretty soft due to the wet. It sounds hollow so I think there is a corridor behind it."
"Schh." Michelle warned.
The man walked along the cages with a look of disgust on his ugly face.
"It seems that I must find three new guests to join you."
"But there is only two empty cells?" Ann said without thinking.
"That is because another of you has lied and will be dead." He laughed and took a tatty looking bolero cloak off its clothes peg. He gave it a shake before slipping it over his head.
The result was startling. The little mans body became obscured by a shimmering pattern over which his disembodied head could be plainly seen floating in midair.
He was like a mist.
"I will be back soon my lovelies." With that he pulled up the hood, vanishing from sight, a swirling mist was all that remained.
Ann waited until she was certain they were alone before getting up to speak.
"We've got to get out of here before he kills another one of us. The walls at the back of the cages seem to be soft and offer us our best chance to escape. Mary try and dig a hole beneath our bars big enough to wriggle through to me. We need you to escape."
The women were desperate enough to try anything. Only Jenny voiced their fear.
"If we behave perhaps he will let us go." She said with a shaking voice.
"He need ten of us for what ever he's planning we just need to make sure he doesn't have that number." Jenny nodded.
The women set to work with a will born out of desperation.
The cages they were in were originally used to hold slaves ready for the auction and years of neglect had weakened the structure.
With blooded fingertips Ann, some considerable time later, carefully removed the first large stone slab to reveal an empty space beyond.
The sound of rushing water could be heard running down the pipe beyond.
"Can you get through?" She asked Mary.
"I will try." Mary slipped out of her clothes and wriggled her way through. She ignored the slabs that remained as they scratched her skin.
When she was through Ann passed the girls clothes through before attempting the route herself. Within seconds she was stuck unable to go forward or backward.
Mary grabbed Ann's outstretched arms and pulled with all her might. Inch by blooded inch she was pulled through until she sat winded on the other side.
Leaning on Mary for support the two women disappeared into the drainage system and what they hoped would be freedom.
Sandman was free running over the roof tops, leaping over obstacles and air conditioning units. But eventually he ran out of roofs and had to come to a stop.
His breathing was ragged through the gas masks filter.
He scanned the building opposite before making up his mind.
He drew out a large barrelled pistol from its holster.
The pistol had a silver steel projectile connected by a thin but powerful looking cord to the inside of the barrel. He pushed the silver bullet projectile back into the barrel until their was an audible click.
Satisfied he took aim at the railings on the roof of the building opposite and with a steady hand fired the pistol. There was a quiet putt sound as the compressed air did its work.
The projectile shot across the intervening space to land with a clatter on the buildings roof. The tightening of the cable activated the internal mechanism to open it out into a grapnel which caught fast onto one of the railings.
Sandman tested the line before launching himself into the void. As he swung across the gun reeled in the line only stopping when Sandman's feet hit the wall.
Keeping loose he allowed the wire to lift him up to the roof. Once on the top he activated the mechanism that returned the grapnel to its smooth bullet shape before putting the gun back into its holster.
He calmly dusted himself down before crossing over to the other side of the building and looked down. His target was seven floors below. The home of Rosemary Carpenter who, if his dreams were correct, was the Mist's next victim. He settled down to wait awhile and recover his composer.
He checked his watch and was satisfied with his timing. At that exact moment Monroe was raiding the brothel many blocks away.
Monroe had organised the men and women under his command well.
Mary and Ben were going through the front door while he and a couple of uniform officers were using the fire escape which was positioned outside the outer office window.
Monroe carefully glance in and saw where the filing cabinet was through the main office's doorway.
Mary was to make as loud as possible entrance below into the casino to make the madam rush up to the office to destroy the evidence and that is when Monroe would move catching her red handed.
He glanced at his watch and readied himself hoping everything was prepared below.
Mary looked across at Ben as they waited in their car for the minute hand to reach the agreed time.
Ben nodded at her and they both left the vehicle signalling to the ten other officers to follow. They crashed through the doors like a mark 1 tank, heedless of who was on the other side.
As stunned silence fell Mary lifted up her shield, her identity badge, for all to see.
"Police New Amsterdam please stay where you are." Ben called showing his own badge.
Weasel sidled forward his arm in a sling.
"What can we do for you sergeant?" He asked with false humility as if he was trying out for Charles Dickens Uriah Heap.
"Just don't get in my way!" The officers were yelling for people to stay still even though most were frozen to the spot. "Ben the prostitutes are upstairs."
Not waiting for a reply she made her way to the stairs like a icebreaker at the north pole.
She allowed herself a grim smile as she saw Helena Bell dash up the stairs ahead of her.
"She's all yours Monroe. Good luck." Mary turned round and faced the gambling floor. "Ladies and gentlemen if you give your names and addresses to our female officers as you leave please. Staff give your name, address and job title to my officers at the black jack table then you can go. Italian Tony make yourself known to me please."
Suddenly a massive bruiser made a dash toward the doors only to have his way blocked by officers. He put his head down and charged at Mary in an attempt to get passed her and into the corridor beyond that led to the fire escape.
At the last second she stepped aside and stretched out a leg. Unable to turn aside in time Tony tripped up and went head over heels down the corridor to land on the floor stunned with his nose pressed up against the fire exit door. Before he could gather his wits Mary had his arms wrenched behind him and had applied the handcuffs.
Mary sat on him with a broad grin.
"I'm going to enjoy this bit. Ben read him his rights and the charge is murder in the first degree."
"With pleasure Sergeant."
Helena propelled her secretary before her such was her mad rush. The office was as she had left it or was it. She was in to much in a hurry to notice the sand and the sheet of paper.
Grabbing the key off her waistband she opened the filing cabinet.
"Hello Helena." Monroe's voice echoed as he climb in from the fire escape. "I shouldn't do anything silly if I were you."
Helena spun round her small derringer in her hand to face Monroe's pistol.
She put the gun away and recovered her composure.
"In the gambling game it pays to be cautious." She took a cigarette from the box on the table and picked up a match. "What do we owe this visit for. Is it business or pleasure your here for Sergeant Monroe."
Monroe lifted a questioning eyebrow as he put away his pistol.
"I make it my business to know about important people. And you're special." Helena gave him an appraising smile. "Would you like a drink Monroe, God knows I do. Oh I nearly forgot you've taken the pledge." She poured herself a scotch. "Surely one wouldn't hurt you."
Her laugh was mocking and unpleasant to the ear.
She struck the match and before Monroe could react dropped it into the filing cabinet along with the contents of the glass.
A bright flame jumped up as the alcohol and paper caught light.
"Oh dear how clumsy of me." She made no move to put the blaze out. "I better call out the ladder and hose boys to put it out. Shall we go Monroe I'd hate to find myself trapped by the blaze? You never did tell me what it was all about."
Monroe walked calmly over to a drinking water carafe and emptied it into the cabinet successfully putting out the flames but not before any evidence was reduced to cinders.
She smile a triumphant smile as she lit her cigarette.
"Thank you for putting the fire out Monroe." She looked in at the charred mess. "Oh dear I'll have to start again. Is there something I can help you with officer?"
"Do you see the note on the table. Well I think you better read it."
She picked up the note and began to read.
"Out loud and from the start please?" Monroe commanded.
Helena shrugged but complied.
"' Dear Helena Bell.
You are no doubt wondering why you are having to read this but you see you haven't managed to destroy the evidence.
You see I took the opportunity to remove them from the filing cabinet and hide them in a safe place. What have I destroyed you'll be asking yourself. A bundle of DC comics.
Where are the documents why in Lieutenant Monroe's safe hands.'"
She looked up to see Monroe taking them from his coat pocket and displaying them.
"Carry on reading you'll miss the best bit if you don't." Monroe told her.
Helena looked down at the paper and continued in a shaky voice.
"' Tonight you'll be in a nice cosy cell but that won't stop me. Tonight I will visit you.
Where evil dreams are there I shall be. Tonight I shall take you to hell.
As she finished Mary came in from the outer office.
Monroe took the letter and holding it above the open draw of the filing cabinet set it alight.
"Helena Bell you are under arrest for Murder, living off immoral earnings and running a crooked gambling establishment, and for blackmail. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been given to you?"
Helena nodded her face as white as a sheet.
"Very well. Sergeant take her away."
"Where did he hide the papers?" Helena asked.
"Never heard of him. Get her out my sight." Monroe said angrily.
"You can't let him get to me for the love of God you can't. You've got to protect me." Helena screamed as she was handcuffed and dragged away.
Monroe was grateful that the Sandman had hidden the papers behind the carafe but dreaded what would have happened if Helena had found it.
"What happens now boss?" Ben asked as Monroe joined the others in the casino.
"I'll contact the serious crime squad they can take over."
He rubbed his weary eyes.
"Then we take an escort into protective custody."
"Why?" Ben asked.
"Because she's the next kidnapping target."
He walked away leaving Ben opened mouthed.Chapter Five A Clash of Ego's
Sandman looked over the edge of the sky scraper and nodded.
It was time.
He crossed to where the elevator mechanism was housed and opened the doors.
He looked down to see the elevator cars roof far below.
He swung himself across to the inspection ladder and began to rapidly descend.
Far below in the reception area someone called the elevator. The mechanisms gears ground loudly as it began hauling the elevator up to the required floor.
Dropping down the ladder rapidly to reached the top floor Sandman began scrabbling at the doors.
Closer and closer the car came as he tried to force the doors open but with nothing to grab onto it was an impossible task.
The car ground to a stop on the floor below.
Sandman dropped carefully onto its roof noticing the inspection hatch to the car beneath his feet.
As the car began its descent he prised open the trap door and dropped lightly to the floor.
He pressed the button for the ninth floor.
As he exited he became aware of a dank humid smell.
He trotted rapidly to the door to apartment 9303 and found it partly open.
With a quick motion he was inside his gas gun out and ready.
In the living room a swirling column of mist was rotating in front of a terrified young woman.
The disembodied head rotated to look at the intruder.
"What have we here." The ugly face licked its fat lips. "An unwanted guest. A fancy-dress party goer."
Sandman didn't hesitate firing his gas gun as he entered. The narcotic gas swirled around them.
Sandman caught the woman and lowered her gently to a seat.
The Mist laughed as the vapours were dispersed by his swirling mist.
"Thank you for making it easier to take her." The voice was unhinged and the eyes wide and bulging. "She will make a good addition to the breeding stock don't you think."
Sandman stood before the women protecting her from her assailant.
"Oh such courage. Such a waste of time."
"She is going nowhere." Sandman put away his pistol.
"Ah an English man. You should be joining me in producing the master race, an Arian nation free of the taint of inferior races." The Mist ranted.
"Are all you Nazis insane like your leader Hitler?" Sandman barked.
"Hitler is a fool! He thinks he can create the master race through war but without creating the master race in the other countries ready to take over he is doomed to failure." The Mist swirled closer. "We have cells in all the major countries breeding the new master race from perfect mental and physical specimens. In Canada they are already in the second generation."
"Really." Sandman pivoted and drove a balled fist into where he thought the Mists stomach was only to find no resistance at all.
The Mist laughed.
Sandman swiftly regained his balance and dealt out a crushing left handed uppercut.
The Mists head jerked back from the connection.
"Ah you can be hurt then." Sandman drove another fist into the Mists face making his lip bleed. "A palpable hit courtesy of Ted Grant."
The Mist reeled back with a curse.
"He will be swept away in the new order. His black filth must not win." The Mist yelled.
"Like all bullies you're a coward." Sandman roared as another cross caught the Mist chin. "You're so stupid you kidnapped a Jewess for your harem."
As soon as he said it he regretted it.
Suddenly the Mist flowed forward covering Sandman. In a split second he couldn't see his hand in front of his face. But that didn't stop him driving two round house blows at where he estimated the Mists body was.
The first met no resistance but the second landed home a glancing blow.
As he surmised correctly, he was now able to hurt the Mists body now he was inside the mist.
As he prepared to rain another couple of blows the Mist flowed back revealing a hand holding a pistol.
The gun barked twice. Sandman shot backwards straight into the wall where he slumped to the floor.
"Pity. You would have made a good Arian." He flowed over the still sleeping woman becoming a swirling pillar of vapour.
After a moment he swirled over to the door. A hand appeared and opened it and the Mist floated away.
Monroe and Mary with two of his teams women were driving with Blues and Two's through the heavy traffic toward his objective when a heavy mist fell over the street.
"What the hell?" He slowed the car to a crawl.
"We have hit a fog bank. With any luck it will clear in a moment." Mary peered through the windshield.
A dim shape appeared in the mist carrying a body but was soon engulfed by the fog.
Monroe edged the patrol car forward carefully praying he didn't hit anyone.
Then just as suddenly as it had appeared it vanished.
"Weird? Very weird." He could see his objective up ahead. "Ladies, when we have the girl it will be your job to get her to safe house one. Understood?" Monroe said.
"Yes sir." The two policewomen in the back chorused.
The entrance lobby smelt dank with some condensation running down a few of the windows.
A warning bell rang in Monroe's head that made him take his pistol out of its holster.
He called the elevator.
"I don't like this Sergeant. I don't like this at all."
"Understood Lieutenant." Mary drew out her own pistol.
The lift door opened and after a cursory examination they entered with Mary thumbing for the ninth floor.
Monroe didn't say anything to the others, he knew they were a good team, and they knew what they had to do.
When they reached the apartments door they found it wide open and Monroe's heart sank.
Nerves stretched, stomach churning and his mouth dry, Monroe entered.
"Hello? Police." There was no reply.
He inched in further and tried again, again there was no answer.
Carefully he peered around the corner into the living area and for a moment could see nothing wrong. Then he saw the slumped figure of Sandman with two neat bullet holes in his chest.
Monroe spun round.
"We're too late the mad man has got her. Angela take Annette back to the patrol car and put out an APB on the girl and then get a squad up here."
The two women nodded and hurried off.
Monroe rushed over to where Sandman lay.
"He's been shot twice." Mary's hands flew as she tried to undo the shirt to get to the wound.
"There's no blood." Monroe said disbelievingly.
Sandman jerked and sat up.
"Take it easy." Mary cautioned. "We need to treat the gun shot wounds."
"I jumped back hitting myself on the head. I basically knocked myself out. How embarrassing." He stood up ignoring Mary's ministrations. "The Mist has got her. I underestimated him."
Sandman saw something on the floor and bent and picked it up.
He sniffed it.
"He has the women held down in the sewers." He dangled the plant leaf he had in his hand for the officers to see. "That's the only place this weed grows. It is florescent."
"Fluorescent." Mary said but Sandman took it to be a question.
"Glows in the dark. It's a form of lichen." He broke the weed in half passing a section over to Mary whilst pocketing his own.
Sandman walked casually over to one of the windows. He opened it and looked out and down.
"He's some sort of Nazi. He is finding women to give birth to his master race." Sandman swung himself out of the window. "When he has his ten women he will mate them to his perfect males, that's assuming he doesn't think himself suitable."
With that Sandman fell out of the window.
Monroe and Mary rushed forward expecting to see him splattered on the ground. When they looked down they got a fleeting view of him winding in his grapnel line before vanishing into the darkness.
"He has two bullet holes?" Mary said puzzled. "Yet he hit his head and knocked himself out?"
"I know." Monroe looked out of the window for a few minutes more before shaking himself out of his reverie. "Mary get on to the city council and see if they have plans of the sewers and storm drains."
"Monroe the sewer complex is larger than the city how on earth will we be able to find them?"
"I don't know how but I know we will."
He took her chin gently and lifted her face up. He lent over her and ever so gently kissed her as if he was afraid she would break.
In all the darkness that the real world threw at them there was one spark of light, one spark of sanity.
They parted embarrassedly and took a moment to regain their composure.
"While you're on to the town hall I'll be finding out where the Jewish girl vanished from and what is so special about the area."
With that he lead her out and away.
Wesley exited the elevator into the study and shut the gate and closed the secret panel.
"Any luck in getting her?" Dian asked as she got up to pour him a coffee.
"Yes and no." Wes told her as he took off the gas mask and laid it carefully in place on the manikin.
"I got there just at the same time as our enemy, The Mist. I underestimated him. I won't do that again."
Dian put the coffee cup on the desk, as she looked up she spied the two neat holes in his coat.
"Wes you've been shot!"
"Yes I know. It was the force of the impact that drove me into the wall knocking me out. When I came too they'd gone." He took off the coat and looked at the two holes ruefully. "Are either of you any good at invisible mending."
Murphy took the coat. It was surprisingly heavy.
"I will get out one your spares Master Wesley. I will have to remove the metal plates from this coat and put it in the other one. It will be a long task so if you don't need me I will make a start."
Wes nodded his consent.
Wesley operated the fourth hidden doorway and placed the fragment of weed under the dissection microscope.
He gave out some hmms and ah's but little else.
"There are few areas you would find it. It's normally found on old harbours like those in docks. If memory serves there are eight old derelict piers down in the lower docks."
He took off his holsters and with his wide mouthed in hand he crossed to a bell jar.
He carefully connected the gun to the jar and then introduced chemicals into the vessel that created a thick yellow fog. He pressed a button on the handle of the weapon and watched it suck the gas in till it was full.
Satisfied he crossed to where the guns were normally stored and hung them up.
Murphy laid out on the chair Wes's dressing gown and lightly coloured slacks
He took off his shirt to reveal the two large bruises where the metal had buckled from the impact punching him in the chest.
Dian ran her fingers over his chest.
"You take to many risks." She kissed him. "Come back to me whole?"
Dian took his hand in hers and led him to the bedroom.
The storm drain was a huge tunnel running under the city. It dwarfed the two struggling women as they waded through the knee depth water.
Up ahead was a ledge on which they decided to rest.
Ann drew the young Jewish girl to her.
"Are you alright?" She asked.
The girl nodded.
"Do you know I haven't the faintest idea who you are? I'm Ann Darkling, a police officer with the domestic abuse squad." Ann smiled at the youngster. "And you?"
The girl hesitated a moment then answered with a shrug.
"I'm Mary Swift, well not really, my real name is Mary Rosenberg." She shivered. "My father is a Rabbi in the ghetto. We don't see eye to eye."
"Hence the change of name?"
"Yes. I've a little dress shop which I run with a couple of friends." Mary looked up into the eyes of her rescuer. "They aren't Jewish which upset my father no end." She started. "What was that?"
"Probably a rat but we won't take any chances."
The clambered back into the water and began their slow progress.
"Do you know where we are?" Mary asked.
"Well it isn't the sewers thankfully and the only large structure like this is the main storm drain. Thankfully there hasn't been any rain otherwise we would be swimming instead."
"You might be, I'd be drowning. I can't swim." Mary said ruefully.
"If we get out of here I'll teach you and that's a promise." As they walked Ann was scanning the side tunnels and roof. "They have inspection tunnels, I'm sure of it."
They carried on for another half an hour before Ann spotted what she was looking for. In a side tunnel she could see the metal rungs of a ladder.
Guiding Mary over Ann ascended to where a round cover was but try as she might she couldn't shifted it.
Unknown to the women a car was parked with its back wheel on the cover.
Down hearted the women waded away.
"At least we know what it looks like now." Mary replied with false humour.
The pull of the water was getting stronger making their progress slower.
When Ann looked back all she could see was darkness. Panic gripped her and it took all her will to calm her racing heart.
Up ahead she spied a more substantial piece of iron work.
A metal ladder lead upwards to a platform surrounded with railings in which there was a gate onto a parapet that led to a tunnel.
The two women noticed it at the same moment and began to surge towards it. They had barely reached the rungs of the ladder when they noticed a thin mist eddying around their feet.
"Quickly up!" Ann yelled. "Don't stop. Keep moving!"
When they had reached the platform the mist had become more substantial, hiding the first two rungs.
Ann slammed the gate back wide and bustled the panicking youngster through.
"Keep going Mary don't stop for anything! I'll try and hold him off!" Ann knew in her heart that she could do little to impeded him. How can you stop something you couldn't touch?
Their feet had just touched the parapet when a hand appeared out of the mist and gripped Ann's ankle.
"Run!" She yelled at the girl as she smashed down with her balled fist on to the hand.
The impact sent a numbing sensation up her arm but affected the hand more. With a audible groan the hand let go.
Free from the grip she dashed to where Mary waited in the opening of the tunnel.
"Don't just stand there. Run girl run as fast as you can."
Suddenly two hands gripped Ann's ankles bringing her crashing to the floor. She kicked and twisted in a vain attempt to get free.
Mary watched in horror as Ann was hauled screaming into the main tunnel.
There her body seemed to float for a second before vanishing down the tunnel at breakneck speed. Ann was screaming and clawing at the tunnel floor as she was dragged away.
Mary sat down sobbing her heart out in fear. After a few moments she got up and vanished into the tunnel.
She was now alone and terrified.Chapter Six Exposure.
Friday dawned bright and clear.
Wes and Dian were seated at the dinning room table enjoying a full English breakfast. On the plate were two sausages, bacon, fried eggs, bake beans and fried bread. The coffee pot stood by the rack of toast.
"I don't know what this is doing to my insides." Wes mused.
"You always fuss when we have it but you never leave any on the plate." Dian grinned warmly at him.
"Oh yes. Well I can't be rude to Murphy now that he has gone to such pains to cook it." Wes grinned back at her.
"Of course that would be rude." Dian gave him a playful swot around the head with the early morning paper.
Suddenly he went quiet and became serious.
It was like ice had been poured down her neck.
"What is wrong?" She asked.
"May I have the paper please?"
She passed it over to him.
He moved items so he could lay it flat on the surface.
"The cat is out of the bag." On the first page was the history of the missing girls and that two had turned up dead. "This is going to make it more difficult."
Dian leaned over his shoulder and read out loud.
"' Captain of Police, Tomas Wilson, states that the vigilante The Sandman was involved. A warrant has been made out for his arrest. If he is seen report back to the police. On no account approach him yourself he is armed and dangerous.'" Dian's face darkened. "I'll see daddy and uncle Richard this morning and have it removed."
"And expose us at the same time. I don't think that is wise." He sat back in his chair and cradled his fingers. "The police are going to be swamped with missing persons calls and that is going to make finding the true ones much more difficult. We are at the fight tonight along with many of the great and good so any work must be done in daylight."
"The Sandman never works during the day." Dian reminded him.
"Yes you're right but Wesley Dodds and his girlfriend Dian Belmont do." He replied.
"We're going down the sewers, oh lovely."
"I am, you're not. I've some little tasks for you and Murphy." He beamed at her. "I've just realised the connection between the women other that being blond."
In the precinct house Mary was examining a large map showing the cities drains and sewers whilst Monroe stared at the women's faces on the board.
"Monroe. I don't know how we are going to find the girls the drainage system is vast. It will take every officer we have plus the state troopers a year to sweep it effectively."
"Narrow it down. We need somewhere that the weed can flourish, somewhere where it is exposed to the sun." Monroe said distractedly barely noticing what was being said. "Inspection areas and such."
"Penny for your thoughts lieutenant." Mary asked.
"The Mist has kidnapped the women to breed a master race. So what makes these women special?"
"Brain power, fitness?" Mary was just guessing so she was startled by Monroe's reaction.
"That's it. Oh my God that's it." He spun round and grabbed the Sergeants arm. "Mary get your girls to check the biographies of the women. We're looking for anything that puts them above the norm."
He looked down at his hand that still clutched Mary's arm.
"Sorry about manhandling you." He let go.
Mary smiled up at him and whispered huskily.
"You weren't sorry last night."
He went red and shooed her away.
Thirty minutes later he had the information he needed. Sitting and slouching against the walls was his team much to the Captains dismay and the Chiefs amusement.
Monroe cleared his throat to get their attention.
"Settle down, settle down. This is a police station not a kindergarten. Thank you." He turned to the boards behind him. "We have been looking for something that connects them all beyond their natural blond hair and we couldn't find any. They had never met or gone to the same school. They seemed total random."
The Chief nodded in understanding.
"The connection between them wasn't something they shared it was what they were to the normal people in the street." He paused to let that piece of information sink in. "They all excel in some subject above that of the norm. Sergeant?"
Mary stood forward.
"Ann Darkling is the inter-services champion athlete for the second year running. Jenny Pearling is a child genius on the piano. In classical music circles she is being hailed as the new Mozart." She pointed the women out on the board. "Elizabeth Carlton is extremely good looking winning her high school beauty pageant twice. Michelle Harding has an IQ equivalent to a nuclear scientist. Elaine Hawk housewife compiler of crosswords for the New Amsterdam Times."
"Thank you Sergeant." Monroe took over smoothly. "All the others have similar attributes. We are dealing with a white supremacist of some sort, that intends to breed from the woman the same way that a horse trainer will breed only from the finest stock. We know that he has the women holed up in the sewers but as to where." Monroe shrugged his shoulders. "We've narrowed it down to fifteen area's.
Now this mad man is going to strike again to replace those he's murdered for falling short of his ideal woman.
"I have something to say Lieutenant." The Captain walked forward. "We know that the vigilante known as The Sandman is involved and may even be the perpetrator. His capture must be your prime target. He must be eradicated."
"Ignore that." The Chiefs voice stopped the Captain stone dead. "The Sandman is not your priority. If you come across him leave him alone but tell him that I wish to speak to him. What are your priorities Lieutenant?"
"Three fold sir. One, investigate the areas shown on the city map. Two, investigate the area that the Jewess Mary Sainsbury was kidnapped from. If he has killed her he will try and display her body in that area which gives us a chance of capturing him. Three He needs more victims to replace those he's murdered. We need to look for anyone that fits the pattern, that is any natural blond woman who excels physically or mentally above the norm. Clear?"
Dismissed they returned to their tables and phones.
Monroe was aware of the strong words being passed between his two seniors. The Captain with a grunt left the room leaving the Chief seething.
"The mans an imbecile. With war with Germany looking likely how many men does he expect us to have. We need all the help we can get. Besides Commissioner Gordon has a good working relationship with The Bat in Gotham so why not us here in New Amsterdam." The Chief took a deep breath to calm himself. "If you come across The Sandman tell him I want to see him. I want to know if he will be an asset or a hindrance to the city.
Carry on Lieutenant."
After the Chief left, Mary crossed over to Monroe's side.
"You going to phone and tell him?" She asked quietly.
"I have a feeling we will bump into him again before this is finished." He replied before crossing to the board once more.
"Heads up and pay attention. ladies I want you to go to the local newspaper archives and see if you can dig up any likely candidates. Ben take four of the lads and watch Mary Sainsbury's salon.
Mary you are with me, along with Ben, Toby and Michael. Get torches we are going into the drains. Mary get the city council to open an inspection area?
I want a Green and White and the unmarked car down stairs in thirty minutes."
The die was cast and now all they could do is wait and see how it falls.
Mary Sainsbury sat huddled against the wall hugging herself to get warm.
The passageway had led to a ladder to the surface but where she had was she didn't know.
It was a run down area with many derelict buildings and rubble strewn everywhere.
Cold, exhausted and near naked she had staggered into a derelict high-rise to get out of the wind and promptly fell asleep.
She awoke to find a rough sleeper not that far from her and in the corner a group huddled around an old oil drum that was being used as a brazier.
"Are you alright missy." The old man said.
He was black from ingrained dirt and when he smiled she could see his rotten teeth.
"You'll not last long in that thin thing, you'll freeze to death." His breath stank. "get yourself to the heat girl and warm yourself. We'll see what we can find to cover you."
Mary was grateful for the meagre heat the fire threw out.
As she warmed her hands she asked a few questions to the assembled hobo's.
"Where am I? I lost all sense of direction in the drains."
"That's a hard one missy. Does anyone truly know where they are." He took out the battered him flask from his pocket and took a long pull.
"No, I means where in the city are we?"
A battered old woman looked up at her and replied.
"What happened to you dear, to much drugs I'll be bound. We're in a deserted part of the docks. What happened? Lover boy dropped you here?"
Mary realised that they would never believe the truth.
"Something like that." She replied. "Do know were the nearest police station is?"
She asked more in hope than expectation.
"There's no police up here girl. They abandoned us years ago." She cackled. "You've got a good twenty blocks to cover to have any hope in finding a policeman. As for the precinct house, who knows and who cares."
Wrapping a coat she'd been give around her she set out to reach the nearest policeman.
As she moved out she had the strangest feeling she was being watched.
Her bear feet were bleeding and sore when she reached what was supposed to be the main street.
Then she hit a dilemma, which way to go. After a short period she began going north. She followed the back streets to try and avoid being see and thought of as easy meat in her dishevelled state. She soon came to realise that she had made a terrible judgement after several wino's and druggies tried it on.
Tired to the point of exhaustion she turned toward the main street hoping that she would be picked up by a passing patrol car.
On and on she pressed one exhausted foot step in front of the other.
Passersby gave her strange looks but didn't offer any help.
Up ahead she spied a patrol car and a sports car with darkened windows. Without thinking she stepped out into the road waving the police car to stop.
The car pulled over and a massive officer got out.
"What's wrong lady, had some bad booze?"
She collapsed into his arms.
"Oh we have a right one here. Let's get her back to the precinct house she can dry out in a cell."
Together the two officers manhandled her into the back of the patrol car unaware that the sports limousine had pulled up a few feet away. Four eye's watched intensely.
"Is it her, are you sure?" Dian asked.
"Yes it is her." Sandman said from the back seat. "She must have surfaced somewhere near here."
The two patrolmen got in the front of the car of the car and looked at the exhausted girl in their rear view mirror.
"What's your name girl?" One asked.
She looked into their eyes and said quietly.
Then she screamed.
The car filled rapidly with a thick cloying mist that was so thick they couldn't see their hands in front of their faces.
Suddenly the rear door was wrenched open and the Sandman was in the fog with them.
Sandman dived into the back and tried to get a good grip around her. Knowing that sight in this mist is deceiving he relied on his hearing and sense of touch to find her.
Once he had her in his grip he tried to pull her away from the mist and out onto the sidewalk.
Suddenly she went limp in his arms and her screams stopped.
Dreading what that could mean as the mist thinned.
"Stop right there. Keep yours hands in sight." One of the officers bellowed his pistol waving in a disconcertedly vague manner.
He looked down at the loose bundle in his arms and saw she was quite dead. Blood ran freely from where her ears had been cut off. Her eyes stared at him accusingly.
The Mist bobbed a few feet away incongruously in the daylight.
The Officers were totally bemused at what they could see and didn't know who to point their guns at.
"I thought I'd killed you?" The Mist said with a sniff.
"No. You can't kill a dream." Sandman replied.
He gently lowered the girl to the floor and closed her eyes.
"Don't waste your time with her she is nothing but a filthy Jew."
"I haunt dreams impartially. Do I haunt yours?"
"No I sleep the restful sleep of the righteous."
The officers watched the verbal duet unable to decide on a course of action.
"She had to die. She was impure. She and her type will be swept from the Earth, like the gypsies and the blacks to make ready for the new Knights of Teuton, the new supermen and women, the new Gods." His voice rose until it was a scream.
The black officer swivelled on his heels to face the Mist.
"I don't know what's going on but I've decided that I don't like you." The gun in his hand barked twice.
The Mist laughed as the shells passed unhindered through the swirling vapour.
"Foolish ape." A hand appeared out of the mist holding a pistol of its own.
A gun went crack and the Mist screamed as Dian's sleep pellet hit his pistol knocking it flying from his hand.
The Mist withdrew into his vapour and began to pour away.
Sandman grabbed the coloured officers shoulder.
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes sir, I believe I do."
"Then wear this." He passed him a ring with a piece of Jet in the middle. He looked at the other officer who was crouched by the body. "Get a message to Monroe of Homicide. He needs to get his people to pier nine inspection hatch."
With that he dashed to Dian's car and was barely inside before it pulled away.
"She was chocked to death by a sausage being shoved down her throat." Dian said disbelievingly as she negotiate the traffic.
"A cruel joke against a Jew."
"I'm going toward pier nine I trust that's right."
"No, go to pier one and drop us there. Then do those little tasks I asked you to do." He sat back into the darkness.
Back at the patrol car the officers were putting in a report.
"Patch me through to Monroe of Homicide." The coloured officer requested.
"Monroe!" Monroe's voice was breaking up over the radio making communication difficult. "Sandman wants you at the pier 8 inspection hatch. Another girl has died."
"Thank you officer. Get her transferred to the mortuary as soon as you can."
The Captain was in the radio room and heard the conversation over the airways.
He turned and left the room. The air became instantly more relaxed.
Out in the unmarked car Monroe steered toward the docks.
"Are the docks one of the fifteen?" He asked Mary.
"Yes but a low priority one."
"If the Sandman tells us to go there we go."
"This is Alpha one to Greyhound nine. Come in please."
" Greyhound nine receiving you. Ben here lieutenant."
"Pull out and meet us a pier nine Ben."
"What about the suspect getting home?"
"She won't be going home in this world. She's been murdered."
There was silence over the radio for a moment. Just enough time for someone to swear.
"Understood Alpha one will rendezvous at pier nine. Over and out."
Hanging on a x shaped frame was Ann Darkling. Her back and buttocks showed mute testimony of the pain she had endured. The whips touch had left its mark.
"Your Sandman is most persistent. I think we will have to do something about him." The Mist stroked her cheek making her shiver. "Soon you will be ready to mate. But I have two more to collect. A nice woman with athletic ability and the other a shrink I believe you call them. Yes they will fit in nicely."
He beckoned at the shadows and two men in all black attire stepped into the light.
"Meet your prospective partners. Is the area secure?"
"Yes sir." The soldier snapped of a quick perfect Nazi salute. "The traps are all in place and the two units are in position."
"Good. If the Sandman does manage to find us I want him eliminated, no matter what the cost. Dismiss."
The two men trotted into the darkness.
The Mist stroked Ann's face once more but she didn't know if it was that gesture or what he told her next that chilled her most.
"We have ten thousand troopers waiting for the signal to rise in the allied nations. Black shirts who's only thought is total obedience to the cause of racial purity.
Brand them with the swastika so we know they are not the enemy. There will no escapes this time because if you do the locals will kill you on sight for wearing the despised sign."
At a sign two men entered with a white hot brazier and branding irons followed by two fashionably dressed women who settled down to watch.
"Brand their necks. Ah for this one something more noticeable It think. Do her neck and opposite cheek." The Mist pulled up his hood and vanished once more into the mist.
Unable to move Ann's head was grabbed and stretched back ready for the branding iron.
She wanted to scream but nothing would come out, mute she saw the white hot iron getting closer and closer.
Then she screamed ,they all did.
They were running out of time.Chapter Seven The Grains of Sand.
The drain was dank and smelly but that didn't stop Monroe.
He had collected his team and entered the drainage system. They were fanned out behind him, nervous and alert.
"Are we going in the right direction Monroe? " Mary asked.
"Yes. I'm aiming for the other exit at pier one."
Mary nodded agreeing that it seemed the logical thing to do.
They had trudged along for a good fifteen minutes before they came upon the gantry that the girls hoped would lead to escape.
Ben brought Monroe's attention to it.
Monroe climbed up onto the gantry and examined the area. He stooped and pulled a piece of fabric from the meshed floor.
"The women came this way." He reported.
He dropped back down into the water.
He lead them on until he could see two shallow holes in the walls.
As he walked forward he found his way impeded by a thin wire across the tunnel. It took him a second to register its importance.
"Get down." He yelled as he flattened himself down in the water. When he surfaced he could see two black garbed figures, one in each alcove, pinning his people down with machine gun fire.
Without stopping he roared out of the water and fired two shots.
There was a couple of splashes as the men fell out of their hidey-holes.
As he waded forward he felt something touch his leg.
It was the arm of a body. Ben laid face down in the water.
One of the women splashed over and examined the body.
" It's a clean wound, and his breathing and pulse tell me that he is still alive but for how long I can't say." The woman said unemotionally though her eyes told another story.
"Get him to safety!" Monroe didn't ask if she could do it he knew her too well.
"If we go up using the gantry we can call up an ambulance."
"Do it. Take who you need."
He left her to care for his friend and went over to the body of one of their assailants.
Mary was examining it when he reached her.
"A Nazi." She lifted his head up to show the tattoo of a swastika on his neck. "Nothing else. His pockets are clean. Empty."
Monroe picked up the automatic the thug had dropped onto the tunnels narrow edge. He checked it over before adding it to his arsenal.
They moved out more cautiously.
Every shadow now could be an enemy ready to kill them.
Sandman dropped silently into the water and stealthily moved down the water course.
His eyes checked everywhere as he controlled his breathing and slowed his heart rate.
He had been moving along for about ten minutes when he came to the first obstacle. The water poured down a shear drop to the larger pipe below.
Sandman could feel the current pulling strongly on his legs as he studied his options. The drop was a good twenty feet with no indication of what was at the bottom. There was an inspection shaft to his left, at least he assumed it was. If he was to go that route he'd have to crawl through a narrow space which was something he didn't fancy.
Above his head was a mesh tunnel that took the utilities down the pipe.
Sandman leapt and managed to get a hold on the mesh and for a moment stayed hanging there three foot from the ground.
Painstakingly slowly he began swinging himself down the pipe work mesh to the channel below. The weight of his own body was making his shoulders cry out in pain and his clawing fingers burn.
Eventually the grid levelled out allowing him to drop safely into the water.
He stopped and lent against the wall rubbing his strained muscles and burning fingers.
He was about to start off again when he noticed a thin wire across his route.
He knelt in the water and examined the wire intently following it to the other side of the pipe. There he found a hand grenade artfully positioned such that if he was to break the wire it would pull the pin and catapult it into the centre of the tunnel.
With great patience and skill he unwound the wire, holding it, allowing the weapon to fall into his out stretched hand.
He tucked it into his coat pocket.
A short way ahead he saw a shadow of movement flit across the water.
Hugging the shadowy walls he moved forward inch by careful inch.
At a join of two pipes stood a thug holding a stengun, a machine gun so beloved by gangsters.
He stood in a niche which made him hard to see.
Sandman pulled out his gas gun and took careful aim knowing that if he failed he would die in all probability in a blaze of machine gun fire.
The gas pellet hit the guards forehead stunning him before dropping to his feet filling the space with greenish yellow vapour. The guard fell back and slid down the wall to land with a thump.
When Sandman reached him he was sitting with a soporific smile on his face.
Sandman entered his dream and found his nightmare.
The great hulking man cried in terror like a scared baby when Sandman returned from the dreaming.
Sandman put him asleep and then tied the Nazi's hands behind his back before carrying on.
Ten minutes later he found he wasn't careful enough.
Standing on two metal gantries two black shirts had him in plain sight with little or no time to react.
Throwing himself backward he pulled out the Nazi pistol and fired a shot at the right most guard.
The shot was accurate downing the guard. He dropped from the gantry into the water, but their was two splashes. Both guards had fallen into the water.
Gun raised he swung across to the other side to see a young Chinese woman wiping the blood off her sword. Around her head was a hair band with a black jet stone in the centre.
She nodded and bowed showing him great honour.
He returned the bow.
She gave him information about the way ahead and how many assailants laid in wait with deft and concise hand gestures before she faded into the darkness, her task completed.
Sandman sighed with relief, Dian had managed to call up the warriors in the mesh, and for that he would be grateful.
Dian sat in the roadster in a back alley trying to be patient while she waited for Wesley's return.
In her lap she cradled the small gas gun that she had used to disarm the Mist.
Unseen behind her boiled a mass of white vapour.
She didn't even have time to react as it flooded over her. When it rolled away she was gone.
Monroe's group was faring no better in fact things couldn't get any worse. Several times they had been caught in a fire fight to clear the way. Two more detectives had been injured but thankfully not seriously, but they still needed to be sent out for first aid thereby reducing Monroe's group substantially.
Having to examine side exits hadn't helped any.
Up ahead a guard sat behind a machinegun ready to rain down death.
As Monroe was trying to come up with a plan of action the fearsome crack of a whip sounded.
The guard clawed a his throat where the whip had curled itself. A sharp pull dislodged him from his seat into the waters below. Though the whip had gone the trooper never resurfaced.
With a wave of Monroe's hand they moved on.
At the Dodd's home Murphy was busy on the telephone.
"Well hello Tommy it's Murphy here."
The voice at the other end was harsh almost strident.
"Now, now Tommy there's no need to get so het up you know I wouldn't phone unless it was urgent."
The voice was calmer.
"Well it's like this old friend, the Master will be sending out invites for his garden party." Murphy smiled. "Yes that is right it's called War Child. Well your see now I know how busy your master is and didn't want too send out an invite if he was unavailable."
Slowly and carefully the Irish man turned the conversation around to what he was truly after.
He balanced his glasses on the end of his nose as he scribbled down information onto a pad.
"Well I'll be going. Take care old friend." Murphy put down the receiver only to pick it up again and dialled a number. "Well hello my darling Sarah its Murphy here. How the cooking for the household going."
The woman at the other end of the phone swore.
"Like that is it, well you go and tell old Murphy all about it."
Murphy turned the pages of Berks American Peerage as he sipped his coffee and listened to the diatribe over the phone.
Monroe took a deep breath as he rested after another fire fight. The soldier laid dead over the rail.
Monroe motioned them forward.
After another fifteen minutes or more they turned a junction and found an open doorway with a sleeping guard propped against it.
"Looks like he's beaten us here." Monroe said quietly to Mary.
They quietly climbed the stairs. The exit lead into a basement of one of the historical wharfs, into a pumping room to be exact.
Along one wall were the cells used by the owners for their living cargo. For the slaves.
Hanging from the rafters by her wrists was a naked woman.
Monroe crossed to the body not believing what he was seeing.
Their wasn't a piece of her flesh that didn't have the dreaded Swastika burnt into it. Legs, arms and her back was covered with them. Her buttocks and her breasts to her crutch showed the SS Death Heads sign just as clearly.
Her neck, cheeks and forehead were not exempt from the branding irons touch.
Monroe swore heavily as he realised who the poor woman was.
It was Ann, Ann Darkling.
"Mary help me get her down, the rest of you take up positions in this God damm awful places entrances. Mick and Tony investigate the upper story and see if it leads to a way out."
Monroe tried to support the body and undo the knots at the same time which was near impossible.
Then he felt the woman being lowered and guided her to lay on the floor.
He looked up to see Sandman controlling the rope from an opening in the wall.
Satisfied the Sleep Stealer slid down the rope to join them.
"She is still alive Monroe." Sandman wheezed. "How she has managed to endure the pain I do not know."
"Will she want to live when she sees what they have done to her?" Mary said. "I know I couldn't."
"No I don't think she will want to live either, but we will do our best to support her. That assuming she gets over the shock." Sandman said sadly.
There was movement from one of the tunnels. Monroe went to pull out his gun but was stopped by the gentle pressure of the Sandman's hand.
Out of the tunnel came eight black shirted guards each with his hands tied behind his back. Following them came four strangely attired people.
The first was a stunning oriental woman dressed in all black with a naked samurai sword in her hand, the second was a Mexican cowboy with a long whip held loosely in his hand. There were two other figures, one was a muscular man in a silk shirt and breaches with a red headscarf around his head and a red face mask, the other was a small slight woman in a tight costume covered in Tiger stripes with a painted feline face.
Once they had the guards seated then gave Sandman a nod and left the way they had come.
"Excuse me Lieutenant but I found this on the notice board over there. I think you better read it sir." Mary said with a worried frown.
"Thank you Mary."
Monroe looked at the note and then at Sandman standing there.
He passed it over.
Sandman looked at it a moment before dropping it and dashing across to the sitting guards.
The note read.
'That woman is a warning.
I have taken what is most precious to you.
If you try and stop me I will enjoy destroying it.
I will find out who you are, never fear.
You will never know when I will strike at you.
Sleep well Sandman.'
As Sandman approached the black shirts he fired a gas pellet at the men filling the air around them with yellow vapour.
He stooped by the first and place his finger tips against the guards forehead and faded from view as he entered the dreaming.
The man bucked and screamed his eyes wide open in terror.
"No please, for the mother of god stop, please stop!" He screamed as the Sandman passed to the next.
Each prisoner was visited and each screamed in agony and fear.
When the Sandman re-emerged from the dreaming he drooped in obvious exhaustion and appeared shaken.
"They will impregnate the women at a private residence."
Sandman wheezed trying to catch his breath.
"Do you know where?" Monroe asked.
"Yes It's one of the estates in the London district. They will be ferried to the place were they will act as perimeter guards."
"Where the rich live and play." Mary said.
"I think we'll have to make a visit." Monroe mused before looking down at poor Ann who was being administered too by Mary. "Do we know when?"
"Yes tomorrow night. All they know is that it is because of us the women had to be moved early." Sandman was angry.
"Lieutenant arrest that man!"
Monroe's head snapped up to see his Captain in one of the alcoves with his gun drawn.
"Arrest who sir? On what charge?" He replied trying to play for time.
"Arrest Sandman on a kidnapping and murder charge." White foam of spit bubbled out of the Captains mouth. He wiped it off with the back of his hand.
Monroe turned to the Sandman obscuring him from the Captains view.
"Time for you to vanish. I'm ready." He whispered preparing himself to be gassed.
"No not this time." Sandman voice was low and barely heard.
He stepped around Monroe to face the agitated Captain.
"I have seen your dreams Captain." He said steadily. "I know all your fears, all your hopes.
Are you part of the Nazi plot? I think not."
The Captains face was white and his lips were dry.
"You're a danger Sandman. We know nothing about you, you could be an enemy agent. A communist." His voice shook with emotion. "I don't fear you, I despise you. You break all the rules, well no longer. Here is where you meet your destiny."
"Are you going to kill me Captain? In front of these officers?"
"They have disobeyed and will be punished accordingly." The Captain licked his lips again. "But you are dangerous. I will not tolerate vigilantes! I will not allow you to mock our laws and corrupt them!"
"And killing me isn't against the law?"
"Don't you dare preach to me." The Captain cocked his weapon.
A shot rang out and the Captain crumpled.
The luger in Sandman's hand curled with smoke.
"He's insane." Mary said rushing to tend to the Captain.
"The pressure has got to him. Treat him gently." Sandman passed the Luger to Monroe. "I have another meeting to attend."
He turned and disappeared into the darkness.
The Captain was sitting stunned on the ground holding his right hand.
His mind had receded into itself.
He sat there rocking backward and forward muttering to himself abstractedly. His pistol laid on the floor not far from him showing clearly where the Lugers bullet had struck.Chapter Eight To and Fro
The Wesley household was quiet as Wes worked in the little laboratory in the basement.
Each of his specialised weapons were laid out in front of him on the bench.
Picking up his wide mouthed gas gun he crossed over to a bell jar full of greenie yellow vapour. It swirled like a snake wanting release.
He carefully clipped the barrel of the pistol to the diaphragm exit of the bell jar and operated the suction. In two heart beats he stopped the operation and with a thoughtful look on his face disconnected the weapon.
A little later Murphy joined him with a tray of coffee and some cookies.
"Miss Dian asked me to follow a possible lead sir." He indicated a writing pad covered in his spider like scrawl. "We looked for any males that could fit the profile of being a spouse. Some of them I knew the staff and was able to get information on their movements that way."
"I've made a short list for you sir. Fifteen possible and five probable."
"Thank you Murphy."
"Will Miss Dian be alright sir?" He asked worriedly.
"I hope so old friend, I sincerely hope so."
He took the list from Murphy and studied it intensely.
"What makes you think these fifteen men are possible studs?" Wes asked as he ran his finger down the column.
The men were all above the norm in either mental or physical attributes.
Ben Logan:- Mountain Climber.
Joe Johnson:- Physics Professor at Cal Tech.
Michael Mears:- Artist. Praised as the new Constable.
John Tank :- Playboy with a very high IQ.
Randolph Piers:-Mr Universe
Terry Sloan:- A holder of many university degrees, Classical piano player.
"They fit the profile sir, but I have managed to find out that at least five of them are going to a Masonic event tonight Master Wesley. Oh and both Ted Knight and Terry Sloan will be attending the garden party Sir."
Wes looked up at his butler and friend.
"It seems I shall be going out again Murphy." He said with a grim smile.
"Understood sir. I will have the Auburn Speedster outside ready for you."
"Really must learn how to drive." Wes muttered as he pulled on the gas mask.
"Miss Dian has offered to teach you Sir." Murphy smiled.
"Yes she has but I want to live." Wes smiled at the thought.
Murphy was true to his word and was sitting in the roadster wearing his chauffer uniform.
Michael Mears sat at his easel staring at his latest creation with a puzzled expression on his hansom face.
The painting was just a blur of colour out of which strange disjointed figures loomed.
The colours were slowly twisting like the eddies in a rock pool.
A claw reached out of the painting and waved around in front of his face before disappearing back into the painting.
He lent closer in disbelief.
Suddenly a gas masked covered face appeared a few centimetre's from his own.
He jumped back with a start and collided with his stool, sending it with crash into the wall and himself onto the floor with a thump.
He watched disbelievingly as the figure struggled to leave the pictures oily grip. With an audible plop it stood in primary colours in front of him dripping paint on to the floor.
It stood still and pointed a bony finger at him.
Suddenly there was a scream of agony from his right.
He twisted around and faced a sunken cheeked crone. The creatures scream chilled him to the bone.
The eye sockets were empty!
Again there was a scream this time to his left.
Another crone stood there its mouth wide open in mid-scream but she had no tongue.
A third voice joined the chorus from in front. He turned to face the final crone which to his horror had no ears.
"What do you want? leave me in peace!"
They joined the figure in the green suit and pointed their bony fingers at him.
The screams stop as if he had turned a faucet, instead he heard a child's high pitched giggle.
"Oh by the love of God no!"
He turned to find himself in a wooded clearing full of dappled sunlight.
He could see himself as a little boy on the ground calling up to his playmate, a young girl, who sat legs dangling over a branch of the tree.
"Cowardly, cowardly custard." The girl laughed adjusting the woggle of her Brownies neckerchief.
The boy was dressed in cub scouts attire.
"I don't think your mum and dad are going to be happy about you climbing the tree." The boy called.
"Your just saying that because you're too frightened to join me."
"No I'm not, I'll show you." Within moments he was beside her looking far from safe.
"Come on and get down we've got cookies to sell remember." The boy rapidly got down only to find the girl still sitting there. "Are you coming or not?"
"Oh alright." The girl got up and began swinging her way around the tree.
"Go back and jump, please, please don't climb!" Michael yelled in horror.
The girl slipped and fell from the branch. The woggle got stuck in the fork of the tree leaving her inches off the ground, choking to death.
The boy, Michael, didn't move.
In front of him Marylou scrabbled at the cloth around her throat her legs kicking.
"Don't just stand there do something!" Michael yelled in horror. "You've got your pen knife in your pocket! Cut her down! Please cut her down! Oh pretty please."
Suddenly Marylou was still her black tongue showing between her lips.
Michael sunk to his knees in great wracking sobs of tears that somehow did not blur his vision. Didn't hide the hanging figure from his sight.
A bright light grew around the girl making it hard to see but when it faded the tableau had changed.
The girl stood as if in a spotlight on a stage. Her pure white smock and wings caught the light making it glow like a nimbus around her.
She looked up at the adult Michael and blew him a kiss.
Michael thought his heart would burst.
"She forgives you, now you must forgive yourself." Sandman whispered into his ear. "It is what she would want."
The girl gave the boy Michael a kiss on his cheek before waving at the adults. A glowing figure appeared beside her and took her hand. It too look up a the two men and performed the Cross before both faded from view.
"Where are you going tonight?" Sandman said with a sibilant hiss.
"The Masonic Lodge, we've a new member to swear in, to take through the initiation ceremony. There will be four of us plus the initiate."
Sandman grunted as Michael reeled off the names.
"Sleep well my friend your conscience is clear."
Sandman and the women faded from view.
Michael awoke the next morning with a mighty yawn felling more alive, more settled, than he had felt in years.
He got himself a coffee and sat in front of the easel.
He took off the cloth to reveal a stunning cityscape.
He smiled satisfied with his work and was about to cover it up when he stopped at something he saw.
There in the painting standing on the fire escape was a figure picked out with great skill. It was an incredibly detailed image of a man in a dark green suit , fedora and gasmask.
Michael frowned at it a moment before breaking out in a broad grin.
It seemed right that it was there, somehow comforting.
He picked up the pair of cufflinks with pieces of Whitby Jet in them from the paint tray under the easel and placed them on the dresser in the bedroom beside the shirt that was hanging up.
In the car the Sandman lent back with a weary sigh.
"We can eliminate those four, they're going to the Masonic lodge." He said.
"Where too now sir?" Murphy asked as he pulled away from the pavement.
"I do not know old friend. Where would you put ten women so they can be raped?"
"At a large house away from the road sir. Somewhere no one can overlook."
"Yes I think your right. We've got Terry Sloan's and John Tank's homes to investigate."
Murphy eased the car out into the flow of traffic and headed out into the leafy suburbs.
In the Precinct house Munroe and Mary had been called to the Chiefs office only to be faced with the manic stare of the Captain.
"Come in both off you." The Chief said indicating the chairs before his desk.
"No thank you sir, I'd prefer to stand."
"As you wish." He cleared his throat. "The Captain has brought forward a serious claim of dereliction of duty on your behalf."
"I'll have your bones for this." The Captain raged. His right eye having a noticeable tick.
"Be quite Captain, you'll have ample time later to speak." Belmont looked back at the officers. "Monroe what happened. Tell me the truth or I won't be able to help you."
Monroe drew himself up.
"Sir I want it put on record that Sergeant Hope did not make any decisions about the situation I am going to relate she was only following my orders."
"This isn't a formal investigation into your conduct Monroe, but I understand what you have said and will take it as read. How did you come to be in the sewers Monroe, it's not a place I would expect my officers would be?"
"We had a tip off from a reliable informer that the 'Mist' was down in the storm drains along with the women. This information was true but when we reached it it appears to have been abandoned."
"I see. How come some of your force were injured?" Belmont's face gave nothing away.
"We ran into resistance from some black shirted gun men. In the resulting fire fights some of my people were injured, none seriously thank God." Monroe was feeling decidedly uncomfortable. "Several guards were captured alive and are being held in the cells ready for interrogation."
"Who gave you the tip off?" The Chief asked.
"I'd rather not say."
"It was the vigilantly Sandman wasn't it?" Belmont's voice was soft and far from threatening. "I just want the truth lieutenant."
"Yes sir. When we reached where the women had been held the Sandman was already there. He helped us with lowering Sergeant Darkling so we could give her first aid."
"I've been to see her. The doctors tell me that she is stable, which at the moment is all we can hope for." He waved his hand for Monroe to continue.
"The Sandman joined us sir to discuss our next moves."
"You were plotting with a known criminal you mean. There is a warrant out for his arrest and you let him do what he wanted. At best you were acting stupidly or at its worse you were actively colluding with him to pervert justice." The Captain spat. "Twice I told you to arrest him but you ignored me, even after he had fired at me you did nothing.
It was pure luck that he is such a bad shot and only knocked the gun from my hand."
"With respect Captain I disagree; I think it was a demonstration of how skilful he was that he was able to hit the pistol out of your hand without damaging you."
"Did you refuse to carry out the Captains orders, yes or no?"
Monroe hesitated a moment before reluctantly answering.
"Yes." He said quietly hunching his shoulders ready to take the weight of the Chiefs wrath.
"Thank goodness for that. If I wanted officers that just followed their orders slavishly I could pick them out of the gutter. I want officers who can work on their own initiative." The chief looked relieved. "I've withdrawn the APB on the Sandman you'll be glad to hear. If you can contact him tell him I need, no we need him on this case."
The Captain made a noise like a scolded cat.
"He is on the case sir. He is of the opinion that the Mist is the head of a Nazi style white supremacist group wanting to breed a super race to take over the government when the time is right."
"What you mean like we breed show dogs to purify the line and re-enforce an aspect of the dog. " The Chief lent back and sighed. "You mean like selective breeding."
"Yes sir. All of the women have excelled in one way or another and if they are mated with an outstanding male these traits will be improved. Or so they believe." Mary said.
" Eugenics sergeant. Francis Galton put it forward in Victorian times. I believe they are looking into it at the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution. Somehow it leaves a bad taste in the mouth." He turned to the seething Captain and spoke gently, calmly to him. "Captain take a month off. Your over wrought and need a rest. I will assign a police doctor who will help you recover."
The Captain hesitated.
"You're dismissed Captain."
He nodded reluctantly and left the room.
"Be compassionate the pair of you, he won't be the last to fall because of the strain."
The Chief looked up at his officers with a sigh. "Do we have any clues as to where they may have been taken?"
"Not concrete ones sir but we need to act fast." Monroe looked at his watch and shuddered when he saw it was just gone past midnight. "Tonight they intent to breed them."
"Right lets go down and see what you've got."
Down in Monroe's section office the young Asian officer was slumped in a chair fast asleep.
Mary went to wake him but the Captain stopped her.
"Leave him be sergeant we will all need as much sleep as we can get." The Chief crossed to the wall and stared at the poor women's photographs. "Poor souls, all that work, that potential, to be reduced to brood mares."
"To carry out what they intend to do." Mary said embarrassedly.
"The word you're looking for is raped sergeant. Plane and simple rape." Belmont shook his head sadly. "Continue."
"Yes sir." Mary said in relief. "To carry out the intended rapes they are going to need a large building which can't be spied on. Ones that their own guards can secure."
"We have earmarked several." Monroe cleared his throat. "Wesley Dodd's, a successful industrialist. UK subject, Ben Logan:- Mountain Climber. Randolph Piers:-Mr Universe. and so on."
"Wasn't Randolph Piers involved in some sort of anti Semitism not long after he gained the title?"
"I've no idea sir." Monroe replied.
"I'll look it up in the archives. It'll be good to do some proper policing again. I'll radio what we have on them." He lifted his head and called over his shoulder. "Don't you agree Sandman."
The Sandman come out of the shadows and stood impassively in front of Belmont.
"Wesley Dodds and the artist Michael Mears are not involved nor are three other men on this list."
"Why do you frighten me so much? I know under all that get up is a man like me yet I'm scared spitless." Belmont didn't look frightened in fact he was the sort of man that gave the appearance that he wasn't frightened of anything.
Belmont reached into his pocket and drew out a police shield and warrant card. He passed them to Sandman.
"It's your warrant card Lieutenant. All above board. As you will see you are special forces operative. Monroe, assuming we live through this, you'll head up a new department of special forces liaison and support." He turned back to the Sandman. "Wake him up before you go Lieutenant. It was because he was asleep that I knew you were here."
"I haven't touched him he is asleep because he is exhausted."
"Well that leaves me with egg on the face. What do you suggest Sandman?"
"There are six properties with a high probability and five men with a high probability. Can they be watched?"
"Not all of them I haven't got the man power." Monroe answered.
"There is no doubt these men are involved I suppose?" Belmont asked.
"Every doubt, we are clutching at straws really." Monroe replied trying to stifle a yawn. "Some of the women are from backgrounds that I would have disregarded."
"I now know who and why but not where, not yet."
"Care to enlighten us Sandman?" The chief asked.
"Randolph Piers was reported to have anti-Jew views and connections to the clan. They weren't proven but he has been working with Ben Logan promoting fitness and Ben Logan is know for his isolationist views."
"I'll arrange a warrant so we can bring them in for questioning."
"No Chief that won't work they'll just go to ground and we still won't have found the women." Sandman sighed. "Chief look in the archives for any references to the following three men Randolph Piers, Joe Johnson, a physics Professor at Cal Tech and John Tank the playboy.
Lieutenant, Sergeant rest but assemble two small task forces ready for seven o'clock tonight." Sandman steeped into the shadows and vanished.
Belmont smiled grimly.
"You two go home but be back here by eight o'clock."
The Chief crossed over to where the young Asian officer slept and shook him awake.
"Come along young man we've a long night ahead of us."
When they were alone the two officers sagged with fatigue.
"You all right Mary?"
"Come to my apartment it's not far from here."
"You've got a put you up bed?"
"No but then again who said I'll be needing one." She reached up and drew his head down and kissed him.
"Don't expect much I'm out on my feet." Monroe told her as they came up for air.
"Ditto and some." She took his hand and together they began to walk out only to hear screams from the cell block.
"Sandman is working late. Doesn't that man ever sleep?" Monroe said grouchily.
Together they walked out hand in hand ignoring the looks from the officers on the next shift.
Time was running out.Chapter Nine Signs of the Times
New Amsterdam Royal Free Hospital was the first of the new National Health hospitals in America inspired by Bevin a politician in the UK vision of the future.
It was bright and clean, smelling of disinfectant.
On a chair by the side room door sat a well built police officer who stared unblinkingly at the wall opposite.
Inside the room the patient lay sedated.
Charles McNider leaned on his white stick and listened as the skin specialist examined Ann's brandings.
"I don't know what you expect me to do Charles?" Kenneth Nelson stood up after examining her skin.
Charles ran sensitive fingers over the raised skin picking out the details.
"I can't do a skin graft as there isn't any clean skin left on her to work with." Nelson said bitterly. "Whoever did this did a pretty thorough job."
"Can you remove those on her face?" Charles stood up.
"I will have to cut it out and stretch the skin to cover the area. The scars could be as bad as the brandings but you're right we may need to take the risk."
"I will advise the parents on the choices." Charles said as he tapped his way out of the side room.
Kenneth followed shaking his head.
The door sighed shut leaving the room in silence save for the sound of Ann breathing.
Sandman stepped out of the shadows and placed a hand on her forehead.
The austere sterile room of the ward room vanished to be replaced by a scene of rolling grass lands moving to and fro in the gentle breeze.
She got out of the bed and stood barefooted on the grass. She saw her pony from her childhood casually eating the grass. She extended a hand to stroke its mane and stared at her clean skin.
"Ann?" A soft voice came from the grim figure standing by the bed.
She turned to face him.
"While you were with the other women did the Mist give you any idea where they were going to take you?" Sandman asked gently.
"No but when I was branded two women were watching. It was under their command that they carried on branding me.
One thing I do know they were friends of someone called the Mitfords. I heard them talking while they were branding the other women before they started on me."
"They are a scandalous family from England. Unity is in a relationship with Hitler and several high echelon Nazi's. No other names?" A robin dropped onto the rail of her bed and began to sing.
"Yes. One asked if they needed to contact Valkryie but they decided it was unwise to involve her."
"Yes that is Unity, its her middle name." He paused as more birds began singing. "She has been vociferous in her desire that Britain and America should join with the Nazi's in ethnic cleansing. It's thought that she is Hitler's mistress.
You didn't recognise the women at all?"
"My mind was pretty much preoccupied." She said bitterly.
"Yes of course you were. I am sorry I wish there was more I could do."
Sandman looked down onto the bed where she lay and sighed.
"I will get those who did this to you. I promise." He whispered as he gently moved a stray lock of hair from her eye.
A few moments after he had left her eyes flashed open and stared intensely at the ceiling before shutting once more.
It was morning and the sun shone brightly through Monroe's bedroom window picking out the dust motes that floated in the air.
Monroe tried to sit up only to feel the tousled head of Mary on his chest.
Around the bed were their scattered clothes showing how important and how intense their love making had been.
Mary looked up into his eyes and gently caressed his cheek.
He took her hand and gently kissed her palm.
"Is it time?" She asked.
Sheepishly they collected their discarded clothes and got dressed.
"Do you normally put on dirty clothes Lieutenant?" Mary said trying to keep a blank face. "I'll have to put a stop to that when you have married me."
"Hark who's talking." Monroe sat on the end of the bed and was manfully struggling with a sock.
"Mine is through necessity. Being at your apartment means I have no change of clothes here."
Monroe wasn't listening as he had latched onto a word from earlier in the conversation.
"Marry me." He said slack jawed with sleep.
"Oh darling I thought you'd never ask. Yes of course I will marry you." Her smile lit up her whole face. "But I think we should find those women first."
"Right." He said as he tried to fathom what had just happened.
"Come on slow coach we need to get to the precinct house." She laughed.
When they arrived they found both the Belmont's waiting for them.
"Monroe, Sergeant Hope. My brother Henry, our DA." The chief looked exhausted.
Henry nodded to them.
"What have we got?" Henry asked.
"Well officer Li and I have been scouring the archives and news papers and what we have found is interesting." Dick said as Tony yawned mightily.
"Well get on with it man?" Henry said irritatedly.
"Randolph, our Mr Universe, is a member of the Teutonic League which is an offshoot of the Bund. He is the figure head, some say creator, of the Teutonic Youths League. A Nazi form of boy scouts and girl guides, a form of Hitler youth.
Also on the board so to speak is Physics Professor Joe Johnson.
Both men have actively been preaching that Germany is right to deal so harshly with the foreigners. Randolph goes a step father claiming that the coloured's are a danger in our midst and should be put into ghetto's where they can be watched. He's suspected to have been involved with the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan, but we haven't any proof."
"We are a land of free speech though there are times I wish we wasn't." Henry said crossing to the coffee percolator and poured himself a cup. "None of these things constitute a beach of the law no matter how distasteful we find them."
"Kidnap, torture and rape might be." Monroe said as he spotted a missive from Sandman on his desk.
"Yes I know you're correct Monroe but they only come into being after the event. I can't jail someone on the supposition that they might or might not commit a crime." He sipped his coffee and sat on the edge of a desk and stared at the pictures on the board.
"Three of the women were tortured and murdered because they weren't of pure stock. One was a Jewess and the other two had dyed their hair blond." Mary told him.
"Brother this cult intends to carry out eugenics to create their master race. All the women left fit their twisted notion of racial purity and supremacy.
Monroe looked up from the note that had been typed on his typewriter.
"The number is back up to ten. Three more women have been kidnapped in strange circumstances. All three were women with superior physical and or mental capacity."
He paused and licked his dry lips. "An extra woman was taken. I am so sorry sir but it's your daughter Dian Belmont."
"What!" The colour drained from both the men's faces.
"Find her Monroe, find her!" The Chief breathed.
"I want their heads on poles do you hear me, do you understand!" Henry yelled. "If she has been hurt in anyway I won't be responsible for my actions."
When they have calmed down a little Monroe continued.
"I've operatives, sorry officers, staking out five of the men's homes. They will get in touch if anything happens.
It has come to light that two female supporters of Unity Mitford are involved. It may even be that they will be using their own out of town homes.
We don't know who they are as yet."
"Well get on too it man, get on too it."
"Yes sir and I'll keep you informed."
"You better had Monroe, you better had."
The DA stormed out of the room.
"I take it that the news came from the Sandman?" The Chief asked.
"Yes sir." Monroe replied.
"Has he got anything else to say?"
"Well out with it man!"
"The whole squad should be present tonight, armed. He or one of his agents will tell us where the women are.
We're to get a warrant and raid the place."
"I'll get Judge Anderson to sign a blank one and we'll fill in the details afterward. If we can't do that then he'll have to miss his club and sit with us. Anything else?" The Chief asked
"Only that his operatives will be wearing white arm bands so they can't be mistaken for the Nazi's"
"Then all we can do is wait. I'll be in my office should you need me."
Monroe stood silent for a few moments before grinding into action as the rest of his team arrived.
"Mary take your girls and go through the papers for any reference to the Mitford's especially Unity. George and Polish Mike pay Clara Kent at the Daily World a visit and see if she's heard of anyone of the local rich kids with a Mitford connection."
Clara was a good source of information and very patriotic.
Deals were made that allowed the World to have a scoop when the dust settled.
"Tony Li." The oriental jumped at the mention of his name. "Go home son and catch up on your sleep. Be back here by five this evening."
The officer looked relived.
Within minutes the office became quiet as everyone took up their allotted task.
Night was a long way off but already Monroe stomach was tight, It was going to be a long day.
Wes laid under the barbell and took it off its cradle and began bench pressing it.
It was difficult to concentrate knowing that Dian was in danger but he had to keep active until the night had begun.
In the corner Ted Grant was going through a light training session before tomorrow nights fight. It seemed that Ted had found a friend in the student, Alan, from Cal tech.
The two swapped quips back and forward making Ted laugh his deep rolling laugh.
In the ring Jim was going through his paces ready for his bout.
Wes had agreed some time ago with Socko that he would sponsor both Jim and Ted. Now that Ted was earning well from his fights purses he seemed intent in paying Wes back.
Wes put the weight back in its cradle and looked around to see if he could see Socko.
When he did spot him it raised a sense of unease.
Socko was in a deep irritated conversation with three black shirted men.
Wesley decided to amble over and see if Socko needed support.
"Be reasonable Smith you don't want to be involved with inferior races. If you join us you'll be training the most elite of athletes." One said cheerfully as another slipped around him to stop behind Socko. "Ted Grant is a negro. You don't want to be involved with him. The Champ is a good Arian whereas Grant is black."
"I don't understand?"
"We don't want Grant to win, get him to throw the fight in round seven otherwise we will have to take it out of your skin." Then he gave an imperious click of his finger's and the one behind Socko cracked his knuckles before laying a heavy hand on his shoulder. "I think we understand each other."
He clicked his fingers once again and the men collected together and left.
Wes arrived as they were just learning.
"What was all that about?" Wes asked gently.
"Just some two bit hustlers wanting me to get Ted too throw the fight.
They don't know about Ted, he'd rather die than cheat." Socko breathed a calming breathe and turned to the sweating Wes. "The bicycle next I think."
Wes nodded but his mind was on what he had seen.
It was later on when Wes got home he had time to assess what he knew and what he'd seen.
The Bund was out to stop Ted Grant winning the combined world belts from Jake LaMotte, the raging bull. To them having a black man as a world champion would down grade the art of boxing which they hoped would be dominated by the up and coming Max Shmelling.
The whole affair left a bad taste in the mouth.
He sipped his coffee and took down his copy of Curettes' to paw over the name's of the so called great and good that lived just out of town.
The Mitford connection had thrown him a curved ball at first until he realised how fitting it was.
Four of Dian's best friends sat around the table adding their knowledge of the women and what the latest gossip was. Sally Anne was of most use even if you had to listen to absolute dibble to get the nugget.
"I say." She said for the umpteenth time that afternoon. "Well look here, the Camden twins have a place in Leewood. I didn't know that?"
"You are a silly airhead they have been there for months." Elizabeth exclaimed.
"What are they like, do you know?" Wes asked.
"I met them at the Hearst spring ball." Elizabeth said lightly.
The girls were there under the pretext that they were helping Wes choose who to invite to his Sunday party.
"Strange pair." Elizabeth mused.
"How so?" Wes asked trying to hide his impatience.
"It's difficult to put your finger on it. Maybe it was because they had a tendency to finish each others sentences. They seem more like lovers than sisters." She paused a moment. "I took an instant dislike of them though as I've said before I don't know the reason."
"There was a bit of controversy but it soon blew over. It would seem they dismissed a over maid for being Jewish." Anne Marie added. "The maid went to my synagogue but after a few weeks she vanish and was never seen again."
"But no connection with the Mitford's? Your sure now?" Wes said gently but forcibly.
"Of course they have connections to the Mitford's they were Unity's bankers in America for awhile." Mary Anne said lost in her own thoughts as she stared out of the windows. "Do you think Roger Camden would take me out he's supposed to be quite a dish?"
There was a chorus of voices all saying one word, well two really.
"What?" She said oblivious of the frustrated eyes staring at her. "I don't know why you want them to come in the first place, frightful people."
The girls and Wesley laughed at the woman's naivety.
"It's a shame Dian isn't here she would have loved all this skulduggery. When did you said she'd be back Wesley?"
"Tonight all being well, tonight." Wes looked up from the book in front of him and gave a radiant smile. "I don't suppose you have an address for them do you?"
'The Priory' laid back from the main road and could only be reached by its quarter mile drive way.
It was a pretty pink and white colonial building sitting on a small rise in its large deer park.
You didn't really get the impression of size until you entered the internal car park. There on a shingle bed were parked the families cars surrounded on all four sides by this impressive building.
In the ballroom there was a strange scene.
The walls were covered with soft drapes emblazoned with the swastika and Hitler's face. Sitting at the tables that were scattered around the room were the ten missing women. Each one of them was expensively coiffure and dressed to show their best attributes. Diamond rings and tiaras glinted in the lamp light.
The fact they were all drugged showed in their eyes and vacant expressions.
In a large cage hung from the ceiling was the dishevelled form of Dian. Dirty and bruised she sat in her tatty underwear clutching the bars and calling out to the women that lolled in their seats.
What worried Dian most was the unlit brazier beneath her cage.
"You are wasting your time they can't hear you." The Mist said as he entered the room.
He crossed over to some of the women and grabbing their chins examined their eyes.
"I am using a mixture of morphine and a psychotropic extract of a mushroom or was it a toadstool I forget. Never mind it is of no importance." he bragged as he strutted around the room. "The morphine will keep them calm whilst the hallucinations the extract gives them makes them suggestible. After all we want them to seem like willing subjects."
His laugh sounded like an a hyena.
He wore a German Captains uniform with a special sash and metal engraved plate resting on his chest from a silver chain around his neck.
He strutted around like a proud peacock.
"What about me?" Dian asked.
"Well what about you." He said dismissively. "Your Jewish so hardly a good start and being Sandman's partner hasn't helped."
"I don't know what you mean." She got no further.
"Don't try and treat me like a fool! I've seen you helping him, driving him!" The little mans face flushed as he ranted. "If he comes for you, which I doubt, I will kill him."
"Are you sure of that Nebel." Two women entered the room swathed in furs.
"We would hate to have to stop the evenings entertainment." Said the other.
"No, no ladies you have nothing to fear." The Mist raised his hands to calm their fears. "Our tracks have been covered to well. They have no idea that we are here. The traps for the Sandman are a mere precaution. Is Valkryie coming?"
"No it was thought…"
"… that it would be unwise to…"
"get her involved." The women said.
Dian shivered as they two women turned their eyes on her.
"I hope she will be good entertainment tonight." One of them sneered.
"I don't think you will be disappointed. She will be thrown to the wolves when her usefulness has ended." The Mist, Nebel in German, looked decidedly uncomfortable in their presence.
The unlit brazier took on a more horrific countenance.
"You're mad all of you?" Dian screamed.
"When we have done there will be thousands of good Arian women pregnant with the new pure bloods and scum like your will be swept away."
With that passing shot the three of them left.
Dian slumped to the bottom of her cage and tried vainly to hold her tears in check.
The evening had drawn its dark cloak over the city when the call came.
"The sleeper awakes." The Irish voice at the other end of the line said.
"The waking ear hears." Monroe replied in a whisper.
When he put down the receiver his face was set like stone.
"Our quarry are on the move." He said crossing over to the town map on the wall.
"We know that four of them should be heading to the Masonic Hall which leaves us with six others possibly going to the party. Get to the cars boys and girls ready to go.
As soon as I hear the destination we leave. No sirens or blues and two's when we near the target."
The Chief of Police sat at a desk with a heavily set man in his sixties. Judge Anderson had been heavily put out missing his evening at the club, but soon settled when he heard how serious things were.
Clara at the World had given three families that had connections with the Mitfords and Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Fascists. But that had lead to a serious problem. The three families live in completely different area's of the city meaning the resources of the police department would be spread to thin.
The phone rang on Monroe's desk once more.
After a few moments he put down the receiver.
"The four have gone to the Masonic Lodge as predicted. The others are congregating at the same spot. We have our address."
"Good luck Monroe. I'll inform the DA."
The Judge entered the properties name and number onto the warrant and handed it over.
Monroe dashed away to join the others.
"Please bring her back safe Monroe, bring her home." He turned to the Judge. "I have a fine whisky in my office if you are staying. You are welcome to join me."
"No thank you. You don't need me any further so I'll get a cab to my club, with any luck I'll be in time for the cabaret." With that passing shot he left leaving the Chief all alone with his dark thoughts.
With a sigh he picked up the phone and began to dial a number.
A black shirted guard passed a shrouded gate to the formal gardens on the estate only for a female arm snake out and wrap itself around his neck. In a second he was being quietly lowered to the floor buy the oriental girl.
"Perimeter of the ground has be secured Sandman." She said quietly to the shadowy figure behind her. "We will move inward and secure the gardens."
"Thank you." Sandman whispered before vanishing into the darkness.
On the other side of the building a tiger striped feline woman watched with silent glee as a guard stepped into her man trap. She was across in a moment to silence the man.
In the distance two figures separately made their way across the lawn.
Sandman watched from his advantage point on a window ledge as four expensive cars pulled up and their owners disembarked.
In the distance a loose gaggle of police vehicles were bearing down on the property.
Things were coming to a head and what the outcome would be was anyone's guess.
The party was in full swing.
Liveried servants served Champagne cocktails to the milling crowd.
The Mist in his robe of concealment floated around like some demented ghost.
He glided up the steps of the rostrum and the room fell silent.
"Today is a momentous day. One that will go down in history. While our beloved leader conquers in Europe and Africa, destroying the weak, the sick, the impure we here will begin creating the supermen and women that will populate this new land.
We will begin to breed our finest specimens of manhood, our greatest scholars and athletes, with women of physical and mental superiority."
He waved his hand and the women stood up and one by one came to stand before the dais. Each one was introduced with their attributes until the last one stood before the Mist.
"Gertrude Hillman, first class archer and sculptress. Ladies if you would please show us all here the perfection of Arian Womanhood."
The women unclasped, unzipped, their gowns allowing them to fall to the floor. They were all naked.
"Our men, our future Gods."
Ten men entered wearing tight white shorts, all ten were perfect physical subjects. They each took a woman by the hand and led them away.
"Tonight our titans will be bred to join those being created on this night all over the civilised world. The Third Reich, one people, one nation, one race." His oratory was nothing like Hitler's but it was effective.
He pandered to this mystical image of knightly purity.
Dian watched this interplay from her advantage place in her cage up at the ceiling. She wanted to spit or urinate over them below but decided the longer they ignored her the better.
The room had four alcoves half way up the wall and for a moment she thought she saw movement.Chapter Ten Zero Hour.
A grapnel shot over the parapet and hooked itself around the railing. A few moments later a grey gloved hand snaked over scuttling to find a grip to haul the Sandman over onto the roof.
Once there Sandman peered around to get some idea of the layout. From there he could see four other shapes gaining the roofs of the other buildings that constitute the quadrangle.
He signalled to them with his hand giving them their next objective.
He crossed to the French windows that led into the interior and peered through the nets to the room beyond.
Inside a young woman laid naked on a bed staring sightlessly at the ceiling whilst a hansom blond man tried to make love to her.
Sandman slipped a slim piece of metal though a gap and carefully unlatched the window.
A small metal object, spewing out greenish yellow vapour as it spun across the bedrooms wooden floor, flew from Sandman's hand.
The couple fell asleep without knowing he was there.
He crept across the room to the door and eased it gently open. Outside black shirted guards stood at intervals along the hallway. Sandman could gas the two nearest but that would announce his presence to the others.
He closed the door and peered around the room. He crossed to the fireplace and peered up, within moments he was climbing up and along the fireplace chimney.
After a few minutes he was hauling himself out of the shaft into an attic room where many of the services congregated.
Carefully he picked his way over the pipes to where there was a door that led down to the false ceiling and the heavy crystal chandeliers.
Carefully he lowered himself onto the silvered metal plate just above the lights that reflected their rays down onto the floor far below.
He looked at the next one and made a decision. Walking backward to the very edge of the plate he took a running jump and landed on the next, barely able to keep his feet on its slippery surface.
The next was a little further away but in Sandman's mind reachable.
He was about to make an attempt when a door open down below. Hunched low he watched as six black shirted men passed by underneath him without a second glance.
He tilted his hat back and wiped his brow.
Satisfied they had gone he stepped back and made his leap.
With horror he realised he wasn't going to make it. Both hands shot out in hope. As he sailed passed the plate his right hand gave an uncontrolled twitch and caught it, bringing him to a jarring halt that threatened to tear him of the plate making him to let go.
Pain shot through his shoulder as his full weight dragged on it. With an effort he grabbed the plate with his other hand and dragged himself inch by inch onto the plate.
There he squatted for awhile massaging his shoulder and arm.
When he was ready he took a fling leap into the roof space above. He dropped into a hot air duct from the central heating and edged his way forward.
Dian's cage was being lowered to the floor watched with increasing blood lust by the twins.
She was dragged from the cage and her hands and elbows were tied behind her back.
"Look she's liking it my sweet." Beth, One of the sisters, said.
"Do you like being tied up you naughty girl." The other, Rose, said before giving her sister a French kiss.
"Hmm so nice sister."
The Mist bobbed forward as the cage was taken away and Dian was connected to the rope that connected it to the ceiling.
"You can save yourself all this ridicule and pain all you have to do is tell me who the Sandman is." He said.
"I don't know." Dian persisted.
The Mist swept a hand round giving Dian a stinging blow that brought tears to her eyes.
"Liar!" He smacked her face once more. "Don't lie to me!"
"I've told you I'm just his driver. He'd phone me with a location and which one of the six cars he wanted." She gave a grunt of expelled air as he hit her in the stomach. "Believe me I've never seen him without his gas mask. I don't know who he is."
The Mist signalled to the powerfully built guard beside him to pull her up a few inches from the floor.
Dian had only the barest of touches of her toe tips to relieve the pain in her shoulders.
"Do you like my little toy. The Spanish inquisitors used it to get a confession." He signalled to the man on the rope to lift her a few inches higher. The pain became excruciating as her full weight was brought to bear on her shoulders. "You will tell me the truth you know, so don't risk your life."
The Mist collected a couple of heavy weights from off a table and strapped them to Dian's feet such that she could stand on them. Then she was hoisted once more to a height that allowed the weights to dangle and swing like pendulums from her ankles a few inches off the ground.
The extra weight was tearing at her shoulders.
"If I was to drop you now and then pulled you up suddenly, your arms would be dislocated. A little higher and the weights around your ankles would dislocate your hips." He grinned evilly. "You won't be able to move, you'd be as helpless as a baby. My patrons, the sisters, could have their evil way with you."
The three of them cackled.
Sweat poured down Dian's face.
The two women undid their furs and allowed them to drop to the floor. They crossed over naked to where Dian hung and began to caress and kiss her body.
One of the sisters climbed onto her back causing the pain to become unbearable.
Dian screamed in fear and pain.
The woman came around to the front of Dian and tore and ripped at her clothes.
The sisters seemed to be in the grip of some sort of ecstasy then Dian spotted the white powder still clinging to their noses. They were high on Cocaine.
Reluctantly, panting for breath, the sisters backed off.
"Now that you have seen what I can do, tell me the truth?" The Mist whispered into her ear as he wiped away her tears with his handkerchief.
Dian took a deep ragged breath.
Should she tell her torturers the Sandman's name in the hope that the Mist would be as good as his word and release her. Or does she assume the Mist will kill her anyway and therefore stay quiet.
Either way she would probably die it was just a matter of which was the better death.
Room seventeen was occupied byElaine Hawk, the nineteen year old chess champion, and a muscle bound Black Shirt called Carl.
He was finding the set up intimidating so he was trying to engage the young woman in conversation.
"I play Chess, but I'm nowhere as good as you. I like to play the Sicilian defence, what about you?"
The woman turned cold dead eyes onto him.
"We will make love now, yes?" Her speech was slurred as if drunk. "We make babies now?"
He was about to reply when there was a staccato knock at the door.
"That is all I need."
He crossed over and opened it.
"Yes what do you want?" He asked peering into the gloom.
He didn't get to say anything else as a perfectly timed fist crashed into his jaw knocking him out.
A feline visage popped its head in and took in the scene.
"I think I will tie you up first." She muttered as she crouched down beside the Black Shirt.
She thought she had heard the crack of a whip. She smiled to herself before carrying on.
The police cars crept up the driveway ready for action. Their target was the low two floored building on the right which acted as a sort of dormitory for the guards.
The pain was increasing in her arms as Dian hung there. Spitting into the Mist's face may not have been the most sensible thing to do but it summed up her contempt most satisfyingly.
"Who is the Sandman tell me?!" The obscuring vapour that shrouded his body had a yellowish hue like that of the clouds just before a storm breaks.
"That's rude old man. Why not ask me after all I'm the original, so to speak."
Sandman stood on a chandelier above their heads.
"…Kill him!" The sisters screeched.
From each of the four alcoves a Nazi guard fell out onto the floor to reveal a costumed vigilantly.
"Let me introduce us to the audience. That gentleman, for obvious reasons, is known as the Whip, that lady in tigress stripes is the Huntress, the other lady is called the Mantis." The Chinese young woman gave a bow. "And I, why I am called Firebrand."
The young man wore a white silk shirt tucked into brown sailors breeches that like wise were tucked into pirates boots. A red bandana swathed his head and formed a red face mask.
"We are Sandman's warriors, his special all star squadron." Firebrand said before jumping lightly to the floor.
The others followed suit.
"Don't show off James this isn't a game." Sandman gently rebuked the youngster.
"Yes Sandman, sorry." Firebrand replied with a broad grin.
The Huntress and Mantis crossed over to Dian and taking the rope from the guards hand carefully lowered her to the floor.
"We've neutralised all enemy forces in this part of the building Sandman." Firebrand picked up one of the furs discarded by the twins and draped it over Dian's naked form. "I noticed that the police are raiding the guardroom as I was coming here so they should be here soon."
"The Women are in a room just outside the doorway. The revellers are still enjoying themselves in the ballroom." The Oriental woman told Sandman as he dropped to the floor.
"No, No this could not happen, I covered our tracks to well." The Mist screeched.
"Yes you did but you didn't cover your host's that well." Sandman looked meaningfully at the two naked women.
The guard who had been lifting Dian up had quietly tied off the rope and went for the pistol that was tucked, unseen, into his waistband. He had barely got the pistol out before he was given a sharp blow to the back of his neck by Sandman. He went down like a sack of coal.
"The four of you leave before the police get here. Take the sisters with you and tie them up." The four obeyed readily.
"Stupid fools." Mist screeched his head disappeared into the mist. "The children of the Teutonic order will rise and sweep you all aside. We will visit on you a hundred, a thousand, a million times what you visit on us!"
Sandman drew out his wide mouth gas gun.
"Ha ha what a fool! Your puny vapours have no effect on me."
"True." Sandman triggered the gun and threw it into the mist.
The gun whistled and began to suck the mist in as it would the mesmeric gases in Wes's laboratory.
The Mist screamed incoherently as he began to fade into view as the vapours thinned out. He drew his pistol and jumping forward aimed it at the shivering Dian.
"You let me go or she is dead. It is as simple as that Sandman."
Sandman turned to the Mist. "It'll be just us two Mist, let her go."
"What throw away my trump card I think not."
With a wheeze the gun cut out.
The Mist no longer had his fog to hide in. The tatty cape he wore was plain to see.
"Fool my cloak will soon regenerate and I will be the Mist again.
Do you like it, it was made from the skins of Jews like my shade for the reading lamp. Supposedly only the Jewish golem, the Ragman, can wear it." His eyes were darting everywhere looking for a way out. "Ironic that I should be able to use it, don't you think."
The door slammed open and framed against the light was the Captain.
"Sandman. I have you at last."
Behind him stood the twins their faces flushed with hate rubbing their wrists where the ropes had bit. They too carried pistols.
"Why are you here fool? You were to divert the police to the other side of town. Keep them busy." The Mist sneered. "You were supposed to have neutralised the Sandman. At each step you have proven to be incompetent."
The two women were now holding Dian at gun point
"I was side lined." The Captain became suddenly calm as he aimed at Sandman. "You don't know how long I have wanted to kill you. No one will care, you're just a lawless vigilante."
His finger tightened on the trigger and it moved to cover the Mist.
A shot rang out and he crumpled to the floor blood pouring from the neat bullet hole in his forehead.
"Your usefulness is over." The Mist gloated the smoke pooling from his firearm.
He turned to Dian.
"And so has yours I'm afraid my dear." He said.
"I will take her place I am far more valuable to you." Sandman pulled of the gasmask to reveal Wesley underneath.
"Wesley Dodds, if I had known it was you I would have dispatched you long ago. You are an Arian how can you bear to even touch this foul Jewess no matter live with her? How much is this woman's life worth to you I wonder? You will now divert half your fortune into our bank in Switzerland." The Mist strutted around Dian his gun not far from her face.
"From every major country in the world will rise up the new order. The old order will be wiped away. The Arian peoples will spread out over the globe until a world government is formed untainted with corrupt religion and inferior race. One people, one race, one emperor, one world."
In his ranting he had let his concentration slip and Sandman was on him like a rash. His fist sent the man reeling.
"You don't know how satisfying that was." Sandman jumped forward and hit him again.
The Mist to his credit began to recover and landed solid punches of his own.
One punch went into the Sandman's gut winding him.
The Mist scrambled for the gun that he had dropped.
Dian slammed her foot down hard onto his out stretched hand. He shot back squealing in pain his hands up to ward the flurry of blows rained on him.
Step by step he backed up until he was at the fire hearth.
Cinders landed on the cloak making it smoulder for a moment before bursting into a torrent of flame that surrounded it with out being consumed by it.
Wes grabbed Dian and pulled her out of harms way as the Mist screamed in agony and flailed around the room.
Wes knocked him to the floor and rolled him to put out the flame.
When he had succeeded he looked down at the badly injured man.
"You could never escape, I know the dreams in men's hearts." He pulled on the gasmask and was the hero Sandman again.
The two women had watched the events with feral eyes. Enjoying the melee as if was a film, something they were not involved in. They licked their lips in pleasure.
Both pointed their guns at Sandman.
"It's a pity…"
"…that you must die, but…"
"…It is a necessity."
"You will not harm him." A new voice yelled.
Up in one of the alcoves stood the branded figure of Ann Darkling her Nazi symbols plain to see.
"Ah do you want him for yourself?" Beth asked.
"You are one of us now girl you carry his sign. There is nowhere else you can go." Rose said with eyes burning with lust.
Both women raised their pistols and took aim at her.
"You did this to me!" Ann raged. "You created me!"
"Yes we created you. You will become an icon, a rallying point for our troops. A symbol of Teutonic supremacy." Beth ranted.
Ann's gun lowered.
"Ann don't listen to them! Remember who you are!"
"That person died the day they did this to me." Anne lowered her head.
"Join us and you will be treated like a God!" Rose screamed out.
"I am sorry Sandman." She lifted up her hand to display the black Jet stoned ring. "I saw their faces in Vogue and recognised them. I am not worthy of this ring."
At that moment her intention was written plain on her face. Her gun flew up.
Three shots rang out and two bodies crumpled to the floor.
Anne shot Beth before receiving Rose's bullet in the chest. She had swung round and fired. Beth had joined her sister, crumpled lifelessly on the floor.
She stood in the alcove blood trickling down her chest.
"Sorry Sandman. I let you down." Her eyes rolled up into her head and she fell from the alcove to lie still upon the ground.
Sandman crossed over to her body and checked for life signs but found none.
He closed her eyes.
Sadly he picked up the Mists surprisingly intact cloak and covered her with it.
"I see you've been busy." Monroe said from the doorway. "Miss Belmont I assume?"
"Tony run a message back to the chief telling him his niece is safe and sound please?"
He walked further into the room and squatted down beside the Captains body.
He looked up at Sandman querying what he could see.
"He was a brave officer Monroe, he died trying to protect others."
Monroe like that, he knew it wasn't true but it would stop the police being damaged by these events.
He stood up.
"I'm afraid we had to spoil their fun in the ballroom. There was a full blown orgy going on." Monroe gave a wintery smile. "I don't know how the press found out about it but the Daily Worlds Louis Lane and his photographer Jimmy Olsen are in there as we speak."
Behind the Sandman a badly burnt hand wrapped itself around a pistol.
"Anne Darkling saved Miss Belmont from further torture but at the loss of her life." Sandman turned to where her body was, only to be confronted by the last curling vapours of mist and then it was gone.
The burnt body got to its feet and took aim at the Sandman's back.
Once more there was a pistol shot and another soul was committed to the hereafter.
Sandman carefully prized the locked fingers of Dian off the pistol and passed it to Monroe.
She collapsed into his arms and sobbed for a moment before pulling herself away as she heard her Uncles voice.
The Chief came flying in and skidded to a halt at the scene.
He gulped with bottled emotion and said with a breaking voice.
"Thank you Sandman, thank you Lieutenant." He paused a heartbeat before continuing. "Thank you Lieutenants. Thank you for bring her through safely."
He took a sobbing Dian into his arms and looked sadly at Sandman.
"The world isn't ready for you just yet but I will work for the day they will be. Thank you. You better go before the press get here."
The Sandman turned and took a running jump into an alcove and was gone.
That night a heavily marked young women stood vigil over the house before pulling on a tatty cloak. It oozed over her skin until the Jewish golem 'The Ragman' stood in her place.Epilogue One The Fight.
Madison square gardens was named after the third Prime Minster and sat squarely on Madison and Penn street. It was the second venue to occupy that spot.
Madison was an all purpose venue holding things as diverse as opera concerts to the Metropolis Blades Ice hockey team.
Tonight it was hosting the world title fight between Ted Grant and Rocky Marciano.
Wesley Dodds and Dian Belmont took their seats ready for the nights extravaganza.
Wes squeezed her hand.
"Are you sure you're up for this?" He asked. "We can always go home?"
Dian turned her head and looked deeply into those of the man she loved so dearly.
"If I back out of things he's won and I'm not going to let him do that." Dian said fiercely. "Besides our friend Ted is fighting tonight, he needs our support."
The hall was packed to the rafters when the MC climbed into the ring and took the mike.
"Ladies and Gentlemen please be upstanding for the Royal Anthem." The crowd sang 'God save the King' with some gusto but it was nothing compared to the MC's next announcement. "Please remain upstanding for the National Anthem of the United States of America."
He was having to yell over the building noise.
Every person sang threatening to take the roof off.
Wes spied Monroe and Mary sitting a few rows away hand in hand, their faces shinning and full of good humour.
"They'll have to split them up don't you think?" Dian asked.
"Perhaps, perhaps not." Wes mused but his eyes had caught sight of the Black Shirts that he had seen at the 'Battery'.
Wes felt uneasy. Was Ted going to throw the match he wondered?
Jim Harper proved to be light on his feet as he took the fight to his opponent. Though there wasn't a knockout Jim won every round by a clear margin.
Then the main bout began.
Ted was swift on his feet for so powerful a man. The rounds were tight affairs that often split the judges.
Ted was running out of time to throw the match in.
The eighth round was a bruising encounter which Ted eventually won and that became the turning point. Two rounds later Ted delivered a flurry of blows that had his opponent stagger back towards the ropes. He never made it as a fierce uppercut laid him out on the canvas.
Ted had won.
The crowd erupted into great roar of approval.
Wesley saw the four Black shirts fade away into the crowd their faces dark and intense.
Socko had ushered the radiant Ted Grant into the changing rooms and was standing guard outside with an old stub of a cigarette hanging from his lip.
"So you sort to ignore our advice, very unwise." The clipped voice said behind him.
He turned and looked at the four black shirted men as they spread out around him.
"There was no way Ted would throw the fight. I told you that the first time." The sweat was cooling on his skin and goose bumps rose up.
"Pity?!" The leader nodded to a big bruiser on his left.
The Nazi grinned and slipped a knuckle duster over his fingers.
"Beating me up isn't a wise thing to do they'll know you'll have done it, I'll make sure of that."
The knuckled dusted hand rammed into his gut driving the wind out of him.
The blows came thick and fast.
Socko crumpled to the floor.
His Assailants backed off.
"I will just have to make sure you never tell anyone." The leader stepped forward and kicked Socko in the head viciously.
A few minutes after they had left Sandman appeared out of the gloom.
He spotted the crumpled form of Socko on the floor and was about to go to his aid when the door to the changing room opened and Ted came out. He stepped back into the shadows.
Suddenly Ted wasn't there. His chest had swelled and his waist narrowed. His legs had lengthened. A large black panther in human form had taken his place.
"Ted Grant, Ted Grant." Sandman whispered from his vantage point.
The cat creature looked up at him its ears and tail twitching. It lifted a hand and seem to pull off its face.
The creature was gone leaving a fearful looking Ted in a black cat suit and cat faced cowl staring up at him.
"Ted Grant don't be afraid of what you become. Be the wild cat you were meant to be what you are destined to be. Become the wild cat and bring him justice."
Ted nodded and squaring his shoulders pulled the cowl over his head. Leaving the dead body of Socko on the ground Wildcat bounded away.
It was Sunday late afternoon at Wesley's home and the tea party for his charity 'War child' was in full swing. And with typical English luck it was pouring with rain.
Wes said it made him feel quite at home.
Thankfully the main marquee was attached to the ballroom so that he could open the French windows and use that as well.
Dian stayed close at Wes's side and played the perfect host. None but the few who knew her well was aware how hard it was for her after such an ordeal.
On the dais of the ballroom was Glen Miller and his swing band with the Andrew Sisters and the Squadronaires.
Both of the Belmont's and their wives were there, as was his cousin Shiera Hall, the museum curator, and her husband Colin.
Wes and Dian crossed over to Ted Grant who stood at the back of the room out of the way.
"I'm sorry to hear about Socko Ted." Wes said as he took a bucks fizz off a waitresses tray for him.
"Have they caught the ones who did it?" Dian asked.
"Oh yes." Said Ted fiercely. "But not before someone had given them a good hiding. Apparently they were attacked by some sort of big cat creature. Whatever happened it certainly loosened their tongues. One things for certain they won't be seeing the sunshine for awhile."
Murphy expertly negotiated the dancing crowds to reach Wes and Dian.
"Excuse me Master Wesley. The British Prime Minister has made an announcement and it's going to be transmitted on the radio in five minutes. I heard about it off the radio in the kitchen sir. I think you should hear it sir."
"Very well we'll use the radio in here, turn it on please Murphy."
Wes crossed the dance floor to the dais where he gave the Glen Miller band a cut throat gesture.
The music petered to a stop.
"Ladies and Gentlemen." Wes yelled to the puzzled crowd. "The Prime Minister of the UK, the land of my birth, is about to make an announcement. I hope you can understand my concern and my wish to hear it."
The wireless crackled into life just in time to hear Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain begin his speech.
You could have heard a pin drop as the audience held its collective breath.
"I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street.
This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11.00 a.m. that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."
Wesley lifted his head and said plainly so all could here.
"So the madness begins!"
With a wave of his hand the radio was turned off and music started up once again but there were few who took to the dance floor.
The grim reaper had entered the room and had cast his shadow over them all.
'There is nowhere that evil can rest its head
and plan their schemes.
For I will fill their nights with dread
'For I am the Sandman the ghost of dreams.'Post Script
Eugenics is a way of improving the human race by selective breeding very much like you would breed dogs for a pedigree dog show.
Eugenics was first put forward as a modern concept by Francis Galton. It has roots in France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States in the 1860s-1870s.
Eugenics reached a peak in the early twentieth century. At this time Eugenics was practiced around the world in one form or another. Being actively encouraged by governments, institutions and prominent individuals.
Many countries enacted eugenics polices such as: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, and genocide.
In Germany and strangely in Canada there were attempts to breed a new master race from what was thought of as the perfect specimens. Those who had high intelligence and physical fitness. The results were inconclusive resulting in some children suffering cretinism.
Eugenics has been abandoned until now when new invetro fertilisation has made it raise its head once more.
With the human Genome being mapped and stem cell research reaching new heights there is a real possibility of a resurgence of wanting the perfect baby will come to the fore.
Some sperm banks in America utilise highly educated and physically sperm donors while others are looking at cloning technologies to create a Brave New World.
Back in world war two the Germans experimented on the lesser races in their drive to be the master race. We must be vigilant so to stop this view growing once again and reaching us via the back door.
SilverbackBlacklight and Lightening Flash Prolog
The roar of the B17's Curtis engines fill the pilots cabin with sound as it ploughed through the night sky.
Alison Scott, 19 years old, handled the aircraft with consummate ease as if she was born to fly.
Down in front of her was her friend, the second pilot and navigator, Jay Garrick.
They had been flown to Canada to pick the aircraft up and fly her down to the British East Counties of Lincolnshire and Norfolk the home of the 555 bombardment group.
They had made Iceland in good time and refuelled before doing the next stage of the journey. The long haul down to Scotland.
They were out somewhere over the North Atlantic.
"Skip make a course correction to the following heading in ten seconds." Jay then gave a stream of numbers. "Turn on new heading on my mark. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and mark."
The aircraft, the Gunners Daughter, banked and turned on to its new heading.
Though the two girls were from different parts of the United states they shared a common upbringing. Both had been brought up on farms and had both learnt to fly when they were just fourteen. Flying old biplanes as crop dusters for their fathers.
Both had enlisted as Emilia Earhart's Woman's Airforce Service Pilots or W.A.S.P.'s.
They had met up at the main teaching aerodrome outside of Houston Texas before moving up to the Washington area after they graduated. A deep friendship had grown between them.
"Jay go and check on our cargo please."
Jay made her way into the bomb bay where a chest was strapped in place. Jay checked that it was securely tied down.
She didn't know what it was but since it came from the medical corps she surmised that it was medical equipment of some sort.
"Cargo secure skip." She called on her RT.
"Jay what did the met boys say the weather was going to be like?" Alison or Al as she liked to be called when off duty had a deep frown on her face.
"Clear all the way skip. Why?"
"I think you'd better come up."
A few moments later Jay slid into the second pilots seat just in time for the cabin to be lit up by a massive lightening bolt.
"They didn't forecast any storms." Jay said before looking down at the plots she had brought with her. "We're on a tight schedule fuel wise but I might be able to give you a new vector around it."
Another flash lit the cabin.
"It'll be to dangerous to go through it. I'll see if we can get above it." Al pulled back on the joystick and the aircraft began to climb. "Switch to Oxygen."
Working together the two women carefully coxed the aircraft higher and higher. The temperature in the cabin plummeted well below freezing.
The clouds in front of them boiled, shot through with dark green, red and yellow pulses of light.
The crashes of lightening were almost constant now.
Into the broiling maelstrom something plunged in a ball of superheated air.
It dropped right across the front of the Gunners Daughter spitting small gouts of flame.
They swore as craft bucked and twisted beneath them.
Suddenly the outer port engine burst into flame.
Jay feathered it quickly and operated the fire extinguisher. The port inner erupted in flame as burning embers crashed into its cowling.
The women operated automatically as the months of training came back to them but it was to be of no avail.
"Jay bail out, bail out!" Al screamed above the roar of the tortured machine.
"What and leave you trying to fly this crate, no chance." Jay yelled.
"We'll go together I promise."
Moments later they were dropping in the icy cold air. As they twisted round under their parachutes they watched the aircraft rupture in a silent explosion.
A dark green light illuminated Alison as Jay swung into a rain of hot chemicals from the ruptured chest.
A ball of lightening crashed into Jay setting light to her canopy.
"Jay, Jay!" Pain flooded her as the light began scorching her skin. A few moments later she passed out.
When Jay awoke it was to find that she was lying face upward on green grass with her charred parachute spread out around her.
Jay undid the clip and shrugged out of the parachute. About ten to fifteen yards in front lay Alison.
Fearing the worse Jay staggered over to the young woman.
"Al speak to me, come on Alison say something!"
Al's eyes flicked open and for a moment she seemed disorientated before pulling Jays head down to hers and kissing her. Jay responded for a moment before the impact of what had happened hit her making her shiver.
By then Alison had managed to sit up and was looking over Jay's shoulder.
"What's the matter?" Jay asked.
Alison just pointed as a familiar sound hit her ears.
She turned round sharply and stared with disbelief as the 'Gunners Daughter' engines spluttered into life and settled into an idling hum.
"She can't be here I saw her split apart. For Gods sake I was covered with the medications from the chest!" Jay looked down at her flying suit which was peppered by small burnt holes.
Jay looked across at Alison in dawning realisation.
"We're dead aren't we?" She turned and look around at the bucolic scene. "Must be heaven."
"I doubt it, where are our wings." Alison had lifted her hand up to shade her eyes. Only to stop as she spotted a strange ring in the shape of an old fashioned coach lamp with a dark green stone in its centre on her wedding finger. "Now where did that come from?"
Jay lifted her hand and found a strange ring on her finger too. The stone in the centre flickered with red, yellow, silver and blue light depending on how the sunlight hit it.
A crackling electric charge ran over her body.
"I've always been told that I'm a live wire." She turned to her lover. "What do we do now?"
"I think we're meant to fly her." She said.
"Where to? Where from come to think of it?" Jay lead the way across to the aircraft. "If I don't know where I am there's little chance of me having a fix to work from."
Alison pointed in front of the 'Gunners Daughter' nose.
"Just go that way." She said.
Being almost second nature they carried out the system checks and prepared the aircraft for flight.
With a defiant roar she thundered down the grass and took off into the calm sunny sky.
For a moment they closed their eyes only to open them to a crystal clear night over the Atlantic.
"We're on schedule skip." Jay said, the interlude in the sun fading with every moment. "We should hit the Scottish main land in a few minutes.
"I just fancy a plate of Haggis with tatties and neeps and a good single malt whisky." Alison said with a smile scratching absent mindedly at the new tattoo of a couch lamp on her forearm.
"You'll have bacon and eggs with a weak tea in the NAFFI like the rest of us." Jay said with a wide grin.
There came a voice into the aircraft but the girls didn't seem to hear it.
"I am sorry that I hurt you." The voice was like you would expect if a snake learned to talk. "I have recruited you both to fight evil. Use my gifts wisely."