Astounding Stories of Super-Science February 1930 – various authors

T WO miles west of the village of Laketon there lived an aged recluse who was known only as Old Crompton. As far back as the villagers could remember he had visited the town regularly twice a month, each time tottering his lonely way homeward with a load of provisions. He appeared to be well supplied with funds, but purchased sparingly as became a miserly hermit. And so vicious was his tongue that few cared to converse with him, even the young hoodlums of the town hesitating to harass him with the banter usually accorded the other bizarre characters of the streets. Tom’s extraordinary machine glowed—and the years were banished from Old Crompton’s body. But there still remained, deep-seated in his century-old mind, the memory of his crime. The oldest inhabitants knew nothing of his past history, and they had long since lost their curiosity in the matter. He was a fixture, as was the old town hall with its surrounding park. His lonely cabin was shunned by all who chanced to pass along the old dirt road that led through the woods to nowhere and was rarely used. His only extravagance was in the matter of books, and the village book store profited considerably by his purchases. But, at the instigation of Cass Harmon, the bookseller, it was whispered about that Old Crompton was a believer in the black art—that he had made a pact with the devil himself and was leagued with him and his imps. For the books he bought were strange ones; ancient volumes that Cass must needs order from New York or Chicago and that cost as much as ten and even fifteen dollars a copy; translations of the writings of the alchemists and astrologers and philosophers of the dark ages. It was no wonder Old Crompton was looked at askance by the simple-living and deeply religious natives of the small Pennsylvania town. But there came a day when the hermit was to have a neighbor, and the town buzzed with excited speculation as to what would happen. T HE property across the road from Old Crompton’s hut belonged to Alton Forsythe, Laketon’s wealthiest resident—hundreds of acres of scrubby woodland that he considered well nigh worthless.

But Tom Forsythe, the only son, had returned from college and his ambitions were of a nature strange to his townspeople and utterly incomprehensible to his father. Something vague about biology and chemical experiments and the like is what he spoke of, and, when his parents objected on the grounds of possible explosions and other weird accidents, he prevailed upon his father to have a secluded laboratory built for him in the woods. When the workmen started the small frame structure not a quarter of a mile from his own hut, Old Crompton was furious. He raged and stormed, but to no avail. Tom Forsythe had his heart set on the project and he was somewhat of a successful debater himself. The fire that flashed from his cold gray eyes matched that from the pale blue ones of the elderly anchorite. And the law was on his side. So the building was completed and Tom Forsythe moved in, bag and baggage. For more than a year the hermit studiously avoided his neighbor, though, truth to tell, this required very little effort. For Tom Forsythe became almost as much of a recluse as his predecessor, remaining indoors for days at a time and visiting the home of his people scarcely oftener than Old Crompton visited the village.

He too became the target of village gossip and his name was ere long linked with that of the old man in similar animadversion. But he cared naught for the opinions of his townspeople nor for the dark looks of suspicion that greeted him on his rare appearances in the public places. His chosen work engrossed him so deeply that all else counted for nothing. His parents remonstrated with him in vain. Tom laughed away their recriminations and fears, continuing with his labors more strenuously than ever. He never troubled his mind over the nearness of Old Crompton’s hut, the existence of which he hardly noticed or considered. IT so happened one day that the old man’s curiosity got the better of him and Tom caught him prowling about on his property, peering wonderingly at the many rabbit hutches, chicken coops, dove cotes and the like which cluttered the space to the rear of the laboratory. Seeing that he was discovered, the old man wrinkled his face into a toothless grin of conciliation. “Just looking over your place, Forsythe,” he said. “Sorry about the fuss I made when you built the house.

But I’m an old man, you know, and changes are unwelcome. Now I have forgotten my objections and would like to be friends. Can we?” Tom peered searchingly into the flinty eyes that were set so deeply in the wrinkled, leathery countenance. He suspected an ulterior motive, but could not find it within him to turn the old fellow down. “Why—I guess so, Crompton,” he hesitated: “I have nothing against you, but I came here for seclusion and I’ll not have anyone bothering me in my work.” “I’ll not bother you, young man. But I’m fond of pets and I see you have many of them here; guinea pigs, chickens, pigeons, and rabbits. Would you mind if I make friends with some of them?” “They’re not pets,” answered Tom dryly, “they are material for use in my experiments. But you may amuse yourself with them if you wish.” “You mean that you cut them up—kill them, perhaps?” “Not that.

But I sometimes change them in physical form, sometimes cause them to become of huge size, sometimes produce pigmy offspring of normal animals.” “Don’t they suffer?” “Very seldom, though occasionally a subject dies. But the benefit that will accrue to mankind is well worth the slight inconvenience to the dumb creatures and the infrequent loss of their lives.” OLD CROMPTON regarded him dubiously. “You are trying to find?” he interrogated. “The secret of life!” Tom Forsythe’s eyes took on the stare of fanaticism. “Before I have finished I shall know the nature of the vital force—how to produce it. I shall prolong human life indefinitely; create artificial life. And the solution is more closely approached with each passing day.” The hermit blinked in pretended mystification.

But he understood perfectly, and he bitterly envied the younger man’s knowledge and ability that enabled him to delve into the mysteries of nature which had always been so attractive to his own mind. And somehow, he acquired a sudden deep hatred of the coolly confident young man who spoke so positively of accomplishing the impossible. During the winter months that followed, the strange acquaintance progressed but little. Tom did not invite his neighbor to visit him, nor did Old Crompton go out of his way to impose his presence on the younger man, though each spoke pleasantly enough to the other on the few occasions when they happened to meet. With the coming of spring they encountered one another more frequently, and Tom found considerable of interest in the quaint, borrowed philosophy of the gloomy old man. Old Crompton, of course, was desperately interested in the things that were hidden in Tom’s laboratory, but he never requested permission to see them. He hid his real feelings extremely well and was apparently content to spend as much time as possible with the feathered and furred subjects for experiment, being very careful not to incur Tom’s displeasure by displaying too great interest in the laboratory itself. T HEN there came a day in early summer when an accident served to draw the two men closer together, and Old Crompton’s long-sought opportunity followed. He was starting for the village when, from down the road, there came a series of tremendous squawkings, then a bellow of dismay in the voice of his young neighbor. He turned quickly and was astonished at the sight of a monstrous rooster which had escaped and was headed straight for him with head down and wings fluttering wildly.

Tom followed close behind, but was unable to catch the darting monster. And monster it was, for this rooster stood no less than three feet in height and appeared more ferocious than a large turkey. Old Crompton had his shopping bag, a large one of burlap which he always carried to town, and he summoned enough courage to throw it over the head of the screeching, over-sized fowl. So tangled did the panic-stricken bird become that it was a comparatively simple matter to effect his capture, and the old man rose to his feet triumphant with the bag securely closed over the struggling captive. “Thanks,” panted Tom, when he drew alongside. “I should never have caught him, and his appearance at large might have caused me a great deal of trouble—now of all times.” “It’s all right, Forsythe,” smirked the old man. “Glad I was able to do it.” Secretly he gloated, for he knew this occurrence would be an open sesame to that laboratory of Tom’s. And it proved to be just that.

A FEW nights later he was awakened by a vigorous thumping at his door, something that had never before occurred during his nearly sixty years occupancy of the tumbledown hut. The moon was high and he cautiously peeped from the window and saw that his late visitor was none other than young Forsythe. “With you in a minute!” he shouted, hastily thrusting his rheumatic old limbs into his shabby trousers. “Now to see the inside of that laboratory,” he chuckled to himself. It required but a moment to attire himself in the scanty raiment he wore during the warm months, but he could hear Tom muttering and impatiently pacing the flagstones before his door. “What is it?” he asked, as he drew the bolt and emerged into the brilliant light of the moon. “Success!” breathed Tom excitedly. “I have produced growing, living matter synthetically. More than this, I have learned the secret of the vital force—the spark of life. Immortality is within easy reach.

Come and see for yourself.” They quickly traversed the short distance to the two-story building which comprised Tom’s workshop and living quarters. The entire ground floor was taken up by the laboratory, and Old Crompton stared aghast at the wealth of equipment it contained. Furnaces there were, and retorts that reminded him of those pictured in the wood cuts in some of his musty books. Then there were complicated machines with many levers and dials mounted on their faces, and with huge glass bulbs of peculiar shape with coils of wire connecting to knoblike protuberances of their transparent walls. In the exact center of the great single room there was what appeared to be a dissecting table, with a brilliant light overhead and with two of the odd glass bulbs at either end. It was to this table that Tom led the excited old man. “This is my perfected apparatus,” said Tom proudly, “and by its use I intend to create a new race of supermen, men and women who will always retain the vigor and strength of their youth and who can not die excepting by actual destruction of their bodies. Under the influence of the rays all bodily ailments vanish as if by magic, and organic defects are quickly corrected. Watch this now.


PDF | Download

PDF | Read

Buy me a coffee (;

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

PDF Kitap İndir | Pdf Libros Gratis

Forum.Pictures © 2018 | Descargar Libros Gratis | Kitap İndir |
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x