The Red Gem of Mercuryby Henry Kuttner
The noise of pursuit was growing louder. Steve Vane's lungs ached with each knife-thrust, gasping breath of the icy air. His gray prison garments were no protection against the wintry breeze, and his thin
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A stone from the stars kept vigil, and a dead man smiled, as Steve Vane bore a death token from Mercury to the man who had promised him--murder!
The noise of pursuit was growing louder. Steve Vane's lungs ached with each knife-thrust, gasping breath of the icy air. His gray prison garments were no protection against the wintry breeze, and his thin shoes were already wet with snow and beginning to freeze.
It was hard to keep going. It would be far easier to give up the mad attempt, to stop and wait, with his hands in the air, till the guards came and took him back to the bare gray walls of his cell. But--Vane took a quick glance at the grim-faced man racing along beside him--if tough little Tony Apollo could keep going, certainly husky, big-shouldered Steve Vane could grit his teeth and stagger along. But where would it end? The break had been hopeless from the start, doomed to certain failure. Only the iron determination of Tony Apollo, and the burning sense of injustice rankling within Vane had kept the latter's will firm.
"Pasqual framed us both," Apollo had said, his dark face sombre with hatred. "I've been in here longer than you have--but I'm getting out now. If you're smart, you're coming with me. One of us has a chance to get Pasqual before the cops nail us."
And so the two had planned and fled. Blue and shaking with cold, they plunged along the bank of the river gorge toward the cabin Apollo had said would serve as a hideout.
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